Just finished talking about “innovation” and what enterprise software companies mean by it. While the thoughts are still in my head I will write them down. It is not that this is rocket science but it seems to be missed in the discussions of doing design in a company. Is what you are working on go to make money or save the company money? To that end it is important that you know whether you are building your software for the “line of business” or for the delivery to the customer.

On the topic of innovation, how much are people willing to “innovate” on the line of business? How much are they willing to pay for something that they consider a cost center not a profit center. Should the definition of “best” be in the context of efficiencies: design, development, implementation and usage? If it is not incrementally better how do you describe the cost savings to the organization?

When delivering to the customer the solution might not be the most efficient. This may depend on the goals. When someone says they want something innovative here what are they asking for? Increasing profits? Here we may not want incrementally better. We may need something that is a step wise improvement or in some organizations a completely different approach. In any case beware of what you are designing for.