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The Real-Time Enterprise
Friday, August 06, 2004
This afternoon I read The Real-time Enterprise, a prescient new book by Peter Fingar and Joseph Bellini. This is a management book, not a techie book. It's subject is executing strategy, not IT.

When I approach a topic that's on the horizon but not fully evolved, my first question is, "Does it matter?" Here's the authors' take on that:
    "This shift to business process management is the biggest change in the use of business automation since the first commercial computer was delivered on June 14, 1951."
    "Cutting to the chase, what smart companies have learned is that the universal connectivity of the Internet can be applied to how a company accomplishes its work processing and strategy execution to achieve operational innovation by squeezing out time."


A few paragraphs from the introduction to the book by Dr. Max More
    "Never mind New Economy vs. Old Economy industries. What matters is if your business enjoys intelligently revised and technologically enhanced business processes. Business process innovation is beginning to move in concert with accelerating technological evolution. Say goodbye to the New Economy; meet the Now Economy. We are witnessing the emergence of real-time enterprises (RTEs) that will comprise the bulk of the Now Economy. In the Now Economy, information flows rapidly through supply and demand chains, crossing corporate boundaries, ensuring maximum efficiency and responsiveness.

    The ideal vision of the RTE is one of companies where information moves without hindrance, and business processes are continuously monitored and trigger rapid reactions, usually automated according to embedded business rules. RTEs also sense shifts in tastes and practices and respond by offering new products and services. Automated processes easily traverse corporate boundaries, time zones, media and systems. Batch processes and manual input are minimized by ensuring that real-time information among employees, customers, partners and suppliers is current and coherent. The Now Economy is the instantaneous, frictionless economy of economists’ legend—the mythical beast that may fi-nally be emerging from the mist. The Now Economy is a web of RTEs that form a virtual supply and demand chain continually seeking information, monitoring, and responding, guided by humans, mostly at the highest strategic level.

    The real-time enterprise is crystallizing out of a process-rich brew in which swim Web-enabled customer relationship management, supply-chain event management, enterprise relationship management, partner relationship management, content management, customer analytics, business intelligence, optimization, forecasting and simulation. Into the mix we can throw technologies, including application servers, enterprise application integration, Web services, microservers, event routers, enterprise portals, and digital dashboards—and at the heart is a new category of software, the business process management system."
Permit me to add that the augmentation of worker performance in all this is called Workflow Learning.

Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Sun, and others are all headed in this direction because the Real-time Enterprise is accompanied by the competitive advantages of:
    - Reduced lead times, improved efficiency and responsiveness;
    - Real-time financial reporting (now demanded by Wall Street);
    - Lower stock levels;
    - Reduced cost per transaction;
    - Superior competitive intelligence and demand information;
    - Increased responsiveness to customers;
    - Reduction in expensive human input;
    - Real-time reengineering of processes;
    - Better decision-making;
    - mproved leveraging of technological improvements;
    - Visibility of the extended supply chain;
    - Optimization of procurement; and
    - Risk management by optimizing purchase decisions under con-ditions of uncertainty.
Any relation to my previous post is entirely intentional.

How could I not like a book that talks about smartifacts like SmartDust?


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