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May 21, 2006

Comments

chanel outlet

It is very nice of you to share your article to bloggers. I found that your article is so constructive and full with life wisdom. You must be a really mature guy!

Jon Bellman

Organizations doing process improvement (or a rose by any other name) or large technology deployments when there is no urgency amble around the critical path rather than finding the rails. Process work makes sense in a business in which most of the variables are relatively static and there is a true opportunity to measure for improvement. In a rapidly changing environment, both process and technology often obscure the customer's requirements of the moment.

Spend the money on hiring better salespeople. The best process improvement opportunities present themselves on the fly.

BigJim

There is a best practice for simplifying business processes. It's called the KISS principle (keep it simple and straightforward or better known as keep it simple stupid). I'm consistently amazed and astounded at how complex some business processes are if for no other reason it makes for easier reporting at the executive level. The acrobatics that the underlying technology underneath has to go thru seem to be meaningless, even if it's sucking away dollars from the bottom line because of consulting and implementation costs.

Another thing that makes me wretch is the whole "we make the technology fit the business, not the other way around" approach most executives, at least the old school ones, still have. You bought SAP, your entire business RUNS on SAP. Last time I checked, SAP is a technology platform with boundaries and constraints. It's not a piece of playdoh that you mold to your liking. The companies that did that are still searching for the ROI from the initial implementation and are maintaining armies just to keep the system running. For that, build your own ERP system. They aren't separate children where one is more important than the other. They are siamese twins joined together and decisions need to be made considering both, not just one in a vacuum forcing the other one to adjust.

My .02.

Steve Walker

Niel,

My years of ERP experience have led me to agree with your stance on process management. Customers seem very reluctant to change processes but more than willing to do custom program development. True, we don't want the technology tail wagging the process dog but over and over again I see companies failing to seize the opportunity for process improvement. And I think you've hit the nail on the head as to why - people often do not know why a particular process is the way it is. They simply do it the way the person before them did it and don't question why. They don't want to challenge it because they don't own it and are afraid of the consequences of doing so. The CPO role, in my view, is a big step in the right direction.

Jason Wood

Niel,

I applaud the journey but I'm not sure I agree with the destination.

We're in an IT constrained environment, spending isn't increasing and CIO/CTOs are being asked to do more with less...what companies are going to OK the creation of a new layer of CxO complexity?

Dennis Howlett

Nice idea but I can't see how this is practical. SAP is offering a proscriptive approach to the issue of managing that most volatile of commodities - human beings.

I don't believe there is such a thing as a generalised 'best practice' for any process, except at a moment in time. Then circumstances change and poof - you're off again, trying to figure the next best practice.

If current developments around the edge are teaching us anything, it should be that people adapt rapidly to change, especially when they're offered simple solutions - eg any of the 37Signals stuff, wiki, blogs, podcasts and video blogs. Not as a social media experiment but as a way of communicating how the job gets done or plugging a nagging gap.

Surely the requirement therefore is to capture the distilled wisdom/knowledge of that coming from the bottom up and incorporate THAT into our so-called process maps.

We've had 15+ years of SAP imposing processes upon large enterprises. Has it delivered value? If it hasn't - and most would agree ERP implementations have only delivered one shot cost savings, then I'd argue this is a flawed approach. Unless SAP knows something about top down management the rest of us are missing. The last time I checked, it reeked of mushroom compost.

rk366

This sounds very similar to the argument for the CASE tools in software development in early and mid 90's, very top down process. Good luck with the CPO trying to define "the" best process and trying to get the buy-in from business/operational owners. SAP will defnitely create a business unit around compliance as the less agility required in the business process the better for them :)

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