Organizational speed is ever more important, as I wrote last week in Making your organization faster. As things happen faster, the organization needs to change more quickly. And size matters. One of my favorite quotes on change came from a very senior leader at UPS, “There is one of me and thousands of them.”
We’ve made parts of business faster through automation and process improvement, but those advances aren’t giving the return on investment that they used to. Perhaps we’ve picked the low hanging fruit, at least from those two trees. Is it time to find a new tree? Not necessarily.
The next great leap forward will come from using technologies in combination. The best example is the hype around Big Data. It has enormous attention and holds great promise for discovering information, but will it make organizations faster?
Moving the log jam
Gartner’s Jim Sinur tackled this question recently in his article, Let’s Get Rid of Action Latency; Not Just Decision Latency. His advice was to stick with “RRR”, his shorthand for the following:
- Recognize – Be aware that things are challenging your operations
- Reflect – Add your experience and collaboration to your awareness
- Respond – Act rather than continue to study
Not only was he giving sage advice, he argues that Big Data is a big part of ‘Recognize”, which is has interesting applications but doesn’t necessarily provide an edge in organizational speed. In fact, the parallel processing of enormous data sets can have a slowing effect. Even if it didn’t, having better information more quickly is just moving the log jam down river. It takes more.
It gets interesting when we pick from the trees of Big Data, Big Process, Rules, Patterns, Collaboration and Analytics. Each brings something unique to the speed equation and offers a chance for better use of systems, data and processes you already have rather than the constant chasing of the bright, shiny object.
Organizational speed comes from an holistic approach to sensing and responding to the business environment. It will never arrive from the next great application, data warehouse, or clever Cloud idea alone.