Click Here to Read Part 1: Introduction to Holism & E2.0
Click Here to Read Part 2: Organizational Complexity
Click Here to Read Part 4: Technical Complexity
The more steps in a process, the more groups involved in a process, the more complicated it is and ultimately companies miss the complete picture and think they are doing well when in fact they are doing terribly. Let me jump right into an example to explain this. You may be able to relate to this example...
The above process diagram is a simple process example of someone calling a helpdesk to fix a problem they are having with one of their appliances. In this example, the customer calls the "Customer Support" line and gets treated to a wonderful Voice Recognition IVR type system. The IVR system quizzes the customer for information for the model# of the appliance, the warranty#, etc. In this example, the IVR System records the information from the customer correctly 90% of the time. Errors may result in the system incorrectly translating input from the customer or even the customer providing incorrect information.
Armed with all the information from the IVR system, a call centre rep next talks to the customer and goes through a standard list of questions (i.e. Did you check the batteries, Did you try check the fuse, etc..). 80% of the time, the FAQ actually works or we properly send it to a 2nd level support person. Unfortunately 20% of the time we make some kind of mistake and perhaps falsely diagnose the problem & solution. Maybe the problem even looks solved but there is a bigger problem we missed.
The customer is now getting a little frustrated but confident that the "expert" 2nd line support will solve the problem with their appliance. The "expert" engages a detailed discussion with the customer and eventually comes to solution. Not only do they have a solution but 95% of the time, it's the right solution. Happy that they figured out the problem, the "expert" types up a ticket, and sends the ticket to call in the technician to get the parts and fix the problem. The ticketing system still required human input and 90% of the time everything is entered properly in the system.
Finally, the technician gets the ticket and schedules an appointment with the customer to come and fix the problem. For the most part (85% of the time) showing up to customers place on time actually happens and 90% of the time once the technician arrives, they have no defects in the parts and can properly fix the problem.
The reality is that only 47.1%, less than half of the customers calling in, actually have an "acceptable" experience dealing with the company to get the problem fixed. The Majority actually experiences a problem somewhere in the overall process. In fact, they are likely to experience more than one problem in this example. Now that is definitely a bad thing. But it gets worse!
As discussed in part 2, we have different divisions in the company each focused on their objectives. On the surface, each of the groups thinks they are doing well. Imagine you were a technician, and someone said that customer service is horrible and it's your fault. Well!!!! You would pull out your reports and show them that 90% of repairs are fixed correctly and 85% of the scheduling is done correctly. You hit your targets! Let's say you even understand that of the 85% of the customers properly scheduled that only 10% of the time could we not fix the problem. You would still argue 76.5% isn't bad. It's definitely not 47.1%!!! So the problem must be elsewhere....
Ultimately, the company either falsely thinks things are doing just fine because they look at the division metrics and draw conclusions or they go insane trying to pinpoint the problem when the problem isn't just one point.
This is a VERY simple process. Try taking this example and thinking realistically about a process in your organization. I guarantee it's more than 7 steps and 4 groups like this example. Real processes in large organizations looks much uglier than this example. The point here is that you need to understand the complete end-to-end process and all the steps to fully understand the impact. Say that fast and it may sound easy, but I assure you, it is far from easy.
Enterprise 2.0 allows us to re-think this. These tools, provide a means to allow an entire company to collaborate on any situation. Not just a sample group or a focus group, but every individual working for one cause and as one organization. It would start by enabling us to see things holistically. Imagine if everything was tagged with just a customer's name. Imagine, that individuals could openly share their insights into blogs, discussion forums or custom built social computing applications. Imagine that tools like wiki's would be used not by division but by customer to create holistic understanding.
Once we realize the magnitude of the problem, we can allow the employees to resolve the problem. To work as one company and address the problem as a whole. What if the Q&A, FAQ, Repair details were all on one wiki being collectively worked on instead of handed off. Might the technician be able to review the work from the 2nd Line support and correct a discrepancy before they make a mistake in fixing the wrong problem? What if the customer themselves could modify details of the scheduling? What if the call centre had read/write access to a wiki of FAQ's as did the 2nd line support and Technicians?
This list of ways we could improve the overall process can go much further. The point here is that... Arguably... For the first time we can start to really give all employees a voice that integrates with all parts of the organization. Will it happen by technology alone? Absolutely not. But it's not not about the technology.