Agile Networking: Competing Through the Internet and Intranets

Agile Networking: Competing Through the Internet and Intranets

by George S. Metes
     
 

Agility is the next step in business reengineering: a comprehensive roadmap for sustaining competitiveness in the face of change. Its remarkable success rate has already attracted nearly 150 Fortune 500 companies. Now there's a "roll up your sleeves" book about implementing this powerful new business methodology using Internet and intranets. Agile Networking builds on… See more details below

Overview

Agility is the next step in business reengineering: a comprehensive roadmap for sustaining competitiveness in the face of change. Its remarkable success rate has already attracted nearly 150 Fortune 500 companies. Now there's a "roll up your sleeves" book about implementing this powerful new business methodology using Internet and intranets. Agile Networking builds on the authors' Agility Engineering Practice Model - and their extensive experience of corporate networking - to describe concrete design practices for building agile networks. Learn how Agile Networking principles can transform your company's approach to almost every process, including communication, learning, management, teamwork, and IPR. Walk step-by-step through evolving your current network infrastructure into an agile network that ties together everyone in your value chain. Discover how agile networks can help you build more successful alliances with your partners - and more enriching, longer-term relationships with your customers. Finally, learn how to manage the quantum leap in complexity associated with agile enterprises. This book's Agile Networking techniques apply to nearly every business sector, including finance, law, health, government, education, telecom, retail, travel, entertainment, sports, IT, and manufacturing.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Describes key principles, strategies, capabilities, and processes of agile networking, a business strategy which uses Internet and intranets to improve processes including communication, learning, management, teamwork, and IPR. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780137601257
Publisher:
Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
Publication date:
12/16/1997
Pages:
254
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE: Preface

Carpe diem! Carpe rete!

The core concept of Agile Networking-the union of agility with networking-represents a significant point in the evolution of 21st century organizational knowledge. This book combines new thinking about agility with tested knowledge of organizational networking in a language that describes the realities of today's business environment. Familiar topics such as change, teams, networking, intranets, knowledge work, and process design are related in new, systemic ways under the aegis of agility.


None of the componentry of the agile networking approach is new. Teams have been around since the days of Beowulf and the Three Musketeers. Ethnic groups and telemarketers have raised networking to a fine art. Medieval philosophers knew that in our world "change is the only constant." Knowledge work has always been better rewarded than physical labor. And while more often than not driven by failure, process improvement is what we've always called progress.


Agility is somewhat less familiar, especially in the sense we use it-an enterprise-wide strategy for being competitive in conditions of change. Agility is not our invention; it is an art and science that have evolved for the past half-dozen years under the auspices of The Agility Forum at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.


Agility has a single focus: to provide strategic direction, a taxonomy, methodology and capabilities to help organizations to be competitive in the face of change. Founded on a solid set of principles, agility accepts the validity of a host of existing organizational tools: voice of thecustomer, virtual teaming, leveraging of technology, process redesign, and so on. Indeed, it uses these tools to further competitiveness in the face of change. Networking, on the other hand, has broad applicability. The Internet has created a whole new spectrum of commerce, entertainment, and human connectivity. Communication systems support virtual work teams, schools, communities and worldwide interest groups. In Agile Networking, we focus on a single attribute of networking: its ability to implement agile processes. These may be human processes, business processes or technology processes; insofar as they enable agility, they fall into our field of discussion. This book describes a synergistic relationship. We show how networking is entailed in achieving agility and how agility provides a strategic direction for networking. As a comprehensive set of business strategies, agility recruits widely among tools and processes, including networking. We demonstrate throughout this book that networking is a vital capability for the truly agile enterprise. Of course, other capabilities are required for agility. We summarize these here and indeed address them in our agility consulting, but they are not the focus of this book.


Reciprocally, networking gains strategic impetus from being harnessed in the cause of agility. Rather than being a technology-led capability, sometimes strategically orphaned, and often managed in a piecemeal manner, we show that networking is a major factor in tackling the business challenges of the millennium years. Thus, networking provides one of the "hows" for agility; agility provides one of the "whys" for networking. We make no claim for completeness here: our model is the fractal, not the encyclopedia. We provide enough breadth in our approach to cover the essential scope of agile networking. And in key areas we will drill down to provide explicit examples and recommendations. But we know that there are no limits to depth, and usefulness, not completeness, will be our guide.


A last note. This book does not discuss the technical aspects of networking. It is about what you do with networks to make your enterprise thrive.


Structure of this Book

Part 1 is dedicated to an exposition of agility. We introduce the concept and describe where it came from and why it is of value. We then describe the key principles of agility and the component strategies, capabilities, and processes. We comment particularly on agile methodologies to capture the effects of change. Throughout, we indicate how the networking dimension, discussed later, contributes to agility.


Part 2 is principally about the networking capabilities-or processes-of the agile enterprise. We commence with a discussion of the congruence between networking and agility. In succeeding chapters we describe, in the agile context, group communication, intranet publishing and knowledge management.


Part 3 is about agile operations: essentially, the ways in which an organization's functions are transformed in the agile networking environment. We focus on a few particular functions in detail: training, teaming, legal, and management. From these detailed descriptions, we set the pattern for transforming other organizational functions through agile networking.


Part 4 addresses agile networking at the enterprise level. It shows how whole businesses are being transformed through agile networking. We discuss virtual organizations and alliances, then the rapidly growing electronic commerce sector, and finally education.


Our Readers

We believe that this book will be of value to three kinds of readers. Agility practitioners will gain insights into the ways in which networking supports agile goals.


Networking and IS professionals will discover not only strategies for creating networking-based business capabilities, but also the strategic agile context in which those capabilities contribute to their enterprise's survival.


For the broad class of readers-senior officers, managers, and staff-we provide a road map of sustained competitiveness in the face of change achieved through today's networking tools.

Web Site Support

We will be providing ongoing support to this book through Agility International's web site at ...

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