avatar

Early this year, fellow Cutter Consultants Mitch Ummel, Mike Rosen, and I wrote an Executive Report on the Smart Grid. In that report, we talked about all the potential that the Smart Grid offers, how it would be designed, and also about the serious problems that such an ambitious undertaking faces — especially problems related to reliability and security. We expressed fears that since the next generation of Smart Grid electrical utilities is based on current standards taken from the Internet and the current generation of operating systems, it would be subject to serious attacks by more and more sophisticated hackers which, in turn, could seriously jeopardize the reliability and security of our most critical …

Read more

 
avatar

The worst mistake is not telling the boss. Or so said an article a few years ago in the Washington Post about the importance of immediately disclosing problems or mistakes to your boss.1 I am a great believer in this idea as well, which is part of what the late management theorist and practitioner Peter Drucker called “information responsibility.” Without knowing the true state of play, it is pretty difficult to manage enterprise risk effectively.2 This Washington Post article came to mind again as I read a Bloomberg News article last week dealing with the roots of the financial meltdown,3 as well as from a recent coincidental conversation I had with a friend of mine …

Read more

 
avatar

Security and data privacy/regulatory considerations are two of the biggest bottlenecks standing in the way of more organizations adopting cloud computing. Simply put, many organizations have serious misgivings about using cloud computing — in particular, software as a service (SaaS) offerings — due to regulatory requirements prohibiting them from using the cloud for storing sensitive data, or due to concerns about the privacy and security of data residing in the cloud. Organizations have also gone to considerable lengths to put the systems and processes in place that enable them to enforce consistent access control policies for their enterprise applications. Thus, it is quite understandable that many organizations remain leery of the security capabilities for ensuring …

Read more

 
avatar

Apple continues to make waves with the iPad and the iPhone. The iPad is probably already a US $2 billion line of business in a scant 80 days. Name another product that generated so much revenue so fast. I am finding how Apple pulled off that feat to be a more significant lesson in the design and engineering of a businesses than the glitz and splash of the iPad usability. Apple is adept at building business models perhaps more so than devices, at least for now. But I think we haven’t seen anything yet. All the competitors — such as Dell, HP, phone manufacturers, and others — that were caught with their pants down when …

Read more

 
avatar

The e-Government movement has taken the IT industry by storm as new and emerging technologies are being used to enhance the delivery of government services between agencies, and to the public and private sectors. The anticipated outcome of e-government is better collaboration, transparency, and efficiency of government interactions. Join the debate in the November 2010 Cutter IT Journal — with Guest Editor Mitchell Ummel — as we examine the opportunities and challenges presented by the application of emerging technologies in this new era of e-Government. To share your perspective with us, send us a short article abstract by September 3. For the full Call for Papers, visit here.

 
avatar

In a recent e-mail exchange with Cutter Fellow Lynne Ellyn (SVP and CIO of DTE), she mentioned that one characteristic of agile leaders is providing focus and clarity for an organization or team. Her comments sparked my thinking about why it’s so hard to be a good agile leader. We tend to create lists of what leaders do or their agilelike behaviors, but these lists and the item descriptions obscure the difficulty in actually being an agile leader. Consider providing focus and clarity. It sounds simple, but it’s not. Why do we embrace agility in the first place? Agility helps us manage change and uncertainty. Turbulence — business, economic, and technological — creates change, which …

Read more

 
avatar

When EA originally emerged, it was a thin layer of technology and methodology sandwiched between two large buns: business applications on the top and infrastructure on the bottom. The bulk of the headcount and budget of an IT department would be devoted to the acquisition or development and support of applications and to the investments in data centers, user PCs, network connections, and security.

 
avatar

The Scrum v. Kanban debate has been relentlessly raging for the past eighteen months. One could only watch with fascination as polarized camps formed around what is after all a fairly dry software method issue. The intensity of emotions this debate generated could almost be compared with those expressed in the debate about abortions. As a practitioner who uses both methods, I tend to view them as arrows in my quiver. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. The important thing is suitability to the target environment, not the theoretical pros and cons. For example, one could prefer to use Scrum in development and Kanban in service delivery. A macro trend is starting to change …

Read more

 
avatar

The trends are clear. There will be more and more outsourcing as we proceed through the 21st century. On-demand, “pay-by-the-drink,” and related models will dominate technology delivery for the foreseeable future — and very likely permanently. Lack of expertise in the US is accelerating this trend. So where does this leave us? With a new requirement: vendor management. Vendor management is a broad area. Let’s explore the strategic highlights. First, you need a comprehensive sourcing strategy and inevitably a strategy driven by the results of a core competency assessment. (Yes, you have to do this again.) The essential questions here revolve around the core/noncore relationship between technology and your business models and processes. Put another …

Read more

 
avatar

In First, Break All the Rules,1 management consultants Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman report that an employee’s relationship with his or her manager is key to that employee’s success and long-term happiness in the organization. Moreover, if people have friends at work, they are more likely to be successful and happy at work. In an agile team, it’s easy to build camaraderie among team members. But if a technical person’s primary affiliation is with his or her colleagues on an agile team, how does a manager build the relationship key to retention? [...]