Since the early 1990s, the concept of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) has received much attention from the scholarly community. The classic definition of BPR belongs to Hammer (1990) who defined it as “ the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to bring about dramatic improvements in performance” . Several variations of this basic definition can be found in the literature, but all of them highlight the most essential feature of BPR, namely radical redesign of organisational processes. The overwhelming interest expressed by the researchers and practitioners toward this concept coincided with the increasing confrontation in the market, rapidly changing business environment, high churn rates and constantly strengthening competition (Creelman, 1998: 319).
Failure of the traditional approaches to effectively address the new conditions led to the emergence of innovative perspectives on organizational performance and change with BPR being perhaps the most popular among them. Another distinct feature of the business environment in the early 1990s was the dramatic rise in amounts spent by businesses on information technology (IT), and the linkage between IT and BPR soon became the most popular object of research.
Some studies published throughout the first half of the 1990s estimated “ … over half of all reengineering efforts are initiated because of a perceived information technology opportunity” (Caldwell, 1994: 50), and pronounced IT to be the key enabler of effective BRP (Weicher et al, 1995). Although the linkage between IT and BPR has been confirmed repeatedly, there is no clarity as to the aspects of this linkage. The variety of opinions and views expressed in the literature is astonishingly ranging from denial of the enabling role of IT in BPR to claims that IT is, in fact, the only enabler of BPR.
The below overview seeks to summarise the existing conceptions about the relationship between IT and BPR in order to understand the merit of Information Technology as an enabler to Business Process Re-engineering Main Body In 1990, Michael Hammer published an article in the Harvard Business Review, in which he claimed that the major challenge for managers is to obliterate non-value adding work, rather than using technology for automating it (Hammer 1990). The article was perhaps the first attempt to draw the attention of the scholarly community to the problem of information technology (IT) role in BPR.
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