The Need for Process Central

Over the years, any number of solutions have been used to reduce the cost of IT services in organization or even remove responsibility of such services from normal business operations.  The creation of traditional in-house infrastructures can become a large portion of an organization’s operational budget.  A popular choice become to outsource IT to a service provider.  The infrastructure was still owned or leased by the organization but the maintenance and services required on the infrastructure was managed by the service provider.

The newest trend is an utility-based service, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).  Ideal for organizations developing and offering web applications, a PaaS offers an environment where applications can be developed, tested, deployed, and maintained.  To support the effort, service providers typically provide an IDE and integration with Web Services and Databases.

These platforms are designed on a multi-tenant architecture.  With this architecture, the provider can share resources with more than one organization.  For the customer, the sharing provides advantages in the form of reduce costs, faster development cycles, and transfer of infrastructure responsibility.  As an utility-based service, the organization only pays for what they use, typically based on storage, bandwidth, and/or users.  The service solution provides a great option for start-up companies or organizations looking to offset their current IT solutions.

Many companies already recognize the need for processes in the environment and may even be striving to implement quality processes.  Some of these companies may be receiving the benefits of controlled processes being in place.  Unfortunately, now is the time for a sanity check.  Is there a central process management group in the company.  A group of people responsible for the entire process infrastructure.  The inevitable truth is in some companies, no such group exists or their scope is severely restrictive.  This situation happens in most instances when process initiatives require multiple groups to create and maintain their own processes without formal oversight.

Specifically for companies who have processes that are working, the question appears: why do we need a central process group.  Here are a few reasons:

  • Many of the people working processes in their departments may also have responsibilities, usually primary, in the operations of the department.  Growth in their position typically will not include education in processes.
  • These “process” people are more than likely working in isolation from other process people.  A central process group will allow greater collaboration in process management issues.
  • Definition of key process terms may not be consistent across the organization, especially those terms that are not commonly used, such as control points.
  • Cross process relationships are typically being discussed between process owners, not with the people supporting the processes who experience the breakdowns in relationship.  In some cases, process owners are not assigned or being responsible of the role.
  • The need for responsibility to implement the entire process architecture, not just a portion of the architecture.
  • Several processes initiatives may have similar issues or requirements, each attempting to fulfill independently from each other.  A central group can provide support in shared concerns and implementations.
  • Audits are often staggered unless organized by a central group.

The existence of a central process group can aid in the consolidation of efforts, as well as general refinement and introduction of process management processes.  IT Service Management frameworks, like ITIL® or ISO/IEC 20000, do not specify the existence of a process management group, only that the practices of process management are in place.  By creating a group, though, you can create a number of champion to forward the efforts of the company’s process goals.