Category

IT Management

Insight into managing the IT organization.

 
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In research and in economic innovation, great insight and great value are frequently created by individuals with stocks of knowledge in two or more domains and by teams of people where the individuals might be experts in one domain but have the facility to grasp enough of another domain to connect the dots. In universities across the globe, more and more research is being done by multidisciplinary teams. While deep expertise in one domain is needed to perform well on these teams, facility with — if not some significant expertise in — another domain is also needed. Tomorrow’s problems and the innovation needed to solve them are likely to require multiple disciplines. One person with …

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It should come as no surprise that decision making in some flavor or another is at the heart of nearly every business book, method, conference, and article. After all, especially in business, what are we trying to learn from the past if not the answer to “why” or “how did they do that?” Looking at any project or process technique, any analysis, any case study in nearly any topic, ultimately what we’re after is making sense of the means and the ends. Any metric, measure, and indicator is — when used properly — merely a trigger, tripwire, forecast or estimate of something on which to guide the path forward. All of project management can be …

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May 242014
 
Read it Twice!

We were not literally poor when I was a kid, but my parents had precious little disposable income. The free public library in which they registered me had a strict two-day book exchange policy. If I borrowed a book on Monday, I could not get a new one till Wednesday. It was cruel torture for a book worm like me: I would typically finish the book I borrowed the very same day and would impatiently count the nanoseconds remaining till I was eligible to borrow another book. Fast forward to 2014 and I am feeling like a stranger in paradise, spoiled rotten by any number of great books, articles, presentations and blog posts on any …

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Few would argue that social media is not important when it comes to engaging customers for advertising, PR, sales, service, and other CRM activities. Yet due to compliance considerations, many organizations have real concerns when it comes to using social media in such capacities. Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that they are looking for guidance when it comes to planning and executing their social media initiatives in a manner that meets their compliance needs. Social Media Meets Compliance An enterprise social media strategy requires defining practices and policies to ensure that employee social media activities comply with internal company and industry regulations (HIPPA, PCI, FINRA, etc.). Hand in hand with this effort are training programs to …

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For decades (generations?) methodologies for creating systems have commenced with some form of requirements gathering. These tactics tend to be a rather clinical and emotionless harvesting of stated needs and wants. These nuggets are typically bundled together into some collection of features and functions. Eventually this evolves into a “system.” In spite of our best intentions and process reinventions, this approach still seems to fall woefully short far too often. Why, and what can be done about it? For years we have built products and services that are “working as designed” and that “meet all the requirements.” Yet we’ve struggled to “crack the code” in delighting the recipients. In some cases we have sought refuge …

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IT to Secure its Role in Selecting/Implementing Cloud Solutions

Here’s what I see coming in the new year: Enlightened CIOs will regain a key role in the acquisition and implementation of enterprise Cloud solutions, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) computing resources. They will not only put policies in place that will encourage end-users and business units to include IT in the procurement and deployment processes, but will also enable IT to play a more proactive role in the evaluation and selection process. Corporate end-users and business units will be forced to enlist greater IT involvement and support in the acquisition and implementation of enterprise Cloud solutions because they will face greater challenges integrating them into their existing systems, software and data sources, …

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Dec 152013
 
Workforce Challenges

With the work force continuing its shrinkage, there’s going to be serious influence purveyed by the “do more with less” crowd.  Entrepreneurs who can find ways to leverage smaller and smaller staffs will be seen as the prophets in the year ahead, with an ability to make businesses (and whole industry sectors) thrive with what once would have been considered bare-bones staff.  This is bad news for the underskilled, as they will find fewer and fewer positions available to take advantage of their trainable strengths. Some of the smart executives will find ways to control their work force challenges (and the increased disparity between the very well-paid highly-skilled crowd and their less-skilled counterparts) by looking …

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We Will Forget the ACA Web Site Fiasco

In a few months, the Affordable Care Act enrollment system will finally be working well, millions of people will have enrolled, and the debate will return to the basic policy and political question of whether the whole program is good for the U.S. or not. By 2015, the IT profession as a whole, government procurement services, and the contractors will forget the lessons of the October-November fiasco and will largely or completely return to the same practices as before: unrealistic deadlines, lack of testing, big waterfall lifecycle models, tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear practices, etc. Why am I being so pessimistic? Because we’ve been here before. The Y2K effort consumed a lot of resources, and contrary to many people, …

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Oct 012013
 
A Cheesy Invitation

Imagine you’re at a party. You’re standing near a cheese platter admiring the selection. That 2-hour cheese tasting class you took last week has made you think differently about the way you look at that plate! A man approaches and you begin chatting about the cheese. Turns out, he’s a Professor of Food Science at a top university, and has written the definitive book on goat’s milk cheese. A woman then joins the conversation; she’s from Wisconsin, home of the Cheese Heads – her perspective on cheese is a little less serious than yours! After sharing information, the 3 of you walk away with knowledge, insight, and a few ideas about wine and cheese pairings …

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Truly savvy managers know the value of information. It’s the stuff intelligent decisions are borne of. But in recent weeks, the international community and the US Federal Government have been howling over the data collection efforts of the National Security Agency, making arguments as to whether or not those efforts are in the interests of US national security and whether or not data mining is an invasion of individual civil liberties. The concerns being raised may be misplaced. The major concern may not be with the data, but with the information being derived from it. Information is distilled data. Distillation is a process that profoundly alters the natural state of the data. Anyone who has …

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