Sept 95 Dr. Michael Hammer, famous as coauthor of the international best-seller "Reengineering the Corporation," asserts that technology is a lever to help create new processes for delivering products or services. "Without the creative use of technology, there is no reengineering," he said during a recent interview

Hammer and Steven A. Stanton recently wrote "The Reengineering Revolution," a book concentrating on how to reengineer an organization. The book - packed with case studies and advice from the trenches - is published by Harper Collins Inc

The following interview with Dr. Hammer was conducted by GT Features Editor Brian Miller

GT: What inspired you to write "Reengineering the Corporation?" Hammer: The book was not my first foray into reengineering. I wrote an article on the topic for our business review a couple of years earlier and I was giving talks around the world on the topic. I knew there was a lot of interest in it, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a book that would get broader distribution and be able to communicate the idea to a large group of people

GT: Why do you think the subject interests so many people? Hammer: One reason is because reengineering actually works. As opposed to a lot of management fads which sound good on paper but don't really have any impact on how an organization works, reengineering does work. Companies that apply it and do it in the right way have achieved dramatic improvement in how they operate. It's not a miracle cure, but it does work

Secondly, it seems to sit well with time. A lot of people are coping and struggling with difficult circumstances. Many different industries, including the public sector, are now facing pressures and needs to change

That that kind of environment holds out the prospect of really helping them is really interesting

Thirdly, just the term itself is simple and accessible. It doesn't sound ponderous or intimidating

GT: What do you hope to accomplish with your latest work, "The Reengineering Revolution"? Hammer: To give people the tools to succeed better at reengineering. To give people the techniques and mechanisms to make reengineering work. A lot of people have started at reengineering only to find that they had problems implementing it because they didn't know how. This is to get people to know how

GT: Shifting to the nuts and bolts of reengineering; what do the public and private sectors have in common? Hammer: They have most things in common. It turns out that reengineering is not about profit and loss, and it's not about the stock market. It's about how work is conducted - how it's performed

Public sector organizations work just like private ones do. The reengineering seeks to create better mechanisms for doing productive work

There are some differences between the private and public sectors, but it's my experience that differences are much less important than similarities

It's sometimes harder for the public sector to identify the customer

Reengineering is customer focused. It asks, "how do we deliver better value for the customer?" If it's hard to name your customer, then it's hard to figure out what to do for them

Also, in the public sector there are more limitations on degrees of freedom because of statutes or regulations. That doesn't mean you can't do things, but that you have additional challenges. There are a number of very successful reengineering efforts that are underway in the public sector now

In reengineering, people learn the most by looking at industries other than their own. The public sector has a lot to learn from the private sector

Just like I tell the insurance people, they should look at automotive and automotive