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Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing, Chris is the cofounder of Successful Workplace. He believes there’s no end to what we can change and improve. Chris is a marketing executive and flew for the US Navy before finding a home in technology 17 years ago. An avid outdoorsman, Chris is also passionate about technology and innovation and speaks frequently about creating great business outcomes at industry events. As well as being a contributor for The TIBCO Blog, Chris contributes to the Harvard Business Review, Venture Beat, Forbes, and the PEX Network. Christopher is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 249 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Are you ready for the Quantified Enterprise?

03.18.2013
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In September I wrote an article about The Social Business Equation. In it I explained how trust and transparency will likely be the new currency in this connected age as consumers and corporates engage with each other on deeper levels than before.

Living in a cynical world you’ll begin to question just why businesses are being friendly and socialising with you. It’s at that critical point that the transparency of the connection and engagement is perhaps the most important factor in the equation.

Data-Darwinism

Om Malik at GigaOM recently wrote about Data Darwinism and the Future of Work where he explains his thoughts about the future of a quantified society as we move to consume and generate more personal data than ever before, where services and employment become more ‘on-demand’ and those with reputation as a measure of that quantification will become king.

In the industrial era, labor unrest came when the workers felt that the owners were profitting wrongfully from them. I wonder if in the connected age, we are going to see labor unrest when folks are unceremoniously dropped from the on-demand labor pool.

What are the labor laws in a world where workforce is on demand? And an even bigger question is how are we as a society going to create rules, when data, feedback and, most importantly, reputation are part an always-shifting equation?

A Quantified Enterprise

There’s a lot of talk of reputation, quantification, transparency and trust. But this is all been from a consumer generated perspective and it got me thinking. Where we are now moving towards a hypothesised “Quantified Society” will we also see a “Quantified Enterprise” ? A organization built on all of those concepts but both consumer and employee has access to that transparency and reputation ?

  • Would it mean an organization is only as good as the sum of its collective employee reputation ?
  • Would it mean that consumers could very well choose who they deal with on the inside based on individual employee quantification ?
  • And vice-versa, will companies choose just who they want as a customer based on their transparency and reputation ?

To a certain extent some of this already happens, life insurance companies rate new business based on personal risk factors but what if they took into account a lot more quantified data ? Or vice-versa, rejected applications based on the lack of ? Om’s vision of data-darwinism may very well come true.

But this also translates from the inside. Should you open your internal network to the consumer ? In an article from August last year, Should you open the door to your internal social network, I wrote about the idea that using the knowledge capital built up from using enterprise social networks and letting consumers and clients have access.

What better way to promote the intellectual capital you have than exposing that to the client to get access to directly ?

This would add credence to the second point I made above but there are ramifications too numerous to go into detail here.

Transparency, reputation and fair play

It could go either way, and each point has its own impact on society and the future of work itself. As Om asks, “Does human decency and sense of fair play shift to the online realm as well ?” but the sticking point I have with this is that as we are all becoming hyper-connected coupled with the emergence of the Internet of Everything, the sense of fair play diminishes as we relinquish the human side of business and personal lives to generated data.

Only time will tell whether the age of quantification will lead us down a better future or a more divided one.

Published at DZone with permission of Christopher Taylor, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)