Monday, September 12, 2016

I have to confess; I really hate technology

I spend most of my time in BPM world. I even provide training for a vendor of BPM software. This might make you think I definitely must be crazy about technology.
Absolutely not.
And that’s not because I am an old grumpy man or I don’t understand it, but when I think back; as a child I never cared about game consoles, remote controlled cars or Lego technics.
Instead, I preferred wandering through the woods to learn about the usefulness of nature, helping at the farm or playing soccer on the streets.
Years passed by and now I’m an old kid.
But still I don’t care about technology. I can easily get annoyed by the next hallelujah article about the next Silicon Valley start-up (with, if you have to believe other articles, employees who can’t pay their rent) that came up with the next app that solves the same “problem” as 20 similar apps.
Or take all that speculating and scaremongering about the impact of robots, artificial intelligence, blockchain or virtual reality. 
I think I can spend my time better than worrying about that.  
And that’s what I do, most of the time; not worrying. But, doing what really makes me happy. And, for example, that is spending my time on my hobby-profession of construction and renovating.
So, a few weeks ago I decided to spend the money I made with mapping processes for companies who don’t want to do it themselves. I treated myself and my family by building a patio in my garden to sit and relax when I come home from another tough day in the BPM center of Excellence.

Building a porch is a little bit like a process where it is smart to do the steps in a specific order, so I started with pouring the concrete foundation to place six nice and big Douglas beams upon.

Of course I wanted those beams to be leveled correctly, so I borrowed my friends’ self-leveling rotary laser. Beep, Beep. Everything leveled perfectly. Which gave me a good base to continue building.  
To construct the walls, a lot of planks needed to be cut the right size. Luckily I own a professional miter saw, so that job was done in no time.
Putting the timber on the roof could be a more time consuming job, because I chose to use a lot of small planks. But the nail gun did a good job and I could finish it in a few hours.
I decided to make the roof water resistant with EPDM, some kind of rubber. I never worked with that material, but it turned out to be a piece of cake. Some glue on rubber and roof. Wait a few minutes, unfold the rubber and done!

Because my girlfriend saw it on one of those hipster lifestyle television shows, she wanted a lounge set in the new porch. When building it, I was really happy with my light weight, but powerful, cordless screw driver. And those torx screws; I love ‘m!

When I’m working on those projects, so now and then my thoughts go to my late granddad. He was a carpenter in heart and soul, so I think I must have inherited some genes from him.
As a kid, I spent hours watching him work. Quality was his middle name, but man o man, his work needed a lot of effort most of the time. Sawing by hand, screwing by hand (and not with torx screws, but just the old flatheads) and mixing concrete by hand. Respect.
Nowadays all those tasks go much easier, because of….technology!
So, actually I don’t hate technology at all. I love it as long as it helps me. As long as it helps me to execute my processes and delivering the desired results.
Probably technology only interests me when it is applied in processes, I “bond with”.
That might be the reason why I always click away from the next fintech story; I just am not interested in processes in the financial industry. The results of those processes just aren’t things that make my head turn. But when I have to believe Linkedin, luckily there are enough people that do like those processes and the technologies supporting them ;-)
Personally I am, among others, more interested in health care. So, technologies to improve health care processes; bring them on!
So, isn’t it about technology, but about the processes (actually their results) in which you are interested or think are important?
When you are interested in certain types of processes and what problems those processes solve for customers, I think you are automatically motivated to improve those processes.
And that might be caused by the fact that, in the end, processes themselves are just a means. A means to deliver a result.
As I told you, I love building things (the process), but the desired process result was the porch.
All the steps I took to build it, were probably the same my granddad would have done 50 years ago. The why? and what? of the process didn’t change.
But the How? did. Because I used modern tools, the process went faster at certain points or did cost less effort or money.
Whether or not using all those tools made the quality of the end result better, is a thing I am not sure about. I think that has more to do with how well you are able to apply all those tools and materials. Good old craftsmanship.
Technology. I have to confess; it can be cool. At least, if you apply it in useful (opinions may differ about that) processes
Maybe that is why I never got really excited about BPM systems “in general”. Sure, the technology might be cool, but it only makes sense in the context of a real process.
And often it is applied in processes that do not really excite me ;-)
How processes can be designed and supported by technology might differ from process to process and I like to help organizations in finding that match,
But there are things I even like more. Tonight I will attend a welding course. Yeehaa!

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