Monday, December 20, 2010

Transformational Technology

by: Frank Buytendijk, chief marketing officer

In my first job, I was an implementation consultant of OLAP systems. OLAP stands for On-Line Analytical Processing, and it describes a type of data access that is multidimensional of nature. Instead of storing data in columns and in rows, like in a relational database, it is stored based on pointers to coordinates, such as product, customer, region, time, and so forth.

OLAP, at that time, was transformational technology. It revolutionized management information systems. Queries would take less than a second, instead of often minutes. Furthermore, reporting became a dynamic and interactive process. Lastly, these type of systems were often set up and maintained by power users, not by database administrators.

This was a true transformation, a radical new approach. This technology, new to most companies back then, didn't bring 10% performance improvement, it was a hundred times faster. It didn't save 15% on implementation time, it was 5 times faster to implement. It wasn't 20% cheaper, it was 10 times cheaper.

My job, as a consultant and in pre-sales, was to evangelize this radical new approach, that was totally different from what was considered best practice then. Now OLAP is a completely accepted and mainstream technology.

At Be Informed, I feel it is like being in my first job, evangelizing a complete new approach towards business processes. Don't describe processes using elaborate process flows catching every exception, but by accepting every transaction is an exception, only model the activities and their relationships. No programming or code generation, just visual modeling. Making a process dynamic and interactive, instead of having the business rules cast in stone. Putting the business user in charge of the business rules, instead of a BPM specialist.

Again, this is transformational technology. Ten times faster to implement than most other business applications., while at the same time not being bound by just a few parameters. Being able to give the users freedom to treat transactions any way they see fit, while at the same time increasing control over the overall process with all its exceptions. Being able to change business rules on the spot, immediately affecting the system, while at the same time offer extremely high transaction processing performance. Not a 7% reduction in TCO, but 70% improvement.

Again, it is our task to evangelize this very different approach. To teach there are other, more creative and effective ways, to manage business processes. And in a few years from now? I guess the Be Informed approach will be pretty mainstream and accepted in the marketplace.