Creative Exploration of Re-engineering Opportunities
(A SPRINT Phase III task)
Whereas Phase II of a SPRINT project can benefit from a series of useful investigative tasks, once the priority areas for re-engineering have been identified, in Phase III it is counter-productive to have a rigid series of tasks. This is because the crux of BPR is innovation, i.e. the need to think radically and creatively on the potential of IT to transform organisational structures and processes.
For each of the priority areas, re-engineering should now be a process of identifying the appropriate re-engineering opportunities and exploring them creatively.
Two key questions should guide these deliberations:
- To what extent can current processes be radically enhanced to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- What new processes or support systems are required in areas where a significant gap exists between current and desired performance.
Regarding the former, solutions involving the radical use of I.T. are often possible which simultaneously enhance both efficiency and effectiveness . For instance, an I.T. system may improve the efficiency of the internal processes, but at the same time improve service delivery, so contributing to their effectiveness.
BPR is all about radical thinking. Although this cannot be reduced to a formula, it can be aided in various ways:
- By tapping the creativity of people currently involved in the process context
- By drawing on best practice and knowledge of what is happening elsewhere, through reading the research and practitioner journals; watching the Web; attending seminars etc.
- Reflecting throughout on the re-design ideas that are emerging. Do they seem to be incremental or radical. If the former, then search harder for a better solution. "THINK BIG"!!!
- By applying a set of heuristics which we will call the BPR tenets
The first of these we have already tapped into in Phase II, through the First Mile Workshop and through interviewing and observation. The second, a Best Practice review, has also identified possible solutions from other processes, organisations and sectors. Throughout the process we will have come up with various re-design ideas. By evaluating whether these are incremental or radical we force ourselves to consider the latter. A heuristic is defined as "a principle or method for discovering new knowledge", and a set of these, based on the work of Mike Hammer, may help in searching for radical solutions.
We have prioritised the processes that require re-engineering, and we now need to come up with radical re-design proposals for each of these. Each opportunity will need to be investigated further.
The outcome of this process should be the identification of creative opportunities for re-engineeering in he priority areas. How they are developed is the next step.