Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

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Posted by Richard Coombes, Managing Director at ValueAdding.com

Is IT our ‘saviour’ when it comes to implementing Business Process Reengineering (BPR) or are we missing the point?

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In years gone by the golden rules of implementing Business Process Reengineering (BPR) were "don’t spend any money" and "don’t use IT".

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However as the capability of IT systems grow and public access to the Internet increases, solutions to basic process problems are increasingly IT based, often involving expenditure of many thousands of pounds.

Still despite technological advances, recent well-publicised examples of system problems demonstrate that IT is not always the complete answer but understanding the processes your customers will follow is.

The problem is that we can all relate experiences of dealing with staff that appear unable to help – "The computer says no!"

When dealing with the public, even the most automatic of processes can rely on some human intervention particularly when an organisation is asked to put right something that has gone wrong. In these situations it is important that staff understand the processes they are using and are committed to carrying them out to the satisfaction of their customer and their organisation.

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In many Local Authorities, Business Process Reengineering (BPR) has been used as a tool to respond to centrally generated initiatives such as the digital by default agenda, or to help introduce a Contact Centre, or make other structural change.

Now Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is being used as a way of achieving savings but beware, unless the department or function undertaking BPR understands and considers the multi-functional nature of service processes then what looks like attractive savings in the first instance can re-appear as increased costs elsewhere.

Applying IT to deliver your savings must start from an understanding of your customers’ requirements and this is where properly constituted Business Process Reengineering will help.

Remember when the refurbishment at St Pancras and Kings Cross stations was taking place?

BPRArticleQuoteThe vision of the final layout, the brand new facilities and the ease of transferring from one service to another were well communicated and sold to the public but the hassle of getting there was tremendous. However as each new improvement was made, for example the new automatic ticket barriers in the underground entrance, the public saw that progress was real.

BPR is never easy; implementing new IT solutions is often troublesome. During implementation management must show commitment to the end solution and manage expectations.

Finally, consider your final objectives, your vision and most importantly the way you will communicate that to your staff.

Find out how we've helped our clients identify millions of pounds worth of savings through our approach to Business Process Reengineering (BPR).

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