CHAPTER 1 THE CRISIS HAS NOT GONE AWAY: OPPORTUNITY BECKONS

1.1 Introduction

It has been over twenty years since the first edition of the Champy and Hammer book Reengineering the Corporation (Hammer and Champy, 1993) took the business world by storm. Yet today, not a single company is satisfied with the speed with which it can respond to fast-changing market conditions. The competitive dynamics have in fact multiplied, with the Internet producing information at a stupendous rate and adding another dimension to the already complex landscape that businesses have to deal with – information. Social media has more recently added to the din, raising both the specter of uncontrolled information flow and the opportunity to reach consumers directly as never before.

The radical re-engineering era had been preceded by two other collective movements to improve competitiveness, referred to as total quality management (TQM) and Six Sigma. It was then, in the late 1980s, that, while I was designing a knowledge-based system for the Global Financial Services group at Apple, I learned of the re-engineering movement in one of my frequent visits to meet with the team at the Cupertino, California, headquarters. I was confronted by a senior executive with six massive binders of TQM flows. The company had adopted TQM. I asked my client about when and how they expected to implement the quality processes in the binders. His response, “ten years and we won't be done even with a small fraction.” Those ...

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