Summary: I’ve found this post on my laptop…and the content is still valid. It’s a thought around how social business could connect the structured (bureaucratic) with the unstructured (creative) people in an organisation to drive exchange, enrichment and dialogue.

Inspired by a book (1)  by Gerhard Wohland and Matthias Wiemeyer and based on my perspective on how social business or enterprise 2.0 could be the glue of currently disconnected parts of organizations I’ve decided to blog about a new perspective on the subject.

The authors Wohland & Wiemeyer (W&W) elaborate on companies that perform at an absolute maximum. To achieve this level of maximum performance the company has to be as complex as its market (ref. to W&W’s book p. 141/142). Companies that count into that category create market dynamics and thereby significant pressure for their competition. Their performance is based on abilities, not skills.

Part of the concept is the so called ‘dual value creation’ (ref. to W&W’s book1 p. 248/249). Dual value creation is based on the strict separation of but strong link between tayloristic2 (industrial) value creation based on standards and processes (e.g. production, management) and dynamic value creation in business operations that are close to markets (e.g. sales, marketing). Already due to the fact that they look at each other as bureaucratic and chaotic the part of a separation makes sense. However, to succeed in the companies overall endeavor both sides of the coin have to be strongly interlinked.

Now comes the challenge: how do you connect chaos to structure? On what basis will the dynamic part of the organization collaborate with their structure and efficiency focused counterparts? I truly believe that socialized business operations (ref. to the Tieto Future Office® blog: http://bit.ly/rqQonk; Illustration 3) could play an essential role here.

dualvallue

(Illustration based on Thinking tools for dynamic markets1, p. 249)

To be blunt: the process and standard driven tools (let’s call them ERP) aren’t very appealing to the creative folks out there. Social media lookalikes aren’t really what the process and efficiency focused employees are seeking for either. Socialized business IT – inspired, not copied from social and commercial media – would be the solution to that dead lock.

Structuring the unstructured close to the market dynamics

Social media inspired communication and data distribution techniques have the side effect that unstructured data doesn’t stay that unstructured anymore. It is turned into information by adding contextual information (e.g. the commentary in a post alongside a file) and identification markers (yes, our beloved tags). Thereby data can be distributed to unspecified target groups and become structured enough to attach itself to processes. Market intelligence – even though initiated by very dynamic market interaction – can be transformed into decision support material for the strategic and planning core of the corporation.

Sneaking structure into the chaos

This concept works the other way around as well. To reach the more dynamic affine part of the organization structured data and information as well as process requirements should be blended with the dynamic flow of operations. Thereby tayloristic requirements become an integrative part of dynamic value creation – they are no longer perceived as interference.

‘Consumerisation’ of business IT is essential in this context. Process orientated software with a ‘must use’ approach isn’t a fit to nowadays benchmark of social and commercial digital services. Delivering on formal duties does not have to completely be in contrast to a positive perception of the digital workplace as a supporting tool. The same goes for the distribution of information to larger if not vast target groups, which today tend to jam e-mailboxes and mobile email clients. There’s nothing more disturbing than administrative notifications that add onto the operational avalanche of information that employees are confronted with already.

Dual value creation becomes reality

Social business can be a connector of many parts of an organization. It will connect new and existing talent to combine agility with experience. It will connect business operations to the corporate DNA of solution knowledge and a ‘we help each other’ culture. Connecting market dynamics close to customers with structure, planning and strategy is adding another attractive factor to the game. I might even be bold enough to say that maximum performers that create market dynamics instead of being driven by them have to be an enterprise 2.0.


(1) Denkwerkzeuge für Höchstleister (Thinking tools for dynamic markets), Gerhard Wohland, Matthias Wiemeyer, 1. Auflage 2007, Muhrmann Verlag

(2) Taylorism (Frederick Taylor, 1856 – 1915); ref. to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylorism

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