17
Jan 17

Customer Think – The term “Digital” is simply the latest proxy for describing current unmet needs

Grow my company, and maintain profitability. This is likely the core job for any business owner and/or management team. The markets punish public companies that cannot maintain growth and/or profitability over time. Hey founders, initial growth don’t count! Everyone grows from zero.

The term “Digital” is simply the latest proxy for current unmet needs in many markets. While it’s simple, it’s also confusing. Both customers and suppliers alike have difficulty expressing what needs are in a consistent fashion; which is why we — as whole — have great difficulty achieving high rates of product launch (or solution implementation) success. The only way to address this is to, once and for all, come to a common agreement.

Terms like Digital, the Sharing Economy, etc. are simply trying to describe how certain solutions and platforms are addressing current unmet needs in the market. Products and services that are struggling are serving former unmet needs.

More of the Customer Think post from Mike Boysen


16
Jan 17

Untitled

From the article: “The problem I see more often is that leaders don’t make decisions at all. They don’t clearly signal their intent about what matters. In short, they don’t prioritize.” Is your IT staff clear on priorities?

Every organization needs what I call a “hierarchy of purpose.” Without one, it is almost impossible to prioritize effectively.

When I first joined BNP Paribas Fortis, for example, two younger and more dynamic banks had just overtaken us. Although we had been a market leader for many years, our new products had been launched several months later than the competition — in fact, our time to market had doubled over the previous three years. Behind that problem was a deeper one: We had more than 100 large projects (each worth over 500,000 euros) under way. No one had a clear view of the status of those investments, or even the anticipated benefits. The bank was using a project management tool, but the lack of discipline in keeping it up to date made it largely fruitless. Capacity, not strategy, was determining which projects launched and when. If people were available, the project was launched. If not, it stalled or was killed.

Prioritization at a strategic and operational level is often the difference between success and failure. But many organizations do it badly.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez


13
Jan 17

ComputerWeekly – Disaster recovery testing: technology systems to test DR

In this concluding part of a two-part series, Computer Weekly looks at ways of testing disaster recovery (DR). In the first article, we discussed the need for disaster recovery and for developing a strategy to test the backup process.

We discussed four main items that need to be evaluated to ensure successful testing. These were:

Time – Evaluating the time since a test was last performed and measuring the time to complete recovery, from a RTO (recovery time objective) perspective.
Change – Testing after major changes occur in the infrastructure, such as application upgrades or infrastructure (hypervisor changes).
Impact – What is the impact of running a test? Can a test be run without impacting the production environment?
People – How do we consider the human factor from the perspective of taking human error out of the recovery process?

In a virtual environment, the options for recovery can be divided into four main sections.

More of the ComputerWeekly article from Chris Evans


12
Jan 17

ComputerWeekly – Disaster recovery testing: A vital part of the DR plan

IT has become critical to the operation of almost every company that offers goods and services to businesses and consumers.

We all depend on email to communicate, collaboration software (such as Microsoft Word and Excel) for our documents and data, plus a range of applications that manage internal operations and customer-facing platforms such as websites and mobile apps.

Disaster recovery – which describes the continuing of operations when a major IT problem hits – is a key business IT processes that has to be implemented in every organisation.

First of all, let’s put in perspective the impact of not doing effective disaster recovery.

Estimates on the cost of application and IT outages vary widely, with some figures quoting around $9000/minute.

More of the ComputerWeekly article from Chris Evans


11
Jan 17

IT Business Edge – Whistleblower Advises IT Pros on How to Handle Corporate Malfeasance

Michael G. Winston’s name will probably forever be linked to the Great Recession of the late 2000s, but in a good way: He’s the whistleblower who dared to take on the subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. So what better person to ask about blowing the whistle as an IT pro?

Now a leadership consultant and author of the book, “World-Class Performance,” Winston has become something of a folk hero in the recession’s aftermath, never shying away from speaking out on corporate malfeasance. In a recent interview, I presented a hypothetical scenario to him in which a newly hired network engineer learns that the IT organization is engaged in an effort, initiated by the CEO, to hack into the networks of the company’s competitors, and he’s expected to go along with it. What should the network engineer do?

More of the IT Business Edge article from Don Tennant


10
Jan 17

WSJ – How to calculate technical debt

To inform non-IT executives of the specific costs and risks posed by aging infrastructure and applications, CIOs are beginning to quantify their IT organizations’ technical debt.

As business leaders have grown more involved in IT investment decisions, many CIOs have found it increasingly difficult to obtain funding for infrastructure and application maintenance. Consequently, some CIOs are turning to the concept of technical debt to bolster their business cases for IT maintenance investments.

Technical debt refers to the accumulated costs and long-term consequences of using poor coding techniques, making quality/time trade-offs, delaying routine maintenance, and employing other suboptimal IT practices in the enterprise. Those kinds of quick fixes may lower costs in the short term or keep software development and implementation projects on schedule, but they can also cause serious problems down the road if left unaddressed. Specifically, they may lead to application outages, security vulnerabilities, and increased maintenance costs.

While the concept of technical debt was originally coined to address quick and dirty coding practices, it is now being applied to other IT disciplines including infrastructure, architecture, integration, and processes, according to Mike Habeck, a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Technology Strategy & Architecture practice.

More of the Wall Street Journal article from Deloitte


09
Jan 17

CIO.com – ​5 lessons in reducing IT complexity

It’s an adage as old as time (or at least as old as the invention of the personal computer): Technology is destined to cycle constantly between complexity and simplicity.

Remember the hassle of attaching peripherals in the days before USB ports? Remember the anguish of developing applications for competing OS interfaces before HTML? We fixed those problems, and look at that, we’ve moved on to others.

“Complexity grows over time,” says Bryson Koehler, chief information and technology officer (CITO) of The Weather Company in Atlanta. “Systems are built to do one thing, and then they’re modified, morphed and bastardised to do things they were never meant to do.”

Complexity also occurs when technologies overlap one another – “when you add new stuff but keep the old instead of getting rid of it,” says Dee Burger, North America CEO of Capgemini Consulting.

More of the CIO.com post from Howard Baldwin


06
Jan 17

HBR – 4 Assumptions About Risk You Shouldn’t Be Making

Are you being honest with yourself and your company about risk? If doing nothing leads to decline, projects with marginal projections actually are better alternatives than inaction.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The line is instantly recognizable as the conclusion of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. And, the misunderstood poem helps to highlight how innovation-seeking executives need to reframe the word risk.

Most readers assume Frost’s poem is hopeful, describing the value of the rugged individualism that has long served as an American hallmark. However, a measured reading shows a wistful tone that borders on regret (“I shall be telling this with a sigh”), with critics arguing that the poem’s key message is how we rationalize bad decisions after the fact.

Similarly, when the word risk comes out of an executive’s mouth, it’s usually accompanied by one of four mistakes:

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Scott Anthony


05
Jan 17

Continuity Central – Survey finds that US companies are struggling with remote and branch office IT disaster recovery

Riverbed Technology has published the results of a survey that looks at the challenges that organizations are facing when managing IT at remote and branch offices. The survey asked IT professionals about the various challenges they face in provisioning and managing remote and branch offices (ROBOs) and found supporting ‘the IT edge’ was expensive, resource-intensive and full of potential data security risks.

ROBO IT continues to be provisioned and managed largely as it has been for the past 20 years, with distributed IT spread out across potentially hundreds of remote and branch locations. However, this approach can bring data risk and operational penalties to companies at an extremely high cost, and in today’s increasingly distributed enterprise with a primary focus on data and security, past approaches may not be ideal for business success. Given the various challenges associated with managing remote sites, organizations have their hands full in supporting the edge.

More of the Continuity Central post


04
Jan 17

IT Business Edge – Eliminate Technical Debt to Enable a Nimble IT Organization

The problem of technical debt is pervasive. And it’s not always easy to clearly identify the long-term problems that come with accepting technical debt. Here’s a practical look at some of the costs and implications. What is your organization doing to address your technical debt problem?

In the wake of economic volatility over the past decade, corporations have accumulated technical debt due to cost cutting and underinvestment in technology. In many companies, the result is often a patchwork of software fixes and inefficiencies across applications, architectures, and infrastructure that stifle agility.

Meanwhile, the business expects IT to keep pace with the change that digital disruption requires. In order to do so, CIOs must pay down the accumulated technical debt to regain strategic relevance while playing the role for which IT is best suited: guiding technology decisions to help the organization maximize the value of new technologies.

In this sldieshow, Mazen Baroudi, Accenture Strategy’s North America lead for Technology Strategy, outlines the areas where management needs to look to identify sources of technical debt. Mazen closes with three steps IT organizations should take to pay down their technical debt on their journey to becoming more nimble and responsive to the company’s technology needs and ultimately its business.

More of the IT Business Edge slideshow