With the rise of new technologies, many companies face the reality that ” their processes are obsolete and slow.”
They are coming to the conclusion (sometimes belated) that they should rethink their entire business scheme. And although sooner or later a process reengineering is necessary for every company, the success of it depends on several factors.
What is a Business Process Reengineering (BPR)?
A BPR (business process reengineering) seeks to help companies radically restructure their organizations by focusing on the redesign of their business processes.
A true reengineering of business processes involves rethinking and adapting current processes to achieve greater productivity and increase competitiveness in business. Another definition raises the business process as a set of logically related tasks performed to achieve a defined business result.
Reengineering then seeks a holistic approach to business objectives and how processes relate to them, encouraging the large-scale re-adaptation of processes instead of just iteratively optimizing certain sub-processes.
Success Factors in the Process
In general, BPR does not just mean making a change, but a really dramatic change. The change cannot be light because then there would be no noticeable difference.
It must be drastic and must affect organizational structures, management systems, employee responsibilities, performance metrics, incentive systems, skill development and the use of technology platforms. Therefore, a business reengineering can affect all aspects of how a company is conducted almost as if it were being raised from the start.
And these changes can cause results that range from devastating success to complete failure. The success of a reengineering process can result in huge reductions in costs and performance times. It can also likely create tangible improvements in business plans, quality, consumer service or other business goals.
Reengineering can help an aggressive company stay on top or transform an organization on the verge of bankruptcy into an effective rival. BPR not only means making a change but a really dramatic change. These are some important factors that are necessary for the success of a BPR process.
An Example of a Zepper Store, who successfully carried their BRP when they changed their e-commerce platform.
Integrate a BPR Team
First, it is crucial to select a BPR team once the commitment of the entire organization and all the departments connected in the reengineering effort has been confirmed. This team will lead the core of the BPR effort. They would make key decisions and recommendations, and help communicate the details and benefits of the reengineering program to the entire organization.
Team members are also selected based on certain factors and qualities that the organization considers relevant. Usually, the most effective BPR teams include active representatives of senior management, business area, technology people, finance and members of all user groups of the final process.
In addition, this BPR team must be a strategic combination of people with different levels of experience and knowledge of the business areas.
Analysis of Business Needs
Once the team is formed, an in-depth analysis of business needs must be carried out.
- BPR teams must first assess the organization’s current processes and determine what exactly needs to be redesigned. In this phase of analysis, a series of sessions should be conducted with process owners and stakeholders, in relation to the need and strategy for reengineering.
- These sessions help identify the vision of the ideal business process. They also help to identify the essential objectives for each department and then collectively define the objectives of how the project will affect each working group individually and the organization in general.
- A successful analysis of business needs would help to relate the objectives of the BPR project with the key business objectives and the overall strategic direction of the organization.
- BPR projects that are not aligned with the strategic direction of the organization can be counterproductive and even a waste of resources.
- This connection should show the thread from the top to the bottom of the organization so that each person can easily relate the general direction of the business with the reengineering effort.
- Therefore, the analysis of business needs is a determining factor in the process, since it contributes enormously to the reengineering effort by helping the BPR team to establish priorities and determine where they should focus their improvement efforts.
Need for IT Infrastructure
An adequate re-evaluation and composition of the information infrastructure is a vital factor for the successful implementation of a BPR process. The proper integration of information systems (IT) and the effective use of software tools are the most important factors that contribute to the success of reengineering projects.
An IT infrastructure is made up of physical assets, intellectual assets and shared services, among others. The way in which the components of the IT infrastructure and their links are integrated determines the extent to which information resources can be delivered.
Effective Management of Change
Many experts believe that change management is a crucial component of any business reengineering effort. This implies all the changes related to the human and social aspects and the cultural adjustment techniques that the administration needs to facilitate the insertion of new design processes and structures into the work practice and to effectively face resistance to change.
The way in which the administration conveys the need for change and its understanding provides the people of the organization with a guide to achieve acceptable behavior patterns. People should be the focus of any successful business change.
Most projects do not achieve the full potential of their change effort, as they tend to underestimate the cultural impact of the main process and structural change. The reengineering of business processes should be considered as an improvement strategy that allows an organization to move from traditional functional guidance to one that aligns with strategic business processes.
Failure Factors in the BPR
Many BPR initiatives that do not succeed are because organizations decide to implement an initiative that is not necessary. Reengineering requires great financial and time commitment. The investment must be worth everything.
So before moving forward with a major change, organizations must ensure that they have a great cause: the company must be redesigned due to the need to adapt its processes to avoid failures or lose a competitive advantage. Other failed BPR attempts are due to the confusion surrounding this concept, and how it should be done. The organizations were aware of the need to make changes, but they did not know which areas to change or how to change them.
As a result, process reengineering is a management concept that has been formed by trial and error, that is, practical experience.
On the other hand, although the IT infrastructure is a key component to enable new processes, organizations often fail because they do not have the experience to select the appropriate tools and implement them or do not have the advice of experts to guide them towards this selection. These carefully selected tools allow companies to optimize their processes, access reports and key data and reduce inefficiencies.
BPR Should be a Continuous Process
The reengineering of business processes should be something successive and continuous and should be considered as an improvement strategy that allows an organization to move from the traditional functional orientation to one that aligns with strategic business processes.
Continuous improvement is defined as the opening of the organization to seek incremental and innovative improvements in its processes, products and services and guarantees that the process generates the desired benefits.
Maintaining feedback at each stage and an environment that encourages constant evaluation of results and individual efforts to improve will be key to the success of the process.