Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)

Introduction

This is often referred to by the acronym BPR and one of the ways that organisations aspire to become more efficient and effective. Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) is the strategic analysis of business processes and the planning and implementation of improved business processes.

A key element underlying the BPR philosophy is that one should look at an organisation as a series of processes, as opposed to functional specialties such as production, and marketing.   The approach advocated by Davenport(1992) is to:

  1. Develop the business vision and process objectives
  2. Identify the business processes to be redesigned
  3. Understand and measure the existing processes
  4. Identify IT levers
  5. Design and build a prototype of the new process
  6. Adapt, if appropriate an organisations organisational structure and governance model

BPR is not a universal solution and criticisms of the approach include:

  • Ineffectiveness of processes is what limits an organisations performance, this is not necessarily true.
  • The existing way of doing things is disregarded
  • No real focus is provided for process improvement on organisational constraints.
  • The model (US origin) may be culturally biased towards a US perspective; cultural differences make it difficult for this approach to be universally applicable.