Managing The Mess

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When friends and colleagues ask me what an editor does on a daily basis, I usually ask them how much time they have. But if I were pressed to come up with one sentence justifying my existence here at CRN, it would be this: I manage people. The rest follows.

If you look around you, all of the really interesting categories of software surround the notion of better management,of both people and the processes by which they get their jobs done (or don't). We have supply chain management, customer relationship management, digital rights management, business process management and knowledge management (the focus of this week's CRN Test Center roundup review, which sports a redesign). More categories are probably emerging even as this column makes its way through CRN's weekly publishing process.

HEATHER CLANCY Can be reached at (516) 562-7446 or via e-mail at

What makes selling this software especially tricky is the fact that the people who will really respond to your pitch don't work in your customer's IT department. Instead, they are the managers struggling to help their companies execute more quickly and more efficiently,in most case with far fewer resources (human or otherwise) than in the past. Although I hate to admit it to my formidable news team, the thing that keeps me awake at night isn't the scoops we may have missed in a given week, it's the nagging thought that somehow the process that supports the staff could be better,and that I haven't figured out how to exploit it.

It didn't surprise me to hear last week that Fuego, a relatively young venture-backed software company in the aforementioned business process management space, is drawing process experts into its partner fold to help customers think through their process problems. After all, these people can speak the language of business, not just IT.

It also points to a growing need for training and certification efforts across this segment,and others like it,that focus on a person's knowledge of the fundamental challenges their customers face in getting their particular jobs done. If you're a solution provider specializing in solutions for help-desk management, for example, you're certainly going to want to align with a specific vendor. But it would be suicide to stop there. Your team should be an expert in the entire process, not just the products.

How do you manage? HEATHER CLANCY, Editor at CRN, welcomes your feedback at (516) 562-7446 or

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