In part (2) of the business process engineering and SDLC series , we have seen some of the real problems and questions raised in industry about the process model. In this post let us have a look at what exactly business process engineering represents. and what are the key areas it put emphasis on.

Business Process Engineering (BPE) / Business Process Re-engineering

Business Process Engineering (BPE) / Business Process Re-engineering

What is Business Process Engineering (BPE) ?

  • Business process engineering (BPE) is a method for reconstructing the functioning model of any given business from the ground up, with a special focus on workflow.
  • Popularized by Hammer and Champy in the early 1990s.
  • It put an emphasis on :
  1. Information Flow
  2. Objectives
  3. Outcomes
  4. Processes

“More recently, the concept of Business Process Management (BPM) has gained major attention in the corporate world and can be considered as a successor to the BPE/ BPR wave of the 1990s, as it is evenly driven by a striving for process efficiency supported by information technology. Equivalently to the critique brought forward against BPE/ BPR, BPM is now accused of focusing on technology and disregarding the people aspects of change.”[wikipedia]

The importance of information technology (IT)

“Information technology (IT) has historically played an important role in the re-engineering concept. It is considered by some as a major enabler for new forms of working and collaborating within an organization and across organizational borders.

BPR/BPE literature  identified several so called disruptive technologies that were supposed to challenge traditional wisdom about how work should be performed.

  • Shared databases, making information available at many places
  • Expert systems, allowing generalists to perform specialist tasks
  • Telecommunication networks, allowing organizations to be centralized and decentralized at the same time
  • Decision-support tools, allowing decision-making to be a part of everybody’s job
  • Wireless data communication and portable computers, allowing field personnel to work office independent
  • Interactive videodisk, to get in immediate contact with potential buyers
  • Automatic identification and tracking, allowing things to tell where they are, instead of requiring to be found
  • High performance computing, allowing on-the-fly planning and re-visioning

In the mid-1990s, especially workflow management systems were considered as a significant contributor to improved process efficiency. Also ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) vendors, such as SAP, JD Edwards, Oracle, PeopleSoft, positioned their solutions as vehicles for business process redesign and improvement.”[wikipedia]

In the next part-4 of the business process engineering and SDLC series we will look at the “General Steps of Business Process Engineering (BPE)” .