Reaching Collaborative Intelligence in Agile Business

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Collaborative intelligence (CI) was discussed by Unhelkar and Tiwary (2010) where CI was shown to facilitate the sharing of intelligence across a group of collaborative organizations. CI is achieved through an incremental rise in technologies and complexities starting with data, then information, process, knowledge and intelligence, as discussed next. (KM, discussed earlier, plays a part in this evolving complexity. The subjective aspect of observation is implicit and not discussed separately here.)


Collaborative Data and Agility
Sharing of data (David, 2009) through well-connected, reliable, and trustworthy partners is the basic form of collaboration among organizations. This is the sharing of data across organizations that would otherwise be a repetition. For example, demographic data of a customer, such as her name and address, usually stored by another organization (e.g., a telephone company) need not be stored by the bank. Instead, these data are collaboratively available to the bank from the telephone company under "contracts." Such basic collaboration reduces the data storage overheads and contributes toward Agility.


Collaborative Information and Agility

This is the next level of sharing, that of information, in a generic way so that customer behavior is also personalized. For example, the bank now provides information on demographic behavior patterns such as spending styles, income groups, and geographical nuances (e.g., beach or hills or next to a large sporting arena) to the telephone company—once again, under contracts. Sharing of information creates opportunities for timely services and new products, thereby enhancing the agility of the organization.


Collaborative Process and Agility
Collaborative approaches aim to model and share business processes across multiple organizations. This collaboration of processes among businesses is the evolving step that follows the sharing of data and information. For example, there are opportunities to share the process of opening an account in a bank through a commonly created process model by a third party. Alternatively, the process of account opening from a bank can collaborate with the process of verifying the details of a person or reuse the basic "name, address, phone number" data and related information from yet another service provider. While the variation in each of these processes is accepted, many of the fundamental processes in modern businesses are streamlined. There is limited value in businesses trying to reinvent the processes that are now routinely known in the respective sectors, for example, in the banking, airline, and hospital sectors.

The collaborative advantage comes from reusing and sharing the processes across multiple organizations. Collaborative business processes are built on electronic and mobile communications and, as such, enable businesses to put together new customer-centric processes that they would not be able to do on their own. Creating process models for commonly known processes and making those processes available across organizations provide many advantages to those collaborating organizations, the most important one being their enhanced ability to respond to changes or, in other words, business Agility.


Collaborative Knowledge and Agility
This level shares knowledge about an individual or a group of customers/users across multiple organizations. For example, location information about a mobile customer (person) can be correlated with other bits of information about that customer, such as buying history, to produce knowledge about that customer and, additionally, about that customer group. This knowledge can be invaluable in designing new products and services dynamically, rather than going through a full iteration of market research, prototyping, and customer feedback.


Collaborative Intelligence (CI) and Agility
This is a fully mature implementation of collaboration by a group of organizations within and across multiple industrial sectors with a common goal of enhancing customer experience. Conversely, a group of organizations at this level could also be the customers themselves, acting in a collaborative manner to achieve higher value. What is most important in a CI environment is that not only are the aforementioned data, information, process, and knowledge being shared but they are also made available at the right time and place for the participating organizations. Right from data hubs and warehouses through to operational processes and new product development, CI is a positive influence on business Agility. The real advantage of CI comes from having a strategy for multiple organizations to share these elements in a timely and succinct manner.

Taken from : The Art of Agile Practice: A Composite Approach for Projects and Organizations

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