Business Process Architecture

A key concept and tool that we at Performance Design Lab use extensively is the Business Process Architecture.    Performance Design Lab has extensive experience assisting companies in defining their process architectures and in establishing those architectures as a core tool for process modeling, process management and process improvement. Our tools and models have been adopted by Fortune 100 companies and multinational corporations for the past 25 years.  We are known for both teaching of a set of proven architecture principles and partnering in their application.  This approach takes advantage of PDL’s cross industry experience and the internal practitioners understanding of their organization’s unique competitive positioning and situational business needs.

The Business Process Architecture (which we also refer to as a “Business Process Framework”) is a high-level roll-up of the data that is frequently captured in lower-level process documentation, such as cross-functional process maps, role-responsibility matrices, and so on.  the BPA shows all of the significant processes – that is, value creation processes, management processes, and contributing processes – of a given organization, and the systemic interrelationships between those processes.  This tool provides executives and employees with a common definition of all the major processes of the business, on one page.  The document is a concise summary of the value-adding work that must be performed and managed to provide products/services to customers.  The picture is a work-centric picture and does not reflect who does the work.  Therefore, the primary focus of dialogue, troubleshooting, and decision making stays on the work and on the creation and delivery of value.

Example of a Business Process Architecture:

Example of a Business Process Architecture



The Business Process Architecture is one component of the Value Creation Architecture documentation set, described in detail in our book White Space Revisited: Creating Value through Process. This means that for each process depicted at a high level on the BPA, there is additional detailed documentation available such as the more typical cross-functional process map.  The BPA serves as a useful tool for executives and managers who need to understand processes in their area for business purposes (such as setting strategy or targeting improvements), without the need to get bogged down in detailed documentation.  For the practitioner, the BPA serves as an organizing tool for process documentation, and to facilitate communication with others in the organization to ensure that everyone from executives to employees to practitioners are using a common vocabulary when describing processes.

Online Resources

To read an article that describes a number of organizations’ experiences with using a Business Process Architecture, click here.

To read a case study on a company that we engaged in helping define and use their Business Process Framework (aka (Business Process Architecture), click here.

For a presentation on the topic of the Business Process Architecture, click here.

For information about PDL’s consulting service, where we assist organizations in defining their Business Process Architecture, click here.

For information about our workshops, click here.  The BPF is a key tool in Performance Design Lab methodology, so it is taught in a number of different workshops.  The  Business Process Architecture workshop, specifically, teaches the core models and concepts of the PDL approach to architecture.

If you are a practitioner working on developing a Business Process Framework, and are interested in coaching from a PDL Partner on the right approach, please contact us for information.