Where Do Ideas Come From? February 5, 2016 No Comments

Week 1 in a three-part series about differentiation.
 shutterstock_369924926
In knowledge work, there are typically several unspoken things teammates are expected to contribute. One such tool is brainstorming. Although not many job descriptions really include this in the “required skills and experience”, hiring crews are always trying to understand a candidate’s ability to come up with new ideas. Critical thinking, questioning and trying things are essential skills in any teammate.

The second thing most people bring is a network of people who help think through or talk out ideas. Almost every teammate brings this too, along with former co-workers, industry connections and networks, not to mention friends and family.

These are the things that can’t be automated, can’t even be ‘manufactured’ per se. Talent takes pride in that kind of value. There is comfort knowing that a person’s skills can’t be replaced by a system, or automation.

So?
Your people are your differentiator.

Your people may have a passion about work that is so genuine, so pure, that they can’t help but talk about the next project. When they are out and about, their minds wander, usually to topics in which they have real interest. People can see your employees honing ideas and jotting them down everywhere. They take ideas and experiences and apply to them to their craft. Sharpening it and honing it with little oversight and minimal micro-management

Next week: How come there are no new ideas?

Pioneering Change with Learning and Courage January 28, 2016 2 Comments

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”

-John Maxwell

Thirty years ago the Challenger Space shuttle exploded as America watched in shock and horror. This tragedy was perhaps one of the biggest speed bumps in our humanity’s progress toward furthering space exploration.

The men and women who gave their lives that day were the brave pioneers that took the biggest risk for their team.  And how did we respond? By mourning, remembering and honoring them by continuing to fail well on our path toward space exploration.

The amount of planning, work, engineering and money that led up to the mission was massive. The amount of review work, post failure; also massive. These are all the costs of innovative change. The political leadership, development of NASA and funding of the space program; all of these things might seem impossible if they hadn’t been done yet. And they hadn’t. So how did we get here?

Human beings traveling to space was unthinkable.

Without starting there is no failure. Without failure we will never succeed in something that was once unthinkable.  Why?  Because failure offers us the best opportunity to learn and evolve.

So how did we get to that point? How does a group of people start exploring the unknown? How do we start taking the right path toward failure? And once we fail, how do we learn and adjust?

No matter what your goal is, having the right team is where you start. Once you’ve got the necessary people, just start. Talk about what you are going to try, and don’t forget to discuss the elephant in the room: how will you respond to failure?

Do everything you can to plan and account for failure in all you try. Because failure is eminent, including it in your planning means you get to decide how you react. Planning on putting in a business critical system? How flexible does it need to be to account for new situations? What happens when your system goes down? Does it completely destroy your ability to be productive?

Is there a better way? If so, you’ll probably learn it during your journey.

Eight Top CIO Concerns for 2016: Research and Resources December 28, 2015 No Comments

Rapid business change combined with the increasing importance of technology across all aspects of business operations have raised the profile of the CIO role—as well as the challenges.

And with close to half of all current CIOs now in their 50s and 60s, the coming decade will see not just significant changes to this role, but also to the backgrounds and perspectives of the people coming into those jobs.

SIM 2016 IT trends studyThose are among the conclusions from the Society for Information Management‘s (SIM) IT Trends Study 2015.

Summarizing the report’s findings for InformationWeek, Jessica Davis writes that the report provides a “snapshot of (today’s) CIOs…(along with) insights into the technologies their organizations regard as essential today” and offers a close “look at what’s on the minds of these key executives.”

Read the full post »

Three Key Takeaways from the 2016 State of IT Report December 21, 2015 No Comments

As 2015 winds down, IT leaders and their teams are looking at internal needs and external conditions in formulating plans and setting budget priorities for the coming year.

The recently released 2016 State of IT Report from Spiceworks provides a wealth of information about how IT teams are formulating plans for the year ahead.

The report covers IT budgets, spending and staffing plans; the trends and concerns keeping IT pros up at night; and a look forward at technology adoption trends.

Among the abundance of facts and stats presented, here are three noteworthy findings, along with additional observations.

IT pros will “need to keep doing more… with less.” (Here’s one strategy to help.)

One of the key top-level conclusions reported by Spiceworks is: “IT pros don’t expect their IT staff to increase in 2016, which means they’ll need to keep doing more… with less.”

How IT can do more with less

At the same time, more than half of IT organizations say “end-user need” is a key purchase driver.

Read the full post »

Kinetic Community Re-launched on Latest MindTouch Release December 15, 2015 No Comments

Kinetic Data’s information hub for customers, Kinetic Community, was re-launched in early November. Kinetic Community is the place to find and discuss product documentation, videos, presentations, training class materials, downloads, example service items, task handlers, bundles, bridges, and presentations from past Kinetic Enthusiasts Group (KEG) events.

MindTouch software and Kinetic CommunityOur redesigned customer hub is built on the latest release of MindTouch customer success software. The MindTouch platform makes it easy for customers to find the specific information they are looking for, get answers quickly, and interact with our product experts as well as other Kinetic Data software users.

What’s New on Community

For our customers, the new Kinetic Community has an undated interface that’s simpler and clearer, and uses responsive design to display optimally on any mobile device.

Read the full post »

Higher Ed Service Catalogs: Six Top Questions Answered December 8, 2015 No Comments

While CIOs across industries are grappling with new threats and opportunities presented by revolutionary technological change, those who work in college and university settings face unique challenges.

Top questions about higher ed service catalogsWriting on LinkedIn Pulse, Tracie Bryant notes than in addition to common CIO challenges like budgeting, strategy, and training, higher ed CIOs must also address issues like scaling up bandwidth to handle “the booming popularity of online classes,” and implementing an advanced technology infrastructure to attract the best and brightest students and faculty (as well as donations).

Read the full post »

Where Data Security Fits in Two-Speed IT December 1, 2015 No Comments

“Where does security fit in bi-modal IT departments?” asks Mary K. Pratt on CSO Online. She explores the question with IT leaders from a handful of organizations, opening her discussion by noting:

“The bi-modal idea has its benefits and its pitfalls but the determination seems to come down to the size of the enterprise. In the mid to smaller companies, there is not the luxury of splitting the security group out into subgroups. In the bigger companies the question becomes where do the security folks belong.”

Though the CIOs she speaks to take different approaches to managing bi-modal or two-speed IT, they generally agree on two points:

where security fits in 2-speed IT1) It’s best to perform both speeds or modes of IT–innovation and operations–in one centralized group, rather than two separate teams where the innovators “throw things over the wall” to operations as applications are developed.

In this structure, the same individuals work on both innovation initiatives and day-to-day operations tasks, though overall a greater share of time is spent on operations, and employees vary in how much time they spend on each type of work.

2) Security has become so important, as cyber threats have multiplied, that it must be baked into new projects, not added later as an afterthought. Ultimately though, security “should sit in operations.”

Read the full post »

22 Top Truly Social CIOs on Twitter November 23, 2015 No Comments

It’s Thanksgiving week again, that time of year when we gather with family and friends to celebrate our gratitude for what matters most.

We’re thankful as always for our customers, partners, co-workers, and our social media relationships. But as our Twitter following has more than doubled in the past year, we’re especially thankful this year for a particularly enlightening and engaging group: the truly social CIOs on Twitter.

Here’s our list of the top 22, not ranked but arranged alphabetically by last name. For anyone interested in enterprise technology and leadership trends, this is a fantastic group to follow.

Kevin Behr
@kevinbehr

Chief Information Officer at Hedgeserv Chief Science Officer at large @PraxisFlow , The Phoenix Project and Visible Ops Co-Author.

Kevin Behr

Read the full post »