With the advent of the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and the blockchain technology that supports it, our civilization stands at the threshold of a new, far-reaching technological revolution. The consequences of the all-encompassing and pervasive impact of these new technologies will be dramatic. In fact, the consequences will be so dramatic, that they will radically change the way we do things, even, perhaps, our way of life.
Presently, Bitcoin and blockchain technology are increasingly becoming the enablers of new business concepts and thus driving us to shift paradigms. As a result, the old solutions, and the old ways of doing things are becoming obsolete. So, to remain competitive, companies should now be planning for a second reengineering revolution.
In the 1990s, information technology and the Internet were the enablers of reengineering. Today, they are Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Innovations trigger change. And, as always, change threatens us with risks. But change also presents us with fresh and amazing opportunities.
So, let’s seize these opportunities to dream of the future, reinvent, and start afresh. Bitcoin and the blockchain will enable us to get rid of those expensive and inefficient business processes that do not add value. Instead, we can create mind-blowing and unimagined new ones. Indeed, let’s reengineer the corporation all over again.
Reengineering, also known as Business Process Reengineering (BPR), as defined by Dr. Michael Hammer and Dr. James Champy is
“The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of the business process to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed.”
In this definition, the authors wanted the reader to focus on four key words: fundamental, radical, dramatic, and process.
A process is defined as, “a collection of activities that takes one or more kinds of input and creates an output that is of value to the customer.”
In the early 1990s, at the outset of the reengineering revolution, Dr. Michael Hammer published an article in the Harvard Business Review titled, Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate. In it, he calls companies to reengineer by using “the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance.”
Subsequently, Dr. Hammer and Champy wrote their seminal bestseller Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto For Business Revolution. In this book, the authors affirmed “that information technology acts as an essential enabler to reengineer, and that without information technology, the process could not be reengineered.” (p.44)
Why Reengineering Today?
Disruptive technologies, such as Bitcoin and the blockchain, impose big challenges to companies. They change the environment and create uncertainty or risks. So, to survive in this new environment, visionary companies must find ways to minimize the risks and enhance the opportunities that Bitcoin and blockchain technology bring today. That is, to maintain profitability and competitive advantage, managers must clearly redefine more ambitious objectives, and rethink and reinvent new business processes. Today, the impetus, as well as the enabler, for reengineering is Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
To achieve this, managers can select from several business strategies. One of them is reengineering. Some of the other change management methodologies are Organization Development (OD), Total Quality Management (TQM), and Lean Six Sigma. Or, managers may wish to select Business Process Management (BPM). Or, better, visionary business leaders will create and implement a completely new business change methodology.
Be aware, though, that each of these strategies involves colossal implementation challenges.
Reengineering, explicitly, seeks to wipe out the old processes to start anew, from scratch. Hopefully, this second reengineering effort, if undertaken, will be an improved version, by incorporating the lessons learned in the 90s. And, most importantly, this new version should factor in the human aspect of change, as this was one of the elements most criticized by the detractors of the reengineering methodology.
Time to Imagine the Future
Examples of business processes that no longer work are abundant. Look at how credit cards, financial clearing houses, financial institutions, remittances, currency exchanges, and bank deposits work. Look at how our tax and health-care systems work. At a minimum, the processes involved in these services are slow, cumbersome, complex, and expensive. And, they are mostly unfair to the consumer.
Now, imagine the ways we would be doing business by using Bitcoin. Notice its numerous attributes, namely: decentralization, transparency, neutrality, fungibility (bitcoin units are capable of mutual substitution), some degree of anonymity, no charge-backs, low transaction costs, no taxes, and security. Moreover, it is an anti-inflationary currency, as the maximum number of bitcoins that can ever be created is 21 million, an amount that is scheduled to be reached in the year 2140. The price of a bitcoin is determined only by the law of supply and demand.
Blockchain is the digital public ledger that contains the records of all Bitcoin transactions ever processed. The majesty of this protocol resides in its transparency, resiliency, trustworthiness, security, efficiency, and low cost.
Imagine the business processes that we can now invent and reengineer by taking advantage of the virtues of blockchain technology. Actually, this is already happening. Examples of new processes that are being dreamed of using this technology already abound. One of them is described in the article Future Use Cases For Blockchain Technology – Parcel Tracking Regardless of Courier. Another clear example of how the blockchain can enable us to devise new ideas and new concepts is shown in the article E-Citizenship Can Benefit From Blockchain Technology.
So, now, with the innovative power of Bitcoin and the blockchain, it is a wonderful time to visualize the future and discover unimagined new ways of doing things.
How do you think Bitcoin and blockchain technology could enable business reengineering? Let us know in the comments below!
Hammer, M., & Champy, J. (1993). Reengineering the corporation: A manifesto for business revolution. New York, NY: HarperBusiness.
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