In this edition of the President's Letter, Jeff explores change brought about by Business Process Reengineering and the impact of change on those that have to accept that change. How can we make their lives easier?
President, JB Homer Associates
Change Management - It's All About People, Process...and Technology
by Jeff Hunt
SVP of Technology Recruitment
There are many reasons for companies to reengineer their business processes: to provide better service to customers, improve quality, to reduce costs and improve profits, and to increase efficiency. The key facets to executing a successful business process reengineering plan involve the people aspect which, if not taken properly into account, can lead to the project's failure, as well as the process and technology changes in support of the plan.
Business process reengineering is a disruptive and transformative activity that can't be repeated if it goes wrong initially. It is often a high risk process that involves significant monetary investment and a risk of employee demotivation. Therefore, the people aspect is as important as the changes to the technology environment, and proper communication must be provided to people internally as to what change means to them and their roles. The people side deals with aspects such as education, training, and motivation, so it's vital that the reengineering plan takes into account how the workforce will accept the changes, to determine if employees have the requisite skills for the changes, and how users will interact in a new environment.
From a technology perspective, before embarking on a business process reengineering initiative a readiness assessment plan and technology roadmap should be designed that incorporates clearly defined and measurable objectives and processes to fit current and future business needs and aligning them with the technology strategy. It may then require an assessment of the company's ERP systems and workflow and coming up with a plan of action to automate, integrate, map and change-out existing systems in order to create the best solutions to fit the needs of the business, improve quality and deliver desired business outcomes.
Having an effective follow up process, and adapting the organization and managing change through the institution of tangible metrics is a vital step in ensuring a successful reengineering project. Proper education and the creation of levels of accountability and responsibility leave little room for confusion, and allow a seamless transition into a new way of doing work.
As a CIO within your company, you should be thinking about how business process reengineering can affect the current and future direction of your business and its impact on the people within your organization. Please let us know about initiatives you've taken or plan to take in this regard and what the desired outcomes are --
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