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Business Process Reengineering - BPR


Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is the development (and / re-development) of business procedures based upon the identification of the underlying business process. BPR should ignore 'vertical' departmental structures and identify the processes which generate value for the customer.

Unfortunately, "BPR" has developed a rather negative meaning; primarily because the dream, or vision, was but rarely realised, and many projects failed to deliver other than a large cost!

BPR was brought into the commercial spotlight in 1990 by Michael Hammer in his thought provoking article "Reengineering work: don't automate, obliterate," (Harvard Business Review 68 (4, July-August): 104-112). From this was generated a huge wave of enthusiasm based upon the achievements of some of the largest names in Corporate America.

More than a decade has now passed, and BPR has matured. It is now recognised that BPR is not simply about new processes and new technology, it is about the transformation of the organisation from the (traditional) vertical, 'stove pipe', departmental based organisation, to one that is based around core processes with process owners driving the business. This is not simply a matter of semantics - it is a fundamental change in approach, holding at its core, the creation of customer value as the primary objective for all and any business and organisation.

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