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

Pascal van Eck (www.cs.utwente.nl/~patveck) and Roel Wieringa (www.cs.utwente.nl/~roelw)

The GRAAL project (is.cs.utwente.nl/GRAAL)

University of Twente, the Netherlands

6 December 2004

 

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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.

References

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