Friday, May 07, 2010


Change is a constant for any Kenyan business entity. Due to economical, technological, environmental, regulatory and social shifts, local businesses are forced to periodically re-define or re-engineer themselves. The bottom-line is usually survival and any rigid company caught flat-footed by the market perishes. In the recent past may companies have become aware of this and consequently restructured.

This change is equivalent to re-engineering which is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical areas of performance such as cost, quality, service and speed.

Business re-engineering used to be perceived as the alignment of an organization’s processes with technology. Bringing in the ICT artillery and automating as many processes as possible was considered the silver bullet.

It has being proven that implementing ICT and disguising it as a reengineering effort is a sure way of failing. The focus on achieving rapid results, by adopting ICT-based solutions as substitutes, leads to problems of lack of integration, employee resistance, low morale and eventual failure.

Re-engineering is often seen as a smokescreen for retrenchment. This is unfortunately the case in most instances. The objective of restructuring is therefore based on the wrong business premise(s). Short term-cost reductions due to external pressures usually take precedence over the strategic objective of attaining market penetration, customer retention and empowerment of employees.

Majority of business re-engineering failures can therefore be attributed to the lack of attention to the change itself and people issues. It is therefore important to deal with re-engineering from the perspective of two concepts: change and people management. Change management is concerned with the issues of improvements that are to occur. People management appreciates that employees are a major differentiating factor from company to company. Technology is an important facilitator in this total re-engineering process.

To be able to determine and organize the changes required, information flow needs to be at an optimum. Co-operation and exchanging of ideas from employees requires communication. Using technology in form of e-mails, telephoning, video-conferencing, databases and others will fundamentally tilt your restructuring towards success.

The role of ICT is therefore generally involved with improving co-ordination and information access across an organization that is in the process of re-engineering. This allows more effective management and solution implementation. The main IT tools used by companies in their re-engineering projects are usually SAP, databases, internet and simulation applications. Implementing ICT, in the re-engineering process, is therefore not an end in itself.

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