Outdoors is the new indoors. About Business Control

Paul Orangetree

Paul Orangetree on Outdoors is the new indoors. About Business Control

I like to create good controls in business. Because business can leak, sometimes.

The internet has changed absolutely everything.

Except it hasn't. It has changed the way we transact. It has changed the way we market. It has changed the way we communicate. But not, entirely, the way we think.

I am talking here about the way we view business controls, mostly. But not exclusively. Let me give you an example. Not so very long ago, in a shop, at the end of the day, we used to have to count the cash. This might be done in a closed, even locked, room. Everything had to be balanced before the money was put in a safe. It was then collected by a van and taken to a bank, where it was all counted again. And put in another safe.

I remember thinking even then that if you counted the cash in an open office, you would have just as much control, because all 27 people in the office would have to agree to ignore, or take part in, any theft.

Too simple? Maybe, but I don't think so, and it is relevant to the way modern systems can provide business control. The system can create a 'glass cube' in which everything is visible to everyone. Even if you don't want to quite go that far, you can create enhanced transparency. In short, it is easier to see if something is not as it ought to be - because you are making it obvious to as many people as possible.

Oddly enough, some established businesses do not like this. It is as though they prefer the delusion of partial darkness. I cannot see if my house has any foundations, so I shall not worry about it. I shall assume someone checked. We can make technology conform to 1938, or we can move our thinking into the opportunity of 2017. Whether you and I chose to accept that, the winners will be the people who do.

This principle struck me as powerful when I was consulting on some software many years ago, and is an important principle in our own software design.

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