Do governance properly or not at all

Governance is important. You wouldn’t be happy with ungoverned inventory control data, accounting information, or software code so why would you be happy with the DNA of the business – process documentation – being ungoverned.

For some industries governance is not important, it is critical. Pharma and the food companies are governed by the FDA. The banking industry is regulated by the FSA. Both the FDA and FSA recognise that process content in MSOffice or some other ungoverned mapping tool is unacceptable, hence the increase in usage of process repositories.

But some estimates suggest 80%+ of companies rely on MS Office (Visio, Powerpoint, Word) for process documentation. Scary.

So if you have ungoverned process documentation, how can you be confident that you are automating the correct proceses. All BPM activities need to start with a solid foundation.

At my company’s we have been mirroring the software development approach when looking at governing process documentation. You have different versions of the process model; production, pre-production/test, development. There is a formal sign-off to move between these different states. The BPM application should make the move easy.

Here the business can learn from IT. Process documentation in MSVisio or Powerpoint and then stored in Sharepoint is not necessarily governance. It is more subtle that that. There is version control, audit, sign-off, review, notifications that all required to make the governance cycle manageable and not a nightmare email or paperchase.

The interrelationships between the different diagrams and attached files in the model need to be controlled. And what about multiple language variants of each process diagram. Make it too difficult and it won’t be managed.

Some of you are say that it is unrealistic to control to this level of granularity, but Fortune 1000 companies ARE this complex, and they are driving the requirements.

So either do governance properly or not at all. You are either in control or not.

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Ian Gotts is CEO and Chairman of Nimbus Partners, an established and rapidly growing global software company, headquartered in the UK. He is a very experienced senior executive and serial entrepreneur, with a career spanning 25 years. Ian has co-authored a number of books including “Common Approach, Uncommon Results”, published in English and Chinese and in its second edition, "Why Killer Products Don't Sell" and books covering Cloud computing from the perspective of both the prospective buyer, and the software vendor. Having begun his career in 1983 as an engineer for British Rail, Ian then spent 12 years at Accenture (nee Andersen Consulting) specialising in the project management of major business critical IT projects. During this time, he spent two years as an IT Director, seconded to the Department for Social Security (DSS), with a department of over 500 and a budget responsibility of 40 million pounds.