How to Structure Your Agile Enterprise

Build new businessFirst of all… this is a really, really, really big topic. If we are lucky, we’ll get a start and maybe lay a foundation for future conversations. My goal in the next 1000 words or so is to at least introduce the foundational concepts, and frankly… help me see where I want to go with this. So… with all my pre-qualifications in place, let’s see what we can do.

Over the last few posts, we’ve talked about what it takes to do Scrum well and explored many of the anti-patterns that cause Scrum to fail. One of the biggest challenges to adopting Scrum is the ability to form complete cross-functional teams. Before we get into how to solve the problem, let’s first explore why it’s so hard to begin with.

Continue Reading →

0

The Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2014

Businessman and business sketchCIOs have never had such a glorious—and challenging—opportunity to deliver significant, enduring, and transformational business impact and customer value as they do today.

But it’s not a job for the faint of heart. Any CIO pining for a return to the good old days of bonuses based on server-uptime and SLA enforcement should consider swapping out the CIO title for a new one: senior director of infrastructure.

Continue Reading →

1

Is the Internet always right?

internetrightWhen I was younger (showing my age here), when I wanted to find something out I either asked a parent/teacher or opened up a book. Both young and old people now just search for it on Google – in fact ‘Google it’ is now a part of our everyday language. This got me on to thinking, when somebody does Google something (other search engines are available…) they more or less believe whatever the answer or search results they are presented with tell them.
In these times of instant everything and the whole world having been indexed and digitised, should we believe everything the Internet tells us (crackpots and lunatics aside)?

When was the last time you opened up an encyclopaedia (remember those) and verified an answer to a pressing issue you searched for? Do you even have access to an encyclopaedia?

An encyclopaedia has been through a number of people prior to being published and again in most major revisions but more or less anybody can post something on the Internet and tag or SEO it accordingly.
I’m far from saying that self-publishing or the advent of the Internet opening up the world to new content is a bad thing (indeed, it means I can write and publish myself) but it does make you think.

The response when I challenged a few people about this topic ranged from, ‘the answers I get seem more or less right, so I run with them’ to ‘it must be true, it’s on Google isn’t it?’ I found most of the responses I got to be a little bit frightening when I sat down and thought about them.

We are all busy people leading hectic lives but the rushed culture we live in leads us to also accept rushed answers and the mantra of something sounding more or less right has prevailed.

The ways in which we consume and use information both analogue and digitally fascinates me, as does the possibilities of how we will do so in the future but from now on I will just linger a bit longer on my search results before finally accepting what they tell me.

This piece has also been posted on:
The Business Value Exchange in my position as CIO ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Contributor

0

Water Will Always Find a Way

ZOONRF-00241652-001Just like water will always find a way through or around any obstacle, so will people find a way around any security measures you seek to implement.
You may think you have thought of the most foolproof method of managing your data, but as soon as you implement it and ride out the first wave of direct (and often blunt) feedback, people will start beavering away on ways to get around your processes.

Anybody who thinks otherwise is only fooling themselves and will be rudely awakened when a security or other serious data breach occurs.

The best way to remedy this and eliminate it as best you can is to create and reinforce an educative program that informs people of the reasons as to why you are having to implement these policies and not just labouring on the pitfalls of not adhering to your security policies.
As time consuming and labour intensive as it sounds, a period of open discussion and feedback sessions will alleviate some of the staff objections prior to drawing up your policies and generate an enormous amount of goodwill.

Everybody appreciates there needs to be some level of security, especially in heavily regulated or security conscious industries but nobody appreciates dictatorship levels of oppression when they are not completely necessary.
Simply saying it’s a disciplinary offence to not adhere to these policies without explaining them thoroughly first or taking an objectionable point of view on board will alienate you from the very people you are trying to protect.

We’ve all been asked by staff across the organisation if they can use third party file sharing services like Dropbox to share data etc. and had to refuse them on security grounds.
We all know they use these services (and you probably do as well) and trying to implement an internal, secure enterprise version of a similar technology is very time consuming to manage and expensive not to mention extremely difficult to secure.

Smaller companies with less advanced infrastructure will often use third party file sharing services as a low cost and logical extension to their infrastructure.
The security risk to their IPR is no less great than larger corporates but they thrive on the nimble and agile gain that using these services gives their businesses.
When new individuals join your organisation from these smaller and more agile business through acquisition or organic growth, they will quickly challenge any seemingly draconian procedures you have in place. They will challenge you that their agility and productivity is being stifled by these procedures with the very valid reason they are often brought in to disrupt your existing business working in precisely the way they need to.

We need to take on board these new types of people and the roles they perform, adapting the necessary rules and procedures to allow them to go about their business rather than stifling them with regulation.
This is challenging and a bit scary but as long as your security is not diluted too far, adapting to incorporate these new roles and working practices will show your willingness to change and adapt and will not go unnoticed across the organisation.
In the new arena of change and disruption, those who adapt will thrive and those that don’t…. Well, you know how that story ends.

This piece has also been posted on:
The Business Value Exchange in my position as CIO ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Contributor
The Intel IT Peer Network in my position as IT Industry ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Blogger
Outsource Magazine in my position as IT Industry ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Columnist

0

Review of the Gartner Symposium European IT Expo 2013

Gartner 2013 SymposiumI attended the Gartner Symposium IT Expo 2013 in Barcelona last week along with 5000 others.
It was an intriguing event with lots of excellent speakers, sessions and content.

Some of the main themes being pushed out by Gartner were:

  • The Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information – A nexus of converging forces is building upon and transforming user behaviour while creating new business opportunities
  • Master the six essential elements of a digital strategy – 60% of organisations report they have no effective digital strategy. As uncertainty recedes, the digital future emerges
  • The function of IT in business is changing and Gartner believes the best way to cope is to establish two-speed IT, where innovation can be separated from operational IT
  • Gartner describes three types of IT function: systems of record, systems of differentiation and systems of innovations
  • Innovation will require IT to become more agile and work differently, changing your primary suppliers and lots more partnering with smaller, leaner IT companies
  • The Internet of Everything – How the Internet of Things is reinventing industries and driving new usage and business models
  • CIO’s have to master power, manipulation and warfare – they must become comfortable with the idea of power, gathering it, and using it as an essential leadership tool
  • By 2017 smartphones will be smarter than people – not because of intrinsic value but because the cloud and the data stored in the cloud will provide them with the computational ability to make sense of the information they have so they appear smart

There were a couple of things, which caught my eye that I wanted to lift out:

IT Leadership Roles in 2020: The keynote at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo raised a number of interesting points but something that leapt out at me were the references to what IT leadership roles they see will be in play in 2020.
Interestingly and in a different twist to what others are saying, they see the CIO role continuing and the CDO role coming to an end having played its significant part.
They see the CDO role as a transformation and change agent who will lead the digital transformation and implementation of a digital leadership culture within the organisation between now and 2020 before bowing out gracefully with a job well done.
You can view a more in depth piece about this on my blog here.

Who Will Be Your Primary Suppliers in 2017? In confirmation of what I have noticed in recent months is a distinctive trend emerging whereby CIO’s are switching from larger, well-known suppliers to smaller vendors who are leaner and more agile.
This was backed up by the feedback in the sessions and the CIO’s who I spoke with at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo.
This is an interesting and positive trend as it allows the market to thrive with more up and coming vendors allowed to pitch for and win contracts by showing real innovation and enthusiasm to get the job done where they may have previously been frozen out at the RFP stages through staid supply chain processes.
To further highlight this shift, Gartner stated in their keynote session that their recent CIO survey showed that the majority of CIO’s would change their primary suppliers by 2017.
You can view a more in depth piece about this on my blog here.

The Gartner Symposium European IT Expo is a very worthwhile event for CIO’s and IT leaders to attend with excellent networking potential.
Couple this with a great location, excellent local restaurants and warm sun in November and you can see why it’s such a popular event.

This piece has also been posted on:
The Business Value Exchange in my position as CIO ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Contributor

1

Don’t make yourself an island

islandI fear that the pace of digital and social disruption is catching out a number of CIO’s who aren’t moving at the same pace as their organisations.
Couple this with the naturally accelerated rate of change that is currently rippling through many organisations, and the need for technology to be leveraged to support it is causing CIO’s many a sleepless night.

My advice to them is: don’t make yourself an island.

Don’t retreat in to the abyss of technology and speak only in forked tongues; learn the language of business, get out there and engage with your peers and organisation.
It’s easy to lose track of what the organisation needs and suppose that you have got everything covered including what you think they need.
This is such a dangerous way to think and act, as it shines like a beacon to the rest of the organisation that you aren’t open to communicate with them and understand their pain points.

You will find that if you communicate and work with your peers to understand the issues they face, they will be more open to discussing with you the best ways you can leverage technology to help them.
Better still, you can work together and start to pick these things up before they become issues and deliver real innovation and value across your organisation.

If you find that you are making yourself an island, nip it in the bud as quickly as you can as the truth of the matter is that others in the organisation will have noticed it long before you do.
This could mean that you have an increasing shadow IT problem as others in your organisation have gone out and gotten their own solutions rather than through your organisation or involving you.

Don’t continue to resist change as the current digital and social disruption means that change is inevitable.
Those that resist it will be left behind pretty quickly and as the CIO you really cannot afford that to happen as your organisation will quickly find someone else who will engage.
Better still, you may find that you really enjoy it and as they say, change really is as good as a rest.

This piece has also been posted here on the Samsung Business site

0

Who will be your primary suppliers in 2017?

suppliers2017In recent months I have noticed a distinctive trend emerging whereby CIO’s are switching from larger, well-known suppliers to smaller vendors who are leaner and more agile.
This has been backed up by the feedback in the sessions and the CIO’s who I have spoken with here this week in Barcelona at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo.

This is an interesting and positive trend as it allows the market to thrive with more up and coming vendors allowed to pitch for and win contracts by showing real innovation and enthusiasm to get the job done where they may have previously been frozen out at the RFP stages.

Gartner themselves stated in their keynote session that their recent CIO survey showed that the majority of CIO’s will change their primary suppliers by 2017.
Could new entrants like Samsung muscle their way on to your list of primary suppliers? Their launch this week in to the B2B market makes them a credible player.

What does this mean for established suppliers? Basically it means they need to be less complacent and engage better with their clients and not just around the times of contract renewal.
It shouldn’t mean they try to shortcut this process and just go out and buy a crop of these bright young new vendors, far from it. They would be better served in studying why they are winning business away from them and looking to instil that hunger and innovation back in to their product offerings and services.
I know they will say that due their size and complexity of contracts etc. this will be difficult but innovation and enthusiasm are contagious and adding those to anything at any level will only give everyone a boost.

I have even heard of some companies looking in to gamification techniques and the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage people in solving problems.
This may be a bit bleeding edge for some but it really highlights what digital and its associated disruption is bringing to the market with the amount of new technology and value added services it offers.

With the introduction of digital and other disruptive technologies, CIO’s are now faced with more requests from the business to leverage technology than ever before, often wanting to do it themselves within their own business units.
The smaller, leaner and more agile vendors are able to seize upon this and bring to the market services and solutions which you can get up and running in less than half the time your previous vendors take to do something along with significantly faster versioning and the addition of new features.

It’s an interesting marketplace and never before have I seen such a seismic shift in the way that organisations are being disrupted.
The better-organised organisations that are more agile and quicker to adopt will thrive in this new world and so they should.

This piece has also been posted here on the Samsung Business site

2

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes