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

Speed and rate of change are perhaps two of the most significant factors in today's re-engineering efforts, says Scott Hicar, CIO at DigitalGlobe, which operates three Earth-imaging satellites and processes massive volumes of data used for everything from assessing disaster damage to providing location-based mobile services.

"If you think back to traditional re-engineering, there was the 'as is' and 'to be' implementation plan. There was a lot of thinking up front about the end state," says Hicar. "In today's world, growth happens so fast and technology is so pervasive and evolving at such an incredible rate that anybody who thinks they can step back and guess the end state five years from now is probably going to have a very high error rate."

By way of example, Hicar notes that one of DigitalGlobe's first big customers wanted its images for car navigation. DigitalGlobe provided images on which roads and highways could be electronically traced, and the software was ultimately built into the customer's car navigation workflow.

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Assets, Redefined

Innovative business processes: The new crown jewels

Business processes are so critical to Lincoln Trust that top management views them as strategic assets.

"Process is just as much an asset as people," says CIO Helen Cousins. "Before, it was looked at as just a way to get work done."

In fact, Cousins says, a recently re-engineered self-service process for IRA customers was a big factor in Pensco Trust's acquisition of Lincoln's self-directed IRA business. "No one else who does self-directed IRAs enables clients to go on a website and do their own distributions," says Cousins. "It's one of the big things that helped us sell that part of the company."

Re-engineering the distribution process was accomplished using lean practices and agile development methods -- an approach that delivered benefits to the business every six to eight weeks, Cousins says.

"We first delivered a wizard to do the online application, then integrated that with the workflow system and then integrated that with back-end trust management systems," she explains.

"We wanted to make sure that whatever process we tackled, we did it in a way that was incrementally beneficial," she says. "It's just common sense. You deliver a little at a time."

- Julia King

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