• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 2 (2021)

Business Process Reengineering at ICT Operations, In Managing Smart Cities as New Customers (Non-Human)

Business Process Reengineering at ICT Operations, In Managing Smart Cities as New Customers (Non-Human)

Title: Business Process Reengineering at ICT Operations, In Managing Smart Cities as New Customers (Non-Human)
Lihardo Ranjaliba Saragih, Muhammad Dachyar, Teuku Yuri M. Zagloel

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Cite this article as:
Saragih, L.R., Dachyar, M., Zagloel, T.Y.M., 2021. Business Process Reengineering at ICT Operations, In Managing Smart Cities as New Customers (Non-Human). International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(2), pp. 378-389

Lihardo Ranjaliba Saragih Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Muhammad Dachyar Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Teuku Yuri M. Zagloel Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
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Business Process Reengineering at ICT Operations, In Managing Smart Cities as New Customers (Non-Human)

TELCO is an information communications technology (ICT) company that has a typically high cost, especially for the provisioning and maintenance of its infrastructure. The emergence of over-the-top (OTT) media services, which do not make expensive infrastructure investments, such as the WhatsApp® and Zoom® applications that are now massively being used, has resulted in many TELCO services becoming obsolete. This phenomenon occurs because OTT is pragmatically able to substitute similar services. Reflecting on the capabilities of connectivity and coverage, TELCO needs to create a new market by paying special attention to smart cities that are constructed from massive devices with internet connections. The current TELCO operational business model is based on human customers, whereas smart cities are a multi-service digital (non-human) city council, so a new business process is required to manage smart city (non-human) customers. This research presents the transformation of business processes in the customer domain in the complex systems operations of a TELCO company. The research novelty is the business process reengineering (BPR) method combined with soft systems methodology (SSM) and enterprise knowledge development (EKD) to define, map, model, and project a new business process. The result of this research is an enterprise architecture (EA) "request to answer" model for managing new smart city customers. In the end, it is expected to increase TELCO’s competitiveness.

Business process reengineering (BPR); Enterprise architecture (EA); Smart cities; Soft system methodology (SSM); TELCO operations


Digital transformation is becoming an important topic for companies around the world (Harmon, 2019; von Leipzig et al., 2017), including for telecommunications companies (TELCO) which is the object of this research. TELCO operates in a competitive dynamic environment (Oughton et al., 2018), characterized by high investment, especially for the provisioning and maintenance of infrastructure, as technology is always changing rapidly, and a typical company is agile, meaning flexible and responsive. The confrontational situation in the digital economy era has created the VUCA ecosystem: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (Kale, 2019). The confrontation occurs between TELCO and over-the-top (OTT), as OTT pragmatically offers TELCO services without investing in expensive infrastructure procurement at all. This has resulted in disruption to TELCO in terms of primary products (voice and text), resulting  in  decreased  revenues  and  reduce market dominance, which is called company turbulence. 

The digital phenomenon is transforming cities into a large market, wherein every resident, student, tourist, and businessman becomes a potential target through communication channels such as smartphones, tablets, and others (N’Goala et al., 2019). This transformation brings a massive non-human market (Suryanegara, 2016). The smart city concept is part of the application of the internet of things (IoT), which requires connection services and internet coverage that are carried by a TELCO. The massive multi-industry growth of IoT is a big opportunity for a TELCO to generate profits in a mature market (ITU, 2018) by applying a “market development” plan, according to Ansoff matrix strategy (Drucker, 2007; Ansoff et al., 2019; Hague, 2019) by paying special attention to the smart city as a new (non-human) customer.  However, TELCO currently only has a business process for human customers.  safety.

Business process reengineering (BPR) was first introduced (Hammer and Champy, 1993) more than two decades ago as a new method for the fundamental redesign and rethinking of all existing processes. The BPR method is used to produce better overall process performance in quality, cost, service, and processing time. BPR research has developed mature knowledge of how to model, analyze, automate, and streamline processes, known as exploitative BPR (Ohlsson and Han, 2017). This approach has supported fixing the problems identified in the process, but this approach is only useful for the short term. Therefore, BPR researchers and practitioners encourage an exploratory approach, which is known as “explorative BPR.” Rosemann (2014) emphasized that BPR research with an exploratory approach is a serious future opportunity and challenge. Organizations that have successfully used BPR methods to generate competitive advantage not only overhaul existing processes, but simultaneously introduce unique concepts and objectives based on strategic innovation (Dachyar et al., 2015).

In addition to the knowledge base of BPR explorative research, the presence of systems thinking also influences process design. The systems and management science are heavily influenced by the goal-seeking paradigm, which is called "hard systems thinking." Researchers have criticized this paradigm because of its limitations for management use. Checkland argues that the "hard" paradigm is incapable of dealing with organizational complexity, with a plurality of different beliefs and values, and cannot help in the presence of political factors and power maneuvers in companies (Checkland, 2007). Another limitation of hard systems thinking is unsatisfactory performance in dealing with multiple perceptions of reality (Jackson, 2003).  Soft systems methodology (SSM) is present in the context of the problem for focusing on systems models that express different viewpoints so that alternative perspectives can be systematically explored, compared, and contrasted. SSM is a theory that has brought about company organization as a social system (Checkland, 1999), commitment to network organization, and rationality in decision making (Ohlsson and Han, 2017). SSM involves enterprise knowledge development (EKD) in designing conceptual models that apply guidelines for participatory ways of working, and languages for expressing enterprise modeling based on Stirna and Persson (2018). BPR’s best practice in redesigning processes includes task elimination, task composition, integral technology, empowering, order assignment, resequencing, specialist generator, integration, parallelism, and numerical involvement (Mansar and Reijers, 2007; Kumar and Bhatia, 2012).

The research problems formulated include the complexity of the TELCO company system and organization, business process information gaps, and the uncertainty of business models and IoT service standards. Each company has its own uniqueness and exclusiveness (Tatiana and Mikhail, 2020). TELCO and smart city business processes have different characteristics and contexts in the organization. Business processes are understood as the formal operation and process behavior that can be understood through the construct of adaptive interpretation of SSM. The activities and knowledge of humans are very important in redesigning the process, therefore the enhanced telecom operations map (eTOM) is needed to obtain the holistic TELCO business process.

The international telecommunication union (ITU) provides recommendations for TELCO management and operations based on eTOM (ITU, 2007). eTOM discusses the customer-centric domain that comprises activities from an end-to-end perspective, starting and ending with the customer (TMForum, 2018), such as “request to answer” (R2A). Transforming the customer business process is redesigning new business processes for smart city customers in TELCO. The context of TELCO is smart city connectivity so that the stakeholder can collect information on each IoT device according to their business needs, by providing a connection between the real and virtual worlds (N’Goala, 2019).

Based on the ontology, the reality of the nature of a telecommunications company is a complex enterprise system; SSM has a function to solve problems in a situation/problem situation, and guide interventions to reduce them by expressing model systems so that researchers can have alternative perspectives to explore, compare, and contrast the problem systemically. The EKD method plays a role in designing the SSM conceptual model based on participatory variables and enterprise architecture (EA) language notation to express strategic modelling for business process transformation in the company. Meanwhile, the BPR method is a rule in the redesign process, including the elimination of tasks, the composition of tasks, integral technology, empowerment, and others.

     The formulation of questions in this study includes: (1) what business activities will be changed through this research; (2) how to identify current business processes (as is) and how they can move to future business processes (to be); and (3) how to describe the conceptual model. The purpose of this study is to obtain a business process transformation model, a TELCO enterprise architecture model that presents new organizational competitiveness in TELCO operations in managing smart city (non-human) customers to overcome the company's turbulence. The novelty of this study is the combination method of BPR, EKD, and SSM that focus on projecting the new model of customer-centric business processes at TELCO operations. Besides, a smart city is redefining business processes in TELCO companies as a new type of non-human customer that doesn't yet exist. The research presents future opportunities in terms of the scope and depth of business process studies in companies, including the range of cases


The final result of this research is the EA model which shows the transformation of the business process. This transformation model presents a new organizational capability for TELCO operations in managing new smart city (non-human) customers. The future “request to answer” business process will create three changes: manage contacts, manage requests (including self-service), and determine customer order feasibility. The future business processes also lead to the emergence of two new business processes: managing contacts for IoT subscribers, and product offering development.

Identification of current business processes (as is) in TELCO organizations is obtained through eTOM end-to-end process flow analysis and soft system methodology (SSM), while future business processes (to be) are obtained by combining BPR and SSM methods. SSM stage four (4) develops a conceptual model by implementing the EKD method. EKD involves semantically rich notation of all activity elements (processes/subprocesses of the smart city and TELCO), and the attributes of their respective notations, for then constructing the system following EKD's flowchart guidelines in the causality context of "request to answer" at TELCO operations.

        The research has limitations in the depth of business process design, the context of which is too detailed, so that the decomposition of business processes at the sub-process level, which has a deeper context, can be carried out in further research. In addition, the business process analysis in this study focuses on the core business activities of TELCO operational activities, not other supporting business processes such as human resources, finance, assets, infrastructure, products, and others. This study opens research to collaboration between TELCO operations and multiple other industries, with a similar approach to managing as new customers (non-human).


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