Home-made Pattern Series 2

Today’s series are about organization.

Patter 4: Service


  • Where it’s commonly used

It’s easily found in current trend of outsourcing. A lot of big companies consider IT as a foundation to support different subgroups and core-business; therefore, IT capabilities can be consolidated as a separate service, from building IT infrastructure to daily operation support, where external service providers focus on change delivery as well as operational maintenance, and in house service teams focus on partnering with in-house clients as well as vendor management.

  • How to apply the pattern

When the capability we need is going to support different functions, teams, countries, subsidies, we can consider consolidating the capability as a service platform, provided by in-house team or 3rd party vendors. The advantage would be to improve operational efficiency, resource utilization, and scalability. Especially, we can consider such capability as sort of special service when it’s relatively stable with routine tasks, or it keeps changing which requires flexibility coming from buying service, or even it requires special knowledge or skills which are not part of the core business.

  • Example

Majority of customer service can be very routine tasks, like creating sales order and invoice; therefore, we can set up customer service at country or regional level, or even out-source such transactional tasks. If the tasks do not have much variation, to have automation with human intervene only for exceptional cases can be another option.

Another classic example is cloud service from IT industry, like AWS of Amazon, to replace IT infrastructure purchase and maintenance with buying service as needed.

Looking for service opportunity can be a rewarding strategy for entrepreneur or big enterprises’ transformation journey. For the former case, we have ZipRecuiter who provides service to employers to post their open positions at different job boards. For the latter case, we have IBM in last decade that brought in consulting service and built up an eco-system with hardware, software to consulting service.


Patter 5: Matrix


  • Where it’s commonly used

In mathematics, a matrix (plural matrices) is a rectangular array of numbers, symbols, or expressions, arranged in rows and columns (wiki).

Everyone understands its mathematics usage. In today’s enterprise organization, complexity is just ever increasing; matrix provides a clear structure to organize human resource, compared to the traditional structure with many layers’ hierarchy. Zara’s organization is classic example; one dimension is brand; the other dimension is function – store, logistics, product and office. Such approach can allow it to response fast against the brand’s target market and easily manage brands’ life cycle.

  • How to apply the pattern

If the objects we want to organize cannot be arranged in one simple category, we can think about Matrix, no matter for number, data, people or other resources. However, to organize by matrix is just an approach. The fundamental objective of using it is to have clear sense of big picture which in turns, help shape direction and allocate resources.

  • Example

Matrix is very well used in consulting industry for strategic planning, like BCG growth-share matrix for product portfolio management (you may read here for more details).

An advanced level of Matrix is 3D and spider web map. 3D Matrix normally includes timeline as another dimension.  Spider web map can be used to assess As-Is and To-be for talent management or process improvement, against multi-factors.

Patter 6: Interface and UX


  • Where it’s commonly used

A good introduction about User Experience UX is here. It’s a hot topic nowadays in IT industry since we start to pay more attention to our emotional needs. Interface is like button and screens of APPs in your iphone. To understand the different interfaces and the importance of UX, you can just compare all the smart phones and Windows you are using right now to those of 2000 which you have been struggling to find the right button to complete an easy task. A user-friendly interface enables users to easily know what he/she needs to do to complete the task and achieve his or her goals.

  • How to apply the pattern

When we have people on one hand and product, system as well as service on the other hand, we have an interface. By ISO, user experience is about “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service” (wiki). Whenever there is an interface, user experience design plays a critical role to delivery what the product, system and service what to achieve in an efficient way.

  • Example

The booming of outsourcing (IT, Finance, HR) does bring cost-cutting and scalability (at least to some extend), but complex service teams and the inefficient communication with service provider also cause confusing and frustration for a normal employee. When you just want to solve a simple issue like being not able to log in ERP system, your service ticket may go around different supporting teams and you just have no clue who to contact for help. One MNC built up a user experience team for service delivery, to make sure its service providers deliver what business needs in an efficient way; this team has two parts, one part is focusing on manage the service; the other is focusing on experience of users of the service.


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