The phrase “unfinished business” can mean many things to many people. For the businessperson, it could mean work that needs to be done that day or that hour. It could mean work for the future, such as the next day or the next week – or even the next hundred years. Oftentimes, business is never finished. Unlike a job which starts at 9 and ends at 5 or a project which has a start and end date, business is always happening. Business is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The concepts outlined in this series of People, Processes, and Information need continuous attention, like the plants in any garden.
The unfinished business of business today is the continuous organization, integration and understanding of the People, Processes, and Information. Organizing and creating order out of the chaos of these moving pieces is always going to be an unfinished process. A business that is succeeding will always have more customers. More customers mean more information. More information means that the information needs to be organized. The basics will remain the same.
Modern Enterprises that grow must utilize software and technology to run their organizations. Since the 1980s, computer technology has been making it easier to do what they do, better. Technology has always been a catalyst for business, and in the last 30 years it became accessible to small businesses.
As people, businesses and nations become more interdependent by using the internet, new software technologies enable everyone to be connected in a continuously integrated system.
Indeed, organizations are starting to use Software as a Service (SaaS) providers to outsource the management of certain business processes and the management of information for those processes.
- Website Management
- Client Relationship Management
- Human Resource Management
- Zoho Employees
- Project Management
- Document Management
- Google Docs
- Time Collection
- Invoicing / Billing
- Accounting / Bookkeeping
Companies also use social media networks and continue to cultivate online bulletin boards and classified sites to find business.
- Service Marketplaces
- Social Networks
- Niche Communities
- Yahoo Groups
- Google Groups
There is also a growing number of open-source web applications available; they are as good if not better than what the SaaS vendors have to offer. These free software products can be downloaded and customized by companies to do what they need. Good open-source software companies are often supported by revenues from their “hosted” service or SaaS offering.
Many open-source web apps allow users to sign up for a free account for five or fewer employees. This allows companies to launch without needing to invest much start-up capital in an information infrastructure. In the past, having an information infrastructure also involved hiring highly technical people to make sure that things were working. Now, companies only have to pay a monthly or per-transaction fee. In the long run, the costs associated with these services will be much lower than if everything were done internally by employees.
The world is in the midst of a shift in information management. The businesses of the world are going to run their operations of people, process and information management on the following environments:
- Open source software hosted internally on private clouds or externally on third-party hosting companies, or on public clouds.
- Closed software hosted internally on private clouds or externally on third-party hosting companies, or on public clouds.
- Software as a Service managed on public or private clouds by a third-party software vendor.
There are questions surrounding this shift in IT consumption. What happens when a company decides to stop using one project management software vendor in favor of an open-source solution hosted on a private cloud? How does a company make all this work together? Is is possible for a one-person firm to grow into a 50-person enterprise without changing vendors? These questions and more will be answered in subsequent articles.
This concludes the Introduction of the “Modern Enterprise” series. The “Modern Enterprise” article series is unfinished – but here is an outline of what may be published as a complete volume at a later time.
- I. Introduction
- Business of Doing Business, Today
- People, the Social Business Graph
- Processes, the Software of Business
- Information, the DNA of Business
- II. People – Organizing People
- III. Processes – Creating, organizing, and managing Processes for success
- IV. Information – Organzing, integrating, and understanding Information
- V. Model Service Business – Creating an infrastructure for a model service-based business.
- VI. Growth – Growing a business by leveraging the internet
- VII. Trade – Trading locally, regionally and globally
As companies function, their software and technology systems continuously evolve. Thus, the business of business will always be unfinished. Is your company ready and willing to adapt? It must be if it is to succeed.