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Crowdsourcing has emerged as a compelling alternative to the traditional processes that firms rely on to innovate and to create and capture value. The June 2011 Cutter IT Journal will examine both the opportunities and challenges created by the crowdsourcing phenomenon, particularly in the context of IT and IT-intensive businesses. Proposals of interest are due 18 March 2011. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers01.html

Mar 012011
 
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I was just asked to comment problem at Google that caused an estimated 35,000 people to lose (for a few days at least) the entire contents of their Gmail accounts. Here are my thoughts on this.

 
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Kanban has become the hot topic of discussion amongst the IT community since 2010, due to its accelerated rate of adoption and remarkable impact on organizations — from the few-employee company to the tens-of-thousands-employee company — where it has been adopted despite its young age. This fast pace is both good and bad, Kanban is benefiting organizations when adopted properly, but there is a risk of doing it wrong by rushing an adoption without fully understanding it. For example, people frequently ask if Kanban is a methodology for software development, or for software maintenance, or for project management, or a systematic approach to cultural change in the organization, or something else. Another frequent question is …

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Feb 222011
 
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Architects face many challenges in their jobs. Among them are creating architecture and applying architecture. I’ve said many times that creating architecture alone does not create value. Rather, the value from architecture comes when it is applied. In other words, value is delivered when architecture is used to influence the outcome of decision making, analysis, design, or implementation. Yet another challenge is that architects are often not the people who are responsible for doing the applying. So we face a conundrum: we don’t create value until someone else uses the architecture. That begs the obvious question of how to get other people to use the architecture. The equation itself is really quite simple: if you …

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Feb 212011
 
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A few months ago, Tom Friedman published a great article entitled It’s Morning in India. This is an insightful article which I can’t recommend too highly. Tom’s bottom line is as follows: Yes, when America lapses into a bad mood, everyone notices. After asking for an explanation of the Tea Party’s politics, Gupta remarked: “We have moved away from a politics of grievance to a politics of aspiration. Where is the American dream? Where is the optimism?” Having just come back from a two-week Cutter gig in India, Tom’s wisdom resonates with me big time. I was impressed no end with the economical virtuous cycle I witnessed in India. Lower income tiers are being brought …

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In September 2010 and in January, I attended two instances of “Stanford Leading Matters,” a roving conference by Stanford University aimed at raising the visibility (and gathering donations) for the “Stanford Challenge,” a decade-long $10 billion fundraiser. This was a rather stellar production, complete with making the meeting hall look like a scale model of the university’s inner quad — sandstone arches and all. At every stop, Stanford University President John Hennessy spoke of the university’s vision, which is no less than helping solve the world’s toughest challenges; incredibly gifted and involved students provided their views in a panel moderated by Hennessy; professors gave lectures on important issues in today’s world; and very good food …

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Some argue that a cyber-Armageddon — or a “digital Pearl Harbor” — may be just around the corner, while others counter that while cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously, the overall cyberthreat and its consequences are vastly overblown and are merely a convenient excuse to sell over-priced security software and consulting. The May 2011 Cutter IT Journal will try to separate the wheat from the chaff as pertains to security threats from current and potential cyberweapons. Proposals of interest are due 2 March 2011. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers02.html

 
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I was saddened to hear that computer industry pioneer Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), died on Sunday, a few weeks shy of his 85th birthday. Under his 35-year leadership as CEO, Ken Olsen built Digital from US $70,000 in seed money in 1957 to become the world’s second-largest computer company with upwards of $14B in sales and 120,000 employees in more than 95 countries. In 1986, Fortune magazine named Ken “America’s most successful entrepreneur.” Following Ken’s vision, starting with the PDP-1 in the 1960s, Digital created an entirely new segment of the computer industry with its small, powerful, and high-quality “minicomputers.” The minicomputer quickly became an alternative to the multimillion-dollar mainframe and …

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We’re thrilled to announce that Ron Blitstein has joined Cutter’s management team and is now Director of Cutter’s CIO practice. While this role is new for Ron, Ron is not new to Cutter! He’s been a Fellow of the Cutter Business Technology Council since 2007, and a Senior Consultant with our Business-IT Strategies practice. As Director of the CIO practice — which includes research, consulting, and training services around business-IT strategy and trends, enterprise risk management, security, sourcing, and innovation — Ron will lead the community of Senior Consultants focused in these areas and will lay out the research agenda in these domains. Ron’s 30-year career includes extensive international operations experience and spans all aspects …

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The question of whether an organization should build software or buy it dates to when the first significant COTS packages (typically for accounting, computer-aided design, or manufacturing resource planning) appeared on the market between 1970 and 1990. Search for “build vs. buy software” on Google, and you get 52 million results. Most of the results on the first pages are dated around 2001-2002, so one would think that the question has been settled, mostly along the following lines: If you need a capability that is fairly generic, and will not in itself give you a competitive advantage (the way you apply it may be superior to how others do it, but the software itself will not …

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