Disclaimer: Having first actually added something to a wiki all of nine months ago I can hardly call myself a wiki expert-pioneer. Here at SAP there is a tremendous amount of wiki related activity, behind the firewall it has been going on for years and now, outside, with the Wiki over on SDN. Check it out.
Yet not everyone here gets the free-format emergent nature of a wiki.
Tesha definitely gets it. She is one of the key drivers behind the SDN wiki.
She forwarded me this email the other day. It was sent by a colleague.
I realized, that within the Wiki, I would be able to change every content in the Edit area (or even delete it!)- is that really the purpose of that forum? I think, that should be restricted.
It made me laugh for a second and feel smug because I have drunk the emergence kool-aid, but I then realised that a year ago I would have probably said pretty much the same thing. For many people the lack of control and structure is unnerving, especially here in Enterpriseyland. It is easy to understand why.
One of the key functions of an ERP system is to stop users entering stuff wrongly. That’s why there are lots of rules and tables and so on. It is amazing how many users will enter Mr and Female unless there is a validation to stop it, put Fred on the executive stock programme when he should on the telesales employee of the month lunch token programme, or order too many pencils.
ERP systems are about control, accuracy, repetition, discipline and execution. They help you run the business, consistently. Consistence is cool.
Normally, you don’t want just anyone getting creative with the invoicing process, embracing chaos in the goods receivable department, grassroots movements in MRO, an out of the box way to calculate VAT, mashing up intracompany account reconcilation, or paradigm shifting the shift schedules.
If you think about it a bit more deeply, one of the goals of an ERP system is to have as few users fiddling with the process as possible. Automation, lights out processing, end to end. Put brutally, the fewer users to mess up the process the better. The fastest, slickest, most cost effective processes tend not to have any users at all.
JP discussed McAfee’s HBR article, and made this insightful comment….
He does not say “IT that is specified by random and ever-changing and poorly articulated and inconsistent and sometimes even nonexistent business processes.”
He is so right.
Enterprise applications aren’ t all about passionate users.
We need to eat the process broccoli, not just the UI ice cream.