Apr 14

IT Skeptic – Who owns the risk of an IT change?

Stuart Rance posted an interesting blog about What Is Change Management For?. Then we had an excellent discussion about it on Google+, where some great stuff came up that I want to capture here in my IP repository (or “blog” for short). Tell me what you think:

I’m working in the heart of [change management] right now. I agree with every single word, except for one thought:
This article talks of my favourite dilemma – To Protect and Serve. They are often contradictory. If some part of the business – or some development team – wants to go faster than is safe for the organisational IT assets, then Change’s primary role is protection. There are lots of cogs in the machine that move change along, there is only one devoted to mitigating the risk. Where a conflict emerges between Protect and Serve for the Change function, Protect wins.

Stuart Rance

Thanks for the comment +Rob England. I have some sympathy for your position. As you say the issue is trying to get the balance right, but I have very rarely seen IT change management that is too focussed on agility and too little on protection.

What I see all too often is IT that thinks it understands business risk better than the people who should be owning that risk.

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Apr 14

CCJ – Remember These Two Important Facets of Cloud Monitoring for the Enterprise

As organizations continue expanding their adoption of the public cloud, many IT and security professionals are beginning to see that they need improved cloud-monitoring and cloud-auditing capabilities. By cloud monitoring, I’m referring to the process of identifying cloud use within an organization and then evaluating if there are data privacy and/or compliance risks that need to be mitigated. Cloud monitoring includes the idea of fully understanding what clouds are being used and how employees are accessing and updating information, from where and when. This becomes more complicated with the proliferation of BYOD policies as well as the growing trend of Shadow IT groups within corporations that assist business units in deploying clouds without “Official” IT knowing about it. But steps can still be taken to manage the operational and legal risks associated with sending sensitive data outside of the corporation’s firewall while simultaneously enabling operating units to use the cloud as required to drive business results.

More of the Cloud Computing Journal article

Apr 14

CIO.com – CIOs Need to Focus on Competitive Threats

Nothing delivers a rush of business adrenaline like the appearance of a new competitor. When Google bought Nest a few months ago, for example, every CEO with a stake in “smart home” products or the residential energy business took immediate notice.

When FedEx CEO Fred Smith was quizzed about the possibility of Amazon.com competing with his enormous transportation network by using drones to deliver packages, he dismissed the idea as “almost amusing.”

Yet as Managing Editor Kim S. Nash points out in her cover story (” Battle of the Archrivals”), some of the most effective competitive moves happening today in social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies weren’t on anyone’s threat horizon until recently.

Given that reality, we wondered how and where IT was making a difference in three of the fiercest corporate rivalries: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s, Ford vs. General Motors, FedEx vs. UPS. “Technology boasts permeate the marketing and investment strategies for these companies,” Nash writes.

More of the CIO.com article

Apr 14

Data Center Knowledge – Abstracting the Data Center: A look at the DCOS Platform

It’s time to take a step back and look at the data center model that’s impacting today’s business, . It’s time to see just how far this platform has come and exactly where it’s going. It’s time to say hello to the truly agnostic data center. Almost every new technology is being pushed through some type of data center model.

Inside of your current data center model – what do you have under the hood?

Storage, Networking, Compute
Power, Cooling, Environmental Controls
Rack and Cable Management
Building and Infrastructure Security

Although some of these underlying components have stayed the same. Requirements from the workloads that live on top have drastically evolved. Through it all, we’ve also seen an evolution of the physical aspect of the data center. We’re creating powerful multi-tenant, high-density platforms capable of handling users and the new data-on-demand generation. With all of these new technologies and demands, the modern data center has truly become a distributed node infrastructure.

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Apr 14

CIO Insight – The Future of Enterprise Mobility

To better understand the immediate future of enterprise mobility, CIO Insight recently spoke separately with Chris Hazelton, research director of mobile and wireless technologies at 451 Research, and Chris Marsh, a principal analyst of enterprise mobility at Yankee Group. The pair discussed mobility trends, device vendors, mobile ROI, and related developments for the enterprise in 2014 and beyond. Here is an edited version of the one-on-one interviews with Hazelton and Marsh.

What are the most important trends affecting how IT handles mobility today?

Chris Hazelton: The two biggest trends driving the way that IT handles mobility are the limited ability to control the devices that employees are using and the increasing amount of corporate data that is going across these devices. This dynamic means IT must control a growing use of corporate data in an environment in which it is steadily losing control.

As IT has ceded ground to users in terms of the devices that are used, the invasion of mobile apps will need to be a rallying point for organizations to regain control of mobile by managing the enterprise data, apps and work environments on mobile devices. Users can control the device, but IT will need to be the gatekeeper for data.

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Apr 14

ReadWrite – DevOps: The Future Of DIY IT?

If Gartner’s recent poll of NoSQL database adopters is any indication, traditional IT is dead. Not just a little bit dead. Dead dead.

According to the Gartner poll, a scant 5.5% of NoSQL users identified themselves as DBAs that run their businesses operating on those storage systems. The survey was small, but it might point to a larger trend: Do-it-yourself (DIY) IT, or DevOps.
DevOps Rising

DevOps is sometimes characterized as developers reigning over operations, but that’s not really the case. Rather, as Mike Loukides suggests, “Operations doesn’t go away, it becomes part of the development.” Application developers, increasingly running in cloud environments, take on more traditional operations responsibilities with Ops becoming part of the application.

More of the ReadWrite article

Apr 14

Harvard Business Review – The Daily Routines of Geniuses

Juan Ponce de León spent his life searching for the fountain of youth. I have spent mine searching for the ideal daily routine. But as years of color-coded paper calendars have given way to cloud-based scheduling apps, routine has continued to elude me; each day is a new day, as unpredictable as a ride on a rodeo bull and over seemingly as quickly.

Naturally, I was fascinated by the recent book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Author Mason Curry examines the schedules of 161 painters, writers, and composers, as well as philosophers, scientists, and other exceptional thinkers.

As I read, I became convinced that for these geniuses, a routine was more than a luxury — it was essential to their work. As Currey puts it, “A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” And although the book itself is a delightful hodgepodge of trivia, not a how-to manual, I began to notice several common elements in the lives of the healthier geniuses (the ones who relied more on discipline than on, say, booze and Benzedrine) that allowed them to pursue the luxury of a productivity-enhancing routine:

More of the HBR article

Apr 14

CIO.com – Dissatisfaction with IT grows

Businesses want to spend less on IT operations and infrastructure and shift resources to revenue-producing areas, according to two new studies. But businesses leaders and IT executives are also registering higher levels of dissatisfaction with IT as more demands are placed on technology.

The reports, by the Hackett Group and McKinsey & Co., both agree that business executives want IT to do more to improve the bottom line while companies spend less on infrastructure in the process.

The bad news for people who work in IT operations is that large businesses expect to cut IT staff positions by about 2 per cent this year, thanks to automation and outsourcing, according the Hackett’s survey of 160 businesses with revenues above $US1 billion.

One path to improved automation will likely be through adoption of software-defined infrastructures, something Bank of America plans to do.

IT budgets will grow by 1.7 per cent this year as IT pivots, increasingly, from a service-providing operation to a revenue-generating one, the Hackett Group said in its study.

More of the CIO.com Australia article

Apr 14

ZDNet – The new CIO mandate

Keeping up with the relentless pace of technology advancement has become one of the top challenges for organizations as they seek to modernize and adapt to today’s digital marketplaces. Perhaps foremost on the hot seat these days is the Chief Information Officer (CIO). That IT leadership role has been under growing tension between two implacable forces: 1) applying the latest technology innovations to the business and 2) maintaining infrastructure and keeping existing IT systems running smoothly.

The argument has long been made that the top technology leader in most enterprises has a fundamental conflict between keeping the lights on and pushing the business towards more comprehensive digital transformation. The lines of business in most enterprises, for their part, seem less and less content to wait for the CIO to take a more proactive role.

In fact, these days it’s often regional departments and far-flung divisions that are shifting companies into fast-moving and vital areas like market-facing mobile applications, cross-channel CRM, digital marketing, open APIs, online communities, and other high-visibility emerging business technologies. CIOs seem content to take on areas closer to their core competencies in large, centralized systems such as big data, ERP upgrades, and cloud/virtualization.

The data tells a similar story, with a new Forrester study noting that in a major demographic shift, a minority of IT projects will be led by the IT department for the average firm for the first time in history by next year.

More of the ZDNet article

Apr 14

Information Age – 5 tips for getting out of the server room and into the boardroom

‘That sounds like a big ask of the humble IT manager, but the majority of them already feel up to the task’

It’s not just sitcoms like The IT Crowd that put technology experts in a world of their own: IT managers need to break out of the perception that their place is in the server room but not the board room.

To do so, they’ll need to translate their deep knowledge of technical systems and processes into insights that business people can understand. They’ll also have the power (and responsibility) to defuse technology hype and define targets for their co-workers that are most relevant to business success.

That sounds like a big ask of the humble IT manager, but the majority of them already feel up to the task. In SolarWinds’ New IT Survey released just last week, 97% of IT professionals surveyed said they feel at least quite confident in providing advice on critical business decisions – and almost half said they were completely confident that they could do so. Yet although it found that almost every IT professional has delivered this guidance and counsel at one time or another, 6 in 10 only get the chance to do so occasionally or rarely.

This suggests that businesses have yet to fully tap into the diverse technical expertise that their IT managers can bring to the boardroom table. IT professionals, however, can quite easily make their potential decision-making value known – all they have to do is align what they know with what the business wants and needs.

More of the Information Age article