3 min readMar 27, 2024

The Impact of New Technologies — Part II: The Technology-oriented Patient

Strategic Management Series

Looking at the way data, information and knowledge flow through an organization, with a little imagination one can see the resemblance between an organization and the human body, in which the networks created by the respective flows spread through organization as nervous, circulatory or lymphatic braids do, each with its own role in the good functioning of the organization. Each technology adopted by an organization taps into these flows creating a structure that can be compared with the nerve plexus, as the various flows intersect in such points creating an agglomeration of nerves and braids.

The size of each plexus can be considered as proportional to the importance of the technology in respect to the overall structure. Strategic technologies like ERP, BI or planning systems, given their importance (gravity), resemble with the organs from the human body, with complex networks of braids in their vicinity. Maybe the metaphor is too far-off, though it allows stressing the importance of each technology in respect to its role and the good functioning of the organization. Moreover, each such structure functions as pressure points that can in extremis block any of the flows considered, a long-term block having important effects.

The human organism is a marvelous piece of work reflecting the grand design, however in time, especially when neglected or driven by external agents, diseases can clutch around any of the parts of the human body, with all the consequences deriving from this. On the other side, an organization is a hand-made structure found in continuous expansion as new technologies or resources are added. Even if the technologies are at peripheral side of the system, their good or bad functioning can have a ripple effect trough the various networks.

Replacing any of the above-mentioned strategic systems can be compared with the replacement of an organ in the human body, having a high degree of failure compared with other operations, being complex in nature, the organism needing long periods to recover, while in extreme situations the convalescence prolongs till the end. Fortunately, organizations seem to be more resilient to such operations, though that’s not necessarily a rule. Sometimes all it takes is just a small mistake for making the operation fail.

The general feeling is that ERP and BI implementations are taken too lightly by management, employees and implementers. During the replacement operation one must make sure not only that the organ fits and functions as expected, but also that the vital networks regained their vitality and function as expected, and the latter is a process that spans over the years to come. One needs to check the important (health) signs regularly and take the appropriate countermeasures. There must be an entity having the role of the doctor, who/which has the skills to address adequately the issues.

Moreover, when the physical structure of an organization is affected, a series of micro-operations might be needed to address the deformities. Unfortunately, these areas are seldom seen in time, and can require a sustained effort for fixing, while a total reconstruction might apply. One works also with an amorphous and ever-changing structure that require many attempts until a remedy is found, if a remedy is possible after all.

Even if such operations are pretty well documented, often what organizations lack are the skilled resources needed during and post-implementation, resources that must know as well the patient, and ideally its historical and further health preconditions. Each patient is different and quite often needs its own treatment/medication. With such changes, the organization lands itself on a discovery journey in which the appropriate path can easily deviate from the well-trodden paths.

See Part I, Part III

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IT professional/blogger with more than 24 years experience in IT - Software Engineering, BI & Analytics, Data, Project, Quality, Database & Knowledge Management