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Rethinking Business Complexity

Title Author(s) Type Topic(s) Comments Date
Rethinking Business ComplexityMocker, Martin
Ross, Jeanne W.
Research BriefingBusiness Complexity32013-02-21
Abstract: Businesses continue to grow more complex—they enter new geographies, introduce and integrate more products, add more granular customer segments, etc. Some of this complexity adds value. But some of it ends up confusing customers or distracting managers and employees. In order to assess whether a business' complexity is creating or destroying value, managers need to answer two questions: (1) how much does it benefit customers, and (2) how much more difficult does it make getting things done internally. Using Bayer Material Science, DBS Bank, USAA, and ING Direct Spain as examples, this briefing introduces three practices that help assess and manage business complexity.

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pfschmitz
May 22, 2013

Looking forward to reading article on complexity


atmsno
May 22, 2013

This type IS research is so sorely needed in academia and practice. Thanks!
Have you considered perspectives on complexity differentiating complicated and complex IS? You definition of complexity seems to be excluding adaptation and emergence in IS elements and I wonder if you are not somewhere on the continuum between complicated and complex IS and not really addressing truely complex IS. Rather than differentiating between “bad” and “good” complexity, should managers be instead be identifying complicated aspects of IS (which are manageable) and complex aspects (requiring adaptive solutions)? Thoughts?


mmocker@mit.edu
May 24, 2013

@atmsno: Thanks for your comments – great points. We focus on structural complexity. Complex Adaptive Systems is a great perspective to take: firms need to create the conditions that allow teams to figure out which complexity is adding value and which one’s not. Fostering collaboration between those who create some of that complexity and those who deal with the internal impacts (incl. people in IT) – as suggested in our article – is one of those conditions! Please take a look at our case study on USAA “Capturing Value from Complexity” that is coming publicly available soon.


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