Looking Back: The Top 20 at 200

As the Kinetic Vision blog approaches another significant milestone, its 200th post, here’s a look back at the top 20 most-read posts since the blog’s launch in March of 2011.

Not surprisingly, the phrases that occur most frequently in the posts below indicate readers are most interested in industry research about request management (that’s what we do), its applications (service catalogs, employee onboarding, BYOD) and its benefits (cost savings, process automation, risk management).

Request management blog posts: - top 20 at 200It’s also not surprising many of these are “evergreen” posts; these are articles with a long “shelf life” that continue to draw significant numbers of views month after month. The most-read post so far in 2015 (How IT Will Change by 2020 – Research From HDI) narrowly missed the list below, coming in at #23 all-time.

Here then are the top 20:

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How the Role of IT is Changing in the Enterprise: Research

While a great deal has been written about how the role of IT is being transformed in response to disruptive technology change, recent research from Avanade and InformationWeek puts some hard numbers behind the words.

Reporting on those study results, Shelly Kramer notes that the traditional enterprise IT model is under pressure as rapidly evolving business needs and increasing tech-savvy employees demand faster, more flexible technology approaches.

changing role of IT in the enterpriseAs she observes, “it’s not unusual for the IT function to be viewed as something of an obstruction to be worked around rather than an asset to the business. This leads to the rise of alternative, external cloud solutions being adopted directly by other business unit leaders and a hodgepodge of unconnected ‘solutions’ being used by various factions within the company.”  Working around IT rather than with it leads to risks enterprises need to acknowledge and address.

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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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The Biggest (Overlooked) Tech Challenges for Retailers in 2015

Responding to changing consumer expectations, price-sensitivity exacerbated by the great recession, and increasingly tech-savvy shoppers has forced broad and deep adoption of new technologies by retailers. Everyone knows that.

Top retail technology challenges in 2015Most retailers by now have developed strategies for addressing mobile payments, personalization, beacons, omnichannel inventory management, big data analytics, showrooming, webrooming, and buy online / pick up in store—even if the processes and supporting technologies still sometimes have a few rough edges.

Early adopters are exploring strategies for incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, virtual assistants, and same-day delivery.

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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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The IT Skills Enterprises Need Next

As the focus of IT departments shifts from providing information and infrastructure to improving business processes, the mix of skills they require is evolving as well.

Writing on ZDNet, Brian Sommer contends in As IT’s industrial age ends, the humanist era begins that:
Which IT skills will be vital in 2015?

“Systems of Record are giving way to Systems of Engagement. User Interfaces are being updated to permit a better User Experience. Cloud solutions are displacing on-premises applications. Lighter, leaner IT groups are using utility computing (e.g., public) cloud solutions. Developers are building mobile and e-commerce apps. The list just goes on and on.”

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