The Case for the Business Process Engineer

Structuring the operation of businesses by process-based constructs with a concurrent emphasis on the term engineering has become a truism although the effectiveness of applying these ideas has been mixed. This paper concludes that an obstacle to business process (re)engineering is the lack of a business process engineer role with an associated professional education, standards, and community. This conclusion derives from an analysis of natural knowledge domains in system design, comparison with existing engineering practices and the characteristics of business systems.

We observe that:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. These other professionals, while having their own specialized skills valuable to a firm, do not necessarily have the optimal skill set for business process engineering.
4. We therefore conclude that there is an urgent need for a professional business process engineer. We discuss the skills required of this profession and propose that academic institutions should seriously consider such a new program today.

By: Ying Tat Leung; Nathan Caswell; Manjunath Kamath

Published in: RJ10355 in 2005


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