Why Read It?
This is the book that started the reengineering and process enterprise revolution, managerial innovations that have now become part of standard business practice.
Focuses on how to improve three key areas of management—roles, styles and systems.
Encourages organizations to take a fresh look at inefficient and outdated processes in the context of a competitive environment.
Reengineering the Corporation is seen as the key book in the movement to corporate reengineering. It encourages organizations to take a fresh look at inefficient and outdated processes, and to focus on dramatic improvements in cost, quality, service, and speed. Although the message has been misinterpreted, reengineering remains a powerful tool for change.
Michael Hammer (b. 1948) is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School, and is a founder of several high-technology companies. He was previously a Professor of Computer Science at MIT, and was named by Time as one of America’s 25 most influential individuals.
James Champy (b. 1942) is Chairman of Perot Systems consulting practice. He was previously Chairman and CEO of CSC Index, the management consulting arm of Computer Science Corporation.
Analyzes reengineering as a fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes, to make key processes as lean and profitable as possible, discarding peripheral processes and people if necessary.
Argues that reengineering puts a premium on the skills and potential of the people at the center of the organization, and should also tackle three key areas of management—managerial roles, styles, and systems.
Proposes that reengineering should go far beyond just altering and refining processes: the objective should be to reverse the Industrial Revolution.
Suggests that organizations should start with a blank piece of paper and map out new processes to identify how their business should operate more successfully, before attempting to translate this into concrete reality.
Part of the problem is seen to be that managers fail to impose change on themselves—they concentrate on tearing down processes, but they leave their own jobs and management styles intact. However, the old ways of management could eventually undermine the very structure of their rebuilt enterprises.
Reengineering is seen by some as an old concept with a new label. Frederick W. Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management advocated similar change, but at an individual rather than an organizational level.
The message of the book has sometimes been taken too literally, with reengineering a synonym for downsizing or redundancy.
“I tell them what I really do is I’m reversing the Industrial Revolution.”