Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Decision Velocity ~ IT Velocity

I enjoyed Jim Stogdill's recent post My Web Doesn't Like Your Enterprise, at Least While it's More Fun, about the various perceptions around the speed of Enterprise IT versus Web IT.  He writes
"Artur replied with this quote from one of his friends employed at a large enterprise: "What took us a weekend to do, has taken 18 months here." That concise statement seems to sum up the view of the enterprise, and I'm not surprised. For nearly six years I've been swimming in the spirit-sapping molasses that is the Department of Defense IT Enterprise so I'm quite familiar with the sentiment.I often express it myself."

Jim goes on to say that Enterprise IT is like this for good reason, a natural outgrowth of what is important to their business, their customers, and their shareholders, and that eventually the web too will be this boring, this predictable, and this unexciting.  Perhaps, but it there is another side to this discussion.

IT is the whipping boy because they are in an unfair position: the world is moving faster, business is moving faster, compliance is getting harder, budgets are shrinking, yet the kids in the Cloud can afford to make mistakes (think: Twitter downtime) with no one caring, and so IT consumers (employees) have unrealistic expectations (think: be as good as my stuff at home, dammit).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OpenSocial is making progress; the world spins faster

Jason Kincaid wrote a nice piece on TechCrunch about the progress of OpenSocial (a standard interface for plugging your social application into a social network), with a rather attractive and impressive chart:

Open Social just turned 1

So what does this have to do with decision making? Not much, but it is such a pretty chart, so I thought I'd post it.

Actually, it is a bit relevant. We've talked about how the workplace is being transformed, and this is part of the reason... the increasing social aspects of applications. While OpenSocial is usually talked about in context of the popular consumer Social Networks (which gives them the ridiculous and oft-misleading numbers above), a growing number of enterprise applications are starting to utilize it, for a simple reason: it is not that hard, and it gives you wide reach.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cars on Demand, College Laziness and Modern Efficiency

I'm a big fan of Zipcar, as those around me know.  I just reserved one for tomorrow, and since I waited so long, I had to choose a pickup waiting at a local McDonalds, instead of my usual Prius down the street.  But I didn't mind since it took me only about 25 seconds to find it, book it, and have a car ready for me tomorrow at 5:30 AM.

As I did this I was thinking about speed.  Satisfying the speed of business is not about perfection  -- it is about things being good enough, provided they are fast enough.

Friday, November 7, 2008

People People People People People

I work at a large company.  My nature is to move quickly, which often feels impossible.  In the past few weeks, a lot of the impossibility has involved not knowing the right people.

A lot of smart people think about this, for example the labcoats behind Organization Network Analysis.  Looking at how people work together in a network can often yield surprising insights into whether the organization can move fast or slowly.

A lot of the rest of us do this everyday without thinking about it, with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer and the rest, leveraging each other to speed ourselves up (I didn't list MySpace, since that slows people down).

But it comes down to one thing... the degree to which you can communicate effectively, quickly, and trustfully with the people you need to get things done.  If you couldn't conceivably get agreement with someone over IM then you don't have the right relationship with them to decide things in business time.  The last guy I hired I negotiated purely over SMS while I was on the tarmac, otherwise I would have lost him.

Fast Fast Fast Fast requires People People People People.