• Mike Shields

If Everybody Simplifies, How Come it’s Still So Complex?

The Reality Behind Most of the New ‘Simplifications’ for Commerce.

Our CTO, Lawrence Matusek, is a true master of simplification. Check out his following within the SAP community of complex manufacturing and you’ll see why. Anyhow, a few weeks ago he did a post on ‘We were simplify before simplify was cool’. That followed Bill McDermott’s Sapphire keynote on Simplify Everything…

What’s going on? SIMPLIFY is the new buzzword for consultants and software companies. I’ve been around manufacturing business simplification for a long time… and deeply engaged in removing complexity from B2B Commerce for the past 20+ years. I see a pattern developing… EVERYONE SIMPLIFIES!! Yet the world of B2B Commerce is getting more complex every year… so it looks like “complexification” is outrunning simplification! What I find a bit humorous but also alarming at some level is that even the OVERCOMPLICATORS are now changing their labels to be ‘simplifiers’. I’ve seen this same syndrome before in other Hypescape domains… industry players change their taglines without changing anything else. So today, all consultants and software companies are MOBILE, SIMPLIFY, CLOUD, SAAS, etc.

My latest rant is that most manufacturing companies, our customer base, are being bombarded with these messages – and many will find out the hard way that a lot of this is simply marketing spin and hype. New face, same tired old complex solution offer. I guess there’s no way around it… but maybe we should at least ask everyone who claims to be removing complexity HOW you are doing that? How big is the change you’re introducing vs. the past practices? What have you changed in your offering? Most of all WHAT IS YOUR FIT WITHIN THE COMMERCE LANDSCAPE FOR THIS SIMPLIFICATION? That is where most of the increased complexity is being realized… driven by increasing customer and market needs for companies to be ‘easy to do business with’ (ETDBW).

I am absolutely convinced that true business simplification in manufacturing can only be achieved through end-to-end process work… removing unnecessary complexity from the first point of inquiry to the end of the product life cycle. And THIS can only be realized on a new and greatly simplified technology platform. Today’s hodge-podge of proprietary point solutions all claiming to be ‘services-oriented’ or leveraging ‘middleware’ ARE the root causes of overcomplicated business processes. They chop up the business flow into redundant data and transaction elements… and force some magical ‘governance’ process (that doesn’t exist) to reconcile all of these overlaps and gaps.

Emerging Commerce solutions that are truly simple leverage integrated, seamless PLATFORMS for demand creation and management. They eliminate the inherent complexities and costs of redundant, disconnected and awkward user experiences delivered by all of these proprietary point solutions. Simple solutions are seamless, intuitive and easy to manage. If your new SIMPLE solution isn’t like that, keep looking… you’re not there yet.