The traditional enterprise software model thinks of the business as a single structure, a building, within which you wire different functions together to run the enterprise. When deployed, these systems behave like the “Heavy Iron” tagline that they have earned over the years. Inflexible and difficult to manage, they typically require a maintenance crew and over time become layered with new requirements, eventually producing a bewildering blob.
Today everyone expects the same streamlined and functional environment that they enjoy when using their favorite web interactions, for example a browsing and shopping session at Amazon. After the purchase, you have a seamless view of how your merchandise finds its way through a complex workflow to your door. However, at work you end up traveling back in time where to follow a simple lab report you’ll have to log in and out of multiple systems each with its own idiosyncrasies. Adding customers and vendors to this process produces a familiar chaos that sucks up resources and throws a wet blanket over people’s creative energies.
We are confronted with a challenge and an opportunity to streamline the processes so that there is no need for “customer service calls” as a built in characteristic of the workflow. A new paradigm can produce interaction models that are simple, natural, and self-correcting such flexible processes can be tuned to each individuals needs and working habits. Organizational systems become an organic combination of individual and team workflows and combine to produce efficient tools.
Stay tuned as we discuss the important features of an ideal environment and consider how practical deployment issues can be solved.