A beginner’s guide to BPR

BPR is a radical way to revamp your processes and improve your workflow performance.

But it’s also often disruptive. Before you dive headfirst into BPR, then, it’s important to make sure that it’s the right move for your business.

To help, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to BPR. Here’s what it is, and how to get started with business process reengineering.

What is BPR?

To kick off the beginner’s guide to BPR, it’s worth defining exactly what BPR is.

BPR stands for Business Process Reengineering. It’s a method of strategically recreating the processes within your business. The goal is to improve flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness across your daily workflows.

Business process reengineering involves analysing your current process and workflows. Then, working out how to get rid of any that are sub-par. (Or fundamentally change them for the better.) Think of it like rebuilding an old car, you’ll have to replace a lot of parts to get it running smoothly.


The larger your business, the more expensive business process reengineering becomes. BPR is unlike business process improvement (BPI), which works to improve your current processes. Rather, BPR involves rebuilding your processes from the ground up. It can, for this reason, meet resistance from employees with change aversion

But, as a radical approach, BPR can bring radical improvements to a company’s efficiency and productivity. BPR can also be a useful activity before implementing business process automation. After all, it reduces the risk of automating (and amplifying) old, inefficient processes.

Completing BPR comprises of four key steps: define, analyse, identify and implement.

Step 1: Define your processes

The first step in the beginner’s guide to BPR is to define and map your current processes and workflows. This gives you an overview of what you’re working with. You should also make clear how each workflow or process fits into your business. This will help you to determine which processes are the most important.

Important processes will likely include any that have a direct impact on the customer. For example, the processes around your contact channels like live chat software, or telephone support. Other important processes could be any that involve sensitive data.

Step 2: Analyse your processes

With your processes now clearly defined, you can start to look for inefficiencies. A handy way to do this is to define the key performance indicators for each process or workflow. Ask yourself, what shows that the process is working successfully?

For instance, are there any bottlenecks? Do any of your workflows have unnecessary steps, or take too long to complete? Do you have too much or too little of a resource? Or, do any processes have an increased risk of error due to involving multiple handoffs?

Step 3: Identify improvements

Once you’ve analysed and identified the problem areas, you can start to plan how you will reengineer them. This is step three of the beginner’s guide to BPR.

Try to prioritise the most impactful tasks and processes during this step. Reengineering these may have the biggest benefits for you.

Step 4: Implement improvements

The last step in the beginner’s guide to BPR is to implement the changes to your processes. When doing this, be mindful of the team members it will most affect.

In some cases, your reengineered processes may mean team members need extra training. Ensure they all receive the tools they need to continue their work. Because their processes may be part of the change, be sure to support them through the transition.

The beginner’s guide to BPR

Business process reengineering is a useful way to start over when processes aren’t working. With it, you can improve business flexibility, efficiency and general performance.

But it’s worth remembering that business process reengineering is not a panacea. Sometimes, BPI is enough. And sometimes, you just need a little help from a business process automation tool, like ThinkAutomation.