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Challenges of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Project: Case of Samara University

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Introduction

Samara University is one of the recently inaugurated universities in Ethiopia, which is found in region two. To undertake the overall operations of the university's activities, the university adopted procedures of doing businesses from elder universities of the country such as Addis Ababa University, Mekelle University and so on. However, nearly all universities of Ethiopia use traditional or fragmented ways of doing businesses that cannot satisfy the customers' (stakeholders') need and ineffective processes for the attainments of the organizational objectives. Generally, the old processes are not effective for the developments of the country at all. Hence, all public universities of Ethiopia including Samara University, under the delegation of Ministry of Education have been engaged for the last two years (2008 and 2009) in Business Process Reengineering (BPR) project to tackle the traditional or fragmented ways of doing businesses.

Among various management tools, Business Process Reengineering is one of the management tools that can help the organization for effective, efficient and economic performance of doing businesses, as well as the stakeholders benefited from good performance of the organization. In this regard, Center for Management Research defined Business Process Reengineering as a management technique through which an organization can improve its operational effectiveness, efficiency, and profitability through a fundamental and radical redesign of business processes. It involves modifying the existing systems and simplifying the processes in an organization in order to improve productivity, reduce costs, and adopt better business practices. In addition, BPR needs breaking the traditional way of doing or thinking business processes and the boundaries between activities and departments within the organization. As a result, the organization's traditional or fragmented business processes designed into integrated and streamlined processes that can help for the achievement of the organization's objectives.

BPR means not only change in some processes, but it is a dramatic/radical change of processes. And dramatic/radical change constitutes the overhaul of organizational structures, management systems, employee responsibilities and performance measurements, incentive systems, skills development, and the use of information communication technologies for the attainment of organizational objectives. Therefore, BPR is one approach for redesigning the way work is done to better support the organization's mission and reduce costs and reengineering starts with a high-level assessment of the organization's mission, strategic goals, and customer needs (United States General Accounting Office (GAO), 1997).

Accordingly, Samara University has finished the redesigning phase of BPR in May 2009 and assigned an implementation team to implement the newly designed processes in June 2009. However, the university cannot implement the new processes still now, even though in BPR principles all of the redesigned processes should not be implemented once rather step-by-step with a pilot study. Thus, at least some selected processes of the newly designed processes have to be implemented in the university because BPR intended to enhance the performance of the organization and lots of resources have been incurred by the University for the BPR project. Therefore, this article tries to answer the following points: what are the major problems the university faced to implement the newly designed processes? How is the BPR project progress? What are different mechanisms the university used to handle the problems?

To address the above points, I have gathered information from some different process redesign team members and implementation team members of the university. In addition, I have included my observations and experiences because I am the staff member of the university and I was one of the team members for the redesigning of the Academic Core Process of the university. Here under, the article presented first the problems that the university faced. Secondly, the progress of BPR project and mechanisms used to handle the problem faced presented, and then after concluding remarks presented.

Faced Problems

In May 2009, Ministry of Education arranged meeting for the Academic (Teaching-Learning) Core Process and Research Core Process team members for all public universities at Addis Ababa. Except Addis Ababa University, all universities presented their report regarding to the progress of Academic and Research Core Process. And all universities report focused on one particular problem, i.e. lack of finance to implement the BPR project. Likewise, Samara University faced lack of finance to implement the newly designed processes.

In addition, Samara University faced numerous problems. Among them

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