Business Process Change: A Manager's Guide to Improving, Redesigning, and Automating Processes (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems) Paperback – 4 Jan 2003
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"This book is a must-read for every business manager who wants to manage business process change in an e-business environment; it's a true practitioner's guidebook to the complex world of end-to-end business process management. The book not only gives an excellent introduction to all aspects of process change management (from analysis or redesign to implementation to monitoring to improvement of business processes), but also provides a comprehensive guide to state-of-the-art techniques and technologies supporting the various aspects of this process (from process design methodologies to realizing business processes via choreography of Web services)."Steve Mill, Senior Vice President, IBM Software Group
"Finally a book that brings it all togetherbackground, theory, and practicein a way that is easily digested by business and IT managers alike. This book is a must-read for anyone contemplating a business change project in order that they understand why a holistic approach is beneficial and how the work they are undertaking will impact others.
"The concepts and notations presented in the book are straightforward and easy to follow and do not require either weeks of training or an army of outside consultants to help implement them. I feel sure that after reading the book, any manager will come away with two lasting impressions: first, "Now I understand where that fits . . ." and "Yes, I can do it.""Mark McGregor, Vice President, MEGA International
"Finally, someone has written a practical guide for those building a business for the information age."Bill Coleman, Founder, Chairman, CSO, BEA Systems
"When it comes to Business Process Change, Paul Harmon"s new book is a must-read. It is a great resource for performance improvement professionals."Dr. Roger M. Addison, Director Performance Technologies, International Society for Performance Improvement
"A great deal has been written about process improvement and business process reengineering, most before its presumed demise and recent resurrection. Much has been written about the Internet and e-business, most before the tech bubble. This book is "post-bust"; it is the first book to thoroughly discuss the critical link between "process," information technology, and the Internetall things that managers must understand if they are to develop and manage sound internal operations that will provide legitimate profits. And it is the manager"s job to do that. Some of the technical work must be done by business process consultants and IT staff, but the setting of the direction and requirements, the management of the integrating efforts, must be done by managers. That critical role cannot be delegated to the "techies." Meeting that management challenge will be made easier by this book."From the foreword by Geary A. Rummler, Founder and Chairman, Performance Design Lab; Co-author, Improving Performance
About the Author
Paul Harmon is the founder and chief strategy officer of Enterprise Alignment and the executive editor of Business Process Trends Newsletter. He has coauthored many books, including Developing E-Business Systems and Architectures: A Managers Guide, The Object Technology Casebook (Wiley), and the international bestseller Expert Systems: Artificial Intelligence for Business (Wiley).
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In hindsight, I wish I'd been able to read Paul Harmon's Business Process Change a year ago. Creating the team and its functions would have been much simpler, direct, and less time-consuming. Based on our experiences in a process architecture team in a $75B IT company, I see the book having major value to at least three audiences I deal with daily. First, the book is for managers considering major business change. It will provide a blueprint to why they might be changing (Part 1 - Process Management), specific ways they might change (Part IV - Patterns section), and if/when they use external consultants, a way to specify with formidable detail what they're expecting to receive (Part II - Modeling, and Part III - Managing).
Second, it is for IT people who are seeking to regain architectural and analytic skills, which ERP and packaged workflow may have supplanted. This book provides both modern idioms for approaching business with what might be termed `object-oriented' analysis (Part II - Modeling), as well as a summary of the field of implementation techniques (Part V - Automation and Part VI - E-Business).
Third, for the consulting function to both IT and business, it provides a well-rounded blueprint for marketing (value propositions), tools, techniques, and implementation approaches. I cannot imagine a consultative team which doesn't have virtually all the elements of Paul's book as part of their basic operations. Certainly, no state-of-the-art team would want to be without them.
For the futurists (which I don't deal with daily), the book provides an implicit narrative of how the nature of business is changing (I myself feel we're on the edge of a dramatic change in business structure.) It begins with the disappearance of organizational models - which in the book are artifacts of a process model - and the focus on quantifiable outcomes for transactions (I'm thrown back to hierarchy-disrupting transactional analysis from the `70s). It continues by looking at virtual business structures - the `extended supply chain' example which Paul walks through -- a linking together of transactions. And it ends by building IT - automation -- around process elements instead of traditional `systems' architecture. Traditional labels, capsules, and hierarchies change and shift, and I see the book in a more `future perfect' tense.
I especially liked the overview of the history and trends in process management. Showed where the field is evolving and why.
This book is thoughtful in its construction and clearly written. The diagrams, the text, the glossary, and the notes are truly meaningful as they paint a coherent story of how to evaluate and improve process architectures. I've chosen to describe this book as a sequence of stories, coherent stories that lead to a logical conclusion - a rare feat for book about business in the modern world of enterprise-wide IT systems. When I bought this book based on the reviews on Amazon, I was looking for a modern book tying together the loose ends between process and implementation of systems. I certainly got what I wanted and you will too.
Unfortunately most books about business process change tend to assume that IT is merely a support player in relation to business. The continued economic downturn only serves to reinforce this mistake. At the same time most books about systems analysis and design, including those on the Unified Modeling Language (UML), are weak in their treatment of business processes. There is a widespread failure to appreciate the collaboration that must achieved between business and IT if business process change is to really work well in today's climate.
While this book will probably be of immediate interest to business managers, the refreshing thing about Paul Harmon's new book is that it speaks clearly to both IT and business camps in plain language. It reflects the need to integrate business and IT thinking. As such it is also a must read for both business facing IT people and for those key individuals who are breaking the conventional barriers between business and IT.
The book contains a wealth of timely advice. While it's range is wide and impressive, it is structured for ease of information access. This means that readers can quickly use the book for reference. Enjoy!
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