Models are models. Reality is reality. This is an important distinction. Confusing economic models for the real thing appears to have been a significant contributory factor to the recent global financial crash.
John and Georgio transcribed photos of our various white board diagrams and notes into some graphical software Georgio’s team uses. Doing so lent the work more visual structure and allows the viewer to zoom in for more detail and zoom out for the 30,000ft view so to speak. Like so many aspects of this initiative, investing too little or too much time, too little or too much detail, detracts from the value of a happy medium. Finding the balance isn’t always straight forward, and this part took the guys much of their ‘spare’ time over a month.
And now that we have our model we can pursue the real thing, improving our abilities to develop, harvest, digest and respond to influences in real-time. We recognize that we’ll never compile perfect information but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for continuous improvement. You can draw some parallels here with weather forecasting – we’ll never be able to predict the precise weather conditions four weeks from noon next Tuesday, but we do want to have greater confidence in planning a family picnic at the weekend and in pricing crop yield futures.
With model in hand, John embarked on an extensive series of exploratory discussions with our various technology providers across the full gamut of IT – databases, customer relationship management, social analytics, business intelligence, unified messaging, ERP, collaboration, enterprise social networks, content / digital asset management, enterprise mobility, etc.
John enjoyed pushing the boundaries with these technologists and relayed to me that more than one of them now categorized Attenzi as, in the words of one, sophisticated. Saying that, he had wondered at some moments during early conversations whether we’d been tagged ‘nuts’.
Many of these aspects of IT qualify, partially or wholly, in IT lexicon as knowledge management.
John likes to say knowledge management is not an end of itself but rather a means to an end, and one of many means. Our work is a complementary means, a cooperating means. Knowledge and influence are related but different, and for a while there he’d begun to label our work ‘influence management’; it had a nice complementary ring to it. Now however he considers the word ‘management’ to have inappropriate connotations of controlling, when if anything we’re recognizing that many influences are beyond our control.