Engineering and Knowledge Management
The purpose of this paper is to identify a process or company that would benefit from implementing Business Process Reengineering (BPR), to describe the process, explain the reasons why it would benefit from re-engineering, and identify the key changes as well as the difficulties in the process and the suggestions for overcoming them. Secondly to describe and evaluate one application or potential application of this concept, or the Knowledge Management initiative within a typical higher education or tertiary training institution and to identify the possible benefits to such an organization, the foreseen problems and issues and strategy for ensuring the success of the initiative. Finally to describe the it support that will be needed for this initiative.
Business Process Re-engineering:
Business process re-engineering is often understood to be a type of downsizing in business. The design of the BPR as well as the introduction of the BPR into the organization carry much weight in the impact whether positive or negative in the view of employees within the company. There are three main phases identified in the BPR process as shown on the following chart labeled Figure 1.0.
The entire process in Business Re-engineering occurs in the environment that is constantly managing change. The evaluation stage is not the last step but is an ongoing pursuit which will bring continually refinement and adjustment as needed to the new processes being implemented. In the institution of the BPR to local schools that are in need of the updated processes collaborative tools must be considered. Collaborative tools are computer resources that allow for the sharing of information and data. Some of the collaborative tools to consider are the chat with audio and text, the whiteboard, bulletin board, video teleconferencing, discussion groups and newsletters, file sharing tools, presentation tools as well as application sharing, text tools, email, instant messaging and the persistent capability. The collaborative tools will be implemented for use city-wide meetings wherein every teacher would not have to attend but simply could log on to the meeting thereby reducing the need for substitute or fill-in teachers during the monthly and weekly meetings. The benefit for this process redesign will be demonstrated in the ability of the teachers and administrative education staff to interact more easily as well as bringing information to the teachers and staff faster. Effective use of tools for collaboration will establish practices that are important for making the changes within the institution.
Noted as the top three reasons for failure in the BPR process are the following:
1. Not being directly involved with the project.
2. Failing to engage all management levels in the change.
3. Sending inconsistent signals or not communicating enough.
The phases as noted in the chart marked Figure 1.0 are listed below with the implementations for each of the phases.
Analyze: This is a research and discovery phase that is characterized by the following activities in the organization:
A. Conduct benchmarking studies
B. Interview employees, managers, senior management.
C. Gather customer (student) data.
D. Understand as-is processes.
E. Continue change management.
Design and Improve: Gains are made in this phase of the process by gathering ideas and inputs from a variety of people. In the educational institution the ideas of teachers and staff will provide the basis for many of the process foundations in the BPR project. The following is a list of activities at this phase.
A. Generate new ideas and brainstorm solutions.
B. Create a new vision of the ideal processes.
C. Design new processes and enabling technologies
D. Prepare cost benefit plan
E. Get approval for designs from leadership.
F. Manage Change
Implement: This phase is characterized by “communication.” The following activities are those which characterize this phase:
A. Complete detailed design.
B. Communicate new solutions to employees.
C. Develop a training program.
D. Implement and manage the change.
A suggested method of training is through use of presentation as well as other “distance learning” capabilities in order to grain all individuals within the organization. Organizations not implementing distance learning tools are missing a great opportunity in the BPR process.
Evaluate: This is a very integral part of the process and is a continual monitoring of the implementations and application of improvement efforts in order to “cement” the results of the BPR process:
A. Define key measures.
B. Establish a continuous improvement program.
C. Issue final report.
D. Document knowledge and lessons learned, including change in the organization.
Collaborative tools can be used for situations as simple as one teacher giving notice to the other teacher that a student is loitering on the playground during class time to a teacher giving notice that there is a security threat on the campus and then provide the teachers in the institution with an online “real-time” organizational meeting without teacher having to leave their classes unattended, drive through city traffic or any of the usual aggravations of collaboration. Just as well the institution that has campuses on a countrywide basis or even internationally will have the capability to all a meeting and in just a few minutes all instructors for the institution are present at the meeting due to the wonders of technology that have been implemented in the “Business Re-engineering Process.”
II. Knowledge Management:
Knowledge management in the learning institution would have specific goals which are all encompassed within the realm of three main goals in knowledge management in education as follows:
Improving student, teacher and administrative efficiencies.
Addressing mandate of NCLB and other government requirements.
In a web seminar concerning enterprise solutions for a school district in the state of North Carolina demonstrated are the considerations and the process that would be followed by a learning institution in the initiative of knowledge management implementations for the school. Speaker for the Chapel Hill North Carolina School District was Dr. Raymond Reitz, Chief Technology Officer who gave the speech “No Child Left Behind” and speaking on the “Total Cost of Ownership” was Dr. Greg Wyman, Superintendent for the Snowflake Unified School District #5 in Arizona.
Agenda for this project were two main factors:
No child left behind requirements: Student achievement
Equity: instructional software
Parents: community outreach; accessibility from home
Total cost of Technology Ownership
Finance: costs benefits and costs of technology
Identified as the driver for change in this initiative was the NCLB with the goals of making “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) in relation to the NCLB and in all subgroups thereby closing the equity gap and secondly to increase the academic performance of students through the use of technology. The school system was experiencing what is termed as a “digital divide” in that the system had over 30 different types of client devices as well as 10 to 15 different operating systems and as well instruction and technology access begin and ended on the campus without access at home for students, teachers or staff. The stated key requirement in this project was that of “equity” with the stated district goal being that “all students have personal access to current technologies.” The stated focus was the creation of equitable access to technology and inclusive was home access for all students. The school wanted a solution that was accessible from home and school, eliminated the digital divide, and was simple, reliable, supportable and affordable.
The system chosen would have to have universal access due to all the many different systems already in place. The resulting system was one that could be accessed from any class, from any home, from any type computer and internet service at any time. The school district as well as the home/community access was powered from Citrix Stack Server Systems. The school then implemented a program in “bridging the digital divide” which was a low costs loan to students for access devices (i.e. A home computer) with connections to a community center as well as low cost internet access and instructionally focused solution works. This system comes standard with 100% of the software installed and processed on the server with support provided for the most common productivity tools. There a backup provision for everyone in the system. The new schools are based on the Citrix Access Infrastructure while the existing schools are adopting the solution provided by Citrix. The increases in connectivity are also increasing the new economies of scale or “access farms” and the link between home and school will continue to be seen as vital to student access.
One very positive outcome is the engagement that has been reported by disenfranchised as well as other isolated students. There is a new digital divide which has emerged which is dial-up vs. high-speed internet connections. Success in this initiative is stated to be that of “continuous refinement and change as technology advances.” Positive impact on student achievement was clear due to implementation of this system. The “Access Infrastructure” provides access for students, educators and administrators from school and at home is shown below in Figure 2.0.
Chart adapted from Webinar Chart
Summary and Conclusion:
There is a lower total cost of ownership for the thin client with the need removed for constant and costly device upgrades. This type of system has effectively integrated technology into the classrooms in these school districts with uniform accessibility for all students as well as district-wide implementation of software. The centralized management in this system provides a central point of control as well as updates and backups for all users. The network is secure and protected from viruses and it takes fewer personnel to manage the network.
The innovation of accessibility from home is one that will benefit each and every individual involved for example, the parent who wants to earn their GED can now do that from home at night with this system, the child who needs tutoring can be tutored from home, the child whose parents are still at work and need homework help will be able to access that resource very easily. There are so many possibilities in the educational community in relation to home and school coordinated that listing the entire scope of possibilities in this work is not feasible however, it may be sufficed to be said that the innovation of home/school anytime access to the school network is an implementation that will benefit the educational community and the community at large in many practical and positive areas and will open doors to many advances both in terms of the educational institution and the entire community in these school districts.
Strassman, Paul (1995) “The Roots of Business Process Re-engineering” 1995 June
Rietz, Raymond (2004) T & L. Education Webinar; Computing Access: “The Key to Achievement and Cost Effective Management” 2004 May 5 Citrix and Wyse Production [Online] available at http://webcast.on24.com/event/5824/1/documents/slidepdf/combined_5824v3.pdf
Wyman, Greg (2004) T & L. Education Webinar; Computing Access: “The Key to Achievement and Cost Effective Management” 2004 May 5 Citrix and Wyse Production [Online] available at http://webcast.on24.com/event/5824/1/documents/slidepdf/combined_5824v3.pdf
Best Practices Report located [Online] at http://www.proxci.com/study99.htm
Knowledge Management and Collaboration Tools in Business Process Re-engineering
Enterprise Solutions for K-12: Reliable Answers for a Robust Camps Network: Brochure located [Online] at http://webcast.on24.com/event/5824/1/documents/slidepdf/combined_5824v3.pdf
Research Proposal: Process Re-engineering
Design & Improve
Plan the reason that technology has not had an impact on teaching and learning is students have, for all intents and purposes, not actually used the technology. Furthermore, the reason for this non-use lies not at the feet of the teachers, but rather in the very real lack of access to technology. Having one computer in the classroom is not access, nor will it lead to significant student use. Frankly, technology can’t have an impact if children have not had the opportunity to access and use the technology.”
Norris, Sullivan, Poirot, & Soloway, 2003
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