Thursday, September 14, 2006

Teams and interfaces and disintermediation

At my current job there are repeatable tasks that require coordination between teams. For the beginning no one knows what information the other teams need to complete the task. We talk to each other, we send emails and the understanding what the counterpart expects from us is gradually building. Then we don't need to talk any more - we gather the needed information in advance and email it to them. The information exchange is less frequent but richer, the process is smoother. Then we create Excel templates - so that we have a list of all the needed info and we make less mistakes. We send the Excel attached to the emails, the other side receives it and relying on their experience semi automatically fulfills their part, usually this comes to entering the information that we gathered into the required computer systems. It fast, semiautomatic, smooth and everyone is satisfied, but what if it did not stop there? What if the information from the email was not cut and paste to the appropriate system by humans - but by a special input program? What if the whole process was not just enabled by email and Excel, but rather the communication software really supported and facilitated it?