On Successful Workplace today there’s an interesting post about Big Data bringing down the house and it inspired me to continue the idea here.

The idea of a distinct group that only handles procurement, another that does shipping and receiving and another that manages partner channels is fading.

I’ve said in the past that traditional hierarchy must come down in favour of a networked enterprise model where information exchange and worker collaboration has no real boundaries: Restructuring for the Social Enterprise. But perhaps I’ve been looking in the wrong place for this to happen. I favoured the ‘social’ BPM craze at the time as the catalyst but maybe the real spark will come from how data, and in this case, Big Data will be collected, handled, shunted and consumed across the enterprise. And in doing so remove the archaic boundaries that have been in place for years as we move towards networking at the speed of data.

The volume, velocity and variety of data doesn’t fit the hierarchy and boundaries of the physical world. The amount of data won’t lessen…it will increase, so we can accurately say that the organization of the workplace will shift along with it.

Where BPM has failed to set alight these notions is that from a traditional standpoint it’s still very much stuck in the dark ages. Case Management has moved the world on and is fast catching up where we are today but it’s constrained by traditional methodology chained to BPM. What we need is a shift from structured process design and architectural models into freeform thinking and networked models, a bit like how the brain is mapped with neurons, where data can flow and connect with people without rigid silos or boundaries of hierarchy, where process can adapt according to the feedback it receives on this networked scale.

I don’t really care now how the shift takes place, whether it’s triggered from (a different) BPM, Case, Big Data, Enterprise Social or something else that has yet to emerge (an amalgamation of all ?) but in the 21st century hierarchy has no place in business. And while this may be hard for some to relinquish the ivory towers they hide inside there’s a baying mob at the foot of the silo wanting to tear it down. It’s really only a matter of time.

And as the article closes on SW, its just another chance for some to understand and adapt, and others to go the way of Kodak.