I spent a week in Las Vegas at the Building BusinessCapabilityconference (BBC). As readers may know, the BBC brings together Business Analysts,Business Rulespractitioners and people committed toBusiness ProcessManagement. Under the circumstances, it's inevitable that someone will ask about how Business Analysis differs from BPM. Here's my take:
Business Analysis andBusiness ProcessManagement, are, in essence, two different names for the same discipline. Both are concerned with identifying, analyzing, redesigning, and implementing improvements in business processes. Here's how a Wikipedia article on Business Analysis describes a BA's responsibilities:
To investigate business systems, taking an holistic view of the situation. This may include examining elements of the organization structures and staff development issues as well as current processes and IT systems.
To evaluate actions to improve the operation of a businesssystem. Again this may require an examination of organizational structure and staff development needs, to ensure that they are in line with any proposed process redesign and ITsystemdevelopment.
To document the business requirements for ITsystemsupport using appropriate documentation standards.
One could write a description of a BPM consultant's job and it would sound very similar. Having said that, let me qualify my statement a bit. Historically, Business Analysts were thought of as people with a special knowledge of software systems who could help business people identify opportunities for, and definesoftware requirementsfor automation. By the same token, historically, BPM initially arose among business managers and tended to focus on people and how changes in the way people approach problems could benefit the business. Recently, BPM people have spent a lot of time focusing on how organizations can coordinate (manage) all of theirbusiness processinitiatives.
Let me put the distinction in a slightly different way. A typical BPM class will usually put lots of emphasis on higher-level process architecture, and on process management and measurement systems. A typical BA class will normally include a major unit on definingsoftware requirementsand on the problems of transitioning to a new softwaresystem.
I would stress, however, that these are simply historical tendencies, and don't necessarily reflect today's practices. Current efforts by leading BA organizations, like the IIBA, have put an increasing emphasis on the use of process analysis and on pulling together a wide variety of different options. BAs trained in modern approaches are as likely to recommend changes in the organization of a process or changes in employee training as to recommend automation. By the same token, individuals who think of themselves as BPM consultants commonly find themselves thinking in terms of automating business processes. Much of the latest work in the BPM area involves the use of softwaremodelingtools that allow the analyst to move from adiagramof a process to code that will automate at least the monitoring of the process and more often generate tailored ERP solutions...