A business process reengineering framework to enhance strategic planning within higher education : the case of the Tshwane University of Technology
Mushaathoni, Avhashoni Michael
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The strategic alignment and reengineering of business processes is critical for institutions across sectors worldwide to achieve performance improvement and subsequently, competitive advantage. Competition within higher education forces higher education institutions, such as TUT, towards management approaches such as business process reengineering to improve effectiveness and efficiency. This research was triggered by an observation of a lack of a framework, within TUT, to guide the manner in which business processes could be strategically reengineered in a uniform, coordinated, and focused fashion. The main focus of the research was to identify core elements which could be included in a comprehensive framework to assist higher education institutions, specifically TUT, to strategically align and reengineer their core business processes in order to achieve performance improvement, which is a prerequisite for higher education institutions across sectors to achieve competitive advantage. The findings of the research were based on the triangulation of data from a robust literature survey to uncover the theoretical underpinnings and to pinpoint core elements of business process reengineering and strategic planning, prescripts from legislation and the regulatory framework governing higher education in South Africa, an analysis of relevant strategic documents within TUT, and opinions and perceptions of sampled respondents within TUT to compare and contrast the data gathered. The findings of the empirical exploration confirmed the problem that triggered the research, namely, that TUT lacks a framework to guide the manner in which it could strategically align and reengineer business processes. An analysis of documents within TUT and consistent with the results of the empirical exploration revealed that although various strategic documents allude to the strategic alignment and reengineering of business processes, lack of a standardised methodology hampers the uniform, coordinated, and focused operationalisation of this noble intent which is critical for the enhancement of strategic planning across sectors worldwide. Consequently, the main contribution of the research was to develop a comprehensive framework to guide the manner in which TUT and other similar higher education institutions could strategically reengineer business processes. The proposed framework advocates an incremental approach to business process reengineering to allow for the continuous improvement of reengineered business processes. At the core of the proposed business process reengineering framework is strategy alignment and stakeholder focus. The framework suggests that when higher education institutions, such as TUT, embark on business process reengineering, they should realise that they are engaging in a strategic endeavour and that business processes targeted for reengineering should be of critical importance to the enhancement of a strategic orientation. It is imperative that higher education institutions, such as TUT, should prioritise the strategic alignment and reengineering of business processes that provide stakeholder satisfaction to create competitive advantage and survival. Considering that TUT and other similar higher education institutions operate as an open system, the proposed framework is based on the systems approach to management. Given the dynamic nature of the South African higher education sector, the proposed framework promotes a business process reengineering methodology which, amongst others, involves the reengineering of business processes with due consideration of the national higher education imperatives and legislative requirements. Consideration of the external environment should cover an analysis of critical developments within higher education, including changes to national legislation and other national strategic imperatives. TUT and other similar higher education institutions should continuously monitor changes that might have an impact on their business processes to ensure timeous and strategic alignment and reengineering of core business processes in accordance with the changing environment. Due cognisance of the internal factors and acknowledgement of a need for internal interaction of various departments and operational units within higher education institutions, such as TUT, should also form the basis of all business process reengineering efforts. Given the theoretical underpinning that business process reengineering is a strategic endeavour and that the strategic alignment of business processes is critical for institutions across sectors to improve institutional performance so as to achieve competitive advantage and survival, proposing a comprehensive business process reengineering framework and advocating the strategic reengineering of business processes within a South African public higher education institution constitute an advancement of knowledge within the Public Administration field of study.