Business reengineering holds great promise for companies by changing the way they do business and breaking down outdated assumptions and rules. But unless management gives information systems a prominent role in the reengineering project, the effort will be doomed to failure. The author traces a reengineering effort at Breezy Services Company, showing where management went wrong in ignoring IS’s vital participation. He presents five steps toward better reengineering by assigning IS the tasks of project management and technical vision and leadership. Only by working together can business and IS managers ensure a successful reorganization of their company.
1. “Breezy Services Company,” used as one of the cases in this article, is an amalgam of two separate companies. The author has firsthand experience working with these companies’ IS departments in their efforts to support business reengineering.
2. M. Hammer and J. Champy, Reengineering the Corporation (New York: HarperBusiness, 1993), p. 31.
3. J. Maglitta, “One on One, Michael Hammer,” Computerworld, 24 January 1994, p. 85;
B. Caldwell, “Missteps, Miscues” Informationweek, 20 June 1994, p. 52; and
CSC Index, “State of Reengineering Report” (Cambridge, Massachusetts: CSC Index, 1994), p. 7.
4. Hammer and Champy (1993), p. 44.
5. Ibid., p. 208.
6. E. Martinez, “Avoiding Large-Scale I/T Project Failure: The Importance of Fundamentals” Project Management Journal, June 1994, pp. 17–25.
7. B.H. Boar, Implementing Client/Server Computing (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), pp. 171–173. This is just one reference to the often described organizational resistance to new technologies.
8. PMI Standards Committee, Project Management Body of Knowledge (Upper Darby, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute, 1987), pp. H1–H7. The communications management section outlines such a communications function and plan.
9. W.S. Humphrey, Managing the Software Process (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1990), pp. 83–92.
10. The author is indebted to Phil Lawrence, a vice president with CSC Index, for introducing the concept of the IS organization demonstrating leadership by championing the company’s technical agenda.
11. This article does not dwell on the subject of information technology architectures and the merits of their development. The reader may wish to review the following two publications as well as other literature on the subject. The first citation is suited to the practitioner; the second is more suited for management.
J.A. Zachman, “A Framework for Information Systems Architecture,” IBM Systems Journal 26 (1987): 276–292;
G.M. Hoffman, The Technology Payoff (Burr Ridge, Illinois: Irwin, 1994), pp. 47–59.
12. For a timeless article, originally published in 1959, see:
P.O. Gaddis, “The Project Manager,” in Managing Projects and Programs, ed. N.R. Augustine (Boston: Harvard Business School, 1989), p. 154.
13. P.F. Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (New York: HarperBusiness, 1993), p. 128.