Displaying articles for: 05-20-2012 - 05-26-2012
There are a couple of topics I’ll be talking about at HP Discover: systems of record and application transformation. I’ve done a number of blog posts related to this space over the years, but there still seems to be quite a bit of confusion about some of the terms used in applications transformation.
Systems of record are those systems that store the history and detail of business transactions… Systems of engagement are those loosely structured, conversational systems that sit on the edge of the business the employees, customers, partners interact with. Until recently, organizations didn’t think there was a difference in their portfolio.
Almost all organization systems were based on their being a scarcity of resources (computing, storage…). Many of these limitations are no longer valid. How we think about our systems needs to change.
The big question though is: What to do about it? How do you get started? Alphabetically?!? There needs to be a better way.
I was at a conference recently where a very innovative leader said: “There is no need for strategy any more. Just throw you applications away and start over.” Clearly, this is a person that has never really had a significant installed base. He also stated “If any startup isn’t embarrassed by their first release, they waited too long.” Most enterprise organizations don’t have the luxury of this slash and burn approach.
There needs to be a good way to approach the problem of both reviewing the existing environment and determining what new opportunities can be addressed and that is what we hope to talk about.
Current situation analysis is definitely a good place to start. The approach needs to have measures based on the business needs and the constraints of the organization. Having a canned technique is helpful but may not address the true needs of the organization, so understanding the definition of value is important. Examples could be to evaluate the applications on:
- Value generated/watt consumed
- Value generated/maintenance $$ spent
- Core process/support process
- Mobile workforce demand
Whatever the technique may be that is right for you, the approach needs to define what the organization values and who the sponsor for the work will be. Executive support is crucial for these activities – so be ready to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question.
This week I was at the MIT Sloan CIO symposium. In one of the panels there was a discussion about how the CIO can help make an organization global. I’ll paraphrase what I got out of it:
Being global means being local in a standard way.
The old model of being global meant applying the same processes… everywhere, that is now passé.
Every customer knows they are special. They need to be treated that way. For an organization to be global it needs to recognize that fact -- yet be cost effective and flexible.
The employees of the untethered, aggregated, ecosystem we call an enterprise today are important and they need to be recognized as special, as well. Leaders need to bridge relationships and resources across boundaries in innovative ways and then have the capability to share what they’ve learned so the entire organization can take advantage of it.
Relatively few people spend a great deal of time trying to envision the future, but the efforts of the few who do (futurists) can be useful to understand the options available. In this short blog post by Thomas Frey titled Eight Critical Value Points of a Futurist he enumerates these points:
- Altered Thinking
- Unique Perspective
- Evidence of Change
- Connecting the Dots
- Find Your Future Competitive Advantage
- Take Control of Change before the Changes Take Control of You
- The Future is Where Our Children Live
- Every Avalanche begins with the Movement of a Single Snowflake
A futurist forecasts what will happen to some level probability. By doing this they improve our understanding of what the future may hold, allowing us to improve the likelihood that we can adjust course and take maximum advantage.
That is part of what this blog is trying to do – since I am asked quite often “Why do you blog?” Since I have ideas along these lines every day, I tend to blog every day.
This week I am headed to the MIT Center for Digital Business for their annual research review. So that might interfere me getting posts out this week, but I am sure it will fill me with ideas about the future.
MIT Media Lab researchers Jinha Lee and Rehmi Post have actually created a tactile user interface for manipulating real floating objects in 3D space, called the ZeroN. The interface simulates an area where gravity doesn’t overcome the movement of a small metal ball. Using electromagnetism, a user can place a metal ball in midair and see interactions with other physical objects that the environment can sense.
A video of the ZeroN interface in action can be seen here. Not sure what business purpose it has, but it was novel.