Process Management Cutter survey: BPR is back

[JUNE 20, 2002] - New tools and bad economic times are convincing corporate IT organizations to take a new look at business process redesign (BPR), according to consultants at Cutter Consortium, an Arlington, Mass.-based consulting firm. A recent Cutter study found that 83% of surveyed companies are currently engaged in BPR projects.

Cutter Senior Consultant Paul Harmon said the study found that only 49% of the companies surveyed had active BPR projects in the mid-1990s. "This explosive change over the last several years is evidence that BPR is not dead," he said.

Harmon said the disillusionment with BPR in the mid- to late-1990s can be traced to failed projects caused by a lack of adequate tools and promises by some toolmakers. Thus, "most company managers intuitively scaled down their BPR efforts and didn't attempt anything as large or as comprehensive as the types of projects recommended in many BPR books," he said.

With the turn of the century, "new software technologies began to emerge that could deliver on the promise the early BPR gurus had oversold," Harmon said. Such new technologies include the Internet, e-mail and the World Wide Web, "which provide powerful ways to integrate employees, suppliers and customers."

Corporate effort to adapt to these changes over the past few years led to the building of new types of business processes that allow customers to buy products online, or that integrate local processes into supply chains that can span multiple companies.

Corporate IT departments have so far implemented a variety of process redesign efforts, Harmon said. "Some companies have initiated top-down process redesign efforts spearheaded by senior managers. Other companies have delegated specific solutions to groups like IT, or to teams that include managers, IT and HR professionals. All of this activity is referred to as 'business process improvement' or 'business process redesign'," he said.

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About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.


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