how a redesigned process will behave under a series of what-if situations. Through this computerized tryout method, managers can identify possible bottlenecks and shortcomings in new process designs without having to actually implement the process.
A major benefit with the latest crop of modeling software is their ability to tell agencies what it will cost to redesign its business process. For example, government analysts can simulate how much staff and equipment will be needed for a redesigned process and what those costs will be. However, analysts are quick to point out that if the numbers are garbage, the results will be garbage.
That's why government agencies involved with BPR for the first time are likely to bring in outside consultants who are familiar with the modeling tools and can assist with the actual construction of the process model and the simulation. But with more tools offering easy-to-use graphical layouts and the ability to run on Microsoft's Windows and NT platforms, anyone with a solid understanding of their business processes and workflows can use BPR modeling tools.
Business modeling software ranges in price from $500 to $50,000, depending on its sophistication. Some products do nothing more than basic flow-charting while others can take users through the entire BPR process.
According to Bob Seltzer, president of Meta Software Corp., most buyers of his product, Workflow Analyzer, have been commercial firms. "But recently, we've seen increased interest from the state and local government market." Seltzer said that improving customer service and cost containment are the two primary reasons agencies invest in modeling and simulation software for reengineering.
NEW YORK STATE
Recently, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance used Meta Software's Workflow Analyzer to reengineer how it processes tax returns using imaging software. According to Seltzer, the department's major objectives were to reduce the time it takes to process a return and send out a refund check and to reduce the cost of processing the form. Workflow Analyzer captures data related to budgets, staff and equipment and simulates various work design scenarios, tests assumptions and measures results. Michigan's Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth of Virginia also have used Meta Software's modeling and simulation tools.
Simprocess, from CACI International, is another leading BPR tool for modeling, simulation and analysis. It has been used by a number of government agencies including Arizona's Department of Liquor Licensing and Control, which reengineered license issuance and investigations using imaging technology. The department was able to reduce the time it took to issue a license by 25 percent while driving down the cost of issuance by 33 percent. Costs related to license investigations were reduced by 80 percent.
NORTH DAKOTA AND NEBRASKA
Both North Dakota and Nebraska used Composer, a modeling and CASE (computer-aided software engineering) tool from Texas Instruments to reengineer social service programs. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also used Composer to build work process models for its imaging and workflow systems.
As agencies, such as motor vehicles, strive to improve customer service, while others, such as human services, push to contain costs, the need for BPR in government will continue to increase. But like so many other software products these days, business process modeling software is nothing more than a tool. Without goals, good leadership, realistic expectations and extensive planning, BPR will remain nothing more than another management acronym.
PROBLEM/SITUATION: Imaging projects may simply pave the cowpath. Business process reengineering is often difficult to execute.
SOLUTION: Business process modeling software tools.
JURISDICTION: Arizona Dept. of Liquor Licensing and Control, New York Dept. of Taxation, North Dakota, Nebraska, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Michigan Dept. of Transportation, Commonwealth of Virginia.
VENDORS: Meta Software Corp., CACI International, Texas Instruments, Gensym Corp., Imagine That!, CSA Research, Clear Software, AdvanEdge, Logic Works.
CONTACT: Louis Zand, Meta Software, 617/876-9725.
Other leading BPR tools include: ReThink from Gensym Corp., Extend+BPR from Imagine That!, Optima from AdvanEdge Technologies, BPwin from Logic Works, SILVERRUN-BPM from CSA Research and Clear Process from Clear Software.
[ May Table of Contents]