A Three-Pronged Approach to Business Process Reengineering

NUS-ISS partnered with Exploit Technologies (ETPL) on its Business Process Reengineering (BPR) project to meet increased number of research outputs and projected increase in licensing deals. This was done using a three-pronged approach – process, people and technology. 

Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL) is the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. One of the key roles it plays includes evaluating the technology disclosures from all the 21 research institutions within A-STAR community. The evaluation process typically will encompass deciding on the best mode of protection for the intellectual property disclosed, and the subsequent follow-on patent management and its complete lifecycle.  The other key role ETPL plays is to see through the commercialisation of A*STAR’s intellectual property, and one of the modalities of transfer of technologies to the industry is through licenses. With the increased number of research output from the research institutions and the projected increase in licensing deals from industry, ETPL initiated its BPR programme with the objective to “do more with the same (number of people); do the same faster; and do things better”. NUS-ISS was engaged in March 2014 to be part of this programme.

The entire project took about six months, where the entire end-to-end processes for the IP Management and Commercialisation processes were mapped out. This was then followed by detailed analysis to streamline the processes using a three-pronged approach.

  • From the process perspective, we identified all the bottlenecks, repetitive and non value-adding activities. We also harmonised the processes of two divisions which are handling identical functions but across two different industries.
  • From the people’s perspective, we provided training to a core group of process owners with the skillset to map business processes, identify opportunities for improvement and generate new ideas to improve the processes.
  • From the technology perspective,  with the help of a future IT system that ETPL will be implementing, ETPL will be able to achieve real-time visibility of operations, auto-routing and prompting of tasks and reminders, and a management dashboard that will facilitate proactive planning and decision making by the management, as well as each individual officer.

Yu Chen Kuang, Member of the IT Planning & Enterprise Architecture Practice at ISS, and the lead consultant for this project says, “This project has been a smooth and successful one, thanks to the very strong support from the senior management. The Chief Executive of ETPL, Mr Philip Lim, being the executive sponsor, personally chaired all the steering committee meetings for this programme. We were also fortunate to have a great BPR core team led by Mr Liew Hui Ming (VP, Planning, Innovation Network & Enterprise Division), together with highly committed process owners from the various divisions, who participated pro-actively in all phases of the project despite their heavy workload."

Hui Ming of ETPL concludes, “We are very satisfied with NUS-ISS and the result of the BPR. For the first time, we have a complete end-to-end overview of our core business processes. We now also have a core BPR team that knows how to modify and fine-tune the processes moving forward without the need for an external BPR consultant. The BPR programme produced a very clear business blueprint of what we want for our new IT system. We can now take the process implementation together with IT, at a high level of confidence and clarity.”

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