Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Is a Management Cockpit for Real?

Despite the past hype on management cockpits and the valiant attempts by BI, Process Dashboards, and Decision Management Tools, there hasn’t been an authentic management cockpit for organizations to see the current conditions to take decisive action in an appropriate time frame. A real management cockpit doesn’t just apply high-quality graphics to selected data so that all can see. A management cockpit allows management to grasp complex situations quickly by integrating all the pertinent data, promoting the collaboration of many individual views necessary to make the required decisions as soon as possible, thus taking timely and proper actions. The answer is "Yes," but let’s dig into some of the details to understand more.

What Does a Real Management Cockpit Do?


Besides giving a highly integrated visualization of complex interactions, it enables insight analysis either on-demand or in an automated fashion. Please refer to the decision journey in Figure 1 below. The decision journey can include descriptive analytics to further understand the situation or drill-downs into specific aspects of data for the decision(s). Managers can understand the implications of decisions by leveraging predictive analytics and collaboration with other managers or workers. Some collaborations might involve knowledge bots/agents to understand the impact of potential decisions further. Insights can be further refined with more insight analytics and collaboration.


Further contextual analysis could show the interaction and effects to other contexts to avoid suboptimal decisions or interference/influence on intertwined contexts. For known decisions around normal conditions, the amount of analysis can be lower than emergent decisions around new experience situations. This analysis and collaboration will be completed in a more real-time fashion, shifting the organization's focus to responding quickly to meet threats or opportunities while maintaining business outcomes.

                                                 Figure 1 The Decision Journey


What Are the Challenges to Deliver a Management Cockpit?


There is any number of roadblocks to attaining a management cockpit that works. First and foremost is the data. Often the data sources are not readily consumable as they are in Excel and PowerPoint, and the critical information usually comes from multiple technology and data sources. Much labor is used to condense data into actionable insights. This process is cumbersome, time-consuming, and error-prone. Also, it is challenging to collate feedback, comments, and actions necessary from multiple management stakeholders. Managers also need to collaborate while finding solutions and making recommendations, especially in remote worker scenarios.


Also, applying the proper insight analytics in the right sequence can affect the quality and timing. Without good insights, decisions are not optimal. Getting into analysis paralysis and not getting the proper overview for the management to base their decisions on can cause a significant delay in making and executing decisions. In the worse situation making the wrong decision entirely. The critical problem is that Business Managers need a way to gain insight into issues and challenges they face quickly. Those challenges may lie in the external landscape such as products, competition, market changes, sources of raw materials, storms, logistical problems, etc., or an organization's strategy, business processes, risks, etc.

What Does a Real Management Cockpit Consist of?


A management Cockpit is a platform that consists of several moving and connected parts. See figure 2. for a visual description of the details. I will summarize the significant components in the text below.

                                     Figure 2 Management Cockpit Platform Logical Architecture


In order to deliver the results on the right side of the chart above, the following components need to be smoothly operating:


·        View Management:


View Management is where organizations can set up roles and associate a pre-architected view for each position. Of course, custom roles can be delivered as needed. Typically, these views indicate the level of detail and types in visualizations proven helpful. Of course, customizations can be made for individuals.                        


·        Visualization Management:


Visualization management contains the basic visualization that can be leveraged with types of data sources and analytical outputs. These components can be organized into a role view, dashboard view, or any other output form.



·        Goal Management:


Goal management contains the declaration of the desired business outcomes. These represent the stakeholder's take on performance success in terms of trends as well as detailed outcomes. Often tolerances and trigger points can be declared and set in goal management. It is also an umbrella outcome that aggregates critical performance indicators (KPIs) managed in Performance Management. 


·        Collaboration Management:


Collaboration management manages the individuals and or groups allowed to collaborate securely. CM will enable notifications, locations, time zones, contact numbers, and notes with permissions. Collaborations can be aggregated and published by the author, issue, stakeholder, etc. In some cases, knowledge bots/agents can be legitimate collaborators.


·        Action Management:


Action management will contain the typical responses to a decision, like changing an explicit rule, adding a new bot, change a process/system, keep a decision audit trail, keep a collaboration pattern for future efforts, kick off a new project, contact partners for changes, etc. 


·        Process Management:


Process management plays two roles here. One is the operational process that delivers the goals and outcomes daily. The other is to capture specific decision processes for future leverage and reusability. 


·        Performance Management:


Performance management keeps track of and highlights out-of-tolerance situations for known processes, systems, or integrations. It contains guardrails and rules for success. PM is where detailed KPIs are managed.


·        Insight Management:


Insight management is where all the insight analytic components are registered and described for future use. IM is also where successful combinations of analytics and AI are saved and documented for future use capitalization.


·        Automation Management:


Automation management is where the standard reusable low code implementations, microservices, audit procedures, etc., can be cataloged and described.


·        Secure Data Mesh


The data mesh is where logical data views are dynamically linked to an event, patterns, operational, and archived data as the data/information engine that supports the management cockpit. The DM does care if the data source is on the cloud or not and links across cloud resources.  


Net; Net:


Yes, the management cockpit now exists, but it is still growing and evolving. It will be a key specialized digital business platform now and in the future. Few vendors come close to the above architecture, but some of my favorite candidates pursuing this architecture are Wizly & Tibco. Feel free to click the links provided above.






Thursday, April 22, 2021

Leveraging Hybrid Cloud & Multi-Cloud

We all know the world is headed to the cloud because of potential cost savings and the ability to have a virtual data center under all conditions barring the sun generating an EMP wave that wipes out all earthly electronics. This post aims to decide what kind of cloud works best, but not what to move there or when. A common belief is that a disaster-proof dynamic cloud environment is a better option than owning and feeding an expensive and inflexible "on-prem" data center. Typically this is where Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud come into play.

Hybrid Cloud:

A hybrid cloud is a solution that combines a private cloud with one or more public cloud services with software that enables the communication between each distinct service. A hybrid cloud is a powerful approach because it gives businesses greater control over their private data. Here are some of the potential benefits of hybrid cloud:

·       Better support for a remote workforce

·       Reduced costs

·       Improved scalability and control

·       Increased agility and innovation

·       Better business continuity

·       Enhanced security and Risk Management

·       Reduces the need to manage multiple vendors or platforms

A recent case study was delivered using a hybrid cloud approach. A large airline decided to build a new passenger self-rerouting to be used during difficult weather situations primarily. The new application was running in the cloud in limited use, while the remainder of the reroutes were handled via a legacy on-prem application. Along comes a problematic hurricane season, and the airline decided to roll the pilot out during brutal regional storms. Because of hybrid cloud, this was an easy, and quick switch completed successfully.


Multi-Cloud is a strategy where an organization leverages two or more cloud computing platforms to perform various specialized or general tasks. Organizations that do not want to depend on a single cloud provider are attracted to Multi-Cloud. Since it is not good to rely on one cloud provider, many organizations choose to use resources from several providers to get the best results from each unique service. Having multiple cloud environments ensures that you continuously have computed resources and data storage available to avoid downtime. Multi-Cloud is often a key piece in governance, risk management, and regulation compliance.

Gaining Leverage:

While there are many uses for combining these two basic cloud strategies, I believe the best leverage is creating a data mesh managed from the cloud that handles all kinds of data and utilizing views of the data quickly. The mesh means combining real-time stream data, transactional data, and archival data to serve both human needs or process or application needs. The mesh buffers the user from caring that the data is fast or slow, structured or free format, or used for analysis and business events. Good data mesh software manages the data utilizing all cloud infrastructure plus specialty features leveraging "in memory," and multi-format data at various speed ranges distributed, node focused, or centralized. All of this, with fantastic fail-over and recovery characteristics creating fault-tolerant data views or sets.

A robust data mesh can enable "fast boards" for better corporate performance or process/application monitoring. With the help of watchful human eyes, dashboard monitors, triggers, tolerances, and knowledge bots, management can stay on top of both known and emergent situations, decisions, and appropriate actions. It does this by going across data silos without cumbersome API-dependent data lakes, going across periods, and closing the gaps on various data speeds. Imagine corporate performance that can trend from the oldest archives to near-instant emergent business events and patterns, making informed decisions and taking appropriate human or system interactions in a highly optimized time frame.

While the are examples of siloed fast board approaches documented by several real-time data vendors, I expect the notion of management cockpits that span multiple areas of visibility supported by both hybrid and multi-cloud to emerge in the coming soon.

Net; Net:

This new kind of data power provided by the data mesh is only possible by leveraging all kinds of cloud resources combined with specialized "on-prem" data sources until it’s all in the cloud.



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Outcomes Follow Leadership Styles

 While the overall behaviors of organizations are influenced by history, business models, and organizational culture, the leadership style also has a significant influence on current outcomes. If a particular leadership style persists through generations of CEOs, it can have a make or break impact on the organization itself over the long run. There is a strong tie between the successful background of the CEO and the outcomes. Often leadership styles emanate from where the CEO grew up in organizations. Let's dive into some of the typical tributaries for CEOs and what influence their upbringing has on outcomes both short and potentially long-term. The skills honed in these contributing departments get magnified when put at the top of an organization. 


If a leader comes from the investment side of an organization, they are likely to be focused on what part of the organization should be grown or invested in to take the organization to the next level. Outcomes will be focused on balanced growth in a portfolio mindset looking for rates of return for each investment with careful maintenance and growth for long-term success. There will be an emphasis on planning. The weakness here would be keeping an eye on short-term results and letting issues go too long. 


If a leader comes from the finance arm of an organization, they are focused on short-term results. Often there is an emphasis on cost-cutting efforts. It is all about the numbers and short-term key performance indicators. They are at their best during downturns, but they often tend to forget the employees and customers. Often they are called "bean counters" If left to their own devices, they can negatively affect culture, loyalty, and business model over the long term. 


Leaders that bring operational excellence in their bag of tricks are looking to optimize the organization so that it works well and in unison. Things that are out of order and not optimized will be targeted for improvement with this style of leadership. There is an emphasis on collaboration and teamwork under this brand of leadership. The weakness may be forgetting the top line and the necessary changes that new trends might require. This is a smooth operation that hates any change to hard-won operational excellence.  

Sales and Marketing:

Leaders from this bolt of cloth want growth therefore they will sell the dickens out of what they already have on the shelves. They are great at setting goals for growth and incenting the sales staff to move products as fast as possible. They have a blind spot to the cost of sales and are not great at wanting or defining new products or services. There is a make product faster mentality, so we can sell faster. Operational excellence and governance can be overlooked in order to sell more. 

Information Technology:

Leaders that emanate from digital-focused disciplines can bring some new approaches to doing business and out-flanking the competition with a better approach. The problem with these "gee-whiz kids" is sometimes they have technologies looking for business justification without regard to the overall impact on the business and the value chains organizations thrive in. 


The key skill is to produce products as fast and efficiently as possible within cost constraints. It's about keeping the machines and people at the highest level of productivity. It's all about units produced and lack of downtime. There is an emphasis on preventative maintenance and the kind of smoothness that an operations executive deems valuable. The weakness is here is that there are blind spots for new products and customer satisfaction with the units produced. 

Customer Service:

Customer service is all about the customer experience and keeping them happy no matter the cost. While we all know the highest cost to a company is gaining and maintaining a customer. The issue here is that loyalty can come at too high of a cost, particularly when customers get unreasonable and too demanding. They all can't have their way, 

Research & Development:

This is about creating new products and services. The emphasis is on innovation and creating a better mousetrap. These folks are viewed as "play babies" without any accountability for costs or applicability to the markets that an organization wants to reach or dominate. They are often at odds with marketing, so marketing tries to dictate the products or stifle creativity.  

Human Resources:

HR is at the center of people's conflicts and is often stuck trying to resolve differences and problems. While this a great skill, HR often coddles people too much. We all know that HR is invaluable for managing our most expensive resource, but they are not always focused on the bottom line. 


Legal tries to make sure the organization is protected and stays within governance tolerances, however, they tend to be overprotective and almost paranoid. They tend not to take risks and tend to be excellent negotiators. While necessary, they create a somewhat cold atmosphere. 

Net; Net: 

The obvious answer is to have a leader that fits the need for the time and culture while realizing the strengths and weaknesses that each department brings without pitting them against each other. We don't want our leaders to forget where they came from. however, we want them to develop an atmosphere of collaboration and accomplishment. Balance is the keyword over the long haul.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Keeping Corporate Culture Vibrant

 These days corporate cultures seem to be left to fend for themselves. This is building a dangerous wave of uncaring organizations that are forgetting their investment in employees and partners. This, in turn, negatively affects customers and eventually societies. In our blind pursuit of numbers and profitable outcomes, and hyper-automation cultures are losing out. This loss appears to have a cascading effect on people in many of their roles. Let's look at the five most common types of cultures and the dangerous balance point as we automate to get optimal business outcomes. See figure 1 for the five cultures. 

                                            Figure 1 The Five Types of Cultures 

While there seems to be a correlation between the size of an organization and the tendency to see culture receive less attention and descend down the slippery slope of negative culture. Really savvy organizations pay close attention to culture as they progress and keep their eye on the ball on behalf of culture. Some small organizations never get to success or a decent culture as well. Taking the temperature of culture is essential and ongoing. The categories definitions below are color codded from cooler colors to hot and dangerous colors. The more automation we take on should consider the impact on culture, not just the savings and profitability. 

The Family Culture:

This culture is packed with caring about all the people in and around the organization. Things are loose, and employees tend to wear many hats. The processes are ill-defined, but things get done despite the lack of documentation and repetitive success. The obvious improvement here to make sure people know who does what and how to stay compliant and successful in terms of numbers. People are generally happy, but they get confused, and goals are not shared and communicated at a granular enough level.

The Team Culture:

This culture level has a much better definition of what is expected of everybody and how to attain success for the organization and all its constituents. Processes are documented and distributed, but people still cover each other when the process is still growing. KPIs become more visible and granular. Often there are loads of automation opportunities that are begging for help. Organizations tend to be gathering lists of automation opportunities. 

The Machine Culture:

This culture level is the most important one to pay attention to because it can become a tipping point to take a culture overboard and down a slippery slope. Here automation is essential, and organizations are exercising their automation muscles. People are watching results intensely and will be making constant improvements. The danger here is to forget about the people and the ethical aspects of automation. Keeping the delicate balance between people and results is very challenging at this stage. Things and people are measured with great intensity. Keeping measurements fair to people as well as fair to better outcomes is the challenge.  

The Jungle Culture

This culture is filled with playing favorites because the measurements and goals are impossible to attain. Now politics dominate, and the measurements are used against people who are not in the favored status. This is where the "suck-ups" tend to get rewarded over those who are also missing the mark but won't or don't know how to "play the game"  If gone unchecked, the speed towards culture demise increases very fast. 

The Advanced Jungle Culture:

This culture is so political, people are terrified of losing out to the up-and-comers. Mentors will literally try to "eat their young" when push comes to shove. Nobody makes their goals, and everybody is a threat to be a "new favorite of the month." The end is in sight as goals even lose out in these environments. It is all about killing innovation, the competitors for internal advancement, and hell with everyone else, including customers. Stockholders tend to dominate this culture. 

Net; Net: 

Caring about your culture is so important. If leaders suspect a slide, they need to apply the brakes before it is too late. Infusing the important aspects of each positive culture is essential. If you can maintain a family in a large organization, you will win long term; if you incent team behaviors equally with results and measurements, you are winning the battle. Please measure your culture often to avoid long-term demise.