Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Innovation through Co-Creation

SandHill.com | Management | Innovation through Co-Creation:

Dr. C.K. Prahalad has identified technology to atomate Business Processes as a key opportunity for IT vendors today and into the future in this article on SandHill.com

"Opportunities for Technology Vendors

At a time when personalization, flexibility and scalability are key considerations for enterprises, the entire IT industry must redirect its focus to the areas which matter most for businesses.

# Interoperability - Much attention is focused on open source. While many consider the greatest value of open source is that it is 'free,' the reality is that the main advantage of open source is its interoperability. Is the industry putting enough energy behind delivering on open source's potential for interoperability and transparency?

# Large Databases - Ten terabytes used to be considered a large database. Today, WalMart is working with approximately 500 terabytes-worth of data. There is a huge opportunity to increase the size and speed with which data is accessed. These systems must go beyond providing decision tools to providing more sophisticated analyses. They must perform data mining and understand behaviors through analytical models - both industry-oriented and strategy-oriented. There is a huge opportunity for application developers to be analytically focused.

# Simple Interfaces - Whether for an on-demand application, a database or a large network, there is a huge opportunity to improve user interfaces. Increasingly, people with less experience or lower-level skills will be using the systems. Software vendors must work to create less-complex user interfaces, ones not dependent on language skills, yet functional enough to deliver productivity to users with higher skill sets as well. Take OnStar. You press a button and hear a human voice. There is no training required.

# Business Processes - Dell can turn over its inventory 100-times during the same time that HP converts 10-15-times. UPS can handle packages so efficiently that it created a new industry called 'logistics.' FedEx invites customers into its operations to gather critical data. The common thread for these competitive advantages is that they are all driven by business processes. These companies have leveraged a deep understanding of their business operations and converted it into a competitive weapon. Technology to automate these areas will be critical in the coming years."

I think that as always Dr. Prahalad is right on the mark here. Processes are the main differentiator in today's economy focused on operational excellence. And software tools that automate, control, monitor and manage these processes are the key enablers for continuous process improvement.

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