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How the Networked Economy Allows Anyone to Assemble a Team of Superheroes

Published on 3 October in SAP
Just like your business, the Justice League needs to add or replaces members as the threat or mission changes. You may not have superpowers, but network collaboration with suppliers and contractors allows you to pick a team for any eventuality.

 

Greater than the sum of their awe-inspiring parts, the Justice League handles threats too massive for any single hero. Made up of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes, their membership inflates and contracts around each new threat.

In business, often we need to gather up the right set of skills rapidly to deal with a challenge. Now our challenges may not be as spectacular as saving the Earth from an extinction-level asteroid, but the ability to rapidly assemble a team of talents is a well-worn movie staple: Ocean’s Eleven, Kelly’s Heroes, the Dirty Dozen, the A-team, the Fantastic Four all feature this idea of building the right team.

In the Networked Economy, the tools are at last becoming available so we can access all of the skills needed to achieve our mission. Solutions such as Fieldglass (now part of SAP) allow you to rapidly locate, manage and develop a temporary workforce: let’s look at the requirements needed to assemble a team of superheroes.

Locating the right skills

In Ocean’s Eleven, the skills needed included a pickpocket, a conman, a mechanic, an electronics expert, an explosives expert and an acrobat. The George Clooney character used his own network to locate the team, but that isn’t possible in a global business. If you are setting up mining operations in Northern Manitoba, you’ll also need mechanics, explosives experts, but also riggers, geologists and lawyers. The Networked Economy gives you access to global skills and the ability to locate the specialists you’ll need.

The need for speed

In Kelly’s Heroes the ragtag soldiers must be quickly recruited to try and capture the gold. In business there often isn’t time to go through the paper process of posting job opportunities or RFPs and waiting for responses. Good contractors and suppliers might be snapped up by a competitor. Networked solutions allow RFPs to be fired out automatically to potential suppliers, who can also respond electronically.

Ability to work together

In the A-Team, Hannibal’s catchphrase is “I love it when a plan comes together.” But how do you make a plan come together when your team is distributed in many locations, and several of them don’t actually work for you? This is where built-in collaboration tools allow you to shared plans, accept feedback, schedule tasks for each other. For example the SAP Jam tool is widely used by large enterprises to allow small teams to work together.

Flexing the team

Unlike Fantastic Four who seem a somewhat dysfunctional family of four, the Justice League adds or replaces members as the threat or mission changes. Modern business is more like the latter. It’s not possible to solve different business problems with the same cast of characters. For an underwater super-villain you need the ability to bring in Aquaman and assimilate him to the existing superheroes, rapidly bring him up to speed on the mission and his unique role in it.

So your business objectives may not be robbing a bank, stealing gold bars or saving the universe: but with the right kinds of tools in the Networked Economy you can still achieve heroic feats.

To learn more about Fieldglass, the Ariba Network and SAP Jam you can visit the Future of Business web site.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.
Photo: Shutterstock

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