The Challenge of Business Requirements vs. Business Processes
Michael Aston, Senior Technology Architect , MFG ADT Online, Infosys
Every so often I come across a project where the scope is to produce a like-for-like replacement of an existing system. I'll tell you right now, these projects are doomed to failure.
These projects occur for a number of reasons. Perhaps an existing product is no longer supported, or perhaps the business is trying to consolidate on to fewer technology platforms. In some cases the drive it to reduce recurring costs, in others the lure of a new technology has been irresistible. No matter the originating factor, they display the same barriers to success.
Firstly, in these projects the users aren't complaining about the existing system. It's a familiar beast, warts and all, and they're in their comfort zone using it. It's become the technology equivalent of your favourite armchair; maybe it's a bit scruffy and the cushions don't match, but woe betide anyone who suggests replacing it.
Secondly, the existing system will have been around for a while. Given long enough, people will adapt to anything and the alternatives will no longer seem viable. In the case of established software, business processes mould themselves to fit the tools available, accommodating their quirks and peculiarities.
 Consider the QUERTY keyboard - specifically designed to slow down typing speed (to stop the arms of the letters on the original typewriters from jamming), and yet still the de facto standard throughout the English speaking world.