The rebirth of re-engineering

Once again, it's all about business processes. But this time around, IT is leading the charge.

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Now, in contrast, Hospira still has an SAP team, which deals strictly with technical issues and ERP technology. But it also has appointed relationship managers who sit on cross-functional teams organized around 12 different value streams. Now, Jones says, "when someone from the business calls, they know exactly who in IT to talk to."

Currently, the pharmaceutical manufacturer has seven of its biggest and most important projects operating in this manner, Jones says. The ultimate goal, under an enterprise initiative known as GATE, which stands for "globally aligned and transformative enterprise," is to have the entire company humming the same process-focused tune.

Moshe Schechter, director of device manufacturing operations at Hospira, is the "value stream owner" for the company's procure-to-stock process. The process includes all of the steps involved in acquiring raw materials, making medical devices such as tubing and infusion equipment, and finally, stocking the products in the warehouse.

Schechter's team also includes a relationship manager who is his key contact back to IT. "I know exactly where to go as a business leader," he says.

"As the value stream owner, I'm from the business side and I'm responsible for revamping the process," Schechter emphasizes. In previous re-engineering efforts elsewhere, "IT had business analysts who were re-engineering the processes so they could launch technology. There was no buy-in from the organization being re-engineered," he says, adding that "one of the biggest lessons learned is that re-engineering has to be a part of everyone's goals."

Jones puts it this way: "People, processes and technology go together for a reason. It's the people who change the process, and it's the process that is accelerated or automated because of the technology."

Pick Up the Pace

Speed and rate of change are perhaps two of the most significant factors in today's re-engineering efforts, says Scott Hicar, CIO at DigitalGlobe, which operates three Earth-imaging satellites and processes massive volumes of data used for everything from assessing disaster damage to providing location-based mobile services.

"If you think back to traditional re-engineering, there was the 'as is' and 'to be' implementation plan. There was a lot of thinking up front about the end state," says Hicar. "In today's world, growth happens so fast and technology is so pervasive and evolving at such an incredible rate that anybody who thinks they can step back and guess the end state five years from now is probably going to have a very high error rate."

By way of example, Hicar notes that one of DigitalGlobe's first big customers wanted its images for car navigation. DigitalGlobe provided images on which roads and highways could be electronically traced, and the software was ultimately built into the customer's car navigation workflow.

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