Smashing the hierarchy: the rise of the virtual organization

Today's organizations, which are evolving from large verticalized entities into a more networked structure, consisting of a core business supported by networks of partners, contractors, and communities.

This evolution was recently explored at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. Bill Ives, a colleague at the FastForward Enterprise 2.0 site and social media guru, provided coverage of the event, which included leading thinkers and doers of our age.

Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Chairman Emeritus, IBM Academy of Technology, and Visiting Professor of Engineering Systems MIT: "The virtual organization is very hot these days because hierarchical organizations do not function well in global environments. Plus, problems are so complex that organizations need to work in groups."

Lorie Buckingham, CIO Avaya: "Virtualization leads to more access to unstructured data to drive innovation. Teams operate best with the right balance of personal contact and virtualization."

Simon Crosby, CTO of the Virtualization and Management Division, Citrix Systems: "Many people now build their public personal resumes that go beyond their workplace. Their online identity is not limited to their employment or even their profession. He added that such focused passions also drive open source work and build personal credibility."

John Stone, President CrossTech Partners: "Virtual workspaces provide innovation on the knowledge management side over the very structured intranets of the past. Now with to user generated content that is tagged you can better identify and manage expertise in organizations. This comes from applying concepts first seen on the Web. Currently, people are concerned about their brand on social Web. However, firms are beginning to be concerned with this also."

Virtualization is a technical concept describing digital representations of physical objects -- be they people, machines, or entities. It also helps hide inconsistencies or complexity. As discussed at this conference, adopting virtual approaches is a smart approach to managing organizations in a more agile way in today's complex global economy.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com