Mapping the College’s Process Architecture enables us to understand, visualise and optimise our business processes from a perspective that is independent of organisational and functional siloes.  By bringing our processes into a shared Business Process Management System (BPMS), we can present them visually, make them widely accessible in College and establish a shared understanding that supports innovation, automation and continuous improvement.

A key goal of a shared Process Architecture is transparency. The BPMS offers a single source of truth that enables a viewer to navigate across end-to-end processes that span multiple organisational boundaries. We can drill to detail, to understand how each sub-process operates, who is involved and how it interfaces with other processes. Furthermore, we can see who owns a process, when it was last approved and what business rules, policies, frameworks or user guidance it must adhere to. 

Process architecture process overview

The curation, quality and governance of Imperial College’s Process Architecture is the responsibility of the Business Process Authority (BPA), Sue Flockhart, who works closely with Business Process Owners and Process Authors to develop and manage the content of the BPMS.

Process Architecture

Where is the College Process Architecture stored?

The College has invested in a Business Process Management System (BPMS) named Nimbus, which brings College-wide process maps and artefacts into a single shared repository. The Nimbus BPMS is now the standard point of reference for College business processes.

Find out more about the Nimbus BPMS.

Process ownership and governance at Imperial College

The College requires every business process to be owned and approved by a Business Process Owner.  This is the person responsible for the overall governance, execution and performance of the process, whose name will be displayed in the header information on any published maps and diagrams in the BPMS.

The Business Process Owner:

  • Defines the scope and boundaries of the processes for which they are the owner
  • Sponsors process mapping and improvement initiatives
  • Provides Subject Matter Experts to participate in these initiatives
  • Defines the governance and approval routes for process artefacts within the BPMS 
  • Resolves process overlaps, conflicts and variants, in partnership with the Business Process Authority
  • Continuously reviews and improves the performance of their processes, in line with College strategy.

The governance workflow within the BPMS requires that mapped processes are approved by both the Business Process Owner and the Business Process Authority before publication.

The Process Owner may delegate ownership of sub-processes that fall within their scope, whilst remaining responsible for the overall process. The Process Owner may also be supported by a Business Process Manager, who is responsible for the day-to-day running and performance of the process. 

Role of the Business Process Authority (BPA)

The Business Process Authority sits within the ICT Transformation Office and is responsible for the overall curation, quality and governance of the College’s Process Architecture.  The BPA guides the strategic direction of the BPMS and its adoption within College and defines the framework and standards by which processes are discovered, mapped and governed in College.

The BPA works in partnership with Business Process Owners to define the scope and boundaries of processes, to resolve conflicts and to integrate the processes into the College architecture. All processes mapped within the BPMS must meet the mandatory quality standards defined by the BPA in order to be approved for publication.

Other Process-related roles

Process Authors are specialist analysts and facilitators who work with Business Process Owners and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to support process mapping and improvement initiatives. A Process Author facilitates process discovery and analysis workshops on behalf of the Process Owner and works with SMEs to create high quality business process maps and artefacts within the BPMS, in accordance with College standards. 

Subject Matter Experts are people nominated by the Business Process Owner to provide expertise in support of process mapping and improvement initiatives. The goal of SME is to ensure that processes are correctly understood and designed in a way that is fit for purpose.

Bringing processes into the Nimbus BPMS

Business Process Owners can contact the BPA at any time to discuss the options for developing and mapping processes within the Nimbus BPMS.  Process mapping initiatives are usually run as projects and Process Owners are advised to engage the services of a skilled Process Author, to facilitate process discovery and analysis workshops and to work with your nominated Subject Matter Experts to map the business processes in accordance with College standards. 

To request access to a trained Nimbus Process Author (e.g. a Business Analyst or an operational excellence consultant) outline your requirement in your Project Brief or contact the BPA directly to discuss the options for a Business Analyst work package. 

As an interim step, until all College processes are developed and integrated into the College Process Architecture, pre-existing documentation (such as Visio maps) may be stored as hyperlinked attachments within the Nimbus BPMS. This way they can be made accessible alongside the rest of the Process Architecture and governed as part of a single source of truth.

Contact the Business Process Authority (BPA)

For general advice about the College’s Process Architecture, Imperial process mapping standards or use of the College BPMS for your projects, contact Sue Flockhart (the Business Process Authority) at s.flockhart@imperial.ac.uk.