Posts Tagged 'business-strategy'

Jul 272010

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

May 182010

Everyone knows estimating work in IT can be difficult. Whenever you ask an IT expert for an estimate, the sequence of events can look like this: Requester asks, “How long do you think that will take?” The expert pauses, silent, eyes looking up. You can see the wheels spinning. After a few moments, the expert responds: “It depends.” The expert and the requester begin a new round of conversations, further specifying what “it” is and what “depends” means. Estimating isn’t really estimating at all. It is a process of understanding with greater specificity, breaking the work down in greater detail and nailing down unstated or less clear choices. Once all the details are known and Read more

Feb 282010

“I don’t hire older CIOs. I like them young.” So barked an experienced and grizzled CEO in a conversation we had a decade ago. Why? Because they don’t know any better, he said. They overestimate their abilities, underestimate the problem, but work hard enough and are smart enough to pull it off. I hope I don’t work for him, I distinctly remember thinking. While overconfidence continues to be a consistent problem in IT, so does too much experience. Those experienced IT folks who may sandbag their estimates (partially out of painful memories from prior battles, partially out of CYA self-protection) constantly run into technology neophytes and amateurs who are deeply convinced that they can move Read more

Feb 092010

The shift in power from the CIO/CTO to the CFO for technology project justification is a fact of life that all of us in the technology industry are familiar with. We no longer have to sell the techies on the value of new IT projects, we have to sell to the financial part of the organization: the business. It seems a common belief that cost-justifying technology projects is difficult, if not impossible, especially if those projects represent infrastructure upgrades rather than improvements to business processes. Too often in technology we get caught up in the “gadget culture.” Most of us who have gravitated to IT have done so because deep down we are technophiles. In Read more

Apr 082009

Cutter’s annual Summit conference is upon us! Our keynoters, panelists, roundtable facilitators and seminar leaders are truly amazing. It’s an inspiring — and inspired — group of people. And at the Summit, you get to spend time with these folks. I’m not talking about taking up space in the same room; I’m talking real, quality time. Want to discuss your particular challenge with Rob Austin? Go ahead, sit together at lunch. Hang out during the 30-minute break. Curious about techniques to protect your personally identifiable information? Mark Seiden will give you incredible tips during the coffee break. Are you wondering if some of your staff could deliver greater value in a different role? Talk with Read more

Feb 182009

I am sitting here, sipping my free cup of coffee at McDonald’s, looking across the parking lot at the huge going-out-of-business banners strung across the entrance to my local Circuit City store. “I wonder,” I joke with the McDonald’s manager, who I know pretty well, “if they had to pay for those banners up front and in cash?” A couple of years ago, I wrote about Circuit City’s inability to manage its enterprise risks: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the company sold in a few years, or at the very least, its top management replaced. At the time I wrote that Circuit City had decided that it would replace its higher-paid employees with lower-paid Read more

Apr 252008

I finally had the chance to catch up with a long-time colleague of mine for lunch a few months back on a cold, wintry and blustery Chicago day. We sat down, and ordered tea and coffee. Not waiting to order our food, she immediately began to tell me a story about a recently retired CIO and former boss of hers, Hal, who had just returned from a cross-country tour of the United States. I sat and waived off the waiter. She was on a roll, so I listened. As best as I can remember it, this was Hal’s tale, told second-hand to me, about a rather unusual bike race. Hal was driving west through the Read more