Business Process Reengineering (BPR) – how these projects work and the role of IT in BPR

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Lynch, Imelda
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BA (Hons) in Business Information Management
Dublin Business School
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Business Process Reengineering has been thought of as a strategic exercise undertaken by organisations, in which they dramatically change their business processes to become more efficient, effective and gain and maintain competitive advantage in their respective industry. Business Process Reengineering is thought of as an exercise that works for many organisations. However, the complexity of such an exercise and the reasons for BPR failure should be fully understood for BPR to be a success for an organisation. For this reason, the topic of Business Process Reengineering was chosen for this dissertation. Peoples understanding of Business Process Reengineering can be very vague and this project aims to explore what BPR is in detail, explore the reasons why it fails, how to make sure it doesn't fail and the role of IT in BPR. BPR can improve processes for many organisations by allowing several jobs being combined into one, steps in the process can be performed in a natural order and work is performed where it makes most sense- shift across functional, organisational and geographical boundaries. Finally, controls and checks and other non-value adding tasks are minimised. The core players of the BPR project must be properly identified for BPR to work. A change management plan must also be ready in case people resist the changes in business processes. Also, everyone involved in, and affected by the project should fully understand and agree with the processes involved in the project and should be able to voice an opinion on things regarding the BPR easily. Failure to recognise the unique strategic nature of BPR can also lead to problems. BPR is used to help an organisation achieve its strategic goals more efficiently and effectively. For this reason, it must be looked at in a strategic manor and must be constantly be monitored so improvements can be made where possible. IT can be a great help in the process of reengineering. IT enables many changes in business processes, which can help an organisation achieve its strategic goals more efficiently and effectively. However, IT should not totally dominate a BPR project. Even if the changes in processes are primarily changes in IT, there should be two leaders on the BPR team; one from the IT side and one from the user side, this will enable a balanced viewpoint. Wonder about the future of BPR? As long as technology continues to constantly change, business processes will change. Therefore, BPR is likely to be used by organisations in the future.