Sunday, August 23, 2009

Organizational Agility and Collaboration

Digital Social Computing (Web 2.0) including toolkits like: blogs, podcasts, RSS, wikis, booking marking, tagging, microblogs (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn etc. are increasingly finding their way into the enterprise. Looming in the horizon virtual worlds solutions like Second Life are also being experimented upon increasingly. We see so much potential in this area we launched a new business line in this area

The promise is that these social computing tools will help knowledge workers collaborate more and get their work done more effectively and efficiently.

The strategic goals often programs are funded under are increasing and improving these areas:
*workforce productivity,
*employee engagement,
*talent attraction, development and retention,
*organizational agility,
*knowledge and intellectual asset/risk management.

Process Efficiencies can also be realized if there are fundamental shifts in how work is being processed.

We don't always see the careful process redesign (as is to be) underway across the enterprises in deploying these solutions. Often the ECM /Collaboration platforms are deployed, with the planning assumption that organizations will undertake in their functional areas process redesign shifts- however the most significant improvements will lie in horizontal improvements and redesigning organizational design/work flow constructs....even getting the behaviors working differently is critical so then process improvements can be mobilized.

A recent Economist Intelligent Unit global survey of over 350 exectutives examined recently the beneftis and challenges, and risks associated with creating a more agile organization.

The resulting paper, called "Organizational Agility: How Business can survive, and Thrive in Turbulent Times" had several key findings:

1.) 90% of the executives surveyed stated that organizational agility is critical for business success;
2.) 27% said that their organization is not agile enough to antiticpate fundamental marketplace shifts;
3.) 80% have taken steps to improve agility over the past 3 years, but 34% have not produced the intended results due to internal barriers.

The survey also found that companies are not pulling back on initiatives but see strategic investments in technology. Specifically the survey asked:

"In light of the economic downturn, what do you believe are your organization's priorities in terms of improving agility?" The top three reasons were:

1.) Improving process efficiency (38 percent)
2.) Improving knowledge management and information sharing processes (33 percent)
3.) Encouraging and extending collaboration across the business and beyond (30 percent).

Next generation enterprise content management (ECM) and digital social media (web 2.0) and collaboration solutions (IBM Lotus Connections, Microsoft SharePoint, Igloo) are all solutions that our firm works with in helping our clients advance their capabilities in increasing organizational agility and collaboration success outcomes.

Next generation ECM and collaboration platform solutions offer more intuitive search and discovery, document management, centralized retention management capabilities, collaboration support systems for project /working teams. If deployed effectively IT can centrally manage the lifecycle of content objects and move content off of desktops into the security, accessibility and scalability needs of the organization.

One of the most critical success factors we believe for sourcing and improving access to knowledge management is ensuring that organizational search capabilities are robust and strong, so users (like in Google) can easily find the most relevant results (whether it is a word file, or information about a subject matter expert.

To extend collaboration outcomes across the business and also enable numerous ecosystem knowledge flow capabilities will require quick, easy internal and external collaboration strategies that can be rapidly be deployed without heavy IT involvement.

The most important requirement will be open constructs enabling internal and external facing community workspaces to easily let contributors share and exchange ideas and activities.

This will required breaking down typically organizational and informational barriers to foster cross project visibility, and awareness for easy program management of projects.

The tone for this thinking can easily be set by a set of core collaboration operating principles that unify all aspects of the program so all executives have the same aligned vision and their words, names are clearly imprinted on the program so their is no ambiquity on the messaging.

One of the most frequently asked questions by our clients is how can we ensure agility with security? First it is important to understand that by unifying platform infrastructure and managing content as a lifecycle irrespective of platform or repository - then you can ensure that all content that is created is archived and management by a lifecyle to mitigate risk.

The good news is that next generation ECM platforms delivery security, retention and improved governance practices behind the scenes. They can enable anytime, anywhere access to content, while still securing content outside the enterprise via information rights.

Collaborate or Die is often used in the industry as the underlying message for speed to change in these areas.

However, when I dig into the organizational design and core values of the organizations and look for a deep systemic understanding of collaboration with linkages to agility, trust, knowledge sharing, reciprocity, team work, holistic thinking, etc....there are usually major gaps in thoughtful holistic thinking in the majority of these programs.

If you would like to contact us drop us a line as we are always workign on solving some of the most complex problems in these areas with international clients.


Carol said...

These are very informative and useful for an organization thanks for posting this precious and golden words..
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Dr. Cindy Gordon said...

Thanks for the feedback Carol.

Stu said...

Informative and interesting as always!!

Stewart Higgins
Intranet Expert
Intranet Software

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