Institutionen för Datavetenskap
Linköpings Universitet

Simulation Leverage in BPR - An evaluation of an SSIT Implementation

Petter Berggren


The need for organizational change is undisputed. Any viable company must acknowledge and understand the need to constantly adapt itself to a new business environment. Today's fierce competition, demanding customers and skilled workers have made older, taylorist approaches outdated. This has led to the birth of such business process oriented concepts for organizational change as Bussiness Process Reengineering (BPR).

The rationale behind BPR is that most organizations are not designed to support the actual tasks they perform, since they are organized around the division of labor instead of around the business processes. BPR is a program for managing a radical organizational change to a business process-oriented (and therefore more customer-focused and efficient) organization which sensibly utilizes today's technology.

BPR has been used successfully in a multitude of cases: to name but two examples, American Express cut its total costs by over 1 billion USD and Texas Instruments reduced its cycle times by more than half. However, the failure rate of BPR efforts is high, perhaps as high as 70%.

First, this thesis presents the ideas behind BPR as well as some of the classical theories on organizational change. Based on that discussion, the shortcomings with existing BPR methodologies are analyzed and classified. Then, suggestions for increasing the chances of success when applying BPR are offered.

A key element is the use of Simulation Supported Industrial Training (SSIT) during certain phases of BPR. The thesis will argue that SSIT can be a major contributor to the success of BPR. Using tailor-made computer-based simulation games, the SSIT method employs a participatory approach to promote learning, facilitate communication and encourage employees. In support of the presented hypothesis, theoretical links between the requirements for successful BPR efforts and the documented effects of SSIT are established.

Furthermore, a case study of an SSIT implementation during a BPR is described and analyzed. The results from the case study are conclusive. The use of SSIT during BPR undertakings strongly assists in keeping a clear focus on factors found essential for BPR success.