Christmas: the back-office story

Beneath a glittering sky, Bethlehem sleeps.  But in one dark corner a lone man bangs his desk with frustration.

INNKEEPER:  Bloody ERP system’s crashed!  First we had all those people coming for the census.  And now this: a pregnant woman and I can’t add a ‘stable’ option to the drop-down room menu.

MAN:  Hold down the function key and press ‘N’ for new.

INNKEEPER: [Starts] Blimey, where did you spring from?  Look: we just don’t have any more rooms.

MAN: That’s OK.  I’m here to help.  You know there’s a mobile version of that, don’t you: you could be entering this information while you’re walking around…

[The innkeeper’s eyes narrow]

INNKEEPER: What are you, some kind of salesman?

MAN: No, no, not at all, I’m a… [He glows slightly]

INNKEEPER: What was that?

MAN: What was what? [He glows again, this time more brightly]

INNKEEPER: That! That glowing!!

MAN: Oh that…

INNKEEPER: You’re an angel, aren’t you?

MAN: Possibly.

[Pause]

INNKEEPER:  Room 306. Down the hall. Already got a host of you packed in there, so you’ll have to leave the harp with the concierge.

MAN: Not that kind of angel.

INNKEEPER: How many kinds are there?

MAN: We’re diversifying.  Did some customer research.  Apparently, the old broadcast ‘peace and goodwill to all’ style doesn’t work for everyone, so we’re trying a more customised approach – you know, you talk, we listen.  More ‘pull’ than ‘push’.

INNKEEPER: Eh?

MAN: I’m a business angel.  I mean I can already see that you’re going to have problems registering all those sheep in the system.  And the shepherd in 402 really wanted non-smoking.  Look, I can put a team of cherubs together and we can knock up a set of requirements in a couple of weeks.  Allowing for the inevitable delays, you changing your requirements, other demands on our angelic time, we should be able to have it in by Easter.

INNKEEPER: Easter?

MAN: Oops, spoilers! Sorry!  Let’s say three months.

INNKEEPER: But I need it now.

MAN: We’ve got processes and procedures.

INNKEEPER:  You really need to think about an operating model.

MAN:  I’m an angel, not a fairy godmother!

Eight out of ten clients we speak to say that one of the most important reasons why they bring consultants in is to do things faster.  Even at Christmas.