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Business Process Reengineering - Its History, Promises, and Problems


Business process reengineering (BPR) has dominated the thinking of corporate executives for much of the 1990s. In 1993, Michael Hammer and James Champy published Reengineering the Corporation. According to Hammer and Champy, reengineering was "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." A 1994 survey by CSC Index (State of Reengineering Report 1994) found that 69 percent of U.S. companies had some reengineering initiative in place. By 1996, a survey conducted by Louis Harris & Associates revealed that 60 percent of the companies surveyed had undertaken a formal reengineering project in the past two years and that cutting costs was the main reason. However, we believe that BPR is unlikely to be remembered in the new millennium as the panacea for corporate ills. When Bain & Company, a consulting group, asked executives at 1,000 companies to rate different management tools in 1996, BPR did not score very high. Even the gurus who formalized the ideas of BPR acknowledged the difficulty of its implementation.




Bala Balachandran

Date Published



Balachandran, Bala. 1999. Business Process Reengineering - Its History, Promises, and Problems.


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