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What is Business Process Reengineering?

James Proctor
James Proctor


What is Business Process Reengineering?

Business process re-engineering (BPR) is about creating value, company value and business value, and is transformational in nature. It moves the needle on how we engage our business platform - the people, the processes, and the technology - and this fundamentally changes, in many cases, how we operate and how our business processes operate.

BPR is typically in response to changes in business strategies - pursuing a red ocean strategy, a blue ocean strategy, some inflection points – BPR is generally engaged as part of changes in strategy. Regardless, BPR is about creating customer and business value.

The real objective of BPR is to create a high performing business platform – that underlying operating system fiber of your organization – the people, the processes, and technology that support those strategic objectives. We want to be very effective and very efficient in creating value.

When do we engage BPR? Our business environment is very competitive, it's rapidly changing. We're always monitoring changes in the environment. Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel coined the term strategic inflection points. The concept of a strategic inflection point basically says that there's been a fundamental change in your organizational environment, and if we, as an organization, don't recognize and quickly respond to that change, we risk going into decline.

5 BPR Best Practices:

#1: Clearly align your BPR initiative with your business strategy. If you're doing BPR, you've probably made a fundamental shift in business strategy and BPR is about supporting that business strategy, so make sure you have great alignment between strategy and your BPR initiative.

#2: Combine BPM with BPR, they're not mutually exclusive. In fact, they're synergistic. In fact, let’s go one step further. If we continually do business process management (ongoing incremental refinement to the business operations) we can even be a little more aggressive, we can probably create sufficient value, customer value and organizational business value, to fund the BPR part of the initiative.

#3: Get your IT platform right. It is very difficult to achieve transformational BPR if you don't have the information technology infrastructure to support the reengineering processes.

#4: Start where you are. Start with that current state. One of the core principles of ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) and ITIL (Information Technology Information Library) is to “start where you are,” – embrace and understand the current state. Some BPR pundits might say “we don't need to look at the current state, let's just focus on where we need to go.” See my blog 10 Perilous Misconceptions of Censuring Current State Mapping & Analysis.

My position is that you need to embrace the current state. Much of what you're currently doing, even if you are doing radical transformational re-engineering – conceptually, many of the underlying business rules, policies and procedures will move forward into that future state, albeit probably in different ways. It might be through technology, maybe reorganization of the workflows, but you're still going to need to understand and embrace the current state.

#5: Just get started. It's just that simple. We can't get the benefits of the BPR, until we get started. It's just that straight forward. It's a journey, go ahead and start that journey.

What is Business Process Reengineering video

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