Business Rules Governance and Management – Part IX – Center of Excellence

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Business Rules Governance and Management

This post is part of a series on Business Rules Governance and Management for which the main article can be found here.

In previous posts I covered most of the main points relating to Business Rules Governance and Management.

I now want to put all of this work into context with an even bigger picture in mind.

Most of the business rules implementation will come through an initiative that is part of a project. An IT Project will look at what it needs to accomplish, do some research, decide they need a Business Rules Management System (BRMS) and implement one as part of the project.

The next phase will come when they are delivering the project and need to pass on the responsibility of the rules to operations in the organization. The need for management processes and governance is greater at that time and the work discussed as part of this series of posts is performed.


In the meantime, or as part of a separate project in the organization, another initiative that uses business rules is started. They had seen the success and benefits of the first business rules initiative and decided to start using the same approach. Eventually this new project will also need to instill management and governance processes.


As one can imagine, the evolution will probably not stop there and now is the time to think about how to take it to the next level.

Enters the Center Of Excellence (CoE). The CoE is the next step that the organization will probably have to take. The CoE’s mission should be to support any project that intends to use business rules.

The CoE should be the place where:

  • Business Rules specialists (Business and Technical) are united to support projects in a consulting role
  • Training for new people can be coordinated
  • Projects look to get additional resources for execution of the project plan
  • Best practices, Management Processes, Governance Processes are developed

I have covered some of this topic in a previous post called “BPM Center of Excellence applied to Business Rules” (


Once the Center of Excellence is in place, other projects can more easily benefit from the experiences of other projects.


Although the interactions are shown as “one way” in the diagram above, in real life the interactions are expected to be bidirectional.

In the next post, we will look at some of the challenges you should anticipate as well as some best practices to hopefully make your Governance and Management initiative a successful one.

On taking BPM to the Enterprise level

Today, Sandy Kemsley was giving a webinar on how to take a BPM project from a department to an Enterprise Program.

The presentation will be available soon on the BPMbasics web site at (look for BPM 106).

Projects often have intents of eventually going to a program and enterprise level, but many times, the intent just dies and nothing happens. Some of the reasons for this is that solutions are sometimes overly customized, there is no strategic vision and there is a lack of skills.

On the other hand, there are some great benefits to be expected from enterprise level BPM. Processes can be cross-departmental, it removes ad hoc parts of the processes but it also mainly provides the opportunity for an enterprise level dashboard of all processes. This last point is usually a great selling point with management.

To take the BPM from Project to Program (some highlights):

  • From initial BPM Project develop a CoE
  • Promote the project success internally
  • Develop a strategic vision
  • Consider SaaS BPM for faster deployment

Among the common pitfalls, Sandy mentions that one mistake is to try and analyze all the processes before trying to get a solution. She suggests that finding the most important categories of processes might be a better idea so that it does not get stuck in some analysis paralysis.

Another pitfall she mentions is the use of the wrong BPMS tools. She proposes that it is better in the long run to actually bite the bullet and change BPMS tools if the wrong one was used initially although there may be some costs in time and money to do so.

If implementing enterprise level BPM, you should expect some changes on the technology side (hardware, software, security, etc.) and on the business side (new processes, etc.)

One of her key takeaways is to start small but think big. (Or as Stephen Covey would say: Begin with the End in Mind). Having a vision of the destination (enterprise level BPM, Coe, etc.) is essential. The Center of Excellence should also come as early as possible.

A quote from her final thoughts:

“BPM programs don’t just happen, they have to be built”

Questions on the CoE

After the main presentation, the Q&A period had a lot of questions regarding the CoE.

When asked how to staff the Center of Excellence, Sandy responded that in most cases the people involved in a BPM project have been pulled from their operational duties. the trick is to keep some of those key people to start building the CoE and possibly have some new hires to complete the team.

She also mentioned that in a CoE most of the staff will be there only temporarily. Stays as short as 6 months, but more commonly 1 year stays are to be expected. Some of the more technical experts can be in the CoE for longer.

Concerning the size of the CoE. A CoE will typically have a core team of 4-6 people, but can be much larger depending on the size of the enterprise.

Overall an excellent presentation. Look for the recorded version on the web site.