Could the CIO role — and title — drop out of use? According to business process management specialist Michael Rosemann, a trend is emerging in Europe that replaces the term CIO with CPO — chief process officer.
Rosemann, who is director of the Centre for IT Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology, says an organisational structure in which someone focuses solely on IT might not send a strong enough message that the technology head supports the process of business.
Business process models provide a bridge between IT and business, he says. “It’s about aligning future IT opportunities to business expectations.”
Rosemann, who has been discussing the topic in Auckland and around Australia, says organisations in both countries have done some process modelling but often in isolated efforts.
“Wherever we go people say they have a few models or tools but there is no overall enterprise-wide approach. The next wave is to take this a bit more seriously, more integrated and standardised.”
A survey of the Australian Computer Society found that 312 members saw business process documentation and improvement to be of significant interest.
“After Y2K, the introduction of GST and the reduced credibility of pure IT projects, the concept of business alignment is becoming very important.”
But there is more interest from business people than IT people at this stage, according to Rosemann, who has spoken to executives from Australia Post, Water Corporation in Western Australia and the Queensland government.
A business process methodology currently in use is ARIS (architecture of integrated information systems), which is a way of articulating organisation processes, infrastructure, data and outcomes of products and also describes ways of linking them.
“It supports this idea of organisational and IT-related business processes modelling and is used by Commonwealth Bank, TVNZ and Australia Post.”
Australia Post wants to upgrade its ERP application, which in the past would have been an IT-driven decision.
“Now business people are making that decision. They really want to understand what the organisation is all about, what it is trying to achieve by the upgrade before it touches IT.
“At the end of the day business and IT are highly specialised. We need more communication between them both. The business process model can be such a bridge.”