Do you remember the days of early websites? Come on you don’t have to be that old. I wrote a paper for my Masters in 1997 that recommended that banks, for example, ought to have more transactional websites even though, at the time, there was not a huge business case for the investment. Hard to believe that was only 13 years ago.
In those days, if your organisation was lucky enough to have a website, you were starting to gain competitive advantage. Especially if you could keep it up to date more quickly than your competitors.
However, that depended on your IT dept and an army of HTML programmers, who wanted a specification, a design document, a test environment, methodology, design authority, sign off procedures etc etc.
Then someone invented Content Management Systems. The purpose of a CMS was to enable the business to make their own website changes in real time but, and this is a crucial but, within a corridor of governance enabled by the IT dept. So it was possible to change the text, but not corrupt customer data. It was possible to change pictures, but not corporate design rules. It was possible to change the database contents, but not the database itself. So business users can do a whole load of useful stuff without the risk of bringing down the site.
Of course, other governance is required. Someone still needs to take responsibility for the content that, in an instant, is representing your organisation around the globe. But without this level of flexibility how can your company compete with the speed of business today?
This type of flexibility (I prefer to think of it as agility) is now finding its way into the operational world. Giving business ops a way of doing their own process integration, orchestration and execution for example is freeing the business to react to the daily challenges of the changing world. At Blue Prism we call it Business Led Computing. It is a growing movement. People are used to being able to do their own computing at home. The next big thing in corporate computing might just be self serve.