Complexity is the Killer of Agility!

By: Max J. Pucher

Let's take a step back. Relax, calm down and then look at the IT marketplace from a little distance. Correct. It is nearly impossible to understand what is going on. Software vendors face the same problem when trying to understand their customers. The current environment of selling and buying IT solutions has not only driven up IT costs, it has also completely killed true innovation. Why? Because no one - no the big vendors, not the outsourcers and certainly not analysts - want to admit that the time has come for a substantial change and that the concepts and solutions of the last years just made the situation worse.

Welcome to the real world!
Does a business really need five to seven different software products to service a single customer? No. The market fragmentation of analysts puts needs and vendors in little boxes. Why? So that everyone can be a leader in his little box. Innovation requires however out-of-the-box thinking. CRM is used for call center and marketing processes, ECM for document oriented processes and BPM for everything else that is not so easily mapped into a generic application. Then there are business rules and intelligence. Does a business need SOA to be agile? And what about Mashups? Or Cloud Computing? SaaS? No, no, no and NO! Business just needs a way for IT to simply support the customer-oriented business processes and related content without huge projects and expenditures. It is not the business that has a real problem to adapt to the market place. Today it is IT that is truly and surely holding back the business. Yes, an agile software world sounds great, but then it truly needs a BIG step forward and not two steps backward by first implementing SOA and huge governance bureaucracies. But the problem is people, not software.

Information technology has been made so complex by IT people that business managers and executives are scared to move ahead without getting their decisions verified by external sources to make sure no one is to blame for failure. But why do things go wrong? Why are 50 to 60 percent of all projects cancelled? It is the complexity created by monopolist vendors, outsourcers, external consultants and analysts. The billions spent on advertizing completely distort IT reality. 50 percent of all money spent in information technology is cost of sales! So it is a perfect Catch 22!

What does business need?
The very first thing every business needs for IT is a customer focus. That immediately leads to a focus on the business user servicing the customer. That does not mean that business users must have the only say in what they want to work with, because they are obviously human and mostly do not understand the greater needs of the business. But they must have the opportunity to influence the service that they get. The second focus has to be business services that are alive and not frozen. But 'code freeze' is a must to achieve the quality requirements put upon IT. So why are business users surprised that their applications are not agile? Business created the requirement for quality that is not human and therefore that is exactly what business users get.

Rather than using SCCM change management tools to manage the code freeze, a business needs a simple way to manage software lifecycle into production. Asking IT departments today to allow application changes in the production environment is pure heresy. This is why asking for innovation and agility requires the people - executives, IT and users - to have the gut to drop these useless industry best practices. Traditional waterfall-style methodology or others that are more user-interactive are holding IT and therefore the business back. Yes, a single repository that manages development, test and production is essential to truly alive services that are impossible with the barrier between users and IT.

Who needs projects and governance?
Actually, no one! If a business application requires a huge project management effort then it should be dropped immediately, because the same amount of effort will go into maintenance. It does not matter how well things are being standardized, the world will be moving on and the more complex a solution is the more it will struggle to keep up! That is simply the way it is and every one in IT knows it and no one wants to admit it! If you buy a complex car then maintenance requires experts at higher cost and more time. The only solution is to buy a simpler car. And no, it is not different in IT. The laws of economy apply here also.

Obviously any serious implementation needs some planning and targets. But the smaller the elements are that have to be implemented then the easier they will be to maintain. That opens the question how all these elements can work together as a large system? Answer: In the same way that people work together without having to be rigidly controlled robots. Dynamic state/event driven process can be linked together with complex event processing and certainly not with simplistic, rigid flowcharts that are always wrong.

Is the solution to simply do everything with process management or Mashup-ped (what a silly name) software components and services? Maybe that is not a bad start, but it seriously lacks flexibility to consolidate as much as possible. Well, there is a reason that the large software vendors are buying BPM, ECM, CRM, BR and BI left and right! They do see the signs on the wall. All the features for providing a business service must be available in a single environment and from a single vendor.

Is there a solution that fulfils above needs?
Yes. The Papyrus Platform is an end-to-end, process- and content centric solution that automates the full application lifecycle from business need to production. Even Gartner group stated that a single lifecycle repository is the key to delivering business-changing software. By setting up Papyrus WebRepository tools, IT enables business users to define applications that tie business processes, content and applications together without the need for complex projects.
has been promoting the forgotten link between business process and all business content since 2001 when it announced its Inbound/Outbound Process strategy. Documents (now called content) used to be the carrier of the business process. Only now the world seems to recognize that the problems of ECM, CRM and BPM lie in a lack of understanding the business context - how people and business processes are related to content. It is in fact impossible to determine the business context for all of the unstructured information within your organization as long as it is treated independently. A process that does not deal with content and content that does not relate to a process are irrelevant in a business sense.

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