All organizations use business processes to get work done. Most of these processes, especially in larger organizations, rely on computers and software. IT’s role is to make sure processes, as implemented though technology, change as the organization changes. With increasing dependencies on technology for business processes, IT is more critical than ever.
The IT department must understand the business processes almost as well as the people executing them.
Each process should have an owner. The process owner maintains the definition of the process, monitors it to ensure it is healthy, and drives improvements. The owner works with other process owners to make sure handoffs and inputs/outputs are aligned; and, ideally, they have enough authority to drive changes.
IT, specifically Business Analysts, should work closely with the business process owners. Whether your organization does process ownership formally or informally, making these connections puts IT in a better position to help.
Once a business owner has been identified, here are the requirements for IT:
- Know what business process is involved for all change requests—it may be more than one.
- Make sure the process owner is involved. Ideally, all changes for a particular process are only coming from the process owner.
- The process owner approves all requirements.
- Use the process owner to make sure the test plan and test team are ready to go before the change is ready for testing.
- Communicate any hidden implications of the change. Since IT is involved with many processes, it has a better understanding of the bigger picture. A change for one department may cause problems for another department.
Over time, the Business Analysts will become knowledgeable in a wide variety of processes. A good Business Analyst will know more about an organization’s business processes than anyone else. Specific departments may know more details, but IT will have a wider view across the entire organization. As the process owners realize the wide knowledge that IT has, they may involve IT earlier in the change discussion.
This, of course, benefits the entire company.