ERP, CRM, CTI, IVR etc – Time for an acronym change…

The IT industry is full of acronyms, and the pretty good list in Wikipedia triggered some Badger thoughts about the likes of ERP, CRM, CTI, IVR etc. This group covers the system and software suites that support the processes and operations of a business in an integrated and efficient manner. SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and Salesforce are big names in this arena, but there are many others with good, comprehensive and competitive offerings too.

Offerings tend to be functionally rich, highly configurable, and have customisable interfaces allowing data to be exchanged with products from different vendors. They are also ‘sticky’. Once in, they stay at the heart of the relevant business process for a very long time. Replacing legacy systems with such offerings is, however, rarely without substantial challenges, especially in large enterprises. It must go hand in hand with a client’s own human and process-related business transformation activities which, sadly, are often neglected. In the Badger’s experience, initial business cases are often not fully met. Delivery is often much later than expected and costs often exceed the set budget. Relationships between client and supplier can become very strained!

So, what emerged from the Badger’s stream of thoughts? Two things. Firstly, it’s time to sweep away the wide gamut of acronyms covering product-centric offerings associated with integrated and efficient operation of a business. It’s important to simplify and move with the times and the Badger thinks a single acronym – BOSS – should be the simple replacement for ERP, CRM, and many others. BOSS stands for ‘Business Operation & Service Systems’. Getting the word ‘business’ in not only feels appropriate for going forward in the 21st century, but it also provides a reminder of the importance of the human and process aspects noted above.

Secondly, the future looks bright for new and smaller businesses regarding BOSS! The days of having to pay for expensive professional services to configure particular offerings seem numbered. After all, if cars can be made driverless, then artificial intelligence will make the automatic provision and configuration of systems to run a business easy! Just imagine for a moment. How long will it be before you simply ask Alexa to set up and provide all the systems and services you need to run your new integrated and efficient business? Fantasy, you might say. May be – but the Badger doubts it. Commoditisation, easier usage, simplicity and increasing user centricity have been a feature of IT for many years, and that’s not likely to change.

And finally? Billy Connelly, the well-known comedian, said ‘I’m not nearly as afraid of myself or my imagination as I used to be’. That’s very apt. The Badger’s off to test his meanderings with Alexa…

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