Really? – The Future Of Enterprise IT: 30 Executives Share Their 2013 Predictions

Brian Rice culled together these thoughts from 30 Executives on 2013.  So when it popped up in my email I was intrigued to learn what colleagues of mine thought would be happening in 2013.

Oh dear, I was disappointed.  The same BYOD/Consumerization of IT, Cloud, Big Data, tight budgets require innovation and IT needs to create an identity, aka brand.  I flashed back to the movie Bull Durham and Meat having to learn his cliches.  

So I put on my best Seth Meyers impersonation and read through the whole thing.  The out-liars of Data Copy Management (too many versions of the same file) and middleware security where interesting just because they where different, even though dull predictions of the future.

Where is my ready access to information everywhere at anytime?  Not just that IT will have handle delivering it on different devices and networks.  This is IT being the Dr. No Dr No once again, talking about the obstacles vs the opportunities.  This is the difference between most IT executives and engineers at NASA.  IT is how are we going to do it and what is hard about it and NASA is what we are going to do and when.

Saying that BYOD/Consumerization is a major thing in 2013 is just silly, not Mayan end of the world silly, but similar in it is really not a prediction.  BYOD is a thing now, and has been for a while.  The 2013 thing for IT should be moving from Dr. No to Mr. Hell Yes! as for one thing it would make IT high valued again, even in failure.  Because you went big, okay so you may have to go home – ala get a new job, but it would be worth it.

Then cloud and big data again, really – still.  That is like saying today you think Facebook will be important in 2013.  Yes, is the percentage of companies in the cloud and leveraging big data more than about 15%, no.  But, in 2013 will that number double or triple – not likely.  It will eek along,  just like in the past adoption by established companies of the internet, mobile devices and in the past and still now most sorrily analytics.

Mr. Rice gathered these thoughts well and a good distribution of people, but not truly 2013 predictions from my perspective.  I could be wrong and frankly hope I am.  My last thought when reading this was the responses people give when asked do they watch PBS shows – yes, sure we do – Masterpiece Theater and the like.  No, what they watch is reality shows like Survivor and Hoarders.  So, based on that here are my 2013 predictions for IT to focus on.

winking smilely

#1. Maintaining the old legacy systems they currently have that are actually running the business

#2 That one project of something new (could be big data, cloud, or even analytics), but likely a new ERP, CRM, or a governance project

#3 BYOD – yes, but reluctantly, because they will be brought in to your organization and you will simply have to deal with it

#4 Keeping your staff sane from having to deal with 1 – 3

#5 Chasing down IT spending not in the IT budget that other non-IT departments are doing to buy software and cloud services because they got tired of waiting for IT to get it for them

Yep, 2013 – looking forward to it.  distressed smilely

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Book Review – Super Crunchers

Author Ian Ayres

Not the fastest reads as the author and the many people he sites like to use their university vocabulary.  I met the author at a speaking event where he spoke of the book and with a number of others I received a signed copy.  While the book held my interest, he is a much better speaker.  If you have the chance catch him giving a talk.  1 supercrunchersIn short, this book explains the use of number crunching can dramatically improve everything from medical to marketing successes.  It does focus on the fact based decision making versus intuition and past experience alone, which the book and frankly my experience is a major culture change for the majority of businesses.

–       Keeping an Eye Out for Chance on page 69  1 math

  • Along with analytical insights from crunching numbers that exist, the tools available today allow experiments to be run to quickly determine a successful course of action.

–       Follow the herd versus evidence based tactics on page 89

  • Regardless of level of education and experience we develop biases and that will drive our decisions.
  • Using evidence based information systems corrects for bias.

–       An average of 17 years for new knowledge generated to be put into practice on page 91

  • In the medical field, it can take that long for a new discovery to become procedural due to habits and bias.

–       1 cokeCoke-can predication on page 114

  • We can predict that a coke can will spurt if shaken and that is how we often rely on a experts opinion.  We treat their knowledge like it is absolute, yet have they continued to refine it, add to it and question their own expertise?

–       But What if it’s Wrong on page 184

  • The culture of the current day super crunchers are different than the ‘older’ analyst, they like their social media they share everything, publishing the data.     1 y generation share

Is this book for everyone, no, I recommend mainly for Chief Information Officers and Marketing Officers.  Like I said above definitely try and hear Ayres speak.

Could the device help information be less overwhelming?

The article on Nieman’s Journalism Lab exams a University of Texas 1 u of texas the ‘information overlord’ from a perspective of the impact of the device on whether a person feels overloaded with information.  It goes into specifics about different platforms, including computer, television, newsprint, smartphone, etc.  1 information overlaod

I found the article informative about my own news consumption which is on several devices – laptop, iPad, smartphone and radio (yes, you read it right the radio – I am that old).  My person information overload does happen more on my laptop and just as mentioned by the study states, I tend to have more than 5 tabs open and bounce from site to site exploring the same story on multiple sites for the full perspective.  Add to that my multiple screens and using multiple browsers with multiple tabs.   1 devices

Yet, viewing the same on the iPad or smartphone (or the radio, stop rolling your eyes) I tend to focus more on the single content provider I am reading/listening to and not digress to other sites.

Now, what I believe a business leader should take from this article.  Think about your information sharing within your own organization.  Most likely you deliver information via email (predominately) or a corporate web portal.  Could the laptop/desktop device be diminishing the messages you are communicating to your organization.

Whether those messages are HR updates, Corporate policy changes or reports on sales, financials, key performance measures and the such.  If your employees have 3 or 4 emails open, 5 to 10 tabs on a browser, plus instant message programs and like me a VOIP softphone – yes you could be by design overloading your employees and increasingly diminishing the impact of messages you use to manage your organization.

Think about that when you are struggling to execute against a strategy and/or modify your culture.  How can you modify message delivery to improve the absorption the message to your employees and thus the success of strategy execution and culture change.

 

 

Holiday heavy discounts – not just for shopping malls

1 holiday shoppingIf you live in the states weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and then every hour of every day afterwards you see and hear discount messages from the retailers whether they be the malls or on-line.  Both the online and physical stores employees are putting in extra hours and under real pressure to process every order.

The news reports Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and daily you get the reports of the holiday consumer spending to date with updated forecast for the year.  The holiday is a business news story.

In the business world, there is a much less publicized and reported, but equally important to the economy of each country.  1 corp budgetThis is end of year technology purchases.  Just like Macy’s, vendors like IBM, SAP, and all the other software and hardware solutions providers have been preparing for a strong sales period that starts in early November and runs through the 3rd week of December.

If you look at the sales cycles for software and hardware companies you will see a seasonal cycle with this period of time a large peak.

Lets explain why this happens.

1. Corporate budgets were restricted most of the year by finance who is poor at planning cash flow – so holiday cash is available and MUST be spent by 12/31. 1 xmas spending

2. Finance has looked at the financials and see that this year will benefit from charging expenditures planned for next year right now.  1 buy now

3. Executives have been patient and waited until December to put themselves in the strongest negotiation position to get the largest discount on a big technology expenditure. 1 tiger pounce

4. Executives had decided to put the project on hold for any variety of reasons, but with good salesmanship and heavy discounts entice executives to purchase now. 1 2 discounts

This is important because how effective are these purchases?   Especially if it is for reason 1 or 4.

How important is the project around this purchase if the companies motivation is well we found this money or heck that is too good of a deal to pass up?  As an executive of a company you have to stop and think if we spend this six plus figure technology how successful will we be with it 6 months from now based on how and why we are purchasing it.

As the vendor, yes you want the sale as it could be critical to you meeting your year end targets.  But, are you sacrificing the long term value of this client for the short term target attainment?  A trusted advisor would either recognize that this is not the best for the client or the long term value of that client to their business, if they were not at a high confidence level of success executing the implementation of the technology.

If the vendor is just concerned with the sale, then they have categorized themselves as a commodity vendor 1 car salesmanand will be treated as such.  This means the vendor is selected based on price.

A end-user business does not want to make a strategic purchase from a commodity vendor, especially at year end.

A vendor should work to move away from a commodity vendor role who is forced to sell only on price.  As a vendor the trusted advisor role has the business 1 trusted advisorselecting you on your understanding of their business, their pain points and have a track record of successfully delivering solutions.

 

Ah, you don’t need that analytics stuff, Excel is just fine.

1a ExcelIt must be true that business does not need analytics as the majority of businesses are still predominately using Excel for both a majority of reporting and performing analysis for decision making.

So, those CIO’s that Gartner, Forester, and CIO.com find to survey each year are somehow mistaken.  1 senior executive

Just like those 7 out of 10 dentist.  In this case, the 97,500 IT leaders believe that Excel is just fine and frankly is as much as their poor feeble users can understand and use.

1 nj

Have you picked up on my Jersey sarcasm yet?  

Well business people, just like 20 years ago you did not think you needed the internet or email, you are wrong – D-E-A-D wrong that Excel is enough in TODAY’s business climate of information driven decision making.

Go ahead, roll your eyes.  1 rolling eyes

You to Finance, Sales, Marketing, or Operations people.

How many decisions are made each day based on old, limited or even plain wrong information?  Decisions of which projects to approve/cancel, products to launch, reinvest in or remove from the market amongst other major changes to your business that could either drive revenue/profit to meet/exceed your strategy or fail to do both.

You are doing all of this with Excel?  Really? Maybe a reporting or query tool that is the hands of your IT group.

1 bad processYou know the process.  You have a business question.  You do not have access to the data at your                   finger tips.  You ask IT for the answer in the form of a report, a query or both.  You wait, I don’t know a day, a week, 3 months or forever.  The problem there is did you ask the right question?  How likely are you to go back to IT if it took a week to get the report with the answer to the wrong question for a new report?  I ran IT teams with this process.  We tried to optimize this process, but never eliminate it.  Wrong was I.

And you IT people stop treating end-users as if they are dumb, slow or completely resistent to change.  They are running the  business BUT  – they are handicapped by having them run it with a narrow limited view of said business.

So why the hell is it not every business leader, not just CIO’s, making analytics the top goal RIGHT NOW.

It is new.

What if we get it wrong?

You are doing okay business wise, why change.

Damn it man/woman you are successful business people running multi-million if not billion dollar businesses with hundreds to tens of thousands of customers.  You have like 3,000 different business processes, several 100 to 1,000’s of people working for you and millions upon millions of dollars that you are letting just go to your competitors because you won’t take the simple challenge of getting the analytical insights into your business/industry that you damn well know will make you and your business smarter, faster and bigger.

1 obsoleteExcel does not have the answer, it won’t go away, but it is a over 25 years old, thus a shiny antique of an application.  There are cool modern tools that you can start off small, simple and build from there great decision making capability.

Do it today.  1 now later