BR INTERVIEW. Mihaela Filipas (Arggo Consulting): The goal of Business Process Reengineering is to help companies rethink workflows in order to better meet business objectives

Aurel Dragan 04/06/2019 | 08:00

Arggo Consulting is an innovative Romanian consulting and software development company which came to disrupt the business solutions industry by leading the customer journey into the new digital era. They offer end-to-end, tailor-made industry solutions by blending Dynamics 365, Office 365, Azure and Business Intelligence with a vast consulting experience. Besides being a Microsoft Gold partner, the company also creates its own solutions for specific industries (Legal 365, Heavy Machinery, SMB Power Package).

The company is one of the few in Romania that can not only offer Business Process Reengineering (BPR) but can also assist with the technological transformation that can result from it, from architecture and implementation to support.

It is not easy to understand a concept like BPR since it is quite new at the global level and even newer in Romania. Business Review talked to Mihaela Filipas, Senior Expert BPR at Arggo Consulting, to find out more about the process and how it is perceived in Romania.

Mihaela Filipas has extensive experience working in high-level management position in big corporations and Consulting Companies.

“I was involved in 3 startups, McDonald’s, Connex and Oskar Mobile, Connex’s sister company in the Czech Republic, both later sold to Vodafone. When I left Oskar Mobile, I worked at PwC Consulting division as a business consultant. Afterwards, I worked at Romtelecom as Sales and Customer Care Director, coordinating a team of 3,000 employees, and then as Supply Chain Director. When I left Romtelecom I returned to consulting, now I am Senior Expert BPR at Arggo Consulting coordinating the BPR and the Project Management teams.”

What is Business Process Reengineering?

BPR does not have a very long history. It appeared in the 1990s and since then it has been adopted by all the big companies. The Big 4 consultants (PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young) are among the front-runners for providing a BPR.

“Before starting to technologically revolutionize itself, any company should make sure that its workflows can support plans for expansion. Sometimes, especially when a company has had an accelerated growth, it tends to focus on meeting new challenges and forget that the company’s business workflows are live organisms that constantly need scaling, analyzing, adaptation and improvement in order to sustain daily activity.

BPR’s main goal is to help companies fundamentally rethink how they do their work in order to drastically improve customer service, cut operational costs and better meet business objectives.

My first big BPR project was for Romtelecom in 2002. I was part of a Romanian-Greek-British team. We had support from the UK, they showed us what BPR really means, which are the maps which should be designed and how to do it. It was an enormous project. At that moment Romtelecom had 41 regions, which meant 41 systems in each functional area.  The target of the transformation teams, which included key users within the company and external consultants, was to create a sole global system. It was a beautiful project that lasted almost 2 years.” says Filipas.

Why does a company need a BPR?

“I would always do BPR before implementing a new IT system (ERP, CRM, BI etc.). Always. Typically, foreign-owned companies always start with BPR. For example, one of our clients, for whom we recently did a BPR, has Irish shareholders, who have explicitly requested it. The BPR may initially increase the budget, but long term it saves a lot more. The lack of a BPR prior to the implementation of a new IT system increases the after-implementation costs due to extended customization in various areas in order to meet business requirements. Subsequently people suffer more and their reluctancy towards new systems or any other change increases.

There are also cases of company mergers where BPR is needed to introduce a linear process for all the companies. Or there are companies that want to outsource certain processes, which may not be core-business. Then there are companies that have had a rapid growth, staring out as a family business and in time reaching hundreds or thousands of employees. Those are all cases of companies for which a BPR is a prerequisite,” says Filipas.

Does BPR lead to a reduction of the number of employees?

“This is a frequent misperception. Of course, BPR concludes with a resource requirement and specific KPIs but that doesn’t necessarily mean a cut in the number of employees. Sometimes it could highlight the need for new roles in the company, the addition of new employees or the move of certain groups under different or new departments.

A fundamental key to the success of the implementation of the BPR is the correct communication of its necessity within the company. The employees must understand that the process and the outcome will guarantee easier, more flexible and comprehensive workflows which will increase their productivity and eliminate repetitive or overlapping activities,” says Filipas.

How do you organize your team for a BPR project?

“In principle, as a consulting team, we try to mirror our client’s team. Which means that I’m the project manager on Arggo Consulting’s side and the client has a project manager for their team. On the second level, from the client’s side, there are the process owners, chosen by the project manager and validated by top management. Another level consists of the reengineering team which includes consultants and key users for each process, depending on how big the company is or the complexity of the project,” says Filipas.

“It’s important for me to know who joins the client’s team. It is imperative that we not only have management level members, but also key users of the daily operations. It may happen to have regional teams that have different ways of working and we need to know them too in order to reach a unitary way of working.

After the teams are created, we start having interviews with the reengineering team members and process owners. During this time, we map the “AS IS” process and add all sorts of annotations about what can or should be changed. After we understand how people work in the company, we start creating the “TO BE” workflows.  Practically we document an existing process and measure specific operations, for example how many days are needed from order to receiving or from order to payment. After that, we redesign the flow. In the “TO BE” processes it is important to create control points and to assure segregations of duties. After we finish drawing the “TO BE” maps we talk to the client’s team to see what has been overlooked so that the flow is functional and optimal,” explains Filipas.

How is the Romanian BPR market?

“The Romanian market needs to have more knowledge of what BPR means. People’s reluctance is due to the possibility of layoffs, but if they understand what we do, this fear disappears. Making a business process more efficient does not mean letting people go.

At Arggo Consulting we constantly evolve, incorporating in our portfolio new products and services because we understand the necessity for our clients to have a sole technological partner that they can trust, to always recommend them the latest business solutions and international trends,” says Filipas.

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