Years ago, I was enjoying a weekend with a very good friend of mine who has made a successful career for himself in the Supply Chain Management sector. We tried hard to refrain from work-related talks but somehow we ended up there.
With a pizza slice still in his mouth, he said “IT’s slice keeps getting bigger every year. Pretty soon, there won’t be any left for my actual business.”
Of course, he’s referring to the fact that IT’s budget seems to have a bigger appetite than any other. Every business’s need for IT becomes an often surprising additional investment and not usually a one-time investment. It becomes an annuity the business must pay forever.
In defense of my line of work, I offered “Well, your team probably asks for things that are more complex than you think, and when you say ‘right now’, they take short cuts that make the date sooner but the long term cost higher…”.
His response was exactly how a great business guy thinks. “I can understand that for some things, they really are hardcore system changes, but why do small changes to existing systems take weeks and weeks to get done? When I need to be ‘agile’ [ooh he’s using our word!] in other areas of the business, I get it done in a day, a week max. But everything IT does takes forever. By the time it arrives, it’s often irrelevant.”
And here is the kicker: “So I’ve got all these supposedly great IT systems, but because I’m never able to do what I really need in those systems, my people mostly use Excel for their day-to-day needs. We only update the IT systems once we know it’s ‘safe’ and that information won’t need to change much more.”
Ouch, hear that IT? He’s frustrated that IT is consuming more and more budget yet he’s resorting to Excel to run his business, at least in many cases. I find this true so often that it has its own name, the “Excel bypass”.
The Backlog Blues
Here is the problem. The business doesn’t have the tolerance that we’ve come to accept for “the backlog”. I read a blog recently that recommended IT maintain at least 3 sprints worth of fully groomed backlog ready to work. That sounds fine until you realize that’s IT saying basically that I’m never going to deliver things any faster than about 2 months.
Simply put, the “backlog blues” is the delay between the need for change and the delivery of those changes to the software that a business needs to remain competitive and take advantage of opportunities.
What is the cure for the Backlog Blues?
The solution is more self-service for business process automation. Krista enables business people to author their own automation with the same or less complexity than they currently have with Excel. In fact, many of Krista’s customers started by putting automation on top of their Excel files, then integrating them into their IT systems in realtime.
Here’s an example of how a business person can author a CRM use case in Krista. First, we’ll show you how it looks to the consumer of the automation in the Krista Client. Then you’ll see how easy this process was to create in Krista’s Studio.
Client Step 1: Pick the conversation you want to have with Krista
Client Step 2: Tell Krista exactly what you are asking for
Client Step 3: Krista responds with the information requested
Studio Step 1: Ask the person what Opportunity they wish to see
Studio Step 2: Send them a message with those details