Always behind the Curve

falling     You just think that you and your company are so behind everyone else.

Behind in technology or unable to get the most out of the technology you have in place.

CIO.com provides great insight into how leaders of your company can decide on leveraging existing or choosing a new technology in this article.

“For a new technology, the most important factor is how quickly its ecosystem becomes sufficiently operational and available for users to realize the technology’s potential.”  old-vs-new

A fantastic point that the article does a great job of explaining and even offers a manner for leaders to measure and compare legacy vs. new technology investments.

 

Comparing RFID’s inability to supplant barcodes is a great example of legacy technology not just resisting being replaced, but expanding as the market found new uses and improved technology.

The examples show in their chart below provide a great way to start listing your legacy technology against considered new technologies like cloud, a new ERP and mobile solutions.

market-framework-100695003-largeIn the end the decision process is less about the promise of the new technology or the age of the legacy technology but the ability of new technology to co-exist with existing technology and/or to supplant legacy technology completely while either adding new functions and/or reducing cost.

Cloud can co-exist with on-premise legacy technologies or it can fully supplant some important functions like backup and add new functions around disaster recovery.

 

 

 

Article review -How to Use the Single, Most Powerful Word in Business

While this article from Inc.com counters my post from a few years ago Rule #3 ask three times to get to a yes, however, I believe both are valid.

noSaying No and having support from your leader to do so is both empowering and as the article states effective time management.

Yes, as my rule #3 recommends and the article “acknowledges that some folks will push and ask more than once, or will pester you to try to wear you down.

Don’t fall for it: Just say no. And mean it.”

I agree with this from both sides.  That if you truly believe the individual should be working on your request, persistent asking is required.  Just as required is if the individual on the other side disagrees that they say no and allow the necessary activity of referring up to a higher level of management.

Lastly cannot state strongly enough my support for not “apologizing just reinforces the idea that you should be saying yes more than you say no and every time you say yes to something you don’t really want, you’re actually saying no to the things you do.”

However for this to be effective for a time they must have clear priorities and have those priorities aligned with the business strategy and tactics.  This will also discourage others from requesting non-aligned tactics.

So it is more than Just Say No, is is a focus on why no makes sense and a recommendation to use it more often than you do today.

focusing-is-about-no

 

Management Style

When I first moved into a leadership role, my style was inclusionary to a point.  That point was when I felt decision was taking too long.  Well that is how I would rationalize it.

too-long

Well experience has taught me a great deal and my management style has changed.

I describe it as Trust, Respect and Consistency.

trusthandsTrust that each and every person comes to work each with the desire to work hard and leave at the end of the day feeling successful.

  1. A leaders job is to define what success is for each role, specifically how that success can tie directly to the growth or profitability of the organization
  2. A leaders job is to ensure their teams can feel empowered to focus on the priorities that will drive success instead of getting caught up in the noise of Urgent, BUT not Important tasks
  3. This trust is not without the control you have to validate the progress on the work is actually being done and when completed done right.  This is trust with confidence.

respect.jpgI will respect all the work and experience that every person has done and is doing.  I may not agree with how or what they were doing, but that takes nothing away from what they have done each and every day they worked at the organization.

When I start at an organization I am the LEAST seniority person there.  Everyone else knows the informal rules of the place better than I.  I do respect that foremost.

I will strive to be consistent.  consistent

  1. Simple things like showing up for work the same time each day, so everyone knows when you will be there.
  2. Bigger things like how treating each person that difficult combination of the same, but also how they wish to be treated
    • That individual who likes engagement, spend the extra time listening regardless of how well you know what they are saying
    • That individual who is uncomfortable with talking, make those engagements shorter and where they are most comfortable, but more frequent
  3. When you say things are a priority, make them a priority each day through your actions.
    1. If project A is the top priority, but that loud argumentative peer keeps asking you and your staff about project B, C or other you need to stand up publicly.
      • My best suggestion is to play dumb with that peer – continually stating you don’t understand why what they want is more important then project A, but would they explain it. – Works like a charm.

This consistency is what will breed the trust of others in return for giving them your trust and respect.

manager-vs-leader

 

To Cloud or not to Cloud

Don’t be silly of course – you must head to the cloud.

Well, yes, we should head to the cloud, but carefully, cautiously and when we are ready.

No – leap now.

Which?

Let’s do a simple comparison.

Businesses some 200 years ago kept all their proceeds locked in safes. Eventually, businesses would start using banks.cash

Any one over 40 remembers that you would walk into a bank and see from the lobby the big heavy door to the bank vault.  Impressive looking on purpose.  It was what made you feel comfortable that your money was safe.bank-vault

We trust banks to keep are money – for the most part.    We trust them so much we don’t even ask to inspect our money, just get a report about it once a month and now a record of it on-line.

Money my friends we freely give to other people to keep for us and why?  Because that trust is based on how much safer it is with them then sitting in the best safe we could buy in our building.  We have roles in our company to reconcile and manage that ensures we track every penny.

The cloud is the bank for your data.  Yes, oversimplified maybe.  What you need is not roles similar to how you manage your banking.

cloud-auditCloud Auditor focused on data integrity, performance and reliability both internally and externally in the cloud.

 

Also, a cloud architect to incorporate your storage, security, computing and compliance needs and build the right design that satisfies these needs.     cloud-architect

 

 

 

Lastly, the change the mindset of a single owner of IT versus the company as a whole owning what supports the business processes that make up the the business.

 

 

 

 

Article Review: Leaders don’t manage time, they manage choices

Right on the mark was my first thought when I read this article.  Now doubt not only are choices what leaders manage, it is what leaders bring to the table.  images

Now the missing part of this article is the duty of the employee, associate, team member, individual contributor or whatever your organization designates the non-leaderships roles.

That a leader can offer a larger number of options the early he is made aware of the need options.  images2

So fighting that natural urge to NOT bring up problems or issues early is a major part not just getting help from your manager,     11-february-AOL-service-hand-pabut

supporting them in their role.

Now, if that leader or manager is not providing you choices.  Well, I think we all know what choice you need to make.

 

 

Article Review: IT is in a fight for its life

Red Hat’s CEO hit the nail on the head in this interview about IT or at-least what we describe as IT for mid-size to enterprise companies is going the way of typewriter.  Even hipsters entrepreneurs cannot bring it back.

I would expand his point to not just devops, but to analytics and security as well.  If the well-funded marketing department is not satisfied with their insights for growing their market share they go and buy some running on AWS with a nice intuitive analytics interface with transaction, social and all that deep dark data.

When engineering department feels that their corporate IP is not secure enough they can reach out and use their budget to buy a higher level of security.

This is happening and will be growing.  The language will start changing.  It will be called technology or innovation spending vs IT when IDC, Gartner and Forrester start reporting it versus LOB.

Well, when I was a CIO – yada, yada

Last time I was a CIO was 5 years ago.  Dwelling today on how I would go about prioritizing and selecting solutions I see some pretty startling changes.   07c5baf43cab04973ec4a3d0cbbbf287

My process 5 years ago would have been –

  • internet search on the technologies that I thought would fit the solution
  • conferences to learn about best of breed solutions and providers
  • Strategic partners to review the business issues and seek their input on solutions
  • colleague referrals

lastly, a new vendor and I mean as a last resort and the issue had to be a huge priority.  By huge priority I either had to be afraid of losing my job and/or my executives were screaming for it to be solved.

How would I do it differently today?     download

While internet search would still be start as you can do that at 3am when you wake up and cannot go back to sleep worried about the problem or your job.  I would head straight to my strategic partner and not as a reactive – hey get your butt in here we got talk, but with quarterly reviews of my company’s strategy, business issues and updates from them on the latest solutions.

Most importantly get from them updates on industry, the problems in the industry and solutions being implemented.

Why not conferences still?  frankly, the information is overload at those things and deciphering value add from hype is not simple.  twitter-information-overload

Why not colleague referrals? This is still a possibility, but I was a SMB CIO so it was not likely we were on the edge or near it from a technology standpoint.

It circles back to strategic partners.  Now, this is where you have to honestly evalutate your strategic partners are they as comfortable (stuck) in the current technology as you are?

Thus, that takes us to bringing in a new vendor.  I admit to hardly every talking to new vendors considering the volume contact you receive from vendors.  3-5 calls and emails a day.

However, a new vendor that I background checked online would be a high option today.

They would be –

  • focused on the new technology I was considering (today cloud, hyper-converged, security, IoT, etc…)
  • have case studies, blog entries, events, webinars and social media fully tied out

Does that mean your relationships with your long standing vendors is not valuable.  But, only if they are both keeping you fully updated and push you.  Challenge you on why you are not refreshing, replacing and worst of all not updating your strategy.change-strategy

If your strategic partner is not pissing you off a couple of times a year you need to find a new one.