I was talking with an experienced SAP implementation manager the other day and he told me that the simpler we make our business processes, the more complex the technology becomes to support them.  This made no sense to me at first but after some reflection it became clearer.

The more we wish to standardize and simplify our business processes, the more we need to automate what goes on behind the scenes.  It’s a bit like taking cash out of the wall. Today we can do it from any bank’s dispenser in almost any country we like.  For us it couldn’t be simpler and yet, behind the scenes a whole raft of highly complex processes is taking place.  There are even powerful IT behavior analytics systems constantly running in the background simulating our normal bank card usage; sometimes this result in us receiving strange, intrusive phone calls verifying where we are and if everything is OK. I had this once while on a motorbike holiday in Spain. Apparently my card was being used 1000’s of kilometers away by a gambling syndicate and the stakes were getting higher by the minute!

And while scientists at CERN are trying to verify Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity, one of his directives remains true: ‘make everything as simple as possible but not simpler’.

I find that in so many aspects in life, there is beauty to be found in complexity but only when it has been already made as simple as humanly possible, anything else is just a mess.

So when it comes to trying to make our existing business processes more efficient (simpler); configuring our ERP systems to support the new simplified processes may be tough but in my eyes, getting the organization committed to working in the new way and to remain so, is much, much tougher. But then again I would say that, wouldn’t I? Because no one likes to think that their job is less complex than someone else’s, do they? 

Have a good week