Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sense and Respond

A couple of blog postings I've read in the past week or so (ERP4IT and Patrick Kerpan) have led me back to the work of Paul Strassmann (website, blog, photo). (I have met Strassmann a long time ago, he visited us at JMA in the 1980s, there was talk of some collaboration, but I don't think anything ever came of it.)

Browsing Strassmann's website, I found a matrix, which he had loaded onto Flickr. [Update: matrix no longer available.] For a brief explanation of the matrix, see his commentary on The Next Wave of IT Investments.

The benefits of IT are often expressed predominantly in terms of time (making things faster). Strassmann's matrix has a column for time, but also a column for scope. As I've argued before, we need to think about the abstract geometries of IT-enabled business as a whole and not just the linear properties of specific business processes.

Strassmann puts "sense and respond" in the final row of the matrix. I think this is consistent with a vision of on-demand autonomic computing that goes way beyond the levels of adaptability and responsiveness that IT vendors are currently offering.

There are several overlapping versions of sense-and-respond in circulation.

Short term
IT Vendors
Fujitsu has a registered trademark on the term Sense and Respond for its consultancy-based approach to problem-solving.
Medium term
Business School
The term Sense and Respond is used in relation to the Adaptive Enterprise. See for example the work of Stephen Haeckel (book, website). See also this article on the Sense-and-Respond Enterprise.
Longer term
Technical Research
Academic research is underway on the Event Web. See the Infospheres Project at Caltech. See also these articles on Event-Driven Architecture: 1 2 3 4.

Reposted because of Blogger error plus minor corrections.
Fujitsu link changed.

Evolutionary matrix

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