Jun 16

Fast Company – How Giving Up TV For A Month Changed My Brain And My Life

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, I don’t know what the Scandal is, and I couldn’t name a single “real” housewife. I thought I didn’t watch much television and that taking a 30-day break would be a piece of cake. I was wrong.

The average adult watches 2.8 hours per day of television, according to the American Time Use survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another study puts this number higher, at four hours and 15 minutes each day. I added up all of the viewing at my house, and we were definitely on the high side.

-A one-hour standing date with Judge Judy, marking the official end of my workday
-An hour of news
-Thirty minutes of Jeopardy (because it’s educational)
-And an hour-plus of mindless shows before bed

Nielsen, we have a problem.

A lot of research has been done around TV viewing and children, and Adam Lipson, a neurosurgeon with IGEA Brain & Spine, says one of the best studies is from Tohoku University in Japan. “They noted thickening of the frontopolar cortex, which is related to verbal reasoning ability, and also correlated with a drop in IQ in proportion to the number of hours of television watching,” he says. “In addition, they noted thickening in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe, and in the hypothalamus, which may correlate with aggression.”

More of the Fast Company article from Sephanie Vozza

Jun 16

HBR – Every Fast-Growing Company Has to Combat Overload

It feels horrible: You’re scaling up aggressively and working harder than ever, but with each passing day you feel more overwhelmed. Your business is a success, but you feel like a failure. You used to be able to track everything with an Excel spreadsheet, personally designed by your CFO; now you’ve got an SAP installation in its place, supported by an entire IT department. You and your founding team used to feel like members of the same small tribe; now you’re working with unfamiliar layers of staff hired from companies whose culture is not like yours. You used to know your key customers by their first names; now you know them only as averages on PowerPoint slides. Every employee used to know what made your mission special; now most of them don’t. Things are spinning out of control, and you don’t know what to do.

What’s going on? You’ve hit overload—the internal dysfunction and loss of external momentum that strikes young, fast-growing companies as they try to rapidly scale their businesses. Overload is one of the three predictable crises that companies experience as they grow. With overload everyone in the company becomes stretched and loses the focus on the customer. A helpful image to keep in mind here is that of a plate spinner. As the spinner sets more and more plates in motion (growth), he obviously has to keep them in motion. This gets harder and harder, especially if he hasn’t prepared adequately for the challenges involved. Soon what once was a satisfying process becomes a deeply troubling and threatening one (overload): plates start to wobble, and the spinner has to scramble ever faster to keep them all in motion. His mission has changed. He’s no longer thinking about serving and delighting his audience (customers). He’s just trying to manage the chaos and avoid catastrophe.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Chris Zook

Jun 16

Data Center Knowledge – FedRAMP’s Lack of Transparency Irks Government IT Decision Makers

Four out of five federal cloud decision makers are frustrated with FedRAMP, according to a new report from government IT public-private partnership MeriTalk. Federal IT professionals said they are frustrated with a lack of transparency into the process.

MeriTalk surveyed 150 Federal IT decision makers in April for the FedRAMP Fault Lines report, and found that 65 percent of respondents at defense agencies, and 55 percent overall, do not believe that FedRAMP has increased security. Perhaps even worse, 41 percent are unfamiliar with the General Service Administration’s (GSA) plans to fix FedRAMP. The GSA announced FedRAMP Accelerated in March.

“Despite efforts to improve, FedRAMP remains cracked at the foundation,” said MeriTalk founder Steve O’Keeffe. “We need a FedRAMP fix – the PMO must improve guidance, simplify the process, and increase transparency.”

More of the Data Center Knowledge article from Chris Burt

Jun 16

IT Business Edge – Leadership Lessons for IT Professionals from an Iraq War Hero

A lot of IT professionals find themselves in positions they never really envisioned themselves being in: leadership positions. They had always felt fulfilled career-wise by meeting technology challenges, and never really aspired to be leaders of anyone. And yet here they are, with responsibilities involving the professional well-being of other people. To whom should they turn for advice?

I’d start with Justin Constantine. He knows what it’s like to be in a position he didn’t expect to be in.

On October 18, 2006, Constantine, a U.S. Marine Corps officer deployed to Iraq, was on patrol when a shot rang out from an enemy sniper. In that split second, Constantine’s life changed forever. The bullet entered his head behind his left ear, and exploded out of his mouth. That he survived is attributable to the miraculous efforts of a brave Navy corpsman on the scene. Today, he can’t see out of his left eye, and part of his tongue is missing. But he can speak, following multiple surgeries to rebuild his jaw with bones from other parts of his body. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury.

More of the IT Business Edge article from Don Tennant

Jun 16

CIOInsight – Why IT Must Pursue an Information Governance Plan

Most organizations can benefit from outside help on governance. Call me if you’re looking for resources.

The majority of IT executives said their organization is either implementing a formal information governance (IG) program or is planning to do so, according to a recent survey from Veritas. The resulting “State of Information Governance” report defines IG as “the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.” To support this, the research reveals that most companies are issuing formal data use policies and requiring employees to identify data that is confidential. They’re also training staffers on data storage and archiving. In addition, findings break down organizations into those which are “high performing” on IG, and those which are not. While overall adoption rates among both are strong, high performers are more likely to deploy email and file archiving, while issuing formal use policies. “Information is both the lifeblood and the bane of any business, no matter its size, industry or location,” according to the report. “Enterprises collect and analyze data from a myriad of internal and external sources to improve business efficiencies and decision-making processes.

More of the CIOInsight slideshow from Dennis McCafferty

Jun 16

HBR – The Dirty Little Secret About Digitally Transforming Operations

Earlier this year, we walked the halls of the Hannover Messe, one of Europe’s largest events for industrial manufacturers. The newest robots, 3-D printing systems, and data-mining hardware and services were all there along with a host of people hyping Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Manufacturing, and big data and advanced analytics. It seemed as though everybody from the best-known software giants to basic industrial parts providers was marketing a “latest technological breakthrough” — even if it amounted to little more than a new sensor attached to an old piece of equipment.

Amazing dreams were being sold: A black box that could be installed in your plant and would improve your competitiveness — all by itself; big data servers and algorithms that would tell you how to improve your process — with no additional engineering investment; virtual-reality glasses that would make your workforce more productive — just by putting them on.

It was all reminiscent of 19th century advertisements for cure-all patent medicines.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Markus Hammer, Malte Hippe, Christoph Schmitz, Richard Sellschop and Ken Somers

May 16

CIO Insight – How Security Laws Inhibit Information Sharing

Third-party vendors could provide compliance services to companies and ISAOs, a likely market solution given that they already have expertise and can spread the cost among many clients.

A new report finds that although there is a need for actionable threat intelligence and information-sharing worldwide, significant obstacles exist because of data privacy and protection and national security laws. The result is a chilling effect on cross-border cooperation that must be addressed. In that spirit, the report, “Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations: Putting Theory into Practice,” by Price Waterhouse Cooper, analyzes global legal hurdles to information-sharing and offers potential solutions.

More of the CIO Insight article from Karen Frenkel

May 16

HBR – https://hbr.org/2016/05/the-impact-of-the-blockchain-goes-beyond-financial-services

The technology most likely to change the next decade of business is not the social web, big data, the cloud, robotics, or even artificial intelligence. It’s the blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Blockchain technology is complex, but the idea is simple. At its most basic, blockchain is a vast, global distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where not just information but anything of value – money, titles, deeds, music, art, scientific discoveries, intellectual property, and even votes – can be moved and stored securely and privately. On the blockchain, trust is established, not by powerful intermediaries like banks, governments and technology companies, but through mass collaboration and clever code. Blockchains ensure integrity and trust between strangers. They make it difficult to cheat.

In other words, it’s the first native digital medium for value, just as the internet was the first native digital medium for information. And this has big implications for business and the corporation.

Much of the hype around blockchains has focused on their potential to fundamentally change the financial services industry – by dropping the cost and complexity of financial transactions, making the world’s unbanked a viable new market, and improving transparency and regulation. Indeed, it is already having a big impact on that sector. However, our two-year research project, involving hundreds of interviews with blockchain experts, provides strong evidence that the blockchain could transform business, government, and society in perhaps even more profound ways.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

May 16

CIO Dashboard – 3 Strategies to Decrease IT Costs and Increase Business Impact

Guest post by Suheb Siddiqui and Chetan Shetty

A veteran CIO recently said, “The last few months felt like I time traveled back to the 1980s. Business stakeholders are demanding the applications they want, designed the way they like, and at a speed dictated by their priorities.” He wasn’t talking about an AS400 based Cobol program; he was talking about custom apps written on industry standard platforms, provided by numerous Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers such as Salesforce, Oracle and ServiceNow.

Our industry has undergone numerous transitions. In the 1980s and part of the 1990s, business users were in control. They could pick their favorite “best of breed” applications, and design and customize them how they wanted. Integration and governance was expensive and difficult. Then, Y2K fueled the growth of Megasuite ERPs. Starting in the late 1990s, IT started controlling the agenda and strong governance led to cost efficiencies, albeit at the expense of user satisfaction.

Fast forward to 2016, Software as a Service (SaaS) and PaaS solutions are empowering users to be in control again. As a result, we are witnessing a growing gap between the total IT spend of an organization, which is increasing as users buy their own SaaS solutions, and the IT budget controlled by the CIO, which is under constant cost pressure. Successful CIOs have to find new strategies to bridge this growing “Digital Divide.”

More of the CIO Dashboard article

May 16

IT Business Edge – Setting the Right Tone for Risk Management

Without one person in an organization responsible for managing third-party risk, companies face a serious barrier to achieving effective third-party risk management, according to a new study. The study, “Tone at the Top and Third-Party Risk,” was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Shared Assessments, a member-driven, industry-standard body specializing in third-party risk assurance. “Tone at the Top” describes an organization’s environment, as established by its board of directors, audit committee and senior management. It is set by all levels of management and trickles down to all employees. “If management is committed to a culture and environment that embraces honesty, integrity and ethics, employees are more likely to uphold those same values,” according to the report. ”

More of the IT Business Edge post by Karen Frenkel