By Nicholas Brigman on April 22nd, 2020
The pace of change in business requires us to juggle several tasks simultaneously. Our heads are spinning from trying to get a fix on the things that matter most and then take action without introducing some unintended consequence. Business professionals and IT leaders admit that getting clarity and confidence to know what is really going on, and then make the right move, is not always as clear as you would like – and the clock is ticking. It’s like Final Jeopardy without Alex Trebec nor the charming melody. So what do you do?
Getting a fix on the situation requires some detective work. Starting with the time-honored questions of two-year-olds of every culture, simply ask “Why?” until you get some solid answers. When I ask business leaders about their confidence and success rate in taking action, the answers are unique, yet responses have similar themes like: ‘I don’t trust the data’, ‘this only shows one metric, it doesn’t tell me what or why it is happening’, ‘I am inundated with information, I can’t see what’s important’ and ‘by the time I see it, it is too late’.
These sentiments echo research and reports from Harvard Business Review to Gartner and Fortune; they include rumblings about disconnected data, data quality, one source of the truth, and both visualization and data governance. With record spending on Business Intelligence and all forms of automation under a banner of AI, what is happening in IT? Surely IT can see everything, and everything is connected, right? If it were only that easy, to just throw one big single switch into the “on” position. Our present reality is a wall of a hundred switches and who knows how it is all really wired or even connected.
Our hyperconnected world offers many ways to do things. The Lego Masters reality series launched this year fits the context of creativity, yet it has a singular round interface (repeatable architecture). A Rube Goldberg machine is a better metaphor for how we cobble two or three systems together to solve a problem. Now imagine what happens when we do this 10 times, 50 times, even 100 times. Do we use the same products? What happens when everyone brings their own “pet” product? What are the costs and implications when we force a very elaborate AI system when a simple business rule would do the work? This struggle is playing out in nearly every enterprise, and participants all need a way to enable flexibility and creativity while removing the risk and reality of shortfalls and failures.
According to a recent Gartner Report on Dashboards for IT:
“Overlaps exist among these(tools) for many organizations with mature monitoring stacks, while others with less mature stacks may find that they only have infrastructure monitoring capabilities. The goal of the ideal availability and performance monitoring dashboard is to combine or augment with elements of all these data sources and toolsets into a cohesive and comprehensive view of the entire estate — to create the ideal performance monitoring dashboard framework.”
Years ago, two books changed my perspective forever regarding all things measured. The first was “Strategic Management Dynamics” by Kim Warren, a great follow up to Jay Wright Forrester’s original works on Industrial Dynamics (Basically the world is a massive rube Goldberg device with stocks and flows). The second was “Cracking the Sales Management Code” a lesson in linking causal, manageable, and trailing metrics. To truly know how something works, you have to know what connects to what. Digital Twins for business will use connected models that portray reality, show the current future with probabilities, and explain past causation.
So where do you start when you recognize that you cannot blink your eyes and magically be done? Edge Technologies helps solve big issues amidst operational complexity helping you go after frustrating issues that should be fixable, that one thing that confounds everyone. We begin by identifying the systems and processes that contribute to the issues. When you have everything identified, it’s time to have an instrumentation/action design session. Not as wild as design thinking, you simply begin to map the needed actions and data by stakeholders. When, where, and on what do stakeholders make choices and take action? What does each person need to see to feel confident and complete that action? Once the points and paths are defined, we challenge everything in the middle. Rather than clog things up and make them run slower, what are the exceptions that can be accomplished as business rules so you can expedite the majority of transactions. These activities are nothing new. They have been part of Six Sigma for years, and Deming and TQM for decades. So with understanding, how do we take action?
Without throwing everything away or even forcing a singular set of tools, it is possible to use an affordable platform in the middle that will bring the visual perspectives together into meaningful explainable views that show the situation, pop up issues that need attention, and streamline actions between tools.
For example, we instrumented a complex process, for one of our financial industry customers, that spanned multiple systems and handoffs (not all of them theirs) that lacked a singular visualization between the executive metrics and individual stats of discrete systems. Using our Connected Intelligence platform that had integrations, actions, notifications, with built-in role-based visualizations, we were able to diagnose the great conundrum in a moment. What made this particular result great is the visualizations continue to perform and the client is able to splice in RPA and AI functionality. Even more, they can address additional tough issues with the same platform.
To learn more about Edge’s Connected Intelligence Platform and the role we play in helping businesses take action with confidence and transparency. Watch our Company Video, or visit our Platform Page for additional information.