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Nov 18, 2005


Ramana Kovi

I think Web 2.0 solutions which are woven into fabric of business platform are the next genration business platforms.

PD Quig

The notion that “business process is outdated” is laughable on its face. You correctly cite the intricacies of a manufacturing operation as an obvious refutation that process is not necessary. In fact, your friend’s admission that most time is spent on exception handling is actually further corroboration of the point that process is king. Productivity is highest in process- and data-driven companies because time and brainpower is free to ignore the 99% non-exceptional events and to focus on the 1% exceptions. Anyone who has ever worked for a manufacturer knows that informal, ad hoc activity is an enemy that undermines coordination, misaligns resources and wastes money.

The CEO of last software company that I worked for thought that he could mandate an ad hoc, empowered developer approach to software development. He thought that a “couple of bullets on a PowerPoint chart” should be enough of a spec for a good developer. He was, of course, wrong. Work is defined as output and output has prerequisite inputs. You will either obtain the needed inputs in an organized manner or you will obtain them in an unorganized manner. But you WILL obtain them—or fail at producing the needed output.

If every morning I had to spend cycles thinking about whether to shit, shower and shave—or to consider one of the other five permutations—I might be a much more spontaneous fellow but I sure as hell wouldn’t be as productive. Then again, maybe this is why liberals have been crapping in the shower for forty years.

Vinnie Mirchandani

Jeff, process is important...but the best proacess is a light one. Irving represting IBM's interests and you representing SAP's are one POV - more towards the heavy version of process...I happen to think we need to hear the customer's POV. To him./her process is like spell check software. Knows when it has not been used, but it unwilling to pay much for it. From that lens, I think in the west we are overinvesting in process ...see my blog Business Process Angioplasty


Actually, I agree with your statement about light process, I am not a fan of heavy process. However, having said that I also know that even simple processes get complicated pretty quickly in complex manufacturing environments. Take a typical BOM for a product of even moderate complexity as an example of this.

I agree with Ross, and this is one reason why I led the investment in his company, that enabling workers to form groups, collaborate, and solve problems outside of process is of critical importance going forward. In the conversation we had with Irving, I would suggest that his view on this was not opposed to this either, in fact the very topic we started out on was how social software/media is changing the way business does business.

Finally, I disagree with your broad statement about overinvesting in process, but I am probably being a little premature in doing so because I have not yet read your post on this. I will say that when you go into environments like China the fact that there is so little process becomes a major liability for them, and we are likely to see the 2nd wave buildout being focused on process (the first wave being core infrastructure).

As always, thanks for your comment.

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