Mr. Spock, a duck, and the Maytag Repairman…

You may be asking yourself what these three names have in common and we found out at the Progress Software Summit on responsive process management in New York City yesterday.

Following Larry Kudlow’s speech the audience heard from Progress Software CEO, Rick Reidy, yours truly, and Forrester analyst John R. Rymer. What we heard from Rymer repeatedly was that business event processing is the next big architecture movement. He argued that a company’s responsiveness was based on its ability to empower its people to be responsive through the elimination of restrictive policies and regulations. The use case of this was the interaction between influential mommy blogger Dooce and Maytag – with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, Dooce became an “empowered customer” whom Maytag could not and would not ignore when it came to responding to her gripes about her new washer. Being able to respond quickly and nimbly, without months of red tape allowed Maytag to weather what could have been a scathing PR debacle.

Rymer was also uniquely able to discuss Hans Solo and Captain Kirk as the intuitive business users in comparison to Mr. Spock and Obi Wan Kenobi who represented analytical business users. While a big hit with this tech-heavy crowd, this analogy also served to reinforce my discussion at the need to cater to pure business users, business analysts as well as IT. All organizations have Kirks and Spocks.

This all tied nicely back to the analogy that started our day that came from our CEO, Rick Reidy. If you and your competitors are ducks in a pond, who is the leader and who simply follows the flock? In order to be a leader one must be able to just nearly see the future or, at the very least, not drive in the rearview mirror. The idea that responsive process management, business event processing and, more basically, seeing and responding in a timely way can make you that leading duck was an easy to digest message that rang true for everyone who made it out to today’s Progress Software Summit.

Afterwards… it was off to Chicago!


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