November 22, 2008

A Learning Environment and Enterprise Architecture

One of the things that make an organization (or a person) succeed or fail is its ability to learn and grow.

A child learns at home and in school and grows to become a productive adult human being. An organization begins as a start-up and grows and matures into a bustling successful organization based on the combined talents and wisdom of its people; new people are brought on board to meet the growth and to pollinate the organization with the knowledge, skills, and abilities it needs to meet emerging challenges.

The underlying architecture for growth and success is continued learning for self and an ongoing stream of new, bright, and innovative individuals to feed the organization’s thirst for ideas and remain competitive.

Organizations can hire or train people to bring in creativity and intellect; they can also cross pollinate talent with other enterprises and thereby share the talent.

The Wall Street Journal, 19 November 2008, reports that “Google, P&G Swap Workers to Spur Innovation.”

“At Proctor & Gamble Co., the corporate culture is so rigid, employees jokingly call themselves “Proctoids.” In contrast, Google Inc. staffers are urged to wander the halls on company-provided scooters and brainstorm on public whiteboards. Now, odd this couple things they have something to gain from one another—so they‘ve started swapping employees. So far, about two-dozen have spent weeks dipping into each other’s staff training programs and sitting in on meetings where plans get hammered out.”

What are these two corporate juggernauts swapping staff?

P&G is trying to learn and change from being primarily TV-centric in its advertising to moving its pitch to the internet (P&G spends $2.36 billion in television advertising versus $78.6 million online—just 2%--even though ”consumers ages 18 to 27 say they use the Internet nearly 13 hours a week, compared to viewing 10 hour of TV”).

Google wants to learn how to snare a bigger slice of advertising revenue from big corporations like P&G, which happens to be the largest advertising spender in the world. Although Google “controls 74% of so-called ‘search term’ advertising spending…TV snags nearly 40% of the world’s total advertising spending.”

Anyway, the job swap started in January and is going great. For example, P&G started “an online campaign inviting people to make spoof videos of P&G’s ‘Talking Stain’ TV ad and post them to YouTube. And Google job-swappers “have started adopting P&G lingo” One Google job-swapper stated “This is going to get so much easier, now that I’m learning their language.”

Change won’t happen overnight. “Consumer-product companies have been among the slowest to adopt online marketing because the traditional form of marketing, including TV and newspaper fliers are still reasonably effective,” but learning what are the new possibilities is playing a big role in changing the mindset for the future.

Indeed, enterprise architecture is not just about technology, but about business processes and human beings (the big three--people, process and technology). It’s about learning to do things better, faster, and cheaper. Underscore the learning!


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