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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


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November 15, 2002) - There is an old hierarchy that was once used to describe the various kinds of inputs we receive:

Noise is unshuffled and unsorted signals.

Data is organized noise.

Information is distilled data.

Insight is sifted information.

Wisdom is concentrated insight.

Database Vendors sell noise. That's the best you can say for huge volumes of input. Most of the product improvements in the database sector involve improving the quality of the noise so that it looks more and more like data. For the most part, volume providers have a difficult challenge to face simply trying to give their deliverables a quality that is more like data than noise.

Enterprise suppliers sell Information, Insight and Wisdom (well, in the case of HR Enterprise suppliers, five year old wisdom and insight) based on a platform that converts noise into data. The untested theory that a database supplier can convert a dominant position in the noise business into an "Enterprise Business" is flawed on its face. Noise is a commodity business and while you can make mini-candy-cane-oreos in the commodity business, it has little or nothing to do with the kinds of things that go on in the Enterprise business. 

It's also a mistake to see software installation as an enterprise business. Successful software installations can be converted into enterprise level relationships but only if the software vendor is free to care about the needs, aspirations and objectives of the customer. In other words, the enterprise business is really an extension of customer service operations for a software company.

There is a huge need in our industry for an enterprise firm that makes its living developing wisdom in concert with customers. 

The process of moving contemporary HR practice into the next couple of years (the early stages of the final war for talent) will involve significant amounts of real failure as we all learn to import technologies and techniques from other disciplines into the HCM arena.

-John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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