The Way we Work Part 2

[Child of employee]

I do see him, and yet I don’t see him. I know he’s here, immersed in his pod. The red light is on, so he’s active and cannot be disturbed. This morning he woke up with the rest of the family, chatted briefly over breakfast, and then disappeared. Through the rest of the day, I know I’ll see him, yet I won’t be with him.

In the morning, we had school. Too much maths and science to spend too much time checking in on Dad [1], yet I did get an alert to say he’d put on this fantastic virtual Hawaiian shirt I bought him for Christmas. Apparently he’s gone off to the Grand Canyon for lunch, so as soon as the bell goes, I take my packed lunch off to one of the Pod’s at school and dive in. I select my favourite attack helicopter, and once airborne, find myself flying down the Canyon, looking for Dad. I see him from a distance so duck down into the Canyon itself, rising gradually in front of him – directly face to face. Always cracks me up. He sees me, flips across to my passenger seat and carries on eating his pork pie. We chat for ten minutes about the morning, and go separate ways. I go back to school just after he opens the door, and jumps.

[Employee]

I experienced a new sensation, that moment I first jumped out of the helicopter into the depths of the Grand Canyon.

The freedom of falling, a terror from my childhood dreams. My senses are manipulated through pod motion and environment conditioning to make me feel, to make me believe. Feeling a little terror, yet knowing that it was not real. A strange end of my break for a little lunch with my daughter.

A knock at the (virtual) door and I’m brought back to the moment. It’s my assigned work co-ordinator. The nature of the bonds between the individual and the corporate have changed so much over recent years. Hierarchical management structures have been replaced by task based procurement. In an age of complete transparency, I do what I want to do, yet in a manner that ensures I maintain my Net Promoter [2] rating and payment of the task in hand. Personal reputation is everything in a world of complete transparency, especially when the competition for the next task is so immense.

Sama is a virtual avatar, displayed through n-dimensional holographic projection [3]. She materialises in front of me in the pod and, cheerfully as ever, enquires as to progress on a couple of the tasks I’ve had allocated to me. For a couple of those, we do an immediate search [4] on the conversations I’ve had with other collaborators to evidence decisions made. We review the KPIs of collaboration, she seems content and as quick as she arrived, she is gone – no doubt to the next task, the next pod, and appearing in the next guise.

[Employer]

With such a fragmented workforce collaborating virtually, the measurement of performance and productivity has become even more of a challenge. Outcome is everything. Yet with every task originating from massive global competitive procurement processes, it is critical to be able to predict likely success through the way in which a temporary employee acts. Whilst they work with us (or any of our alliance partners) we can track and measure their contribution, the degree and nature of collaboration and the utilisation of their network. We can also hook in to the vast array of publically available network and performance data of that bidder, and through pushing that through our neural network [5] we are able to predict successful outcomes with a very high level of probability.

The key to this has been the ability to link the power of the personal network, and the individual’s ability to exploit that network, to their personal performance on the job – on the task in hand. When we look at our task KPI’s, it’s those network indicators that we know to look for – less about progress on the task in hand, more about the evidence of the way in which the individual is collaborating, and with whom they are interacting.

The volume of data, and the nature of its creation, is such that it is almost impossible to fraudulently alter the prediction. There is just too much. We know who knows who. We know what they’ve done. We know their perspective on it, their collaborators perspective, the employer’s perspective … and where it differs, the analytics easily picks up the anomalies.

This is undoubtedly the Age of Transparency [6].

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1. Dad first appeared in: "The Way we Work Part 1".

2. About Net Promoter.

3. It’s more than just an idea from a Star Wars film …

5. Atos, through it’s Scientific Community, has just built a neural network proof of concept with Siemens, looking at predictive traffic flow in Berlin.

6. Various entries: "Age of Transparency".

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About Rob Price

COO for Worldline UK&I and member of the Scientific Community
Rob is COO for Worldline UK&I, the European leader in the payment and transactional services industry. He was previously Head of Digital for Atos UK&I, is a member of the Atos Scientific Community and was a founder of the award winning CIO/CTO Atos blog, the predecessor to Ascent. He successfully melds inspiration and creativity with strategic direction and implementation, focusing on driving more efficient and effective exploitation of technology and services to drive positive business outcomes and better connect our clients with their end consumers. The insight gained through both operational delivery roles and strategic Digital evangelist roles ensures that he views the Digital Revolution from multiple perspectives. Find him on twitter @The_Digital_COO

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