Business Process Upgrade
by Alison Weiss
Energy Alloys’ successful upgrade of Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in 2011 helped spark a new business process management (BPM) initiative to extend IT into Energy Alloys’ business to help the company stay on top in the volatile energy industry. All value-added IT activities, including business intelligence, ERP application development, project management, and process improvement, are now part of a new group, the BPM department. James Watson, whose new title is chief process officer, heads the department. “It’s no longer IT and the business. It’s not an and/or conversation,” says Watson. “IT is part of the business and is accountable for the same goals.”
Now, BPM principles are a big part of every IT project at Energy Alloys. It’s no longer enough to sit down with users, gather requirements, and then build and deliver a system. Business analysts focus on re-examining processes and mapping them. “We’re still honestly in the infancy of BPM,” Watson says. “We haven’t even built up the continuous improvement side of the organization.”
Still, management is very pleased with the results the BPM group has achieved so far. Watson says, “Our focus is on processes and understanding the business—and not just delivering IT solutions.”
Alison Weiss is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area and a frequent contributor to Profit.