Monday, September 8, 2014

The new digital economy

Oxford Economics, in their excellent report 'The New Digital Economy' (2011) gave early warning of the potential demise of top-down management when they said, "Traditional hierarchical decision-making is too slow for the realities of the new digital market." (p23). The reality they speak of is the need to make decisions in real time to stay ahead of the game. Not such an issue for me in my small consulting business as I am the principle customer interface; but for a company with multiple layers of management, how far removed is decision-making from the frontline?

Of course, in order to make decisions you also need access to the right information. For me – it's in my head – but what happens if I'm a decision-maker in a large company? Is the 'intelligence" you're paying me a lot of money for accessible to anyone who needs it in real time? In a strategy meeting with one of my clients, the GM complained that their problem was that their "assets" went home at 5pm. In other words the company didn't have an intelligence system that allowed critical knowledge to be shared with others.

The solution sounds easy:
  1. Enable people at all levels to make real-time decisions, and
  2. Provide access to the "intelligence" necessary to make those decisions.
I know many will say that doing this exposes a company to unacceptable risk, but surely managing risk is what management is all about?  

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