Front-to-back Re-engineering

Martin Walker

It is time to stop paving the cow paths. Instead of embedding outdated processes in silicon and software, we should obliterate them and start over. We should “reengineer” our businesses: use the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance.

– Michael Hammer

If you want to sound as though you are making an intelligent contribution to any meeting about capital markets infrastructure or improving the related business processes, it is compulsory to throw in as many variations on the term “front-to-back” as possible. You need to “think front-to-back”, have a “front-to-back understanding” and ultimately “re-engineer front-to-back” and “re-architect front-to-back”.

This chapter will explain how all this “front-to-back” thinking became so popular, the good reasons for attempting to re-engineer front-to-back, what it means in reality and why it so frequently ends up with unexpected results.


Front-to-back re-engineering has its key origin in the business process re-engineering (BPR) revolution of the 1990s. BPR began with Michael Hammer, a computer science professor

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