Business Transformation

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There has always been a debate among process practitioners about whether it is best to work top-down or incrementally, bottom-up. It’s broadly agreed that you get the biggest change for the amount spent, if you make major changes, but it’s also agreed that it’s harder and riskier to work top-down. In any case, once a business process has undergone a major redesign, then it’s appropriate to maintain that new design with continuous incremental improvements. For awhile, the term most people associated with major, top-down change, was Business Process Reengineering, as advocated most forcefully by Michael Hammer in his book by that name. In addition to its emphasis on major changes, Hammer usually advocated the use of software technologies to radically redefine how the companies did business. Recently, most practitioners have avoided the term “reengineering” as it became too associated with massive layoffs and some expensive failures in the mid-Nineties. It wasn’t so much that the idea of working top-down was wrong as that several specific efforts were ill conceived. Today, the term that is usually preferred, to describe major, top-down efforts to really change the way a business works is “Business Transformation.”

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