Producer—Consumer Model

December 06, 2013

Post by Joe Ruck, President & CEO of BoardVantage

Executive collaboration requires a platform architecture, which is purpose-built for the typical workflows found in leadership teams.

As organizations prepare to select a tool for mobile leadership collaboration, it is important that they develop an appreciation of the typical workflows that exist at the executive level, because the way leadership teams communicate and collaborate is different from what is typically found at the department level.

One key difference is that executives will rarely, if ever, edit native content. Instead, a support team will produce content that is subsequently distributed to the relevant executives. Whatever written commentary is contributed by the execs will come in the form of annotation, which does not alter the native document. We refer to this form of collaboration as "Producer-Consumer". This model stands in sharp contrast to the collaboration model in use among the rank-and-file where there is no real distinction between these two functions; so all team members will freely edit the native documents. Think of this latter form of collaboration as a "Peer-Producer" model.

A quarterly business review is a prime example of the Producer-Consumer model in action. In preparation, a support team of producers aggregates reports and other documents as the quarter comes to an end. This content is then assembled into a comprehensive package for distribution to the executives — the consumers.

As should be apparent, producers and consumers have vastly different experiences, which means that they require different tools. The executive (consumer) reviews and approves, but does not create content, so the devices of choice — tablets and phones — have to be optimized for consumption. In contrast, the producer needs a rich toolkit to support document preparation and distribution, as well as meeting-creation and administration. These tasks are most efficiently accomplished on a laptop with a browser.

Enabling both the consumer and producer requires a platform designed with these roles in mind, and with features that address their respective needs. The MeetX platform was based on the Producer—Consumer model; it is therefore optimized to support the collaboration structure preferred by leadership teams.