New Shoreham Consulting helps organizations get more value out of their technology investments after they throw the switch. After the energy and focus it takes to deploy new technology capabilities, users and functions are too often left to fend for themselves in discovering and adapting to the changes in processes and work practices needed to realize the benefits of efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation that were promised in the business cases used to justify the investments.
In particular, New Shoreham focuses on two themes; business intelligence/information analytics and Enterprise 2.0.
Business Intelligence and Information Analytics
In Business Intelligence and Information Analytics the large-scale investments in data warehouses and new reporting and analytical tools have benefited a relatively small number of power users. We work with organizations on how to get from power users to power use.
How do analysts become more adept at navigating the available data and building models that yield insights? How do decision makers incorporate these models and insights into framing decisions and opportunities for the enterprise? How do data analysis and modeling expertise evolve from isolated pockets to widespread organizational capability?
While the definition of Enterprise 2.0 is evolving, the key features are a mix of technologies designed to improve general purpose communications and collaboration activities within the enterprise and between the enterprise and its business partners. For all of the attention focused on new technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networks the promises of increased effectiveness and increased innovation depend far more on developing new work practices and methods than they do on technological features and functions. At New Shoreham, we believe that the best path to realizing these promised benefits lies in working out what the idea of “technology for us” means in the context of a particular organization.
“Us” focuses on two important dimensions. The first is on the activities of small groups and teams who must communicate and coordinate their actions effectively to accomplish their tasks. Innovation, in particular, is rooted in the creative interplay and interaction of groups with multiple and diverse perspectives. Enabling this effectively in geographically dispersed and time-pressed environments depends not just on technology, but on enabling the target users to develop and become adept at new work practices.
This leads to the second, and possibly more difficult, dimension of “technology for us.” The primary audience for Enterprise 2.0 technologies are the knowledge workers in the enterprise; those of us with open-ended responsibilities and mandates. Also, those of us with the power and autonomy to ignore or adopt new technologies and practices based on their personal assessments of costs and benefits. Enterprise 2.0 technologies may be straightforwardly deployed; but they won’t be taken up and adopted without the active engagement of their intended audience.
Accelerating Organizational Learning
Success in both these areas depends on designing new work practices that tap the potential of the technology tools as they relate to the particular decisions and opportunities within a given organization. Moreover, these new practices and tools must be acceptable to a user community with a finely tuned skepticism toward silver-bullet solutions. This is not the organizational change of attacking and overcoming resistance; it is crafting opportunities for organizational learning for those with a commitment to improvement and an interest in direction and coaching to accelerate the process.