I remember that one of my mentors said "There are only three things to manage in an organization: men. machines and money". It would be nice if this simplistic view steal held in the age of the digital organization, but it's more complex than that saying. He was from the industrial age, not the information age. To his list I would add partners, processes, knowledge and data. The organizations that create innovative synergy, in a digital fashion with these seven key resources in a balanced way will be the ones who thrive and capitalize in this ever-changing world.
In the last decade leveraging people was about cost reduction through outsourcing, but the pendulum swung too far in one direction. Today, it's about leveraging people, from employees to stringers, with assistance from technology. This leverages their knowledge and influence power towards better business outcomes. There will be a great emphasis on people to people (social) collaboration and the advent of machine intelligence used as a way to get more activity from people in the digital age.
Unless organizations are highly insular, there is a need for partners. The old partnerships were aimed at leverage, but there was usually a "big dog / little dog" relationship where the big dog dominated. In the new digital age, partners will collaborate on the policies and rules that benefit all parties on a case by case basis under the umbrella of a legal framework. This is a fresh approach to excellent value and supply chains.
In the past machines were physical assets on the plant floor, but today they are also logical and composed of software assists. In addition machines are communicating and collaborating to get work done like agents. Machines of the past needed humans to watch their every move, but today they can surpass human speed and intelligence. While we all want to interface with people, human to machine interfaces will become more interesting and productive.
We are now in the age of "Big Data" and we are just learning how to leverage it better through poly-analytics and real time intelligence. Again the amount of data and information that can be consumed and leveraged in a short period of time is coming to bear on organizational outcomes.
Processes are the orchestration engines of the digital organization. They are fast changing from just a modeled and rigid way to force best practices to also include dynamic and goal directed behavior that can create emerging better practices that can be presented as alternatives to the people and machines that are involved with the completion of the processes. This is different kind of hybrid process that is essential in the digital age.
The principles of money leverage have been around a long time, the the nature and speed that will impact principles will change in the digital age. The issue here will be around the safety and security of how money is handled. In the wrong hands, it also could be used to manage and control people and organizations in a negative way. However, the optimist in me thinks this will not happen to a great degree,
All of the leverage comes together in the knowledge that is moving and multiplying quickly in the digital organization. There will be new attempts at knowledge management that will not be restricted by structure. A growing and evolving knowledge ontology will become one of the digital organizations most prized assets because it has an effect on all the resources inside and outside an organization
We are headed to the digital organization at a fierce speed, so those who manage the interacting resources I mentioned above will be the ones who really capitalize on their futures.
Additional posts in the series are: