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1.9 -Redesigning Business Processes— Enabling the Agile Enterprise

Historically, organizations sought to deploy new systems without fully understanding the ramifications of how those systems would help their enterprise from a cross-functional perspective. One way of avoiding this problem and concurrently build agility into an enterprise is to redesign, integrate, and automate business processes. The effective deployment of redesigned business processes has a direct effect on business agility because it instills immediate consistency and automation to internal users, customers, and business partners.

Business process redesign (BPR) can be driven by external factors, such as a merger or supply chain management initiative. BPR can also be driven by efforts to make an enterprise more effective and efficient from an internal perspective. BPR gained a bad reputation during the 1990s when it was associated with downsizing. Today, BPR projects focus on integrating and automating internal processes while streamlining supply, distribution, and customer management activities.

One promising aspect of making an enterprise more agile is the advent of business process management and integration (BPM/BPI) tools. These tools facilitate the redesign and integration of redundant, inconsistent processes into well-defined, highly integrated processes. Redesigned business processes along with BPM/BPI tools offer an excellent way to

  • Streamline business processes at the point of user, customer, distributor, and supplier contact.

  • Provide immediate benefits to internal and external users of a given process.

  • Connect and integrate process flows across stovepipe organizational hierarchies and information architectures.

  • Extend integration views for internal users, external partners, and customers across the extended value chain.

  • Generate a set of business-driven requirements for delivering a phased legacy transformation strategy.

  • Establish a long-term model for how legacy systems should ultimately be transformed.

BPR is an important component of any effort aimed at making an enterprise more agile and provides near-term integration value while creating a framework for how target architectures should evolve to support underlying integration requirements long term.

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