Displaying articles for: 04-29-2012 - 05-05-2012
The Economist produced a video about the Third Industrial Revolution.
The video is focus is on:
- 3D printing - a shift from subtractive manufacturing to additive manufacturing.
- Robotics – the use of automation to improve quality and reduce costs
- Flexible manufacturing techniques and social structures.
In addition to the automation and new manufacturing techniques, the increase in transportation costs… is causing a shift in where and how manufacturing takes place. I saw a clip the other day on a company moving TV assembly to Detroit – Element Electronics. This is quite a shift from how organizations have thought about what drives cost reduction in manufacturing.
These are bringing into question some of the foundation assumptions in manufacturing.
Dion Hinchcliffe put out a post recently titled: Enterprise gamification: Will it drive better business performance? This is an area that the more I think about the more important it becomes.
2) Behavior/process modeling
3) Behavior modification
These may seem more like the kind of things the HR organization should care about, but with automation and social tools there are whole new levels of interaction and encouragement possible. When linked to training and other corporate activities the “game play” can enable a proactive, educated workforce. Naturally there can be some unintended consciences so having clear goals and measurements that are actively used is critical – some of these can be rather funny.
I was in a conversation this week with someone whose main focus is on improving quality. The 4 elements I listed above are directly applicable to any quality initiative, so it seems like a good place to pursue further work.
I had lunch Monday with Tom Ivory of HfSResearch and during our conversation about business and technology trends, we got on the topic of Big Data. One thing I mentioned to him was my view that the Big Data movements focus on “time to insight” is a bit misplaced. It is “time to action” or “time to impact” that is what matters to businesses.
On Tuesday, Tom sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal titled: Big Data’s Big Problem: Little Talent. It states that based on the abundance of data that organizations have today, “Big Data refers to the idea that an enterprise can mine all the data it collects right across its operations to unlock golden nuggets of business intelligence.” It then goes on to talk about the lack of talented people who can “ask the right questions” and “It is this ability to turn data into information into action that presents the most challenges.” I was happy to see this bit of validation.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the organizations that can understand “normal” and focus the people on the areas that need their creativity that will shine in the end. This relationship between situational awareness and automation needs to be part of organizational strategic planning, much more than what most architectural processes allow.
Wired had an interview with Marc Andreessen titled: The Man Who Makes the Future that was just released. This article talks about some of the history of our current social, mobile web-based world as well as some of Marc’s view of the world going forward. Marc is probably best known as the co-creator of Mosaic (the Netscape Navigator) but he is also an HP board member. The article is worth reading just to see his perspective of the changes underway.
This week I also had the opportunity to sit in on an SMU Management briefing where Ron Johnson spoke (CEO of JCP) about the “Reimaging of JCP”.
Both of these individuals talk about thinking outside the constraints that were placed upon them and being willing to start anew. One quote from Ron’s session at SMU was “Each of us has an imagination, and we’re all born to create, but innovation is the most misused, misunderstood word in American business.” He was talking about too much reliance on incremental innovation, when a disruption is really required.
With most of the IT budgets today consumed by keeping the lights on, “starting over” can be a very hard decision to make. With the new technologies that are available our old scarcity based models will just not cut it. It is time (at least on a small scale) to begin to experiment with other abundance based approaches. This is one of the areas I hope to talk about at HP Discover in June.
Peter Kretzman in his post about the death of the CIO says that we have all heard quotes like:
“Users can go out and get their own technology now; they don’t need IT to do it for them. End-users are now IT-savvy, and can fend for themselves. They’ll bring their own devices (BYOD); they don’t need or want IT to provide devices for them. They’ll procure the services they need and want from the various SaaS offerings in the cloud or from outsourced vendors, and they’ll handle it all themselves.”
But just because we’ve heard them doesn’t make it true. When you talk to people about this kind of sentiment, it ultimately gets expressed as the question: “Who needs a CIO anymore?” It can even go further to: “Who needs an IT department at all anymore? “
In Kretzman’s post, he goes on to talk about how, “this frequent linking of cloud and IT consumerization to the looming demise of the CIO and IT is not just misguided, but actually gets it completely backwards.”
There are definitely changes taking place to the underlying technology that fuels IT. I agree that the off-loading of some of this effort (that is no longer valued by the enterprise) should free up the IT organization to focus on what is actually important to the bottom line.
Some of the elements that were viewed as “technical” are not as much of a differentiator as they used to be. Agile CIOs are making adjustments. The fact remains that all the new value generation efforts (social, mobile and analytics) are enabled by technology – that is undeniable.
These enablers require a degree of discipline (security, data integration, 3rd party management…). Even if hardware support and some of the value enabling software disappears into a service, the business is still left with everything else needed to integrate the activities and deliver value. If it is or isn’t called IT or the role is called the CIO; it is irrelevant – skilled personnel that understand what is required will still be needed.