Alignment Between Front-Office, Mid-Office and Back-Office

Pascal van Eck ( and Roel Wieringa (

The GRAAL project (

University of Twente, the Netherlands

6 December 2004


This text in pdf format


There are very few alignment patterns to be found at the business level. Nevertheless, one pattern can be widely observed, not because it is a fact of nature that will emerge in any case, but because it is a pattern consciously strived for by many businesses. This is the front-office/mid-office/back-office pattern, or the FMO pattern for short. The following diagram gives an example from the insurance business.

In the back-office, operational excellence is obtained by managing large volumes of cases under white label products that could be supplied as services to various insurance businesses. The front-office by contrast, presents branded products to its customers and focuses on customer intimacy. (See Treacy and Wiersema (1997) for a discussion of the differences between operational excellence and customer intimacy.). The mid-office acts as an interface between the two and takes care of workflow, quality assurance, and other process-related matters.


  1. M. Treacy and F. Wiersema. The discipline of market leaders. Perseus Publishing, 1997.