I try to read about business strategy whenever I get some free time. Last week, I read from Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War. If you look at it from a business strategy perspective, the The Art of War contains profound wisdom. This wisdom illustrates that no matter how much information is available, if you fail to use the most valuable resource of all—your people—the company will continue to underperform. Businesses can leverage the social and human element in an unsuspecting way—through BPM. In particular, one piece from the book really resonated with me:
“One who acts thus is no leader of men, no present help to his sovereign, no master of victory. Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.”
Venturing Out of the Engineer Mindset
This is a profound thought. Business may not be going to war, but in Sun Tzu’s monumental advice I found two gems. Engineers often have a bad habit of explaining everything in terms of their language: “Every morning I need to ‘boot up’ kids out of bed,” or “I’m ‘running out of memory’ today.” Sometimes it becomes quite funny for a non-engineer. But Sun Tzu’s wisdom can be applied to the business landscape no matter the industry.
Putting resources and budgets behind long running initiatives in an attempt to gain market share is useless. Managers who continue to waste precious resources on imaginary ideas will eventually be laid off. What is more important is having the right knowledge at the right time (aka foreknowledge). When companies utilize this knowledge, they can lead the organization beyond market competition. Analyst reports and analytical dashboards can obtain key knowledge, but in order to fully exploit that information, the human element must be incorporated into decision making. Human knowledge is the most critical piece of information available to a company.
Social Element of Big Data
Big Data is not about crunching the numbers and throwing pie charts on the screen; and it’s not about Hadoop or how the volume of data is going to overwhelm the world. It’s about blending technology with people to make actionable decisions based on contextual data.
TIBCO offers tibbr alongside BPM, making it the most potent social BPM combination that will achieve the perfect blend of human and machine. tibbr integrates social knowledge and decision making into BPM; it can help corporate generals task their experts to anything, from coming up with the next new idea or getting honest feedback on why something is not working well.
Ancient Wisdom Still Rings True
BPM features, like workforce optimization, can help you identify the right experts for a given task; manage the allocation and utilization of resources; and get their comments, opinions, concerns, reviews, and feedback into the business processes. This provides visibility to all parts of the organization as well as the structure to ensure that context is not lost. Combining the power of social networks with a leading enterprise BPM platform will help corporations win.
Contextual knowledge, coupled with capable people, was the pillar of success for Sun Tzu in ~500BC. Now, 2,500 years later, it’s still the recipe of success. Buying flying horses won’t win you the war, but social and event-driven BPM will. Don’t lose the war—explore our Integration Maturity Model.