Impact of It on Process Improvement
VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org Impact of IT on Process Improvement 1 1 Lotfollah najjar, 2 Ziaul huq, 3 Seyed-mahmoud aghazadeh, 4 Saeedreza hafeznezami
College of Information Science & Technology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA, Fax: 402-554-3284, 2 College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA, Fax: 402-554-268, 3 Department of Business Administration, School of Business, State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, Ny 14063, USA, Fax: 716-673-3332, 4 Civil and Environmental Engineering UCLA, 5731 Boelter Hall, box 951593 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1593 1 [email protected]
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There has been a lack of empirical research related to the role of IT in process improvement in a multidimensional way. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent that IT could be used (from low tech to high tech and constraint to proactive), type of process reengineering projects employed (compromise to radical) and their effect on firm performance. The firm performance was defined as market share, customer relationships Management, IT impact, and efficiency (as multifaceted such as lowering the cost, lowering the process variability, and lead time).
Data from 108 small-to-medium sized organizations both in service and in manufacturing were collected for this study. Both Factor Analysis and MANOVA Analysis were employed to analyze these relationships and to find out the optimum points (interaction among the types of IT and types of BPR) and their effect on firm performance. ). The result showed that organizations that adapt high technology alone or BPR alone cannot achieve the same result and business performance as the organization that benefits from interdependency between IT and BPR.
Keywords: BPR, IT, Organizational Performance, Process Improvement, CRM, Efficiency, Factor Analysis, MANOVA. 1. INTRODUCTION The modern business organization is a complex collection of business processes, which cross multiple business units and handle everything from the mundane daily operations to core business processes. Many of these business processes have changed very little since their original implementation, thus failing to take advantage of new best practices or technological advancements.
Over time, businesses realized that their current processes were no longer providing a competitive advantage, and that changes to processes were necessary in order to improve performance. In order to change the processes or to build completely new ones, process redesign or improvement must take place. Whether the method is Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Business Process Reengineering (BPR), or one of the many others, the core concepts are the same: streamline the process, reduce costs, and remove waste.
Process improvements can be incremental and continuous, or they can be giant leaps that fundamentally change the way organizations do business. One thing in common with all process improvement initiatives is that information technology is a major component, regardless of the method. Hammer and Champy (1993) state IT is an enabler of BPR, and while this is still true information technology has become more than just an enabler. Just as throwing money at a problem will not make it go away, a business problem can’t be reengineered simply by hrowing new information systems at it (Hammer & Champy, 1993). 1. 1 Business Process Improvement The drive for process improvement is not new. Process improvement methodologies have been developed and used for over 30 years. Six Sigma was developed in the mid 1980s as a way to improve manufacturing processes (Drake, Sutterfield, & Ngassam, 2008). Business process reengineering pushed to the forefront of process improvement in the early 1990s when some felt larger leaps in process performance were needed.
Both of these methods are still among the most widely used today, and have been adjusted to meet modern business needs. There are three main types of process improvement: continuous, benchmarking, and reengineering. Continuous is more “systematic” than simply solving problems as they occur, and can be easily integrated into an organization. Improvements to processes using this methodology are typically small, but if they are ongoing will add up to larger gains in improvement over time (Tenner & DeToro, 1997).
Continuous improvement is a plan-do-study-act method that uses the following six step model: understand the customer, assess efficiency, analyze the process, improve the process, implement changes, and standardize and monitor. Before an organization can accomplish higher levels of process improvement, it must first successfully 67 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org implement continuous improvement (Tenner & DeToro, 1997).
Six Sigma, a continuous improvement methodology, was originally created by Motorola to help reduce manufacturing defects, with a five year goal of no more than 3. 4 defects per million. Analyzing the variation in defects was the key to Six Sigma, which required very accurate data (Drake et al, 2008). This method was designed as a quality improvement initiative, but its later implementation in other industries and services allowed for broader application. Bringing an organization in line with the best practices of their industry makes use of the benchmarking methodology.
Benchmarking creates greater single improvements than the continuous method, but is more resource intensive and occurs less often (Tenner & DeToro, 1997). Benchmarking is essentially reverse engineering of a process: by taking apart a competitor’s processes (or products) if can be seen how they work and what makes them good. Proper benchmarking requires a four phase, tenstep model. The planning phase includes identifying the benchmark subject, indentifying benchmark partners, and collecting data (Tenner & DeToro, 1997).
The analysis phase includes determining the performance gap and projecting future performance. The integration phase includes communicating results and establishing goals. The action phase includes developing action plans, implementing the plans and monitoring results, and finally recalibrating the benchmarks (Tenner & DeToro, 1997). Reengineering is the highest level of process improvement. Reengineering creates radical improvements to processes, often resulting in high performance gains. Reengineering requires a highly skilled organization willing to accept high levels of risk (Tenner & DeToro, 1997).
Like the continuous and benchmarking improvement methods, a step-by-step model is needed. The six step model for reengineering includes the following: organizing the reengineering project, launching the reengineering project, inventing a new process, integrating, acting, and evaluating (Tenner & DeToro, 1997). The origins of business process reengineering began in the late 1980s, but truly started with an article in the Harvard Business Review which called for the total redesign of business processes.
Michael Hammer (1990) felt it was not enough to simply renovate existing processes, but instead the processes should be removed altogether and replaced with new and improved processes started from a clean slate (El Sawy, 2001). Unlike other methodologies such as Six Sigma, information technology was seen as from the beginning to be a necessity when trying to achieve BPR (Hammer & Champy, 1993). 1. 2 Information Technology’s role in Business Process Reengineering For many BPR authors (Hammer & Champy, 1993; Davenport & Short, 1990; Irani, Hlupic, & Giaglis, 2002), information technology is a crucial component of BPR.
It is becoming clearer that investments only in new IT or BPR projects cannot stand by themselves (Kohli & Hoadley, 2006). Increasing market pressure, as well as an organization’s need to innovate, will lead to new IT adoption (Lee, Chu, & Tseng, 2009), but simply implementing new IT will not make BPR work. Hammer and Champy (1993) say it best: “A company that cannot change the way it thinks about information technology cannot reengineer. A company that equates technology with automation cannot reengineer. A company that looks for problems first and then seeks technology solutions for them cannot reengineer” (p. 3). How an organization uses IT will largely determine how well and to what degree they will be able to implement BPR. IT was originally considered simply as an enabler for BPR (Hammer & Champy, 1993), and while it is still true that IT can enable BPR initiatives, IT’s role in process improvement has become much greater and more varied. IT can be the initiator that drives process improvement, or the tool which makes process improvement possible. Eardley, Shah, and Radman (2008) define six roles that IT can play in BPR.
These roles are: constraint, catalyst, neutral, driver, enabler, and proactive. These roles vary in impact from being constraining at the negative end to being proactive at the positive end. Legacy IT systems are the most common source of IT constraints. They are considered a constraint because process improvement is held back by old, inflexible IT systems (Eardley, Shah & Radman, 2008). Organizations have switched to client-server systems over time because of cost, but legacy mainframe systems still exist and the benefits of replacing them are debatable (Akhavan, Jafari & Ali-Ahmadi, 2006).
The next step towards a positive IT role is that of catalyst. When new information technology is brought into a business and causes changes to business processes, IT becomes a catalyst. While the role of catalyst can be positive, if new information technology is not right for the organization the impact will likely be negative (Eardley et al, 2008). 68 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org
Sometimes, IT is nothing more than a support tool rather than a key component for process improvement. In these cases, IT is considered neutral. It will typically be seen in various software tools for process design and implementation (Eardley et al, 2008). Moving further toward a positive impact role is that of driver. Information technology’s role as driver is the result of a technology push from forced implementation of new information systems that then require process improvement to take advantage of the new capabilities (Eardley et al, 2008).
Purely IT driven BPR without defined business needs are not desirable and could negatively impact business strategy (Eardley et al, 2008). The role of enabler is generally the most common role associated with BPR and process improvement. Enabler is also a business “pull” role as opposed to a technology “push”, meaning that IT and the business units are aligned from a strategic standpoint, thus leaving no technology gap (Eardley et al, 2008).
The enabler role may be broken down into specific impacts as defined by Thomas Davenport (1993): automational (removing human interaction), informational, sequential (reorganizing process sequence), tracking, analytical, geographical (processes from different locations are coordinated), integrative (tasks and processes are coordinated), intellectual (intellectual assets are distributed) and disintermediating (process intermediaries are removed). Each of these impacts affects the BPR process differently and to different degrees.
The final role for IT in BPR is proactive. Eardley et al. (2008) state that a proactive role is “the ‘ideal’ role of IT in BPR” (p. 639). This IT role ideally helps create major change as well as supporting BPR. When the organization standardizes BPR within the business and ties it closely with IT and the impact can be tremendous by allowing the ability to transform processes faster and on the fly (Eardley et al, 2008). The impact each of these roles has is dependent on the type of BPR projects that each role is coupled with. The types defined by Eardley et al. 2008) are: failure, compromise, one-step, evolutionary, and radical. A “failure” project type can theoretically be matched with the more desirable “proactive” IT role, but advanced IT would be hindered by a poor business plan. Conversely, a “radical” project type matched with a “constraint” IT role would result in a progressive business plan being wasted by old technology or simply a poor IT infrastructure (Eardley et al, 2008). The ideal coupling of IT roles and BPR types is for “evolutionary” and “radical” BPR projects to be joined with “proactive” and “enabler” IT oles to achieve the greatest positive impact on the BPR effort and on the business as a whole (Eardley et al, 2008). 1. 3 Performance and value impact on organizations The primary goal of any process improvement project, regardless of method, is to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and ultimately reduce costs. Information technology plays a key role in reaching process improvement goals, but it does not guarantee success. More than 70 percent of early BPR projects have ended in failure (Ramirez, Melville & Lawler, 2010).
Choosing the proper method of process improvement or reengineering with a complementing information technology system will determine the impact on combined effectiveness. A study done by Ramirez et al. (2010) discusses the impact of IT on business process reengineering with a focus on cost rationalization BPR (doing more with less) and work restructure BPR (implementing new business processes). Ramirez et al (2010) found in their study that generally, the relationship of IT and BPR had a positive relationship on not only the production efficiency of a company, but also the market value.
It was found that production output was increased by roughly one percent among surveyed businesses resulting from IT and BPR interaction, thus having a positive association towards operational efficiency (Ramirez et al, 2010). This result holds true for both cost rationalization and work restructure. However, for an organization’s BPR investment to get positive returns, the BPR project must be “IT centric” (Ramirez et al, 2010). This means that BPR projects that are not focused entirely around IT will see much lower returns, if any, from the project.
While increased performance of production processes and value they add to an organization is simpler to document, performance improvements that affect an organization’s market value are more difficult to discern. To find the impact of IT and BPR on the organization’s market value, one must look at all BPR efforts which an organization has attempted, and their cumulative effect on that individual organization (Ramirez et al, 2010). Unlike the impact on production performance, cost rationalization BPR and work restructure BPR interactions with IT are not positively associated in the long term.
There is evidence that over an extended period of time that the impact of either type of BPR can be negative in market value. This may be due to the number of BPR failures, especially earlier BPR efforts, in an organization (Ramirez et al, 2010). The one factor that may determine the degree of positive BPR impact on an 69 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org organization is the appropriate selection of information technology to complement the selection of the right BPR method (Ramirez el al, 2010).
While IT and process improvement methodologies such as BPR can stand alone, their impact on each other is significant in improving performance. Research done by Albadvi, Keramati, and Razmi (2007) shows that BPR has a mediating effect on the impact of information technology on an organization’s performance. For IT to positively impact the performance of an organization and thus create a return on IT investment, BPR is needed for IT to reach its full potential (Albadvi et al, 2007). The risks involved with an organization’s decisions must always be accounted for.
The impacts of IT and BPR are no different and must be considered along with performance goals. BPR itself requires an organization to measured take risks (Misra, Kumar & Kumar, 2008). Information technology can impact an organization’s risk due to BPR in two ways. IT can help mitigate risk by aiding risk management with high quality risk models and process simulation. However IT can also be a source of risk, as BPR will inherently implement new IT systems and IT processes (Misra et al, 2008). Thus organizations must account for all risks involved with IT and BPR implementations.
When all aspects, including risk, are considered it is clear that IT and BPR are necessary partners for improving organizational performance and productivity. These improvements will have an impact on a company’s overall market value but they can only be maintained long term with careful selection of projects (Ramirez et al, 2010). Beyond their partnership, IT and BPR must also complement each other to reach performance increase goals of an organization. The impacts that IT and BPR have on each other reinforce their recursive relationship. 2.
PURPOSE This paper focuses on investigating the role and impact that information technology has had on process improvement. The combination of information technology with process improvement and how this combination impacts performance and sometimes the value of the business, as well as examples of IT, will also be discussed. This paper investigates the extent that IT could be used (from low tech to high tech and constrained to proactive), type of process reengineering projects employed (compromise to radical) and their effect on firm performance.
The firm performance has been defined as market share, customer relationships Management, IT impact, and efficiency (as multifaceted such as lowering the cost, lowering the process variability, and lead time). 2. 1 The Roles of IT in BPR To determine the role of IT in BPR, existing work in the area (Chan, 2000; Gunasekaran and Nath, 1997; AlMashari and Zairi, 20006, Eardley, 2008) was also examined to determine whether parallels could be established for small-to-medium sized organizations both in service and in manufacturing.
Their research found that IT could have six possible roles: a constraint, a driver, a neutral, a catalyst, an enabler, or be proactive. The six different roles of IT in BPR are shown in Table 1based on Eardley’s model (Eardley, et al, 2008). Table 1: Characteristics of the role of IT in BPR Role of IT Characteristics of the Role Legacy IT systems dominate main business processes. In ? exible IT infrastructures. Lack of skill and/or investment in new IT. Business processes embedded in existing IT systems. Lack of potential for investment in IT due to budgetary factors. Lack of perception of the potential of IT by management.
Strategic alignment is low. New IT has been acquired. Changes in the business have been made that favor the use of IT. New management that sees the potential of IT in business change. New relationship developed with IT vendor, consultant, or service provider. Strategic alignment at crucial stage. Constraint Catalyst 70 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org Neutral Lack of IS applications and IT infrastructure in the organization. No IS or IT strategy in place.
Business change targets are not well de? ned. The business is in an industry with low information intensity or little competition through IT. Strategies and infrastructures are in alignment. The business has technological capability and seeks to exploit it through business opportunities. Possibly a new business or a technological innovation. Sufficient investment is available and IT development is not a limiting factor. Strategic alignment process is proceeding rapidly. IT is a key performance factor and a “competitive arena” in the industry. Management has a clear business vision and a future change plan.
Business change targets are well de? ned. Sufficient investment is available and IT development not a limiting factor. Strategic alignment in process. Management has a clear business vision and future change plan. The IS and IT infrastructure is well developed. There are few constraints on IT development. Management sees the potential of IT. Strategies and infrastructure are in alignment. Driver Enabler Proactive Alan Eardley et al, 2008 described the roles of IT as visualized above, as being on a continuum with the constraining role at the “negative” extreme and the proactive role at the “positive” extreme, as shown in Figure 1.
Roles of IT in BPR More ‘negative’ roles More ‘positive’ roles Constraint Catalyst Neutral Driver Enabler Proactive Figure 1: A continuum of the possible roles of IT in BPR 2. 2 Types of BPR project in the organizations The literature search identi ? ed a number of “types” of BPR projects in the organizations that were examined, which may be placed on a continuum from “failure” to “radical” in terms of their effectiveness in achieving the objectives of major business change (Figure 2). A brief summary of the characteristics of each type of BPR project is given below. Alan Eardley et al, 2008): • Failure – IT does not have a planned role in the BPR project, or the project has to be abandoned, or it is completed but fails to provide the expected business improvements. • • Compromise – The existing IT infrastructure cannot be changed within the given time scale. The BPR project has to take this into account and although it may be a success, will be limited or unambitious in terms of its reach and range. Such BPR projects typically produce “islands of automation” as they are applied to limited business processes or functions.
One-step – The reach and range (and therefore the scope and scale) of a “one-step” BPR project are greater than for Compromise, but the lack of IT support limits the potential of newly designed processes for achieving “higher level” transformations. In this case IT is not seen by an organization as being truly strategic. 71 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org • Evolutionary – The rate of business change will be incremental through targeted process redesign.
The infrastructure will be sufficiently ? exible to cope with progressive change, and the IT strategy will be capable of maintaining alignment with the business strategy over time, although periodic adjustments will be required. • Radical – This type of BPR project achieves major business change with a high degree of reach and range within an acceptably short time scale. The IT infrastructure is very? exible and copes well with the major “step change” and the IT and business strategies are completely interdependent, being continuously in alignment. Types of BPR project Less effective types More effective types Failure
Compromise One-step Evolutionary Radical Figure 2. A continuum of the possible types of BPR project The proposed framework by Alan Eardley et al, represents the roles of IT in BPR, the types of BPR projects, and includes the concepts of “business pull” and “technology push” (Figure 3) by superimposing upon the diagram four quadrants (Q1-Q4), which are interpreted as follows (Alan Eardley et al, 2008): Q1. Low “technology push” and low “business pull” – the “lower” roles of IT when applied to the “lower” types of BPR (i. e. to the left of the continuum) are associated with a generally low profile of IT in the organization.
Similarly the commitment to radical change within the organization may be poor. These factors will interfere with the organization’s ability to implement BPR successfully. For instance, IT is likely to be a “constraint” in an organization that is aiming to achieve at best a “compromise” approach to organizational change in a forthcoming BPR program. Q2. Low “technology push” and high “business pull – the “lower” roles of IT when applied to the “higher” types of BPR are associated with an organization that has poor strategic alignment (Avison et al. , 2004).
It may possess corporate ambition in planning a radical BPR program, but its IT strategy is weak (indeed, the whole IT function may be under-represented organizationally) and its IT infrastructure lacks flexibility and “openness. ” IT therefore has a constraining role in an organization that occupies this quadrant (e. g. typical symptoms include “legacy systems” and “islands of automation”) and prevents the effective implementation of programs of business change. This occurs irrespective of the organization’s ambition or competence in carrying out evolutionary or radical BPR. Q3.
High “technology push” and low “business pull” – the organization that occupies this quadrant has a keen awareness of technological trends and standards, but a relatively poor business model. Its IT infrastructure is probably very advanced, and technology has a high profile although the business model or strategy may be relatively weak or undefined. Such an organization exhibits poor strategic alignment (Avison et al. , 2004) (in common with the example in the previous quadrant), and may not progress beyond a “compromise” or “one step” type of BPR, irrespective of its technical competence or resources.
The potential of IT to be proactive or enabling in support of business change in this type of organization is wasted. The literature contains many examples (Davenport, 1995) of high technology companies that failed to change as a result of poor business processes and plans. Q4. High “technology push” and high “business pull” – an organization in this quadrant combines a high profile for IT (e. g. well integrated “IT governance” and a flexible and open IT infrastructure) with a well-developed business plan and well-designed processes.
It is able to achieve a high degree of success in carrying out evolutionary or radical BPR, fully enabled by a proactive IT strategy. However, success is not likely to come about by being competent in isolated functions of IT and business. In order to occupy this quadrant, an organization needs to achieve a high level of strategic alignment (Avison et al. , 2004). Note: Description of Q1-Q4 is from “Alan Eardley et al, 2008)” 72 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. ttp://www. cisjournal. org Figure 3: A Proposed framework for evaluating the role of IT in BPR projects. 3. METHODOLOGY A total of 150 small-to-medium sized companies in both manufacturing and service sectors were contacted through the Midwest, and 108 valid questionnaires were returned with an effective rate of 72%. The returned valid questionnaires were adequate regarding the sample size and statistical assumptions to conduct MANOVA. The survey questionnaire was based on four constructs or dimensions and each construct had multiple items or questions for consistency of the measurement.
The respondents were required to respond to four questions for each of the four constructs. For each of the questions the respondents had to indicate their agreement Q1: HH, high technology push with high business pull. or disagreement on a 11-point Likert-type scale with the end points being 0 for “less likely” and 10 for “more likely”. The four constructs determined the four dependent variables for conducting t MANOV . The four response variables were: market share, customer relationship management, IT impact on organization, and efficiency (multifaceted, such as lowering cost, lowering process variability, and lead time).
Four quadrants of figure 3(Q1Q4) were chosen as four levels of treatment of one factor, which is the quadrant (One way MANOVA) as follows: Q1: LL, low technology push with low business pull. Q2: LH, low technology push with high business pull. Q3: HL, high technology push with low business pull. 73 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org The following MANOVA linear model was used to see which quadrant was the optimum point for business performance.
The pairwise comparison test was conducted to compare all four quadrants regarding the four dependent variables as representative of business performance. Y1,Y2,Y3,Y4 = B0 + B1X1 + B2 X2 + B3 X3 + B4 X4 + e Before conducting MANOVA, the factor analysis was performed. Table 2 shows the result of factor analysis and factor loading. SPSS was used to analyze the data. Table 2: Scale Reliability: Cumulative variance explained and Cronbach’s alpha for four factors 16 questions Questions Impact of IT on Organization 0. 988 0. 750 0. 690 0. 790 0. 789 0. 789 0. 689 0. 87 0. 897 0. 745 0. 897 0. 798 0. 698 0. 987 0. 687 0. 786 100. 00 0. 754 Market Share CRM Efficiency Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 Question 5 Question 6 Question 7 Question 8 Question 9 Question 10 Question 11 Question 12 Question 13 Question 14 Question 15 Question 16 Cumulative variance Cronbach’s alpha 28. 588 0. 788 56. 595 0. 881 70. 413 0. 974 The following tables shows the distribution of 108 organizations on 4 different quadrants. Table 3: Organization distribution on 4 quadrants Q1 LL 23 Q2 LH 28 Q3 HL 32 Q4 HH 25 4. DISCUSSION AND RESULTS
Table 4 shows the result of MANOVA that all respondents’ means are significantly different for all four quadrants, and different combinations of technology push and business pull achieved different levels of strategic alignment. 74 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org Table 4. Tests of Between-Subjects Effects Dependent Source Quadrants nt IT. Impact M. Share CRM Efficency df 3 3 3 3 F 333. 960 236. 449 45. 051 79. 995 Sig. .000 . 000 . 000 . 00 The pairwise comparison shows the result of business performance for each quadrant as follows: Fig. 4: IT Impact 4. 1 Impact of IT on Organization This variable was the highest both for HH and LH respectively and again it proved that the organization with high technology alone cannot achieve the same result as the organization either with both high technology push and high business pull (BPR) or only high business pull (BPR). 75 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. ttp://www. cisjournal. org Fig. 5: Market Share 4. 2 Market Share This variable was the highest both for HH and LH respectively and again, it proved that the organization with high technology alone cannot achieve the same result as the organization either with both high technology push and high business pull (BPR) or only high business pull (BPR). Fig. 6: Customer Relationship Management 76 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal. All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org 4. Customer Relationship Management This variable was the highest both for HH and LH respectively and again, it proved that the organization with high technology alone cannot achieve the same result as the organization either with both high technology push and high business pull (BPR) or only high business pull (BPR). Fig. 7: Efficiency 4. 4 Efficiency: This variable was the highest both for HH and LH respectively and again it proved that the organization with high technology alone cannot achieve the same result as the organization either with both high technology push and high business pull (BPR) or only high business pull (BPR). ecurrent theme” (Markus and Robey, 1995, p. 592). The framework demonstrates that no serious BPR effort can afford to ignore the role of IT, and if it does so then the risk of failure is high. It appears that the role of IT in BPR is undervalued at present, especially in terms of its wider and more longterm implications. These implications are as follows. First, IT strategy and business strategy need to be aligned for maximum benefits to be realized. Second, IT strategy dictates the type of IT infrastructure within a company. Third, the IT strategy and infrastructure should both support the business strategy and even influence it.
Most importantly, as change is endemic to corporate life, the IT infrastructure also needs to be flexible in order to cope with changes in the environment and the business strategy (Alan Eardley et al, 2008). 5. IMPLICATIONS OF THE WORK The proposed framework is needed because some organizations attempt to undertake BPR or strategic alignment without giving due consideration to the role of IT in BPR. Indeed, it has been observed that the “exclusion and expulsion of IS specialists from BPR programs is a 77 VOL. 3, NO. 1, January 2012 ISSN 2079-8407 Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences ©2009-2012 CIS Journal.
All rights reserved. http://www. cisjournal. org A flexible IT infrastructure appears to be an increasingly desirable objective for companies in a rapidly changing environment (Avison et al. , 1997). By enabling an organization to exploit potential business opportunities quickly, such flexibility helps give an organization competitive advantage (Duncan, 1995). A key issue for an organization is the configuration of its IT platforms, network, and telecommunications, and this in turn raises questions concerning configuration, compatibility and integration rules, access standards, connectivity of systems, and excess apacity over the current requirements (Duncan, 1995, p. 42). These needs have led to a move towards distributed computing and standardization (or “open systems”) that give a high level of connectivity. One example of a company that has implemented such an infrastructure for purposes of improving BPR success is Sweden Post (Moreton and Chester, 1997). any process improvement, no matter whether IT is present or not. Therefore, future research should integrate some dimensions of organizational structure and leadership, mission, and vision as mediating factors. REFERENCES  Akhavan, P. , Jafari, M. & Ali-Ahmadi, A. R. (2006). Exploring the interdependency between reengineering and information technology by developing a conceptual model. Business Process Management Journal, 12(4), 517. Retrieved December 12, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global.  Albadvi, A. , Keramati, A. , & Razmi, J. (2007). Assessing the impact of information technology on firm performance considering the role of intervening variables: organizational infrastructures and business processes reengineering. International Journal of Production Research, 45(12), 2697-2734. Retrieved December 9, 2010 from Business Source Premier database. 3] Al-Mashari, M. and Zairi, M. (2000b). Creating a fit between BPR and IT infrastructure: a  proposed framework for effective implementation. International Journal of Flexible  Manufacturing Systems. 12 (4). 253-74.  Avison, D. E. , Jones, J. , Powell, P. and Wilson, D. (2004). Using and validating the strategic  alignment model. Journal of Strategic Information Systems. 13. 223-46.  Avison, D. E. , Eardley, W. A. and Powell, P. (1997) “Developing information systems to support  flexible strategy”, Organisational Computing. 7 (1). 57-77.  Chan, S. L. (2000).
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Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 6. CONCLUSIONS This paper demonstrates the significance of IT in BPR and their interdependency that then impact business performance that is defined in four important dimensions: market share, customer relationship management, IT impact, and efficiency (as multifaceted such as lowering the cost, lowering the process variability, and lead time). This study expanded and further explored the frame work developed by Alan Eardley et al,( 2008) by collecting data from 150 small-to-medium sized companies in both manufacturing and service sectors through the Midwest.
They showed the different roles of IT in providing effective support for different types of BPR, and indicated that aiming for a type of BPR that is not compatible with the present role of an IT infrastructure will reduce the probability of success for a BPR project. If this is ignored, a BPR effort will either fail or will not produce the level of results that are often expected from BPR projects ( Alan Eardley et al, 2008). Organizations adapting high technology alone or BPR alone cannot achieve the same result and business performance as the organization that benefits from interdependency between IT and BPR.