Archive | Strategy

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

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IT Leadership Roles in 2020

IT LeadershipThe keynote at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo here in Barcelona this morning raised a number of interesting points but something I wanted to lift out and explore in a bit more detail was 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, Gartner 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.
If you think about this I believe it makes a lot of sense – it frees up both the CIO and CMO to concentrate on innovation, adding value, meeting their strategic objectives and engaging their client bases.

My only reservation was why wait until 2020 to get this done and instil a digital leadership culture across your organisation?
Surely those who jump on this now and instil a digital leadership ethos throughout their organisations will steal a march on those that postpone or delay the inevitable.

What is becoming more apparent is that by 2020 all leaders no matter what business unit they lead will be expected to have digital skills (and rightly so).
This is key and executives who don’t currently know what digital technologies can bring to their organisations really need to start finding out or risk being left behind.
CMO’s have been working with digital for a while and this has led to the CIO Vs. CMO debate but digital is and will be such an integral part of any organisations strategy, the whole leadership team needs to get involved and work together to enable it.

The rapid rate of improvements in technology means that it will only get easier to implement and manage the digital transformation within your organisations and instil the necessary digital leadership backbone.
Everyone is trying to get one step ahead of the competition and those who correctly identify, digitalise and engage with the right objectives now will quickly launch themselves ahead of the competition.

So, a slightly different angle on what the IT leadership roles may look like down the line but refreshing to see a different viewpoint.

What do you think?

This piece has also been posted on:
Here on the Samsung Business site
The Intel IT Peer Network in my position as IT Industry ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Blogger

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Is outsourcing the question or the answer?

outsourcequesanswerOnce upon a time, the answer to the question of what are the main benefits of outsourcing was cost savings based on labour arbitrage, but today that response would be superficial and incomplete.

I believe the main benefits of outsourcing are access to scarce skills, expertise and the latest technology, cost reduction, turning capital expenditure into operating expenditure, and the opportunity to concentrate resources on core business objectives.
If you think about outsourcing in this manner, you will not only start to realise areas within your IT organisation that would benefit from adopting it but also ways as a strategic leader you can add further value to your entire organisation by doing so.

The first big error people make when considering outsourcing is looking to resolve a problem without first looking to do so in-house – a problem remains a problem no matter where it sits.
Sensible outsourcing providers will often sniff this out during the RFP or other stages of the bidding process but others may look to take it on, hoping they can fix the issue(s) as a calculated risk whilst trying to win the business (the fact a vendor accepts this huge risk should really start ringing alarm bells for you as you both know there’s an elephant in the room).
Those that don’t take the business (and hopefully this is the majority) will likely make you consider going back and fixing the problem before re-tendering. Those who take it on will only delay the inevitable, leaving you not only with a larger problem downstream but also with the added bonus of a whole heap of complex contractual issues to sort out (which I imagine you will now discover were also not properly agreed or worded up front).
Many take this approach and get their fingers burnt with outsourcing, vowing never to return.
It’s a real shame, as outsourcing done in the right way is an extremely beneficial way to add to the value you provide to your organisation.

The second biggest error people make when considering outsourcing is to engage with and select a vendor by having only had a few live sales meetings/conference calls with a cursory glance over provided case studies. Coupled without ever having visited their operating/service centres to see them in action in a live environment or meet their staff that will be working with your team in person.
You wouldn’t do this if you were hiring permanent staff or running the project in-house, so why do this when exploring outsourcing? It makes no sense.
This often occurs when a company decides to outsource a small project or a portion of it to see if outsourcing works for them in an operational sense.
The vendor is often chosen just on labour arbitrage and due to this the work is often performed in Asia or Eastern Europe.
The ‘project’ is often then left with the vendor with scant and seemingly erratic communication and only poured over in detail once the deliverable is returned with obvious errors.
The end result is the project often has to be redone in-house, blowing the project budget, causing delays and delivering red faces all round.
Outsourcing is again blamed as the enemy with the lack of communication and poor vendor selection/interaction issues being swept conveniently under the carpet.

So, in reflection it may be outsourcing is not for you but you owe it to yourself and your organisation to try everything that can add value to what you deliver.
Outsourcing executed properly can provide real value when opportunities are identified, structured, communicated and managed correctly, so what are you waiting for?

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

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Flexible IT Systems – Building Systems that can Overlap Across Functions

My latest ‘CIO Thought Leadership’ piece entitled, ‘Flexible IT Systems – Building Systems that can Overlap Across Functions.’FlexITSys
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.

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Post Merger Integration – Do’s and Don’ts

My latest ‘CIO Thought Leadership’ piece entitled, ‘Post Merger Integration – Do’s and Don’ts.’PMI
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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The Critical Nature of Planning

My first ‘CIO Thought Leadership’ piece entitled, ‘The Critical Nature of Planning.’
This is the first piece in a series that I am writing for the Mergers and Acquisition topic section on The Business Value Exchange.Critical Nature Planning
Read it here and get involved by leaving a comment.

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IBM’s BYOD and Shadow IT Hangout

I was invited by IBM to take part in a Google Hangout yesterday on the topic of BYOD and Shadow IT (#IBMShadow). IBM for Midmarket logo
As a panel, we were asked to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, pitfalls and concerns related to the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ phenomenon, and Shadow IT.
It was a lively and fun discussion and you can watch the YouTube video of the event by clicking here.

The other participants were Simon Gale – CTO Workplace Services UKI at IBM Global Services, Wendy Carstairs – Head of Technical Strategy Borderless Networks UKI at Cisco and Will Kelly from TechRepublic.
The event was moderated by Jay Sorrels – Senior Social Media Strategist at Ogilvy, London.

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