The concept of The Long Tail really hit the public consciousness with the 2006 publication of a book by Wired editor Chris Anderson with the same title. The book was an expansion of an article he’d written for Wired. The premise, in a nutshell, is that online sales can make as much on the “long tail” of obscure items (like thousand and thousands of relatively unknown books) as they can by stocking just the top-sellers (the brick-and-mortar model). Having a vast inventory that doesn’t sell huge volume of any one thing, but sells huge volumes of many unrelated things is a different beast than a typical storefront experience. This depth-of-inventory leading to lots of unique sales is one of the reasons Amazon was initially successful. This concept has been important in helping online retailers rethink their business models. It has been revolutionary in its economic implications. Yet, there may yet be areas of “long tail” thinking that haven’t been exploited fully.

In particular, as a process consulting company, our experience has been that when companies try to automate their processes to improve efficiency they typically tackle the most complex processes first. These projects are often time-consuming and expensive even when they have a large ROI. After doing all the work to automate a few complex processes, the idea of putting that same level of effort into the many smaller projects that could also benefit from a digital makeover can seem overwhelming, or might not seem like they would pay back the investment. A lot of these smaller processes are often variations on a theme, for example similar flows for approvals, with slightly different data gathered along the way depending on what exactly is being approved.

We’ve been spending a lot of effort on our end to help tackle that long tail of process improvement opportunities. Our newest product, Apex Forms, is designed to give Business Owners an easy to use tool to build their own forms. It can plug into your existing BPM infrastructure (like IBM BPM or IBM BAW)and allows quick development, quick deployment and easy to use customer interfaces. The benefit here is that by placing Apex Forms into your BPM setup, you can unlock an easy method to quickly solve all kinds of data collection, approval and process challenges without needing a big development team behind it. We believe it finally unlocks the simple Lo-Code potential of BPM/BAW that has been so tantalizingly close for a decade now.

We bet you have work processes that could use automation that, until now, have just been stuff you’ve put up with because you couldn’t justify the effort and expense of developing a solution. Think about it — what if all those little nuisance processes were no longer manual, or no longer trapped in someone’s email inbox, or didn’t have to live on Larry’s old computer with the Access Database! We’d love to hear about those projects. We’d love to free you from the tyranny of a thousand tiny shackles and see your business run free from those encumbrances. Tell us about what you’d love to see transformed in your workplace!