Reengineering Has Plenty Of Buzzwords And Little Else

I was interested in "Reengineering: Beyond the buzzword" (Books, May 24), your review of Michael Hammer's and James Champy's Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. After finishing John A. Byrne's review, however, I wondered whether he and I had read the same text. The authors state: "A methodology for conducting a reengineering effort, the orchestration of the change campaign, etc., are issues that go beyond the scope of a single book." Does this mean that there is no legitimate, seminal text to which those who wish to learn about the unembellished nature, structure, design, and implications of business reengineering can turn? Not so.

A balanced, well-reasoned, well-researched, well-presented text on the subject preceded Hammer's and Champy's work. It is Process Innovation: Reengineering Work Through Information Technology, by Thomas H. Davenport, published by Harvard Business School Press. True, Davenport's book may cause readers to stop and think, but that is because it is profound, stimulating, professionally rather than terminologically iconoclastic, and nonsuperficial.

John Canter


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