Application: "A piece of software designed and written to fulfill a particular purpose of the user."
(Oxford American Dictionaries)
What now if that "particular purpose" grew out of former restrictions imposed by available technology, basically an old habit?
Will not the "application" in question, even if better than the last one, never really attain the core underlying "purpose of the user"?
Long distance communication once had only one technology available - pen and paper.
Then technology arrived - and fulfilled the purpose of the user, the good old habit - to write letters. Long distance communication long forgotten as the underlying purpose. Thus we see word processing applications coming out in new and fancy forms - last as a web based service - still requiring a revisit for all kind of tasks belonging to different processes, effectively complicating any effort to create proper flows.
The technology have given us some glimmer of hope - e-mail, chat, wikis, blogs - so why is the word processor still alive and kicking?
Ditto for accounting - modeled upon paper based ledgers - disentangling accountable events from the flow - again. The accountable event (procuring a part) on it's own, the entering of the invoice in a completely different and separate process - inefficiency come to mind, error prone and open to fraud necessitating more fun processes like the SOX. Hmpf.
And CRMs, and ERP... did I mention Calendars and it's leather-bound father?
That's why I suggest reading between the line - or ask "what for?" more often. "I need a CRM!" sounds to me like "My office is a mess, things are forgotten, process is less than good, I've heard that a CRM can fix that!"
Or, "we need a word-processor!" which in my ears sounds close to "hey, do not mess with my habits!"
But that may be my dubious mind playing me a trick...
Nevertheless, old habits are not necessarily good, why not stop a second and question this fulfilment of old habits? Cannot hurt.
Go look for the core purpose of an organisation I would suggest, humbly of course.
That's why I question the wisdom of "solving a problem" as a business leading light - the user sees a problem as a result of bad... eh, old... habits, the real core issue long forgotten.
Rethink the applications - long live the applications. That's better.