Critical Review of Existing BPR Methodologies

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Critical review of existing BPR methodologies
The need for a holistic approach
University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK Keywords BPR, Methodology, Model Abstract A plethora of BPR methodologies have appeared in the literature during recent years, however, most of them present serious limitations mainly due to the need for a multi-disciplinary approach. In this paper we present an overview of existing work in the area of BPR with the aim of highlighting the different categories of BPR methodologies identified in the literature, their focus on the redesign process and the general BPR principles that emerge from them. We also present a BPR methodology called Agent Relationship Morphism Analysis (ARMA) that goes beyond the limitations of the existing BPR methodologies taking a holistic view of the organisation. In ARMA the modelling of the business environment is achieved with the use of three perspectives: the structural, behavioural and process. The use of these three perspectives provides insight to the relationship between organisational structure and organisational processes.

Need for a holistic approach

George Valiris


Michalis Glykas

1. Introduction Methodologies exist due to the need of solutions to frequently occurring problems. According to Wilson (1984) a problem is any expression of concern about a situation. In this context a methodology represents a structured set of guide-lines (or principles) which enable an analyst to derive ways of alleviating this concern. The problem tackled by BPR is expressed in its definition. The concern that BPR methodologies try to alleviate is, any identified difference between: (1) business activities and organisational strategy; and (2) current and desired productivity of organisational resources. In order to achieve this a BPR methodology should provide a consistent set of techniques and guide-lines which will enable the business process redesigner to reorganise business activities and processes in an organisation. A plethora of BPR methodologies have been identified in the literature. These can be classified into two main categories depending on the perspective they take in BPR: the management accounting and the information system development categories (Figure 1). In the management accounting perspective the analysts attempt to reorganise business processes and use IT as an enabler in their effort. In the Information System (IS) development perspective IS developers need to understand and possibly reorganise business processes so that the introduction

Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 5 No. 1, 1999, pp. 65-86. # MCB University Press, 1463-7154

BPMJ 5,1
Use as an enabler for automation

Management Accountants Information Technology IS developers

Business Processes

Tries to create major impact on

Figure 1. The two different approaches in BPR

of IT has the highest possible impact on them. More recently some methodologies that view BPR from an organisational theoretic perspective have started emerging. These concentrate more on the understanding and analysis of the organisation based on principles like accountabilities and the roles of individuals that take part in business processes. If one would try to find a redesign process that satisfies most of the existing BPR methodologies the result would be as follows: (1) Establishment of the business vision and objectives. (2) Identification and focus on the core business processes that support them. (3) Modelling and analysis of the business environment. (4) Streamlining. (5) Continuous control and improvement of previous steps. Redesign can be achieved in two modes: incremental and radical. In the former case can be classified methodologies for improvement and simplification. These methodologies aim at improving what already exists in the organisation usually by eliminating non value added activities in order to achieve lower throughput times and...
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