Curiosity. The Business Units of a Company need to communicate internally within the Company, with partners in the supply chain and with customers at a minimum. The Business Units are made up of humans and are themselves, manual producers of information. Information Technology also has humans, but it is fundamentally responsible for electronic transfer of information, i.e., Information Technology IS NOT PRODUCERS of business information. A very simple interaction diagram is shown above. What are the communication challenges faced in the Company?
Learning. To understand the communication problem, the first task is to learn about people and how they communicate, especially in a workforce. The different “who, what, and where” of the employees adds more elements to the problem as the Company grows beyond one room. Learning about people leads to discovery of the issues identified above and to the question – what does this have to do with producing and communicating information?
Creativity. Communication involves exchanging words in a language. The words and structure are defined by a grammar, like noun-verb relationships in the English Grammar. Similar rules also exist for exchanging information between machines, giving rise to the issues shown in the diagram above. However, the issues the diagram identifies have to be resolved before the information is entered into the machine. As creative as an information technology person is, that person cannot address the multitude of issues that can arise as the information technology person is NOT a subject-matter expert (SME) in the information to be exchanged.
Where then is the creativity? Most of the tools for integrating information are based on “deterministic polynomial-time algorithms.” Human beings on the other hand are not!
So, where does that take us?