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Harv Bus Rev. 2001 Jan;79(1):79-86, 175.

Where value lives in a networked world.

Author information

  • 1E-Commerce and Technology Group, Northwestern University, USA.

Abstract

While many management thinkers proclaim an era of radical uncertainty, authors Sawhney and Parikh assert that the seemingly endless upheavals of the digital age are more predictable than that: today's changes have a common root, and that root lies in the nature of intelligence in networks. Understanding the patterns of intelligence migration can help companies decipher and plan for the inevitable disruptions in today's business environment. Two patterns in network intelligence are reshaping industries and organizations. First, intelligence is decoupling--that is, modern high-speed networks are pushing back-end intelligence and front-end intelligence toward opposite ends of the network, making the ends the two major sources of potential profits. Second, intelligence is becoming more fluid and modular. Small units of intelligence now float freely like molecules in the ether, coalescing into temporary bundles whenever and wherever necessary to solve problems. The authors present four strategies that companies can use to profit from these patterns: arbitrage allows companies to move intelligence to new regions or countries where the cost of maintaining intelligence is lower; aggregation combines formerly isolated pieces of infrastructure intelligence into a large pool of shared infrastructure provided over a network; rewiring allows companies to connect islands of intelligence by creating common information backbones; and reassembly allows businesses to reorganize pieces of intelligence into coherent, personalized packages for customers. By being aware of patterns in network intelligence and by acting rather than reacting, companies can turn chaos into opportunity, say the authors.

PMID:
11189465
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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