Harry Potter and the Leap of Faith

I was sitting with my two children watching Harry Potter 4 (The Goblet of Fire) and my mind began to wander. Maybe because I had lost track of the plot, the multiple characters or the bizarre twists of the storyline. Or maybe I was just marvelling at the ainimated effects. And I started to think about Harry Potter, The Money Machine.

When Harry Potter was a character in a book the scenes and situations could be literally magical. The only limitation was the imagination of JK Rowling and her ability to put it into words. Harry Potter floats above a table supported only by 2 blades of grass – no problem.  Professor Dumbledore evaporates with a gigantic flash of sparks and fireworks – certainly.  Conduct a game of quidditch on broomsticks above the school ramparts – absolutely.

Now when Warner Bros first looked at first Harry Potter books and considered turning it into a full length film how scared were they of the potential cost. The cost of building the set, finding a school above a lake, and making the fantastic magical effects come to life.

What was the budget? How successful would it be? Or more importantly how did they build some form of Return Of Investment. Maybe the answer is that they could never have imagined how successful the first film, or in fact the entire series was going to be. The Harry Potter film franchise is the highest grossing film series of all time.

Evangelists about to drive a business change project using Nimbus Control must feel the same. The tried and tested formula of documenting your processes in Visio or Powerpoint has been shown to give only short term, if any, benefits. But at least the cost of the software is zero.  So, using Nimbus Control will cost money, even though hosted version allows it to be OpeX. But it still requires some leap of faith.

Perhaps less so than the early evangelists who adopted Nimbus Control over 12 years ago. Now there is far more evidence that it works – long term – to enable genuine ‘sustainable improvement’. There are client case studies, video evidence and strong business cases.

Nevertheless for many organisations and process professionals taking a different approach is a risk. In their heart of hearts they realise that simply enforcing BPMN 1.0 or 2.0 will not necessarily engage the end users and that is the only way to drive true business change. But there are some large consulting firms  -“Merchants of the Magic Bullet” in Harry Potter terms – are pushing BPMN very heavily

Now I need to be clear that our caution around BPMN is not sour grapes. Nimbus Control supports BPMN but we believe that there is a time and a place for BPMN.  The right time is when working with the business and IT analysts working out how to automate a process. Applying the full rigour of BPMN is not a way to win the hearts and minds of the 10,000’s of end users. They need to be spoon fed something simple and easy, so perhaps using a small subset of the BPMN symbols.  And then thinking about how to present the information to help an end user really get their job done.  On their PC, on their smart phone or iPad.

Which is why the Nimbus mantra is “To make the life at work easier, quicker and more valuable for over 1,000,000 people this year.”

So are you going break a pattern and follow companies like Nestle, Chevron, Sony, Carphone Warehouse, Toyota and HSBC? They have achieved fantastic benefits but they will happily admit the first project required a leap of faith.

As Professor Dumbledore says in the 4th film, “Dark times lay ahead.  We must decide between what is right and what is easy”.



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