Read my contribution to an article on CIO.com entitled, “How Collaboration Tools Can Turn Your Business Into A Social Enterprise”
You can read the article here on CIO.com.
Read my contribution to an article on CIO.com entitled, “How Collaboration Tools Can Turn Your Business Into A Social Enterprise”
You can read the article here on CIO.com.
I was asked by Atheneum Partners to write a piece for their global newsletter which goes out to over 75k registered users. The question I was posed was for my take on what are the top cloud trends that will shape 2015? The piece can be found on their site by clicking here but I have also copied in the text below:
The usage of cloud-based services continues to penetrate deeper in to the enterprise than ever before. The fear factors of security, data control, privacy and contractual exit strategies continue to be tempered by the virtues of cost savings, availability, speed to market and innovation.
If you are evaluating technology upgrades, replacements or acquisitions, 2015 is the year that cements cloud on the list of considerations.
I have detailed below in no order of importance what I think will be the main cloud focused trends in 2015 but I would love to hear what else you would add to the list?
Thanks to the price and feature wars between the biggest providers including AWS, Microsoft and Google the market is now more available than ever as organisations now look beyond raw infrastructure for value.
Gartner broadly defines hybrid clouds as the combination of two or more cloud services coming together to create a unified cloud experience. It can be a mix of private and public cloud services, but can also include combinations that are all public or all private.
In 2015 a blend of on-premise and cloud services is pretty normal but enterprises should adopt cloud services in a tactical way that ensure they’re getting the right match and secure model to suit the needs of their organisations. Hybrid cloud is the much-discussed direction that many organisations will ultimately follow.
Hybrid cloud management tools will improve and allow IT organisations to seamlessly administer and operate them securely.
Cloud Operating Models
As cloud services converge with social, mobile and information in what Gartner calls the. “Nexus of Forces”, organisations will need to start incorporating cloud operating behaviours in a platform for digital business.
Maturing and well-defined Cloud Market
The cloud marketplace has matured significantly and moved away from the free for all approach of the past couple of years. The global scale cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft’s Azure will continue to operate at the high-end but there will be lots of smaller, more regional, industry focused custom providers to fill in the gaps around them.
There will be a rise of intermediation services that will seek to help organisations manage and integrate their cloud services. Organisations new to the cloud and those delving in to the hybrid approach will welcome such third-party providers and the niche skills they bring but will need to decide how much they cede control.
Enterprise Workloads Moving in to the Cloud
Amazon’s AWS has long been a go to choice for those offering online services but 2015 will see a greater enterprise adoption for not just AWS but Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s Compute Engine amongst others.
Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing and many enterprises will look to embrace all that it can offer.
Containers will gain momentum
Containers have helped solve many of the problems that the cloud poses for IT operations. Developers love containers but IT operations now need to be able to containerise different parts of an application, locate them in different types of cloud infrastructure, and manage them as discrete units whilst keeping the part acting as a whole.
Compliance and Regulations
As cloud platforms continue to mature, cloud is spurring interest from even those industries that have previously been hesitant. Think of those most beset with regulation, compliance and privacy: public sector, life sciences, financial and health care. Lots of cloud providers will take the necessary steps to receive appropriate industry certifications, creating more platforms designed to align to Sarbanes–Oxley and others.
Internet of Things
Interest in the Internet of Things will build throughout 2015. Positioning clouds and applications for it right now is difficult but if your organisation is moving in to this space you need to be prepared for how to capture and store the potentially large amounts of resulting data. Everything from orchestration to database management tools will need to evolve to better support this area.
Traditionally this has been a problem area for IT but DRaaS enables you to address many previous problems such as testing, the high cost of installing a backup system and accurately mimicking potential issues. I think this will be a growth area in 2015.
With CIO’s under constant pressure to deliver innovation and business value whilst continuing to provide BAU services, they are always looking for new ways in which to achieve their goals. Cloud services have often provoked fear in many enterprises due to security, data and privacy issues but with the market rapidly maturing, costs falling, security and services improving could this be the year that cloud thrives?
Gartner Symposium/ITExpo is under way in Orlando. As always, their IT experts have identified what they believe to be the top-ten information technology trends for the year ahead. Strategic technology trends are defined as having potentially significant impact on organisations in the next three years. Here is a summary of the trends:
1. Computing Everywhere
With the continued advancement in smart-phone technology, Gartner assesses that an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone. Gartner posits that smart-phones and wearable devices are part of a broader computing offering to include connected screens in the workplace and in public spaces. User experience design will be of critical importance.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things will continue to expand, propelled by the ubiquity of user-oriented computing. Gartner posits that this will be replicated both in industrial and in operational contexts, as it will be the focus of digital business products and processes. Embedding technology more deeply will create touch points for users everywhere. This will form the foundation of digital business.
3. 3D Printing
The cost of 3D printing will decrease in the next three years, leading to rapid growth of the market for these low-cost machines. Industrial use will also continue its rapid expansion. Gartner highlights that expansion will be especially great in industrial, biomedical and consumer applications, highlighting the extent to which this trend is real, proving that 3D printing is a viable and cost-effective way to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
4. Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics
Analytics will continue to advance due to the Internet of things and the embedded devices that trend will continue to foster. Vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside organizations will continue to be generated. Gartner points out that every app will need to be an analytic app. The analysis also concludes that big questions and big answers are more important than big data.
5. Context-Rich Systems
Embedded intelligence that is ubiquitous combined with pervasive analytics will foster the development of systems that are alert and responsive to surroundings. Gartner highlights that context-aware security is an early application of this trend, but that others will emerge.
6. Smart Machines
Analytics combined with an understanding of context will usher in smart machines. Advanced algorithms will lead to systems that learn for themselves and act upon those learning’s. Gartner notes that machine helpers will continue to evolve from the existing prototypes for autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors. The analysis goes on to speculate that the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.
7. Cloud/Client Architecture
Mobile computing and cloud computing continue to converge and lead to the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. Gartner notes that cloud computing is the foundation of elastically scalable, self-service computing for both internally and externally facing applications. Apps that use intelligence and storage of client device effectively will benefit from lowering bandwidth costs, coordination and management will be based on the cloud. The analysis goes on to note that over time applications will evolve to support simultaneous use of multiple devices. In the future, games and enterprise applications alike will use multiple screens and exploit wearable’s and other devices to deliver an enhanced experience.
8. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Applications
Agile development methods for programming of everything from infrastructure basics to applications is essential to enable organisations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work. Software defined networking, storage, data centres and security are maturing. Application programming interface (API) calls render cloud services software configurable, and applications have rich APIs to access their function and content programmatically. Gartner notes that in order to deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business with demand shifts both up and down require computing to move away from static to dynamic models.
9. Web-Scale IT
Gartner notes that more companies will think, act, and build applications and infrastructure in the same way that technology stalwarts like Amazon, Google, and Facebook do. There will be an evolution toward web-scale IT as commercial hardware platforms embrace the new models and cloud-optimised and software-defined methods become mainstream. Gartner notes that the marriage of development and operations in a coordinated way (referred to as DevOps) is the first step towards the web-scale IT.
10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection
Lastly, the analysis concludes that security will remain an important consideration through this evolution toward the digital future, but it should not be so heavy-handed as to impede progress. As many companies have recognized that 100 percent security solutions are not feasible, this will become more mainstream, and more sophisticated methods of risk assessment and risk mitigation from a process and tool perspective will be implemented. Gartner notes that perimeter defence will be broadly recognized as inadequate, and multi-faceted approaches will be devised. Security aware application design, dynamic and static application security testing, and runtime application self-protection, combined with active context-aware and adaptive access controls will all be necessary.
First 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.
I 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
This is my first piece for Samsung Business and is published here on the Samsung at Work site.
There are always many theories on the position of the CIO role, from the CIO role is dying through to should they be renamed the Chief Innovation Officer. The truth is that many still do not understand the CIO role and its place within the organisation. Many CEO’s and CFO’s still find it hard to understand IT and just see it as a money laundering operation rather than something that can add real value to the bottom line. It’s really up to CIO’s to stand up and be counted and show not only what they can bring to the table but prove they can be strategic, customer facing and deliver both innovation and revenue whilst making sure the technology still operates.
There is no doubt the CIO role has and is evolving constantly but that is true to say of all c-suite positions who want to stay relevant and ahead of the game.
As technology moves at such a pace, so must the CIO understand and work out the best way(s) to leverage it to add best value to their organisation.
Technology has seeped more in to our everyday lives and as a result the roles that manage it must adapt to become more innovative and constructive in the ways they use it.
Gone are the days of just making sure the equipment is in working order and the datacentre is operational – CIO’s are now measured on what they deliver to the bottom line and rightly so.
If you want a seat in the boardroom, you have to earn it and work very hard to keep it.
As the CIO role evolves it naturally starts to touch a lot of other technology areas such as digital and mobile.
This is where people are now saying they enter the CIO v CMO battleground with the victor seemingly the one who owns the digital space and ultimately the technology piece.
Politics aside, what’s to stop both working together? A quality CIO and CMO alliance would be a really formidable force in terms of delivering innovative and strategic solutions built around the needs of the customer.
Many companies are struggling with this ‘middle ground’ and anointing a new role, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO).
Does this only add more mud to the water of who owns what or is this another career path for marketing savvy CIO’s or tech savvy CMO’s?
What I do know is that if you add tangible value, deliver your strategic objectives, beat your KPI’s and deliver innovative solutions, you can choose your own job title and sit wherever you want in the boardroom.
I will be capturing the event and creating a body of high quality content through live blogging and comment, insight and analysis articles published through this blog and my social channels.
Get involved, comment and follow me through this blog and my social channels through the Twitter hashtags #SamsungGSym and #GartnerSym
My blog pieces will be posted on the Samsung at Work site during and after the conference – link here
Long before the days of Skype, intranets, and email – teams generally needed to be in the same location in order to work effectively.
Those days are long gone and many of us now work regularly with colleagues based in different cities, countries, and continents with team members in different time zones, speaking different languages, and from different cultures.
Teams can now include many varieties or flavours of working practices. Some members may work in groups of three or more in the same office, while others may work individually in separate offices or at home. You may see some team members regularly, but you may rarely see others or even have not met at all.
Regardless of how people are organised, managing a team that’s geographically dispersed can present big challenges, even for the most experienced bosses. How do you ensure that everyone feels they’re being treated fairly, if you see some team members much more than others? How can you prevent remote team members from feeling isolated? And how do you get all members to buy into the team’s objectives and stay on track?
When selecting people to work in a geographically dispersed team, it throws up the need for individuals with strong qualities such as self-motivation and the ability to work independently rather than those that need constant encouragement. They will need to have exceptional communication skills and be comfortable communicating regularly via Skype or conference call. Finally, and as with almost every hire you make, they need to be results-driven and comfortable being assessed using KPIs.
Reward performance fairly, consistently and appropriately across the group, making sure workers in remote offices feel as valued and rewarded as those in the same location as you.
The key for me with leading a geographically dispersed team is that it’s essential for members to unite around a common purpose – everyone must agree to the team’s strategic objectives and goals.
Breaking down your strategy and showing where each individual and team contributes to delivering it is an excellent and powerful way to achieve this. This “roadmap” for your team ensures that everyone is focused on what the whole IT organisation needs to deliver and how they enact within it.
From breaking down your strategy to the team or individual level, you can clearly define everyone’s roles and responsibilities, identify key resources, and decide how the team operates. This can then be used to set the relative goals and objectives that each individual can be assessed by.
You MUST create and operate a strong communications strategy, especially if your team members are in different time zones and speak different languages.
It is easy to misunderstand a message or directive if you’re being communicated with in a language that is not your mother tongue, so it’s imperative that you follow up as often as you can across your team(s) and make sure everyone understands and is clear on what you’re trying to achieve. Good meeting practice with clear agendas and well-written minutes should help allay any miscommunication.
It’s easy when managing geographically dispersed teams to not realise the morale of individuals is being effected, as due to the lack of daily contact you won’t be able to see their body language or detect any slight deviations in attitude.
It’s easy for individuals to think that your behaviour or lack of contact is a direct slight on their performance or lack of meaning to the cause.
They know you’re busy but be careful when communicating via email that your emails aren’t too abrupt or short, especially as they may be well be picked up and read differently in a time zone where they can’t instantly communicate with you to discuss or clarify the underlying tone. Also, make a rule for yourself that you don’t miss more than one team conference or video call in a row.
Don’t lose sight of the need to be personable and approachable to anybody no matter of their location or position, as there is more to leading geographically dispersed teams than just sitting in on conference calls or throwing out the option to email you if there’s an issue.
Trust me, people will really appreciate you just picking up the phone or making regular visits and hosting a team meal or evening drink – it helps to break down barriers and shows people that they are part of the larger team despite the size or location of their team.
Finally, its important to promote team bonding and if you can (budget permitting) get the whole team together at least once a year even if only for a couple of days or at a key location per region depending on size.
Make these events informative and a forum for creativity and discussion but don’t forget to add in a bit of fun through some social activities.
As well as this, look at setting up some inexpensive webcams for team members to Skype each other and an Intranet team page or forum where individuals can input suggestions or throw ideas around.
Tools such as Yammer, Chatter and Messenger can also allow constant contact and are great as an instant communication channel as they allow you to do things such as see that somebody in a remote location is available and crossing over on your time zone be they working late or coming in early.
This piece has also been posted on my Outsource Magazine column at http://dlvr.it/3wPhcn and here on The Business Value Exchange in my position as CIO ‘Thought Leader’.
My latest ‘CIO Thought Leadership’ piece entitled, ‘Flexible IT Systems – Building Systems that can Overlap Across Functions.’
This piece is available in the IT-Enabled Business Innovation topic section on The Business Value Exchange.
Read it here and get involved by leaving a comment.
My latest ‘CIO Thought Leadership’ piece entitled, ‘Post Merger Integration – Do’s and Don’ts.’
This is the last piece in a series that I have written for the Mergers and Acquisition topic section on The Business Value Exchange.
Read it here and get involved by leaving a comment.
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