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Creation of knowledge systems begins in the "fuzzy space" where new business solutions are formed. Effective solutions result form bringing together multiple and diverse interests of various stakeholders. When diverse stakeholders need to formulate a solution, a process of working together becomes critical. Because each stakeholder may see and relate to a future vision in a different way, different ways of sharing a vision of the solution may be sued to forge shared understanding and commitment.
Central to the work of formulating an optimal solution is the need to envision a desired future state. Key to the work of formulating solutions is a need to envision a desired future state. It is best accomplished by forging a shared understanding of what is possible through the interplay of technologies and good business processes. Our experience shows that using an effective process that encourages such interplay significantly enhances the business results by implementing knowledge systems.
The envisioner has to ask questions like will giving a manager access to more information have any benefit and what will he do with the information he gets. Likewise, he will be reflecting on whether we should money on technology if lower costs or higher profits do not result. So the key issue is will investment in technology make people who are important to the organisation change for the better.
He will have to also make it clear that change cannot be brought about without investing effort and money. Staff are often expected to bring about change while they continue to do their day jobs. Where will the extra effort on those who are expected to change come from? Has it been budgeted into their time or has some of their work been passed to others? Thus, investment cases need to take into account not just the expenditure on IT but also what will be spent transforming the way people work.
As money is spent in the short term, but the return will be realised in medium to long term the envisioner will need to make his clients know what might go wrong and quantify and minimise that risk.
Envisioning also encompasses setting out the funding issues. Is it better to use credit or overdrafts or funds specifically for the purpose via leasing or a rights issue?
Prioritisation is another key aspect of envisioning. It needs to be undertaken as all resources available to an organisation are in short supply. It is a process that needs key facts, a process for ranking opportunities and what else is planned. It is not a one-off task. It must be repeatedly, scrutinising new and running investments and reprioritisation may be necessary form time to time.
A final part of the process is to create a feedback loop to ensure that the project does not become delinquent and that corrective action is taken as soon as necessary.