The Role of a Business Analyst (BA) in Business Process Mana

The role of a Business Analyst in a BPM project can vary based on the scope of the BPM initiative. In general, BPM can be implemented with or without process automation and the use of BPM Software. Using the typical phases of a BPM project – let’s look at the role of a BA first from the stand point of a BPM improvement initiative and then from a BPM automation initiative perspective.

Most “BPM Improvement” initiatives follow the Lean Six Sigma or DMAIC. Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Following these phases, we see a BAs role and activities as:

* Define: Interview stakeholders and/or facilitate group meetings to document the as-is or current process (tasks, activities) in some type of flow diagramming or BPMS tool

* Measure: Gather metrics about the current process. This might be the current volumes being processed, how long it takes to process something, how many people perform a given step, etc.

* Analyze: Analyze the process. The BA may analyze the process using techniques like value stream mapping or simulation tools or plain common sense looking for inefficiencies, duplicate efforts, and wasted time and so on.

* Improve: Once analysis of the process is complete, the next step is to design a "to-be" or future process diagram and roll out this new way of performing the process.

* Control: Measurements are generally established to track the progress and effectiveness of the process. The Process Owner is generally responsible to define measurements wherein the BA may assist in gathering data, creating reports, etc. This might be the volume processed in a period, the cycle time (or time it takes to complete the process or specific activities), etc.

If the intention is to automate the process using BPMS software most BPM automation projects follow a slightly different yet very similar approach. The phases are DMEMO or Design, Model, Execute, Monitor, Optimize. This approach might also include a Define or Identify phase that precedes the Design phase. DMEMO assumes you have done analysis on the as-is process and are now working on the design of the new to-be process and this process will be automated.

* Design: Not only will the BA map the process, they will gather other requirements like deadlines/alerts for each step in the flow, routing rules, what the requirements are in terms of presentation to the user at each step (a form or a user interface screen and what data is involved), what reports are needed and so on.

* Model: Many BPM software tools provide for ability to model or “simulate” the to-be process. BAs can use these tools to test out different scenarios before actually implementing the process. “Simulation allows BAs to perform what if we add 2 more people to the first activity – will that avoid downstream bottlenecks.

* Execute: The BA may assist the team in writing test cases and performing use case testing for the automated process. The BA may also train users to both test and use the new system.

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