Discuss how the adoption of information systems may change business processes.  (10 points)


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Companies may adopt information systems to improve or transform business processes.  A business process is an interrelated, sequential set of activities and tasks that turns inputs into outputs to serve specific customers.  Information systems can automate some tasks, track and monitor the progress of tasks, and collect and analyze performance data throughout business processes.  Management can leverage these information system capabilities to organize andcoordinate tasks to improve the performance of business processes, taking on a cross-functional process perspective.  


One approach of improving business processes is total quality management (TQM) that uses incremental small changes to continuously improve process and product quality.  In contrast, business process reengineering (BPR) is more radical change approach that aims at achieving substantial and rapid impacts on the performance metrics.  With the approach of BPR, the discrete tasks in a business process can be integrated together and different functions can be coordinated in parallel to serve the common customers. Cross-functional teams may be formed to carry out a process.  Redundant activities (such as duplicate data collection and checkpoints) are reduced or eliminated. In other words, data collection and processing will be simplified and streamlined, which may lead to changes in the allocation of decision-making rights and responsibilities.  In practice, When BPR integrates discrete tasks to streamline processes, the non-value-adding activities are reduced and the complexity of jobs increases.  As a result, required skill sets, job training and relevant human resource management policies also change accordingly. In addition, information systems can be deployed for streamlining inter-organizational business processes, leading to the sharing of detailed and real-time information between companies.  This will result in enhanced inter-firm coordination and collaboration.   


There are two common packaged information systems for business process management.  One

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