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Business Technology Trends

Opinion on the technology, business, and social trends that are impacting enterprises worldwide.

Mar 102015
 
Trust Requires Accountability

The whole notion of an enterprise chief information officer (CIO) or chief technology officer (CTO) is obsolete. As technology itself decentralizes — regardless of formal organizational structures — there will be multiple technology experts/specialists/leaders. There are already “go-to” technology experts, leaders, and, yes, even “chiefs” in every business unit, every business pod, and surrounding every business process. They are seldom part of the central IT organization, and if they are, their loyalties are aligned more with the business units than with their “boss,” the enterprise CIO. In fact, time and time again I’ve seen “assigned” technologists commiserate much more with their business units than with the IT organizations to which they belong or with their Read more

Feb 242015
 
The Evolving Science of Computational Creativity

Innovation has become accepted as central to competitiveness in today’s world, both in new product development and in enhancement of internal processes. Companies struggle with innovation, and there have been numerous attempts to regularize and program it. But the development of truly breakthrough ideas is difficult, and recognizing them when they do arrive can be harder still. We have processes available for vetting ideas and passing them through a series of increasingly selective gateways until they reach the point of usefulness or are discarded altogether. But we do not have good processes for stitching together new ideas and reaching that eureka moment that says a critical new idea has been found. Some of the ways Read more

Feb 102015
 
Big Data and the Mirror of Erised

“This mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth.” So says Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, commenting on a mirror that shows us what our most desperate desires want us to see. This is an apt analogy when describing the analytics available in big data solutions. When you suddenly have all the data you could want and can quickly analyze it anyway you like, unencumbered by extraneous effort that we have historically had to endure, what happens? Being human beings with a tendency to confirm what we so want to have happen or to relive what felt so good in the past, managers often drift into self-sealing and circular analysis Read more

Where Are Wearable Devices?

 Posted by on Jan 13, 2015  1 Response »
Jan 132015
 
Where Are Wearable Devices?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has generated considerable hype over the past few years. Probably nowhere has this hype been greater than when it comes to wearable devices like smart watches (Apple Watch), smart glasses (Google Glass), activity/fitness trackers (Misfit), and smart badges (for location tracking, security, etc.). This includes the use of wearables as general consumer electronic devices, as well as for their possible application in business scenarios designed to help workers perform their jobs. Of course, all this focus on wearables raises the key question: what role do such devices play in organizations’ mobile strategies? A Cutter Consortium survey (conducted July–October 2014) that asked 49 organizations about their mobile technology practices and adoption Read more

Dec 232014
 
Talking About Value Instead Of Requirements

Words shape thoughts. The word “requirements” has limited software professionals to a very narrow set of information about the value they produce. In the end, we’re supposed to be delivering software value, which is a much broader, more ongoing conversation than the content you create just before working on the code. While a switch to user stories helps start this transition away from traditional requirements, that’s only a step. How do we understand what capabilities will help the customer? Do we understand the customer at all? What hypotheses are we posing about the value of adopted software? How do we test these hypotheses, so we can make adjustments, if the software isn’t providing perceived value, Read more

Dec 222014
 
2015: Align Organizational Structures with Agile Practices

The appetite for risk is all but gone. Enterprises aren’t allowing the luxury of “seeing where the chips fall”. The need for predictability will dominate over some of the agile idealism of allowing things to emerge. Balancing this insatiable need for predictability with the agile culture will require enterprises to become much more self-critical about how they operate.  2015 will be about alignment. Users of agile practices are maturing. Enterprises are learning more and more that agile practices aren’t just for development teams alone. In 2014 we saw a broader shift among large enterprises’ thinking about how they’re going about taking advantage of agile. Many more of these companies realized that agile practices at the Read more

Dec 212014
 
The Apprentice:  An American Reality Game Show Or The Ultimate Job Interview For Entry-Level Software Professionals?

I predict that more software companies will adapt and adopt the vocational training model that’s used successfully in Germany. The idea is to directly connect software education to a job. German companies hire students right out of high school for work-study programs. Those apprenticeships often lead to full-time positions with the company once the student graduates. In the U.S., carpenters and a number of other important craftsman trades have used an apprenticeship system to teach and build expertise for hundreds of years. So far, few U.S. companies are even familiar with such a system for software professionals. With more press attention, we’ll see a tailored German model gain momentum in the U.S.  Once employers gain Read more