Automate or Obliterate, That is the Question

Back in 1990 Michael Hammer made a famous article called Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.

Indeed, while automation is a most wanted outcome of Master Data Management (MDM) implementations and many other IT enabled initiatives, you should always consider the alternative being eliminating (or simplifying). This often means thinking out of the box.

As an example I today stumbled upon the Wikipedia explanation about Business Process Mapping. The example used is how to make breakfast (the food part):


You could think about different Business Process Re-engineering opportunities for that process. But you could also realize that this is an English / American breakfast. What about making a French breakfast instead. Will be as simple as:

Input money > Buy croissant > Fait accompli

PS: From the data quality and MDM world one example of making French breakfast instead of English / American breakfast is examined in the post The Good, Better and Best Way of Avoiding Duplicates.

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4 thoughts on “Automate or Obliterate, That is the Question

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 19th March 2015 / 07:46

      Thanks for the reblog Ken.

  1. Prashanta C 19th March 2015 / 04:33

    Good post Henrik. Process re-engineering is such an important aspect in today’s ever changing business landscape. Given MDM is at the center of the organization processes providing critical master data required for smooth running the business, BPM (which we were very recently talking about as a “new trend” in MDM) has become such an important and common part of every MDM implementation. Bringing these two technologies together in a meaningful way has become so important for all of us and I am glad we are doing it.

    Talking about making breakfast, don’t get me started on Indian version. I guess this comment section won’t be enough to list all the ingredients 

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 19th March 2015 / 07:47

      Thanks a lot for commenting Prash. Aligning MDM and BPM is certainly very close to me in a current role. An exciting aspect of this intersection is the external self-service themes as customer self- service (think the hotel breakfast buffet) and supplier self-service (a bit like me bringing a bag with Danish to a morning meeting).

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