Impact Session Review - The Future of Smart Work
Shaku Selvakumar 060001XT47 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  ibmimpact smartwork business agility bpm ibm
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By Michael Holmes, Program Director for Smart Work
I attended a great session on “The Future of Work”. Manoj Saxena started it off with an overview of some of the ways the IBM Institute for Business Value study has shown that leading companies are working differently from their lower performing peers. He went into greater detail into some of the facts shown by Robert LeBlanc from the morning’s keynote session. There are some startling differences between the two groups. Differences in the priorities: focus on growth vs. focus on survival. Differences in work practices: dynamic, collaborative, and connected vs. business as usual. And differences in technology: BPM, SOA, and smarter collaboration vs. traditional applications.
Manoj did a nice job bringing this to life with some customer references like the World bank. Because more than half the world’s population has access to handheld mobile communication devices, they are able to open what amounts to a new branch of the bank for $50 by accessing all the essential bank functions through a cell phone that an employee can bring directly to customers. Astounding! This is a totally different level of scalability by many orders of magnitude. Another example was Innocentive who harnesses the power of crowds. He compared it to an ‘eBay for innovation”. People post problems they need solved. Others solve them and get paid for doing so. Great way to match skills with needs.
I loved Manoj’s analogy of the phone system to the agility of business processes. Once, phone calls would be manually connected by operators from caller to caller. That’s an example of an unscaleable, hard-wired process. Now you pick up a cell phone and put it to your ear and there is no dial tone because in its resting state, it’s not connected. You dial and only then are you connected… and only for the duration of the call and then disconnected. It’s a ‘loosely coupled’ environment.
Manoj’s session was followed by a panel of great subject matter experts moderated by Forbes publisher and columnist Rich Karlgaard. David Yoo of Kaiser Permanente, Michael Hugos of the Center for Systems Innovation, and Phil Gilbert, president of IBM Lombardi. Michael spoke about new ways of learning through gaming. David talked about the transformation healthcare is going through. Good points about the cultural side of work changing. Phil talked about adding greater transparency as the driving force behind business processes. They have to ACT in a transparent way. But there are cultural barriers that usually needs to be overcome. The technology is there but it is the human limitations that often pose the shortcoming. It’s only a crisis that can cause cultural changes. Finally, non-IT people are becoming far more IT savvy. You can’t get by on your good looks any more. The explosion of consumer electronics has made an information pull rather than a push as the model.
The audience participated too. Great question about how you drive change in an industry that is resistant to change. David Yoo spoke of an age gap among physicians. Younger docs demand greater use of technology. So some are actually driving the change rather than resisting it. They are driving analytical and personalization capabilities. Phil echoed that the gap between business users’ skills has never been greater. How do you make tech more usable and approachable. It’s a talent gap.
Work really is changing. And these comments seem to be only the tip of the iceberg of ways that they and the audience was observing and even driving.
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Follow: IMPACT on Twitter hashtag #ibmimpact
Register: Social @ Impact
Become a Fan: IMPACT 2010 Facebook Fanpage
Got a cool Impact story to share? Email Shaku Selvakumar at firstname.lastname@example.org