October 21, 2014

Good Strategy/ Bad Strategy (Richard Rumelt, 2011)
It is because crafting a good strategy takes a lot of discipline. Most managers mistakenly take strategy work as an exercise in goal setting rather than problem solving. A bad strategy is often characterized by being full of fluff, as it fails to face the challenge, mistakes goals for strategy, and comprises of bad strategic objectives (mostly misguided or impractical). Talking about the prevalence of bad strategies, the author quips that- "if you fail to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don't have a strategy. Instead, you have either a stretch goal, or budget, or a list of things you wish would happen"

Technology and Inequality
Brynjolfsson lists several ways that technological changes can contribute to inequality: robots and automation, for example, are eliminating some routine jobs while requiring new skills in others (see “How Technology is Destroying Jobs”). But the biggest factor, he says, is that the technology-driven economy greatly favors a small group of successful individuals by amplifying their talent and luck, and dramatically increasing their rewards. Brynjolfsson argues that these people are benefiting from a winner-take-all effect originally described by Sherwin Rosen in a 1981 paper called “The Economics of Superstars.”

Building Culture Is Always Better Than Trying to Transform It
A strengths-based approach to organizational culture is, in part, a matter of perspective. Instead of seeing the cultural glass as half empty, we see it as half full. Instead of carping on about everything that’s wrong with the organizational culture, we focus on everything that’s right. We should work with culture, instead of against it. ... But where traditional culture change often focuses on stopping old practices and starting new ones, a strengths-based approach to managing culture would instead concentrate its efforts on figuring out how to better use — amplify, optimize, intensify — the culture’s most helpful existing attributes

Doctor Who and the Dalek: 10-year-old tests BBC programming game
He’s a VB programmer (be gentle, he’s only 10), which is part of the problem schools face in teaching coding; they are supposed to teaching coding before the idea of a variable has appeared in maths. To get past this, the Doctor Who creative team have used a similar look and feel to Scratch, already in widespread use in schools to introduce coding. Although as an IT pro you take pride in mastering cryptic error messages, like “NULL pointer is not NULL at line -1” (yes, I’ve had that one), it can put off the average eight-year-old. The “Make it Digital” agenda is that every child should code, not just the smart ones, so as in Scratch, it is actually impossible to have a syntax error.

Devops has moved out of the cloud
Continuous everything is a part of the devops process, where devops is the fusing of software development (dev) with IT operations (ops). The core notion is to release high-quality code and binaries that perform well and are of good quality, and to do so much more rapidly than traditional approaches to development, testing, and deployment would allow. Many people attribute the rise of devops directly to the growth of cloud computing. The connection: It’s easy to continuously update cloud applications and infrastructure.

Health IT Interoperability Up To Market, Say Feds
One of their biggest recommendations is the immediate need within the health industry for standard, public application programming interfaces that allow disparate health systems to speak with one another. Such APIs are critical to enabling the interoperability required for electronic health information exchanges. "We believe that a standards-based API, combined with appropriate incentives to encourage vendors to implement the API and providers to enable access to their data via the API has potential to move interoperability forward dramatically," McCallie said in emailed comments.

The Benefits of an Application Policy Language in Cisco ACI: Part 4
Though the DevOps approach of today—with its notable improvements to culture, process, and tools—certainly delivers many efficiencies, automation and orchestration of hardware infrastructure has still been limited by traditional data center devices, such as servers, network switches and storage devices. Adding a virtualization layer to server, network, and storage, IT was able to divide some of these infrastructure devices, and enable a bit more fluidity in compute resourcing, but this still comes with manual steps or custom scripting to prepare the end-to-end application infrastructure and its networking needs used in a DevOps approach.

Why Apple Pay Is the Perfect Example of the Hummingbird Effect
Apple Pay will work at retail stores but it could also become the defacto standard for online purchases that add an extra security step--namely, proving your identity using the Touch ID fingerprint reader. I'm impressed with how fluid it works even at launch. There's a good lesson here for small businesses, beyond the fact that it's important to follow these tech trends and start preparing for the inevitable. In his book How We Got To Now, author Steven Johnson explains how breakthroughs in science and technology often lead to what he calls the "hummingbird effect"--essentially, a way to "piggyback" ideas on top of one another that helps catapult them into mainstream consciousness.

Best Practices for Moving Workloads to the Cloud
The adoption of cloud architecture is a process that requires strong effort for the entire enterprise. Every function, application and data have to be moved to the cloud; for this reason, it is necessary to have a strong commitment from the management. Top management is responsible for the harmonious growth of the company, and technology represents a key factor for business development today. Managers have to establish reasonable goals for adopting the cloud computing paradigm. A migration to the cloud requires a team effort to plan, design, and execute all the activities to move the workloads to the new IT infrastructure.

Crafting a secure data backup strategy on a private cloud
Backing up data is not something to be taken lightly, and a repercussion of data loss could be significant financial loss. Frequently, companies are unaware that they don't have a backup strategy in place, or that their backup product is not working properly. More often than not, this is because companies aren't devoting the necessary resources to create a proper backup strategy. Even if they do, they expect the backup product to work indefinitely. Unfortunately most things have an expiration date; the backup strategy is not any different.

Quote for the day:

"Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating change you believe in." -- Seth Godin