Gaining Insights from Your Process Repository

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"How can I get the information I need from this ocean of models? "- questioned the VP of Operations after going through the process repository built for his group. The repository had hundreds of models of different types.  They were built over months of effort from Subject Matter Experts and Process / Business Architecture practitioners. He wanted to find out

What percentage of activities are automated and manual?

Which teams use a specific application?

How many teams are involved to execute a value stream?

How many people refer to models in the repository to perform their daily duties?

At what rate are different teams building these models? Etc

The information for which the VP of Operations was asking buried was in the repository - many times in multiple models. To answer each of question, the analyst may need to spend a couple of hours to go through multiple models, generate reports, analyze and then consolidate information.

This is the challenge with many repositories – whether it is a process, business architecture or enterprise architecture repository. There is a huge amount of information captured in different models, but consumption of this information for analysis, monitoring or decision making is not always easy.

In most of the Business Process Management and Business Architecture initiatives, the practitioners put a lot of effort in determining the repository structure, model types, defining relationships and creating the models. To consume the information captured in these models, users either need to go through these models individually or generate some static reports. That is quite a tedious process and not always easy, especially if the people were not involved in building the repository. Hence, the practitioners should try to make the information easily consumable to all audiences. One way of doing it is to build a dashboard providing different insights from the repository.

Insights in consumable form can be provided using data visualization tools. These tools are of great help in retrieving related information from different models and presenting it to the user in a layered structure.

If you are considering building a dashboard for your repository, below are some of the important things to consider:

  1. Select the right modeling tool: Use a modeling tool which stores the model elements in a database. This helps to write a query to pull different information from the repository and display in the dashboard. A few modeling tools are also coming up with inbuilt dashboard capabilities – however, they are in the nascent stage.
  2. Design a dashboard that meets your organization's requirement: Organizations build process repositories with different purposes. A few build it as a knowledge repositories for their back office employees. In this case, employees can perform their day to day duties by referring to process models instead of word documents. A few others build for process optimization and process automation purpose. Others may build it as a part of Business architecture repository along with capabilities, functions, and value streams. The metamodel, repository structure and model types will vary based on these purposes. The dashboard viewpoints will also vary accordingly. However, one best approach to follow while designing the dashboard is to follow a layered approach, wherein the top level provides the view across the organization and lower level across the department/ work stream/ capability/ function (s) and processes. This way the dashboard can serve the needs of every stakeholder from the leadership team to process analyst.
  3. Identify dashboard users and their needs: Each organization has different sets of people that need information from these repositories. Make a list of roles in your organization who may benefit by gaining insights into the repository.  This will help you to determine what content to be displayed on the dashboard.
  4. Start Simple: Multiple different charts that provide different viewpoints can be built. Start simple and make improvements as you get more insights on different stakeholder's requirements. The simplest dashboard to start with are the ones which provide information for the administrative purpose - For example: charts displaying the number of process models for different departments, usage of process models in different regions, trend charts (ex - number of models created over a period of last 12 weeks), and models in different statuses, etc
  5. Integrate with other repositories: Once the dashboard is built and is in a certain matured state, you can start expanding it to provide further insights by integrating with other repositories in your organization. Many organizations use different tools for process modeling/ business architecture and enterprise architecture. Explore use cases to integrate data from these different repositories to provide consolidated views.
  6. Take it to next level: Explore options to Integrate repository dashboards with real-time data from applications.

In addition to providing insights to different stakeholders, the dashboards also help to provide much-needed visibility of a Business Process Management/ Business Architecture initiative to the leadership team.  So, to make the best use of a process/business architecture repository consider building a dashboard on top of it.


Ankit Tara
posted 2 years 39 weeks ago

Hi Prasanna, Good thoughts on

Hi Prasanna, Good thoughts on Architecture dashboard concept :-). Decade back I used a enterprise architect tool called System Architect, in that tool there was a function to drag and drop object to build a relationship diagram or get a catalogue of specific objects. Something like will be more useful or integration between modelling tool and tableau. Arun

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