Links for April 6 2014

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts

16 Leadership Lessons from a Four Star General
Quote: Rank, authority, and even responsibility can be inherited or assigned, whether or not an individual desires or deserves them. Even the mantle of leadership occasionally falls to people who haven’t sought it. But actually leading is different. A leader decides to accept responsibility for others in a way that assumes stewardship of their hopes, their dreams, and sometimes their very lives. It can be a crushing burden, but I found it an indescribable honor.

Why We Miss Creative Ideas That Are Right Under Our Noses
Quote: Creativity and innovation in organizations is inherently difficult. In part, because the people who make decisions tend to be the people with the most experience. That experience helps you spot big mistakes but it also makes it harder for you to “recognize out of the box possibilities” or do something that might go against how your organization makes money today

Oh I See (CIO Inverted): The King is dead, long live the king
Quote: The future belongs to the enterprise which has mastered the art and science of consistently finding needles in the haystack of data. The individual who can make this happen shall be anointed the new high priest; only time will tell whether s/he will be the Chief Digital Officer or the Data Scientist or the CIO making a transition to becoming the orchestrator of such services. It is certain that sooner or later this will become commoditized and challenge the adopters to find new differentiators sooner than later.

IA is Not New
Quote: But what I am saying is that 90% of the ground we’re “breaking” has already been broken. And if we took a second to look, we’d understand that we’re really just standing on the shoulders of giants.

Links for March 30 2014

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts

Google Flu Trends’ Failure Shows Good Data > Big Data – Kaiser Fung – Harvard Business Review
Quote: The amount of data still tends to dominate discussion of big data’s value. But more data in itself does not lead to better analysis, as amply demonstrated with Flu Trends. Large datasets don’t guarantee valid datasets. That’s a bad assumption, but one that’s used all the time to justify the use of and results from big data projects.

HP Blogs – The Role of the CIO, evolution or revolution? – The HP Blog Hub
Quote: Is the transformation to the digital world an evolution or a revolution for the CIO? I would say it depends. Some CIOs. Primarily those already linked to the business will see it as an evolution, the continuation of the efforts they have already taken to work hand in hand with the business. Other CIOs, focused mainly on technology will definitely see it as a revolution. Where are you in that spectrum and how do you take on the digital transformation?

Enterprise Agile: One Size Does Not Fit All — CIO Dashboard
Quote: Whatever approach you choose, scaling agile requires complex navigation during each phase. It’s an evolutionary process, requiring balance across many different aspects of the organization. With a strategic and tailored approach, organizations can successfully scale agile and realize all that a greater agile reach has to offer. If you steer clear of the hurdles, it’s a worthwhile journey.

Whither the CIO? The role of IT — and the IT leader — will evolve along two different paths | TechViews
Quote: Technology is turning whole businesses on their heads, and CEOs everywhere are struggling to find the best way to manage and leverage it. It makes sense that as technology increases its impact on businesses, the role of the technology leader will evolve. The notion of CIOs—and their organizations—as being all about operations and all about innovation—at the same time—cannot hold. The key for every CIO working today is this: Know which path plays to your strengths, and get moving

Four steps to help CIOs drive innovation and strategy – The CIO Leader
Quote: The type of radical change required to reposition the CIO role and the IT function is a significant undertaking. It will require the dismantling of much of the IT function’s existing structures, processes and teams, and the development of new competencies, skills and knowledge. Such a transformation takes time and requires the understanding and support of the rest of the C-suite.

“Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Face” | Partners in EXCELLENCE Blog — Making A Difference
Quote: If we’ve developed a good plan, if we must stay focused on executing it. This doesn’t mean we don’t adjust it based on new information, but we can’t abandon it. We know we will face changes and challenges to our plan. Hopefully, we’ve thought of those in our planning process and developed strategies to deal with these, when we are hit with them, we can deal with it.

Links for March 23 2014

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts
  • Midwest IT Survival » Evolution of Corporate IT and the Future Impact of Cloud

    Quote: All in all, corporate IT is in constant evolution. The rate of evolution appears on all counts to be accelerating with no signs of any slowdown in the future. Anyone who isn’t prepared to have to constantly re-invent themselves should seriously consider a different career path than corporate IT.

  • Are You Making The Most of Your Dark Data? | Business Analytics

    Quote: But there’s also a lot of ‘dark’ structured data. It turns out that the number one use of Hadoop in most organizations today is analyzing old data that was previously too costly to process. In addition to providing known value, this data provides an easy, low-risk pilot project for getting to know Hadoop. The structures are well-known, so getting the data out in a useable format doesn’t require complex data exploration or new scripting skills.

  • What every CIO could learn from Tufts University about understanding the customer experience.

    Quote: So: out into the world you go, dear CIO – live at the end of the road where your technology touches the end customer. We’ll pay you for the experience. Keep careful records. Take pictures, record voices, write notes, kick the tires of the competition.

  • Why deep belief matters so much – O’Reilly Radar

    Quote: Think about the results as noisy sensor readings rather than human-accurate judgments, and you’ll start to see how powerful even imperfect results can be, as long as they still contain strong signals. We’re entering a new world where computers can see, even if it’s only through a glass darkly.

  • The Cloud Is Tempting CIOs To Change Their Tech Vendors – ReadWrite

    Quote: In a recent global survey of CIOs, Gartner found 70% of CIOs expect to change their technology and services vendors over the next two to three years. Seventy percent. Enterprises, driven by an increasing hunger to put data to use and cloud infrastructure for the purpose of scale, are said to be rethinking the ways they do business.

Don’t use your data this way

bad-hr-analytics-dataLast week, I wrote a post titled Big Data Starts with Data Management. In that post, I wrote:

Starting with data management will help mitigate these risks since a good data management approach allows organizations to keep data quality in mind from the beginning of a big data project.

Data management is a key aspect of big data projects. There’s no doubt about that.

Today, I want to share a real-world story of one company that has poor (or perhaps no) data management processes and how the lack of good processes could potentially push clients away.

This story starts in 1996 when I purchased a 1995 Chevrolet Blazer. I took the Blazer into a local GM dealer for service a few times in 1997.

Now – fast-forward to March 2014. One evening, I check my email and notice the following email:

We want to welcome you as a Preferred Email Customer of _____ Chevrolet. Thank you for letting us send periodic emails regarding your 1995 Blazer. In the future, we would like to send you emails that will include safety related recalls, service reminders and special offers from _____ Chevrolet that only our Preferred Email Customers will receive.

I was quite surprised when I first saw this email. First, I no longer own the Blazer; I traded that Blazer in for a Camaro in 1999. Second, after thinking for a minute and looking at the dealership, I realized it was the same dealership that I had taken my Blazer to the dealership in ‘97.

Here we have a dealership who’s just taken some initiative to build a ‘preferred’ email customer list and start to reach out to those clients. Great idea, but poor execution.

There’s a real problem with their approach though. They’ve done very little in terms of data management. They’ve taken a few pieces of disparate data from their client database and stuffed them into an email.

This isn’t how you use data. You don’t just take data, throw it into an email system and blast your clients or ex-clients. You’ll do nothing but annoy.

Data management processes would help here. With the proper management systems and processes in place, this organization wouldn’t have just dumped old data into an email system. They would have had processes in place to ensure the data would be as accurate as possible. They would have also had systems in place to ensure that any data that is used to contact clients would be cleansed and updated to ensure that clients want to be updated.

This particular organization is trying to reach out to clients, but they have used old, outdated data. When I read their email I immediately thought that this dealership had no clue how to do proper client outreach. They had no clue how to ‘clean’ their data or manage that data to ensure they were only reaching out using accurate email lists.

Data management isn’t always THE answer, but for this particular problem, it will help. Proper data management systems and processes are critical for every organization today. Don’t let your organization look as bad as this car dealership did. Make sure you’ve got proper data management processes and systems in place.

Links for March 16 2014

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts
  • 6 IT Strategies to Stay Ahead of Data Center Trends – CIO.com

    Quote: Automation, virtualization, cloud computing — these technology trends are transforming the data center and enabling companies to lower costs, increase flexibility and improve reliability. However, these shifts require IT, and their outsourcing providers, to rethink traditional strategies.

  • Volkswagen: ‘The Car Must Not Become A Data Monster’ – ReadWrite

    Quote: Over time, as vendors start to blend together, data control will become a selling point, and so we’ll see vendors giving us control not for our sakes, but rather for theirs. This won’t replace government intervention, but rather complement the legislation. Together, the market and the law can help us tame our appetite for the almighty deal.

  • Failure is a fundamental component of business evolution – O’Reilly Radar

    Quote: Capitalism and entrepreneurial innovation require risk, as it is a fundamental component of business evolution. When companies are allowed to fail, their resources get reallocated in the market, just like a fire that converts sparse undergrowth into fertilizer for the next generation of trees. If instead, the failed companies are prevented from failing but are propped up to maintain the illusion of solvency, they fester and consume more and more resources while creating greater and greater risk. Eventually, bailouts must be followed by even greater bailouts and then bail-ins. Finally, the systemic risk of too-big-to-fail becomes too-big-to-bail and the economy suffers a conflagration of defaults. De-risking increases the risk of failure and turns localized risk into a systemic risk.

  • Goodbye charts: Boston docs using Google Glass for patient history — Tech News and Analysis

    Quote: A Boston hospital created its own way to use Google Glass for real-time patient charts and medical information, already saving at least one life. Doctors scan a QR code with Glass to see patient data, which is securely behind the hospital’s firewall.

  • With data brokers selling lists of alcoholics to big business, the feds have some thinking to do — Tech News and Analysis

    Quote: Private data brokers, which compile everything from our sex habits to our license plate license location, are a growing cause of concern.

  • Better Decisions in Less Time with Bigger Data and Smaller Egos — OCDQ Blog

    Quote: One of the lauded benefits of big data analytics is being able to weigh more options in our decision-making process. The more we can automate the processing and presentation of more decision-making options, the less we have to deal with any of those options becoming conflated with the ego of an individual decision-maker. Big data analytics, therefore, can enable businesses of all sizes to make better decisions in less time with bigger data and smaller egos.

  • Innovate on Purpose: Small, impermanent and sticky – the real innovation world

    Quote: Your business or geographic location will be buffeted by increasing competition and the accelerating pace of change and uncertainty. The real question is whether your firm or location can create a place where interesting, vital, creative and innovative people “stick” regardless of the tos and fros of corporate behemoths chasing transient incentives.

  • You Can Build a Community, But You Will Never Control It | C.C. Chapman

    Quote: Where people fall down all the time is that they think they can control a community. The most successful ones can be guided and directed, but at the end of the day the members are the ones that will determine if it is what they want or not.

Links for March 9 2014

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts
  • Three Steps to Improving Business-IT Alignment

    Quote: Whether we call it business-IT alignment or not, the desired state for a CIO is to be respected and valued for his or her knowledge and ability to contribute to meeting organizational goals. We want our peers to know that we understand their challenges and have ideas about how to solve them. In order to get that respect, to have that seat at the table, you must communicate in the words of your business. Talk about business goals and capabilities, not hybrid clouds and terabytes of data. Hire knowledgeable people and get them embedded in the business so they can listen, learn and teach. Provide a view into what IT does and why you are doing it, and allow others to help make those decisions. Adopting these strategies will help provide two-way communication, giving you and your business colleagues a common ground for advancing the conversation.

  • Governing Big Data — OCDQ Blog

    Quote: Bridging the divide between unstructured and structured data is one of the biggest challenges involved with managing and governing big data. Most important to note is that unstructured data is also the source of increased data privacy concerns, ranging from organizations providing data to government agencies to people giving away their data for free email. The latter is an example of how we need to take some personal responsibility for self-governing our data, while the former is an example of how we want regulatory protection holding data users accountable for what they do with our data.

  • Innovate on Purpose: Innovation is a double-edged Sword

    Quote: Innovation is a double edged sword – it helps those who use it first, but if those initial pioneers plan to stand on that initial innovation for very long, they’ll find the sword swings back and both edges are sharp.

  • The Creep Factor: How to Think About Big Data and Privacy – O’Reilly Radar

    Quote: The right way to deal with data redlining is not to prohibit the collection of data, as so many misguided privacy advocates seem to urge, but rather, to prohibit its misuse once companies have that data. As David Brin, author of the prescient 1998 book on privacy, The Transparent Society, noted in a conversation with me last night, “It is intrinsically impossible to know if someone does not have information about you. It is much easier to tell if they do something to you.”

  • From shadow IT to distributed IT, CIOs are starting to roll with the punches – TotalCIO

    Quote: The service-based economy doesn’t signal the death of the IT; instead, as the shadow IT-embracing audience member revealed, CIOs are figuring out ways to adapt to today’s service-based economy and become partners who support the business. “What we wanted to do was to help embrace what they’re doing and provide the guidance, particularly on security,” he said.

  • It really is time to trust the cloud – The CIO Leader

    Quote: And for any CIOs that are still to be convinced, the survey also revealed that 82% of companies have improved uptime and reliability as a result of moving to the cloud while 75% have successfully reduced pressure on their IT departments. Better security, lower risk, higher availability and reduced workload for IT; what’s not to like? It really is time for IT to trust the cloud.

  • The CIO’s Role in the Internet of Things — CIO Dashboard

    Quote: As the IoT starts living up to its promise, now is the opportunity for CIOs to initiate discussions with their C-Suite peers about conducting IoT pilots to explore the possibilities and risks. The IoT is inevitable. Why wait to get started?