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Current changes in the workplace are creating innumerable challenges for management, and these challenges are poorly addressed by the command-and-control techniques of a previous generation. Today’s employees are increasingly knowledge workers, occupied in workgroups in which they are expected to have considerable autonomy. This is vital in the ability to respond to rapidly changing situations and to create innovations. The clearest indication of the new requirements is seen today in Agile software development, which has developed a body of practices to handle the requirements of constant change and reduced ability to predict final requirements. But all knowledge workers face similar issues, and these are exacerbated by increasing virtuality, weakening boundaries between personal and work lives, …

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  The architecture of many enterprises is designed to perpetuate existing capabilities by maintaining the status quo. In effect, the role of the architecture team is to systematically hone and improve capabilities by exploiting and making the best use of current skills, resources, and assets or developing new capabilities by adding to those skills, resources, and assets. Typically, changes are made through carefully planned incremental steps. Such architectures may serve the current business model well, but they risk the possibility that the business model becomes obsolete or that it is supplanted by the innovative business model of a competitor that has greater contemporary relevance. The distinction is very clear if we compare traditional high-street bookshops …

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Agile practitioners talk a great deal about the importance of breaking bad old habits and replacing them with muscle memory. Since you’re breaking down programmed, reflexive responses, you need more than words. You don’t reason with a habit. That’s why I often inject serious games as training exercises when I’m working with someone in the midst of an Agile transformation project. For one client, specialization within teams was a serious stumbling block to Agility. As long as Bob (not his real name) was the only person who could build a particular kind of critical component, Bob would be a choke point in every sprint. Other team members had similar specializations in platform issues, data formats, …

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Transforming healthcare is a key priority for public and private healthcare providers and governments. But the healthcare industry is facing major challenges in delivering quality healthcare services at affordable costs. How can IT transform healthcare? There has been progress in applying IT in healthcare in areas such as telemedicine, mobile health, electronic medical records (EMR) and healthcare portals. There is greater potential, however, particularly considering ongoing advances in RFID, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile devices and wireless communications, social media, nanotechnology, robotics, data analytics, context-aware systems and smart applications. Healthcare IT is both promising and challenging to IT professionals, managers and executives. Only through the prudent design, development and implementation of healthcare IT initiatives that …

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Many organizations start their Agile journey by adopting Scrum because it describes a good strategy for leading Agile software teams. Scrum, however, is only part of what is required to deliver sophisticated solutions to your stakeholders. Invariably, teams need to look to other methods to fill in the process gaps that Scrum purposely ignores. When looking at other methods, there is considerable overlap and conflicting terminology that can be confusing to practitioners as well as outside stakeholders. Worse yet, people don’t always know where to look for advice or even what issues they need to consider. To address these challenges, the DAD process decision framework provides a more cohesive approach to Agile solution delivery (see …

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Big, Bad Data?

 Ken Orr | Jan 14, 2014  4 Responses
Jan 142014
 
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The Middle Ages used a phrase to describe a term that was not meaningful as “a distinction without a difference.” Oftentimes, in the desire to catch a technological/marketing wave, salespeople and consultants overuse terms coined to describe one thing to mean something entirely different. Not long ago, I was reading an article in the New York Times about department stores tracking their customers by using their wireless devices, using their movement through their stores to predict what they were interested in and what they bought. The article described this as yet another instance of the importance of Big Data. The more I read, the more I found this reference both comical and disturbing. Clearly, there was nothing necessarily …

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In “Making Managerial Dashboards Meaningful” (Cutter IT Journal January 2013), the authors discussed the criteria and measures a dashboard needed to provide managers with reliable key performance indicators. All agreed on the need to choose carefully both the data displayed and the type of visualization to use. The “right” data, the “right” visualization, and the alignment of the data to the business goals supporting the dashboard user are necessary to support better decision making. In an upcoming issue of Cutter IT Journal we will take this one step further by exploring the creation of “Smart Dashboards” — ones that will provide even more intelligence and that “go beyond” the capabilities of current dashboards. We use …

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All Gov't Levels to Search for Cost-Effective Operational Stability

This coming year, government leaders will be looking for the most cost-effective means of operational stability for their level of government. Public sector executive leaders will take specific steps to assess their organization (both operations and information technology) to determine the most cost-effective means for business operations. For the IT organizations, this means taking a detailed look at the utilization of operational disciplines, governance and business alignment methods. In addition, decisions will have to be made regarding human capital replacement, training and/or selectively sourcing required technology operations and functions. At the same time, executive leaders will be faced with making decisions on modernization of systems and productivity applications. Progressive executive leaders will utilize an unbiased and …

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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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Will the Laggards Speed Up, Please?

The Oil and Gas (O&G) industry, especially its so-called “upstream” segment, exploration and production (or going from the rock to the pipeline), is totally based on data. A seismic survey may collect petabytes of acoustic signals. Increasingly, when wells are drilled, sensors are inserted in them, and these sensors collect data for the next 30 years of production. Two completely different applications, but in both cases they result in masses of data. O&G’s dependency on data began decades ago when the Schlumberger brothers invented the “electric log” in 1926. And yet, this sector has been one of the most conservative, even lagging, adopters of modern modeling and management techniques for both information and processes. Over …

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