Jan 16

CustomerThink – We’ve always done it this way…

Does inertia matter more to you than delivering better services to your clients?

Something happened the other day that reminded me of a time when I was still new in this business. Yes, I didn’t have the 25+ years of experience as I do now but I still had enough under my belt to know what was going on and how to evaluate a department and its staff.

I had just started working as a banquet manager at another hotel and found that most of the waiters have been working there for around 7 years and some up to 15 years. After a few days of observation, I made a list of the things that I knew we can do better and planned the steps needed to make it happen. No big deal, I’ve done this many times before.

On the following week’s schedule I listed a date for a mandatory meeting/training class and prepared the topics I would discuss. The meeting day arrived and we all sat around a series of round tables and enjoyed the coffee, soda and bottled water I had prepared for them. Hey, if I force you to come in for a meeting, the least I can do is have some beverages prepared for you…right?

More of the CustomerThink post from Steve Steve DiGioia

Dec 15

Customer Think – How Have You Helped Your Customers Improve Their Outcomes?

As we approach the end of the year, there’s always a huge intensity of activity. A lot driven by the various holidays we celebrate, a lot driven by year end (or quarter end), and some driven by preparations for the new fiscal year.

It’s easy to lose focus on our customers.

But perhaps it’s worth a few minutes to reflect. Perhaps even spending some time in review with them.

The key issue is, “How have you helped them improve their outcomes in the past year?”

At the core of everything we do, our success is measured less on achieving our sales numbers, but more on the results we’ve helped our customers achieve.

It’s important to both our customers and us, but too often we tend to forget about it–or we realize they haven’t achieve the outcomes expected.

This isn’t driven by some airy concept of customer-centricity, though that’s very nice. These are really data driven, tough minded business discussions.

How have you helped your customers improve their outcomes?

Sure you may have gotten an order, but customers don’t buy just to buy. They buy to achieve results. Did they achieve them?

More of the Customer Think post by Dave Brock

Dec 15

ZDNet – IT managers: we’re hurting for more cloud and DevOps skills

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “two-speed” IT, in which one part of the job is to help with all the cool stuff, such as digital presence and data analytics, while the other part is to deal with the traditional IT maintenance stuff — upgrades, patching, coding, security and so forth.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like two-speed IT is a 50-50 split in time and resources. It’s more like 80-20, in favor of the maintenance side.

That’s the conclusion from a survey of 200 IT executives just released by NetEnrich, which surveyed larger organizations with at least $400 million in annual revenues. The survey finds plenty of adoption of newer approaches that could help shift IT’s emphasis to the digital side — particularly cloud and DevOps. Nearly 97 percent of respondents said they’re moving applications and workloads into public, private or hybrid cloud environments, and 68 percent said that DevOps methodologies have been integrated well into their traditional IT and tech operations teams.

More of the ZDNet article from Joe McKendrick

Dec 15

Business Insider – How to train your brain to make better decisions

Overcoming obstacles is synonymous with entrepreneurship. The ability to engage with difficulties and stress in an empowering way is described as the biggest factor for success in life — more significant than your IQ, social networks, physical health, or socio-economic background.

When you encounter stressful situations, there are two basic ways your brain will respond: fight or flight. Whether you fight or flee can be boiled down to how you’ve been conditioned from past experiences. This negative pattern of responses is known as “learned helplessness.” If you’ve given a terrible presentation at a business meeting, you’ll have a stress-induced flight response in similar future scenarios.

If left unchecked, this pattern of “learned” avoidance behaviors will lead to passive and poor decisions. You cannot dominate in entrepreneurship and leadership if you have a pattern of unhealthy risk-averse decisions — always fleeing from challenges.

More of the Business Insider article from Thai Nguyen

Dec 15

Tech.co – How Do Small Businesses Select a Cloud Storage Service?

A surge in cloud storage adoption is evident over the past four years, especially in the small- and mid-sized business (SMB) market. More specifically, 52 percent of SMBs in the US use cloud storage, according to new survey findings.

As the quantity of SMBs adopting cloud storage increases, it is important to understand what criteria they consider when selecting a cloud storage service provider.

A significant room for growth remains for cloud storage usage. And, as the quantity of SMBs adopting cloud storage increases, it is important to understand the characteristics SMBs consider in the selection process and the factors that weigh most heavily on their decision.

More of the Tech.co post from Sarah Patrick

Dec 15

CIOInsight – Why CIOs Are Losing Control of Technology

CIOs give themselves and their employees high marks for delivering upon needed business outcomes, but they also admit that they’re losing control over significant tech purchase decisions to the business side, according to a recent survey from Logicalis US. More than ever, finding reveal, line-of-business (LOB) managers circumvent CIOs and tech employees in acquiring tech apps and solutions, thus cultivating a shadow IT culture. This creates issues with respect to both tech governance and security assurance, and CIOs now feel pressured to transform their roles from that of technologist to what’s emerging as “internal service provider” to counter shadow IT.

More of the CIOInsight slideshow from Dennis McCafferty

Dec 15

Data Center Knowledge – Forget Hardware, Forget Software, Forget the Infrastructure

Enterprise IT has to forget about hardware, forget about the infrastructure, forget about software, and think more about getting their job done, which is delivering services or applications.

That’s according to David Cappuccio, a VP at Gartner who oversees research in enterprise data center strategies and trends. In the opening keynote at Gartner’s annual data center management summit here Monday, Cappuccio together with colleague Thomas Bittman outlined Gartner’s vision for the new role the IT organization has to play in the enterprise.

That new role has less to do with managing disparate bits of infrastructure and more to do with selecting the best infrastructure strategy to provide a specific service. The toolbox they can select from includes on-premise or colocation data centers and cloud – private, public, or hybrid, on-prem or outsourced.

More of the Data Center Knowledge article from Yevgeny Sverdlik

Dec 15

HBR – Executives Get the IT They Deserve

Here’s a concise article on why enterprise IT is so different from consumer IT. Business leaders, what’s your next move?

Many executives pine for their internal IT systems to give them a more consumer-friendly experience. They point to the simplicity, ease of use, and hassle-free nature of the digital services they use in their personal lives: the apps on their smart phone that make services available at the push of a button, software that can be installed and configured with the click of an icon, the ability to plug a printer into a laptop’s USB port and have it ready to print, a tablet that can be connected to the internet without any cautionary pop-ups warning about potential security risks or possible compatibility problems.

In the consumer IT world everything just seems to work, they lament. Why does corporate IT make things so complicated?

Unfortunately, most executives don’t recognize that consumer IT and enterprise IT are different animals. They don’t understand that they must play the pivotal role in the critical decisions that shape enterprise IT — decisions that they leave to the likes of Yahoo, Apple, Google, and Vodafone in the consumer world.

In the consumer world, all digital services are vanilla versions. Sometimes, you can opt for either cheaper or more expensive versions with less or more functionality. But as a customer, you have no input into what is offered; you either take it or leave it.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Joe Peppard

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