Decisions Blog

Clever Little Applications: Workflow, Business Rules, and More

There will soon be a software application for every business need.

There is no shortage of people out there building software for very specialized niches. An example of this was an employee who said ‘we really need to use a few software products to manage some client project. We need a file sharing to send proofs. We need x service to allow feedbacks and we need y service to record sign offs on a project’. NOTE: this was done on a project that was late and we were having trouble getting the details together. Add to these specialized applications the otherwise applications we take for granted. Things like: telephone. instant messenger. email. whiteboard (yes, this is a technology) etc.

We could easily spend all of our time moving information and coordinating it from (very clever) point application to another. I think it is quite possible that we might have thought that the purpose of information workers is to use business software – how absurd. Software needs to be a tool, but because of the duplication of software and very focused nature of the tools we use, we spend much of our time keeping our various programs in sync – and more critically – we do not know when they are out of sync.

You have all done this, written a review on a design or document – just to find out you were reviewing an old version.

My point is this. These clever little apps help people do THEIR job better. But what software helps organizations get more efficient? A software program for an organization – especially one that relies on doing this better, cheaper or faster – HAS to be able to change as the organizations needs. It is less about a specific function but more about being glue in a fast moving ever evolving process.

This category of software: Workflow, Business Rules, Collaboration, Visibility/Dashboards, etc has largely failed to accomplish its primary goal. Be adjustable enough that it can evolve with the organization – yet be powerful enough that does more than what you can do in email.