Prescriptions for business process management

IFN515 – Fundamentals of Business Process Management

WEEK ONE: Avalanche of aspects.

Professor Michael Rosemann.
Professor Michael Rosemann.

Notes on a 2004 white paper by Dr Michael Rosemann on the business process lifecycle.

Process identification criteria

Profit: difference between revenues and costs. Target cost intensive processes. Can often be customer-facing interfaces.

Problem processes identified by management based on processing time, number of IT applications, increasing customer complaints, dissatisfied employees, etc.

Likelihood of successful process revamp. Quickest, cheapest win.

Hammer and Champy (1994) mentioned:

Dysfunction: which processes are in the deepest trouble?

Importance: which processes have the greatest impact on customers?

Feasibility: which process redesign is most likely to succeed.

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Hammer time: back to the 1990s

IFN515 – Fundamentals of Business Process Management

WEEK ONE: Dubious foundations with a glib approach

Michael Martin Hammer.
Michael Martin Hammer.

The most conspicuous absence in the introductory lecture and readings has been any mention of enterprise architecture as the overarching strategic discipline in process modelling, implementation, and management.

Instead we are presented with a standalone conception rooted in the work of the late Michael Hammer (13 April 1948 – 3 Sept 2008), whose 1990 Harvard Business Review essay ‘Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate’ is an ode to ‘Chainsaw’ Al Dunlap, the Wall Street buccaneers that adored him, and ultimately to the ascendant plutocratic orthodoxy that has manipulated economic policy in the USA since the 1980s.

Hammer’s thrust appeared to be quite rational: re-align business processes with customers to create greater value by cutting waste, flattening hierarchies, reducing human interventions, and ultimately getting rid of jobs through the automation his headline seemed to steer clear of.

No doubt American corporations couldn’t compete possessing bloated management structures and dated processes against the sharp and hive-like Japanese corporations which treated all employees as dehumanised worker ants.

But as has been remarked so often elsewhere, most notably by Henry Mintzberg, this kind of management ‘rationalisation’ really only led to dehumanisation and some short-term turnarounds that weren’t longitudinally recognised as competitive advantage for lack of strategic vision.

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