Oh the Irony

Scott Francis
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Not too long ago over on BPM.com there was a discussion that started with a question:

“Are Business Processes One of the Biggest Obstacles to Innovation?”

Of course, normally the answer would be no.  Unless you’re talking about “processes” implemented in SAP and the like.  And then the context:

As Helen Arnold, the CIO of SAP, was quoted in an article in the Wall Street Journal […] “Aging software, business processes are the biggest obstacles to corporate innovation.”

I almost fell out of my chair. Because of course, the proper response is that we’re asking the wrong question.  If we ask the right question it would look like this:

“Are Business Processes in SAP one of the biggest obstacles to innovation?”

And then the answer would be yes. Applying monolithic applications like SAP to presumably static business processes has been one of the worst things that has happened to business agility over the last few decades.  One BPM expert referred to it as “pouring concrete throughout your organization.”  Most of us prefer to keep our businesses capable of change, and assume that processes are ever-green and ever-changing.

The whole thread on BPM.com is fantastic. 

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