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October 2006 Business Process Improvement Survey: Pushing for a Process Edge

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 2006-10-27 Print this article Print

Companies are eager to use IT to improve business processes. But problems with vendors, ill-defined processes and a lack of interdepartmental cooperation are standing in their way.

You can buy a used copy of Michael Hammer and Jim Champy's 13-year-old book, Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, on Amazon.com for a penny; a new copy will set you back 49 cents. But while business reengineering is now out of favor, its less radical cousin—business process improvement—is very much in vogue. Sixty-six percent of respondents to this month's survey say BPI is their IT organization's No.1 priority, and more than 90 percent are conducting more process-improvement projects than they were two years ago.

The good news is that IT executives feel well prepared to carry out this mission. IT staff members have a good grasp of their company's processes, while CIOs have established effective relationships with the business side. And new technologies are helping users gain more control and flexibility over business processes. Still, the path to BPI continues to be bumpy. One obstacle is cross-functional cooperation. Because most BPI projects target cross-functional processes, cooperation between departments is key; yet only one in three respondents says their company's various departments are effective at coordinating processes. Data integration remains another obstacle, despite successful experiences with SOA and Web services. Finally, vendors take heed: Many technologies and services most directly targeted toward the BPI market are failing to meet our respondents' expectations. There's plenty of opportunity for BPI progress.

Read the full story on CIOInsight.com: October 2006 Business Process Improvement Survey: Pushing for a Process Edge.

Executive Editor

Allan Alter has been a specialist on information technology management, strategy and leadership for many years. Most recently, he was editor-in-chief and the director of new content development for the MIT Sloan Management Review. He has been a columnist and department editor at Computerworld, where he won three awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. Previously he was a special projects editor, senior editor and senior writer for CIO magazine. Earlier, Alter was an associate editor for Mass High Tech. He has edited two books: The Squandered Computer: Evaluating the Business Alignment of Business Technologies and Redesigning the Firm.

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