Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Investment in knowledge workers critical to economic recovery

Posted by Mark Brousseau

One of the keys for economic recovery lies in aggressive investment in Social Business Systems designed to dramatically improve the productivity of middle tier knowledge workers.

That’s according to a new report by AIIM and noted author Geoffrey Moore (Dealing with Darwin, Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, The Gorilla Game and Living on the Fault Line).

These "Systems of Engagement" enhance the ability of knowledge workers to quickly cooperate with each other in order to improve operating flexibility and customer engagement, the report says.

"We have spent the past several decades of IT investment focused on deploying 'systems of record.' These systems accomplished two important things," notes Moore. "First, they centralized, standardized, and automated business transactions on a global basis, thereby better enabling world trade. Second, they gave top management a global view of the state of the business, thereby better enabling global business management. Spending on the Enterprise Content Management technologies that are at the core of Systems of Record will continue -- and will actually expand as these solutions become more available and relevant to small and mid-sized organizations. However, there is also a new and revolutionary wave of spending emerging on Systems of Engagement -- a wave focused directly on knowledge worker effectiveness and productivity. Social Business Systems are at the heart of Systems of Engagement."

According to AIIM Chair Lynn Fraas, Vice President of Crown Partners, "Social Business Systems provide a means for organizations to build on their investment in content management solutions. Increasingly, Systems of Record have become a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for business success. In the future, organizations will differentiate themselves based on how well they deploy Social Business technologies to improve organizational flexibility and better engage customers. These Social Business technologies are transforming customer engagement through such consumer facing tools as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They are simultaneously creating new models of employee and partner collaboration, cooperation and conversation within organizations -- models that will eventually replace e-mail as the primary means of internal collaboration."

According to Moore, "The first wave of spending left knowledge workers mostly on their own. We gave our workers laptops, connectivity, email, and the Office suite, and told them to go be more productive. The world of consumer social technology has given our workforces a taste of what is possible beyond this kind of rudimentary e-mail driven collaboration. Given the pressures that global business models are putting on collaboration and coordination across enterprise boundaries, the demand for increased capabilities is escalating rapidly. The implications of this for IT organizations and CIOs are revolutionary -- organizations need to quickly get in front of this curve or they run the risk of getting run over by it. We are on the cusp of a new wave of investment in Social Business Systems that will focus on providing knowledge workers with the tools to collaborate with a business purpose."

"We are not just talking about collaboration for collaboration's sake," concludes AIIM President John F. Mancini. "Nor are we talking about companies tentatively setting up Facebook fan sites or Twitter accounts to appear to be 'social.' We are talking about the strategic deployment of Social Business Systems that can help organizations improve the flexibility and responsiveness of their core processes and be more responsive to customers. As organizations implement these Social Business Systems, they need to meet three criteria: 1) How to do so quickly; 2) How to do so responsibly; and 3) How to do so in a way that achieves a business purpose."

What do you think?

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