Is BPR Helping ERP or is ERP Helping BPR?

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Is BPR Helping ERP or is ERP Helping BPR?
Muhammad Nauman Habib, Professor, Pakistan

I am a PhD student and my area is BPR. I just want to know your expert opinion (just general) regarding the relationship of BPR and ERP.
It is a fact that BPR uses technology for efficiency however, I have come across that ERP is doing the same.
So my question is how are these two tools interrelated, and which one is helping the other?
Is BPR used to implement ERP or is ERP helping BPR?

BPR Helping ERP or ERP Helping BPR
Djoki EWANE, Consultant, Cameroon
1. Implementing an ERP system requires the company to have all its process properly organized, in order to have the ERP to function properly.
For example, in an industrial company, certain processes need to work in a specific interrelated way:
- Production requires raw materials and derives product demand from clients (sales).
- Production also implies maintenance, so there is a need for spare parts. That requires procurement.
While implementing an ERP, these processes must be realigned to fit with the system. Maintenance for instance, needs to reorganize and describe all the ranges of maintenance. If not, the system will not deliver its best as far as maintenance, spare parts procurement, and inventory management are concerned.
2. On the other hand, in order to implement a BPR initiative, supporting it with an ERP system is not a must, but it is a possibility.
Therefore, to answer your question, depending on the organization of your processes, ERP can oblige you to perform a BPR. But you can achieve a successful BPR improvement without using an ERP system.

Take ERP as a Part of BPR
Muhammad Nauman Habib, Professor, Pakistan
@Djoki EWANE: Thank you for your kind insight. Here comes another question in my mind.
If BPR is already relying on IT as an integral part then why not take ERP as a part of BPR instead of taking them as two different processes?

Why ERP is Often not a Part of BPR
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Muhammad Nauman Habib: Indeed it seems logical from your viewpoint to have ERP as a part of 'the BPR effort'. After all, IT has to support the business. However, there are several reasons why things don't always work that way:
- ERP projects are typically company-wide efforts, BPR projects are typically focused on just one business activity.
- ERP projects involve large investments so they are negotiated and funded typically at CFO level. BPR projects are often funded at the business unit or at the business function level.
- ERP projects are often managed by the IT function of a firm, while BPR projects are managed at the business level.
- Many companies are afraid for the complexity of having several BPR efforts to optimize certain processes (think of integration, communication). An ERP, although probably not offering an optimal solution, at least has the benefit that it is already working in an integrated way and requires less complex communication.

Why ERP is Often not a Part of BPR
Muhammad Nauman Habib, Professor, Pakistan
@Jaap de Jonge (Editor): Agreed. However, if you go through BPR-research studies you will find that most of the respondents (sample) selected are MIS managers or ICT managers. What do you say about that?

Why BPR Respondents are IT People
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Muhammad Nauman Habib: Perhaps the business people are too busy and ask their IT person to do the paperwork ;-).

Why BPR Respondents are IT People
Muhammad Nauman Habib, Professor, Pakistan
@Jaap de Jonge (Editor): Hahaha well that is not what we call CSR or ethics. I believe that might affect the outcome and may create problems.

Why BPR Respondents are IT People
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Seriously, yes indeed that might affect the outcomes, but I think it is the reality in business / management practise.


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