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Change is good….!!!

December 21, 2011 1 comment

First off, apologies – I have been focused on other priorities the past month when I suddenly realized that I have been absent for over 1 month. Hopefully this entry will make up for the lost time.

We have all seen the ‘change is good’ slogan in many different setting – so you all know what it means. Well, let me put the importance of change in the context of IT solution delivery. I will set the context with this correlation – the Declaration of Independence which was written over 235 years ago (pre-industrial revolution, pre-depression, pre-globalization, pre-etc.etc.etc.) and is used to govern the United States of America – NEEDS to be modified to support the demanding dynamics of a interconnected global economy. Yes, the core values of the Declaration are still applicable for our country but somehow it has hampered our ability to properly run government in the 21st century. I will stop there as I am not a politician nor do I aspire to play in the political arena.

The correlation of my political example is for how ‘traditional’ IT organizations deliver and develop solutions for the business. There is the traditional Waterfall development methodology and there are the Agile/SCRUM methodologies. The difference boils down to ‘predictability’ vs. ‘adaptability’. IT organizations supporting legacy environments are likely to be very mature with the Waterfall approach, and those organizations working in a more dynamic business oriented environment will likely utilize Agile/SCRUM.

I propose there is a new era upon us IT professionals. When you factor in the need for IT organizations to support legacy (Waterfall), maintain the web solutions deployed to date (Agile/SCRUM) – the new era we need to adapt to is a combination of the two approaches for the following realities:

  • Consumerization of IT: as the everyday technologies that we are used to utilizing in our respective personal lives gets ingrained into the professional environments – IT organizations need to prepare for this from a solution delivery and support perspective. What is important to understand with Consumerization of IT, is that this is the expectation of Millennial generation (see my blog on GENeX).
  • Web 2.0/3.0: this is where the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, etc. (the list is endless) are starting to be utilized by Fortune 500. Though the business benefits and metrics for utilizing Social Media are in the nascent stages, it is an inevitable component of how organizations need to deploy value propositions for their target audience through the use of Social Media. That creates a challenge for traditional IT organizations in that the development approaches for these few examples are not Waterfall, are not Agile/SCRUM but more Extreme Agile (not XP) in that changes are applied on a daily, weekly and on rare occasion monthly basis. As these platforms are integrated with the legacy environments of the enterprise, it becomes very difficult for traditional IT to keep up with the integration changes.

I have had the privilege of attending numerous conferences and closed panels where representatives from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google were present in meeting enterprise representatives from Fortune 500 organizations. The challenge is clear and what is also clear is that all parties want to collaborate on a solution. Traditional IT will be very reliant on partnerships with external parties and the time is now for the enterprise (traditional) organizations to form partnerships with these entities.

This all boils down to ‘change’ for all parities involved. Traditional organizations will need to prepare their culture, processes, people, etc. from a readiness perspective. It is tough balance given the ever changing environments and priorities of the enterprise but it is necessary to focus now. It will also be a challenge for the external parties who have pressures to drive awareness, presence, revenue, eyes, etc. and to work in a ‘constrained’ environment will be suffocating but the balance needs to be a focus.

Good luck to all as I am getting ready for the change as well!!!

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The misconception of an IT Strategy – Part 2

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

My previous blog spoke about the importance of ensuring a holistic view of the business is taken into context in order to develop an IT Strategy.   Just to summarize, businesses not able to articulate their vision (beyond 6 months) should not spend time developing an IT strategy.  What they need to focus on is the development of an IT plan – which is purely tactical and may even be throw away from an investment perspective.

The next part of this series is focused around partnership.  The old saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango’ – this phrase is foundational in the development of an IT strategy.  Businesses developing their vision without IT stakeholders at the table are fooling themselves.  In this age of technology advancement (with the likes of Social Media, Web 2.0, mobility, Big Data and the like) – how would any organization realistically achieve business differentiation, market growth, product innovation, client servicing, etc. WITHOUT IT at the table.  Simply developing the business strategy and then throwing it over the fence for IT to figure out how the pieces come together from a technology perspective is just insane.  Yet, many organization have taken that approach, making statements such as IT doesn’t understand our business, IT doesn’t need to be at the table, and the classic – IT should not tell the business what they need to do.

I encourage you to build the partnerships with the business – this is easier said than done and it takes time.  IT needs to be build the trust with the business, talk in business terms, translate technical-speak to basic business terms and be able to deliver quality solutions.