Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Email as a platform

"When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." A corollary to this is:

When you have a budget, everything looks like a turnkey solution.

Unfortunately most technology solutions out there tend to be a wysiwyg. More precisely, there is no growth, no meaningful way to use the data other than what is offered out of the box. In essence, it is not a platform that will allow for future growth or changes. Indeed, a turnkey relies on the process to be created around the solution as opposed to the other way around.
This irritates me to no end; I don't want consoles or exported data- i simply want to get things done. I like to think I'm fairly clever at providing this flexibility for my personal needs. Lately I've been creating some internal processes to meet some company demands. turnkey solution? Sharepoint? custom code?
Nay say I; whichever solution should not get in the way of the business process. I've been experimenting with using email as the formal distribution method of process data and relying on excel for tracking. The goal of the process should be well understood by all; this sets the groundwork. No more than 5-6 generic flow rules else it's too confusing.
Email isn't all encompassing; but it is an interesting platform when viewed as such. In a lot of instances email processes actually can meet the lowest common denominator. Which, I submit, the LCD should always be the target when defining new processes. This will allow for a healthy maturation of the process. Too often we try to skip ahead.

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