Discoverу a Major Trend for 2013
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Work discovery, process discovery, best practices discovery and idea discovery are major pain points for customers calling tech research firms, and the concept of “discovery” is a significant building block and indicator of business innovation.
This is one of the most compelling trends I learned at various conferences I attended during the past few weeks: this notion that business leaders seek to discover (and capture) what their teams are actually doing, how their people are getting things done (or not), and what are those bright ideas simply waiting to be developed like so much software.
“…business leaders seek to discover (and capture) what their teams are actually doing, how their people are getting things done…”
I find it surprising and interesting that people call research firms asking for ways to discover and track unstructured processes. Surprising because I didn’t realize it was such a widespread problem (Help, I don’t know what my people are doing), and interesting because I’m inherently curious and I find almost everything about data to be interesting. It’s a data problem because it’s the result of so-called dark data – data you can’t see, measure, or analyze. The “what” of a given team member’s work day, remains largely unknown.
Which might be considered fine, as long as the needed business results take place. However, what the people calling the research companies are expressing is the sense that good ideas, practices and processes could probably be discovered and re-used if they could only be captured. Here’s what I mean: someone “pings” you on Skype to do something. The person reaches you this way because everyone knows this is the best means to get someone’s attention. “Emails are the OLD normal,” a presenter said last week. In their stead are all manner of social collaboration, of which Skype IM is a favorite.
So, this person has pinged you, and it’s important, and this request becomes your work for the week. But there is no process for it, little context, and nearly no direction or metrics for effectiveness. Plus, your manager has almost no visibility into this important thing you are doing. Your actions, and therefore any data, are dark. Multiply this by many team members and many unstructured processes, and you’ve got quite a lot of “Operational Intelligence” that’s gone missing.
“…multiply this by many team members and many unstructured processes, and you’ve got quite a lot of Operational Intelligence that’s gone missing….”
Organizations can reclaim the data to contribute to this operational intelligence by capturing who’s doing what (software to organize tasks), unlimited types of content (videos, sound clips, documents, design plans – anything), all collaboration (discussion threads), and processes (workflows). They can put all of this on one workflow system, customized as desired in the various departments and functions, and have a flexible data source storing all of it for fast changes and real-time visibility.
As it happens, the product I’m working on offers exactly this combination. That’s a happy coincidence since it’s my job to interact with the market about their challenges and offer them solutions. When a major concept discussed at several conferences in a month’s time, and matches one’s work – well, it’s fun. So is making your team more effective. Check out Comindware Tracker and let me know what you think.