Business Process Re-engineering - Key Principles
In general,from what I have understood so far - first principle is listen to the stakeholders of the target process, and understand their pain points. Don't assume every problem is a nail requiring a hammer to resolve, we need to understand and document the gaps between the process current state and the desired future state. Then, once we deeply and thoroughly understand the process and have mapped it in detail, the next step would be mapping the future state process and closing the identified gaps as well as eliminating wasteful activities and processes steps wherever possible. Often this means leveraging available technology solutions, in this case the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX or an ISV solution, to close process gaps or replace non-value-add process steps with an automated technology solution.
You need to understand what processes are truly core to your client and what processes may just be "the way we've always done it". The lifecycle/timeframe to implement a business process re-engineering project is highly variable , process re-engineering could be very simple and focused on a sub-process such as Accounts Payable Invoice approval where you may find a step in the process which involves routing the actual hard copy paper invoice by manually walking it to the approving authority, extracting a manual signature on the hard copy, and then filing that document, then re-entering the approval by all the required parties in the system of record. You can see obvious opportunities here for eliminating non-value-add steps in this process. Or it could be as complex as re-engineering as part of an enterprise system implementation of all organizational functions. So as you can see the timeframe is highly variable depending on the scope. I've seen complex process re-engineering activities easily add 2-4 months to an implementation for a mid to upper-mid-market services company’s project depending on the scope/complexity.
The most common challenge we have faced is resistance to change. You'll most often find the "this is the way I've always done it and this is the way I'm always GOING to do it" type people and overcoming that resistance to change can be a challenge. The common element that is most important to overcoming this resistance is how bought in are executive management to the goals of your process re-engineering efforts, If the change is part of a well thought out corporate strategy and executive management is fully onboard and participating, these resistance barriers will tend to fall. Of course, you always want to work more closely with those individuals and find out what their real concerns are, which often tend to be based in fear of the unknown - "will I still have a job if this change happens"? Or "how different will my job be and will I still be able to do it effectively"? Explain the benefits of the change to the person and this resistance could often be overcome. Keep trying until they are fully convinced.
About the Author
With 13 years of experience in ERP, specialising in AX functionality across versions , Solution designing ,Project Management and delivery.
Rohan also has special interests in reading about new business processes and features along with understanding their viability. He also enjoys spreading this message across through his blogs.