Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's The Business Processes

Last week, I had a chance to chat for a bit with Faun deHenry from FMT Systems. Faun and I have circulated in the same circles for a few years, spreading pretty similar messages, but have never directly crossed paths. After Twittering to each other a bit, it seemed like a good time to talk by phone. Great conversation…I’m really looking forward to the chance for a face-to-face meetup soon.

Any guesses as to what Faun and I talked about? Yup, the importance of business processes. More specifically, the importance of keeping the differentiation between business processes and tools straight.

When I worked for Oracle in the consulting organization, I had the opportunity to work for a very smart practice manager. He’s been in the business forever and knows the ropes very well. He told me on a regular basis that owning the best hammer in the world is worthless if you don’t have a clear plan of what you’re building. That’s how I see the relationship between business processes and tools.

In order to run a successful business, you need to have some idea of what the goals of the business are and how you plan to realize those goals. You can have a bomb-diggity (got that term from my daughter…who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? W00T!) set of software tools, but they don’t help at all if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish and how you intend to accomplish it. The trick is to select the tools that will best help you implement and automate the business processes you have in mind – those business processes in turn are enable you to accomplish your business objectives. When you hear folks from Oracle talking about “using the products that drive value for your enterprise”, this is exactly they’re talking about.

It seems to me that Oracle is in the business of tools that help with implementing business processes. Databases to store transactional data, software to help manage those databases, applications built around best practices, tools to help develop and implement unique business processes, or business intelligence garnered from transactional data to provide a foundation measuring progress and making well-informed decisions; Oracle offers more tools than I can track.

I’m obviously a big fan of Oracle products, especially in situations requiring the ability to scale up. In fact, nothing makes me happier than sitting down at a keyboard and getting my geek on. Still, it all comes back to your business processes…how do you want or need to do business?

Oracle really can’t tell you how to best run your enterprise; that’s your responsibility. What Oracle can do is offer the right tools to help you realize the best implementation of those business processes. To get the highest value out of those tools, you need to first know what you’re building and how you plan to do it.

Comments are welcome…


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