Process-centric IT in Practice: Mobilizing IT through Business Process Management

Process-centric IT in Practice: Mobilizing IT through Business Process Management

Artur Siurdyban (Aalborg University, Denmark) and Peter Axel Nielsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2012070101

Abstract

This case illustrates and discusses the issues and challenges at Kerrtec Corporation and their effort to establish process-centric IT management. The case describes how one of the company’s employees was tasked with implementing a streamlined sales process, which heavily depended on the supporting IT systems. The paper describes how the implementation project provided directions for improving global competencies to work across boundaries between business and IT in order to successfully manage business processes. The case emphasizes the importance of IT in process management, but at the same time highlights the organizational challenges faced by companies willing to supply their process initiatives with the right blend of IT and business process expertise. Specifically, it discusses the transcendent nature of IT competencies in business process management projects and positions them against possible governance structures.
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Organizational Background

In 1933, a homegrown inventor and entrepreneur Paul Ziggel started a company in a rural area of northern Europe. The production initially focused on valves for heating control, but was quickly expanded to other product areas. Soon, the company expanded to new geographical markets and today operates in Denmark, Germany, Norway, France, South Africa, Ireland, Great Britain, Slovakia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Brazil, Estonia, Poland, Finland, China, Sweden, and the USA. With the new businesses came new challenges on leveraging synergies on the diversified portfolio of companies, which were granted a significant degree of autonomy and flexibility.

Two of the U.S. acquisitions were a Mid-Western manufacturer of DC electronic controls known as Sevco Products, based in Fairview, IN and Bell Controls, located in Clayton, MN. The latter was a job shop for application frames for electronic control units, and products made in Fairview were shipped to Clayton where they were mounted on panels before being shipped to the customers.

In the mid-1990s the facilities introduced a ‘manufacture to order’ production. In order to handle the growing demand for product tailoring, the companies adopted in the early 2000s an online configuration tool. Kerrtec’s sales process thus became reliant on its ability to handle complex digital configuration models. Specifically it needed to make sure that the systems supported the business in:

  • Assisting the customer in specifying the configuration,

  • Manufacturing product according to the configuration,

  • Delivering the right product to the customer, and

  • Invoicing for the specific product configuration.

With the rapidly growing number of parameters and their combinations these tasks were becoming increasingly difficult. The organization decided to improve the process.

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