Monday, May 07, 2012

Avengers (Super Heros), Enterprise Mobility and Network Centric Warfare

In the new movie titled, The Avengers - super heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Nick Fury and Hawkeye all work together to fight bad guys.  The first thing I thought about when I read the plot was, "How do all these super heroes communicate with each other and coordinate activities when they are running around saving civilization?"  Now I must admit, I seem to be the only person left in the world that did not see the movie this weekend.  My excuse, I was getting organized for the next leg of my "Free Range Eggs with Benedict - Mobile Strategies Speaking Series."  Next up, speaking on mobile strategies in Las Vegas, Spain and The Netherlands.

The military has also been struggling with the challenge of keeping all of their forces informed and connected.  Since the 1990s, however, it has embraced the concept of "network-centric warfare." Here is how it is described on Wikipedia:

Network-centric warfare, also called network-centric operations, is a military doctrine or theory of war pioneered by the United States Department of Defense in the 1990's.  It seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive advantage through the robust networking of well informed geographically dispersed forces.

Specifically, the theory contains the following four tenets in its hypotheses:
  1. A robustly networked force improves information sharing;
  2. Information sharing enhances the quality of information and shared situational awareness;
  3. Shared situational awareness enables collaboration and self-synchronization, and enhances sustainability and speed of command; and
  4. These, in turn, dramatically increase mission effectiveness.
On a side note, ClickSoftware has a whitepaper titled Networked Field Services that explores how this theory is applied to field services.  You can download it here.

Do you see why I wondered about the Avengers?  How were they informing each other and providing situational awareness?  What networks were they using?  How were they using these networks to support their mission?  I guess I should probably just watch the movie.

Field services organizations face similar challenges.  How do you "robustly network" with your field services technicians and improve information sharing.  Are there ways that your field service forces would benefit from working closer together to "increase mission effectiveness?"

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.