The Knowledge Worker Desktop.

Tag: white collar productivity

Digital Government 2.0 – Danish government intend to go paperless by 2012.

by on Nov.19, 2009, under Digital government, e-government, government 2.0, innovation, Paperless administration, Paperless government, software for the knowledge worker

What if employees in a government ministry were not allowed to move information on paper between desks any more, but were only allowed to move documents in digital form.

Well, this is happening in Europe where Denmark and Spain seem to be leading the way.

It has been a long time coming with many legal and bureaucratic barriers to be removed, i.e. requirements of formal signature, filling out of paper-based forms, etc.

Since January 2002 all Danish ministries have analyzed thousands of laws and regulations for barriers to e-government and a 2002/2003 analysis revealed 453 necessary changes in legislation and regulations. A deadline of the summer 2003 was established for the removal of these barriers and for the most part this was achieved successfully.

Obviously this was a major cultural change in the way governmental knowledge workers perform their jobs and a number of initiatives were started and new guidelines issued.

Since September 1, 2003 all government authorities have had the right to send documents to other authorities electronically and the right to demand that documents from other authorities be sent electronically.

The 2003 initiative aimed at promoting the use of e-mail and Internet communication in the public sector and reorganize work processes towards paperless administration, making government more efficient.

A major next step was that from February 1, 2005 all government authorities had the right to send documents containing personal and sensitive information electronically and the right to demand that the same documents from other authorities be sent electronically using secure e-mail (digital signature).

From the same date citizens and business had the opportunity to communicate with the public sector using secure e-mail (digital signature).

This was made possible by providing citizen and businesses with tools and extensive instructive information to make the transition easier.

•    Free digital signature to all Danish citizens.

•    Legally binding signature for all interactions on the Internet.

•    Authenticity – certainty of the identity of citizens, businesses and government authorities.

•    Integrity – certainty that the contents of the message have not been changed.

•    Privacy – no-one can listen in on the communication.

Obviously culture changes of this nature – well, indeed major behavioral modifications in how “white collar” work is performed – are not easy for people to make.

However the Danish government is pushing forward towards the goal of “full electronic communication by 2012”.

The Ministry of the Interior and Social Affairs as one of the leaders in this drive towards paperless public administration has piloted the “cBrain F2” case management system since June 2009 with success.

In the coming weeks I will be covering aspects of the cBrain F2 system and discuss some of the implications of this new integrated concept where social media tools are combined with case management, record management, archiving and more.

Further information in English about the Danish Governments drive towards paperless administration is available here:

•     http://www.modernisering.dk/da/english — including a summary of the Danish Government’s plan for digital administration (e-Government Strategy) 2007 – 2010.

•    http://www.virk.dk/English;jsessionid=ED260572073B396430E739F06924A5A2 – Central government to business portal for everything digital.

•    http://english.ism.dk/Further-development/digitalisation/Sider/Start.aspx — The Ministry of the Interior and Social Affairs is one of the leading advocates for the move towards paperless administration by 2012.

5 Comments :, , , , , , , , more...

Enterprise 2.0 and Government 2.0 — Knowledge Worker Productivity.

by on Oct.07, 2009, under compliance, eDiscovery, enterprise 2.0, government 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

During the last few weeks I have been talking to a number of people from within governmental organizations and different business segments about white collar productivity.

Actually the discussions have often been around the new buzzwords “Enterprise 2.0” and “Government 2.0” and what these two buzzwords entail. It boils down to trying to define/apply/govern/restrict the use of the emerging bunch of new social media tools (similar to WEB 2.0 tools – Facebook, Twitter, etc… BUT inside the firewall!) within a corporate or public agency environment.

WEB 2.0 tools just showed up in the work place and people began using them as collaboration tools to get their work done (AND you could at the same time communicate with your “friends”). In other words the tools helped people be more productive and gave them an easier way of sharing information than current corporate legacy systems and “sanctioned” office productivity tools.

It reminds me of when the IBM PC showed up in the workplace in the mid-1980s to the horror of and without the approval/control of the IT department. The IBM PC fulfilled a need for getting the work done more efficiently, i.e. they increased productivity and created a whole new industry.

The IBM PC was an integral part of what happened next with legacy software systems going from rigid mainframe systems towards more “flexible” client/server systems with the IBM PC providing the user interface. It became an interactive process instead of the old batch approach to entering data and retrieving information. It was more inviting and easier to use.

During the 1990s Integration began driving a paradigm shift from free standing best-of-breed accounting systems (G/L. A/R, A/P, Order Entry, Purchasing, Inventory, Distribution, etc…) towards integrated systems that became known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

The value of system integration and information context won out. Your Accounts Receivable (A/R) system was in sync with your A/R assets account in your Balance Sheet. The same integration to the General Ledger applied to Accounts Payable, Inventory, Purchasing, Billing, etc…

For project based organizations the recording of time sheets and expenses towards projects provided similar integration to the financial system and gave good overview of Work-in-Progress and now you were getting closer to managing the business in real time, at least from a financial point of view.

This has evolved into specialized ERP system for different industries – ERP for Services, ERP for Wholesale Distribution, ERP for manufacturing, etc…

I was involved as a vendor of ERP systems for the service industry in the 1990s and to me ERP meant blue collar productivity improvements by optimizing the processing of structured information and we often showed the advantages of ERP as illustrated below:

Blue-Collar-flow450

As ERP systems from SAP, ORACLE, PeopleSoft, Maconomy, Navision and many others improved their functionality and usability during the 1990s, overall attention turned towards managing the unstructured information that flows along a project timeline.

Many firms in the service segment (consulting, advertising, engineering, etc…) where I spent most of my time realized that they could get the billing rate up with ERP systems to maybe 70% (100% less vacation time, sick time, education, presale, non-billable,..) but that was where they maxed out.

These firms knew that they made money or lost money depending on their ability to manage scope creep on key projects and give project leaders, their supervisors and the PMO office the tools to align the scope definition with the contract appendix detailing the service to be delivered.

The scope of a project most often changed during the execution of the project but often that did not result in an amendment to the contractual service definition. Furthermore this change often resulted in modifications of project timelines, milestones and deadlines as well as resource allocations – people and material.

Most of the corporate silos of finance, legal, human resource and specialized practice departments should have been involved in this effort but are often notified after the fact or when the project is in a serious crisis.

Part of the problem was that the tools simply were not available.

This is where I think Enterprise 2.0 and Government 2.0 enter the scene. These emerging technologies simply fill a need for helping knowledge workers share information in the context of the project or process to which the knowledge belongs.

I think we will see a rapid evolution of these tools towards integrated and specialized solutions dramatically improving white collar (knowledge worker) productivity and this might parallel what happened with ERP systems in the 1990s for blue collar productivity – reference the figure below:

White-Collar-flow450

At cBrain we have named this integrated solution the “Knowledge Worker Desktop” and I will cover this concept in some more detail in coming blog entries but will close with a few highlights:

•    The Knowledge Worker Desktop works within an automated archiving system that automatically, based on context assigns classification and META data. Archiving and record management is a by-product of the work performed and not a separate work process.

•    Give up on most user-based classification (cynical me! It never works!) and automate as far as possible the process of assigning classification and other META data based on context – you already know the entity (customer, vendor, employee, location, case, project, business process, deadline/milestone, next step approval/review, etc.) you are working with or you generate it as part of your work, SO the system will automate classification and META data!

•    Regulatory compliance is facilitated.

•    The system includes search and presentation facilities for necessary work overview.

I will cover other aspects of the concept for the Knowledge Worker Desktop in coming posts.

Any comments are welcome!

1 Comment :, , , , , more...

Enterprise 2.0 and white collar productivity improvements.

by on Sep.14, 2009, under enterprise 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

The discussion about how we define Enterprise 2.0 is still going on in some great blogs and the general business media months after the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston in June 2009.

Having spent the last few weeks in Europe and observed the discussion about the use of social media inside public and private organizations I am beginning to get a clearer picture of how the new media tools might evolve – with some serious help from my colleagues and some major ongoing KM projects within public and private organizations here in Scandinavia.

First a little background – I and several of my colleagues were involved in the upstart of a company (www.maconomy.com) developing ERP software solutions in the early 1990s.

We competed head-on with other ERP providers – SAP, Oracle Financial, PeopleSoft, Lawson, Navision, Great Plains, etc. – and evolved into specializing in “ERP for the service industries” – Consulting firms, PR firms, Engineering firms, Advertising firms, Media Communication firms and similar project based organizations where knowledge workers collaborated around projects.

ERP systems evolved into integrated suites handling the mundane – blue collar -  tasks of Finance (G/L), Budgeting, Receivables (A/R), Payables (A/P), Inventory, Time & Expense, Distribution, Invoicing, Purchasing, etc. all in one integrated package or suite, replacing best-of-breed point solutions.

Integration provided a “blue collar” productivity improvement that made ERP the superior offering.

Knowledge workers in the creative part of the service industries did not see the same “white collar” productivity improvement. Yes, they captured time and expenses more accurately and got more control of the financial part of budgeting for projects – in other words all the structured information.

Unstructured information – i.e. project scope changes, contract amendments and the like – and necessary collaboration between corporate silos were lacking, too formal and not timely. AND lacking not just because of culture differences between the corporate silos of Finance, Legal and Creative groups but because available tools were cumbersome, inadequate and non-intuitive.

Enterprise 2.0 is addressing this gap trying to gain some control and structure to the social media tools that people knew from their private lives and just started using social media tools in a corporate environment because they addressed a basic need for collaboration and interaction.

Bill Ives has a post about “management lurking and monitoring” and Patti Anklam is writing about organizational shifts that must occur in order to get an organization to a state in which “knowledge is fresh and findable and represents the best thinking in an organization”. Nick Milton is describing KM managers final weapon – Stakeholder Mapping, i.e. relationships of power and influence (or power and impact). Carl Frappaolo is writing about not confusing Enterprise 2.0 with WEB 2.0.

All are great reads and I encourage everybody interested in Enterprise 2.0 to visit these blogs.

This leads me to “white collar” productivity and what we at cBrain are beginning to call the Knowledge Worker Desktop.

I feel that we are at the beginning of “white collar” productivity improvements that parallel the “blue collar” productivity improvements we witnessed from integrated ERP in the 1990s.

“Integration”, I believe will become the key driver for white collar productivity improvements using Enterprise 2.0 tools.

I my next posting I will address how I see Enterprise 2.0 and Knowledge Management evolve and possibly merge into one concept (?) and how we at cBrain use “The Innovative Room” as a methodology to arrive at solutions.

1 Comment :, , , , more...