Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019)

existing ways of doing things may not be the most effective or efficient. A process developed in the 1950s is not going to be better just because it is now supported by technology. In 1990 Michael Hammer published an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” This article suggested that simply automating a bad process does not make it better. Instead, companies should “blow up” their existing processes and develop new processes that take advantage of the new technologies and concepts. He states in the introduction to the article: Many of our job designs, work flows, control mechanisms, and organizational structures came of age in a different competitive environment and before the advent of the computer. They are geared towards greater efficiency and control. Yet the watchwords of the new decade are innovation and speed, service, and quality. It is time to stop paving the cow paths. Instead of embedding outdated processes in silicon and software, we should obliterate them and start over. We should “re- engineer” our businesses: use the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance. 1 Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) is not just taking an existing process and automating it. BPR is fully understanding the goals of a process and then dramatically redesigning it from the ground up to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality. But this is easier said than done. Most people think in terms of how to do small, local improvements to a process. Complete redesign requires thinking on a larger scale. Hammer provides some guidelines for how to go about doing business process re-engineering: • Organize around outcomes, not tasks . This simply means design the process so that, if possible, one person performs all Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 171

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