We can’t turn a corner without hearing about technology trends like cloud, social, mobile, Big Data, wearables, and more. Each, on its own, represents a challenge to today’s organizations. In combination, they become a daunting mix of architecture land mines and confusing hype—and in many cases, they’re ominous signs of looming disruption. Organizations that aren’t concerned are either unaware or busy building out capabilities that make them antifragile: the ability to benefit from market disruption and chaos, according to author Nassim Taleb.
It’s Really About Context
Being antifragile isn’t something that’s easily done. Many enterprises have spent millions of dollars and years creating systems that optimize to their understanding of their marketplace and expected customer base. They’ve worked out the kinks and streamlined approaches, but in the process have created rigid systems that aren’t ready for so much concurrent change. What can be done to overcome this problem?
The change that’s happening is primarily focused around an explosion of contextual information, often referred to as Big Data. That term sounds fuzzy to many and there’s a good reason for that—it doesn’t quite capture the real problem of context. Context is what makes us smarter as human beings and makes our businesses more adaptive.
Context is about having good intelligence (knowing what has happened and is happening) and being intelligent (using that information at the right moments). It translates to the whirlwind of changing technology around us when we integrate analytics, mobile, social, and cloud technologies alongside our business processes. You might think that sounds too broad, but it really isn’t. Intelligent business process is the only way organizations can be antifragile. We’re not looking at new ways to save money or be efficient (which were great ideals when technology moved more slowly and context was very limited). It was so last century.
To stay in front, organizations need to close the gap between what they research and the operational decisions they make, especially as those decisions occur in increasingly faster cycles.
This is a bigger picture problem of being relevant in the market and adjusting to changing customer dynamics as it happens, and in the time frames that are required whether that’s real-time or just at the right time. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that the bigger enterprises we see in the market today that ignore the need to move to intelligent business process will pay dearly for that choice.