Business & Finance
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7/11/2003
06:51 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Business Technology: Improve Processes For Better Business

So why do we have to have a meeting about some lame heavy-metal band from the early '70s and some other one that I never even heard of?"

Blank stare. "Excuse me?"

"Excuse you for what? You called this meeting. So you tell me."

"Lame heavy-metal band?"

"Don't try to tell me you never heard of Bachman-Turner Overdrive."

Another blank stare. Puzzled look, eyebrows arch, palms flip upward.

"BTO--it was the subject line in your message about this meeting. That plus this other one I never heard of--BPO. Who was that, Blue Punk Orchestra?"

A deep sigh, and a nonverbal command to close the door. "Listen closely, my acronym-challenged friend, and I will try to fast-forward your brain from 30 years ago to the present. I know that might be a scary proposition for you, but trust me on this one--I haven't been this serious about anything since I talked you out of trying to do the feasibility study of ROI analyses of ROI analyses."

"I got it! BPO--Beatles Plus Osmonds?!?"

"Y'know, pal, you're about one step away from being sent back to the battery-recharging team."

"You're right. I'm sorry. I just can't get 'Taking Care of Business' outta my head."

OTHER VOICES
During the past 2-1/2 years, the U.S. economy has lost more than three million private-sector jobs. Unfortunately for anyone hunting for work, that figure includes thousands of recruiters.

--The Wall Street Journal, July 8


"Well, that's the first intelligent thing you've said this month: 'Business.' And that's the subject for today's meeting: Business Technology meets Business Process, and Business-Technology Optimization meets Business-Process Optimization. Or, in your terms, BTO meets BPO, ergo this discussion."

"I'm listening--I'm riveted."

"Well, if Data Processing and DP gave way to IS and that gave way to IT and that's being overtaken by BT because the job is about the business, then shouldn't we also think that the emphasis should be about the B (the business) that can be enabled by the T (the technology)? And if that's true, then the technology is a means to an end, and that end is business success and profitability and growth, and the way to get there is by doing what we do as well as we can, and that means constantly innovating and improving how we work, and that means optimizing our business processes. And that means BPO."

"Poetry--pure poetry!"

"Aw, pipe down and stick with me. Here's the point: We made the shift from focusing on IT to focusing on BT, but in doing so, we've also gotta take fully into account the human behaviors that this BT stuff is supposed to improve and optimize--the business processes. They've gotta be improved constantly, relentlessly, and both inside our company and outside, as well among our customers and their customers and our suppliers and other partners. BT and BTO are enormously important, but they've gotta serve the greater cause of BPO, which in turn bows down to the great god of business. Because without that tightly coupled linkage, we're gonna go the way of all one-hit wonders. Whaddaya think?"

"What I think is--and speaking of one-hit wonders--it'd be really cool if we could fit ELO into this."

"Why do I bother with you? Why did I ever pluck you off the hard-drive-defragging team? Why do I waste my breath trying to lift you from the muck of the now and into the splendor of tomorrow?"

"I can't answer that, but I'll have a feasibility analysis to you by 5 o'clock."

Bob Evans
Editor in Chief
bevans@cmp.com


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