Nov 15

CIO.com – Enterprise IT appears to be going insane

Are we continually asking our users what they really need from IT?

Long may we have high-quality, capable, resilient, inexpensive IT. Unfortunately for CIOs and enterprise IT, these characteristics don’t equate to “value” in 2015 in the opinion of business users.

Increasingly, business users are less and less enchanted with IT consistently achieving its SLAs and KPIs and increasingly grouse about such things as a faster way to market, a better customer experience or a lower cost in the employee on-boarding process.

Business users are frustrated with the enterprise IT function because of its inability to meet their business needs in a timely fashion. This frustration is not new and has been around since organizations first centralized IT into a shared service. However, there’s no doubt that business users’ patience is running out; they are increasingly vocal and often more likely to go around the enterprise function to accomplish their goals.

More of the CIO.com article from Peter Bendor-Samuel

Nov 15

CIO.com – Why companies are switching from Google Apps to Office 365

Microsoft’s increasingly strong Office 365 performance is coming partly at the expense of Google Apps. Motorola’s recent decision to move from an elderly version of Office to Google’s cloud service bucks the more common trend of companies who have been using Google Apps switching to Office 365.

It’s not just Microsoft saying that Office 365 is growing (COO Kevin Turner claims that four out of five Fortune 500 companies use the service). Last year, cloud security company Bitglass said traffic analysis gave Google twice the market share of Office 365 among its customers, with 16.3 percent of the market; that went up to 22.8 percent this year as more companies switched to cloud services. However, over the same year, Office 365 grew far faster, from 7.7 percent to 25.2 percent. Google has a slight advantage with small businesses (22.8 percent to Microsoft’s 21.4 percent) but in large, regulated businesses (over 1,000 employees), Microsoft’s 30 percent share is twice that of Google and growing fast.

Office 365 is even more popular with the 21 million customers of Skyhigh Network’s cloud security services, where 87.3 percent are using Office 365 services, with each organization uploading an average 1.37 terabytes of data to the service each month.

More of the CIO.com article from Mary Branscombe

Nov 15

Margaret Heffernan – The secret ingredient that makes some teams better than others

“The trust, knowledge, reciprocity and shared norms that create quality of life and make a group resilient. “Thanks, Emily Theis, for sharing this.

Culture defines any business, but it’s one of the hardest things to manage. In this extract from her new TED Book, Margaret Heffernan lays out the often-overlooked element necessary to build an effective, efficient organization: social capital.

Running a software company in Boston, I recognized — and my board told me — that we needed to reposition the business. Our product was too bland, too generic to stimulate excitement or loyalty. I needed a team to help me, and I ended up working through the problem with a motley crew: a young web developer, a seasoned and eccentric media executive, a visual artist, and me. We spent a week in the private room of a burger joint, exploring options, rejecting easy answers, pushing one another to find something none of us could see. Looking back, I recall that intense period as one of the most thought-provoking learning experiences I’ve ever had. The team was outstanding — and successful — but why? How did such an eclectic combination of people manage to work together so well? What made this experience of creative conflict so productive?

More of the Ted Idea from Margaret Heffernan

Oct 15

ReadersRead.in – 9 Classic Books That Will Change Your Life And Career

The appetite for books that inspire us, move us forward, and give us practical guidance seems to be only increasing. The publication of new business books alone tops 11,000 every year — an overwhelming choice for readers.

The ones that tend do well these days seem to be grounded in humanity.

Perhaps that’s because creativity, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship — they all begin within us; each is very much a human process.

So naturally, the more we humanize the way we think and work, the more progress we can make in these arenas. If we understand the mental and emotional drivers of innovation and creativity, we can be more innovative and creative.

Today’s authors and thinkers have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants. Their works, a diverse arrangement of titles and backgrounds, have inspired me to understand what’s behind things like mindfulness, creativity, innovation and leadership, and I believe they will inspire you, too:

More of the Readersread.in post from Faisal Hoque

Oct 15

The Telegraph – Deleting genes could boost lifespan by 60 per cent, say scientists

Scientists have discovered more than 200 genes linked to ageing and have found switching them off extends life.

The secret of extending life by decades may lie in switching off certain genes, scientists believe, after showing that small genetic tweaks can make organisms live 60 per cent longer.

Ten years of research by the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing and the University of Washington has identified 238 genes that, when silenced, increase the lifespan of yeast cells.

Many of the genes are present in mammals, including humans, suggesting that switching them off could dramatically increase lifespan.

More of The Telegraph post by Sarah Knapton

Oct 15

BrainPickings.org – 9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings

Read this list. It might change your life.

On October 23, 2006, Brain Pickings was born as an email to my seven colleagues at one of the four jobs I held while paying my way through college. Over the years that followed, the short weekly email became a tiny website updated every Friday, which became a tiny daily publication, which slowly grew, until this homegrown labor of love somehow ended up in the Library of Congress digital archive of “materials of historical importance” and the seven original recipients somehow became several million readers. How and why this happened continues to mystify and humble me as I go on doing what I have always done: reading, thinking, and writing about enduring ideas that glean some semblance of insight — however small, however esoteric — into what it means to live a meaningful life.

More of the BrainPickings.org post from Maria Popova

May 15

A Mothers Day Tribute to Bernice Theis

This week, my one-of-a-kind mother, Emily Bernice Theis, left this life to find rest.

EBT headshot

She was a southern girl, raised by a successful farmer and his wife with seven brothers and sisters in the panhandle of Florida. She went by Bernice Jones growing up, because her mother’s name was also Emily. She worked at Tyndall Field in Panama City during World War II. She met Clark Gable one day while working as a secretary there, and danced with him that evening at a fundraising event on the base.

She meet her husband Edward, a poor Minneapolis kid, in a chance encounter in a drugstore in Florala, Alabama during World War II. Ed and Emily’s brother Elmer were stationed at Fort Rucker at the time, and Elmer introduced Ed to Emily. She invited him to her home for dinner, and they soon fell in love and were married in 1944. They lived in Florida for three years, then moved to Indianapolis with their newborn daughter Gail in 1948 after a hurricane blew the roof off their home. They made friends and put down roots in Indy.


Ed and Bernice lost an infant son, Gregory, to a heart defect in 1952. They had another son in 1960, me, Doug. Ed developed a drinking problem after Greg’s death. In 1962, he quit cold and joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Bernice was active in Al-Anon and together they helped many other alcoholics and their families find their way out of addiction.


Bernice’s daughter Gail married her high school sweetheart, Phil Barrett, in 1965, and they moved to Arizona.

Bernice got involved with Vivian Woodard Cosmetics, a network marketing company, in 1965. She was extremely successful, and with Ed handling all the paperwork, together they worked to develop an organization of over 500 women in Indianapolis selling cosmetics. Bernice was one of seven women at the highest level in Vivian Woodard, and the success allowed them not only to pay off their mortgage, but also to influence many people and their success along the way.

Bernice got involved in the Jesus movement in 1972. A lifelong Christian, she loved the active faith of those days and attended Wednesday night home meetings while still attending a Presbyterian church. In 1974, Gail and Phil moved back from the west coast to become associate pastors of the charismatic church Bernice and Ed attended. In 1974, they left that church and joined two other families in forming a new one — Indianapolis Christian Fellowship. ICF still stands today on the old Kiwanis Boy Scout property in southern Indianapolis.

I (Doug) married Teresa Abrahamsen in 1983. Bernice had six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren in total, and she loved and cared for each of them.

Bernice was always active in the church, leading Bible studies and counseling people one-on-one. She was an early adopter of a healthy lifestyle and worked at Georgetown Health Foods (now Georgetown market) in the 1970s. People remember her smile, her wit, and her energy.


Her husband Ed, developed colon cancer and fought hard for ten years before leaving this earth in 2002. Bernice lived alone for a few years, then lived at the nursing facility Kindred Greenwood in the final stage of her life. Dementia and Alzheimer’s took her life at 92. She was the last of her eight brothers and sisters to leave this world.

My mother taught me how to care for other people. She taught me that helping others was one of the few ways to be happy yourself. She taught me how to persist and endure, and how to stay focused on a goal.

I’m proud to be her son.

Jan 15

Daily Burn – The 5-Second Mental Trick That Could Help You Maintain Strength

Having an injury can be a serious bummer. You’re stuck on the couch instead of training for your next race. You’re forced to “take it easy” instead of crushing workouts. But a recent study from the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute at Ohio University shows that a simple visualization exercise could help you retain strength — even while you’re out of commission.

In a study published in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers immobilized 29 individuals by putting their non-dominant hands in wrist casts for four weeks. Throughout the month, half of the participants participated in mental imagery exercises while the other half went about their normal lives.

Participants who completed mental imagery exercises lost 50 percent less strength than those who did not.

Five times each week, the 14 subjects in the visualization group were verbally guided through mental exercise sessions, which instructed them to imagine flexing their immobile wrist as hard as possible for five seconds. Participants heard instructions such as: “When we tell you to start, we want you to imagine that you are pushing in against a handgrip as hard as you can and continue to do so until we tell you to stop.” For two minutes, they alternated between five seconds of visualization and five seconds of rest, completing 13 rounds of the exercise.

More of the DailyBurn article from Alex Orlov

Jun 14

CIO Insight – A Lack of Leadership Cripples Business and IT

Countless words have been written and uttered about corporate leadership. Universities devote entire MBA programs to the topic and conferences dissect virtually every aspect of how to become a better leader.

Nevertheless, leadership is often MIA in business and IT. A recent study conducted by the public relations firm Ketchum found that only 22 percent of 6,509 respondents in 13 countries believe that today’s leaders demonstrate effective leadership. Moreover, there’s a 14 percent gap between expectations and delivery, and only 17 percent expect any type of improvement in 2014.
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But wait, there’s more. Only about four in 10 respondents believe that business leaders meet expectations and a mere 35 percent say they are effective communicators. The fallout? Customers financially punish companies that lack leadership. The Ketchum study found that 61 percent boycotted or bought less from firms that were perceived to be deficient. Conversely, 52 percent began buying or increased purchases due to the belief that a company demonstrated strong leadership.

More of the CIO Insight article

Jun 14

CustomerThink – Privacy Ramifications of IT Infrastructure Everywhere

Most people don’t notice that information technology pervades our daily lives. Granted, some IT infrastructure is in the open and easy to spot, such as the computer and router on your desk hooked up via network cables. However, plenty of IT infrastructures are nearly invisible as they reside in locked network rooms or heavily guarded data centers. And some IT infrastructures are bundled underneath city streets, arrayed on rooftops, or even camouflaged as trees at the local park. Let’s take a closer look at a few ramifications of IT infrastructure everywhere.

1. Technology is pervasive and commonplace in our daily lives. Little is seen, much is hidden.

Good news: Companies have spent billions of dollars investing in wired and wireless connections that span cities, countries and oceans. This connectivity has enabled companies to ship work to lower cost providers in developing countries, and for certain IT projects to “follow the sun” and thus finish faster. Also, because we have IT infrastructure everywhere, it makes it possible for police forces and/or governments to identify and prosecute perpetrators of crime that much easier.

More of the CustomerThink post