Thomas H. Davenport
Visiting Professor of Business Administration
Tom Davenport is a Visiting Professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Technology and Operations Management unit. He also serves as the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, the co-founder and research director of the International Institute for Analytics, and a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics. In the past he has been a partner or consultant at McKinsey and Co., Ernst & Young, and Accenture, and a tenured professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Boston University.
He has published widely on the topics of analytics in business, process management, information and knowledge management, and enterprise systems. He pioneered the concept of “competing on analytics” with his best-selling 2006 Harvard Business Review article (and his 2007 book by the same name). The article was named one of ten “Must Reads” in HBR’s ninety-year history. His article and book on business process reengineering were the first ones on the topic, and his co-authored book, Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know, was the first and best-selling book on knowledge management.
His most recent book is Judgment Calls: Twelve Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams that Got Them Right, with Brook Manville. He wrote, co-authored, or edited fourteen other books, which have been translated into 24 different languages. He has written over 100 articles for such publications as Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, the Financial Times, and many other publications. In 2003 he was named one of the world’s “Top 25 Consultants” by Consulting magazine. In 2005 Optimize magazine’s readers named him among the top 3 business and technology analysts in the world. In 2007 and 2008 he was named one of the most 100 influential people in the information technology industry by Ziff-Davis magazines.
Davenport received his BA degree from Trinity University, and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard, all in Sociology. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife Joan, and has two grown sons.
How Fast and Flexible Do You Want Your Information, Really?
Almost all executives want more and faster information, and almost all companies are racing to provide it. What many of them are overlooking is that the real aim should not be faster information but faster decision making, and those aren't the same things. Executives tend to request more information than they can use, and oftentimes the cycle time of decision making, not the speed of information flow, is the real bottleneck. While it is critical to identify what information is needed, it is just as important to deliver it at the right time. The types of information needed most quickly are not static and can depend on several conditions, including whether the current state of the economy is growing or contracting. The right cycle time for particular types of information can vary widely by industry, but in general the highest requested frequency is for competitor news, sales and customer news. Based on responses to their surveys and interviews of senior executives and managers, the authors provide suggestions and guidelines to enable IT organizations to deliver information more quickly and flexibly. That requires changes to both human and technical capabilities, but those changes could make all the difference in having the correct information to avert a crisis.
Cognizant 2.0: Embedding Community and Knowledge Into Work Processes
Knowledge management has been a high priority for Cognizant Technology Solutions since its inception since its global delivery model requires the global sharing of knowledge. Its first major tool was called the Knowledge Management Appliance but as Web 2.0 tools came into wider use, this evolved into what the company called "Cognizant 2.0" (C2) which was designed to ensure that the KM Appliance capabilities for storing documents and participative tools such as blogs and wikis were directed towards supporting business goals. This required the development of a set of structured work process guidelines and tasks for each major type of work performed internally and for clients. Increasing awareness amongst its clients about C2 has led the company into considering whether it should turn this into a client-facing service offering itself. As its clients become more interested in knowledge management within their own companies, the interest in a C2-based offering could grow.