The principle of the servo mechanism
The conventional corporate mind would look at figure 15.4 and immediately identify this as a typical model of a business organisation. In place of a missile's target detection function, it would see a marketing department, working out where the goal is and how much the current trajectory is off target. In place of the computer, it would see a team of specialists, and experts who would work out what had to be done to keep the missile on course. In place of the fin controller it would see a team leader or manager, directing and coordinating the fin positioning.
In fact, missiles do not operate in this way. A missile's guidance system doesn't work out how the fins have to be positioned, neither does it coordinate their movements. It is far too difficult a problem for even the most sophisticated of computers to work out what has to be done in order to steer the missile on a correct course to intercept the target. It uses a far simpler method of control: servo mechanisms.
Servo mechanisms are auto controls, feedback systems that steer a missile along a trajectory in much the same way as people might travel through a rain forest. A series of zig zags, where at each zig and zag there is a change of direction according to where the target is in relation to the missile.
This can be visualised if it is imagined that the fins of a missile are controlled by people: one person at each fin. Instead of a heat seeking device, there is a spotter, looking out of a window in the missile to see where the target is. If the spotter sees that the target is diverging away from the trajectory of the missile, there wouldn't be time for the spotter to work out how everybody had to move their fins to get back on target, he'd probably shout out, "Target is moving nine o'clock". - meaning it was moving left.
At this shout, some of the people would reposition their fins to make the missile go to the left. As the missile swung to the left it would go too far and the spotter would shout, "Target is moving three o'clock". At this shout, some of the people would adjust the position of their fins to make the missile go to the right. When the missile swung to the right it would again go too far and the spotter would shout, "Target is moving nine o'clock" and once more the people would move the fins to make the missile move to the left.
This backwards and forward movement of the fins would allow the missile to keep following the target by means of a zig zag route. It seems crude and inefficient, but, it removes the need to have to work out the exact positions of the fins. This simple system of control can allow a missile follow a target through all directions (clock positions), although of course the shouts and responses would be occurring many times a second. It is this same method that can be used by businesses where rapid change and unpredictable competition render structural plans unreliable.
It is this servo mechanism type control that is needed in the e-business environment, where it is impossible to be able to calculate what is the best action for all the collaborators to take and who best to take advice from.