No, this is not about Small Enterprises. It's about largescale businesses with several thousand employees that streamlined their processes so far, that they operate as if they had only a handful employees.
Is that efficient? (You always know whom to address)
Is it just another process error that should be fixed by striving for even more efficiency?
Or is it just a stupid habit that derives from an old desire of control?
I collected some examples of that kind of over-efficiency. All those will experiment with 2.0-style add-ons in internal communications as possible remedies.
Just as an example: Company A launched a new phonebook application for the intranet. Employees of one location complain that it's slow and that other applications are also slow since the new phonebook is online. They send emails to the communications manager, who tries to calm people, and sends emails to the technical project manager, who investigates the problem with his team and the IT-operations department. Their suspicion: It's rather a network- and bandwithissue of that location than an applications-issue.
As the issue is not fixed within two days, the complainers call the Executive Senior Vice President IT. He - calls the technical project manager.
I see two consequences in there: No matter how high and hard you try to hit, it wont help you in such an organisation. You always get back to the same starting point. What might help, is making the problem and problem reports more visible: Who experiences what when and how? There are sophsticated bugtracking tools that help o document such reports - but that still misses the main issue.
The shift we need is not to add more pressure or to address more people (we don't know) but to make problems, their relations and people dealing with them more visible.
The simplest way is to open easy tools that allow them to talk - so that problem reports and suggested solutions are visible to a wider audience, and not just to one poor project manager...
Sounds familiar? It's nothing else than allowing comments, encouraging blogs and other internal means of direct communication.
Quite boring. But still much more efficient than detailed process maps.