The philosophy of continuous process change is taking hold in American businesses, yet the more radical approach, business process reengineering, is alive as well. The majority of the 727 respondents to our August survey said many departments frequently change their business processes, but the methods for achieving such change aren't well defined. Also, IT execs believe that department heads are generally satisfied with IT's support for their business processes despite less than effective software support.

About seven out of 10 respondents say their companies are definitely committed to continuous process improvement, yet little more than a third say their methods for achieving it are well-defined. Also, nearly two thirds say their companies are reengineering in some way every two years or less, indicating companies take both ongoing and "big bang" approaches to improving the way they do things.

Business processes within the various departments seem to be well-defined, with IT, customer service and finance all reported as being the most explicit. And IT is deeply involved in supporting many of them, especially processes that influence the way services are delivered to customers, such as doctors in a hospital. However, the software IT is providing doesn't seem to be up to the task, since no single application offers great value, according to more than half of our respondents.

This article was originally published on 08-13-2002
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