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*A Book Review*

Reengineering The Corporation

By Michael Hammer & James Champy

by Michael C. Gray


This is the book that started the "Reengineering Revolution."

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what "reengineering" a business is. Part of the reason is reengineering is a buzzword that is used to justify unpleasant corporate actions.

Many employees equate reengineering with down-sizing, a reduction in the workforce.

Recently, I heard a business "guru" say, "Reengineering is brain-dead!"

This is a nice, "shocking" and "dramatic" thing to say, but it is also nonsense.

The fact of the matter is we all have experienced frustration in dealing with the inefficiency of institutions. The simple action of receiving an order, processing it, or processing a claim or complaint often takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort, resulting in a waste of money for the institution and a frustrated, unhappy customer or constituent.

Sometimes a great deal of effort and expense is devoted to generating a result of no value to anyone. The appropriate question may not be "How can we do it better?" but "Do we really need to do this at all?"

Business reengineering is a set of procedures for effecting radical change. Radical change means asking, "What if we could disregard our existing organization and procedures and start with a blank piece of paper?" What would the organization look like? What business processes would we use to achieve the desired results?

Once these questions are answered, the organization can be reshaped to fit the new ideal.

The proliferation of inexpensive computer processing power is presenting many opportunities for redesigning business processes, including making more information available faster and easier to more people throughout organizations and making duplication of effort and division of labor unnecessary.

A major challenge of reengineering is dealing with the disruption to people resulting from radical change. The competitive environment demands that the change take place, but people can be displaced and hurt in the process.

If we didn't recognize the need for change and endure the pain, we would still be lighting our homes with candles and using pooper scoopers to clean up after our horses.

Whatever we call it, business reengineering remains a necessary activity in continuing to maintain competitiveness, which also makes dealing with our institutions a much better experience for customers and constituents while assuring the survival, growth and relevance of the institution.

Buy it on Amazon: Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution (Collins Business Essentials).

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This is the book that started the Reengineering Revolution. Click here to find out what it's all about.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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San Jose, California 95128
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