Business Process Mapping (BlueWorks Live)

Building a Process Framework with IBM Blueworks Live

By Genevieve van den Boer posted 14 days ago

  

Within a single IBM Blueworks Live account, Spaces provide a way to organize your modeling artifacts. Spaces are like folders and are organized hierarchically. Each Space has its own access control list that allows you to restrict access to artifacts to specific users and groups.

One of the first tasks of an IBM Blueworks Live Account Administrator is to setup the Space hierarchy for their organization. In my previous posting, I reviewed some different strategies for structuring a Process Framework within an Enterprise Framework Space in IBM Blueworks Live. An Enterprise Framework Space is a top-level Space designated for published models.

In this article, I’ll review some suggestions of approaches for how to setup the Space hierarchy when applying each of these different strategies to structure a Process Framework.

Process Framework Approaches

In a previous posting, we considered the following strategies for designing a Process Framework:

  • Customer Value Chain / Journey
  • Organizational
  • Capability
  • Geographical
  • Industry Standard

You can choose one or more of these strategies to design your Process Framework to ensure that it accurately reflects your business and the goals you have for a process-oriented enterprise.

The following sections describe some approaches for creating and naming the Space structure of the Process Framework within your Enterprise Framework Space, based on the above strategies.

Customer Value Chain / Journey Framework

The value chain is a business management concept initially described by Michael Porter in his 1985 book “Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance”.

To setup your hierarchy by Customer Value Chain or Journey, start with an initial space named for the content, e.g. ‘Customer Value Chain’, ‘<your company> Customer Journey’, etc.

In the top-level space of this structure, create a starter Process Blueprint to represent the top-level value chain graphically, including core, or primary functions, and supporting, or secondary functions. Business architects and business subject matter experts can work together using a high-level Discovery Map to build out the Customer Value Chain or Journey in this Process Blueprint. Each Activity box in the Discovery Map for this Process Blueprint will represent a different business function.

Setup your lower Spaces to reflect each of these business functions, core and supporting, of your company so they can be shared across the business. For example, you could create Spaces for Inbound Logistics, Operations, Outbound Logistics, Marketing & Sales, and Service for the core functions and you could create Spaces for Business Organization, Procurement, Resource Management, and Technology Development for the supporting functions.

The following figure shows an example Space setup according to a generic Customer Value Chain.
Value Chain SpacesTip: Prefix with numbers

Organizational Framework

To setup your hierarchy by Organization, start with an initial space named for the content, e.g. ‘<your company> Organization’, ‘Organizational Framework’, etc.

In the top-level Space of this structure, create a starter Process Blueprint to represent the top-level organization graphically. Business architects and business subject matter experts can work together using a high-level Discovery Map to build out an organizational map in this Process Blueprint. Each Activity box in the Discovery Map for this Process Blueprint will represent a different organization.

Setup a Space hierarchy for each functional entity within your organization. This could represent entities such as departments, divisions, business units, lines of business, wholly owned subsidiaries, etc.

Setup another complementary structure by creating Spaces to represent processes and decisions that are used across entities, for example end-to-end processes that involve multiple entities.

In addition, you can optionally setup another structure to represent common processes and decisions that are re-used within various entities. This is can be helpful if you have initiatives in place to harmonize operations enterprise-wide.  

Alternatively, you can leave the commonly re-used processes and decisions within their original organizational entities if those entities retain primary business ownership. Typically, in an organizationally structured framework ownership and execution both reside in the same organizational entity. If this is not the case, for example in the case of subsidiaries or outsourced execution, you may want to consider alternative or complementary strategies for your Process Framework.

The following figure shows an example Organizational framework for a Financial Institution with core Organizational pillars, such as Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, and Wealth Management, supporting pillars, such as Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology, as well as End-to-End Processes and Common Artifacts.
Organization Space exampleTip: common prefix for grouping

Capability Framework

To setup your hierarchy by Capability, start with an initial space named for the content, e.g. ‘Capability Model’, ‘ Capability Framework’, ‘<your company> Capabilities’, etc.

In the top-level Space of this structure, create a starter Process Blueprint to represent your capabilities graphically. Business architects and business subject matter experts can work together using a high-level Discovery Map to build out a Capability Map in this Process Blueprint. Each Activity box in the Discovery Map will represent a different Capability. Later, as your organization gradually builds out the levels below this high-level Capability Map, your business architects and business subject matter experts can update this Discovery Map by using Linked Processes to link each Activity box to the relevant next level Process Blueprints.

Setup your lower Spaces to reflect each of these business capabilities or your enterprise, so that you can organize your process work by Capability. You can further decompose the Spaces to match any decomposition of your Capabilities that you have in your enterprise Capability model. Common processes and decisions that are re-used within various processes should belong to the Capability they implement.

The following figure shows an example Capability framework with a few sample capabilities such as Sell, Market, Service, Partner, Procure, Produce, Manage Customer Relationship, and Manage Supply Chain.
Capability Space example

Geographical Framework

If your organization is multi-national or you have different operations, processes and decisions in various geographies, you can setup a Space hierarchy that reflects these different geographies such as countries or regions.

To setup your hierarchy by Geography, start with an initial space named for the content, e.g. ‘<your company> Geographies’, ‘Geo-specific Models’, ‘Geographical Exceptions’, etc.

Setup and name initial Spaces within the Process Framework according to the geographical units which you want to represent. Ensure that the geographical units are equivalent, and the Space hierarchy matches the geographic hierarchy. For example, if you want to represent countries, but you have different operations in different states or provinces of some of these countries, then first create and name each Space for a country you do unique business in, then create lower level Spaces for individual states or provinces only for the countries where this is relevant.

The following figure shows an example Geographical framework with a few sample geographical regions such as AP, EMEA, LA, and NA, with continents Europe & Africa, and countries, France, Germany, Sweden, Kenya, and South Africa.
Geographical spaces example

As you may want to harmonize operations across geographies, though, you will also need an additional structure to represent these common processes and decisions. With a geographical structure, you will likely combine another structure strategy to define the Space structure within each geographical unit’s Space. Choose an approach for the sub-Spaces within each geography and follow the steps for that approach to build out the lower level Spaces.

 

Industry Standard Framework

I’ll discuss this cross-industry framework structure using a model from the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) in more detail in my next posting, but here is an introduction to this topic.

To setup your hierarchy by Industry Standard Framework, e.g. from APQC, create an initial space named for the content, e.g. ‘Process Classification Framework, ‘<your industry> Framework’, ‘<your company> Process Framework’, etc.

Use a Process Classification Framework (PCF) provided by APQC for the names and numbers of each space name, creating a hierarchy for each model level that matches the hierarchy in the PCF. In the top-level space of this structure, create a starter Process Blueprint to represent the overall framework.

APQC provides example PCFs that are downloadable for APQC members.   There are PCFs with a specific industry focus, example industries include Banking, Government, Life Sciences, Retail, and Telecommunication, but there is also a generic cross-industry PCF.

Review the industry-specific PCFs to see if there is one that aligns with your enterprise, otherwise use the generic cross-industry PCF as guidance for your Space hierarchy. For a complete list of industry specific PCFs, visit the APQC website at

https://www.apqc.org/process-performance-management/process-frameworks/industry-specific-process-frameworks.

In this article, we reviewed some basic approaches for building the Space hierarchy of a Process Framework to organize your artifacts under your Enterprise Framework Space in IBM Blueworks Live. We discussed different considerations when defining the structure according to different approaches, whether by Customer Value Chain, Organization, Capability, Geography, or Industry Standard Framework.

Check back for my next posting where I’ll discuss in more detail an example Process Framework setup using a structure and naming convention based on the Cross-Industry APQC PCF.

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