Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BPR is About Change

Stephanie Quick

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) is about change, changes to improve the performance of an organization’s business challenges, with a focus on improving the information technology (IT) infrastructure and shaping strategies that will guide purchases. BPR is more far reaching than the IT infrastructure – it requires change management strategies with effective communication. Many organizations stop at re-engineering the IT infrastructure without considering the effect change will have on staff, customers and other stake holders.

The need for re-engineering a process stems from the end result of product or service delivery to the customer that usually involves cost/expense overruns. BPR is a customer driven project that provides discovery of risks, redundancies and obstacles as well as the outdated use of technologies and other resources. It has amazed me on many projects that operational staff, the ones directly affected by the change initiated by BPR were not aware of the project and the impact it would have. For many the concern of job security inhibited the progress of the assignment which in tern jeopardized the quality of product and or created an obstacle to successful implementation. The use of Knowledge Management software and internal websites as tools for managing change can be effectively used in communicating project status across the organization. Including Change Management as part of the project plan in my professional opinion is a wise decision.

One thing I have noticed with BPR project plans is they have a tendency to change due to scope creep, which is common on IT projects, however focused planning with an understanding of the character of BPR to include roles and responsibilities; scope creep can be effectively managed. Understanding the nature of BPR and what is involved makes for good project planning.

Any project affecting change must be sponsored and endorsed at the top of the organization down to the operational management levels. Having their by-in and support makes the analysis and implementation task lighter and more productive. BPR concept starts at the top – the more on board the less the cost and higher the return on the investment.

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