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Using BPMN to Enhance ITIL's Effectiveness

Jun 15, 2009

Eddy Peters

Make sure your wish list is maximally covered in the BPMN tool of choice. It is worth the effort. Now, let’s investigate the underlying reason of one question: Why a layered approach? If we go back to our 100-plus page document. It needs to be reworked into something manageable and usable. By introducing layers, the document can be structured. A typical process representation could be:

Layer 1: Graphical BPMN representation covering the high level process overview. This level answers questions like: How do we do what we do? What are the generic steps involved?

Layer 2: Graphical BPMN representation covering the procedures for each previous step including the role responsible to execute. This answers questions like: Who does what? How do we interact with each other to make it work?

Layer 3: Textual representation including the details of the previous step. This is known as work instructions, answering questions like: What is expected from the person executing this procedure? How is the supporting tooling used to support this procedure?

This layering is a very convenient guiding element when walking through the process documentation. You can see layer one and two as your table of contents. It allows you to drill down to the information. Modeling is usable for streamlining all types of communication: in projects, in development, in operational situations. So, the most important question remains: Is it usable for you?

If you understand your business completely, your business is totally in sync with the IT service offering, and all of this is formalized in easy-to-use and updated documentation, don’t bother. If there are gray zones or even fundamental gaps, you should give descriptive modeling using BPMN a closer look. For many, it is a gem waiting to be discovered. You will be surprised how it will improve the communication capabilities in your organization. Want to find out more? Here is a first step: http://www.bpmn.org/.

Eddy Peters is a senior ITSM consultant as CTG, an international information technology (IT) solutions and services company, he has been active in IT for almost 20 years, acquiring experience in both support and delivery capabilities. He had the opportunity to dig into the ITIL v3 framework early on, being beta reviewer, and to understand its potential. As ITIL Service Manager and COBiT Foundations certified, he currently develops solutions and provides guidance to customers, integrating their operational capabilities and service development requirements.