Barriers to BPM: The Little Red Wagon Effect
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The little red wagon is working, so no one touches it. When it finally breaks down, there’s likely major work to do on that rusty axle and the flat wheels. Replacing that red wagon is a lot more expensive than maintaining it over time. But all too often you walk into a customer situation with 20-yo legacy systems that haven’t been substantially maintained in years. At that point, it is time to re-imagine what your processes are and what systems are needed to support those processes – the old system is no longer your ideal process.
A similar, but slightly different take on this is the Used Car Effect. You pay the minimum on maintenance to keep that used car running – never quite letting it die, and avoiding buying a new car. But at some point that used car is holding you back, and it is hard to pull the trigger to move on. You’re left figuring out how to re-apply maintenance dollars to a new project, but you need the maintenance dollars to keep your existing software running. You’re better off than if you had left the software alone, but usually the maintenance wasn’t enough to pay for innovation or modernization along the way… So you’ve got major work to do.
The best remedy we’ve seen for this so far is to partner with a company that will help you through technology shifts. I’ve been working with BPM since before the iPhone – when the idea of a “mobile” application of BPM was getting an email on your Blackberry phone. Since then, the technology landscape has changed dramatically:
- pervasive mobile apps
- pervasive responsive HTML user interfaces
- pervasive cloud environments and infrastructure
- proliferation of the API economy
Customers who partnered with BP3 and similar forward-thinking BPM firms are able to skim over these technology changes and leverage them when they’re ready. We’ve been helping customers migrate to the cloud, produce mobile user interfaces, and responsive UIs, at minimal cost. These are investments that would trip up a single customer in most cases, but we have the scale and leverage to get the job done at BP3.