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IBM Credit Case


Reengineering is a process that entails changing all aspects of business so as to foster improvements. The chief intent of business process reengineering is to attain quick and substantial gains in the firm’s performance (Attaran, 2004). This paper presents an analysis of the reengineering process case at the IBM Credit Corporation. I selected the IBM case because it addresses a problem to which I can relate. Our organization has also been dealing with the challenge of long cycle time. Improving the process cycle efficiency can help my organization save cost and enhance the quality of service that we offer to customers, both internal and external. The IMB case study provides a suitable benchmark that can assist our organization identify gaps in its processes.

Organizational Profile

IBM Credit Corporation is a business that offers financing solutions for software, computers, and IT services that the IBM Corporation sells. IBM Credit Corporation is a subsidiary of the IBM Corporation. It is responsible for financing the purchases of IBM’s consumers. The company provides credit facilities to consumers who want to purchase IBM products. It is an extremely profitable business 


A good reengineering process should identify improvement strategies that address all major perspectives and the needs of all stakeholders of the organization (Mohajeri, Nayeri & Mashhadi, 2009). A significant stakeholder in the reengineering process is the management team. The management team is interested in the growth of the company and the realization of business objectives. The reengineering process had to cater to this need so as to attract the backing of the senior management team. The support of senior management team is essential to the success of the reengineering process as without this support the project would not receive adequate resources.

Another stakeholder that is critical to the reengineering process is the shareholder. The shareholder is the owner of the company. Consequently, members of the organization have a fiduciary duty to promote the interest of the shareholder. The shareholder is interested in the expansion of the value of the company and increased profitability. The reengineering process need to meet this need. Customers were also critical stakeholders in the reengineering process. The goal of organizational processes is to deliver value to consumers (Hammer & Champy, 2007). Consequently, the reengineering process had to consider the wishes of the customers so as have meaningful improvement in the organizational processes.

Employees are also critical stakeholders in the reengineering process. The reengineering process requires a change in the typical way of executing tasks within the organization (Hammer & Champy, 2007). This change can only take place when employees support the change process. Therefore, active engagement of employees is essential to the success of the reengineering process. Suppliers are also critical stakeholders in this benchmarking process. IBM Credit Corporation has a number of suppliers who have an impact on the process cycle time of the organization. Therefore, IMB Credit could not have realized the desired changes without involving these suppliers.

Another critical stakeholder in the reengineering process is the government. IBM Credit Corporation operates under the confines of laws that govern competition, financial and other issues that relate to its operation. The government is interested ensuring that IMB Credit Corporation adheres to these regulations (Mohajeri, Nayeri & Mashhadi, 2009). The organization must meet this essential need of the government during the reengineering process so as to avoid penalties and other risks that come with non-compliance.

Leadership Team

            Leadership is a key enabler of the business reengineering process. The business reengineering process must receive the full backing of senior management so as to succeed. The organizational leadership provides a vision that guides the reengineering process and rallies other members of the organization behind the vision (Hammer & Champy, 2007). Leaders provide a sense of direction to the reengineering process by establishing and communicating a clear vision. Leaders are different from managers as they do not order but focus on inspiring and coaching (Weicher, Chu, Lin, Le & Yu, 2000). They focus on empowering and facilitating organization members to implement the desired changes. They also play the critical role in quelling the fears of workers and the force of resistance. They appeal to the human aspect of the change process. They focus on preparing the members of the organization for the change process.

 The leadership team of IBM Credit played a critical role in the reengineering process. The senior managers of the corporation had a brainstorm and gathered information from the personnel so as to get to the heart of the problem. Problem-solving is one of the critical leadership skills that the IBM senior management team was able to exhibit in this case. They management team took a walk around through all the five stages of the credit processing process so as to get to the root cause of the problem. IBM leaders also provided a vision for change. They highlighted the reasons as to why the firm needed to change the current way of doing things. They were able to offer guidance on what the organization needed to change in order to fill the existing performance gap. IBM leadership also facilitated the reengineering process by showing concerns towards the problem. Leaders create a sense of agency regarding a particular issue when the pay attention to this issue (Weicher, Chu, Lin, Le & Yu, 2000). This attention tends to rally the rest of the members of the organization behind the reengineering process. IBM leaders were on the forefront in the implementation of the reengineering process.  

Current Status and Performance Gaps

Long process cycle time characterizes the operations of IBM Credit. Once they get a prospective client, the company’s sales representatives go through five steps the client can receive financial services. First, the company’s operators in the central office writes down the representative request once the representative calls. The request is then dispatched to the credit department where a specialist assesses the creditworthiness of the prospective customer and writes the results on a piece of paper. The result is dispatched to the third stage, which is the business practice department. The business practice department crafts the loan contract in line with the customer’s request. Next, the business practice department forwards the contract to the pricing department where a pricer determines the appropriate interest rate for the customer. Finally, the contract and the pricing results are forwarded to the administration department where all the information is turned into a quotation that is delivered to the field sales representative.

Each of these five stages is handled by a different department within the organization. There was a different department for pricing, credit check, and other tasks. The numerous steps that the customer has to go through increases the time it takes before the client can receive services. Additional time is also consumed in the process of passing the customers’ forms from one department to the next. Customers take an average of six days before they can obtain financing services from the organization. This process cycle time is too long since customers have six days to look for alternative services. The way the current processes are structured also creates problems for sales representatives when they try to track the progress of their request. It becomes difficult for the operators to know the stage at which a given transaction has reached causing problems with client

Causes of Existing Gaps

  1. Structural Issues

This performance gaps in IBM Credit mainly originate from structural issues. Organizational structures refer to the relationships among the various roles of a given organization (Grossi, Royakkers & Dignum, 2007). Different organizations have different structures. Organizational structures affect the shape and functioning of the organization; hence, it can be an underlying cause of workplace problems. For instance, an organizational structure that is too hierarchical can hinder communications thereby slowing down the pace of doing things within the organization. The organization structure also affects the behaviors of individual employees and the relationship between employees (***** & Zhang, 2010). An organization that has rigid organizational structures hinders open communication among employees of different departments. Communications among employees in such organizations is usually very formal and has many bureaucratic processes.

IBM Credit exhibits series structural issues. First, the activities involved in processing customers’ transactions are highly structured and departmentalized. There are different department for executing the pricing, credit checks, and other activities. This structuring of the credit process increased the quantity of time that customers take to complete the entire credit process. A significant amount of time is lost moving forms from one department to another. The company compounded the problem further after the organization installed a control desk. Installing a control desk meant that customers’ forms would go back to the control desk after one department has completed processing for it to be forwarded to the next department. Departments could no longer deal with each other directly.

  1. Cultural Issues

The performance gap may also originate cultural issues. The culture of the organization is another probable cause of the existing gaps. Culture within an organization’s setting refers to an assortment of shared values, beliefs and norms that influence how members of the organization act, feel or think (Lunenburg, 2011). Organizational culture has a momentous effect on the practices of the organization as it influences the behaviors and way of thinking of the members of the organization. Organizational culture develops over time through a complex interaction of factors such as organizational leadership, tradition, values, and messages.

Cultural issues are also responsible for the existing performance gaps in IBM Credit. For a long time, IBM Credit held the belief that every bid request was unique and hard to process thereby required the intervention of four different and highly trained specialists. The two executives found that this assumption were not true. In fact, most of the client requests were easy to process; hence, can be executed by a single person. Organization need to challenges and change such cultural element in order for the reengineering process to succeed (Ahmad, Francis & Zairi, 2007). Cultural issues also contribute to the delay in the movement of customers’ forms from one department to the next. It appears that the culture that exists in IBM Credit is hindering effective communication and interaction between members of different departments.

IBM Credit’s Reengineering Process

            At first, IBM credit tried to solve the problem by installing a control desk so as they can answer the sale representatives’ queries about the status of their requests. This change meant that that each order had to move back to the control desk after being processed in a given department. This change solved the problem of knowing the status of the request, but increased the process cycle time. Eventually, two senior managers took a walk around through the five steps and noted that the problem lied in the process and not the tasks or people performing them.

            IBM credit replaced the four specialists in charge of performing credit checks, drafting the covenant, pricing and drafting quotations with a single generalist. This change meant that the generalist performs all the tasks involved in the five stages, from the beginning to the end. IBM also developed a computer system to support the new structure. The computer system is designed to assist the generalist in process the client transactions.

Role of Technology

Information technology assumes a vital role in the business reengineering process. It is an essential enabler of the reengineering process (Lam, 2010). Information technology enables organizations to break conventional assumptions and rules of existing processes. IBM employed information technology to assist in the reengineering process. IBM developed sophisticated computer systems to support the generalists by providing guidance and data. Through the use of this sophisticated system, the company was able to transfer the tasks that were performed by four specialists to a single generalist. The technology provides the single generalist with requisite data and guidance to implement all the five steps of the credit processing transaction.

Information technology did not just facilitate the reengineering process but was also a central part of the reengineering. The technology was instrumental in the creation of the new process by providing options that support the replacement of specialists with a single generalist. Information technology provided the infrastructure for managing information and supporting the evolution of the organization (Attaran, 2005). It also enables IBM credit to replace labor thus making the process more cost effective.


Business process reengineering is a result oriented process whose sole goal is to enhance the performance of the organization (Damij, 2003). Therefore, the success of the reengineering process is determined by assessing the outcomes of the process against the goals of the process. The goal of the IBM Credit’s reengineering process was to reduce process cycle time so as to make IBM services more competitive. IBM was able to achieve this goal. The reengineering process has enabled IBM credit to reinvent itself and improve the performance of the entire organization.

 The time for processing customers request reduced from six days to four hours. IBM was able to achieve this significant reduction in the process cycle time without increasing its personnel. In fact, the restructuring process led a reduction in the personnel headcount as the new structure replaced four specialists with one generalist. Cost and waste reduction is one of the significant goals of the business process reengineering (****, Vervilee, Pajou & Deluca, 2009). The process also led a noteworthy improvement in the productivity of the firm. The process increased the number of deals that IBM credit processes by 100 times.

What I would reengineer differently

I would focus on changing the culture of the organization. Changing the technical aspect of business process is easy. The most difficult task entails changing the human aspect of the business process (****, Vervilee, Pajou, & Deluca, 2009). Reengineering introduces changes that threaten the status quo and create uncertainties among organizational members. It is common for members of the organization to feel threatened by the reengineering process; hence, cause resistance to the change process. Therefore, the reengineering process also requires organizations to change the way people think and behave. It requires the organization to change people beliefs and attitude.

I would change IBM Credit’s organizational culture by creating a sense of urgency, building consensus among stakeholders, forming a vision for change, enlisting the support of the members of the organization, removing barriers to change, generate short-term milestones, accelerating change and instituting change (Doll & Miller, 2007). Too much attention of structural issues and little attention on human issues can stall the reengineering initiative. Some of the cultural enabler that I would focus on includes empowerment of employees and ensuring that all members partake in the decision-making process (Goksoy, Ozsoy & Vayway, 2012). Training is also a critical cultural enabler.


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Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in urgent custom research papers. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from nursing school papers services.

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