CIO and report roles changing, of course

This article had a fantastic sentence about IT roles.     

“They need greater political skills to deal with senior-level executives who may feel threatened by global business processes.”

I could not agree more.  The CIO and his IT group will be matrixes deep into the organization as IoT, analytics, cloud services along with new mobility optimize legacy processes and create brand new services.

This will create threats.  Optimizing a process by removing inefficiencies may also eliminate control points that line of business executives and managers are not happy to give up or the downsizing of their staff that might be no longer needed.

I recall a manager who over a period of 3 years lost 20 people in their 80 person department in 3 office locations.  When I was hired in the 3rd year, the finance person was explaining to me how my budget got hit for the amount of space my division used in all the buildings globally.    Asking for a breakdown by department for the past 3 years, I noticed that this same department’s salary and other expenses reduced significantly each year, but not their overhead expense or the stated office space utilized.

In speaking to the manager he explained that he had been there for 20 years and they would reduce staff and then 3 – 4 years later add them back in.  If you gave up the space, it would take another 3 – 4 years to get the additional space, so you held on to it. Use it as a storage area, move a contractor over to the desk, stop sharing for different shifts – anything to keep the space.

Oh did I open up can of angry cobras (worms are just wiggly, not mean).  Finance went through each area and found globally almost all departments guilty of the same.

I am sure that still happens today and what IT evolves into will only run up against this more and more.

IT is already a matrix.  Per a prior blog, each line of business area has that tech savvy person or persons.  Marketing has those web and/or analytics hot shots.  Finance has their excel guru’s who became analytics gurus.  Operations application gurus and everyone is becoming cloud based services gurus.

You have to work across all of them.  But, that is merely about application upgrades, new services or changes to the same.  They still see that as changing what IT does.

Now IoT, analytics, cloud and mobile technology can impact the business operations by changing them radically.  Thing Uber and taxis along with retail stores vs Amazon mobile app.  What will happen with self driving cars.

The issue is that protective nature over the status quo.  First you will hear IoT is unproven, analytics is too hard and cloud does not save you money.

 

Hmph.

This is where Harry Truman make some sense.   

If you can’t convince them, confuse them.  

Align your proposal with their specific concerns (illogical as they may be).

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

Make it their idea, give up ALL the credit when it is seeking approval for this GREAT business strategy idea and most of it when you are successful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobility is everything

I had been driving my IT team to understand that mobile devices where going to be the only devices we support very soon.  I predicted in 5 years, but with this on display at CES 2011, I may have been too conservative.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/09/motorola-atrix-another-look-video/

This is the way we will all compute going forward.  There will be the rare game/graphics system, but desktops and laptops are on their way out.  The iPad, Kindle and Nook will still have some usefulness based on their size along with other tablets.  But, the main device will be the smart-whatever you want to call it device.

The laptop was to be the desktop replacement, well it will not occur.  The mobile device will be it.

Dell, IBM, HP and all the other PC suppliers.  You competition is Motorola, LG, Apple and Samsung.  Even within Apple will be the debate of when to forget about laptop R&D and move it all to the iPAd and iPhone.

I was at a presentation by Bill Gates in the early 90’s at a Comdex show where he laid out that this would be the future.  It took 5 times as long as I had thought it would from that presentation (I thought Microsoft had all this stuff ready for release), but it is here.

No more wallet

No more laptop case with the extra power adapter

No more forgetting that darn file

It will all be without accessible through that device (size, weight and fashion impact of your choice) you choose.

Will there be haves and have nots, yes.  Those people still on Sprint, enough said.

Now the question is how do IT departments prepare for this change.  One could say, well it is just another platform, we will decide on which one to standardize on and go from there.  I think not.  The minor inconvenience caused by non-standard systems (Apple) making in-roads into your standardized network will be at a larger scale.

Prepare, prepare now for the user owned equipment that management will be badgered to allowing to connect.  Prepare for the security issues, the multiple platforms from Apple, Google, Zoho and oh yeah, Microsoft, I guess.

Start thinking about it.

Start planning for it.

And, unless you are truly the IT Lord of All Things within  your company, start realizing your control over the client side just left the building.

Have a Nice Day!

 

Anywhere, everywhere – anytime, all the time data in motion

I look at the Mac vs. PC commercials, the iPhone vs. Blackberry, laptop vs. netbook and so on and so on and I smile and shake my head. These geeky debates are an equivalent to the music industry debating over CD vs. DVD, when iTunes is on the horizon. This point in computer history where this device I am typing on (previously dis-closed that I use a MacBook Pro predominately), has some importance due to that fact that it is from one company, runs one type of OS and is using a specific company’s app set is coming quickly to an end. The device that will supplant all desktops, laptops, netbooks or what every you use is currently that thing in your pocket, holster or purse that occasional rings, but does so so much more.

Not to get too much into the debate about this from a hardware standpoint, let’s jump right into what will enable this next evolution. It will not be Apple, Microsoft, Open Source or any other name you can think of today. It will be the next Google or Facebook. It will be the company or open source community that delivers full on the promise of ubiquitous computing.

Wikipedia describes Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) as a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities.

Also, check out what Marcia Riley says on the matter at – http://www.cc.gatech.edu/classes/cs6751_97_fall/projects/say-cheese/marcia/mfinal.html

and Arun Kumar Tripathi here describe it simply as –


Not just laptops
24-hour access to Computer and Internet Infrastructure
Mobility: “any place/any time”
Personal Human/Computer relationship
Comprehensive e-services
Access to quality support

UbiquitousHmmm, the issue there is what is an ‘everyday object’ that is not just a laptop. I can conceive my toothbrush sending information to my dentist about how many times I brush, how well and also daily data about my teeth health. But, what everyday object will tell me about how well the Help Desk is delivering support services, the trend analysis on my storage utilization or which projects are on time and which are being challenged?

That device is your ‘smartphone’, though we will have to rename it hopefully. Regardless, of what you call it that device you carry around will very quickly be the only device you need to access the various applications and data that you need to both manage your business as well as your life. Really the device is less import than the mobile profile you will create and manage that will move from device to device, please by a biometric method so I do not have to worry about passwords.

Let me make this short. If you are looking at your IT strategy and wondering what balance of desktops to laptops you should be purchasing you need to stop yourself and think about this.

  1. How much of your apps will be in the cloud in 2 years? 3? 5?

  2. How much of your staff will benefit from working remote next year? 3 years? 5?

  3. Are there any data files that your staff creates (including draft mode) that you should not be capturing for shared use?

  4. How much of your data files are easily shared today?

  5. Finally, how much longer do you think your ‘smartphone’ will be the ‘other’ device you use for email and applications?

Think long and hard about your answers to your questions and my recommendation would be to start planning now for when the device becomes less important as the network it runs on increasing more important. Those applications that your are paying 15 to 20% maintenance contracts, will they be ready to be run predominately on mobile devices?

Start asking those questions of those big paycheck ERP and associated key module vendors today.

This slow economy has delayed the speed of this change, but not stopped it. Once we get back on our collective feet, this speed of change will increase exponentially.

Our you and your business ready for the type of change like the Internet caused by the mobility push, but in ½ the time?