Great fun discussing and debating visualisations in general and some ongoing projects in particular at MEDEA at Malmö Högskola today. Thanks Jonas for having us at MEDEA. We hoped to see some more people from Tibco and Google but it came out as a great day anyway. Read more about it here.
Finally we got to see the much talked about exhibition. After a tour round Sweden for invited eyes only and Brussels at the Swedish embassy we (the participating designers/companies) got to see it with our own eyes. The first event took place during the EFAP-conference Crossing Borders – Bridging Gaps in cooperation with Arkitekturmuseet in Stockholm, the second event took place during the conference Green Light – Climate change and culture in cooperation with Palladium in Malmö and the the third event, in cooperation with Mirano happened in Brussels. All events was much appreciated. See the whole movie of how the show was done right here. You can also try the whole augmented reality thing right here.
We were proud and happy to contribute with our Visual Enterprise and it was a nice happening at Form&Design Center in Malmö, Sweden. Ulf, our CEO is posing in front of our part in the show in the picture above.
Some words about this project since it is about to come to public attention anyway through a European Union connected exhibition (For the Moment) that is going from Stockholm, Sweden, Malmö, Sweden (for the closing of the swedish chairmanship of EU) and to Mirano, Brussels (swedish embassy). Visual Enterprise is shown in the company of 45 other swedish companies with mainly ”designed” products (SonyEricsson, Axis, Källemo, Jonas Lindvall, TRETORN etc) promoting swedish innovation and creativity. Yay!
Project Visual Enterprise purpose
The purpose of the project is to create a visual, interactive visualisation of the complete Enterprise and its business logic. This means to show everything an enterprise consists of, from products, people, organisations to relations and processes and more. We use several different visualisation techniques, some traditional and some more innovative. We aim to show the complete Enterprise to different kinds of users. The user can reside in different organisational levels within the organisation and thus have different needs for information. We are sketching CEO Dashboards as well as views intended for information details for the individual from several perspectives. The Visual Enterprise is detached from the even bigger visualisation concept – the Corporate Command Central which includes hardware and innovative user interfaces.
The Visual Enterprise Project is limited to the visualisation of the Enterprise and its business logic.
The focus is the ability to derive knowledge and comprehension from the visualisation. We want to understand the nature of the complete enterprise and thus allow for decisions to be made based on facts rather than instinct or complacency.
Filling the demand
Demands from the market
The overview of the complete enterprise is missing. There are methods, like a Balanced Scorecard, of controlling an enterprise from top management in an overview manner, but no means of following the development in the enterprise that reflects the events in reality for the enterprise. The present available informationssystems (Qliktech, SAP, Hyperion etc) and techniques focuses mainly on one kind of information, whether it would be categorised as transaction data, subarea data (GIS, Product portfolio management, performance information etc) for the enterprise. These systems tends to increase the fragmented image of the enterprise, increase complexity in information retrieval and increase the dificulty of comparison of information coming from different systems rather than simplify the intended situation. Our focus would be on the complete picture – in historic, present and future contexts. This in combination with overflow of unstructured information makes swedish industry and corporations vulnarable and limiting the competitive advantages the enterprise possess.
Three main demands:
• Complete picture: multidimensional information, informationstructure, historic data, all information areas – overview and details in conjunction.
• Time: covering past, present and simulating future
• Managing the evolution of the enterprise in realtime
The long term competitiveness of the swedish (and international) businesses is affected by the capabilitiy of running, maintaining and surveilling todays informationsystems. And in its extension follows the capacity for decisionmaking supplied by the informationsystems.
Visualising the complete enterprise is the only possible way to perceive and digest the enormous amount of critical information, derived from the complete enterprise, needed on a daily basis. The visualisation is aimed for multiple roles in an enterprise. Individual needs for perceiving information is vital and implies multiple visualising techniques of the enterprise’s information.
Download pdf with more images and some details here.
Just as a lot of innovative visualisations are coming from the newly arised social networking theme of the web, we are just beginning to look at visualisations for the enterprise. The visual status of the information an enterprise consists of is not really taken seriously considering the amount of money there is to save if you got your information right. Spending some time and some serious money you can actually see what your enterprise looks like. This is not as obvious nowadays as it might seem when enterprises are becoming more and more virtual.
Since a lot of enterprises are turning more and more virtual (like outsourcing of both physical and knowledge processes like IT or production and sourcing) there is an increased demand for what you can actually see and understand. A factory of traditional means is physical and can be visited and inspected and thereby easily improved from what you see in regards of both machinery and processes. These ”factories” are no more a part of the traditional enterprise in the industrialized part of the world, but the urge to actually go into the factory and see what’s going on and improve processes and machinery, is still there.
This is why we need the ability to create and edit business logics and invent ground breaking visualisations. Perhaps even augmented reality in the long run.
Many ”social-networking-classics” visualisation techniques with nodes and edges in different colours could and should be used where it has its place, but the difference is that we are not applying these visualisation techniques on the social networking field of information, but on the actual enterprise and the business logic. Some new visualisation techniques will have to be produced as well. A little paraphrasing on WYSIWYG would be WYSIWYCI (What you see is what you can improve).
What we can see and feel, we can understand and improve. This is one of the keys for any enterprise that wants to survive in the future.
By the way, how DO you improve something invisible?
Co-author Ulf Jensen
Visualising the complete enterprise is not done in an afternoon. One of the key parts of being able to do it at all is having a common point of reference. A common point to refer everything back to. If every piece of information in an enterprise is constantly changing, including values and market behaviour, you need to have one place to actually feel solid ground. Ground that doesn’t move. You have to stand somewhere when you are looking out into the vast space of the information that a global enterprise consists of. Preferably you need to be in the middle of everything to be able to see what’s going on around you, since everything is moving and constantly changing. Very much like a living organism. This solid ground is what we name the common point of reference. Every piece of information has its anchor back to this point.
Having this common point of reference makes the visualisation actually achievable. This common point is not a bunch of servers making up the master data, we would still be confused and have enormous difficulties sorting out what’s what if this would be the case. The common point of reference is one of the most critical parts of an enterprise information management capabilites and in the extension of this the enterprises actual ability to improve and evolve in a controlled way. And critical to be able to produce a visualisation of the data fusion showing the enterprises actual and possible state.