Innovative Approaches to Corporate Management
4. Ubiquitous Networks in Corporate Management 4. 1. The Underlying Principles of Ubiquitous Networks In today’s environments, the functioning of business frequently requires the presence of heavily integrated networks that will unite different aspects of increasingly complex business systems. One of the ways to accomplish this is implementation of so-called ubiquitous networks. These networks permit managers to introduce innovation and consistently improve efficiency of their businesses.
Ubiquitous networks are complex systems based on a few underlying principles. First, they involve a deep integration of real-world and virtual space, leading to a business model that effectively exploits both Internet and bricks-and-mortar management patterns. Nagumo (2005) indicates that ubiquitous networks bring about a “convergence of the virtual and the real worlds – a new usage horizon in which our lives are being greatly expanded and enriched”.
The second important principle is change that is taking place in “exchanging, sharing, and distributing knowledge” (Nagumo, 2005, p. 2). This occurs mainly as a result of the technological shift toward usage of broadband technology, proliferation of business patterns based on the usage of the Internet, and consequent shifts in human resource management. Outsourcing is the buzzword of the day, a process that became possible due to the possibility to control workforce from a greater distance.
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A shift toward a greater knowledge-based component in labor is also precipitating a shift in labor usage patterns toward outsourcing, alongside with drive toward minimization of labor costs. The third aspect is “greater community power” (Nagumo, 2005, p. 3). A part of this power stems from the fact of increased information exchange between members of the community. As a result, people are better able to influence organizations. 4. 2. Ubiquitous Networks in Practice.
These days, a careful observer of modern business can see ubiquitous networks anywhere. One of the most direct manifestations is outsourcing. The spread of offshoring labor to distant locations with lower wage levels has already created competition in local outsourcing markets. Thus, in India, outsourcing IT companies have to change their practices and business models “because IBM and other global IT companies now have their own local employees and can match many longtime Indian cost advantage” (Kirkpatrick, 2006).
This pushes managers to innovate even further in order to effectively exploit the link between increase in usage of modern technology and enhancement of efficiency in corporate practices. Another manifestation of ubiquitous networks is the creation of idea factories within companies that allow them to integrate knowledge generated in different parts of their organizations. In this way, corporate management can install systems that will connect individual creativities of different members of the same organization and prepare the pattern for growth of organizational creativity.
In this sense, organizations can build a system of “rules to innovate by” (Plompen, 2005). Hopefully, these systems can create networks that will not stifle individual thinking but will augment and develop individual capabilities in order to develop the organization at large. This is created through the development of corporate learning centers and establishing structures that will capture ideas and intellectual resources that exist within organizations so as to propel organizational development.