8 Things We DON’T Hate About IT

It’s easy to bash the IT department; to deride it as the land of no and slow, a roadblock rather than a resource, a group it’s easier to work around than to work with when addressing urgent and rapidly changing business needs.

But given the current and on-the-horizon risks of digital disruption of business models (example: one-hour photo shops were a rapidly growing business in 1988, but their numbers have plunged from more than 3,000 shops across the U.S. in 1998 to less than 200 today) from developments like 3D printing, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), technology is playing a bigger role than ever in businesses of all kinds.

8 reasons NOT to hate ITThat makes IT’s role more vital than ever. Practices, processes, and in some cases even attitudes need to change, to be sure, but now is the time to engage IT, not hate it. Forward-thinking companies like Nordstrom and Starbucks—while not “technology companies”—are embracing IT internally and externally to improve both operational efficiency and the user experience for customers and employees alike.

Yet inside many corporations, IT is viewed as an impediment rather than an enabler in embracing digital change. In her article 8 Things We Hate About IT, Susan Cramm acknowledges that “nobody hates the people in IT—it’s the system that’s broken. Continue reading “8 Things We DON’T Hate About IT”

Six Ways to Deal With the “Crisis” in IT Communications

This couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

According to a recent study by the CIO Executive Council, poor communication is resulting in “a state of crisis between IT and non-IT employees, which could prove disastrous” in the current environment of unprecedented digital disruption.

How to fix the crisis in IT communicationsWriting in CIO magazine, Brendan McGowan details the research findings. IT leaders recognize that building trust and credibility across their organizations is critical, but most acknowledge significant shortcomings in their groups’ communication abilities.

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The Enterprise Service Catalog: Expanding Beyond IT’s Origins

Every large organization—whether a university, business, non-profit, government agency, or other entity—develops processes over time to enable employees to obtain the products and services necessary to do their jobs. But too often, these processes vary based on the service needed, the department that provides it, or even the worker’s location. Employees are forced to navigate a maze of forms, online systems and request processes, leading to frustration and wasted time.

In an EDUCAUSE Review article, The Unified IT Service Catalog: Your One-Stop Shop, authors Tamara Adizes, Mark Katsouros, Reginald Lo, Simon Pride, and Karalee Woody, propose a unified service catalog as the solution:

Kinetic Data's internal ERM enterprise service catalog“A unified service catalog provides a single common framework and approach for delivering services across the institution — a one-stop-shopping approach that enables customers to efficiently submit their requests.”

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How to Avoid 10 Common Project Management Mistakes

Project glitches—and sometimes even outright failures—are unfortunately common. But they are by no means inevitable.

According to CIO Insight, “45 percent of large IT projects go over budget, while delivering 56 percent less value than promised.” Yet many of the frequent causes of project setbacks are well understand and can be avoided with proper planning and execution.

10 common project management mistakes - and how to avoid
Image credit: CIOInsight

Based on research compiled by Dennis McCafferty, here are 10 common sources of project management problems, along with guidance on how to avoid each, illustrated with the example of implementing an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy.

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Three Practical Strategies for CIOs in the Digital Enterprise

The tsunami of change washing over the landscape for CIOs can perhaps best be summed up by the phrase “digital enterprise”—a catchall term encompassing the fundamental redesign of business processes to adapt to big data, the Internet of Things, the consumerization of IT, cloud computing, and other developments.

CIO strategies for the digital enterpriseThe movement is nearly universal: in a recent Altimeter Group survey, 88 percent of “digital strategy executives interviewed said their organizations are undergoing formal digital transformation efforts this year.”

And there is no shortage of opinion about how this is reshaping and expanding the responsibilities of CIOs: a Google search for “CIO role digital enterprise” yields more than 920,000 results.

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The Benefits of Focusing on Technology ROI (Return on Incrementalism)

Bombarded by rapidly changing business requirements and frustrated by the constraints of legacy management and control systems, the natural reaction of technology decision makers may be to rip out the big, old platform and replace it with a big, new one. But that isn’t always the best answer.

As Sanjay Srivastava and Gianni Giacomelli write in IndustryWeek (Separating Impact from Hype: How CFOs Achieve Technology ROI), ” A huge, multi-year implementation is no longer the only option available to leverage better technology. In fact, massive implementations can sometimes undermine actual business goals.”

Benefits of an incremental approach to technologyThe two authors ask why “so many companies reach the end of a multi-year deployment only to discover they are not materially better off than before, and that the world has moved on to the next big thing,” and contend this is because, in many instances, enterprises “implement a vast array of process and technology improvements rather than surgically target the actual drivers of desired business outcomes.” In other words, firms take a revolutionary “rip and replace” approach to large systems rather than implementing flexible, incremental answers to specific business needs.

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MIT: Two Strategies CIOs Need to Deal With the “Biggest Technology Disruption Ever”

“The Internet and e-commerce were major disruptors, but what we’re seeing now is the biggest disruption ever from a technology perspective.”

Those were the words (reflecting a notion previously explored here) of Adriana Karaboutis, CIO of Dell, discussing “what leading the digital enterprise means for today’s top IT executives” at last year’s MIT CIO Symposium. Karaboutis defines the current wave of technology disruption as everything from connected devices (the Internet of Things) and social media to wearables.

Biggest technology disruption ever?
Image credit: Brian Solis

The panel focused on two strategies for addressing today’s unprecedented level of technological disruption: embracing digital technology in order to lead the change, and immersion in the customer experience in order to develop customer-centric technology processes.

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Legacy Stability, Mobile Speed: How to Bridge the Technology Generation Gap

The need to enable rapid development of user-friendly, mobile-enabled applications that solve today’s business problems by accessing data from yesterday’s legacy software systems is challenging enterprise IT groups. Bridging the gap between these environments is “an evolution that IT organizations struggle to keep up with,” according to Ed Anuff.

How to bridge the technology generation gapWriting in WIRED magazine, Anuff contends in Reach Two-Speed IT with APIs that “To succeed, a new approach is required; one that enables agile and web-scale innovation so that IT can meet evolving business requirements while enabling existing systems to continue running reliably, efficiently, and securely.”

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