Hammer and Champys concept of Business Process Re-Engineering depends on harnessing technology to optimize processes as its main driver. To understand why technology is imperative for BPR, lets first review what BPR does.
What is BPR ?
BPR is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed. Instead of starting with an activity flowchart, corporations are advised to start with a clean slate. They are then told to look into why they perform the tasks the way they do. A Process Engineer will look at the activities to be performed and how they can be engineered to invest minimum resources and get maximum returns.
To illustrate the point, let us consider the example of Apple iPod. Apple rethought the way music ought to be made available to the consumers. The changes it brought were:
Apple just kept in mind the end need of the consumer and reconsidered whether conventions were required.
Business process re-engineering is required in two cases:
Information Availability: To fundamentally redesign a process, one must know the details involved. Details from internal and external sources must be captured and provided to the relevant people in the required time duration. This helps them to identify the bottlenecks and work around better ways of reaching the desired end.
Information Sharing: A BPR project is usually facilitated by a cross functional team. Most of the times, teams are spread across different geographic locations. Information needs to be successfully shared amongst various people to ensure the reengineering goes as planned and without hiccups.
Technology as the Solution: The new processes that are developed as a result of BPR initiatives deploy the latest technology to achieve the desired end results. Usually it is e-Commerce, automation or another technology driven solution that is implemented.
Business Process Re-engineering has become a very important buzzword in the BPM lexicon. Many corporations who were late in realizing the power and importance of BPM have to undergo re-engineering initiatives to ensure that they are still relevant to the marketplace. Re-engineering initiatives are however expensive and may require certain downtime. This is the reason they are resented by many corporations.
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