As predicted by Rick Levin in the Cluetrain Manifesto of 1999, the Internet has transformed business practices and the way people communicate.

He said that: “the ability to hyperlink data and cross-communicate within organisations will subvert traditional hierarchies and empower individuals to make decisions and take action themselves”.
“The Information Age demands a new kind of leadership. Rather than managers prescribing everything that employees must do, companies now expect employees to be entrepreneurial, creative, independent and proactive,” says Andy Potter,head of solution sales at ASYST Intelligence.
ASYST is a leading provider of business intelligence and data management solutions.
The flow of information in companies was once primarily a monologue (“I’ll tell you what to do”) which evolved into dialogue (“we can discuss it”).
Communication is now happening in paralogue, with many conversations taking place at once, including multiple observers and participants, observes Jacques van Schoor, a South African brand strategist.
With this complex paralogue state comes the challenge of managing attention – the scarcest human resource, according to the authors of "The Attention Economy", Tom Davenport and John Beck.
They argue that information overload is a considerable threat to employee productivity, making managing employees attention a significant challenge for management. The authors believe that embedding knowledge in work is the best way to deal with this attention deficit.
Potter agrees. “Increasingly anxious employees are faced with a deluge of data and less time than ever to consume and process it. Their time and attention is now often the limiting factor in growth. The smart leader will master the art of directing attention to the most profitable business issues. No mean feat.
“The secret to managing attention is to ensure accessibility, ease of use and credibility of the information which is presented to employees. Make sure data is persuasive, trustworthy, meaningful and, dare I say it, even entertaining.
“Ironically, just as technology has enabled this deluge of information, it also presents the solution for managing it,” says Potter.
Business intelligence (BI) and enterprise information management (EIM) tools enable modern leaders to empower creativity, innovation and inspiration, and minimise the risk of decisions being made without context.
“Instead of leaving it up to employees to search for the information after they need it, leaders with BI tools deliver the right information to their teams as they need it."
Decisions can be made with greater confidence and speed because the quality of underlying data has been assured.
Attention can also be attracted through the new wave of “self service” BI tools, presenting data with impactful and dynamic visualisations without needing the IT department to first write a report or build a dashboard.
By ensuring that the right information gets to the right people at the right time, workers can de-clutter the information space, decrease the attention deficit and maximise efforts on that which is most important.
“With the right information at their finger tips, anyone at any level of the business can now take initiative, make suggestions and offer solutions. Good news for today’s leaders,” says Potter.