We know there’s going to be a steady advance in the burden for maintaining business. The general, collective, advancing burden in maintaining our Weave requires up-to-date knowledge; best, vetted, practice; and intelligently applied effort for maximum affect and return.
Let’s also take this opportunity to mention that we don’t mean to imply a negative connotation to “burden” here: we’re talking about the weight, or load, of work – it is work we’re discussing, after all – so by all means let’s talk about burdens. In the face of tight resources, possible reduction of resources, and expansion of need – what can we do regarding the non-stop advance of burdens?
We can be bold: When we can offset a zooming consumption of resources in one area by virtually eliminating the consumption of resources in another, we can achieve an overall parity between the onset and offset burdens. We can even get ahead of the game. This is going to be very important in the coming years as you balance your ever-changing Business-Technology environment’s consumption of resources. Consider this: In most organizations, there is a natural resistance to change, coupled with inefficient change management and action. There’s inertia. This inertia exhibits itself in individuals, and in the organization at large. Why does it exist? Often, a “go-slow” (or even a “no-go”) approach is considered safe. Frequently a go-slow approach is necessitated by ignorance: no one is qualified to go at a better speed. In these circumstances, the organization has created a self-fulfilling requirement for the go-slow approach. How can you be bold when you’re ignorant? How can you sustain confidence in a changing Weave? You can’t.
The Divide between That Which You Must Do, and That Which You Can Do: When you combine this go-slow situation with new requirements that constantly stream into the face of business/technology, you have a divide. That is, the organization struggles to close the gap between what it is able to do, and the seemingly constant elevation of what it must do. This is often because the organization finds itself performing relatively obsolete chores, or chores in a manner that deliver appropriate return for “yesterday.” Concurrent with this inherent lag in the fixing or tuning of wasted, inefficient, or outdated efforts, is the forced assumption of new burdens. In the absence of planning on your part, new burdens don’t bother to align with your condition of awareness or preparedness. These new burdens may be necessary in the advance of business – or they may be necessary just to keep up.
Burden Management: Burden management can be an umbrella concept for the modern organization: it entails the review of work, resources, and returns. The essence of burden management goes on to some degree everywhere, by various names and reviews, in various formal and informal manners. Those things should continue – but burden management here is an aggressive, but responsible, effort to identify and stamp out foolishness. Just as there are false solutions to problems, there are “false burdens.”
The False Burden: False burdens present real burden – but they are false in the sense that they are falsely assigned and falsely borne. They are false in the sense that they have no merit – they don’t deliver, or protect, or advance anything. Many of us have discovered thick reports that are generated on a regularized basis, delivered to some location, and thrown away without any sort of attention. Many organizations conduct mandated training that is poorly attended, or which delivers little in the way of real knowledge. Cloaked criticism – that which is delivered as valid or justified criticism, is more of the ‘busy-work’ variety, and its attendant destruct of efficiency yields a false burden. And of course we have probably all experienced the wasted effort of projects that go nowhere, and even of implementing the burdens delivered of the False Solution (a “solution” that does not solve or serve).
When we become practiced at making objective, successful, arguments for doing away with wasted work, we find that we can maintain headroom to tackle unforeseen changes with aplomb and efficiency. Zeroing and reducing burdens provides a yield: It means that we can fill any new “slack” in resources with support to the emerging demands of the Weave. It also should grant time for research into those things necessary for a better business-technology future.
Use the zeroing of burdens principle to grant space to your efforts so that you can make more fully informed and therefore more intelligent, more accurate, forecasts and planning. Seek to size burdens appropriately (new and old), to seize and implement best practices as soon as possible in order to resize (reduce) burdens, and to even eliminate (zero) burdens as we can. The result will be more accurate implementations and supports to the Business-Technology Weave.
Next: Zeroing and managing burdens the right way.
NP: Bix Beiderbecke – streaming audio.]]>
One driving factor is expected to be automotive telematics (no pun intended). Mercedes has announced “in dash apps” and remote services for its mbrace offering (which seems to be a nifty play on “embrace,” with the very necessary “m” for mobile). mbrace is a mobile app and system allowing you to connect with your Benz “like never before!” Offerings in the M2M and mobile realm are also available from Audi and Cadillac, and most others will undoubtedly follow.
It may come to pass that routine auto diagnostics and tune-ups will happen via mobile, with nary an action by customer or servicing garage/dealership: A simple subscription service will allow your vehicle to be maintained by M2M servicing – electronic adjustments to brakes, or fuel efficiencies, for example. The necessity for maintenance requiring a visit to the shop will be communicated to the car/customer too.
This understanding can lead to other interesting possibilities: Various products could have onboard diagnosing mechanisms, with a dock (or cable) for plug in of a smartphone. Once the phone was docked and turned on, the product could do a M2M connection for reportage of the machine’s status. In other instances, a machine could simply self-diagnose, and call you with status.
A couple examples come to mind: A furnace could report to your phone that its filter was dirty and in need of change. For that matter, a vacuum cleaner could ring you when its bag was full! This last could well be a point of diminishing return (you’ll have to excuse me, my vacuum is calling on my other line), but you get the idea.
But what does this mean to the typical organization, company, enterprise… even sole-proprietorship? It means that you should survey for products – servers and operations architecture items – that are M2M-capable.
You should at least consider M2M versions of components when and where available, for the prudent adoption of them in capturing efficiencies of maintenance, notifications, and repair. The Mobile Revolution is just getting started.]]>
Given all the talk regarding Enterprise Resource Planning, and all manner of sub-planning (Disaster Recovery Planning, Change Management, Business Continuity Planning, and on and on…), we often seem to forget that planning must be strategic.
Check a thesaurus… something that is strategic is: Planned; tactical; calculated; deliberate; premeditated; considered; intentional…
Too often, business and IT plans become reactive. However, even strategic planning that starts out ahead of a curve, with foresight and collaboration, suddenly gets upended. More than ever it is important to not only build plans that anticipate and lead changes, but to also put an underlying foundation to plans; a readiness posture for the whole of the organization so business and IT collaborate and succeed on a fluid basis… an ongoing “strategization.”
Regardless how leading and “tight” your planning seems, be certain that the process is flexible enough to adapt to any changes in circumstances. There is always the unforeseen and outside uncontrollables. Resultant implementations of systems or policy will not always necessarily match the initial plan, and ability to efficiently adapt along the way is key. Delivering to the larger objective is still the goal and the ultimate measure of success, regardless of how much prior strategy gets usurped – just be certain it was truly unavoidable. (If you find all of your planning under a constant reality assault, you’d better get better planners into position).
In supporting this, stakeholders, planners and implementers – key strategy personnel – must communicate willingly, aggressively, and with full exposure. Political impairments and battles must be swept away. In any cases where change is embedded in other change (during what should be the constancy of a plan), things can become exponentially difficult quite quickly: make certain to have meaningful milestones and measures along the way; when adjusting them, be as careful as you can be in making those adjustments.
Be certain that IT plans align with enterprise plans and expectations; ensure sanction and support – agreement – from all C-level executives and board or other oversights. IT budget and plans must align and live within larger, organizational budgets, resources and plans.
Also, be sure to balance near-term, medium and long-range deliverables. Hang your items not just on an IT timeline, but take those aforementioned organizational budget, resource and (possibly competing) plans into account.
September 5th: On this day in 1774 the 1st Continental Congress assembles in Philadelphia.