What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology: Digital performance monitoring for your workforce; beware flawed hiring algorithms; the platform revolution reaches Wall Street.
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In a video interview, MIT SMR editor in chief Paul Michelman explains the impetus behind the launch of the publication’s Frontiers initiative and the value he hopes it will hold for readers. Michelman explains the genesis of the Frontiers idea, the nature of the essayists selected for the program, and why it’s important for MIT SMR to launch this initiative now. He also discusses the themes that emerged from the essays, including the changing nature of the man-machine collegial relationship.
- Research Feature
- Read Time: 24 min
Early adopters of software robots exemplify how companies generate tangible benefits via service innovations in three ways: (1) by developing an approach to service automation supported by top management, (2) by initiating effective processes that deliver value to customers and employees, and (3) by building enterprise-wide skills and capabilities. Managers interested in capturing the benefits of service automation need to pursue all three avenues.
- Research Feature
- Read Time: 18 min
The combination of new analytical capabilities and burgeoning data assets are being used to form value-added “data products.” Such products have powered rapid growth in the value and success of online companies, but the expansion of analytics means the standard model for developing these products needs to evolve. An updated model needs to reflect new “time to market” expectations and input from a variety of stakeholders.
- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 2 min
The impact of digital technology on how businesses design and produce goods, interact with their supply chains, manage internal communication, and connect with customers is a rich topic that has been, and continues to be, broadly addressed in both commercial and academic business media. But as the digital revolution enters its next phase, we find ourselves confronting a new set of questions about the relationship between technology and management. These questions go to the core of the organization.
Social media technology is changing how managers and employees communicate and is breaking down traditional corporate heirarchy. To gain advantage from this trend, executives must recognize the value of dialogue and employees need to know that their leaders won’t punish them for expressing dissenting opinions. Executives will also need patience and a thick skin — but leaders who invest in truly open dialogue with their workforce will reap the long-term benefits.
Smartphones and cloud technology work in tandem to provide a prized perk to managers lower on the corporate ladder: The ability to pass repetitive, tedious scheduling tasks off to someone (or in this case, something) else. As digital agents become ubiquitous, their input will greatly enhance collaboration.
Digital innovation is transforming every part of the company, from customer experience to business models to operational management. But it’s people who make companies work. The digital economy shouldn’t be one where automation squeezes workers — and managers — out, but one where computers help employees to collaborate fluidly, make decisions scientifically, and manage better with automation than they ever could without it.
In business, it’s costly to try something new, especially if it doesn’t work out. But in the digital era, technology can be deployed to augment the creative abilities of people and organizations. Today’s digital technologies have reached a level of maturation that enables cheap and rapid iteration to make new, invaluable forms of innovation possible.
As digital technologies evolve, managers and employees will need to learn three important skills: partnering with new digital “colleagues,” creating a mindful relationship with omnipresent digital technologies, and developing empathy for the varying technology preferences of their human coworkers. Organizations, for their part, will need to design processes to support these efforts, and managers will need to be both flexible and thoughtful in how they respond.
Digital transformation is happening all around us, but it’s the foundation for a much more profound transformation still to come. With huge challenges facing humanity on many fronts — climate, disease, population, food and water — we need cognitive technologies to augment human problem-solving capabilities. And those technologies are almost here.
Although it’s unlikely that a single system will be able to handle all strategic decisions, the narrow intelligence that computers display today is already sufficient to handle specific strategic problems.
- Read Time: 4 min
Developing the characteristics of an effective digital culture is one clear path that companies can follow to becoming digital mature, regardless of industry or company size.
An infographic provides highlights of MIT SMR‘s 2016 digital business report and illustrates the importance of aligning talent, culture, leadership, and strategy for long-term digital success.
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