Business Process Re-engineering for Digital Enablement

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Kent Harrison

The die has been cast: businesses and government departments that do not provide end‐to‐end online services will become like wallflowers at the dance. Invisible and lonely.

Customers become frustrated with an online service that goes as far as filling out a form, then they click on submit and end up waiting for days, weeks or longer for their transaction to complete. This is usually the result of a manual process in the backend that involves multiple people executing multiple steps.

Amazon. Apple. eBay. Netflix.

These companies have drastically changed the expectations customers have for their online service experience: fast, end‐to‐end service for every transaction. Businesses with manual processes should begin thinking now on how to evolve and change with the new digital consumer.

Removing the pain in your backend.

End‐to‐end e-services require your backend processes be connected to your customers' online experience. Here's how we focus on re‐engineering your backend processes to support the digital front‐end of your business.


Business process redesign is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance such as cost, quality, service, and speed.

- Hammer & Champy

Consumers of online services today want to start and complete their transactions online with no interruptions or delays. So, if you are still using manual processes to manage transactions they need to be redesigned, digitized and connected directly to your frontend, the part the customer interacts with and knows you by.

Things to consider:

  • Remove paper. If there are any in/out trays on people's desks, you have a clear opportunity for improvement. Paper based processes are prone to error, and errors require resolution and resolution requires rework and rework takes time.
  • Reduce the number of process steps. Discover how many people are touching each transaction, and find out if any of these steps are not directly providing the customer with value. Try to remove them or find something to offer your customer a benefit to the step. If you have steps in your process that are servicing an internal need, try waiting until after the customer gotten what they need, or design an offline process to get the same internal result.
  • Change your culture. All participants in your backend processes always need to ask "Is what I am doing benefiting the customer?" and they need to be prepared to find a solution if the answer is "No.". Executives need to demonstrate to their teams how the pursuit of new, technology-enabled ways of working is in the best interests of themselves, the customer, and the company. Create new roles, new teams, and above all - transparency to all. Staff buy-in comes from staff involvement.

Organizing a Difficult Change in Business

An e-business shift can be difficult to manage, so an organized approach is needed. At Thinking Big we like to use a Plan-Do-Study-Act approach for continual process improvement analysis:


"Two-thirds of companies surveyed had adopted an e-business plan. But over half of these companies were operating on timeframes of one to three years...".

- Bob Wild, Computer Weekly


  1. End-to-end mapping of business processes.
    • Map all existing processes - document the 'who does what' at each step, what stops them from completing their step and who else relies on the completion of that step.
    • Identify the KPIs for each process/step, these are important!
  2. Define the end-state.
    • Along with the stakeholders, develop the hypothesis for each new process.
    • Use cross functional teams to test the hypothesis.
  3. Analyze results.
    • Encourage and accept the user feedback from the above tests to drive process remodel and retest where required.
    • With stakeholder commitment, map the new processes and start the implementation plan.
  4. Implementation Plan.
    • Identify gaps and risks. Consider timelines, infrastructure, legalities, internal policies, regulations, and data protection.
    • Develop an approach to change staff behavior. Consider organizational restructure; new job descriptions; reward system for identifying continual improvements.
    • Publish the implementation blueprint to be executed upon.

BPR should not be feared; it is something that needs to be done on an ongoing basis to keep your operation customer focused and as streamlined and efficient as possible. In the end, it's about making a process that adds value to the customer and satisfying their needs and wants. Your customers expect it.


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