I have been writing about the Network Centric Operations
approach to mobile field services for the past couple of years and plan to continue with even more enthusiasm. The mobile devices, mobile platforms, communication networks and integration frameworks exists today to revolutionize field services and the way companies interact with their mobile workforce in general. Today, few enterprise mobility vendors yet understand network centric operations.
In a way, I think ERP vendors may end up understanding the concept of network centric operations better than most enterprise mobility vendors. Why? Because ERP vendors are familiar with and accustomed to thinking about how all systems interact and work together, while many enterprise mobility vendors are still celebrating their ability to communicate point to point on a mobile device.
Social networking and social media technologies like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter have taught us the value of social and business networks. Twitter has even shown us how to launch political revolutions and change governments. Likewise, network centric operational concepts have the potential to change everything about managing the mobile workforce.
Let’s first explore some definitions of Network Centric Operations. Network centric operations is an information based operation that uses information processing, networks, and data to provide the capability to perform assigned operational roles in fast changing environments with an increasing use of system provided intelligence and cognitive pro
cesses. Wow! That is good! Did you catch the “system provided intelligence and cognitive processes” part? That shines the spotlight on mobile and real time business intelligence provided to the right people, at the right time, at the right place, and in the right amount.
Another point - the data needs to be collected and shared in real time. In a mobile world that means real time communications and data exchanges with the mobile workforce. Data can be collected outside the enterprise by the mobile workforce, EDI/B2B, through third party web services or through M2M (machine to machine) networks.
Here is more on the concept of network centric operations - it is based on the concept of a dynamic, and shared information environment that provides access to trusted information for all users, based on need, independent of time and place. It enables application developers and program managers to move forward without unnecessary organizational barriers limiting access to real time data. It involves and requires system interoperability and enterprise management.
Let me point out the concept above of “shared information environment.” It is a stream of real time information and intelligence that any approved system or application can access and utilize. The data gatekeepers are removed so the information can be acted upon in real time.
What is the purpose of network centric operations and how does it benefit an enterprise? The enterprise becomes a part of a continuously-evolving, complex community of people, devices, information and services that are interconnected by a communications network to achieve optimal effectiveness with limited resources(force multiplier) and better coordination between network participants. In other words real time and real world enterprise management.
Read Part 2 here.
Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict