Podcast: Why EA and BPM?

Roland Woldt and J-M Erlendson discuss why architecture (“Why EA & BPM?”) and why these two topics might not be even different, but rather be the two sides of the same coin.

Roland Woldt Roland Woldt

Roland Woldt and J-M Erlendson co-host the podcast “What’s Your Baseline? Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management Demystified.” For additional notes, a full transcript of the episode and much, much more, go to the What’s Your Baseline website. 

In this episode of What’s Your Baseline, Roland and J-M  discuss the why of architecture – specifically enterprise architecture (EA) and business process management (BPM) – and why these two topics are not all that different but rather two sides of the same coin.

The episode will take listeners on a fully immersive introductory tour of EA and BPM, including:

  • Terminology
  • The four phases of process management
  • The history of EA as a practice
  • How organizations practice these two topics 
  • The merger of strategy groups, architecture groups and PMOs
  • Capabilities as a bridge between strategy and execution
  • Risks and benefits of these capabilities
  • Capability configurations as a planning tool
  • Case studies of a retail and a military client

If you’re just getting started with business process transformation, or if you find yourself treading water in the alphabet soup often surrounding it, this is a great place to start. 

Listen to the full episode below – or subscribe on your podcast platform of preference such as Spotify. 

A couple of key quotes to get you started.

J-M on the history of process management:

It’s been a heck of a journey…It’s accepted that there are sort of four different phases that process management has gone through…You can think about it coming from the industrial age in the 1700s, eighteen hundreds and even early 1900s, we talked about the moving towards automated production, mechanical, mechanized production in assembly lines. And so we wanted to understand the sequence of steps that were required for mechanical tasks to be done and when you’re trying to build assembly lines, we think it’ll take a look at process management done by manufacturing engineering. Although that discipline might not have been quite as well defined at that point in time, it was definitely manufacturing engineers that drove the conversation around that, and it was the first, the first conversation around structured and ordered activity management.

Roland on collaboration between business process and enterprise architecture:

I think it’s a communication problem that is there. What makes me happy is to see that on a discipline and on a thinking level, people move into the direction to say, yeah it’s all the same. It’s two sides of the very same coin, right? So that when you look for example, and I don’t want to quote it to death, but when you look for example at the architecture development method in TOGAF, the big yellow wagon wheel that you see prominently in all TOGAF slides, well guess what, they come up with different phases of that method and one of them is to do architectural descriptions and they say “Yep, you need to think about your strategy or vision as they call it. You need to talk about your business architecture. That includes processes and organizations and risks and all that type of stuff. And then you need to derive or talk about applications and data. And then at the end you talk about technology. You know that the cables and boxes or puffy clouds. How you make things happen.

So I think this is a good thing, right? That people start talking to each other and I wish I could see the architecture discipline move towards that direction. And I chose my words wisely so I don’t see, hopefully in the future there is no split between BPM and EA. I think it’s all about architecture. Architectures as building of structures. As designing and defining how a future state moves on, right?


Content for the podcast and blog post has been provided by Roland Woldt and J-M Erlendson for What’s Your Baseline. Roland and J-M are Software AG employees, but the opinions, intellectual property, stories and subject matter expertise are their own. For more about What’s Your Baseline, go to: https://www.whatsyourbaseline.com/about/ 

Music by Jeremy Voltz, www.jeremyvoltzmusic.com

CP1 (Welcome)
Wish You Knew Me (Interlude 1)
Be Loved in Return (Interlude 2)
Airplane Seatbelt (Interlude 3)
South Wing (Outro)


The Evolution of Business Process Management: A Bibliometric Analysis
Henry Lizano-Mora, Pedro R. Palos-Sánchez and Mariano Aguayo-Camacho
IEEE Access 2017

The Evolution of Business Process Management as a Professional Discipline
Sandra Lusk, Staci Paley, and Andrew Spanyi
BPTrends, June 2005