4.1. The Origins of and Need for Business Process Modelling

Although people have been modelling businesses since Adam Smith and drawing network model diagrams (such as procedure flow charts) at least since the 1940s, the modern business process management movement grew out of an earlier focus on what was called business process re-engineering (BPR). BPR became a fashionable topic during the first half of the 1990s and received much attention. It was locally, but not universally, successful, but it did help a few businesses to reorganize their operations and change their relationship to information technology radically and irreversibly. Typically this has been also associated with a move to evolutionary and agile development and sometimes with the adoption of new computer technology and e-commerce.

Business process re-engineering is the radical rethinking and redesign of an entire business, its processes, organizational structure, management, jobs and value system. Its aim is dramatic performance improvement. It is accomplished by first identifying the key processes needed to do business and then breaking through organizational and functional divisions that could impede these processes. Processes are viewed from new angles and new organizational structures invented to support them. Increasing global competition still makes many businesses feel compelled to consider BPR and business process management as enablers of greater business agility.

BPR and business process management projects ...

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