So, Who’s Minding the Store?

By | October 13, 2015

There was an article in the Financial Times about the “Human Cloud” and the new world of work where those tasks that aren’t being done by robo-somethings are outsourced to individuals anywhere in the world that have an Internet connection.

“Employers are starting to see the human cloud as a new way to get work done. White-collar jobs are chopped into hundreds of discrete projects or tasks, then scattered into a virtual ‘cloud’ of willing workers who could be anywhere in the world. . . Much of it is, in effect, white-collar piecework.”

This approach may well make scarce skillsets more available by turning anyone into a freelancer, but at some point the pieces have to fit together. Not that I’m opposed to outsourcing – since that is, more or less, exactly what I do – but there remains a need for someone, somewhere to not only own the process but to understand it in the larger context of the business and existing operations. That, to me, is the frame tray that holds all these pieces together.

Nearly every operational process now requires specialized technology and as a result employees (or contractors) become isolated within those areas of specialization and lose their business perspective. We can buy systems and hire experts or contractors for anything but there still needs to be someone whose job it is to determine what it is exactly that needs doing given the existing people, processes and technology.

Operational, Business and Technology (OBT) Alignment is something that becomes exponentially more important as supply chains, businesses, employees, contractors and things are increasingly connected to, yet ultimately isolated from, the business as a whole.

Every business function executed and every product delivered by today’s digital service providers requires components of strategy, marketing, engineering, infrastructure, operations, employee engagement and customer management. Every system implements a process and while a system can manage and monitor the execution of workflow – a system can’t deconstruct a business process and understand why its execution isn’t aligned with business goals or not fulfilling customer expectations. Every application of business intelligence or Big Data and analytics starts with a human that understands a particular business function in context.

The complexity and scale that make up today’s communications industry necessitates that functionality be broken up into achievable parts. We know that operational silos and systems are a bad idea, yet we continue to roll out new services and technologies in the same manner. We’ve tried massive, all-encompassing operational transformation efforts and failed. For every new system, there are new interfaces and integration required to make it work with the existing systems that happen to be successfully running the business. But maybe if we looked for those synergies sooner and understood how discrete functions impact each other and the business as a whole before new technology is procured; we could avoid some failures, avoid some expense and improve the overall impact on customers.

ICT Intuition is pleased to launch its OBT Alignment practice designed to help operators, digital services providers and the vendors that serve them to better understand where existing processes and/or systems fail to enable employees to correctly and efficiently meet customer expectations and ensure that new technology is solving business problems not creating them.

Improving CX by Improving the Business.©

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