Business processes create repeatable workflows that take the guesswork out of everyday tasks. Without them, you’d be reinventing the wheel at every turn, leaving your employees frustrated, overwhelmed, and unable to make real progress.

While some processes may serve your company well for a while, there may come a time when they’re no longer as effective as they once were (or, they may have been inefficient from the beginning).

In either case, you can redesign those processes to eliminate pain points, boost performance, and enhance service levels.

However, there are challenges of implementing business process reengineering that can’t be ignored. Today, we’re sharing a few of the main concerns to watch out for and explaining how you can avoid them.

What is Business Process Reengineering?

Business process reengineering involves taking an in-depth look at your existing processes (especially the customer journey) and redesigning them where necessary.

It’s about understanding how information travels from one person to the next, where employees go to access data, and what cross-functional steps are involved in your end-to-end workflows.

Once you map these workflows at a high level, you can identify bottlenecks and other pain points. Then, you can brainstorm ways to redesign processes to deliver more value.

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Business Process Reengineering and Technology

Business process reengineering can take place at any time, in any company. However, it often precedes large-scale projects, like digital business transformations. 

Many of these projects entail implementing ERP software to automate and streamline business processes. This is where process reengineering comes in.

If processes aren’t optimized before they’re automated, then you’ll automate inefficiencies. Sometimes, process improvement will suffice, but other times, a complete redesign will be necessary because a process is inherently inefficient.

6 Challenges of Implementing Business Process Reengineering

1. Determining Actual Root Causes

You might think you know why a current business process is failing. However, have you stopped to think how much of that is heresy? 

To avoid making false assumptions, focus on building a team that can get to the real root of pain points. This team should consist of business process owners and other employees close to the processes in question.

Rather than pointing fingers and placing blame, take a pragmatic approach that involves the people who best know the processes.

2. Balancing Your Focus Between Current and Future State

Business process reengineering does require you to look ahead many years down the road. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore current processes and focus solely on your future state.

To define your future state, you must map your current processes so you can identify the differences between your current and future state. This tells you what effects employees will experience, enabling you to develop a communication plan with individualized messaging.

3. Securing Executive Support

You need your executives to support every aspect of your digital transformation, especially the business process reengineering aspect. 

All the plans you’re working toward and the changes you’re proposing should receive their approval. If even one business leader rejects the proposed plan, then you could be left without the financial and operational support needed to reengineer your processes before ERP selection

4. Integrating Organizational Change Management

Any time you change an employee’s processes, you should expect some level of hesitancy, pushback, and even outright resistance. This is why organizational change management is a natural counterpart to business process reengineering.

As mentioned earlier, the more effort you put into defining your current and future state, the easier it will be to develop a change management communication plan.

Basically, there is no excuse to skim over change management because your reengineering efforts do half the work for you. (We exaggerate, but you get the point.)

5. Starting Early Enough

While screen transactions and menu options will be driven by the ERP solution you end up selecting, the how, what, and when of your processes can be defined without knowing your chosen solution.

With this in mind, why not map your current state now before you’re too busy during the final stages of ERP selection? This is also the time to reengineer processes that need to be differentiated from your competitors. These processes shouldn’t depend on pre-configured best practices within an ERP system, so there’s no harm in optimizing them now.

That said, most of your future-state processes should be driven by out-of-the-box software functionality, so we recommend waiting to optimize these until you’ve selected a software system. This will minimize your customization costs.

Ultimately, regardless of whether you’ll be standardizing a process based on your software’s best practices, the mapping of the current state of that process should happen before ERP software selection.

6. Investing Time and Resources

In your quest to save money and go live with your new software as soon as possible, you may be tempted to skip business process reengineering altogether.

However, cutting corners rarely delivers a positive outcome. In fact, most companies find that their projects wind up taking longer and costing more money when they eliminate important success factors.

If pain points go unaddressed, then you may find that your system delivers no conceivable benefits after go-live. Thus, you experience ERP failure.

Navigate These Business Process Reengineering Challenges

Business process reengineering requires an investment of time, money, and resources. However, it is a necessary component that directly influences your project ROI. 

By taking the time to assess your current processes and redesign them to be as efficient and customer-centric as possible, you can set your project up for long-term success.

Our ERP consulting team can help you navigate the challenges of implementing business process reengineering so you can ensure your efforts are fruitful. Contact us below for a free consultation.

About the author

As Director of Panorama’s Expert Witness Practice, Bill oversees all expert witness engagements. In addition, he concurrently provides oversight on a number of ERP selection and implementation projects for manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and public sector clients.

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