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Process Re-Engineering Reborn

The cover of the September 10 issue of ComputerWorld caught my attention; the headline was Rebirth of Re-Engineering. I was intrigued how the analysts and pundits would spin Business Process Reengineering since I hadn’t seen the BPR acronym much since it fell out of favor around the turn of the century. As it turns out, the NEW BPR is all about Lean and Agile and is being led by IT.  Wow!

Coincidentally, September 10 was also the first day of the inaugural Lean IT Summit taking place in Orlando. And what did all the speakers talk about? How Lean and Agile techniques can deliver business value, align the organization silos around customer value streams and how IT can lead the transformational effort. The 70+ people that signed up for the summit are a clear sign that Lean IT is quickly moving from the early adopter phase to the rapid expansion phase.

According to ComputerWorld, Helen Cousins , CIO at Lincoln Trust in Denver, said  “You have to apply lean practices and agile methods. The faster you know you’re going the wrong way, the quicker you can fix it.” The point about “failing fast” was driven home time-and-again at the Lean IT Summit by Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations. Menlo Innovations has an enviable track record in building software solution quickly and with high quality. For example, they use agile techniques to build quality in by having the business users present the results of each iteration – and they use Lean techniques such as visual controls to continuously improve and to scale their capabilities.

Continuing in the article, Rob Alexander, CIO at Capital One, talked about his re-engineering effort led by IT.  A key area that Capital One is focusing on involves consolidating data production and operation silos into two data centers running a standard set of technologies. Which is of course the focus of this blog series and my evangelism over the past 10-plus years – namely Integration Competency Centers leveraging a unified integration platform  as an enterprise strategy for competitive advantage.

The ComputerWorld article also talked about Moshe Schecter, director of device manufacturing operations at Hospira, who is the “value stream owner” for the pharmaceutical and medical device company’s procure-to-stock process.  Mosche says in the article that “one of the biggest lessons learned is that re-engineering has to be part of everyone’s goals.”

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is arguably one the most useful all Lean techniques. A VSM service has been available for some time from Informatica through the Informatica Marketplace, but more recently it has been expanded with over 30 Technical Architecture Managers and Technical Delivery Managers now trained and capable of applying the technique to help IT teams streamline their end-to-end processes. If you want to learn more or are interested in seeing some examples, just drop me a note, or comment on this blog posting.

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