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Business process re-engineering: A tool to further banks' strategic goals In a volatile global world, organisations enhance competitive advantage

through business process re-engineering (BPR) by radically redesigning selected processes. BPR implies transformed processes that together form a component of a larger system aimed at enabling organisations to empower themselves with contemporary technologies, business solutions and innovations. Michael Hammer and James Champy's definition "the fundamental reconsideration and radical redesign of organisational processes, in order to achieve drastic improvement of current performance in cost, service and speed'' (Reengineering the Corporation: A manifesto for Business Revolution, 1993) enjoys a fair measure of consensus. The multiplier effects of BPR provide an impetus to the industry through impressive success across companies. For example, radical and fundamentally new BPR ways enabled Motorola to slash order fulfilment for paging devices from 30 days or more to 28 minutes and progressive insurance to slash the claims settlement from 31 days to 4 hours. Honing a concept Today's business computing with multi-tasking and background processing demands intelligent and prudent solutions. This blueprint for change is also necessary to keep systems responsive and users operating at peak efficiency. "In the early 1990s, as businesses were busy reinventing themselves, they focussed on reorienting their departmental functions into enterprise business processes This process, known as reengineering, depended on new enterprise software products that had the ability to share data on customers, products, and suppliers with all members of the enterprise. The rise of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and relational databases was in direct response to this need." The new growth formula BPR benefits customers through significantly reduced transaction time, flexibility in servicing and improved value chain of service. Banks are benefited by increased volume of business and higher productivity, reduced operating cost leading to higher profitability, improved employee loyalty and sense of belongingness and establishment of "Bank within a Branch'' concept. mployees benefit through empowerment leading to higher job satisfaction, effective job rotation as an additional incentive and effective interface with customers as work load is evenly distributed. The resounding success of value players such as, Dell Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target, Aldi, ASDA, E*Trade Financial, JetBlue Airways, Ryanair and Southwest Airlines clearly shows that apart from technological competence, the process of `work' itself also changes.

Changing dynamics of banking and financial institutions market in India forced players at all levels to reengineer their operations and functions to meet the emerging challenges of slashing operating cost, outsourcing, portfolio investment, payments and settlements systems, consolidation and cooperation. Innovative banking practices enabled Indian banks to incorporate strategic innovative customer-centric schemes to bridge the service and product gap inherent in the banking system. The major differentiating parameter that distinguishes the new private sector banks in India from other banks in the system is the high level of service. Such far-reaching changes are basically aimed at maintaining long-term profitability and strengthening the competitive edge of banks in conformity with transforming market realities.. Long way to go Easier access to information, availability of cheaper and easier funds, reduced inventory levels, reduction in direct administrative employment and customisation of product/service unmistakably reveals that a successful company requires a threshold level of performance in terms of three key parameters customer service, product innovation and operational excellence and a clear leadership in one dimension. Given the interplay between BPR and sustainable economic growth for banks and financial institutions, development strategies must be broadened to incorporate these three critical dimensions for secular dynamic change and structural transformation. We need to adopt effective strategies for consolidating core competencies and exploring new options for sustained fast-track development on an ongoing basis and effecting midcourse correction, wherever necessary. Accordingly, BPR in India must constitute a focal area of ongoing banking reforms.