On-The-Go Collaboration for Rapid Decisions

Align performance management with innovative communication channels in the IBM Concert environment

The world in which people live, work, and interact is now undergoing fundamental changes because of emerging transformational forces taking place through cloud computing, mobile devices, social media, and big data. Today’s innovative technologies are fueling the explosion of data that is rapidly advancing as an economic asset and a resource from which significant opportunity can be explored.

Highly mobile professionals who use business analytics are spending large amounts of time away from their primary office locations, and they are increasingly relying on their smartphones to stay connected. In addition, they’ve become highly reliant on social media–based websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with colleagues and remain abreast of events around them.

The dynamic nature of these advancing workplaces and the flexibility they require can challenge management to ensure they provide systems of engagement that offer the level of security and efficiency today’s workforces require. When it comes to performance management, organizational thought leaders face a key hurdle in trying to marry people with large volumes of data in these environments. In many organizations, increasing numbers of professionals need to interact with data more often than ever before. To keep pace, organizations should rethink their systems of engagement.

Advancing sharing and collaboration

One way that organizations can change interaction between employees and data is to deploy comprehensive sharing and collaboration environments such as IBM® Concert performance management software. Concert introduces an advanced end-user experience that can transform the way people work with analytics and performance management processes. And its mobile capabilities enable organizational workforces to collaborate anytime, anywhere.

In today’s business environment, silos, task overload, and overreliance on email may stifle innovation. Concert is designed to address these challenges by embedding online collaboration and end-user-defined metrics into performance management processes:

  • Guided business processes: A personalized task list highlights priorities and walks end users through projects step by step to emphasize important, time-sensitive tasks and enhance efficiency.
  • Focused collaboration: Efficient collaboration and the capability to share data analysis with anyone, anywhere, at any time allows employees to act on insights to build consensus around business decisions. Collaboration is built into the business objects and is available both online and in mobile environments.
  • Mobile-enabled, cloud-based deployment: Activity streams can alert end users about changes as well as collaborative insights as they occur across the enterprise, and end users can act on prioritized tasks rapidly.

Contrasting collaborative use cases

How can Concert transform collaborative work environments? Consider a traditional team project scenario to address a business challenge that requires the project team to analyze data sets in today’s environment both without Concert and with Concert. Whether the project is a profitability analysis, an operational model, an expense forecast, or another process for addressing a business challenge, very often the operation begins with a spreadsheet.

In this scenario, assume the project team is working through the analysis and sees an opportunity for instituting an improvement. It finds some data indicating that its department is over budget, and to remedy the situation it needs to push out spending on training by one quarter. Most likely, a designated analyst on the team sends an email to the team’s manager, informing management about the discovered insight and describing how the project team proposes to correct the budgeting problem.

Later the same day, the analyst checks email and notices there has been no response. The analyst makes some phone calls and goes about other business while awaiting a response from management. After more time passes without an answer, the analyst sends follow-up emails and makes more calls.

Assume that several days or weeks pass with no management consensus on the proposed resolution. As often is the case in workplace environments, the lack of a response may not necessarily be the manager’s fault. The manager may be traveling, constantly in meetings, and/or handling several other tasks that are higher priority than the project team’s find. Nevertheless, these kinds of delays in the decision-making process can be a major contributor to a substantial loss of potential.

Now consider the same scenario within the Concert environment. After finding the same insight behind the department being over budget and its impact on the quarterly training expense, a member of the project team makes the suggested change to its model and immediately brings others into the process (see figure).

On-The-Go Collaboration for Rapid Decisions – figure

The Concert interface for access to cloud-based personalized task lists and collaboration tools

The lead analyst can enter a comment or set up a poll asking others on the project team for their input. The activity in the model generates alerts sent to other team members’ online menus and mobile devices. When they open the model, they see the comments, poll, and suggested change. The analyst can then use Concert’s collaboration capabilities to present the budget insight to the busy manager and offer the suggested training expense solution. As a result, the Concert environment can offer the manager an expedient communication channel to approve the budget adjustment.

Streamlining workforce communications

Concert has the potential to revolutionize organizational systems of engagement. It provides the capability for people to interact frequently and efficiently with data and analytics. Concert is designed to reduce reliance on email and returned phone calls to collaborate effectively. Decisions can be made quickly. And having to be away from the office won’t pull colleagues out of the loop when important business decisions need to be made. With the aid of their smartphones and other mobile devices, the essential data and analytics can be at hand no matter where the team members are located.

Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments.