Hey, that’s not my job

We built our current business world on the premise that it takes a hierarchy of management to get work done. The idea stems from the assembly lines of the Industrial Revolution and is based on the fact that most people used to produce physical ‘stuff’.

People, especially uneducated, unmotivated and bored people, needed to be managed, and there was a limit on how many individuals and activity could be monitored by one manager. Thus was born the work group, process and reports.

As the world changes quickly, that structure is fundamentally still in place. But as more work is done independently and in ways that don’t require physical presence, structure or direct supervision, the hierarchy of the workplace is becoming the biggest barrier to the next generation of productivity.

Beyond barriers

Large volumes and high velocity of data and the need for very fast analytics are driving the next wave of management and decision making. This is key to how a company like Apple orchestrates everything from the glass screens for the iPhone 5, to the import and export of parts and whole devices to the number of retailers putting the phone out to the public.

The idea of a distinct group that only handles procurement, another that does shipping and receiving and another that manages partner channels is fading. Putting decision making for something that spans the business into an organizational silo makes less sense every day. Apple excels at getting this right and has become very wealthy as a result.

The volume, velocity and variety of data doesn’t fit the hierarchy and boundaries of the physical world. The amount of data won’t lessen…it will increase, so we can accurately say that the organization of the workplace will shift along with it. That’s not an easy thing to do.

Yet another chance for some to understand and adapt, and others to go the way of Kodak.

If you want to understand more, here are a few resources on this topic:

Big Data Dreams: A Wake-up Call by Scot Wheeler

Thrust and Lube by Alistair Croll

Tearing down the ivory tower: Can Big Data succeed where BPM has failed? by Theo Priestly

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Categories: Data Analytics / Big Data, Real-time

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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6 Comments on “Hey, that’s not my job”

  1. August 24, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Will Big Data succeed in tearing down hierarchical silos where BPM has failed ?

    I hope so !

    http://bpmredux.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/embracing-the-social-enterprise-operating-model/

  2. August 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Very interesting concept Chris on how Big Data is and will continue to alter org structures. Worth further analysis. And hey, cool to see the “3Vs” (volume, velocity, volume) of Big Data I first introduced 11 years ago in a Gartner research piece, referenced by you. Here’s a copy of that piece if you or your readers are interested: http://blogs.gartner.com/doug-laney/deja-vvvue-others-claiming-gartners-volume-velocity-variety-construct-for-big-data/. –Doug Laney, VP Research, Gartner, @doug_laney

    • August 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      Thanks, Doug. Add to the three V’s the fourth…volatility. Oftentimes, information is only meaningful for a short period of time. Lots of data, coming fast, from many sources and in many formats is a tough problem, for sure. But volatility means that storing information for some later process to batch analyze won’t work for everything.

      I’ll take a look at your piece. Thanks.

  3. August 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Thanks. A couple years ago, Gartner introduced a framework with 12 dimensions of data. The 3Vs remain however the core to defining Big Data. Things like volatility, veracity, value etc are interesting and important of course, but not defining characteristics. –Doug Laney, VP Research, Gartner, @doug_laney

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tearing down the ivory tower: Can Big Data succeed where BPM has failed ? | BPM redux - August 24, 2012

    […] Successful Workplace today there’s an interesting post about Big Data bringing down the house and it inspired me […]

  2. Tearing down the ivory tower: Can big data success where BPM has failed? | Successful Workplace - October 4, 2012

    […] On Successful Workplace today there’s an interesting post about Big Data bringing down the house and it inspired me to continue the idea here. The idea of a distinct group that only handles procurement, another that does shipping and receiving and another that manages partner channels is fading. […]

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