Harnessing the Power of People

Harnessing the Power of People

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In today’s world, people and technology are inseparable. A key to every company’s financial success is building an agile, engaged workforce that uses technology to both identify the most valuable work performed by every employee and optimize this valuable work’s execution. A digital workforce culture drives innovation, improves decision-making, and increases value. Estimates suggest that companies typically experience 20% to 50% in wasted work and talent misuse or under-utilize talent because they do not have the necessary data to match the work to the talent.

Since its inception in 2014, Redwood City, CA-based CollabWorks has abided by the motto, “if you can measure value you can improve it” The company provides SaaS solutions that simplify management, shifts employees from low-value work to high-value work and helps improve margins – representing the holy grail of management science. At its core is the technology ‘simplifies managing so you capture your full potential’ as individual and organization.

“The improvement in profitability will create a tsunami of adoption. It will reshape how corporations manage and empower individuals to thrive”,

says Michael Grove, CollabWorks Founder, and Digital Management Systems.

The fundamentals of managing are not rocket science. Aligning talent to work, setting objectives and priorities, focusing on value creation, and better serving customers are examples of best practices provided by the CollabWorks management framework. The company is being recognized as an early leader of a new class of software applications:

I aspire to shift the way people are managed such that they are motivated and encouraged to reach their full potential. Second, to create a new organizational model that scales rapidly yet remains lean and highly adaptable.”

says Michael

A Trailblazer

Michael Grove is a serial entrepreneur who has been a chief executive officer for 25 years. An expert in blending on-demand workers with employee talent, he gets to the heart of the organization and successfully drives them for excellence. Michael’s earlier funded ventures include: Open Country, a leader of remote systems management; Introplus, a social matching-engine company; and MicroModule Systems, a semiconductor packaging company. Prior to founding these companies, Michael was a Director of New Ventures at Lockheed-Martin. His distinctive entrepreneurial qualities won him a leveraged buy-out of a $400M technology and semiconductor fab. Since the buyout, the firm scaled from zero to the number one multi-chip module supplier. He has deep functional experience in sales, marketing, engineering, and program management in a broad range of businesses including – aerospace, renewable energy, M&A, semiconductor, systems management, social networking, and productivity tools. He has published numerous papers, received several patents, and coached a variety of startup companies.

A risk-taker, Michael has always believed in taking the road less traveled. He has spent much of his career navigating major risk challenges and finding a positive path forward. In the ‘quiet period’ with three well-known investment banks, he watched the IPO window close as the economy weakened, and the IPO market closed. While disappointed he observed.

“Life is not about how many badges you wear or what people think of you. It is about recognizing that at any instant we can choose between what matters and what matters not. Thus, we are always free to enjoy our experiences and love those we care about”

Says Michael

He enjoys working on huge challenges with big payoffs rather than play it safe. He has experienced no bigger opportunity than his current venture.
The CollabWorks team is of deeply experienced and successful entrepreneurs who are transparent, supportive, and passionate about achieving their collective vision.

Michael also leads a thought leadership community, envisioning the future of work called Disrupt. Work, which is committed to improving work, worker, and the workplace. Michael relaxation ritual involves his hobbies i.e. gardening, fixing, and cooking good food. He enjoys watching stimulating drama that helps him unwind the end of the day.

CollabWorks: DNA of Change

CollabWorks began its journey in creating the FrameWork™ by working with the University of California at Berkeley and together interviewing 26 corporations from Autodesk to Facebook. The research demonstrated the need to improve the visibility and measurement of the most important components of any business – the work, its value, and the talent required to get it done. Additionally, improved work efficiency also requires a comfortable and user-friendly work environment, which can be achieved by providing quality interiors, comfortable furniture (check out office monster or similar office supply sellers for more information), and other resources to relax and rejuvinate. Thereby, enabling organizations to improve productivity through worker engagement, talent-initiated improvements, management decision-making, and talent alignment.

FrameWork™ combines a unique methodology with easy-to-use technology to drive measurable and sustained improvement in productivity across the organization. It is a data-driven, solution that improves the bottom line by aligning the right work to the right worker at the right time. With FrameWork, HR leaders and their business partners have the ideal platform for quantifiably evaluating talent, allocating work, and improving margin creation among all levels of the organization Moreover, FrameWork provides workers with an agile, transparent, data-driven approach that empowers each worker to perform meaningful work and make improvements that benefit their career, their team, and their entire organization. FrameWork works in three steps:

  • Share (a quick anonymous assessment of participants perceptions of their work/talent),
  • Discover (service data for the entire group is generated in real time),
  • Transform (performance metrics enable optimization of transformation plans).

FrameWork thus provides the essential data and technology to drive a measurable increase in the value of both work and talent. It is proven to lower operational costs, inspire innovation, and deliver measurable and continuous increases in productivity. FrameWork customers, who implemented full-scale deployment, have achieved an improvement of 10% operating profit or more.

The company aims to shift from a semi-stealth mode to formally launching in Q1 2019.

CollabWorks: Invents a New System to Simplify Managing

Michael Grove, CEO Collabworks in the CEO Views

From http://theceoviews.com/collabworks-invents-a-new-system-to-simplify-managing/

Editor: We had an opportunity to interview the CEO of CollabWorks, Michael Grove, who explained the vision behind his company and what may be a huge breakthrough in the art of corporate management. Mike believes he has found the secret to how to grow a company from a start-up to a billion-dollar corporation without losing the small company’s adaptability and ability to innovate.

Kindly walk us through the inception of CollabWorks. A brief introduction to the company.

We began our journey with research on how corporations can become nimbler and more virtual. We worked with Cal Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and interviewed 26 corporations including Facebook and Autodesk. The result of this research and over 20 subsequent workshops lead to the fundamental insight that organizations need to optimize around individuals and teams instead of around structure and job roles.

We are now aiming to streamline managing and empower the individuals to manage the customers they serve. Our thesis is: the less managing overhead, the more agile and productive you become. We recommend limiting managing to the bare bones essentials.

CollabWorks has created a new patent-pending technology that represents a new class of software that we call Digital Management Systems (DMS). We named our DMS product FrameWork. It incorporates management best practices with special focus on improving external and internal customers’ experience, setting measurable objectives and priorities, and continuously adapting to drive increased value creation.

The CollabWorks FrameWork application reduces managing time, waste, and misalignment of talent by creating transparent and efficient communication between teams and managers.

CollabWorks is now in the early stages of revenue with a fully functional and proven enterprise platform. The company is led by a very experienced team that has previously delivered multiple start-up successes.

What are the current trends you observe in today’s landscape that you serve? How is CollabWorks positioned in concurrence with those trends?

Overall, competition across most industries is becoming more dynamic and fast-paced. Speed and agility are becoming more important than traditional strengths such as process improvement and control. Companies can no longer afford deep silos and time-consuming synchronization meetings. To speed up decision processes, more needs to be delegated to individuals and teams who directly serve internal and external customers. Jobs or titles do not create business value – people do. Thus, the successful organizations in the future will become more human-centric where the alignments of individuals with corporate goals are what drive increased value creation.

What is the pain points you are trying to address in the industry today?

Talent is in short supply, yet a significant portion of the existing talent is being underutilized, misaligned, and less than fully engaged. In spite of management training and periodic reorganizations, large organizations continue to operate inefficiently. Typically, the larger the organization, the greater the inefficiencies.
What is missing today is a transparent metric for the work produced by worker x for customer y and at value z. The FrameWork includes several metrics that measure quantitatively the value and margin contribution of the all work performed. Thus, the benefits of both small and large improvements across the organization become quantitatively clear and actionable.

What differentiates/separates your solutions from the rest of your competition? Why should a potential customer choose you over the others?

Our biggest competitor is the status quo. Clarifying work and its quantitative value is new and different. The idea of putting management and improvement processes into software is new and different. We currently have not discovered direct competitors although we are confident that the DMS market will eventually exceed the CRM SaaS market.

Is there anything else we have missed to cover or something you would like us to specifically highlight in the article?

We believe that the largest business opportunity worldwide today is to encourage innovation from the whole workforce. We essentially have managed the same way for 100 years and it shows as huge losses in value creation. Billions have been spent trying to improve work productivity as well as moral and the results point largely to failure. Engagement scores, turnover, revenue per employee, etc., are not improving. Our view is that organizations need to shift their focus from refining job roles and processes to customer-driven responsiveness empowered by a human-centric organization were the individuals own and manage their direct customers’ experiences. In effect we need to evolve steadily to a more market-driven entrepreneurial model of a fluid start-up like teams where value creation is measured and rewarded by individual performance, not by job title or position.

SaaS Platforms Will Empower the Workforce in the Digital Age

SaaS Platforms Will Empower the Workforce in the Digital Age

As entrepreneurial CEOs who fund our ventures or executives who grow into being CEOs of more mature companies, we produce annual budgets and financial plans. We estimate our future revenue and given available capital we fashion budgets we believe will deliver our revenue objectives. Hard capital and non-labor expenses are generally predictable. Workforce planning is more of an art and boils typically down to headcount planning. The amounts and types of headcount needed are often based on proforma financial modeling and estimates from primary functions such as engineering, sales, marketing, etc.

Traditional headcount planning falls short. We continue to rely on a traditional headcount model even though it’s crude and includes built in biases such as incremental benchmark planning from last year, organizational and process complexity that hides waste, and the talent of managers negotiating beyond real needs. Market forces and technology advances are increasingly exposing the weaknesses of headcount planning and staffing. For example, employees now only amount to about 65% of the workforce down from 90% twenty years ago. The remaining contingent workforce (QuartZ) is expected to exceed 40% by 2022. While HR is responsible for acquisition of employees, the contingent workforce is frequently managed directly by managers or procurement.

How do you leverage the available talent to perform the most important work? The answer is not more complex management approaches that don’t scale. Better job descriptions or skills matching won’t do it unless the work and its value is clearly understood.

Bots are coming – where do they belong? In addition to the complexity of managing and estimating the needs for people, bots are becoming an important and integral part of workforce management. Billions of dollars are being invested in AI (bot) solutions that are designed to replace some or all of the work traditionally allocated to people in jobs that include repetitive tasks that can be automated (for instance, marketing automation techniques). The forecast for bots as a percent of the workforce varies wildly from 10% to beyond 30% (Singularity) by 2022. A major startup, Automation Anywhere, now has more than 15 million bots implemented in 700 major corporations.

As CEOs we need to wake up to this new reality. We are in a digital world where defining jobs and allocating heads will no longer yield a competitive human capital operating model. For example, does our current staffing process clearly define the optimal mix of employee, contingent, and bot labor for our 2020 “digital” workforce plan? Who and how can our team provide a clear reliable answer? If our workforce represents 50% of our total expense and our workforce includes a 10% inflated headcount – we are leaving 5% operating profit on the table. This is huge! Getting to the optimal answers will not come from doubling down on the headcount planning process. Worse, competitors who learn to optimize their digital workforce composition can use their margin advantage to improve market share, etc.

Talent related SaaS software vendors are stepping up. The good news is that SaaS solutions are evolving to make it easier to manage both employees and contingent labor. If you look at the best SaaS websites, they too, tend to provide the best user experience along with simplicity and clarity to their visitors. Modern HR tools such as Workday, SAP’s Success Factor, and a host of startups are offering to support contingent labor with much of the employee talent management functions such as staffing and reviews.

While an improvement, these platforms will not address optimizing the work content among employees and contingent labor nor do they include bots. As a matter of fact, they would need assistance from experts in the respective fields. For example, when creating ERP software, the developers might want to consult some experienced ERP consulting firms like Syte Consulting Group (https://sytecg.com/) or similar firms in order to gain a better understanding of integrating people and processes so that the right technology can support the growth of the business.

The core of digital workforce planning is the work and its value. In order to get at wasted use of talent, planning biases, and the increased complexity of available sources of talent it is essential to start with the value the workforce renders in achieving business outcomes – namely, the work. In addition to work, the second necessary information for digital workforce planning is the use of talent. For example, how much top talent work is your top talent doing? Neither the work quantified by FTE per service or use of talent is achievable with current headcount planning and management tools.

Current methods of measuring the work are not effective. We can track tasks such as monitoring locations and network devices as often done by large software development organizations. Or, we use surveys of time tracking such as activity-based planning implementations. These methods are time-consuming, prone to errors, difficult to value, and hated by workers.

Introducing a management framework SaaS solution (CollabWorks). However, technology has now evolved to allow management to focus on delivering the most valuable work with the best available talent. The first step is to capture data that clarifies what is the work, the amount of FTEs spent doing the work and by whom at what level of talent. In addition, to optimize both the work and the use of talent, a metric is needed to value both.

All work can be described as services. What we can learn from the rise of SaaS work platforms such as Upwork or Gigster demonstrate is that work can be described in the form of services instead of tasks. A service describes work delivered by a supplier to one or more customers (internal or external). While tasks may vary and come and go, services describe a supplier-customer relationship where tasks flow across the service. For example, we use software developers via Upwork who continuously perform tasks as part of services where the value of the work is established. These platforms are now being used to align service needs with both contingent and employee workers.

Merely providing a company with a developed application is not the only thing that falls under the category of providing services; however, managing those applications/software is also a task. With the ever-changing IT landscape, if your small to medium-sized business (SMB) has grown to the point where you realize your business needs can be better served by an expert with a broad range of IT competencies, you can seek the assistance of BFA Technologies, Inc.(has managed services in California serving clients all over the United States).

Customers need to drive the flow of work. Another positive reason for describing all forms of work as services is recognition that the value of work (services) depends on the customer receiving the benefit of the work. Rather than distributing the work via a typical management top down structure, work as services can be distributed based on customer needs. This keeps the

focus on value where it belongs – the customer. And this relieves line management from gathering, reporting, and communicating activities. Organizations are now able to clearly understand the services within a workforce consisting of employees, contingent workers and bots. And more importantly, for each service the organizations are able to measure the relative contribution to operating profit.

Summary. These new SaaS management frameworks (CollabWorks)will integrate with existing SaaS talent and work platforms to enable both workers and the organizations to optimize their respective needs to their mutual benefit.

About the Author

Michael Grove is the Founder and CEO of CollabWorks, a technology company that provides a powerful management framework (FrameWork™) in the form of software and professional services. His core belief is that if individuals are empowered to manage their own engagement they will thrive to the benefit of themselves and the organization. The FrameWork technology sits at the center of the Digital Workforce of humans and automation (AI). Michael’s vision is that work will evolve from jobs to a marketplace of services by 2025.

Michael currently co-hosts CEO workshops and sponsors the CollabWorks Thought Leadership Team (TLT), DisruptHR (Bay Area), and Disrupt.Work. He has been a successful CEO for over 25 years of venture and self-funded companies including Open Country, Micromodule Systems, Introplus, and the Pathway Group. Michael has produced several breakthrough patents and led businesses in aerospace, renewable energy, semiconductor, information, social networking, and workforce management. Michael holds Bachelor and advanced degrees from California Polytechnic, UCLA, USC, and Wharton.

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