The Importance of Business Process Engineering Prior to Implementing a New System

By Lauren Fireman, Principal Consultant, Workday Architect, Navigator Management Partners

Before starting a new implementation, it is best to evaluate your current state. If moving from one system to another, what did that system do well and what did it not do well? If moving from paper to a computer system, what are your current processes? Do they work? Will they need reengineering? Asking these questions is vital to your new implementation, as this evaluation will lead to a more detailed and directed RFP process. A well thought out and detailed RFP will lead the company to buy a system that will work best for them.  
The heart of the system are the business processes. When reengineering processes, it is important to get key stakeholders involved. The goal is to put a streamlined process in place. When designing the new process, design for the rule, not the exception. In situations with multiple companies or locations, one should follow the 80/20 rule. This allows for a system that allows some differences but is mostly the same with nuances for local practice, where deemed necessary and legal reasons. The end goal of any redesign is to create processes that involve little maintenance and are as streamlined as possible.
The task of reengineering can seem daunting in light of other tasks that need to be completed. Creating a list of all the processes in which the department executes on a daily basis can help as you use this list when you want to start working on redesigning your processes. As you start redesigning processes, other processes begin to appear. Table these processes (put them in the parking lot) to go back to once the major processes have been reengineered.

Once all of your processes are complete, make sure to gather all of the signoffs needed in order to move forward. Any paperwork in use should be gathered and put together for ease of accessibility, by process.

In conclusion, doing work ahead of the kickoff of the computer implementation will put the company/department in a better state to begin. While the processes may need to change a bit based on the system’s capabilities, the preparation will lead to more thought out system design. In addition, the project will be less stressful for all involved.