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Avery Otto

I enjoy this post and find your insights on enterprise collaboration most relevant. Especially how efficacious flow is facilitated. Your strength of character is refreshing. Please see:
http://www.dynamicalsoftware.com/news/?p=93 for similarity in focus. Cheers!

Sathya Pandalai

One of the key aspects of enterprise software is to make it easier for organizations to share information and resources. All the talk about ERP applications, SOA suites and MDM projects have a bit of that thinking in it. The key i guess is how to integrate the entire enterprise into a single chord of information flow. I know that this dream has not come to fruition completely, but they do contribute to that goal.

sig

@avery - thanks, and good to see I'm not alone!

@sathya - two important words in your comment: "share" and "flow". Agree that much ES do make "sharing" easier, but it's almost without exception free of process. It's self-help, helps the "work" part of the "workflow" but the "flow" part (process) is still DIY.

Where I have my doubts is if it will contribute to the goal as I think the path is the wrong path and hence has to be abandoned eventually. It's focus on personal efficiency, leaving the process to be manual is extrapolation of the old paper based methods. To make the organisation effective using IT would require a process engine underneath, preferably with a unified data model so data can be captured and disseminated everywhere.

Another metaphor comes to mind if you've got sea legs (or is a chemical engineer): A displacement vessel of any kind has a "hull speed", the increase in speed is reasonably linear when you add power, until one point when the power vs speed curve becomes almost vertical. You can add as much power you want without much speed increase. Ditto for fluids travelling in pipes when the flow goes from laminar to turbulent.

The organisation is the ship's hull or the pipes in which something flows. You can make the fluid more efficient by adding power and pressure, but without rebuilding, redesigning the hull or pipes the outcome will remain more or less the same.

Pankaj

Doesnt your contention apply to the very metric of "productivity"? Increased productivity per employee has always been seen as a desirable end in organizations. It does serve your business ends indirectly. Employees work better for the same salary, so youre saving costs.

revenues - saved costs = greater revenues no?

sig

Pankaj,

absolutely, individual efficiency is good. Thing is that's we've been at it, bettering that for ages, so the incremental gains are getting close to zero. That in short is "how we do things".

Now, organisational effectiveness on the other hand has not changed much last few thousand years. The "what we do".

But there is something else too, often the efficiency work is for the birds, doubly wasted:

In your daily office work you get a task via email. Then you pop over to the file cabinet to look for and read some old reports, or if you're modern, do the same on the intranet with a dash of Google. After a while you have the information you need and you fire up the tool of choice, say MS Word before you at last can create some value for the customer.

Say we challenged some assumptions and said that "what you did", when you went looking for the information, was a waste of time. If so then any resources (better intranets, KMS, search engines) and training spent to make you more efficient in finding pertinent information would also be a complete waste.

If the focus was on the organisational effectiveness (what you do) and a solution, say a process engine involved, where workorder and all pertinent information was given at the same time, well then the organisation would gain hugely. You on the other hand could be unbeatably efficient in finding information, but that does not help the organisation if the finding work is wasted anyway.

The facts are in: In BRPs you spend about 2/3rd of your time on managing and making the flow flow and not on value creation. Well then, doing something about that and hence the organisational effectiveness would give up to a 200% gain.

Cheers,
Sig

Pankaj

Sig, thank you so much for the detailed and wonderful response.

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