Monthly archives: June, 2015

Managing Assets in a Free-Wheeling World

Trillion-dollar dotcoms get trillion-ized by not carrying inventory. Wall Street creates “products” by packaging things that were NOT provided (payments due).  Employees bring their own devices. Lines-Of-Business grab what they want from the external Everything-As-A-Service buffet. And obsession with innovation, fueling the pace of change, makes almost anything in hand at risk of being “obsoleted” far sooner than was ever projected.

Story after story, being in charge of Stuff is an authority that has fallen on hard times.

Or not… A division of Needs has simply taken over from a division of Belongings, and the solutions to Needs are more clearly and vigorously attached to how things are obtained instead of what things are already in hand. It’s a natural evolution, allowed more speed and prominence by technology having finally gotten us past institutionalized scarcity.

It doesn’t mean, however, that assets have just gone away. It does mean that Resourcing is the big issue, and that managing assets is a requirement of resourcing. Resources are assets that have been given an operational assignment. Resources are derived from assets.

This takes place in three interesting scenarios, summarized in the chart here, and detailed in the document linked below it.

Managing Derived Resources

For a full description of why and how resourcing is the lead POV on asset management, see Assets as Resources in the Next Normal.

The provided logic, and the objectives of resourcing, explains how assets apply to innovation, XaaS, collaboration, “freemiums”, services, and many of the other defaults that have collectively and concurrently become “the next normal” of production.


The Big Idea

With a tip of the hat to Maslow, here is a visual compilation of my observations from over ten years in the web/social arena, about people saying what’s on their mind. The diagram is an analogy of psychological prioritization with no intent or effort to be prescriptive. However, it is a result of considering how and why thoughts begin to emerge, become exposed, and persist or not — in an environment where individuals constantly interact in a universe of nearly unrestricted information access.

As might be expected, the hierachy identifies the most essential requirement at the bottom (fundamental) and the most discretionary requirement at the top (aspirational). Although thinking may gain the awareness of outside parties pretty far down in the stack, the further up the hierarchy you go, the more social influence matters.

One sample of the implications of the hierarchy is that ideas may come and go, or keep and lose support, based on whether someone cares enough one way or the other to keep them in circulation. This is an illustration of why “caring” might occur or cease, showing five different levels at which the caring can be challenged or motivated. In retrospect, there is a notable accountability in these terms, of “thinking”.

This model separates the “unrestricted access” within the current information environment into how exposure of the thinking typically appears to be sensitive. The sensitivity is to managed versus unmanaged attention outside of what is already an “internal” reference point for the thinker.

In effect, a thinker has an emotional disposition, at different points in time, and on various levels, that affects whether the thinker’s idea will begin, and/or continue, to reach exposure.

The Social Hierchy Of Thinking

 

 


Understanding Solution Implementation

We know that the idea of “solutions” is often abused. We intuitively understand that something called a solution is not solving anything if, for example, it is installed but not supported to any practically useful effect. But we understand why a provider calls something a “solution” even in advance of installation: the provider is pointing at its offer to respond to a designated problem. Then we’ll go on to talk and think about implementing the so-called solution.

But “Implementation” is a crucial concept that requires the determination to distinguish and recognize restructuring separately from installation.

The execution of implementation matures from concept to reality in a deliberate and overt way, with a predefined kind of completed change becoming a new regular element of the organization (structure) of a behavior or of a facility.

An implementation is, therefore, typically visible as a new formation put into effect. The primary responsibility of its finish is to be the platform for actual upcoming action, not to conform to historical prescriptions or precedents. This in turn means that measuring the success of an implementation is done by comparing the meaningful characteristics of the new behavior or facility against the old characteristics.

Installations can be completed and yet have no significant forward impact at all. In contrast, an implementation by definition has a measurably significant impact identified in terms of the behavior requirements or facility requirements; this means that implementations may proceed and progress with an understanding that there is a threshold to be reached and crossed, representing the intentions of the affected client. Thresholds may in fact move over time, in response to the influence of new circumstances developing around and within the affected client. Managerially, the imperative is to keep the current threshold explicitly defined and agreed.

Intention is primarily directional. Alignment to intention is not so much a matter of fixed positions but of consistent appropriate movement. Enabling the alignment is the primary objective of the implementation effort. This also means that “successful” implementations can initially be detrimental to desired results, while still being on the way to desired benefits. The affected client should expect that adjusting to the formation can introduce difficulties that are necessary to sustaining alignment, at the expense of conventional signs of good performance.

Alignment is not ambiguous. The terms and relations that affect alignment rarely need to be invented but they need to be orchestrated and their cooperation or other influences tracked. In the framework of implementation, the regular and distinctive factors of its progression are exposed (providing “transparency” of effort). Directionality, from hypothesis to realization, is identified bottom to top and left to right.

Enterprise Solution Implementation Framework

To reiterate: an important fact of the difference between installation and implementation is that installation projects come to a close, while implementation initiatives do not close; they mature.


The Experience Of The User

Engaging and Supporting the Personalization of Productivity

Individuals in action are simultaneously thinking and feeling; giving and receiving. Understanding the actual meaning of “experience” therefore requires crosses several boundaries and concerns.

It is tempting to catalog issues according to what giving and receiving means regarding thinking; then, likewise, what giving and receiving means regarding feeling. To some extent this cataloging might generate a set of items that are useful in profiling the individual compared to other individuals. But that profiling would still leave the matter of how it makes sense to purposefully interact with the individual. “Making sense” is likely our way of saying, what do we think the chances are that the effects we want would be obtained from the interaction we expect?

Profiling is certainly not obsolete. But meanwhile, with the dramatic rise of powerfully enabled individual actors, two new issues come up.

One is that an individual is more likely to have multiple profiles, variously active at different times and places. Another is that the individual has far more control over when or why they will be profiled, yet the tendency now is for far more voluntary self-exposure. As individuals observe other individuals, they are unpredictably attracted to the chance to pursue similarity or pursue difference.

In the science of relationships, we are generally now needing to observe very closely and react very quickly as a mode of gaining desired interaction with a desired profile. The alternative, however, still exists and is also itself more powerful than before. The alternative is cultivation, which requires strategy, logic, and being thorough. It begins with seeing how individuals generally behave as they try to obtain or cause what they themselves want.

Here we have derived the general model of the behavior that makes up an individual’s sense of personal productivity:

Personalized Productivity1

 

The model gives a clear view of the significant touch-points in the dynamics of the individual’s experience, along with the reasons to interact at those touch-points. What comes next is the identification of how the individual’s exposure and awareness is co-managed by the person and another purposefully affecting party. The framework for that describes the person’s exposure to support and engagement along with the affecting party’s means of impact in an interaction. The affecting party maps the items in the framework to the behavior cycle of the subject individual person.

Not only does this reveal the commonality of concerns across marketers, managers and teachers; but it illustrates points where peer interaction is able to intervene in a prevailing tendency and alter it. The net observation is that an affecting party supplies the impacts continually as features or properties of an environment in which it want the individual person to appear. That cultivation does not rigidly fix opportunities, nor outcomes; but it does generate histories that can be analyzed for patterns and statistical prediction both of value to future interaction logic and interaction strategy.

 

Personalized Productivity2

 

Along with the ability to invoke desirable interactions, cultivation is fundamental to change management and compliance, as they both call for a successfully negotiated agreement on the part of the individual personal actor.


Digitized Production Service Solutions

Some companies are literally in the business of engineering IT infrastructures and managing the exposure of the company operations to those infrastructures.

For them, ITSM is part of a strategy to protect the value of providing IT to the business operations.

But from the demand side of things, credible providers are increasingly non-proprietary to the company. Meanwhile, the production value of IT utilization simply outweighs the impact on the Providers of doing the providing.

For companies not operated directly to engineer IT infrastructures, services still align IT to usability. The concept of a service and the agreement that defines service availability remains instrumental to making IT a part of business capacity.

But business seeks to align services to productivity. The point is that productivity dictates the requirements of capacity — instead of capacity dictating the potential value of availability.

 

SERVICES VERSUS DEMAND

Actual demand for service is linked closely to production requirements.

The value of production is far more sensitive to (a.) exposure to complexity and (b.) unreconciled scheduling. From the demand-side point of view, the primary assumption is that engineering creates an environment in which there can be reliable standing conditions supporting the opportunity to deliberately generate desired real-time outcomes. But, the on-demand world is emerging under management as a compilation of innovation, mobility, A.I., predictive analytics, dev/ops, lean, virtualization, and broadband. Meanwhile, the influence of competition, economies and cultures now more frequently causes changes in requirements. Consequently, use of services must be more flexible.  This means that the specific pathways and requirements of production may not be predefined and may need to be detected and composed “on the fly” with easily tolerable risk. Systems must continually or even suddenly generate processing that is immediately available to business operators.

Production Services Digitization

 

MANAGEMENT FOR BUSINESS

Demand-based strategic management of the production environment can be viewed thematically.

The management themes put an explicit emphasis on recognizing systemic conditions that promote immediate and adequate throughput of technology power, at low risk of misalignment to work objectives. The key themes ( in gray below) address the throughput constraints of on-demand production including target outputs, adaptability, governance, optimization and standards. They expect that management, services and needs are always negotiated in production.

Production Services Digitization2

 

Solution Providers are expected to address the elements of the model and the alignment of the elements. The elements shown in the model (such as context, knowledge or presentation) are all independently variable. But this means that the components of a solution can change asynchronously, directly affecting the complexity and integrity of the overall production system.

Elemental variability also highlights the hypothetical case of implementing full production throughput on terms other than through a single-source provider. A provider’s components offer more or less elegance and coherence to the production, and from one component to another, different providers have different levels of achievement in that regard.

In turn, that highlights the true importance of current-state digitization in IT.

 

DIGITIZATION

Digitization primarily means two things: one, the difficulty of engineering functional objects is greatly reduced; and two, the practical access to any implemented functionality is greatly increased. Digitization gives the same benefit to multiple sources, making each of the sources more likely useful to a given customer.

As a result, business requirements, for rationally maximizing the utilization of automation technology to exploit information, can be more generically defined by the customer aside from particular sources.

Said differently, essential business-relevant information uses such as explanation, instruction, communication and recording can be more readily modeled with a simpler architectural level of logic. In turn, the implementation of that logic in action can proceed in a faster time frame and with more assurance of operational stability.

Production Services Digitization3

 

THROUGHPUT DESIGN GLOSSARY

The business version of the production throughput model applies strategic goals (productivity, provision, management) to the production conditions, not just to the production outputs. It also applies goals (convenient, dynamic, integrated) to the runtime experience of the production.

In that demand oriented framing, the model broadly solicits the pertinent elements of a desired production solution. For example, catalogs and  location-triggered alerts both address service awareness. Collaboration functions and publishing both address knowledge. Discovery and mapping both address surveillance. Rules address interpretation; versions address referencing; and user interfaces address workflow.

More of the logic: demand-based management views on systems involve solution features that are automated and integrated specifically to apply to supporting production’s enablement with IT.

  • Presentation: consistent recognition and display of symptomatic evidence
  • Interpretation: formulaic or heuristic semantics and analyses
  • Referencing: policies, standards and specifications
  • Surveillance: real-time detection and exploration of states

Those assignments are part of the model’s persistent logic, while allowing both current and future components to apply.


Strategic Support Now

The customary “holy trinity” of People/Process/Technology still holds its place in IT strategy, accounting for key elements of managed value. Meanwhile, IT innovation has dramatically emphasized the central position of the individual user, who arbitrates tools and information with unprecedented liberties and options. This newfound power even directly challenges “process” by more frequently injecting improvisation into user procedures with beneficial results.

Because of this shift from process to people, it is far more important strategically to understand and manage why people do what they do. With that understanding, it is more evident that strategic support is fundamentally proactive, and is logically definable from the user’s point of view.

 

Support as Proactive User Empowerment

The general mindset of a User has an underlying structure that gives Support the indications of what generates manageability of the user’s acts and decisions towards getting “value” from IT utilization. The User’s self-image, desire, technology and information are all aimed at practicality, impact, expectations and decisions in a consistent way. The consistency comes from the User’s instinctive need to combine competency and autonomy (opportunity) for driving justified performance (outcomes). Proactive support consistently focuses on the practicality, expectations, decisions and impacts. The long-term significance of the consistency is that it accommodates the increasing breadth and pace of changes in user practices, tools and information without needing support to be re-conceived itself. Implementations of support can adapt and adopt within the same formula for generating business value.


Assessing the Individual Contributor

The personnel management bookends – of Hiring and Performance Evaluation – have both long ago outstripped most people’s intuitive ability to “objectively” foresee specific comings and goings. To some extent, we expect that those two efforts will be pushed in one direction or another by relationships that pave the “inside tracks” to adequate visibility and preference. The complexity and brute force of recruiting, references, and resume robots each can create many different paths, but the average person being evaluated doesn’t know what the particular path is at the time without lots of “inside” help. There are just too many variables.

Why are some people hired or fired when they appear only comparable to others who are not? How do they get on the necessary track to be chosen or retained? Or how does the track change and run out from under them without their knowing it?

The approach used here to reach an answer began by looking to neutralize (or set aside) “relationships”, while cataloging characteristics frequently observed being used as “selection criteria”. The characteristics all pertain to a candidate individual. The problem of selection is framed as a cross-referencing of Position (the chance to do something) and Skill (the ability to do something).

The high-level abstraction of Position versus Skill has been chosen because of its simplicity and directness in pointing at Effectiveness. The framework argues that Effectiveness, whether projected or proven, is the single most important factor in both the decision to hire and the evaluation of performance. Effectiveness Assessment_Individual_green

Most conversations about the reason for selection or rejection will feature a vocabulary found within this framework of “characteristics”. For any given occasion of evaluation, the characteristics are the criteria, and some of the criteria are emphasized significantly more than others. The emphasis comes from whatever is driving the perceived need to modify the organization at the time. The emphasis determines how important it is that any particular characteristics are sufficient and beneficial. Part of the equation for a candidate, then, is to show alignment with the current emphasis.

A critical difference between the Position criteria and the Skill criteria is that Position can be circumstantial and simply mandated. Position is intentionally highly variable and can easily be the source of a sudden misalignment with the current presence and arrangements of Skill. Skill, on the other hand, must be acquired or cultivated for the Position if it is to be meaningful.

In this approach, assessing effectiveness relies on the same information regardless of whether the effort is prescriptive before the fact or descriptive after the fact. Emphasis on one criterion or another shifts from time to time, but all characteristics are tactically significant in a standing general way as potential contributors to be leveraged by the organization. The vocabulary of that leverage tends to name outcomes recognized as effectiveness.

Meanwhile, as we know, relationships can be decisive by funneling key information to individuals about impending conditions, priorities and preferences.