Experience counts, especially in a fast changing world
SharePoint is not only a great platform for enterprise content management, it is an excellent tool for Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and the timing for utilizing SharePoint for BPR could not be better. BPR has been around for a long time, and in a recent study by the Society of Information Management (SIM), BPR has maintained its importance among the top issues facing IT professionals. With the recent recession, BPR has become even more important and this fits nicely with the capabilities of SharePoint 2010 and the Streamline Processes promise of the four promises of SharePoint.
How many of you remember the 1993 best-selling book “Reengineering the Corporation” by Michael Hammer and James Champy? Since that time Business Process Reengineering or BPR has been in the top ten of key IT initiatives. A Wall Street Journal article “Ready To Reengineer” about the recent SIM survey, cites Jerry Luftman, executive director and distinguished professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, “In previous recessions, IT was typically the first place to get sliced and diced from a budgetary standpoint.” Luftman, who has overseen the SIM survey for nearly a decade, continues to explain that “this recession has been very, very different, because business people came to IT and asked them to help the rest of business become more productive.”
Not only has the thinking about BPR changed, so have the tools. Up until recently, major BPR projects, involved complex teams and system tools. Now with the advent of SharePoint and its built in, out of the box functionality, plus the powerful workflow engine, BPR is more easily attained not only by IT professionals, but by trained business professionals as well.
At Abel Solutions, we have seen many companies in the last few years expand their utilization of their SharePoint platform with process improvements that enable their companies to either increase revenue or improve profits. These projects can range from the simple automation of the Paid Time Off request to the total process reengineering of a complex contract management process. Examples of other SharePoint enabled BPR projects are:
|Marketing deliverables project management process improvement||Improved business efficiency|
|Reengineered customer feedback process||Measurement and improvement in cost of quality|
|On boarding process for growing consulting firm||Quicker time to billable consultant|
|Automation of journal entries into SAP (Additional SharePoint based tool)||Improved internal process efficiency|
|Streamlined capital appropriation process||Global view of all capital spending, thus improved use of capital|
|Reengineering of lab test processing (future project)||Improved internal process efficiency to allow growth without adding additional resources|
Improvement of business processes has been one of the main goals of Information Technology since the very beginning of IT. An exciting aspect of SharePoint is that once the business users see the capabilities and the “state of the possible” with the out of the box functionality of SharePoint, they will be doing much of the simple workflows and process improvements themselves. SharePoint is business IT. With the advent of some add-on third party tools, like Nintex, the capabilities can be dramatically increased.
The key out of the box SharePoint features that allow SharePoint to be such a powerful tool are: enterprise content management including document versioning, automatic email alerts, version control and a powerful workflow engine.
As we are all aware, there continues to be pressure to improve profitability. We should not overlook SharePoint as a fantastic and often already implemented platform from which simple to significant BPR projects can be developed. We need to continue to strive to enable sustained profitable growth of our organizations through the strategic implementation of business improvement tools such as SharePoint.