Should we be focusing on business process re-engineering before heading into digital transformation? Source: Shutterstock

Should we be focusing on business process re-engineering before heading into digital transformation? Source: Shutterstock

The role of business process re-engineering in digital transformation

GOING digital isn’t easy, but organizations that struggle the most tend to be the ones that jump into new and exciting use cases rather than reviewing existing workflows to identify which technologies would be best suited.

Management consultants such as McKinsey and BCG and publications such as the Harvard Business Review often cite the high failure rate among organizations pursuing digital transformation — which sometimes exceeds 70 percent. This raises the question: Where are business leaders going wrong?

Pursuing digital transformation indicates that the board of an organization is aware of the benefits of technology, have the resources to invest in technology, and often, have advisors in the shape of subject matter experts, consultants, or even vendors, helping them craft an agenda and implement it.

While all that is great, some experts believe that business leaders go wrong with the fundamentals of their digital transformation.

The proverb “well begun is half done” holds true for business leaders exploring technology because failing to take into account the needs of the business and its employees before exploring “use case” will probably not yield the best results.

What’s the solution then? Well, management theory suggests that any overhaul of a company’s business processes with or without technology should be looked at as a “re-engineering” exercise.

Most business leaders understand this, and prior to the buzz around digital transformation, spent a lot of time and attention evaluating processes, looking for ways to streamline workflows, questioning whether or not certain steps in a process were important, and determining which parts of the process brought the most value and which were most cumbersome.

Business process re-engineering helps organizations figure out exactly which parts of their workflows required attention — allowing leaders to hone in on areas where technology can bring the most value.

Integrating business process re-engineering into the decision-making process not only helps organizations get more value out of their investment in technology but also solves problems for employees which helps bring about a change in mindset.

Overall, organizations need to understand that using technology to transform their business is great, but the key to success lies in finding out what ails the business and using technology to remedy those issues before finding novel use cases of any new-age technology.