I came across an excellent post by Freddy Mini of GigaOm bemoaning the lack of collective interest in the concept of Enterprise 2.0. Mini attributes this lag to being stuck in the world of business intelligence 1.0, in which, if maintained properly, would provide the insights and deep understanding of enterprise processes conducive to integrating real-time Web apps. We’re not going to argue that business intelligence is a critical factor in enabling proper BPM, though we will say that the issue begins with data quality, not with a lack of BI systems.
Within the same article, Mini brought up an interesting study by Ventana Research that concludes that “desktop productivity tools obstruct efficiency and effectiveness when used in enterprise processes.” This is highly misleading to the point that I need to call it out. Desktop productivity tools themselves aren’t responsible for anything problematic in terms of enterprise processes.
Like Mini asserts, the problem is with a lack of understanding of data and process management. If anything, the real issue here is that business users are so frustrated with not being able to control their data that they rebel against IT and download whatever free or low-cost apps they can find, and introducing a Web application into a methodically-organized enterprise process infrastructure without notifying IT is a recipe for disaster.
I continually hear complaints from sales personnel and analysts that IT doesn’t heed their request for direct control of data that affects their jobs. To be honest, it’s not the job of IT to do that anyway. First off, business users should only evaluate Web applications that make it perfectly clear they can be easily integrated with existing enterprise systems like CRM, ERP, MS SharePoint and more. Secondly – it’s never okay to download something onto a desktop tied into to an enterprise network or server that hasn’t been authorized by IT. I’m the first to admit that the business-IT relationship is complicated, but as the new year approaches, please remember: BPM is the responsibility of the business side, but IT is responsible for making sure that no incoming systems or applications threaten the stability of your company’s technology framework.