5 Questions To Ask About Your Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

In my previous post, 5 Questions to Ask About Business Processes, I wrote about what are business processes and what to look for. In this post, I am going to talk about how having a Business Process Reengineering (BPR) mentality can help you identify which business processes need to be created, updated and obliterated.

We know that organizations exist to provide value to their (internal and external) customers. Value is created when organizations have a product and/or service that helps customers:

  1. Connect with other likeminded customers
  2. Reduce price and/or time in doing something
  3. Express themselves
  4. Do something particular

To provide the above-mentioned customer value(s), organizations develop business models, governance structures and business processes. These are all interconnected to each other. Business processes can be linked directly (e.g., customer service, shipping, etc.) and/or indirectly (e.g., customer surveys, shipping vendor negotiations, etc.) to customer values(s). However, over time, business processes become obsolete due to changes in people, (mis)management of related (sub)processes, adoption/retiring of products, creation/elimination of services, technological advancements, vendors/partners and customer expectations.

To assess if business processes in your organization need to be created, updated or obliterated, think about the following:

Should a Business Process be Created

A business process should be created if:

  1. Starting something new
  2. The business process in paper differs from what is reality
  3. Customer needs aren’t being met consistently

Should a Business Process be Updated

A business process should be updated if:

  1. The people who created the business processes left the organization
  2. The end result of the business process isn’t relevant/needed
  3. The business process has become a bottleneck to efficiency

Should a Business Process be Obliterated:

A business process should be obliterated and rethought if:

  1. The executives responsible for vision, mission, strategic goals, roles and responsibilities left the organization
  2. The products, services, and technologies can’t be tied to customer satisfaction
  3. There are cybersecurity issues

Sometimes there are caveats to business process obliteration. These are:

  1. Compliance, regulatory and legal needs
  2. Optimization for current, and future needs
  3. Vendor/partner contractual needs

Don’t create, update and obliterate business processes just for the sake of doing it. Instead, have a way of measuring (quality, cost, time, etc.) and continuously assessing the successes and failures of business processes. 

Considering all the above, let’s ask the following question within your organization:

Today

Tomorrow

Who is responsible for the Strategic, Political, Innovative, Cultural, and Execution factors of BPR when it comes to framing, fear, planning, communications, training, and feedback?Who should be responsible for the Strategic, Political, Innovative, Cultural, and Execution factors of BPR when it comes to framing fear, planning, communications, training, and feedback?
What are the (dis)incentives, rewards, penalizations when BPR fails and/or succeeds?What should be the (dis)incentives, rewards, penalizations when BPR fails and/or succeeds?
Where BPR is making the biggest difference when it comes to performance?Where should BPR make the biggest difference when it comes to performance?
When BPR process maps are done?When should BPR process maps be done?
Why aligning to customer value matters today?

Why aligning to customer value matters tomorrow?

As we can see, a BPR mentality not only helps your business processes become optimized and relevant but it finds cracks/gaps, reveals unknown issues, helps in curate innovative thoughts and creates the discipline to continuously improve things around us. In essence, BPR is about (re)assessing and (re)imagining how things are done. This can be anywhere from thinking about how industries work down to your own individual tasks.

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5 Questions to Ask About Your Business Processes

The term business process is used to describe the connectivity of the various “steps” performed to achieve a certain goal. These steps are performed by information systems (e.g., calculate products sold per region), individuals (e.g., print/read reports) or a combination of both. The basis for these steps comes from policies (e.g., thou shall not eat at the computer), procedures (e.g., after you have created a report make a list of people who actually read it), governance (e.g., when information comes in or created by the organization then who and how it should be distributed), etc. These steps can be for a particular division (e.g., finance) and/or cross-functional (e.g., financial reports used by HR to make offers to potential hires). On the other hand, these steps can be wasteful (e.g., a division is creating reports for an individual who is not with the organization any more).

In order to understand the complexities of the business processes that are ingrained into the organization, the following questions need to be asked about your current and future business processes:

 

Today

Tomorrow

Who follows business processes? Who should follow business processes?
What happens in business processes? What should happen in business processes?
Where do business processes take place? Where should business processes take place?
When do business processes happen? When should business processes happen?
Why business processes happen? Why business processes should happen?

When you are asking the above questions across all levels of the organization, keep in mind that there is an interconnectedness among the information that you are collecting even if it is not evident at first glance. During or after the collection of this information, it is useful to create business process maps to show what happens and what would happen in the future. These maps should not be created just to be created but should be created to make intelligent decisions. These maps should be kept at a central place where people can easily have access to them and should be able to understand them without the need for an expert.

Another thing to be cognizant of who you talk to in the organization since depending upon who you talk to their definition of “a business process” might be different than what you are trying to understand. Yet one more term that is interchangeably used for the business process is workflow. For technical folks, this can also mean the business process that happens within an information system.

In conclusion, too often it is seen that organizations are struggling because of the ineffective communication and management mechanisms in place. By mapping the business processes, determining their qualitative and quantitative values, you will be able to see these gaps and make decisions that can prove to be beneficial to you as an individual and the organization as a whole.

Process

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