It's not often I blog about our software (version 2 in testing now, thus the conspicuous lack of recent posts), but I'll risk it.
Basically, it is designed as a "run your business" system. Doing whatever other software is supposed to do today, and more. Holistically, not atomised.
Which of course raises some interesting discussions.
Like "required features". A hot topic for all who's sniffing at the new version of the system.
I can already disclose that old habits do not die easily. Startling, startling...
Specifically, old habits of splitting processes and rely on stand-alone applications - the dismembered-flow-methods so popular even today:
"I need a calendar!"
Calendars-as-they-are sucks. A meeting has no value whatsoever as a stand-alone event. That would be a "bumped into" and not a "meeting" and would never find its way into a calendar.
Where's the flow in the calendars? Where are the preceding events (phone call perhaps) or the following events (report, follow up, expense report etc.)? OK, so that's what the to-do list is for, but that's hardly a flow.
So here's what we'll do:
- Click on the calendar (as per usual) and you'll get a choice of flows that you can start. Any kind of defined flows that will start at the date and time chosen.
- Customer call could be the first event in a typical flow, meetings will follow as defined in the flow.
- Then with a proper flow going, all events will be visible and available in the calendar as the flow proceeds.
No more to-dos, no more ad-hoc meeting, calls or other reminders to be added. Only one flow to be started and the rest happens automagically.
"I need a word processor!"
What the h*** do you need that for?
Ahh, to communicate.
But all communication is a part of a flow. Never ever stand-alone. Just like the "meeting", stand-alone messages has no meaning at all, that would be a wild exclamation, a burp, a scream in the dark.
So, here's how that will work:
- An appropriate interface will appear when communication is called for in a running flow. Text is to be added and recipient has to be chosen. Upon completion of that event the recipient will get his task of reading and reply. Nicely in a flow.
- Any text will be kept as an object in the holistic system. Body text, header, greeting, etc. for reuse or as "knowledge".
- If really, really (are you still sure?) a fax or letter is needed (paper based text - mailman, POT or pigeon delivered) a report template can be used putting it all into US Letter or A4 with neat company logo on top etc. Print out and stick to carrier pigeon (or mailman). Then throw away paper as content, time and author are nicely kept for future reference.
No more reminders to answer a mail or fax or letter, communication spurs a nice flow of events and tasks that will pop up and remain in-your-face until dealt with.
No more binders of faxes nor lost information due to proprietary file formats. Hello ever increasing intellectual property value.
"I need a CRM system!"
Ah, at last a system that has an air of being flow'ish!
But hang on. Where does it start, where does it end? Where is production, where is R&D?
OK, here's how that will work:
- A flow is started by a customer calling or you calling or logging on or...
- As the flow progresses from call to offer to whatever, loops and forks can be introduced, resources can be chosen, dates picked.
- When the flow leaves the "CRM area" of the classic marketing setup of business organisations, then production, support, R&D functions will be in the same flow as the whole journey from customer-need to customer-satisfaction rolls onward.
End of marketing dismembered from the rest, hello other flows like "conversations", "customer involvement" and perhaps even a tad "transparency"?
Atomised functions, stand-alone events and no-flows that can easily be flipped into nice and natural parts of the main flow of any organisation - satisfying the need of a customer.
And I have not even started talking about accounting, production, procurement and what other atomised concepts that exists today...