Should IT or Business Lead Process Initiatives? Neither

Ann All

I've written a couple posts recently in which I discuss whether business or IT should lead process-improvement initiatives. I've pretty much come to the conclusion there's no definitive answer. The leader's job title is a secondary consideration. It's important he or she possesses the necessary skills, such as change management.


Writing on Extraordinary Minds, Carl Scholz, a former CIO who is now a management consultant, says the right answer to the process-leader question isn't business or IT. Instead, he suggests, an independent enterprise architecture team should serve as the primary custodian for business processes.


Likely members of this team include business analysts, industrial engineers and change managers. I think these are the folks Forrester Research analyst Connie Moore was talking about in her post about companies' growing interest in training process professionals who "live at the intersection of business and IT." While Scholz says no technology experience is required for these team members, Moore obviously thinks it's helpful. She mentions IT skills and IT background in several of her descriptions of the five business process professional categories identified by Forrester: change agents, gurus, prodigies, wannabes and operators.


Among the team's responsibilities, Scholz says the team should discuss all direct and indirect cost implications of process changes with process owners in the various business departments. IT's chief job is implementing the changes.



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