March 03, 2015

Why You Need a Strategic IT Roadmap
Unfortunately, they work in a cycle of reaction that manages to short-term needs rather than strategic priorities and many cannot find a way out.Enterprise software is a victim of this cycle. Since it’s complex and pervasive it requires constant feeding by the IT department. Because it’s used to support fundamental business functions users frequently request new functionality. This makes it difficult to adopt the newest, most exciting technologies available because the immediate priorities are always fixing what exists. CIOs themselves recognize this. Steven Norton at the Wall Street Journal summarized the Top 5 priorities for CIOs this year. Two of the five are directly related to strategic vision

The internet of things and big data: Unlocking the power
The IoT and big data are clearly intimately connected: billions of internet-connected 'things' will, by definition, generate massive amounts of data. However, that in itself won't usher in another industrial revolution, transform day-to-day digital living, or deliver a planet-saving early warning system. As EMC and IDC point out in their latest Digital Universe report, organisations need to hone in on high-value, 'target-rich' data that is (1) easy to access; (2) available in real time; (3) has a large footprint (affecting major parts of the organisation or its customer base); and/or (4) can effect meaningful change, given the appropriate analysis and follow-up action.

5 Emerging Themes for 21st Century Business
User experience will continue to be a critical requirement for enterprise software adoption. Consumers today have high expectations from their technologies, as they are accustomed to modern, engaging, personalized and intuitive experiences. Those expectations don’t change at the workplace. Millennials will demand it. Customers will require it. And thanks to the cloud enterprise software providers we will finally be able deliver modern, innovative and elegant user experiences. No longer will long enterprise software upgrades get in the way of investment in user experience. The cloud allows vendors to deliver at the pace of change that we all have grown to expect.

Enterprise Portfolio Management - Getting Started
The enterprise portfolio management process consists of two main phases. First, there is a design phase in which the process is tuned to the specific requirements of the organization. The organization’s goals and stakeholders are investigated, suitable portfolios are defined and valuation criteria are chosen. This phase is repeated regularly so that the EPM process is up to date with the business strategy, addresses actual concerns of the stakeholders and reflects lessons learned.  The execution phase is a continuous process in which first the assets or change initiatives are inventoried, then the portfolios are analyzed, decisions are based on this analysis, and these are input to the realization. This is repeated regularly, with a rhythm that depends on the portfolios’ characteristics.

Software robots for process automation: fudge or strategic solution?
The name “robotic software automation” was coined as an illusion to the use of robots in manufacturing to replace humans on the factory line. The idea is more subtle than it might first appear. Robotic software is designed to be used by business users to allow them to build and deploy new processes across systems that were never designed or intended to work together. Suppose you are the manager of a BPO unit or call center operation. You are being asked to do more with less. You are facing targets for head count reduction. Or perhaps your business is growing, and more customer interactions need to be supported yet the business cannot afford to increase front-office capacity. With the right tool, perhaps a software robot could offload repetitive work from humans?

Break Me If You Can: 4 Rugged Tablets Put to the Test
Rugged tablets offer reinforced frames, tough skins, watertight seals, hardened glass, soft corner bumpers and major components that are shock-mounted. In other words, if ordinary consumer tablets can be considered sports (or economy) cars, rugged tablets are tanks. To see what the current state of the art is for rugged tablets, I gathered together three of the newest Windows-based worker-proof slates: the Mobile Demand xTablet Flex 10, the Getac F110 and the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1. I also tried out Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active, a reinforced Android tablet.

The rise of systems of intelligence: Rethinking your enterprise data strategy
The sheer amount of data being created is staggering. According to IBM, 2.5 exabytes of data was generated every day in 2012. The importance of data is becoming so big, even the US Government has launched an initiative to help access and analyse it. It is no longer sufficient for organisations to have a strategy around legacy data. Instead, they need a plan that considers the evolving enterprise data landscape and transforms their existing systems of records into systems of intelligent information.

Fail fast, but learn quicker: How to take chances without risking tech disasters
IT leaders, therefore, need a more nuanced approach to experimentation. And Cohen says the concept of 'succeeding fast and learning fast' should resonate strongly with CIOs. "Failing fast without learning is absolutely useless," he says. "There's much more to the process than just throwing money at something and thinking you can afford to fail quickly." ... "Ensure you have a deliverable in terms of experience and lessons going forwards," he says. "The prototype might cost your business £50,000, but you won't have spent the £500,000 the full project would have cost, and you'll have learnt some valuable lessons along the way. "

Who ‘owns’ an investigation into a security breach?
The general principle is what the name implies: An effective investigation cannot be fragmented. It has to be unified, with a clear leader, clear lines of responsibility and comprehensive lines of communication. And the chances for fragmentation are high. The SEC found that organizations, “may be responsible for up to 67 different types of investigations and up to 13 different business functions could be engaged in these investigative activities.” Those business functions range from audit to business conduct and ethics, corporate security, compliance, crisis management, environmental health and safety, governance, government affairs, HR, information security, legal, privacy and risk management.

Qualcomm and Intel to Introduce New Biometric Security Technology
Both announcements are expected to be made at the World Mobile Congress, a technology industry event in Barcelona, Spain. While the Intel product will be on the market first, the Qualcomm technology may be the more compelling over the long term, and not just because Qualcomm wants the fingerprint to replace passwords altogether. For one thing, the sensor that does the sonar work operates independently of the computer’s operating system, and its functions can be stored within a phone’s hardware. Those things make it hard to hack. A phone using the sensor can also be set to take more than one fingerprint, while restricting individual access to particular apps. In other words, you can share a phone with your mother, but she can’t get into your Snapchat app.

Quote for the day:

"To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

March 02, 2015

Bitcoin-Inspired Digital Currency to Power Mobile Savings App
The Praekelt Foundation develops a piece of free software called Vumi that powers interactive services that can run over text messages on phones without data plans. Humanitarian organizations including UNICEF, USAID, and the Gates Foundation use Vumi to deliver health and education programs in Africa and elsewhere.+ The new savings feature will be offered as an opt-in feature of existing social networking services built on Vumi and aimed at teenage girls living in poverty, says Gustav Praekelt, the head of the foundation. For most of the girls it will be their first opportunity to have a savings account, he says, something he hopes will lead to better decisions about money.

Microsoft's new Windows 10 Universal App Platform: A 'superset of WinRT'
Developers will be able to target different versions -- either a range or individual -- of the UAP, not the underlying version of Windows, according to Lacey. The UAP "is a versioned collection of versioned contracts," he explained. Universal apps don't mean apps that look and work exactly the same across all device types. Microsoft is building "extension SDKs (software development kits) that will allow developers to build platform/device-specific elements while still building on top of a single binary, according to tweets from the event. The Adaptive User Interface in universal apps will adapt to the device, tweeted freelance tech journalist Tim Anderson (@timanderson).

The Enterprise Effect Of Open Source
Like early adopters, enterprises have discovered the benefits open source provides: Lower cost, flexibility, and ease of use, plus access to a larger group of potential developers, either internally or externally. As security threats increase, proponents view open source as a more viable alternative to commercial options, since open source develops rapidly and often is more proactive than reactive. Indeed, 72 percent of respondents cited the large number of people reviewing open source code as one reason the software was more secure, the Black Duck study discovered.

A Peek Under the Hood of The Connected Car
By looking at connected car functionality and architecture, we can get a better understanding of all IoT platforms. To simplify, there is a fairly consistent set of IoT components—sensors, mobile or device apps, big data stores, data science algorithms, and analytical output with a platform as a service(PaaS) layer underneath. As an example, the connected car dashboard below will be demonstrated this week at Mobile World Congress (see booth info below). Behind this type of dashboard, predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms can incorporate driving behavior and sensor data to improve maintenance and mileage, route us to gas or charging stations, predict destinations, and even get us a better deal on car insurance.

CIOs should focus on value, users and emerging tech
IT leaders have gone from project managers and budget managers to orchestrators of business strategy. In the past, static knowledge of a technology or set of technologies, and the ability to deliver traditional programs and projects, were sufficient skills for an effective IT leader. Today the CIO and every role within IT has to continually to retool and reinvent itself. This sounds like a high order when faced with a huge legacy environment, but it doesn’t have to be an all-in, or all-at-once move. By being connected to company strategy the CIO can decide where to innovate first – achieving that user victory I mentioned earlier will attract more attention and investment.

You can’t program intelligent robots, but you can train them
Advances in deep learning — the artificial intelligence technique du jour for machine-perception tasks such as computer vision, speech recognition and language understanding — also stand to expedite the training of robots. Deep learning algorithms trained on publicly available images, video and other media content can help robots recognize the objects they’re seeing or the words they’re hearing; Saxena said RoboBrain uses deep learning to train robots on proper techniques for moving and grasping objects. However, there’s a different school of thought that says robots needn’t necessarily be as smart as RoboBrain wants to make them, so long as they can at least be trained to know right from wrong.

IT Governance and Business Process Outsourcing
Cloud architectures, exponential growth of Mobile communication, social networking, Collaboration… technology innovations abound, and with them the ever important need for IT governance. In fact the subject of Governance (and Management) of Enterprise IT in the BPO space, is a relatively new and challenging domain. One must remember that in parallel to BPO and technological advancements, the demands on Corporate Governance and therefore IT Governance so too have increased dramatically. If anything, BPO has introduced, and arguably forced, an extended dimension to the realm of IT Governance.

Negotiating the Cultural Minefield
Though no two individuals have exactly the same cultural DNA, there are only two negotiation cultures that matter. In a given negotiation, all parties choose to either follow a win-win or a win-lose negotiation strategy. As we move forward in a negotiation with our counterparties, the main thing we need to figure out is which of the two they’ve chosen to adopt. Here, too, culture can act as a smokescreen. An example: You may have heard, or been warned, about the unusually strong handshakes employed by some in my home country of Brazil. Some say this vigorous greeting is about projecting a macho, intimidating image. Others put a quite different spin on it,

Exploiting big data could save the European Commission up to €200bn a year
“The EC wants to encourage the development of a big data ecosystem or community acting together in which bigger players create opportunities for smaller players,” said Nagy-Rothengass. Although Europe is lagging behind the US in innovating around personal data, the EC wants to ensure all European development is conducted in a secure environment. “All guidelines and regulations such as the proposed network information security (NIS) directive and open data directive are designed to ensure the European values such as privacy are preserved,” she said.

In combating cyberattacks, don't succumb to the 'squirrel effect'
this approach -- dubbed the "squirrel effect" in a session at a recent closed CIO conference in San Francisco put on by Global Business Events -- can make companies more vulnerable to attack and actually weaken their ability to recover quickly from a security breach. Chasing the latest security concern -- whether it's point-of-sale security weaknesses that hackers used to install malware, in the case of Target, or an insufficiently protected database that hackers breached to steal millions of customer's health insurance records, in the case of Anthem -- distracts companies from what they should be doing, according to the session's experts, who oversee security for a large Los Angeles-based entertainment company.

Quote for the day:

"Don't blow off another's candle for it won't make yours shine brighter." -- Jaachynma N.E. Agu

March 01, 2015

HTC's Grip fitness tracker is a promising, puzzling first step
On the plus side, the waterproof material making up the Grip's body is surprisingly comfortable, though I've got to wonder just how nice it'll feel when it's pressed up against my skin mid-marathon. Speaking of working in motion, the Grip also seemed to accurately monitor my steps, which was honestly about all I could do with it. Too many of the Grip's best features just aren't ready for testing yet, but one thing seems clear: The Grip has potential. Whether or not the finished product lives up to it is another question entirely, and one we hope to answer soon.

The Impact of the Technological Revolution
This video summarizes the first chapter of the book Reinventing the Company in the Digital Age, “The Impact of the Technological Revolution”, where authors Philip Evans, Kenneth Cukier, Geoffrey Moore and Haim Mendelson analyze the effects of technological changes in the business world. The increasing speed of technological change is transforming all sectors. Big data plays a fundamental role. Big data will change society and government. In this new scenario obsolete companies need new business models that interact with clients.

The 13 building blocks of Information Governance
The exercise is best conducted with at least 3 or 4 seasoned executives, depending on the scope of the IG program. Best results are achieved if they’re all jointly in one room (though it can be done individually). Both Business and IT must be represented if the outcomes are to be meaningful and find support from other executives later on. You can either run an As-Is assessment by itself or, additionally, collect the organization’s medium- to long-term IG maturity ambition (To-Be). The Capgemini IGMM automatically maps this out in a neat spider diagram and produces a maturity score, rounded to one decimal point, e.g. 2.7.

Information Governance, Records Principles and Risk Management
From the top down, those responsible for directing and leading information governance in the organization need to make an assessment of the risk of doing nothing, informed by the state of their existing practices and – importantly – the volatility of their information environment (think file shares, e-mail and SharePoint!). They need to recognize that in many cases their digital records are being held in fundamentally unstable environments and, as a result, are in a state of decay. This means that concerns about the challenges of getting their electronic content in order are usually far outweighed by the fact that the content – from a records point of view – is already broken.

Big data, privacy and cyber security breaches – why information governance is critical
While the proliferation of data has been caused by technology, it is also technology that is providing rapidly evolving tools to manage the exponentially increasing data. However, technology is only part of the solution, as IG strategy, policies, processes, people and technology all need to be aligned, to deliver on the objective of maximising the value of the information and minimising risks and costs. There is a rapidly growing market for technology solutions in the IG sphere for the wide spectrum of information management needs. And there are many technology options for managing ICT security, eDiscovery, RIM and compliance, etc.

IT Strategy: Boardrooms must adapt to new technologies or risk monolithic failure
The worst boards I ever served on were diametrically polarised. One had accountants and lawyers and no knowledge of the technology or market, while the other was weighed down by techies who knew nothing about accounting, the law, marketing or sales. In the first case, they stood no chance of appreciating the technology, product or market; in the second, the time to learn the basics of business was protracted. For one of these companies, this turned out to be fatal, and it was extremely damaging for the other. The magic formula for success involves a diverse and adaptable board and management team willing to learn and take measured risks.

Resilience, Metrics, Sustainment, and Software Assurance
As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I would like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in resilience, metrics, sustainment, andsoftware assurance. This post includes a listing of each report, author(s), and links where the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website.

Don't Waste Time Tracking Technical Debt
Tracking technical debt sounds like the responsible thing to do. If you don’t track it, you can’t understand the scope of it. But whatever you record in your backlog will never be an accurate or complete record of how much debt you actually have – because of the hidden debt that you’ve taken on unintentionally, the debt that you don’t understand or haven’t found yet. More importantly, tracking work that you’re not going to do is a waste of everyone’s time. Only track debt that everyone (the team, the Product Owner) agrees is important enough to pay off.

How to Calculate Technical Debt
“More CIOs are turning their attention to technical debt,” says Habeck. “They want to identify and categorize it, quantify the cost of it, and estimate the cost and benefit of paying it down.” CIOs’ reasons for measuring technical debt vary, from building business cases for core renewal projects to stretching limited maintenance dollars to preventing business disruption, observes Scott Buchholz, a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Systems Integration practice. Buchholz adds that CIOs may undertake a portfoliowide assessment of technical debt to uncover the IT department’s most costly and severe problems and help prioritize maintenance work.

The Secret Behind Selecting The Right Enterprise Architecture Tool
Often, when we get into the room with an organization in the evaluation phase, they tell us about how the EA tool(s) they have used in the past delivered little value and poor insights. They want to jump right into the functionality our tools provide as if the functions themselves are the missing puzzle piece. Yes, it’s important to access the metamodel and to be able to load and manage the data repository. But it’s also integral to understand data reports and analytics as well as ensure security and scalability. The tools can almost always collect the data; it’s what you do with the data that creates value. That value can only be measured against goals, so that is typically the first bridge to cross.

Quote for the day:

"Show me the man you honor and I will know what kind of man you are." -- Thomas John Carlisle