What are good foundations for understanding business, in an age of pervasive digital information? I’ve found systems science to be helpful, and ended up on a path where I’ve become deeply involved with the International Society for the Systems Sciences. The origins of this trajectory started at IBM in 1997 with the Seiad First-of-a-Kind project, leading to a 2-year assignment through the Advanced Business Institute.
In 1997, I had moved out of the IBM Consulting Group — the services unit that became IBM Business Innovation Services, and then IBM Business Consulting Services — into a Sales & Distribution unit (in the Boston area) called "Consumer-Driven Solutions". This business unit had the ambition to bridge the gap between clients in the retail and consumer products industry segments (as defined by IBM). In the confluence of changes at IBM, I led a proposal to lead a First-of-a-Kind project, that included customer-facing consultants from the Object Technology Practice of IBM Consulting Group1, scientists from the Watson Research Center2, and industry experts hired as consultants into the Consumer-Driven Solutions unit3.
The Seiad project essentially had three goals:
- Develop an industry reference model for consumer supply chains — think Procter & Gamble with Walmart, or Procter & Gamble with Kmart, in an IBM-led initiative that predates Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment;
- Develop a system envisioning tool — that was known for some time as Enterprise Builder; and
- Put the industry reference model into the system envisioning tools
The time frame to do this was twelve months, but after five months, the project was wound down, due to some managerial accounting issues inside IBM.… Read more (in a new tab)