September 21, 2015

Why enterprise digital transformation efforts stall

“The most important thing is to have a clear view of your strategic objectives,” says Sengupta. “Are you doing things for efficiency or are you doing things for growth?” Having that clarity makes is easier to identify appropriate metrics for digital efforts. In addition, digital transformation project teams must be cross-functional and accountable to a set of common outcomes. “Most organizations get the first part right, but in the end it is human nature to steer towards their own individual incentive structures,” Sengupta says. “Driving alignment is important at every level—from the strategic down to the individual.” IT must also collaborate with the business to create an end-to-end vision for any digital improvement, including the business process and organizational changes required for them to deliver business value.

Container orchestration tools, strategies for success

The first step for container orchestration is choosing the right tool ... The second best practice for container orchestration is to spend time on your application architecture. Many organizations rush through container-based application development, especially since orchestration tools remove some of the underlying complexity. But it pays to think carefully about how to divide up the application within the containers that the orchestration tool will manage. ... Finally, test and properly operationalize the container orchestrations. At the end of the day, you have to provide users with something that functions correctly and provides nearly 100% uptime. Perform component and regression tests, performance tests and penetration tests for security reasons.

Big Intelligence: BI Meets Big Data, with Apache Drill

Apache Drill enables data analysts to explore the data without having to ask IT counterparts to define schemas or create new ETL processes. As analysts delve into the data, Apache Drill’s engine discovers the source schemas and automatically adjusts query plans. Querying self-describing data and being able to process complex data types as you go, provides an entirely new way of wringing every possible useful bit and byte of business intelligence from big data. Data sources such as Hadoop, HBase, and MongoDB can be queried using ANSI SQL semantics to glean new insights at the speed of thought. Actionable insight comes from seeing the correlations across multiple, apparently unrelated data sources, including blog posts, sensors, clickstreams, customer interaction records, videos, transaction data, competitive analysis, and much more.

A New World Of Data

The center of data gravity is moving with more apps being delivered via cloud Software as a Service (SaaS). In the past, I might only have to extract Salesforce data with other on-premises app data into a client’s on-premises data warehouse. Today there is a constantly growing list of popular cloud app data sources that analytics pros need to include in decision-making processes. If you neglect the ocean of cloud and IoT data sources that your opponents do include in their analytics, you will lose your competitive edge and may miss a key window of opportunity in the hyper-competitive global economy. Don’t believe me? Here is a competitive reality check. In 2014, 89% of 1955 Fortune 500 firms vanished. Steven Denning pointed out in Forbes that “fifty years ago, the life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500 was around 75 years. Today, it’s less than 15 years and declining all the time.”

Rating programming languages – Swift is hot, Dart is not

While both Swift and Go have moved up into the Top 20, the Top 10 languages have been relatively static for the last few years. JavaScript has edged Java out of the No. 1 spot, with perennial favourites PHP, Python, C#, C++, Ruby, CSS, C and Objective-C making up the rest of Top 10. This cosy Top 10 arrangement is unlikely to change any time soon, O'Grady believes. "Each represents a significant population of developers, and while they are all used in a variety of contexts, they also have areas of individual strength," he says. Even the possibility of building multi-platform applications in C# is unlikely to give that language a significant boost, he feels. That's because the languages it would have to leapfrog are already immensely popular in their own right, and have been multi-platform for years.

Bimodal IT: A two-pronged approach to delivering innovation and maintenance

"It's very important when you have an established organization to give room for innovation, and you usually can't do that within the boundaries of an established organization," he says. "So whatever you call it, you have to have it within another unit. You need teams focused on a new innovative piece." He says the move is paying off for the company, which has embarked on a digital transformation that has used technologies, such as the Internet of Things and mobile platforms, to make its equipment smarter, its workforce more efficient, and the company better connected and more responsive to customers. "It's really allowing us to have a faster, more risk-taking approach. You have the start-up mentality," he adds.

How To Succeed With Advanced Analytics

Enterprises looking to gain a competitive advantage with advanced analytics may want to take a look at their own corporate cultures before they invest big bucks in new tools and build out a workforce of data scientists. Lack of investment isn't one of the top reasons predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics programs fail. Rather, they fail because they lack buy-in from users and other stakeholders. That's according to Lisa Kart, research analyst at Gartner, who will present her best practices for advanced analytics projects during the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit 2015 in Munich next month. The summit marks the first event in a series that will travel the world over the next 12 months, landing in the Dallas area in March 2016.

We need to turn our security model inside out

We need to stop being so application agnostic close to the app and begin shifting that all left, toward dev and ops and a software model that scales both economically and architecturally. We need a generic, corporate security infrastructure at the traditional edge of the network and a specific, per-application security architecture at the new perimeter: the application. ... Consider the coming tsunami of applications generated by the Internet of things and adoption of microservices architectures. If every “new” technology generally results in a 10x increase in applications, then how many applications will two, simultaneous “new” technologies generate? How many new security policies will be required at the edge of the network to support each and every one of those applications?

From tech supplier to IT service provider, a CIO makes the 'big switch'

"IT is not just an enabler of certain processes but part of the delivery of every product and service we offer," Watkins said. Indeed, the company itself was undergoing a transformation, Watkins said. KAR no longer wanted to be a car auction company that uses technology but "a technology company that sells cars," he said. IT had not kept up with the vision. "With the convergence of these technologies, business demand skyrocketed and created a wide gap between business expectations and IT delivery. Something had to switch," Watkins said. ... "We need our staff to be agents of change. The status quo doesn't get it done. We have to look at things differently. We have to be problem solvers. We have to bridge siloes between IT and operations, between one IT team and another IT team, and between being a technology provider and being a service organization," he said.

How ‘joint employer’ ruling impacts IT outsourcing customers

IT outsourcing customers should take this opportunity to review the amount of control they retain over employees of their IT service providers. “Since this is the first case, it is difficult to determine how much control is too much—and will qualify an outsourcer as a joint employer,” said Van Noose, “and these companies should consult an attorney to assist in further evaluating whether they retain an a degree of control that would amount to a ‘joint employer’ under this decision.” “This decision involves potentially requiring an outsourcing customer to get involved in responding to employees of the outsourcer in ways that are different from the ways that typical outsourcing contracts indemnify against,” says Edward J. Hansen, partner in the business technology and complex sourcing practice at McCarter & English.

Quote for the day:

"Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach." -- Rosabeth Moss Kantor