Business Process Re-engineering 'BPR' Explained

Everything a company does is either an ad-hoc activity, or part of a process.   Ad-hoc activities are often inefficient, and where similar activities occur often, there may be scope for turning them into a more manageable and efficient business process.

Business Process Reengineering, ideally, is when organizations start with a clean slate, and draw up those processes that would best enable them to carry out their business.   The organisation then runs a transformation programme, managed by a professional Programme Manager to transition from its current state, to the new model.   The transformation programme is likely to consist of a number of projects, each managed by a professional Project Manager.   Sometimes, the Business Process Reengineering may be more limited in scope, perhaps concentrating on one or two inefficient business processes.

Business process reengineering is also known as BPR, Business Process Redesign, Business Transformation, or Business Process Change Management.   Reengineering is a fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in cost, quality, speed, and service.   BPR combines a strategy of promoting business innovation with a strategy of making major improvements to business processes so that a company can become a much stronger and more successful competitor in the marketplace.

An important theme of Business Process Reengineering, is to remove 'silo thinking', where tasks are inefficiently handed over from one department to another.   Instead, tasks are joined up into processes that run across the organisation, often using multi-diciplinary teams.

The role of Information Technology in Business Process Re-engineering

Information Technology plays a strong role, applications that support Business Process Reengineering include work-flow, groupware, collaborative systems, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, and customer relationship management.

The Business Process Re-engineering cycle

Business Process Reengineering is not conceived as a one off activity, but an ongoing activity, continuously renewing the enterprise.   A sufficient time interval between each iteration is needed to learn from the processes, and to recoup the investment.   The optimum length of the interval depends on factors such as the level of investment, and the anticipated benefit from each iteration.

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