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What Is Business Process Reengineering: Goals, Methodology & Management

Anjuli Desai | July 03, 2024


Necessary change is a recurring, overarching theme within government. New regulations, standards, or modernization often prompt agencies to look into updating their business processes. The rise of shared services, consolidated IT systems, and security standards is pushing organizations to establish new procedures as quickly and effectively as possible in order to keep up with crucial changes and prepare for the future.

While some outdated techniques might only require a small tweak here and there, government organizations who want to truly transform their systems can benefit from a business process reengineering (BPR) strategy.

But what is business process reengineering, when is it a good idea, and what makes it successful? We answer these questions and more in this article.

What Is Business Process Reengineering?

Business process reengineering (BPR) is a transformative approach to revamping an organization’s existing processes. Coined by Michael Hammer and James Champy in their 1993 book “Reengineering the Corporation,” BPR involves the total overhaul of current workflows to achieve substantial improvements in critical aspects such as cost, quality, service, and speed. 

The core philosophy behind BPR is to challenge existing assumptions and methodologies, encouraging agencies to discard outdated practices and adopt innovative solutions. This may involve leveraging cutting-edge technologies, streamlining workflows, and fostering a culture of curiosity and continuous improvement.

What Are the Goals of Business Process Reengineering?

A BPR initiative can address a variety of challenges faced by government agencies. Some common goals include:

Improved Quality and Efficiency: 

By reengineering processes, organizations can enhance the quality and efficiency of their daily operations or services thereby increasing customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

Cost Reduction: 

BPR initiatives are often implemented to identify and minimize unnecessary or duplicative activities within processes, leading to more streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective operations. This effort can yield highly productive results for agency and Human Resources (HR) leaders who are consistently tasked with achieving greater outcomes while battling greater budgetary constraints.

Adaptation to Technological Advances: 

A key aspect of BPR is embracing new technologies. This enables organizations to leverage the latest innovations to improve productivity and gain a competitive edge. 

Organizational Restructuring: 

Business process reengineering may involve reimagining and reorganizing roles, responsibilities, and reporting structures to better align with strategic goals.

When Should an Organization Consider Business Process Reengineering?

Undertaking a BPR initiative is a significant decision for any government agency. It is particularly advisable when:

Performance Issues Persist: 

 When organizations fail to meet productivity goals and metrics, experience an increase in errors and rework, a rise in employee dissatisfaction, or low adoption for current processes, a BPR strategy can document the inefficiencies and redesign bottlenecks to ensure a more streamlined process.

Technology Advances: 

Organizations that fail to adopt technological advancements risk falling behind. Process reengineering provides an opportunity to integrate new technologies into new processes for improved efficiency as well as employee and customer satisfaction.

Strategic Shifts: 

Shifts in administrative dynamics, regulatory guidance, HR service delivery models, size of workforce, or regulatory environments may necessitate process reengineering to ensure alignment with the new objectives, a seamless transition, and successful evolution.

Lack of Cross-Collaboration:

When business units/departments operate in silos, it limits the understanding and awareness of critical integrations for holistic processes, which can impact overall productivity. Business process reengineering can rectify these issues.

7 Questions for Federal Agencies Considering BPR

Implementing a BPR initiative in government agencies comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. Here are seven key questions these agencies should ask:

1. What Are Our Strategic Objectives?

Define the overarching goals and objectives that the BPR initiative aims to achieve. Ensure alignment with the agency’s mission, vision, and administrative direction.

2. Do We Have Leadership Support?

Effective change requires commitment from Executive Leadership. A lack of support and priority from the top levels of agency leadership cripples a successful implementation. Successful BPR often requires significant collaboration across functional areas, sharing constrained resources, and strategic guidance for evolving external or political demands.

3. Who Are Our Critical Stakeholders and How Will They Be Involved?

Consider all required and/or impacted stakeholders and how they will be involved in the process. Many back-office BPR initiatives within government agencies may also impact the general public, including job seekers. Creating awareness and stakeholder buy-in via communication and training campaigns are crucial elements for successful BPR outcomes.

4. What Are the Key Performance Metrics?

Establish clear and measurable performance metrics to gauge the success of the BPR initiative. In back-office operational BPR, this often includes three core metrics: volume, timeliness, and error rates. Understanding these metrics can daylight critical improvements in cost savings, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

5. Have We Identified Potential Risks?

Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential challenges and obstacles, both internal and external to the agency, including evolving administrative, budgetary, or regulatory impacts. Develop an accompanying change management strategy to mitigate these risks.

6. How Will Technology Be Leveraged?

Explore how technology can be integrated into or impacted by the reengineered process. Many government agencies are challenged with utilizing un-integrated technology, causing major bottlenecks and often requiring duplicate efforts when executing operational processes. An effective BPR may often involve adopting new software, automation, or data analytics.

7. What Is the Timeline for Implementation?

Develop a realistic timeline for the BPR initiative, taking into account potential disruptions. Back-office BPR initiatives are often largely influenced by the availability of resources, which are impacted by peak performance seasons, hiring surges, performance management, and benefits enrollment. Incorporating time for a pilot implementation can also be very beneficial to successful BPR efforts.

4 Steps of Business Process Reengineering Methodology

For an agency that wants to move forward with a BPR strategy its first question may be, “Where do we start?” 

CURRENT STATE ASSESSMENT

Collecting data and artifacts of the current-state operational environment forms a visualization of the problem areas, and then serves as the foundation for building a roadmap to achieve future-state improvements.

Future State Design

Documenting the future-state process to integrate new technology, service delivery models, and workforce roles helps imagine how process should operate.

Gap Analysis

Analyzing the gaps between current-state and future-state seek to identify and address additional outputs - such as related process work, policy changes, training needs, process-related deliverables (e.g. forms) etc., - that may require modifications

Roadmap for Transformation

Designing a delivery model and implementation plan that improves customer service and organizational performance by increasing cycle times, improving quality, and eliminating operational redundancies.

At GovStrive, we offer a four-step methodology for transforming an organization’s processes, but this strategy works best when combined with the efforts and leadership of an agency – more on that later.

How Agencies Can Successfully Manage BPR Implementation

Achieving success with business process reengineering in federal agencies requires careful management and execution. Take a look at these five key factors that make BPR implementation successful.

1. Agency/Leadership Commitment and Sponsorship

The first step in implementing your BPR strategy is ensuring that your entire party is on board for change. This is called agency buy-in.

Agency buy-in applies to the leaders of change and the employees who will be affected by the change. To be fully committed to a business process reengineering initiative, leaders must communicate the transformation that will be happening, why it’s happening, and how key stakeholders and employees will be affected.

2. Inclusion of the Right People

Once agency buy-in has been achieved across the board, the leaders of the proposed BPR initiative can recruit subject matter experts who can offer insights on how to implement the transformation. 

Field specialists can make contributions regarding subjects that agency leaders may not have the right expertise in, such as IT or HR. However, direction should be provided by a supervising team member, such as a senior manager, who has a high level of knowledge of the agency’s current business processes and how the departments work as a whole.

3. Clear Understanding of the Business Needs 

BPR implementation requires an understanding of current processes and a precise vision for the future. Once an agency has illustrated an exact business need, comprehension and discussion of the impacts of the process reengineering will follow. 

With thorough communication regarding current and desired business processes, the team can get a better feel of how much work is needed. Developing a solid understanding across the board will help an agency establish what changes should be made before diving into the overhaul process. 

Without a clear vision for the future – and clear communication of this vision – a BPR initiative could be a waste of work that would have been more useful as a simple tweak to current systems and processes.

4. Crucial Change Management

A well-thought-out change management strategy is crucial for success. It begins with identifying the agency’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are the details that make up a BPR initiative as a whole and include factors such as: 

The time it will take to overhaul current processes
Costs
Operational redundancies that can be eliminated
And more.

The next step is to create a roadmap for your desired transformation. These are best created with the help of models and flow charts. It should also include a robust communication and employee engagement plan. 

Business process reengineering is more than just the adoption of new practices. It should also be tied to higher-end goals while simultaneously improving human capital. Additionally, keeping the “end game” in mind is essential for successfully managing change.

5. Ongoing Continuous Improvement 

Don’t forget that BPR initiatives are ongoing procedures that need to be continuously reviewed and updated. Regular updates and re-reviews are just as crucial as the overhaul itself. 

How frequently an agency updates its documentation is a key factor in the workload within a process reengineering. Maintaining proper employee training, updating documentation, and facilitating communication surrounding the new processes establishes a system of ongoing continuous improvement.

A Strategic Partner for Business Process Reengineering

As the world continues to evolve, possessing the ability to adapt and innovate becomes increasingly crucial for organizations aiming to grow and thrive. 

At GovStrive, we recognize that business process reengineering is a powerful, strategic tool for government agencies looking to enhance efficiencies, improve the workplace and workflows, and keep up with new standards and regulations. By understanding the goals of business process reengineering, asking the right questions, and knowing the right methodology, agencies can embark on successful BPR initiatives that generate transformative outcomes. 

GovStrive can be your partner on this journey. We offer full-service HR and Civil Rights (CR) support services that can drive sustainable change for our federal clients. Our support, resources, and experience will ensure your BPR strategy is well-planned and well-executed so that your agency succeeds in its mission and purpose.

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