Forrester Says 'Design for People, Build for Change' - InformationWeek

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Commentary
9/26/2007
10:26 AM
Sandy Kemsley
Sandy Kemsley
Commentary
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Forrester Says 'Design for People, Build for Change'

In her opening keynote at this week's Forrester Technology Leadership Forum, analyst Connie Moore laid out four principles that 1. Business processes adapt to changing business conditions. 2. Applications evolve continuously while preserving process integrity 3. Processes, tasks and associated information always maintain context 4. Systems are unitary, information-rich and reflect the social needs of the business...

Analyst Connie Moore offered the opening keynote, entitled "Design for People, Build for Change: Transforming the Nature of Work," at this week's Forrester Technology Leadership Forum. Her focus is on how business and IT have to work together in order to achieve this, but she likes the term "blended business-IT" rather than "business-IT alignment" because she wants them to be seen as a single entity rather than two separate bodies that need to be aligned in some way. I've heard Moore speaking at other conferences and on webinars previously, usually on the topic of BPM, and it's significant that Forrester puts a BPM analyst in the keynote position at this forum: it really drives home that the key focus here is on process.

She posed three questions about this sort of transformation: why now, what underpins this trend, and how will it unfold?In the "why now" category, she discussed the evolution in design that's underway in all sorts of consumer products, and asked us to envision what would happen if the leaders in consumer product design (e.g., Apple) came into organizations and set to redesigning enterprise systems. Interesting thought, and something that I've written about when discussing Enterprise 2.0, which brings consumer Web 2.0 functionality into enterprise applications. The new generation of workers, dubbed "millenials" by Moore, have grown up with completely different experiences and therefore have completely different expectations about what systems will look like as they enter the workforce, particularly around social networking. Added to all this is the evolution of process management as a discipline, and the dissolution of monolithic business applications into composite applications that use BPM, SOA, business rules, collaboration and other technologies, either on-premise or as SaaS.

As for what underpins this trend, Moore discussed the dichotomy between the detailed transactional type of work (which she characterizes as left-brained) and the big picture type of work (right-brained) that have to be supported simultaneously by our systems. She lays out four key principles for designing for people, and gave a detailed example of each (including a really interesting Second Life example for the 4th point):

1. Business processes adapt to changing business conditions. 2. Applications evolve continuously while preserving process integrity. 3. Processes, tasks and the associated information always maintain context. 4. Systems are unitary, information-rich and reflect the social needs of the business. The first two of these are about build for change, and the last two are about design for people.

This is all unfolding with the big vendors making some large investments in BPM-related technologies as well as newer things like Web 2.0 and mashups. Cisco's TelePresence got a huge plug here (I'm guessing that they're a big client of Forrester), including a clip from 24 that used it. This new focus will require some new skills as well: business analysts need to become process designers, and developers need to become (application) assemblers: this is how design for people and build for change come together. This is completely aligned with what I plan to discuss tomorrow in terms of putting the design of processes in the hands of the business and creating agile processes.

Moore finished up with how to get started on all this, from the viewpoint of IT management, business managers, process designers, application developers, enterprise architects, and the CIO.

Sandy Kemsley is an independent systems architect specializing in business process management, Enterprise 2.0, enterprise architecture and business intelligence. She is also the author of the Column2 blog on BPM, Enterprise 2.0 and technology trends in business. Write to her at Sandy [at] Column2.com.In her opening keynote at this week's Forrester Technology Leadership Forum, analyst Connie Moore laid out four principles that 1. Business processes adapt to changing business conditions. 2. Applications evolve continuously while preserving process integrity 3. Processes, tasks and associated information always maintain context 4. Systems are unitary, information-rich and reflect the social needs of the business...

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