Archive for April, 2009 plumbs new depths

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

The former ISP of this blog is not 100% well regarded in this part of the world.

I sacked Streamline nearly 12 months ago but now they are trying to debit my account for another year’s fees.  I have been forced to change my debit card to stop them.

I enquired about how to cancel my account using the customer service support ticket system on their website.  This is the system that, as a customer, is the only possible way of getting any response out of

Now I no longer want to be a customer – guess what?  To close my account I have to call a premium rate number where, surprise surprise, I sit in a queue that costs me more than next year’s subscription.  No reply in 20 minutes.

Am I the only one that thinks this is shoddy?

Rock IT guides British Government policy

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I’m a bit behind the curve on this story but it is incredible to think that the decision to nationalise Northern Rock was influenced by the inflexibility of its IT systems.

According to a National Audit Office report, the Government considered winding Northern Rock down but IT systems would have struggled to return funds to savers in an appropriate time frame which could have caused another run on the bank.

This is a classic unplanned event.  A major change that requires a super rapid response.  In today’s world where the only certainty is uncertainty, how does a business plan for events that it cannot even contemplate or conceive right now?

A new level of flexibility is needed from tomorrow’s IT systems.  At Blue Prism we are delivering an Operational Agility Platform to various leaders in customer service helping to create an operational capability to manage change – both planned and unplanned.

SOA bleeding heavily but not dead yet

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

I saw an article in British Computer Weekly this morning by Jim Mortleman “SOA in the cloud”.

The basic premise of the article is that whilst the hype around SOA is overblown (no, really?!) the fundamental concept is good.  So the solution is…….change the name to cloud computing and press on.

I have been pretty right wing in my views on SOA in the past but I do genuinely believe that the concept is brilliant.  It is delivery that is flawed and there are two good reasons for this:

1.  Organisations take on too big a challenge in trying to deliver a service oriented architecture.  Grand vision = grand design = big bang = big cost = big risk = failed project.  There has to be a more incremental way of getting to SOA.

2.  SOA projects are almost always run by IT people.  No wonder they never meet business requirements.  Put business leaders in charge and watch the priorities change.

I spend a large portion of my life talking to senior customer service professionals.  The common story is that they are tired of IT projects that don’t deliver, and IT departments that cannot respond to change at the speed of business.

Change happens!  New product launches, regulatory change, product promotions, merger/acquisition, processing errors.  Shouldn’t SOA be enabling the business to provide appropriate responses to such change?

If the principles of SOA are to succeed, it is not going to happen by nomenclature, or adding more layers of complexity.  IT professionals need to distil SOA into simpler, more incremental, more business focussed chunks, and empower the business with platforms that enable them to react to everyday change without the usual lead times.

I believe that the ability to make a business operation truly agile will be one of the defining competitive advantages of the next decade.