Simplicity is an illusion

or to be more precise, Simplicity in larger successfull business today is an illusion.

I fully agree with Gene Hughson who wrote wrote "Simple responses to complex situations are both seductive and dangerous" in his blog.

But why is it like this today?

If your business is simple, in this global economy, then it's rather easy to for someone else to copy your business, and you will become a commodity. The only way you can compete is with price, unless you have a monopoly in your market.

So if you want to grow your business, and stay profitable, in some ways, it will be complex and hard to replicate. 

However, if your business model is to complex it will be very difficult to change. The more integrated your company is, the harder will it be to change, and survice changes in the market.

This conflict of simplicity vs complexity is relevant for both the business side and the IT side as well.  But what about management, is that also a complex issue? 

You can look at the governance model in your company. Is it centralised, decentralised or federated? Each of these models have their pros and cons, and which model to choose from is depending on the business you run.

 The problem gets even worse when you mix all three models to get some additional benefits. An example is to cetralize IT but still keep PnL responsibility in the business units, leading to shadow IT to solve business problems.

Another question is how you incentive the people in the organisation? Is it only money that you have as an incentive, and if so, is it individual performance they only thing that counts? How will you get people to work together and share knowledge with this model?

How do you drive innovation in you company?

If you want to change, you need to try different paths and experiment. You sometimes fails, but the question is if you are rewarded in spite of the failure, you lose a usual reward because your missed your marks or you get punished for failing. 

All this three questions are multifaceted, part of the company culture and impacts the ability to changes the organisation.

Therefore, creating a successful large business in not simple, and changing it is even more complex. 

The danger lies in suggesting simple solutions to complex problems.