Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

A Methodology for Increasing Business Process Maturity in Public Sector

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

A Methodology for Increasing Business Process Maturity in Public Sector

Article excerpt


The need for business process improvement in public sector has been recognized many times. In 1990, during the period of many business process reengineering (BPR) projects, e.g. US government organizations went through the reform initiative named National Performance Review (Thompson, 2000), the main intention of which was organizational change. Several process change methods, that combine radical methods of BPR with a more progressive method of continuous process improvement, emerged (Hammer, 2004). Lately, they are particularly important when organizations are introducing ERP systems (Al-Mashari & Zairi, 1999; Davenport, 1998), e-business (Bosilj-Vuksic, Indihar Stemberger, Jaklic, & Kovacic, 2002), or SCM systems (Trkman, Indihar Stemberger, & Jaklic, 2002).

It is clear that radical changes in the execution of business processes and in the organizational structures are not suitable for the public sector because they are not possible for many, also political, reasons. Business process change in the public sector mostly means unification of business processes, automation of some activities and elimination of some unnecessary ones. Organizational changes are achievable only to a certain limit. Therefore classic methodologies for process change projects have to be adapted to projects in the public sector. The purpose of the paper is to present the methodology for business process change that has been proven successfully in some governmental organizations, since it considers their specifics. Its effectiveness is analyzed using business process maturity levels. The methodology has been developed and successfully applied by the authors and other members of the Business Informatics Institute (BII).

The paper is structured as follows: the following section presents some theoretical foundations of business process change methodologies, while section three begins by describing the specifics of business process change projects in the public sector and proposes a methodology suitable for the public sector. The proposed methodology has been successfully applied in a process change project at one of the Slovene ministries, which is also presented as a case study illustrating the application of the methodology. Final remarks and some further research directions are given in the last section.

Business Process Change

Business process change (BPC) is a strategy-driven organizational initiative to improve and (re)design business processes to achieve competitive advantage in performance through changes in the relationships among management, information, technology, organizational structure, and people (McCormack & Johnson, 2001). It integrates radical change methods of business process reengineering (Hammer & Champy, 1993) and a more progressive methods of continuous process improvement with adequate information technology (IT) and e-business infra-structure strategies. The main difference of both groups of methods is between improvement, which essentially relies on a problem-solving approach, and reengineering, which relies on reconceptualizing how a business process should work. Most process change projects fall between these extremes (Harmon, 2003).

Business Process Maturity

To analyze an organization's understanding of its processes i.e. to measure its current position in becoming business process oriented, to compare (benchmark) to other organizations, to analyze changes to the process understanding, and consequently a BPC project's success, the Business Process Orientation (BPO) maturity model developed by McCormack and Johnson (2001) can be very useful. The BPO maturity model was designed as a reference model of the evolutionary stages that organizations go through to become business process oriented.

A BPO maturity model identifies five levels or steps that describe how an organization typically evolves from the functionally strong organization with barely visible processes stage to the integrated processes inside the organization and with its vendors and suppliers. …

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