You recognize your responsibility to advance the competency and maturity of both your business and IT organizations through technology (See: “Seek Innovation and Optimization in 2010 at the Intersection of Business and Technology”). The lines of business must examine methods for using technology to innovate and to optimize if the organization is to maintain a competitive edge. The dual perspectives for these examinations should be business value and cost avoidance, looked at quarterly and with a two-year horizon; as well as the obvious need to address the “here and now” of business, you must keep an eye on the rapid change in technology, which today happens much faster than traditional three- or five-year investment plans can accommodate. You also need to be “disruptive” of the usual practices sometimes, which for some organizations means establishing weekly review cycles using business intelligence to evaluate operational effectiveness instead of waiting for monthly and quarterly cycles; for others being disruptive could be using social media to gain direct customer feedback and interaction through Web sites such as Facebook and Yelp. Similarly I have also seen how "crowd-sourcing” across your workforce or even your customers can simplify the process of getting visibility into your activities, daily or strategic, and gleaning insights into your business. However you look at it, disrupting your habitual activities and processes, or disrupting your industry and surprising your competitors, should be part of what you strive to accomplish in 2010.
Every organization needs to operate smarter and find methods to be more intelligent in the business activities that undermine the responsiveness that is a key to efficiency of individuals. The barrier typically is a lack of knowledge about what is happening, and that will impact an individual’s or a department’s operations or performance. In many cases the proper use of analytics that are predictive in nature can address this issue. So can using technology that tracks problems as they happen through the use of business events, which are triggered every millisecond across the network from your many applications and systems. This is what we call Operational Intelligence; complex event processing can monitor and identify issues and opportunities and correlate them to policies and rules established by the business. Other organizations can gain knowledge of what needs to be done with applications that bring goals, objectives, metrics and specific capabilities together. Then they follow up with the insights and plans to achieve them using integrated business planning in conjunction with performance management applications.
Several broader technology approaches could help business or IT in this effort. One is cloud computing, which brings capabilities to business user in a quick and efficient manner by renting you the software when and for whom you need it. Also using cloud computing you can connect over the Internet people who want to share knowledge, which requires turning social collaboration into business collaboration across the enterprise. Traditionally this technology would have to be installed in the enterprise itself, but cloud computing makes it available in a simpler method. Similarly you can meet the need to provide information and applications wherever people are operating through consumer-focused mobile technologies such as the Apple iPhone, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry, along with new generations of tablet technology like Apple’s recently announced iPad. Speaking of simple and necessary, a new kind of information application is ensuring availability of information through applications designed to meet specific needs of consumers, customers and the operational elements of an organization.
Using technology wisely is no easy task; varying opinions, experience and just plain turf battles can get factions of people working against each other rather than using their energy to find the means to innovate and optimize business. It will take work and cooperation to turn being disruptive into a positive force for your organization.
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Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research