ITxpo: Real Time Enterprises

Ken McGee is speaking about real time enterprises. He claims that with real time enterprises, which represents IT moving beyond its traditional boundaries into adding real value through real time monitoring and modeling of events in the company, that business uncertainty becomes “unnecessary and unavoidable.” The talk is an expansion on Ken’s book, Heads Up. The idea is to monitor, capture, and analyze root causes and overt events and use them to make near real time decisions.

One way to leverage the benefits of real time decision making, McGee suggests, is to publish financial information more frequently, which not only mitigates compliance risks (a la Sarbanes Oxley) but also has the side benefit of attracting investors eager to get more frequently updated information about the performance of their portfolio. Another is to investigate dynamic pricing. Both of these are predicated on taking known IT capabilities to the next level. In the case of dynamic pricing, this includes supply chain management, sales, electronic ink (for retail price display), wireless, and future demand prediction.

McGee also discusses decision criteria for what should be monitored in real time: only choose the information that, upon receiving it, would make a decision maker change her course of action (this does not include most “dashboard” information), and where such a decision would have a positive effect on the top ten revenue-generating (or cost) business processes. This turns out to yield a very small number of real time factors.

But he also says that IT people are going to be the most likely to block real time data gathering efforts. He doesn’t dive into this deeply enough, in my opinion. This is the area that might really yield some insight into the dynamic between decision making and IT.