Jon Fendenheim’s old boss, the CEO of a homebuilding company, liked to equate the cost of each new IT project to sales, as in how many extra homes he’d have to sell to cover the technology’s cost.
Brett Hurt: When many people think of nonprofits, particularly more grassroots global development initiatives, technology isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. But Rare has had great success integrating innovative technology into their conservation work. You’ve been with the organization for nearly two decades—can you describe for us how that came to be, what it looked like as it was happening, and the benefits you’re seeing now?
Brett Jenks: Rare works in some of the world’s richest places, at least biologically, and we partner with some of the world’s poorest people, at least financially. Our mission is to inspire behavior change so people and nature can both thrive. Over twenty-five years ago, we began measuring that change, usually through questionnaire surveys. We wanted to know how our programs influenced local knowledge and attitudes and eventually behavior. So we surveyed the communities in remote rural areas of the Caribbean, Central and South America, SE Asia, and Africa, and we did this in a statistically valid way before and after every project. This helped us improve our program strategies and of course it helped show our donors we were making a difference.
Tech innovation often takes its cue from science fiction movies. Or is it the other way around? Nevertheless, the image of Tom Cruise interacting with a computer by waving his arms in the air in the movie "Minority Report" brought coolness to gesture-based computing. Meanwhile, MIT researchers are making it a reality. Can Apple bring it to the masses?iHolographic Images
Before Apple gets to the kind of gesture-based computing in "Minority Report", Apple products will need to project holographic images for users to manipulate. Think R2D2 projecting a holographic Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Such an image requires a photographic plate (or multiple projectors). Could one be built into an iPhone? There's just not enough room for this kind of mirroring system. But there may be someday.
Building a business off the back of a platform strategy can be highly effective and very profitable – as the largest tech companies in the world will attest.
When a platform strategy based around a 2-sided market works, a virtuous circle of growth can be achieved whereby suppliers are attracted to the service because of the large number of buyers and vice versa. This is often referred to as cross-side network effects and is the basis for the combined $3 trillion market value of Facebook, Amazon, Google and to a lesser extent Apple. While the commercial attraction of building a platform is obvious, the practical reality of doing so can be complicated.
‘Digital transformation’ has become embedded into the tech lexicon, as most organizations have moved full throttle into enhancing internal and external business outcomes.
Like death, taxes and network downtime, bad contracts are a fact of life for most IT leaders. Deals that once seemed fair and equitable can sour over time for various reasons, such as the availability of a better or lower-cost technology or a vendor's reluctance to live up to contract requirements.
Software that automates basic tasks is catching hold in large enterprises, where CIOs are seeking to inject greater efficiency into business processes.
A past client recently asked this question: Our change management process works well when we use it to make adjustments to projects, but it falls apart when we pursue transformational change. How can we be so good at some changes and so bad at others?
The simple answer can be found in the words of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper: “You manage things, you lead people.”
Projects – especially those in application development and infrastructure deployment – are things to manage. You can tweak a requirement here or there without forcing people too far out of their comfort zone. Transformation, by its very nature, disrupts the status quo. It is about being different not simply doing different. t requires that we do the hard work of embracing discomfort in pursuit of a different future.
The need for speed is rapidly transforming IT. Tasked with moving as fast as — or even faster than — the business, IT has adopted a host of new strategies for delivering tech capabilities quickly. Central to this shift has been a movement toward agile development, which has heralded a multitude of changes to the development and delivery process.
Over the past year, all around the world, corporate IT teams watched in horror as one expensive and damaging corporate security breach after another popped up in the headlines. But the flashy ones that made the news are only a fraction of the ones that actually occurred. The use of digital technology expands every day, and so does the number of cyber criminals lurking on the Darknet who are ready and willing to take advantage of any weaknesses in the tech they can spot. As a result, as highlighted in CSO’s 2018 US State of Cybercrime Survey, organizations of all shapes and sizes have borne an onslaught of cyber-attacks and incurred billions in financial losses.
Vendor management helps organizations take third-party vendor relationships from a passive business transaction to a proactive collaborative partnership. While working with IT vendors can help ease the burden on IT, it also raises concerns, especially around data, risk and security. A sound IT vendor management strategy can help organizations determine which vendor best fits the company’s needs while keeping in mind relevant features, price, availability, risk and security, and compliance regulations.
As most organizations rely on multiple third-party vendors, complexities compound and juggling a large number of vendor relationships can quickly overwhelm an already-busy IT department. Plus, to ensure the best service, businesses should avoid falling into a trap where they stick with current vendors out of ease and convenience, even if the service, price, or features aren’t exactly what the company is looking for.
Managing any project can become a slippery slope when your organization doesn’t have a solid grasp of all the moving pieces. Project management can be a complex discipline to understand and navigate. After all, there are enough key phases, knowledge areas, and project management-specific terms to fill a glossary.
To simplify the key components of successful project management, CIO has put together this guide to understanding project management — the phases, knowledge areas, tools and more. First, it is important to identify why the formal application of project management skills and knowledge should be a necessity for organizations: because far too many projects fail.
CIOs have come to disdain digital transformation as a concept because it’s meaning has been rendered nebulous from overuse.
You can blame CIOs who use it as a euphemism for modernization, including migrating from legacy on-premises systems to cloud software, Or you can blame vendors who have abused the term when marketing solutions designed to satisfy every IT leader’s requirements. You can even blame both.[ Be sure to learn the secrets of highly effective digital transformations — and beware the 7 myths of digital transformation. | Get the latest on digital transformation by signing up for our CIO Leader newsletters. ]
But savvy CIOs will tell you: Digital transformation doesn’t come in a box — or a cloud.
Building artificial intelligence into business process management isn’t easy. Many companies add AI to processes by building or buying single-task bots, such as natural language processing systems or vision recognition tools, and adding them to processes using traditional, non-AI methods. For example, engineers write scripts, and business analysts create automated workflows using process visualization tools.
Several years ago, I reviewed ITIL Version 3.0. When I got to the continual improvement volume, I asked the team whether the message was about continuous or continual improvement. I was told that continual improvement was chosen because improvement wouldn’t ever be nonstop in IT. Clearly, in the disruptive era, improvement may need to occur continuously. Jeanne Ross, in her upcoming book, Designed for Digital: How to Architect Your Business for Sustained Success, suggests in fact that CIOs should aim “to make a company agile so that it can create an innovative and constantly evolving portfolio of digital offerings in response to rapidly changing technologies and customer demands.”