The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

A bit more on strategy and change

 

questionsandanswers.jpgI got a note that my previous post on strategy and change was a bit too terse. I made assumptions that people understood my references. Since that post was an excerpt from one slide of a longer presentation, I may not have given enough context to understand the bullets. I’ll take another crack at providing context (through links). Hopefully between the two posts, I can answer the questions and get the points across.

 

  • Many of the factors that enable change are predictable – in the presentation I talk about how there are laws like Moore’s law (and a number of others) that can be used to predict what the future will be like. People can think about their corporate goals, investment plans and other drivers as well as the timeframe for investment… and extrapolate out the types of technology that should be available and what it might mean. This may shift how the change can be implemented.

  • Scarcity affects value – Too often organizations behave like what is valued for its scarcity will still be true in the future, or that what constrains us from generating value a certain way will still be constraining going forward. Most of the IT systems currently in production were based on a scarcity model – the assumptions their design was based on may no longer be true. Data is not going to be scarce in the future, but the business context described by the data may still be. The attention of the employees most certainly will be scarce. If we need to consume more (of what’s abundant) to generate even more value from what's scarce – that is not a bad thing.

  • The rate of change and transformation is increasing – There are many different forces pushing businesses to change and adapt. These will be enabled by IT and essentially add fuel to the fire. We need to stop thinking of change as a periodic disruption of the status quo and instead see it as a river of change. It may go slower or faster, but it doesn’t stop. We need to be flexible and adapt and generate energy from it, not try to hold it back. We need to automate action as well as improve interaction.

  • The increasing digitization not a replacement for today’s processes and systems – Systems of record (e.g., ERP) are still going to be important. They record the transactions that keep a business running. We can surround them with better interfaces and automation, but don’t think that everything can be replaced with whole new concepts. They may be on new platforms… but we still need to keep records.

  • Social influence is beyond the control of any individual ecosystem – This was focused on newer methods to take advantage of social -- techniques like gamification or crowdsourcing that tap into the power of others need to be part of our toolkit.

I try to keep these posts short, but fortunately there is always an opportunity for another one.

 

A services framework for a one-stop experience

The core capabilities of IT organizations for the future definitely require the ability to manage 3rd parties effectively as well as the ability to deploy services seamlessly and securely. Tools and techniques are needed to enable this more dynamic environment.

 

For many organizations the Lines of Business have become frustrated with their ability to get what they need quickly and took matters into their own hands building up a layer of shadow IT (shadow IT can become a significant portion of the IT spend).

 

I try not to post too much on HP specific tools, except when it seems they are not getting the visibility they need – it was talked about back in December, but now it’s real.

 

HP Propel free catalog service is focused on helping deliver IT services. It was released today. Propel was announced on December 3rd 2013 and presented at HP Discover in Barcelona and in the web event on January 8 of this year.

 

HP Propel is the new services framework that delivers a modern portal, a service catalog, knowledge management, news feeds, and an open service exchange. It provides a unified experience to enterprise users, facilitating self-service support with aggregated catalog strategy and friendly request handling through integrated fulfilment engines. HP offers Propel as a free and as a premium service.

The key features of HP Propel free include:

  • Single portal as the one-stop shop for all IT services, from the latest IT news, shopping from a standard service catalog, or searching for the latest knowledge articles curated by HP.  Accessible from the web or mobile device, Propel is available in English, French and German.
  • Standard catalog with 100 of the most common IT services, fulfilled through email requests to IT’s existing back-end fulfillment engines.
  • Knowledge base with immediate access to 500 knowledge articles from HP IT, applicable to any user and IT organization.
  • IT News to keep end users informed and up-to-date. You can load your own RSS feeds to share your latest IT service information with web and mobile users.

 

Key benefits for customers using HP Propel free:

  • Quick startup of the Propel free service.
  • No upfront investment and operations.
  • Accelerated time-to-value in delivering your IT services, while continuing to use all existing service management products, for example HP or third party products.

Customers who wish to move to a more robust, premium service can design their own customized solution.

 

Take a look at the capabilities yourself, just register for Propel free.

propel-reinventing-service-v1_tcm_245_1542657.png

Boards and technology - is there a mismatch of expectation or understanding

board of directors.pngI recently came across this post by McKinsey titled: Elevating technology on the boardroom agenda. It reminded me of the articles written in the 1990s during the .com era. This surprised me because I thought we were beyond this kind of discussion. My view is that most business issues have a technical component – I thought that perspective was common knowledge.

 

A new style of business is possible enabled by technology. I assumed that most business leaders today have grown up with computers – after all the start of the .com era was 20 years ago. It appears that McKinsey doesn’t think we’ve progressed that far.

 

One of the statements made in the article was “boards should discuss forward-looking views of technology’s impact on their companies’ industries. Less than 30 percent reported that their boards had these discussions “. It could be the people who completed the survey wanted the board talking about forward looking bits and bytes for it to be classified as ‘technology’. I certainly hope the board would delegate that level of detail to others.

 

One of the items in the article illustrates that almost 50% characterize the board does not spend enough of their attention on IT topics. I would rather see them avoid IT details and ensure the company’s on-going strategy and success. There is only so much attention to go around.

 

One item in the survey I do agree with is that boards need to understand the future view of how technologies will affect their industry. Using that knowledge to their advantage is definitely part of the board’s role as representatives of the stock holders. Periodic exposure to technology futures and implications for their industry is a worthwhile investment of their time.

AT&T preparing for further wireless investment

telecom.pngYou may not have heard much about it, but a deal was agreed upon last month that will enable Crown Castle International to lease about 9,100 of AT&T's towers for an average term of 28 years. The agreement, under which Crown Castle will also buy about 600 AT&T towers outright, will bring AT&T about US$4.85 billion in cash up front, enabling AT&T to invest is further upgrades.

 

If you think about how the mobile market works, there is about 10 years between generations of mobile technology. Many regions are finishing up the rollout of 4G and people are starting to talk about 5G capabilities. By 2040 we’ll probably be on 7G technology – whatever that means. Just the 5G capabilities being demonstrated are impressive.

 

As these technologies are rolled out it takes the whole abundance of networking capability to a whole new level. Since we'll likely see these capabilities before the end of the decade it is something to plan around.

Energy awareness month -- IT's role

energy.GIFOctober is energy awareness month. One way to estimate your impact on energy consumption is to use a Carbon Footprint Calculator.

 

Another is to look at the applications in your business and estimate their watts consumed vs. value generated, as well as the infrastructure required to support those apps. That post focuses on the long lever an apps modernization effort can have whether the scarce resource is time, $$ or watts – you need to take a strategic view.

 

It is easy to forget that our systems build up layer-upon-layer – essentially turning into a monument to our success that can weigh us down. To be agile and efficient means that we need to throw off some deadweight on a regular basis, no matter how fond we are of it.

 

Maybe that is one of the reasons CIOs turn over so often, it allows the new person in the role to reassess the investments of budget impacts of past decisions. Afterall IT was brought into companies to make their business more efficient, transparent and effective.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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