The rebirth of re-engineering

Once again, it's all about business processes. But this time around, IT is leading the charge.

By , Computerworld |  IT Management, business process reengineering

Customers everywhere are demanding greater mobile access to services, tapping into social networks and showing no signs of a weakening appetite for multiple consumer gadgets. "If you haven't figured out that you have to expose your business rules and processes in new and different ways, I don't know how you'll survive," Hackney adds.

Jones has similarly organized Hospira's IT team around business processes, or what the company calls "value streams."

"I used to have SAP people and non-SAP people, and when someone called from the business, they wouldn't know who to talk to," she says.

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Historical Perspective

Re-engineering: Hindsight is 20/20

Michelle Sheedy, a process architect at pharmaceutical company Hospira, has seen it all.

As a former integration manager at Arthur Andersen, Sheedy worked on big SAP projects and other ERP implementations, making sure all of the technology pieces fit together.

"Whether it was SAP or Oracle or another ERP system, if you bought the technology, you agreed to abide by its rules. That was the 'to-be' state. You had decisions to make at a granular level, but those systems were pretty inflexible," she recalls.

Today, as a process architect -- a relatively new and rare title in IT circles -- Sheedy's job is to take an enterprise view of process changes and make sure that a change made in one process or system doesn't adversely impact another. Sheedy, who reports into IT, calls it the "whack-a-mole effect."

"The role of the process architect is to keep an eye on the big picture," she says. She likens the process models and changes she tracks to a library of standard operating procedures that business owners can consult before making changes to their own processes.

For example, Hospira is in the midst of re-engineering its customer complaint process, which is touched by eight different organizations within the company in some way.

"What we're trying to do is make sure the entire life cycle is correctly depicted so that we get an accurate performance measure and that changes made work together and not against each other," Sheedy says. The ultimate goal is to have all of the groups' respective improvement initiatives "move the entire needle, not just their needle," she says.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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