Strategic Inspirations

IT ROI: 10 tips for selling (and proving) the value of IT

CIO IT Strategy - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 6:00am

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.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: Building a data-driven culture for a sustainable tomorrow

CIO IT Strategy - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:00pm

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.

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IDG Contributor Network: 5 ways to kick-start your platform strategy

CIO IT Strategy - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 8:47am

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.

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4 hot digital transformation trends — and 4 going cold

CIO IT Strategy - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 6:00am

Digital transformation’ has become embedded into the tech lexicon, as most organizations have moved full throttle into enhancing internal and external business outcomes.

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(Insider Story)

7 tips for getting out of a bad vendor contract

CIO IT Strategy - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 6:00am

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.

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(Insider Story)

RPA is poised for a big business break-out

CIO IT Strategy - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 6:00am

Software that automates basic tasks is catching hold in large enterprises, where CIOs are seeking to inject greater efficiency into business processes.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: All change isn’t the same

CIO IT Strategy - Tue, 06/11/2019 - 9:18am

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.

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IT as a product: Secrets of successful launches

CIO IT Strategy - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 6:00am

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.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: Security and the boardroom: From advantage to imperative

CIO IT Strategy - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 10:55am

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.

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What is vendor management? The key to productive vendor partnerships

CIO IT Strategy - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 6:00am
What is vendor management?

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.

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Project management guide: Tips, strategies, best practices

CIO IT Strategy - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 6:36pm

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.

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What is digital transformation? A necessary disruption

CIO IT Strategy - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 6:00am

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.

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RPA and AI: Business process automation gets smart

CIO IT Strategy - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 6:00am

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.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: Continuous improvement – now more than ever

CIO IT Strategy - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 8:03am

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.”

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7 ways to make IT operations more efficient

CIO IT Strategy - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 6:00am

Every IT leader strives for efficiency — making the best possible use of available resources. Yet seeking efficiency and actually achieving it to any meaningful degree are two very different things. Often, despite careful planning, efforts at building efficiency fail to meet anticipated goals and key operations remain mired in mediocrity with wheels spinning in the mud.

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(Insider Story)

What is a business relationship manager? A key role for bridging the business-IT divide

CIO IT Strategy - Mon, 05/27/2019 - 6:00am
What is a business relationship manager?

A business relationship manager (BRM) acts as a liaison between IT and other business units in the organization. As departments increasingly rely on technology, organizations often find they need to establish stronger communication between IT and outside business units. The BRM role is typically a senior-level position, for which candidates need a wide range of experience, hard and soft skills and education to fill the job requirements.

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IDG Contributor Network: Considering an innovation practice? Think location, location, location

CIO IT Strategy - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 2:55pm

Last month,  we discussed why IT organization need to build an innovation practice. The premise of experimentation affords the opportunity to couple disruptive technologies like machine learning, biometrics, natural language processing and virtual/augmented reality with the potential to generate tangible business value. And for the IT industry as a whole, this is not just a novel venture, but perhaps a vehicle towards transforming a back-office sustainer into a core-business enabler.

Exploring university-based innovation

Your innovation journey may begin in many directions, but I will narrow the aperture and focus on one option: experimentation. For this facet of innovation to work, two important elements to consider are speed and cost. Said differently, you can’t afford to experiment with disruptive technologies if it is slow and expensive. Taking a year and a million dollars to ‘fail fast’ is more like ‘plain failure.’ It misses the point and the economics don’t add up.

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IDG Contributor Network: How product development drives competitive advantage in the digital age

CIO IT Strategy - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 12:31am

[This article was co-written with Brandon Metzger.]

As the digital revolution dissolves industry boundaries, legacy companies are increasingly facing competition from non-traditional competitors. Look no further than the $800 billion trucking industry, where incumbent freight operators are spending millions to stave off disruption from startups using the latest technology and business model innovations to steal market share.

To thrive in this complex and rapidly shifting environment, organizations must not only understand their customers deeply, but also must be able to address those needs with products and services that exceed rapidly evolving customer expectations. And as technology becomes increasingly central to product and service development, CIOs and other technology leaders have an opportunity to engage with customers and contribute directly to the top and bottom line.

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12 reasons why digital transformations fail

CIO IT Strategy - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 6:00am

Digital transformations are fashionable these days. You won't find a CIO that isn't leveraging some combination of cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to better serve customers or streamline operations.

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(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: Process innovation

CIO IT Strategy - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 3:15pm

In “Zone to Win,” Geoffrey Moore suggests that businesses should be focused upon innovations that can do one or more of the following things:

  1. Drive a 10x improvement in a performance metric of great importance to the target market
  2. Represents a business opportunity that has material size, a minimum of 10% of total enterprise sales
  3. Represents a net new business for the enterprise, as opposed to an adjacency to an existing line of business.

Moore’s perspective provides a reasonable framework for a CIO conversation about process innovation and what should be weighted high or low in a corporate evaluation of process innovation opportunities.

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