Sunday, January 23, 2011

The New World of Work!

by: John Sijbesma, Managing director Professional Services Be Informed

The New World of Work (NWW) must be something more than working from home, some smart-office applications in a cloud or a overhyped marketing campaign. Ten years ago Telecommuting was the new paradigm and 5 years later flexible working was the trend. Now there is NWW. Why should this now become a structural part of our organizational culture?
There must be an underlying trend that feeds these needs and initiatives. I feel this is due to the increased complexity of processes and applications as well as rapidly increasing changes that are necessary to survive globally.

In our approach an organization will need to fully review her objectives, and provide answers to the following questions: why are we here and what decisions should we really take? The New World of Work is an ambitious concept. It pretty much questions everything we do as an organization. We therefore need to evaluate where we really stand as an organization and what decisions we tend to make. For an insurance company it is necessary to cover risks, a government body for example needs to issue licenses and a social security administration agencies remits funds in accordance with the law. As it were, we examine ‘Greenfield’ what are the objectives of an organization and we reversely determine what information or activities are necessary to take a particular decision. This mechanism is also knows as "goal-driven” or “decision-centric".

In order to capture large quantities of knowledge rules, traditional system development environments (eg. Java) no longer suffice; semantic technologies offer possibilities. These include the capture of knowledge rules in ontologies and taxonomies. It's also the knowledge rules that make an organization unique when compared with its competitors. Therefore, why not manage them very explicitly?

Administrative business processes in general are becoming more knowledge intensive and therefore require a different approach. It will be substantially more event-driven, “social" and interactive. There will be less mundane manual work. Experience has shown that it provides a much more interesting workload for specialists. These knowledge specialists should in turn be supported in their NWW by the appropriate collaboration tooling, one of the unique priorities of NWW.

I claim home working is only a relatively small aspect of NWW; the reason being that knowledge-intensive work requires direct collaboration. Complex cases need to be handled and answered in close consultation with peers or colleagues with necessary knowledge specialisms. Therefore, I see a new approach arising in which small specialist teams share the responsibility to treat complex cases. It is essential to utilize the appropriate tooling to remotely communicate and collaborate with each other.

The combination of semantic technologies, straight through processing and decision centric organization makes NWW now possible.

Alan Greenspan writes in his book "The Age of Turbulence, a life in service of the economy" that he is a true believer in creative destruction. By this he meant that every industry is constantly renewed from within. Creative operational ideas will oust - like a blooming flower - the 'old' customs and industries. This is how I see the above described concepts, as an approach to organise business processes in the New world of Work.