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Good and Bad of

By John McCormick  |  Posted 10-03-2007 Print

CIOs don't typically lead corporate transformation, but they're well positioned to help guide business process and improvement changes, says Michael Hammer, original champion of the business reengineering movement. Hammer labels the CIO the enterprise's c

Metrics"> The Sloan Management Review article says many of the metrics we use are worthless.

HAMMER: Organizations, to be blunt, really screw this up a lot.

It's mind-boggling how bad most organizations are with metrics. It's just shocking. You would think this is something they would have fixed a long time ago, but it's a persistent problem.

It seems that corporations consistently fall back into the seven deadly sins you define: vanity, or measuring just what you're good at; provincialism, or measuring just your department's part in a process instead of the entire process; narcissism, or measuring corporate goals instead of customer satisfaction; laziness, or not taking the time to figure out what should really be measured; pettiness, or measuring just small pieces of a process; inanity, or not considering the drain your measurement will have on the organization; and frivolity, or not taking measurements seriously.

HAMMER: They continue to make these same mistakes because those mistakes are a consequence of a lack of executive attention to the issue, complacency, not focusing end to end.

I know some organizations that have done a terrific job, but a lot still have a long way to go.

There's a number of business process management software tools on the market. Do they help, and if so, how much or how little?

HAMMER: My attitude about the business process management software is that it won't hurt, but it's not going to do you all that much good.

The critical elements in success with process are executive leadership, creativity to come up with new ideas, the management of change and the management of complex implementation. None of these have much to do with software tools. Yes, BPM software can help you model your processes, can help you in some cases simulate them, and in some case will allow you to create real-time support systems for your processes. It can't hurt. But it's not the difference between success and failure, not at this stage, at least.

Other software tools help organizations get a handle on their processes: knowledge management tools, business intelligence tools. Don't they all have a place?

HAMMER: Yes, but again, they are components that can support you in a process management effort.

My attitude is the same about them. They can't hurt unless you put too much attention on them and if you delude yourself into thinking they make the difference between success and failure.

Next Page: Process First, Technology Second


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