Aug 16

HBR – 7 Questions to Ask Before Your Next Digital Transformation

Although digital investment is almost unquestionably the right course of action for most firms, organizations still struggle to create the desired results. Estimates of digital transformation failures range from 66% to 84%. Such a high failure rate isn’t surprising, as leaders are trying to create entirely new competencies and wedge them into an organization with strong legacy cultures and operating models.

While most executives are pros at managing change, digital transformation is a much deeper change than the usual process or system update. Of course, digital technology can be used to improve or augment existing ways of operating, but it also opens entirely new ways of doing business based on digital networks like Uber, Airbnb, Yelp, and the Apple Developer Network — which is where a great deal of the digital value resides.

So as you navigate your own digital transformation, we recommend beginning with a few questions that go deeper than “what talent do you need” or “how much money will you spend” and probe broader organizational readiness.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Barry Libert, Megan Beck, and Yoram (Jerry) Wind

Aug 16

The Register – Capacity planning in an age of agile and on – demand IT

Have we all been caught asleep at the capacity planning wheel? Business users today want, and expect new IT services to be delivered in the blink of an eye, the necessary resources provisioned instantly, and changes made “on demand”. But such IT flexibility requires that physical resources, server, storage and networking are ready to be allocated when required. The need for capacity planning has never been greater, yet a recent survey tells us that few organisations have the capabilities they need.

Furthermore, ‘overprovision and forget’ remains a common approach that elevates IT procurement and operational costs at a time when money is tight.

Business services at risk

Every organisation relies on instant availability to a wide range of IT services, from relatively predictable essential everyday functionality provided by key business applications to customer facing systems whose usage may be highly variable. In some environments, such as development and test systems, they also have to operate on a more ad hoc basis with unpredictable resource requirements. For some IT solutions, such as DR, the hope is that the resources required will never be used, but the potential impact of them kicking in needs to be accounted for.

More of The Register article from Tony Lock

Aug 16

CIO Insight – CIOs and Their Salaries

These CIOs bring in seven-figure salaries as they lead their companies in an era when tech and business units must emerge as collaborative partners.

As a CIO, you probably consider yourself well-compensated. (Or at least we hope so.) But have you ever wondered what the elite of the elite make? If so, you’ll want to check out this list of the 10 highest-paid CIOs, as recently published by Janco. Gender-wise, it’s a pretty diverse list, with women accounting for half of the positions—including the top two slots and three of the top five. The CIOs also bring to the table a diversity of work and life experiences, including those related to community outreach, national policy, business leadership, tech design and the military. Collectively, they are leading their companies in an era when tech and business units must emerge as collaborative partners, navigating disruptive trends related to the cloud, mobility, Internet of things and even wearable tech. Indeed, one CIO describes this period as a “tipping point” and another in even more apocalyptic terms.

More of the CIO Insight slideshow from Dennis McCafferty

Aug 16

ZDNet – Cloud computing pricing: Beware the bill shock

Cloud pricing models vary dramatically. Elastic utilization can mean wide variability in month to month. Make sure your financial goals like flat spending or opex versus capex match up with your cloud providers pricing model.

One of the benefits of cloud computing that’s often touted by providers is cutting costs: rather than having the hassle and expense of buying servers and equipping data centers, and paying for staff to maintain them, companies can offload their workloads to the cloud, where economies of scale around the infrastructure mean that costs are much lower.

In theory, cloud users simply pay for the resources they use, as and when they need them, without the burden of paying for hardware, or data center space. That means pricing should be straightforward, right?

Not quite: there isn’t just a single model of cloud pricing.

On-demand allows you to purchase services as and when you need them, while reserved instances work like many other types of bill, where the user forecasts what they’re probably going to need over a particular period — usually in quarterly or annual instances. The user then pays upfront, although their cloud provider may give discounts for buying services in bulk. Spot pricing is where cloud companies sell off unused processing power at a discount: companies can then bid for a certain amount of computing power at a certain price.

More of the ZDNet article from Danny Palmer

Aug 16

WSJ – Only 19% of CIOs at Top U.S. Firms are Women: Study

Less than a fifth of chief information officers at top U.S. companies are women, according to a report by executive-search firm Korn/Ferry International.

Across all industry sectors, women accounted for just 19% of CIOs at the top 1,000 firms by revenue, the report said.

That outpaces the number of women who are chief executive or chief financial officers at these firms, but falls behind those who are chief marketing or human resources officers.

All told, women accounted for just 24% of all c-suite executives.

By industry, women were most likely to be the top IT managers at firms in the energy sector, where 35% of CIOs were women, followed by the life sciences at 22% and the consumer and industrial sectors, both at 18%.

Just 11% of CIOs at these firms in the technology sector were women, the report said.

More of the Wall Street Journal article from Angus Loten

Aug 16

WSJ – Failures Like the Delta Outage Are a Fact of Digital Business

Customers are still feeling the fallout from computer problems at Delta Air Lines Inc. that began with an electrical outage in the dark hours of Monday morning. Flight cancellations grew throughout the day to about 1,000 and Delta continued to cancel flights Tuesday – 680 as of 5:15 p.m. ET – as it tried to restore normal operations.

“Following the power loss, some critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to Delta’s backup systems,” the company said in a statement. Delta hasn’t gone into detail about which systems didn’t perform as expected or why. Airline reservations, maintenance and operations systems are notoriously complex, made all the more so by layers of technology integrated after years of mergers and acquisitions.

Other industries deal with such complexity but none more publicly than airlines, says Allan Frank, co-founder and chief IT strategist at The Hackett Group, which advises large companies on technology best practices. You have “multiple systems from multiple companies over a period of years, he says. “A glitch can take down the whole house… In the end, people are stuck at airports and there’s a direct, emotional impact.”

More of the Wall Street Journal article from Kim S. Nash

Aug 16

CIO Insight – Are IT Teams Relevant in an As-a-Service World?

A study revealed business leaders question the relevancy of IT in a world brimming with cloud services that are available on demand, anytime and on any device.

The road to enterprise innovation is always paved with good intentions. However, for many CIOs and their organizations, the compass too often points in the wrong direction.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the emerging as-a-service world. According to a recent Accenture study, IT Is Dead. Long Live IT!, six out of 10 respondents claim that IT does not have a significant influence on their choice of an as-a-service provider, with 77 percent stating that the IT organization lacks the skill sets for an as-a-service world. The research also found that 70 percent of business and IT leaders do not involve internal IT until after the as-a-service option has been selected.

This raises a key question: how relevant is IT in an as-a-service world brimming with cloud services that are available on demand, anytime and on any device?

More of the CIO Insight post from Samuel Greengard

Aug 16

Baseline – CIOs Are Confident Their Staff Can Meet Challenges

With tech departments now expected to make valuable contributions to business strategies while continuing to satisfy nuts-and-bolts operational IT needs, CIOs and other tech leaders expressed considerable confidence in their staff’s ability to successfully tackle these challenges, according to a recent survey from TEKsystems. The resulting midyear “Reality Check” report indicates that both tech budgets and full-time staffing are increasing. Hopefully, such organizational investments will put IT in a better position to pursue new initiatives—an area in which survey respondents express a comparative lack of confidence. Meanwhile, organizations continue to struggle to hire qualified IT talent, especially for roles such as architect, programmer, developer, project manager and software engineer. “If IT leaders aren’t experiencing these trends yet, they should be on the lookout for how they could affect their organizational needs,” said Jason Hayman, research manager for TEKsystems.

More of the Baseline slideshow from Dennis McCafferty

Aug 16

ZDNet – The 7 Attributes of a Comprehensive Cloud Strategy

Whether or not these seven topics comprise a comprehensive cloud strategy, they are all topics that IT professionals should understand as cloud computing becomes more integrated into the business.

We believe a pragmatic cloud strategy will work best, based on your own unique landscape and requirements. Working every day with customers and partners in co-innovation, we quickly realized that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

There is a lot of hot air involved in cloud discussions – and a lot of foggy principles. I happen to believe that a pragmatic cloud strategy will work best, based on your own unique landscape and requirements. Working every day with customers and partners in co-innovation, we quickly realized that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Here are my TOP 7 attributes of a comprehensive cloud strategy that need to be addressed when you discuss Cloud computing in your company – even more so if you discuss with vendors and partners. We found this framework helps to start a meaningful discussion and get everybody aligned – demystifying the cloud and leaving out the hype.

#1 Software as a Service (SaaS)

If we need to take a focus here when we talk about SaaS, it will be the user experience. Cloud solutions start with engaging the end user more than other solutions. Not because they are SaaS, because they can and they are innovating faster and responding to trends like mobility, social, collaboration, etc. Developing or consuming cloud solutions you will most often be the first using the latest and greatest available technology.

More of the ZDNet article from Sven Denecken

Aug 16

WSJ – U.S. Cloud Firms ‘Out Innovated’ Competitors in Wake of NSA Leak

And now for the good news.

Despite dire predictions of revenue losses in the wake of a leaked U.S. spy agency’s electronic surveillance program three years ago, U.S. cloud providers have instead “out innovated” local competitors to keep a firm grip on the European market, a market watcher says.

U.S. cloud providers were widely expected to be hurt by local business and regulatory efforts to safeguard European data following the 2013 release of documents linking U.S. tech firms to National Security Agency surveillance programs.

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, an industry think tank, said at the time that “U.S. cloud service providers stand to lose somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the foreign market in the next few years,” in an August 2013 report about the impact of the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Its low-end estimate for losses by U.S. cloud providers was $21.5 billion over the next three years, as European and Asian competitors took advantage of stricter data privacy and protection rules in local markets. Its high-end estimate for losses was $35 billion.

More of the Wall Street Journal article from Angus Loten