Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leveraging information technology to revitalize mature industries and marketplaces 10: adding in a competitive context 5

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on March 15, 2014

This is the tenth installment in a series in which I discuss and analyze businesses as information management systems, and in which I characterize their competitive strength and marketplace capabilities in corresponding information technology implementation terms (see Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2, postings 273 and loosely following for Parts 1-9.)

I have moved at least somewhat away from direct discussion of information systems as representations of a business and its business model in my last few series installments where I have discussed change in and evolution of businesses and business models. But my goal here is to connect what I have been discussing on that, back to this central point of focus of this series.

I discussed in Part 8 and Part 9 how competitive selection, leading to evolutionary change in industries and in overall business environments, takes place between complete businesses and even between complete supply chains and other larger organizing structures, as it is these businesses and even these larger business entities that do or do not thrive or survive. But the fundamental unit of selection in all of this, in counterpart to the individual gene of biological systems, is the operational or strategic process. And that recaps my recent postings, at least insofar as I would need to in starting this posting. So with that, I turn back to consider information management processes. And I begin with a point that I have been developing and discussing in this series from my earlier installments:

• Information management processes constitute the glue that connects a business together and that connects a business with is marketplace and to its supply chain and other, related business to business contexts.

So if an operational process change is to make a significant competitive difference for a business, either in working more effectively in a supply chain or other larger business to business context, or when operating in a marketplace and working with its customer base, ultimately this has to be done through its information processes. Those information processes have to remain at least as efficient after this operational and/or strategic change as they were before. And for truly disruptive change this in most cases would mean disruptively changing supportive information management processes too.

I write this in general terms where, for example, overt change in operational processes might be in made in how essential parts are physically produced or in how parts are assembled into finished material products from them – a non-information management change, but where this essentially always requires at the very least, stable information management efficiency too. For this rapidly sketched example, consider information processing and management requirements for parts inventory and distribution systems. If you can cut the time needed to assemble some critically important component to a finished product, but you end up with excess production of that component because your inventory management systems cannot keep up with or effectively coordinate for faster production in that manufacturing subsystem, your business as a whole is not likely to see and competitive advantage or improvement from it.

• So whenever you consider a non-information systems change or improvement to your business you also have to think through and adjust your information systems so as to maximize realized value that you can achieve from it.
• And any evolutionary, and certainly any revolutionary change in a business has to be accompanied by coordinating effectively supportive information management, and in practice information technology change too.

I am going to finish this posting and this series here. I am planning, however, to come back to some of the issues that I have touched upon in this series in further postings and series too. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and also at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory. You can also find this and other related material at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2 and at the first page to that directory.


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