As I mentioned last week I presented on the importance of understanding Attention in business to the New Horizons Forum , part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) conference. I put the Attention Scarcity in a Connected World presentation out in slideshare, if anyone is interested.
The nice thing about going to a conference outside your normal area of concentration is that it allows you to look at things differently. One thing that caught me a bit by surprise at the conference was the degree of overlap with the concepts presented in the New Horizons’ keynote titled "Big Bets in USAF Research and Development" by Maj General William Neil McCasland, Commander, Air Force Research.
Much of his presentation was about the impact autonomous and semi-autonomous systems were having on the military and the shifts that need to take place in both the implementation, validation and testing of these systems, as well as the processes that surround them. Granted he was coming at the problem from a different perspective and was focused much more on the automation side than the interaction between the humans and automation, but he touched on many of the same points as my brief presentation.
These overlaps drove home the “perfect storm” that is taking place in automation, regardless of the industry. Many people realize that the tools are out there and have different perspective of what the tools can do. These differences are actually what innovators need to look out for, since in many cases they can complement an approach. Even when they are not complimentary, the lessons learned may still be applicable.
The panel I was part of at the conference was moderated by Rupak Biswas, NASA Advanced Supercomputing division chief. After our panel, we had a long discussion about the shifting role and capabilities of automation, behavior modification and the role of IT organizations within organizations.
One of the areas we discussed was the use and deployment of gamification within an organization, specifically related to knowledge management and sharing of expertise. Although the IT organization definitely needs to be involved in the integration of information and its flow related to knowledge management and collaboration tools, the business side needs to be responsible for the goals, metrics, rewards and behavior changes that are required. They are the ones who will judge success of the project.
Collaboration between these two groups will be required, since neither can accomplish the task effectively on their own. This may seem obvious, but since some organizations view the IT team as a more cost conscious, support organization and that core business process tasks need to be funded and attacked separately from the IT efforts, this isolationist view may be a luxury that is too expensive to maintain.
To be a modern application today, it seems they must have social, mobile and analytic capabilities. As companies strive for greater flexibility for both for their employees as well as their business model, on-the-road access to corporate information is an expectation. The BYOD movement takes it a step further and places the application delivery on employee selected hardware -- another level of flexibility.
These expectation changes are taking place within the existing application portfolio, as well as expanding into the thin-air of marketing strategies and non-traditional IT solutions. Most businesses have a search underway for additional techniques that can drive strategic business process changes, shifting the behavior of employees, partners and consumers. Gamification being one of those…
The consumers of today increasingly access social networks on mobile devices that are rarely in the control of the business. Sentiment analysis of public forums and the aggregation of that information with demand creation systems like for promotions, product feedback… can provide significant insight into the view of the consumers of products and services. As the shift in how mobile devices are used, a greater contextual understanding of the consumer and their interaction can be gained further refining an organizations understanding of their consumer base.
Some people ask why all this detailed analysis is needed? Is there something different about business today than in the past? I state that it is the “need for speed”, since the lifespan of products (let alone companies) is steadily declining. Any way to squeak out a bit more life or revenue is becoming important.
If an organization can develop a support network on the Internet (or within a large company) engage customers and build communities – all the better. This means that products that are flexible, configurable and able to integrate into other business systems have a definite advantage. Do you look at your systems from an integration point of view?
There is another change underway at the foundations of how mobile devices are used. Flurry reports that mobile time consumption on social networks increased by 60% between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012. This is significant because gaming and entertainment have always been a key focus for mobile apps and now people are using their devices for more serious concerns.
For those organizations exploring this space, there are great possibilities, but it will be important to ensure that each application provides a real, cost-effective benefit. Know what you expect and then measure against it. If you see something different, at least you learned something. If you confirmed your expectations, you’ve move to validation from supposition.
I blog and talk continuously about the new levels of flexibility and business value generation that can be generated by implementing cloud capabilities and thinking about them more strategically than just cutting costs. So instead of listening to me, here is a video interview of Tony Kerrison, the CTO of ING bank about their perspective.
ING bank is in the process of transforming its business with Converged Cloud solutions. Tony states ING will make this transformation by changing both the way they work as well as what they will do. They are looking for new opportunities, allowing them to decrease their time to market for ideas as well as reduce costs. Eventually allowing them to invest more in generating value for the consumer and less on owning hardware.
Their skills will need to shift to concentrate more in areas like integration and portfolio management -- moving from a bits and bytes to a focus on value-based discussion with the business.
I just heard of a new beta HP software service called Agile Manager. In beta through November 30, 2012.
HP Agile Manager is a SaaS-based solution for organizing, planning and executing agile projects. It is purpose-built and designed specifically to serve agile teams. It leverages a native cloud architecture for instant-on access and boasts a clean, intuitive design offering technology innovations that minimize latency, aids the adoption of agile practices and fosters continuous improvement. There is even an Agile Manager support community to collaborate with others learning about the service.
Some key features:
- Advanced visualization for easy planning, task allocation, and capacity management
- Comprehensive analytics and real-time visibility into code, quality, and progress
- Seamless IDE integration so developers can work in the environment they prefer
- Insight across projects, teams, and geographies to successfully scale agile efforts
I’ve not had my hands on it yet myself, but it does sound interesting, since I’ve been using agile techniques since long before the term agile was applied to software development.
No organization large enough to have a private cloud will likely have just HP servers in their environment, so diverse environment management is likely to be common requirement in the private cloud. Yet there don’t appear to be many products on the market that address diverse environments (Converged Cloud) well.
HP CloudSystem Matrix is available as a popular turnkey solution bundled with HP servers, but many don't realize that it is also available as HP CloudSystem Matrix software that can be used with non-HP systems, in existing environments.
As I think about the kind of management required as the automation concept moves out of IT and into business processes as a whole, a much better understanding of the integration needs of diverse environments will be required for these flexible approaches to burst out of IT. Cloud computing is just the IT implementation of a much larger automation trend.