LumoFlow by Lumo Research Ltd

Growing From Teams to Networked Organizations

Blogikirjoitus   •   Helmi 21, 2011 08:07 EET

Early this week we have seen a lot of big news here in Finland. Alliance between Nokia and Microsoft was covered in all newspapers and no wonder why. CEO Stephen Elop heralded loudly the great plans of creating completely new “ecosystem” in mobile market. This partnership is a good example of how modern corporations are evolving across boundaries. But how to put these massive strategies into implementation and start really working together? That’s what everyone from consumers to investors is now looking at in Nokia’s case.

During the last decades we have seen the teamwork revolution that changed many of the old function oriented corporations into service oriented and agile businesses. I still remember how self-directed teamwork was practiced only in the most innovative and usually small companies that promoted this new working method as part of the hype. Since then those networks of teams have been evolving and getting more global and cross-functional across enterprises.

Agile teamwork is not a privilege of the small innovative businesses anymore. Large networked organizations are able to increase competitive advantage through the collaboration of small and independent teams. In many corporations the organizational culture has changed from one determined by a hierarchy to an adaptive hybrid, that enables multiple forms of management methods within the same organization. Allowing teams to be different from each other doesn’t mean that they are all going to their own direction without a control. It mostly requires stronger focus on strategic leadership instead of dictatorship.

For IT systems this is a great challenge. One large IT platform can’t serve all the different needs in management and therefore great variety of agile and social solutions are rolling in. The core production as well as customer service is usually built on the fixed processes supported with evolving ERP and project management systems. But what happens to the projects that are not part of the daily functions, such as business development or working with the partners? This is still too often a forgotten area of the management what comes to the tools used in enterprises.

There will be plenty of business development and change management projects across Nokia and Microsoft for sure. Regarding to the people whom I know from Nokia, they are taking this seriously. How about in your organization? How well does your tools support business development projects? Do you still use email to communicate with your customers and partners?