• soft systems;
  • hard systems;
  • business process management

Globalization is placing pressure on firms to gain competitive advantages. As firms become agile, it is important that they become agile quicker than other firms. More sooner have firms improved processes and gained efficiencies and so have other firms. Firms are in a race to be better or are at risk of becoming less competitive. Firms have embarked on business process management (BPM) initiatives to gain competitive advantages. BPM initiatives have received much attention, however little work has been done in attempting to make the BPM initiatives themselves efficient. When firms invest in resources such as people, time, money, newer technologies, etc., they expect to see returns on these benefits in realistic time periods; however in most cases, BPM initiatives have been criticized to take too long. A hybrid soft and hard systems approach is proposed to allow early extraction of critical business process, which when improved, will lead to quicker benefits. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.