New Profession Development: The Case for the Business Process Engineer

New Profession Development: The Case for the Business Process Engineer

Ying Tat Leung (IBM Almaden Research Center, USA), Nathan S. Caswell (Janus Consulting, USA) and Manjunath Kamath (Oklahoma State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-587-2.ch805
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Adding engineering discipline to defining and managing the operation of business processes has become a truism although results of practical application have been mixed. This chapter argues that an obstacle to business process (re)engineering is the lack of a business process engineer role with an associated professional education, tools, and community. The main argument derives from an analysis of the domain structure for system design and comparison with existing practices in manufacturing engineering. We observe that: (1) At present there does not exist a profession of business process engineers. Their role in a firm is filled, on an ad-hoc basis, by business line personnel, information technology analysts or architects, and/or management consultants; (2) There is an increasingly critical need to master the subject of business process engineering for an individual firm as well as the general U.S. industry; (3) Other professionals, while having their own specialized skills valuable to a firm, do not necessarily have the optimal skill set for business process engineering. We therefore conclude that there is an urgent need for a professional business process engineer. We discuss the skills required of this profession and briefly describe a first course offered at a university on this subject. We propose that academic institutions should seriously consider such a new program today.
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1. Introduction And Preliminaries

It would be reasonable to assume that business transformation, process redesign or reengineering, an area much talked about by industry and academia, and practiced by a wide gamut of industries for more than a decade, is a fairly well defined academic and/or professional discipline. Our careful examination of this area indicates that this is not the case. In this paper, we argue for the need of such a discipline, which should be practised by a business process engineer (BPE). The success of the profession and ultimately, the business enterprises it serves depends on associated professional community, education, and standards.

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