Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
Business Process Re-engineering involves the radical redesign of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity, cycle times and quality. In Business Process Re-engineering, companies start with a blank sheet of paper and rethink existing processes to deliver more value to the customer. They typically adopt a new value system that places increased emphasis on customer needs. Companies reduce organizational layers and eliminate unproductive activities in two key areas. First, they redesign functional organizations into cross-functional teams. Second, they use technology to improve data dissemination and decision making. 
In the early 1990’s, Michael Hammer and James Champy published a book, “Reengineering the Corporation”, that stated that in some cases, radical redesign and reorganization within a company were the only way to reduce costs and improve service quality. To this end, they said, information technology was the key element for allowing this to happen. Hammer and Champy said that most large companies made (now invalid) assumptions about their goals, people and technology that were impacting the workflow. They suggested seven principles that could be used to reengineer and help streamline workflows, thus improving quality, time management and cost. Hammer and Champy suggested the following seven principles in their book.
- Organize around outcomes, not tasks.
- Identify all the processes in an organization and prioritize them in order of redesign urgency.
- Integrate information processing work into the real work that produces the information.
- Treat geographically dispersed resources as though they were centralized.
- Link parallel activities in the workflow instead of just integrating their results.
- Put the decision point where the work is performed, and build control into the process.
- Capture information once and at the source.
In evaluating Hammer and Champy’s principles of BPR, one must note that BPR is not reorganizing, restructuring, downsizing, automation or cost-cutting – although these results are often part of a well thought-out, well planned, and well-executed reengineering project. A successful BPR project can be more identified with the following success factors identified in Prosci’s study “1998-1999 Reengineering Best Practices:”
- Proven methodology
- Compelling business case for change
- Effective change management
- Strategic alignment
- Line ownership
- Top management sponsorship
- Reengineering team composition