Friday, September 7, 2007

The IT Flower

When people talk about work places, this is mostly done in a simplistic way. Very structured workplaces are described, such as factories or administration offices. Or we talk about knowledge worker offices, highly unstructured workplaces. With "unstructured" and "structured", I'm talking about the work processes. Are they rigid, well-defined, and repetitive? That's what I call "structured". Are they flexible, ad hoc, differing from day-to-day? "Unstructured" work processes is what you see there.
What I find interesting that there is hardly a worker that doesn't have to switch between structured
and unstructured work processes daily. However, most tool vendors focus on one or the other, but talk like you can do both with their tools. There is hardly any tool that I know that truly supports structured and unstructured work processes in a seamless way. Furthermore, most models on work don't describe these mixed work processes and environments.

This is what I was looking for when I read the posts on the "IT flower" by Innovation Creators. (And there's a video on "the flower" here.) Does this framework also acknowledge these mixed work processes and environments? Yes, if I'm not mistaken. These mixed environments would be in the "leaves" "ad hoc apps" and, especially, "process tools to add knowledge work". Examples of the "ad hoc apps" are mentioned. But, what about the other "leaf"? The whitepaper says that Teqlo also fits in this area. But they aren't the only one, right?
The IT flower not only talks about structured to unstructured work, but there's also a "how work gets done" axis. Does this imply that I'm in the wrong area of the framework when I'm looking at "process tools" (because that's not where the work gets done)?

Anyway, this framework is interesting and helpful. And gives food for thought. It really tries to give a framework on how people work and the complexity of work processes and environments. The key for the tools vendors will be to allow users to switch easily between tools that support the different types of work. This will truly help workers "get work done"!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting about the IT Flower. You are correct that many people have to switch back and forth between transactional work and knowledge work and between structured processes and ad hoc processes... often as part of the same project or work flow. You are certainly also right that Teqlo isn't the only player in the two "newish" spaces. There are many others. But, no one dominates any of the markets. Thanks again, Rod

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