Saturday, July 02, 2005

Complex Problems Require Sophisticated Solutions

Does a complex problem need a complex solution? Do we need a complex application in order to manage complex relationships? Is it really that hard to get information to a targeted audience? My own beliefs and practice I would say no.

Whether you like it or not, cyberspace has become the new frontier for establishing relationships. People are making friends, colleagues, lovers, and enemies on the internet. People are building relationships with organizations on the Internet. Right now... and now ... and now.

The fervor with which many people have pursued this new social realm is matched by a backlash reaction from the skeptics. Relationships on the internet aren't really real, information cannot be trusted. Building realtionships in cyberspace is just a cultural fad, a novelty, a phase that people go through. The critics say it can't compare to real relationships - and if some people prefer communicating with others via wires and circuits, there must be something wrong with them. They must be addicted. They must fear the challenging intimacy of real relationships. The critics are usually the ones being denied their control!

I'm not talking about natural assembly or artificially complex systems, nor about anarchy vs. organization. I'm talking about communication channels, key messages, and the underlying technology that helps support comprehensive results - results that we can actually use in our day-to-day lives!

As the technology and communications function undergo unparalleled market growth, so too does the regulatory environment for businesses operating in, or making the transition to, the new information economy. This is good to a certain extent. Health information is under attack. Just like the health care industry, both private and public.

But just like intelligent stock trading alerts, why can't we have smart information alerts with a credability valuation or certificate? What are we aiting for?

In my environment, working for a large Pharmaceutical company, no one can argue against the fact that we have some pretty sophisticated solutions. Certainly computational biology and bioinformatics are a necessary (albeit, very exciting) evil but what about the business solutions that we are asked to develop. Is complexity getting the upper hand? Is IT trying to out-complex the business world? I believe it is.

So the goal is to increase the sophistication and minimizing the complexity.

We can do this by:
  • Aligning tools to co-exist your corporate processes and culture
  • Implementing a portfolio management system (understand where the sinergies within the organization are)
  • Overcoming the fear that technology will replace management experience and intuition
  • Removing the stigma of the “black box”. Increase transparency.
  • Standardize on a technology and information platform – corporate vs. business unit vs. Country organization
  • Understand that Global-Local is really Global-Local-Global
  • Incentives in place that reward strategically aligned recommendations and decision making
In an ideal world, we could have it both ways. We could manage our relationships in-person and in cyberspace, thereby taking advantage of each realm. But we don't always have the luxury of ideal circumstances. Move towards integrating the channels and apply the best channel by evaluating the customer needs.

In the not too distance future, most people will have three types of social lives that will be distinct but overlapping. We'll manage relationships only in-person, only via the internet, and both in-person and online. This is how we will inform ourselves and others. This is how we will adapt and learn. This behavior modification is key to our success.


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