Saturday, March 19, 2011

The New Wave Business Process - Part II : 'App'lied Business Theory

A conversation I was having with a senior strategist and a vendor conference which I attended this week triggered some further thought process on handling the new wave business processes. So I decided to elaborate on my initial concept in the previous blog - - about network linked business capability and online collaboration leading to commercial transactions.

Let us look at some of the changes we are seeing around us -
- Proliferation of apps
- Requirement of information
- Need to collaborate and communicate
- Remote and mobile access to apps and information for collaboration and communication

All of this points to a scenario where business operates more and more in a distributed manner and not from central locations. This also breaks down the traditional central chain of command and leads to empowerment at local levels for taking decisions and executing transactions. The challenge for leadership will be - how to ensure order in this chaos and channelize synergies across these disparate events which make for completion of a business transaction.

Working remotely is indeed supported by the emergence of technologies which support distributed collaboration. Concepts like cloud computing have matured to a level where they have business acceptance leading towards a critical mass needed to support the next stage of growth. The adoption of cloud computing opens up the business to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Now let us examine how these changes will affect the way people work. First the definition of work will undergo a change. Neither organisations will be willing to commit to fixed number of resources which is akin to sunk cost on a recurring basis, nor will resources be content to dedicate their efforts to one organisation. With that goes the concept of working hours (does it exist nowadays anyway?) as resources are supposed to perform tasks on demand. Whoever has the right skills at the time when the demand for a task to be performed comes up, gets to do the work.

What this means is that people, process and technology gets replaced with skills, capability, connectivity. Strong processes and technology support would simply be the hygiene factors which will enable this new way of working. We are getting comfortable with apps for our social requirements. Wouldn't it be great to have an app to submit your expenses? While you are on your business trip, you make your expenses through your mobile pay app and get a choice to charge it to your expenses which hits your organisations accounts payable.

Now taking this thought process to the next level - how about doing your entire business online? You no longer need concrete buildings full of people to do business. What this needs is an online infrastructure which replicates your steel and concrete structure and allows collaboration amongst your resources, partners, stakeholders, customers instantaneously. With this level of automation being built on the cloud, the organisation can hire resources online, allocate work as per skills and monitor work reports online. This concept can already be seen at work in the freelance community. If we put this in a online structure it results in a virtual organisation being created. Organisations would have administrators of such virtual departments playing the role of HODs.

When you have multiple such organisations created online and communicating with each other, you have online collaborating leading to commercial transactions. Procurement in Org A could then collaborate with Sales in Org B using an app similar to maybe Google Wave. Negotiations are conducted and recorded online resulting in issuance of a PO. This gets sent to resources in the sellers delivery organisation and the resources with the right skills and closest to the buyer get to deliver the products or services so procured.

If this concept is detailed out, it leads to huge benefits in productivity and costs. The ease of doing business also results in higher growth. Resources get benefited by getting the best value out of utilising their skills, doing what they do best.

No comments:

Post a Comment