OILS, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries

When a person has clogged arteries it restricts and reduces the flow of oxygen rich blood through their body.  Clogged arteries also greatly increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks and even death.  In the digital age the equivalent of oxygen rich blood for organizations is the data running through an information logistics system. 

Healthy and digitally mature organizations have in place an optimized information logistics system (OILS), that enables data to flow unencumbered and efficiently throughout an organization in digital-time.  Data must flow in digital-time, a speed which is fast enough to satisfy even impatient digital consumers.

Clogged or restricted data movement and usage, however, hurts an organization by preventing it from working at the pace of digital commerce, and places it at risk just like in the biological world.

What clogs or restricts data movement in an enterprise?  Many things including the following:

  1. Any process that requires a human to open a file and read it.
  2. Any process that needs a human to click a button.
  3. Any process that stops when sitting in someone’s inbox.
  4. Any process that stops and requires a meeting before continuing.
  5. Any process that requires a human to inspect and manually input data.
  6. Any process that is delayed because of the IT security mechanisms in place.
  7. Any process that requires a human to look at data on one screen, and input data into another.
  8. Any process that is delayed due to differences in time zones and holiday schedules.
  9. Any process that requires batch processing on a schedule somewhere along the way.
  10. Any process that depends on one person’s knowledge and/or memory to work successfully.
  11. Any process that depends on the physical presence of a human to move forward.
  12. Any process that stops moving at 5 PM, and takes weekends off and vacations.
  13. Any process that requires information from multiple disconnected data sources to be gathered by a human and manually input into another system to continue.
  14. Any process that is ill defined and subjective.
  15. Any process which has components that cannot operate in “real-time”.
  16. Any process that requires input from paper documents.
  17. Any process that requires a spreadsheet to be developed, distributed and reviewed before continuing.
  18. Any process that does not track its status.
  19. Any process that requires humans to review for compliance.
  20. Any process that requires humans to manually change data formats before continuing.
  21. Any process that involves aggregating data from multiple systems, where the data means different things in different systems.
  22. Any process that is dependent on human approvals.
  23. Any process that stops until paper documents can be found and reviewed.

The “O” in the acronym OILS is for optimized.  It means data must flow faster than is possible in a system dependent upon biological entities.  An optimized system must operate at the speed of digital-time, and that requires automation and bots.

The argument for automation and bots is simple to understand.  Who among us wants to wait for a human to manually look up our account, review and approve our Starbuck’s App transaction while a long line of impatient people wait behind us? None of us do.  We want our transactions to be lubricated by an OILS and as fast as possible.

Another example - who among us wants a turn-by-turn GPS navigation system to be operated by a room full of people with maps spread out on their desk and headsets on talking to us?  None of us right!  We want GPS sensors connected to satellites automatically identifying our location on a map, and a bot instructing us where to go using an OILS operating in digital-time. 

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