I have been wondering about a very strange issue – synchronicity, or why some much of what we is asynchronous, but so much of our organisational management is synchronous. To bring this right down to earth and reality for systems and solutions design and the reason for my pondering on the issue, we are planning around using new technology abilities to do things ‘on demand’, or as an when needed, and in conjunction with the dynamic orchestration of other systems, processes and services. But how do we know that there will not be a restriction from synchronous issues?
The financial industry has tried to get to real time clearing for quite a few years now and is stuck at 24 hour clearing due to the various banks all having processing schedules that cannot be aligned. Ah yes you say but that’s old technology running batch processes and this doesn’t apply to the technologies we have today and the systems and solutions we are developing, and in any case there is nothing new about the question of State. Yup, I agree, but in the back ground I am beginning to wonder if we have a business issue that could be a bigger issue than we currently realise.
I was in a group working through some exacting new stuff around almost ‘real time’ optimisation and we hit the issue of when and how to transfer the interactions by which a commercial agreement to buy at a given price and time was struck into the financial system. For some reason this was the first time it really hit me how much of what we do is based on the time cycles of financial accounting, you know the rigour of the yearly budget, the need to report a good quarter, must have a good month, etc, etc.
The whole business back end reporting and auditing cycle is synchronous! We are working away trying to do better business by using ‘agility’ to increase flexibility and to gain real time ‘optimisation’ and handle the real world which is asynchronous with this problem hanging over us in the background. If we are increasingly successful and the volume of business transacted through the new SOA services increases to a significant part of the total business volume then as the saying goes; ‘this is gonna to hurt’.
May be I am slow to catch on to this because I can remember John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, talking about the need for financial reporting to move from monthly to weekly and the daily in the height of the Dot.com boom. Maybe now has come the time to really start to think about this, but whose problem is it? CEO, CFO, Auditors, I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel right that it’s a CIO and technology issue.