In my experience working with highly regulated companies in financial services and insurance I have seen some very interesting scenarios. Through no one’s fault in particular, the company ends up with what I call the “Psychobilly Cadillac”; referring to the song called “One Piece at a Time” written by Wayne Kemp and performed by the well known Johnny Cash.
It is a long song so I won’t list all of the lyrics but it goes something like this…
An assembly line worker in a Detroit automotive plant goes to work everyday and puts wheels on Cadillac’s. He always wanted a Cadillac for himself that was long and black but he couldn’t afford it so he devises a plan to steal one piece of the car every day and build his dream car. Now this of course takes some time, so over the course of 25 years he sneaks small parts out in his big lunchbox and larger parts he sneaks out in his buddy’s mobile home, finally he has all of the pieces. (I told you it was a long song…) He sits down to put it together and soon realizes that things don’t quite fit together properly because of the different models of the Cadillac over the 25 years. Transmission was a ’53 but the motor turned out to be a ’63. He has a tail fin on the left and none on the right, three headlights-one on the left and two on the right and so on and so on. But he powered through and when he finished he had one funky looking Cadillac he dubbed the “Psychobilly”.
In many respects I see the same in enterprise communications. Many software and systems are acquired or internally developed throughout the years to help fix a particular problem, or to try and take advantage of a particular technology. Before you know it, you take a step back and look at what has been created and begin to wonder…what have we built?! A “Psychobilly”!
Now, the Psychobilly Cadillac will get from point A to point B and Psychobilly Communications Systems will get documents out the door, but they are expensive to maintain and don’t adapt easily to changes in regulations. They also don’t keep up with the expectations of customers; who by the way want to communicate with your “Psychobilly” through their iPhone.
Take a close look at your communications, your systems and your forms. Look for these symptoms to see if you may be driving a “Psychobilly”…
- IT controls all of your communications.
- New communications or changes to communications take a long time.
- There are many steps in the business process (spaghetti).
- Management has little or no insight into the assembly process.
- Versioning is a challenge.
- Communications are decentralized in different systems.
“I got it one piece at a time
And it didn’t cost me a dime
You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town
I’m gonna ride around in style
I’m gonna drive everybody wild
‘Cause I’ll have the only one there is around.”