Encouraging signs of joined-up thinking at Microsoft Convergence 2011 which opened in Atlanta GA over the weekend. But can it last?
A pre-conference survey shows that most organizations expect to ugrade their ERP and CRM within the next 18 months, and cloud solutions are looking more attractive than ever.
But their new focus, according to Software Insider's Ray Wang, is on improving business process:
"Customers and users have an opportunity to avoid the failures in past deployments of CRM and ERP. Instead of focusing just on technology implementation this time, they plan to begin with the end in mind. To focus on the key business metrics. Align outcomes to business processes. Assign responsibility to roles. Then, figure out what technologies will support this objective - and allocate budget for change management."
Business-led systems implementation. It seems blindingly obvious but it is, as Hamlet observed in another context, 'a custom more honor'd in the breach than the observance'.
It's certainly possible. So why do most organizations find something so obviously valuable so difficult in practice?
Mostly because they under-estimate the value of a process management platform. Any business transformation works better where there is a collaborative framework, using the universal business language of end-to-end process, that:
(1) enables the business to define and express its requirements
(2) provides shared visibility and understanding, not just between IT and the business but right across the enterprise
(3) meets the different needs of all the stakeholders in the design and management of change
(4) connects with and supports people doing real work, delivering a user experience that is a personalized 'intelligent operations manual'.
We all know what happens without this. The business finds it hard, or impossible, to articulate its requirements so there is an unhappy and ineffective dialog with IT. In the end, IT goes its own way, typically on the basis of a Word document with some process 'diagrams' that the business has 'signed off' without enthusiasm or understanding. And operational teams are left to create their own user support materials (while trying to figure out how to get the business back on track following the 'successful' systems implementation).
It doesn't have to be like this. Let's give process management, the real enabler of effective collaboration and continuous improvement, the attention it deserves.
21 Feb 2011 Now That's What I Call BPM!
18 Jan 2011 Michael Krigsman on IT Project Failure