Archive for the ‘Enterprise 2.0’ Category

4
Jun

The Age of Real-time Information

Written on June 4, 2007 by siniguez in Enterprise 2.0

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Santiago Iñiguez, Dean and Professor of Strategy

You may have read about the historical episode, which happened at the time of the Battle of Waterloo (18th June 1815), that contributed decisively to build up Rothschild Family’s financial empire. Rothschild had offices in different European capitals and acted as lender to important individuals and institutions, including the British Crown in its efforts to beat Napoleon. They had a potent information network, composed of messengers, carrier pigeons and regional offices, which earned them the reputation of being first with the news. When their informers reported "the scoop" of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, Rothschild agents in London started to sell stocks, acting as if the French had won. Many other brokers, unaware of the British victory, replicated Rothschild’s initiative, causing the crash of stock prices. Shortly before news about the victory reached London, Rothschild started to buy stocks. As a result, the family amassed a huge fortune.Applestocken

This episode epitomises the economic value of scoops and being first with the news. In the early 19th century, the elapsed time between the occurrence of events and their reporting could be many hours or even days. Nowadays, it may take just seconds. Perhaps a defining moment in the realisation (at least mine) of the power of blogs took place recently when Engadget (no.1 blog according to Technorati) inaccurately reported an Apple product-release delay causing Apple, in six minutes, to lose 4 billion dollars in stock market capitalisation. As you can see from Apple Inc price chart, (Zoom "1m") it quickly recovered.

Futhermore the web and multiple complementary devices, such as instant text messaging and “Twitter”, (Ogilvy PR Interactive Marketing Team´s view of it) have amplified the sources of information and anyone can virtually report about events as they attend them, even providing live pictures or video (e.g. "London Bombing Pictures Mark New Role for Camera Phones"). In addition, the channels of distribution have become massive, cheap and universally accessible. We live in the age of real time information, conditions that changes the way managers understand business and the time and forms of decision making processes.

For example, how much time do you take to respond to an e-mail or a text message? When ordinary mail was the prevalent channel of business communication it took days or weeks to get answers to letters. Facsimile machines reduced response time to hours. Today, agile managers answer text messages in minutes. Moreover, courtesy demands that light messages are answered on the same day and that messages that require elaborated responses take no more than two days –unless they are urgent. My golden rule is that e-mails should be answered, at most, on the same week. In order to comply with this I regularly dedicate the needed time over weekends to get updated.

In an interesting post published in Harvard Business Online Tammy Erickson explains that the “use of technology is heavily centered in Gen Y today. About half of Y’s surveyed say they sent or received a text message over the phone within the past day, approximately double the proportion of those in Gen X. It’s something that will, however, grow in use and eventually enter the world of business”. I am sure you have heard mentions of the "Blackberry withdrawal", felt by "Crackberries" when they cannot access their email. There is even TwitterBerry,  used to write those previously mentioned Twitter updates on a Blackberry.

I am intrigued about further developments of instant messaging devices. For example, how can mobile telephones, which are truly ubiquitous, (and especially Wifi-enabled ones) be used effectively as an education tool?

10
May

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Néstor Miranda Carús
Are you working for a well established enterprise?
Do you share this disquieting feeling that nothing really exciting is happening in your organization, that everything really interesting and cool is happening elsewhere and that you may be missing the opportunity to enjoy the great experience of working for a company that is influencing the life of millions of people and changing the business landscape?
Do you see fear in the eyes of your management team to a sudden change in the market caused by a new small start-up competitor lead by a group of highly motivated and skilled techies that are coming up with a disruptive innovation that was never imagined by anyone in your company and nobody knows how to compete with?
Do you find yourself under an always increasing pressure to cope with the cost structure of a dynamic competitor that has outsourced most of his supply chain, product design and/or non critical IT infrastructure to a low cost offshore location, re-focused its activities to further develop its core competences and capabilities and is eroding your customer base?
Maybe someone in your organization should shout high and loud that it is time to start thinking about what is really happening in the business world and do something about it.
Everything you knew about your business is changing too rapidly; customers are becoming more informed, powerful and organized, the boundaries between industries and markets are disappearing making impossible to predict who will be your next competitor, traditional suppliers are developing new capabilities and escalating up the value chain.
All this is happening simultaneously and in a short period of time while the structure of traditional organizations is not designed to absorb that many changes, it is designed to optimize operations, maintain loyal customer bases whose needs rarely change, develop functional managers always ready to follow the bright mind of a solid and industry proven leader but with very little empowerment, initiative or understanding of their overall business environment.
What is happening out there ?
What can we do to move our company to a new organizational model that allows our people to respond as fast as this new global, hiper-competitive and customer driven market requires?
My view is that the only way to for companies survive such a dramatic change in the business landscape is to try to reproduce internally the social and technical elements that are causing the changes; maybe we should call it environmental adaptation, but most of the driving forces behind the scene described in this article have a lot to do with globalization, Internet and the new social collaboration tools that have configured Web 2.0. Profesor Andrew McAfee has called it Enterprise 2.0. I like the parallelism and though I think that reconfiguring organizations will take a lot more that just using Wikis and Blogs inside the enterprise, I´d like to adopt the term to describe the need for this new approach to organizational design that I´d like to develop further in cooperation with you, members of the IE Communities and readers of this Strategy Blog.

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