Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Collective Leadership to Bridge the Gaps in Modern Information Management

Too often individuals including leaders are so busy looking at the trees that they fail to see the forest. 


Unless one's company is in the business of providing information technology or related services, at the traditional organization, IT tends to be viewed as a back-office, cost-generating function. Regardless of how indispensable it may be to the company's strategic imperatives in such cases, it seems ‘never’ to achieve the same status as 'line' or revenue-generating functions. But never say ‘never,’ IT has to be perceived as ‘brain-yard’ of business and strategic partner, what’s leadership requirement for modern Information Management?

Paint an excellent picture of the interaction and interdependence between the leadership team: The key is to recognize that this is at a strategic level and the tactical elements involve many additional factors. Trends, business models, marketplace, etc, all start to influence the actual adoption and the "degree" of direct leadership due to circumstances. The CIO has become the critical link to the business being successful; this requires that you have other C-Levels' support that allows this kind of thought and direction. One of the core skills for a modern CIO to be successful is her/his capacity to collaborate with her/his C-level peers and enable them to see the "light." IT is no longer simply the concern of the CIO. Moreover, the CIO is no longer concerned solely with IT. IT moved up the ladder as an enabler of organizations and needs to understand the nature of the organization. Aligning IT means that this is a collaborative approach and the concept of governance comes into the picture. Ultimately, companies achieve IT they are willing to participate in building and participation, and leadership by C-level executives is crucial to creating something that can really contribute to success. In other words, IT does not work in a silo, it needs business support. As the CIO continues to become an, even more, critical and integral member of the C-suite, the CIO's role is becoming far more than simply keeping the lights on - but is transforming to significant business enablement, as a full partner with C-level leaders.
IT "enlightenment" comes when IT allows the business to do new things: When it is part of the business toolkit. Not when it simply supports the things the business would do otherwise. CIOs are uniquely qualified to do this. Their constant exposure to data and the fact that they are usually the most "connected" of all management group makes them a lightning rod for new ideas and innovation. The challenge is finding an outlet within your organization to channel that lightning once it strikes. IT is transforming from “controller” to “enabler,” leading through “pulling” than ‘pushing.’ To put simply, IT cannot simply create the potential for value, they must be engaged enough with the business (not just the technology that supports the business) to actively participate in value realization. When IT becomes only the mechanism for realizing a vision described by other C-level executives, it becomes a commodity. Leading CIOs have moved beyond, and are reaching out to external clients: Focusing on connecting their companies to markets, helping them understand their clients' evolving needs, and enabling their organizations to grow the business. So ‘crowd-sourcing’ becomes the key ingredient in collective IT leadership. But many CIOs are still mostly internally focused, being measured on their productivity contributions achieved through the deployment and application of IT.

IT governance is led by the CIO but seeks input and consensus with the other stakeholders particularly the other "C"s: The CIO's role at the C-Level is to be an enabler of information at an organizational level. More than that, they need to be an AUTHORITY on information, bringing new technologies and initiatives to the rest of the management team and explaining why an organization SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be implementing them. Far too often CIOs may silo themselves and only interact with other executives at the budget time when it's time to get money for new initiatives. This not only perpetuates the belief that IT is a bottom-line expense and not a strategic partner, but ensures that IT initiatives have limited organizational support. Too often individuals including leaders are so busy looking at the trees that they fail to see the forest: Establishing that active participation is the key. The CIO must have a seat at the executive table that he/she has to be the senior executive pushing the bar higher via Innovation, further, the CIO cannot just take a seat at the executives' table, he/she must be an active participant at that table. As any business looks for ways to innovate or grow, all aspects of the executive team must participate in designing the objectives and strategy. None can sit back and merely respond passively.

Strategy making is teamwork from top-down and bottom-up. The CIO should be executing business strategy through IT, rather than executing IT strategy that supports the business. Information permeates today's enterprise. IT leadership holds the keys to making the company more efficient and effective and implements process and procedures that drive the company to the next level; keep eyes on what happens today, also be focused on what is next. Modern information management takes collective leadership. The level of "silo” in many organizations remains far too high. But that does ensure that those CIOs with the ability to break down organizational silos bring real added value to the enterprise. Given the value that information is playing in the innovation and growth of organizations today, the proactive C-levels engagement in IT leadership will allow for clarification of the strategic direction, success criteria and delegation of responsibilities.

EA Value - Quick Wins or Long-term Strategy?

EA Value is a combination of a long-term perspective with some quick wins.
Classically, EA delivers value from a long-term strategic alignment perspective. Increasingly, EA teams are feeling pressure to deliver tangible results quickly and on a per-project basis. So tough choice for Enterprise Architect:  Do you tend to drive value from a short-term / quick-win standpoint, a long-term strategic perspective, or a combination thereof?


There are two approaches in EA implementation – top-down and bottom-up approach - that should run in parallel (at the same time). The top-down approach is the long-term strategy that should be always in front of all stake-holders involved in EA implementation. The bottom-up approach is multiple projects based activities, that should always have very precise objective(s), SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound).

A combination of a long-term perspective with some quick-wins,  might be a good approach to present some deliverables continuously. EA provides the environment for the strategic planners to consider multiple future states. EA defines enterprise capabilities, standards, and reusable building blocks that can be used to create solutions. How these building blocks are used is up to the individual projects. EA provides guidance to these projects to support development of a good Solution Architecture. The quick wins will almost always be the result of Solution Architecture –the subset of Enterprise Architecture. These are the bottom-up, project-based initiatives that deliver the first tangible results - possibly reusing an existing application service or information source, or creating an efficient solution to a problem. 

Enterprise Architecture cannot provide tactical value without Solution Architecture. To know where you are going you need a future state architecture and a realization road map. EA establishes a future state vision and defines capabilities, standards, building blocks, etc.. to help the business achieve its long-term strategic objectives.. At the project level, Solution Architecture aligns the solution with the future state vision and employs these building blocks. Enterprise Architecture needs to go hand-in-hand with Solution Architecture to deliver tangible results to an organization. Enterprise Architecture often fails to get the credit when it is due, as Solution Architecture is where the value is actually realized and measured.

Well design the process to realize EA innovation: With an innovative EA approach, each step towards a never-ending future, will provide immediate benefits, the process scenario could be as:
1). EA Strategy — Create a future state EA vision, a strategy road map containing tactics to achieve the vision.
2). Communication — effectively communicates to all, the new vision and the strategy for realizing it. Communicating the vision is always the first EA step.
3). Action — the tactics for EA realization consists of a series of quick easy steps, where each is designed to produce a small, sustainable benefit.
4). Success — Quick sustainable success creates positive reinforcement of EA vision, and validates the EA strategy.
5). Momentum — Success creates momentum, new converts and apostles. Momentum is built & maintained by creating sustainable results. The effect of successful results and momentum is to cascade EA changes downward and outward.

Enterprise Architecture does not succeed in an ivory tower, the checklist with set of right questions can help assess EA and balance EA’s aspiration with its practicality: 
--> Do we collect architectural repository information: yes, but not consistently
--> Do we have an architectural modeling system: yes, but it doesn't have complete buy-in or enterprise-wide coverage (yet?)
--> Do we help our businesses create models of their capabilities and evaluate the maturity of their platforms: yes, but not consistently, and when we do, it is not always used.
--> Do we have enterprise funding for enterprise platforms? Yes but it is an immature mechanism at best
--> Do we have a taxonomy of capabilities and processes under change control with trained practitioners? Yes.
--> Do we offer business process improvement services? Yes, but not as a part of the EA or BA programs... it's a separate team focused on six-sigma and lean.
--> Do we help guide investments in key areas: wild inconsistency. Some areas, Strong. Others: silence. 
-> Do we collect architectural repository information: yes, but not consistently
--> Do we have an architectural modeling system: yes, but it doesn't have complete buy-in or enterprise-wide coverage (yet?)
--> Do we help our businesses create models of their capabilities and evaluate the maturity of their platforms: yes, but not consistently, and when we do, it is not always used.
--> Do we have enterprise funding for enterprise platforms? Yes but it is an immature mechanism at best
--> Do we have a taxonomy of capabilities and processes under change control with trained practitioners? Yes.
--> Do we offer business process improvement services? Yes, but not as a part of the EA or BA programs... it's a separate team focused on six-sigma and lean.
--> Do we help guide investments in key areas: wild inconsistency. Some areas, Strong. Others: silence.
--> Do we have a one-page view of organization: yes, but nothing that has resonated with the business.
--> Do we have visibility up to senior staff? very intermittently. Ballmer has seen us, but not often. Our metrics are on the CIO scorecard, which is reviewed by the COO, so we are not hidden. But it would be errant to claim that we have true senior staff visibility.
--> Do we have roadmaps to demonstrate maturity? Only at the program level, not at the enterprise level, and even at the program level, they are not all rationalized or even well aligned.
--> Do we have an Enterprise Information Model? Yes. Is it bought in, adopted, and connected to a well functioning governance model. No.
--> Do we have full time resources, well trained to provide EA, BA, IA, SA, and TA services? Yes, but coverage in some areas is spotty.
--> Are we widely respected as strategic influencers? No.
--> What do we want to be when we grow up? Consumable, Relevant, and Trusted 

Is IT Project Failure due to the Decision Silos?

IT projects failure is the disconnect in expectations. 

An independent, international survey among IT decision makers in corporations in Europe and North America shows that more than 70% of participants have experienced the failure of at least one business-critical IT project due to conflicting decisions that had not been known during the original planning process. More than half of the respondents (51.6%) have experienced this more than once. Has it happened to you? What are the causes? How did you resolve it?

  • Why does such case happen? The survey articulated the reason behind of many IT project failures: "Major decisions are made in an isolated and divergent manner. According to the IT managers surveyed, a “keyhole” view of the processes involved—even those independent of IT processes—was a decisive factor in the collapse of major IT projects. Planning phases were extremely long—up to 180 days".  
  • There are many decision silos in the decision process – and the study confirms this. What has to happen in organizations is to connect decision makers across departments to understand the impact of their decisions. What kind of decisions did cause churn in downstream project units? IT planners and project teams often find it difficult to stay connected with the perspectives of all the decision-makers around them and incorporate them into their plans. 
  • IT projects failure is the disconnect in expectations. WHAT should be delivered? Making it simple, IT is delivering a project, while business expects IT to deliver a solution (including a change of existing business process, legal and financial aspects, marketing inside and outside of the organization ...). In such a case, IT is proud of delivering the item. Business is very disappointed about the delivery and asks for then other steps, IT is very disappointed about the 'sudden change of deliverables' and in the end, none wins and the project is called a failure. 
  • How to decide right via understanding decision levels and failure types? Mainly there are two levels of decisions evolving: The strategic level decisions which align IT investment with business strategy, and project governance processes to ensure effectiveness (doing the right things with expected result); as well as the tactical level decisions upon project management to ensure efficiency (doing things right, reducing complexity, cost efficiency., etc). The failure can be classified into fatal failure, mid-failure or miner failure; there are some good stories upon how to turn around from failure to success and the key point is: collect enough and effective data, which is one important step in good decision making.

  • Is Agile the right fix to such issues, there’s often an expectation mismatch between business and IT – while business never orders IT, but rather capabilities, they are disappointed when it is IT that gets delivered. Maybe even if it is exactly what they ordered. You might align on the strategic level, but when it comes to the operationalization, the strategic alignment often becomes paperwork and shelf-ware. Agility is surely an interesting approach, as Agile has three characteristics: Incrementalism, Iteration, and Improvement, but only if the dots get connected and stay connected throughout the planning and execution of the project. How do you keep track of the changes in an agile environment and connect them to the strategy. 
In order to improve IT project success rate, It is the mindset shift upon keeping iterative communication, cross-functional communication, customer satisfaction and faster delivery. And it is ALL ABOUT rapid feedback loops and minimizing waste, to reach the expectations all parties agree with. 



Four Seasons of Changes: How to Improve Organizational Change Effectiveness?

Being clear on the strategic imperative to change is important.

The speed of change is significantly accelerated, however, more than 70% of organization’s change management fail to reach expectation, what has your organization done to improve organizational change effectiveness? How should senior executives take leadership upon it?

1. Analyze the Root Causes to Change Failure 

  • Resistance to change is often because people are unsure of what success will look like after the transformation. They've been successful in what they're doing. Why shall you change that? This is why silos evolve in many organizations. A group has defined for themselves what success means, but how about for the rest of organization? A way to break that pattern is to develop a tangible, neutral description of success for the organization and how each role contributes. 
  • “What’s in Me” Perspective: The organization is highly populated by "intellectual workers." The degree of explicit control that management exerts, or can exert on these individuals is limited, and often, protect them as the revenue generators, thus diminishing the impact of organizational change initiatives. To get cooperation and not cause problems, you need to find a way to show them that the changes being made are really in their best interests and will make their jobs easier.

2. Planning is the earliest stage of change management 

Planning work is about stakeholder engagement and about working to achieve stakeholder ownership of the emerging strategy, plan and roadmap. Engaging those who will be impacted by the change and enabling them to be part of shaping their future. That is one of the best ways of tackling change.

  • Have managers do a SWOT analysis for their business area. Ask them to describe what a typical workday would be like in an ideal state 2-3 years from now, and how that differs with the typical workday today. Depending on how competitive they are, publish a process performance dashboard so everyone can see how their business unit is performing compared to others. If you feel that you have been able to influence the process, then you are more likely to own the process and the outcome, and then be part of the team that realizes the proposed changes to establish the intended new operating model 
  • It can not be effective if arbitrary changes are being dictated from above without anyone listening to those being affected. You need to get the managers involved and make them feel like their inputs are being listened to. If you involve them in the decision-making process they will feel like they have some ownership of the changes and will be more cooperative and feel they have a stake in the changes succeeding. There are ways to get these managers to go for the changes you want and even have them thinking that they were at least partially their own ideas. 
  • Change is a focal point for EA, Enterprise Architects are also ‘Chief Designer’ for business transformation. As some say, change is 'manual'-as there's command-control leadership style to push behavior adjustment, while transformation is natural evolution as it needs to engage mindset shift, culture re-invention

3. Making Change Happen Step-by-Step 

Being clear on the strategic imperative to change is important (alongside the 'what's in it for me). Is there a burning platform or a burning ambition (or both) that compels your business to become much faster, better and mature at delivering change?  Make change happen step-by-step: 

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate, and the empathy-based messages around what it will mean for you. And the more you can stress that change equals opportunity, not just risk being managed, the more effective change would be; Pay very careful attention to the 'what's in it for me' -- sometimes this is something very relevant and tactical for the resistant individual, and sometimes you have to reach higher into the strategy. But effective, genuine communication of not only to what of change but the why of it, tailored to specific audience 
  • Everyone should identify with one or more roles. Each role is accountable for producing certain units of business value. To do that, they are entitled to certain information or resources from other specific roles. 
  • Monitor the performance: Trust but verify: Are they getting what they're entitled to? Do they not have the skills? Are they compensating for a missing element of the enterprise? Are they simply not performing? If their skills fit the role and success is well defined or if they are still resistant there's a personnel problem. 
There is no shortcut for change. "Change management" is the overarching umbrella, that encompasses extensive planning, outreach, communications, discovery of concerns / objections / potential points of failure, addressing fears and resistance, developing a shared vision, communicating valid and compelling reasons for cooperation, recognizing sacrifice and incremental success, measuring outcomes in a shared and mutually understood and agreed upon fashion, being able to declare an end-point and successful conclusion.

EA/BPM Concept Clarification: Business Outcome vs. Process Output


Outputs are about flows, outcomes are about consequences. Business Outcome would be a required service or product delivery; Process Output would be the result of any process activity. The latter is a subset of the former. There are more perspectives upon this two business concept comparison:

  1. Outputs are the immediate results produced by a business process. Outputs contribute to broader, overarching outcomes. Part of scenario planning is to examine all the possible outcomes. Business outcomes are in terms of (1) what has happened, and in terms of (2) what might happen. In strategic planning, there’s the need to talk about the possible outcomes for some course of action; scenario planning is clearly another situation where outcomes can be visualized, predicted, imagined, etc. leading to the formulation of goals and objectives.  
  1. A business outcome would be a desired result to fulfill a business driver; while an output would be a more quantifiable parameter, a derivative of the outcome. The value of expressing an outcome is that it offers an insight into how you know an objective has been achieved; it provides an indication of success – the realization of the stated objective; objective / purpose / aim; outcome / result / benefit. Output is more quantitative in nature while outcome can be qualitative or quantitative. And there can be one to many relationships between an outcome and an output. 
  1. A process output as more explicit and well defined, and far more predictable; business outcome would be something more general in nature, such as increased sales, improved margins, etc. that come about as a result of the interaction of many processes and are far less predictable than a process output. Outcomes may be expected or unexpected, whereas a process output is usually highly predictable and well defined 
  1. A business outcome is the situation created at the end of an EA iteration where the capability of the organization has been enhanced. One could argue that this is also a process but this term usually refers to repeatable sequences of steps leading to consistent products outputs. The difference is the size of the confidence interval used to characterize expectations -- depending upon the complexity of the business and/or the maturity of the process 
  1. Objectives and outcomes might sound the same - but they are different and each offers particular value. It is common to have a stated objective or purpose. It is helpful to know how organization will recognize success. Since the generic purpose of an enterprise is to create customer value in a manner which provides acceptable dividends to the key stakeholders, whereas the enterprise controls purpose - the stakeholders have ultimate control of the outcome, since it is reliant on the judgment of value, acceptable dividends, etc. 
  1. From a network enterprise approach; outcome is more related to the overall intent of the organization, which is usually measured by business objectives and outputs relate to individual nodes production or processing results that pass to other nodes within the network. The combination and/or sequence of these processing results should culminate into meeting the overall intent or objective of the network. 
  1. One may include the other. Analogically: Water has been boiled, coffee has spooned into the cup, water's poured in, coffee has dissolved, one drunk the beverage - Process outputs. thirsty is quenched - the business outcome. The outcome is the need, the process outputs are quantifiable elements that together made the outcome possible 
  1. Business outcome is the result of organization's strategy execution; while process output is the result of business process management; if process management is to manage known from flow; then process output needs to be measured for continuous improvement. While Enterprise Architecture is the bridge between strategy and execution, thus, business outcome needs to be measured for continually improving organizational maturity. 

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Friday, August 30, 2013

How to Determine if a Capability is a Core Capability?

Processes underpin business capabilities; and culture nurtures capability coherence.

Business Capabilities are the abilities to produce specific goods or services for the market, they “are essentially the learning processes that are embodied in the knowledge capital of a business organization. And core capabilities are integrated a set of capabilities contribute directly to the competitive advantage of the business. 

1.  A Series of Questions to Determine the “CORE” 

"Capability" is a useful composite concept that is fairly specific in its bounds, and can be used as an analysis tool. The “core” capabilities can be determined via the questions and reasoning:

(1) Is a capability core because it offers a competitive advantage in delivering and selling the product? The core capabilities could be those which are identified as delivering the competitive product, services and customer experience than competitors.

(2) Is it core because it supports your strategic direction? Senior leadership defines a strategy. In order to meet that strategy, management in conjunction with EA describes a set of capabilities needed to meet the strategy. (This involves some decision on tactics, etc.). The current environment is evaluated to understand which capabilities already exist and which must be developed or changed.

(3) Is it core also because the company excels in delivering that capability? Should the core capability be delivered by the company itself? In today's multi-sourcing and cloud era, the core capability does not have to be delivered by the company itself; the key point is the speed of delivery and overall business agility.

2. The Methodology to Optimize a Set of Business Capabilities 

How to determine if a capability is a core capability? Overall, the problem is business capability optimization rather than picking core/non-core capabilities one by one. It requires a systematic methodology to look at options of internal, wholly owned subsidiaries, operational control, partners, vendors, even investment in related firms to create an effective (profitable) ecosystem. The holistic approach provides the context for managing the complex organizations and gives those organizations an open path to find a niche and become core. Therefore, a methodology with logic steps to establish the core enterprise capabilities:

(1) Identify what capabilities give your product/service a competitive advantage and align to the enterprise vision and strategy. Discover the business strength that can be transformed into a core capability if it aligns with the strategic direction.
(2) Choose how to improve the capability based on your enterprise strengths either by investing in or renting a best of breed capability. 
(3) A more pertinent question would be the BCD (Base, Competitive, Differentiating) classification. An organization would need to ask whether they need the capability at
- Base level- to sustain the business
- Competitive level - to stay competitive in the business
- Differentiating level - to be the key differentiator for its business
(4) Capabilities may evolve and move between categories based on the technology evolution, business driver, business model evolution etc. move from Base or Competitive level to Differentiated level. This happens when an organization decides to differentiate by taking an existing capability to the next level.

Business capabilities are different from the mere sum of individual abilities and skills of its members. processes underpin business capabilities; and culture nurtures capability coherence. It’s about what we do as a company, how we do it, it’s collective capabilities to ensure organization as a whole can achieve more even it is consist of a group of normal people, and the well set of optimal capabilities can be cultivated via cultural coherence and continuous process improvement.









Five Key Factors beyond Software for Analytics Success


Analytics as a trouble shooting turnaround tool for business insights and decisions need to be positioned aggressively for the right kind of ramifications. Besides the effective software tool, what are key factors for analytics success?


  • The whole concept of Analytic depends upon the DATA. The more the data and specific to particular domain helps lot in testing the analytic product and deriving results from that. Without the right data, software can't do much. 
  • Without PROCESS knowledge, models and data are likely to be useless. Model how customers respond to configurable product attributes. Collect data about the product attribute levels and the responses, one needs measurement scales for these fields (these are called "data domains"). 
  • Identifying the right metrics and applying sound cross-validation procedures is a very sophisticated art than a science.Getting the right data, metrics, and cross-validation with the right data are important to analytics success. Fundamental inter-dependence between the variables and linkages of macro-factors with the micro-variables of a given business process are the key decision elements to address business problems. 
  • Analytics Talent: All sort of data talent such as data scientist/analytics, data artist, data solutionary are key success factor, as it takes a human to move beyond the obvious statements that data makes, and provide the subtle analysis that can only be uncovered using intuition and insight, to solve business issues, which means beginning with the end, the end is business value that analytics can deliver.  
  • Define the perspectives on prediction:
    1). Identify several variables that have influences and probably "groups of influences".
    2). These influences could be either direct or indirect or a combination of both in a judicious ratio implying that certain "traits"; so the variables have varying degrees of influences on the outcome variable as well as different levels of inter-dependence with the other predictors.
    3). In the absence of a definitive approach to unearthing these influences on a precise domain, the prediction quality would be of a less than average status.
    4) The traits of each chosen variable need to be outlined and then grouped to arrive at both shared and divergent attribute                                                                                                                     5) Doing well’ in a prediction is not the same thing as doing well in an explanatory model. Answering the thorny business questions is focal point analytics can make difference. 
There are so many choices of techniques and tools to address a given problem,  that the next big game changer in business analytics will possibly not come from another single "breakthrough" technique but a well coordinated data integration, selection of technology, modeling process, defined metrics as well as the qualified analytics talent.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

CIO as Chief Interaction Officer: How to Build Trust Business Relationships

The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. ~ Peter F. Drucker

Modern CIOs have many titles, from ‘Chief Innovation Officer’ to ‘Chief Influence Officer’; from ‘Chief Insight Officer’ to ‘Chief Improvement Officer’, etc,  but keep in mind  CIOs also need to become ‘Chief Interaction Officer’ to build solid business relationship,  because nowadays, IT touches every key process of business and every digital point of customer experience.  

  • Relationships are undeniably the root of all business. The most important asset in business is 'customer.' The acquisition and retention of customers require business relations and so, business relations are very important as well. IT these days need to not only work closely with business partners but also directly manage digital touch point of end customers. 
  • Trust relationships are the foundation of open culture: Without good business relationships, every decision becomes an argument. The deeper the trust - the more valuable the relationship. If for instance, the CIO has not made a point of generating long term trustworthy relationships or influence the business culture, they will not accomplish much. Try getting projects approved, not to even think of getting them completed without being trusted. But keep in mind, when meddling business relationship with the personal relationship, leaders or managers may not make an objective judgment or keep a balanced point of view. That said, a professional relationship doesn't mean to hang around or play around, but through multi-angle observation and in-depth communication & understanding 
  • Business is all about people: To win and maximize strategy execution, people are the most important element of business. Who executes and maximizes strategy execution? Winning requires a continuous journey of fielding the best team. To win and field the best team, who do you coach, evaluate, develop, mentor, upgrade, and have succession planning programs? Business is changing and the need for networking is based on building relationships. Relationships are critical in business - both internally, and externally. But for those relationships to matter, to add value, they have to be relationships with empathy and in-depth understanding. 
  • There are multi-layer relationships CIOs need to manage: Such as business peer/shareholder relationship, customer relationship, vendor relationship., etc. therefore, either making communication or providing the solution, IT leaders should target the different audience, tailor the special needs in order to build up long term emphatic relationship. Relationships, true relationships, exist with people. Good relationships with the right people make a business work. 
  • All business comes down to people who plan to implement a solution: Whether it is with IT assistance or just by re-engineering an existing process, the work begins with people, the praise comes from people and the complaints often originate with people. More than technology, the effective relationship can bridge business success. The better your people management skills (still, the professional relationship goes beyond 'buddy' type), the more you will be appreciated and the more productive your ideas will become. You will find supporters from unexpected places just based on your earlier relationship building efforts.

  • The bottom line-when relationships do matter: Be sure you remember that the other person is not an asset, they are a person! Employees do not appreciate being referred to as assets or resources; therefore, relationships in business need to be considered in a different context. The relationship is part of what creates the exchange of goods or services for that profit with a positive experience or a negative experience. The type of business where the relationship might be a make or break situation is generally where you rely on someone's expertise, you spend extensive periods of time with the person, or you build partner-relationship for mutual benefit.  
Indeed, relationship matters, modern CIOs are Chief Interaction Officer and Chief Influence Officer, how to well manage different dimension of relationship will directly impact his/her effectiveness and leadership influence for the long term. 












Wednesday, August 28, 2013

“I Have a Dream” Speech 50th Anniversary: Does A Leader Create Followers or Grow More Leaders?


Google is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the speech “I have a Dream” with a Doodle today, Martin Luther King delivered the speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The speech is still inspirational, energizing and thought-provoking today, to make our heart heavy and mind stimulating, after five decades, the progress has been made, but the march is still at the beginning..Should a great leader attract the followers as many as sands on the beach or  grow more leaders as brighter as stars on the sky…
 

1. A Visionary Leader Inspires and Create More Leaders

“I have a dream.., I have a dream.., I have a dream.., I have a dream.., I have a dream today…”MLK

  • A leader is someone with a clear vision, a “dreamer” like MLK is a visionary who is able to convince not only a group of people, but global citizens of that vision, and then move them from where they are right now to the shared vision. A leader must create many 'Believers'. Creates room of immense potential as the belief is in something so strong, probably stronger than your own, and bigger than yourself. Real leadership is when you let go the authority you possess from the role and still see if you have 'Believers'.. It's a great sense of achievement to see how much someone is 'Energized” 
  • A leader inspires by providing inspirational leadership, in that way they provide clear direction and alignment of resources; not by setting out to try to inspire for its own sake. The ultimate mission of a true leader is to create interdependence, which results in helping the followers become leaders, and initiate their own visions and missions.. Whether those who are inspired become followers or new leaders depends more on their own qualities, and on how they respond to what the leader's example does to them; rather than on what the leader directly does for them. 
  • A great leader creates more leaders: All 'followers' have a unique competency; until the followers discover theirs and begin to pursue it intelligently, a wise leader inspires them and guides them towards its discovery. When the flame of leadership purpose is kindled, they become 'emerging leaders' for their generation, their era and their dreams. A good leader creates good performance....a great leader creates more leaders, as they understand that successful and sustainable leadership is not a one person role and as such inspires followers to become leaders.

2. An Inspiring Leader is Authentic & Character-Based

“I have a dream that one day, my four little children will live in a notion that they are not be judged by their color of skin, but the content of character..”-MLK
  • You must be able to BE you! The fullest expression of leadership is the discovery of a noble purpose and then pursuing that purpose with a passion and integrity that attracts and inspires others to come alongside the leader to help fulfill that noble purpose. That personal purpose then morphs into a bigger purpose when those who are attracted to the leader make his / her purpose their own.
  • The leader's role is BOTH to positively influence followers and grow more leaders. Leaders should develop in others with the capacity to think independently and make critical decisions. To accomplish that, leaders want to build a team that can challenge the status quo. The leader's main job, relates to moving the entity, of whatever form, in the direction to which it must go to achieve its purpose. 
  • Character mattersWhat matters is the character of the leader as a human being, then her/his capability to influence the hearts and minds of those around to follow a certain course and push the world forward. It doesn't always matter how many followers a leader has, as sometimes a leader’s vision & mindset is well ahead of the era. The problem with many leaders all around the world however is the corrupted notion of leadership that seeks to maintain 'followers' in that perpetual state of 'follower-ship' by keeping them from discovering and pursuing their own unique greatness.  

3. Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring. When we allow the freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every city to every hamlet; from every state and every city, we will be speed up of that day…” -MLK

  •  "Leadership is first a Trust given in exchange for Trust, then it is the ability to energize others to achieve agreed upon goals with a spirit that amplifies and multiplies the mutual leadership of all members. Whenever you are the right person at the right time with the right purpose you are the Leader.
  • The evolution of the mind, brain and culture are certainly determining factors for leadership effectiveness. Leadership is consistent with changing of your 1) Associates 2) The environment and 3) the circumstance within. . It is, therefore, important to successful leaders that they have the capacity to capture deep thoughts that may be difficult to hear or divergent thought different from their own...
  •  Leadership is the ability to get others to do the things you want them to do because they want to do them. The characteristics of  leaders include at least three interesting attributes and beyond: 1)  Long term thinking; 2) Empathy and pursuit of universal happiness and care for the planet; 3) Inclusiveness; Influence, Maturity, Balance., etc.
Leadership is influence; the purpose of leadership is to envision the future and drive collective human progress, from self-reflection to leadership discovery, more and more unique leaders are needed to fill out the gap, add the new color or bring the novel ideas, it is the continuous dream to unify mankind.












Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Connecting Dots between Business Architecture and BPM


Business Architecture is strategic in that it gives direction to the business while BPM designs, manages and controls processes in the business towards achieving the target state of the business. There is certainly a connection between BA and BPM.

  • Business Architecture is "what"is in business, and BPM drives "How" it can be managed, "Who" needs to manage, "When" it needs to be managed, "Where" it needs to be managed and overall keeping the tab on "Why" it needs to be managed. Enterprise Architecture and BPM need to work closely to be successful. As BPM and EA tools are refined, they are merging into complete suite that encapsulate the five dimensions (What, How, Who, When and Where). The learning process is more fluid when the thinking and doing are executed at the same time. This synchronicity needs agility which is provided by tools as we find them more and more in BPM. 
  • So for an effective Business Process Management, business architecture and BPM co-exist. The interactions of the business processes across multiple business units or departments are what create the Process Architecture of an organization. The process architecture in turn leads to the business architecture. BPM is a methodology and BA is a picture of a certain organization. BPM is related with the analysis, understanding, design, development, test and improvement of business processes, ensuring the alignment between strategy and culture. Business Architecture is the visualization of the organization strategy, competences and operation layers and how they fit together. It’s the roadmap how an organization execute their strategy (top-down approach). In other words: BPM is the process and BA is a potential output of the process. One can not do BPM without producing in some shape of form a piece of Business Architecture. 
  • BPM addresses the process aspects of business architecture, leading to all encompassing enterprise architecture. The relationships of business processes in the context of the rest of the enterprise systems (data architecture, organizational structure, strategies, etc.) create greater capabilities when analyzing and planning enterprise changes. The graphical representation of business process information has proven effective for presenting it to business stakeholders, including business analysts and system developers. Visual modeling languages used to represent business processes include Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 
  • Some define BPM as a business management philosophy; a holistic management practice, which requires senior management understanding and involvement (strategic), process-aware information systems, well-defined accountability and a culture receptive to business processes and its changes. Business process-driven management/governance at the senior level is based on a high-level "architecture" of business process -the component of business architecture, which captures the interrelationships between key business processes together with enabling support processes and their alignment with the strategies, goals and policies for an organization. Many different capabilities are required to achieve enterprise wide BPM with connections to BA. The most obvious is the link of enterprise process architecture (standards and models),  there are many more links that can be drawn from other BPM capabilities like the development of business process planning and strategies translated from the business objectives, Strategy and Process Capability Linkages, Process Management Decision Making and Roles and Responsibilities etc.  
  • A good business architect should also at least understand BPM and vice versa. As a Business Architect analyzes the business to make decisions or create business cases, feasibility studies, similarly while creating or modeling business processes, the business is analyzed,  requirements are collected and processes are drafted. Key skills of business architect are to analyze the business and design changes to make it operate better. The decisions taken by a Business Architect are based on the Business processes itself. BPM is therefore a key competency too. . A collection of questions upon EA & BPM below can further help deploy the connection point between EA, BA and BPM::
1). What EA (BA) methodology are you applying?
2). What BPMS are you using?
3). What is the objective of your BPM?
4). What is the objective of your EA (BA)?
5). How does your BPMS integrate with your EA Tool?
6). Do you understand what your BPMS is being used for?
7). What is your organizational strategy on BPM?
8). Does your organization have an EA COE?
9). Is your BPM executable - or are you just mapping processes for the sake of it?

Both BA and BPM design and deployment are not for their own sake, but for understanding, managing and governing organization better for achieving agility, those common purposes make them hyper-connected and interdependent than ever.

Monday, August 26, 2013

CIO Leading as the Conductor

 The CIO needs to lead as a conductor than a constructor, in order to speed up and improve IT agility.

Metaphorically, the CIO need to be the bridge between the strategic goals of the business and IT. At the age of cloud, the CIO also needs to lead as a conductor than a constructor, in order to speed up and improve IT agility. A forward-thinking CIO will figure out a way to leverage the cloud to explore business options much more quickly. As the cloud era is also the age of innovation and radical digitalization, while IT provides important structure and framework to streamline process and enable the digital transformation. Learning the business is a must for the CIO to come up with an experiential knowledge coupled with data for enabling and empowering the enterprise. For larger enterprises, their IT resources and capability are often the company's secret sauce and the key to how they deliver value to the business

A knowledgeable CIO is highly qualified to lead a cloud transformation: Thanks to their intricate knowledge of IT. While the in-depth understanding of technology is critical, no less important is the ability to articulate the business impacts and opportunities of cloud computing to the C-suite. IT will evolve as a value-added partner for the business to facilitate and accelerate Cloud adoption where appropriate for the company. To the degree that IT is perceived as the "go-to" group of honest brokers within the company to successfully implement Cloud services, IT will avoid obsolescence and be seen as more organizationally mature in the eyes of the organization. An Effective CIO is a conductor because they need to ensure that moving from the company's own IT services will not be compromised by moving to Cloud. There are some systems/services which may need to be maintained "in house" and it is down to the CIO to ensure that the "mix" is right for the performance of the business. CIOs are ceasing to be constructors. Cloud gives the possibility of realizing an economy of scale which very few businesses can achieve within their own budgets.

A strategic CIO will craft cloud strategy as an integral element of corporate strategy. IT plays as service broker to orchestrate business solutions not only serving internal customers but also improving end customer's touch point seamlessly. To do so, a CIO should be prepared to:  
- Develop a holistic strategy to leverage internal, external, and hybrid clouds, and decide on a transformative or step-wise approach.
- Examine the company’s needs to identify new business opportunities that will be most beneficial and will yield the best ROI. It’s essential that the CIO be optimistic but prudent about moving functions to the cloud.
- Consider every application in the IT portfolio as a candidate for the cloud, and anticipate and address all potential IT GRC issues.
- Once the CIO is convinced that a particular function is suitable for a cloud initiative, he or she must be able to convincingly articulate business benefits to colleagues in the C-suite.
- Confirm that external services can reallocate staff to manage relationships with integrated internal capabilities, service providers and business units.

An efficient CIO needs to use IT resources effectively while reducing costs and to create strategic business value for the company. As the Cloud Computing paradigm is changing the face of traditional IT in resource allocation and management. The CIO's role is to identify and guide a top class leadership team to assure there are no surprises; there is a drive to efficiency and delivery of services which match business needs
- Reduce costs
- Introduce new and improved products
- Increase revenue
- Increase Organization productivity

A value-added CIO needs to be an ENABLER of the business strategic objectives. The general expectation from IT has changed. Not only are they being seen as an enabler, they are now mandatory required to give ROI for the investments. Timelines are already decided by business and now the choice of technology gradually as well. Those are just a few items at IT largely expandable "to do" list.
-IT plays a consultative role in vendor relationship, procurement, SLA to gain better purchasing power via negotiation.
-IT plays a governance role in managing security/risk/compliance more holistically, to brighten "shadow IT'...
-IT plays as process optimizer to continually improving business process, engage employees & customers, and manage innovation., etc.

A skillful CIO is a “cloud” conductor as IT will be there to integrate the pieces in whichever combination. Also, someone has to provide oversight for GRC; and have a holistic view to maximizing the value of the various relationships, set priority for project strategy alignment. The good news is that you can direct a project to be successful by focusing on a few projects “Musts” and “Must NOTs from a business perspective in addition to your chosen project management methodology. IT projects must
• achieve business-critical success factors
• have a phased approach
• meet user expectations
• satisfy the sponsor – quality, cost, and time
• have no surprises!

IT projects must not
• be just a technology challenge
• continue into infinity
• Measure things only matter for itself

At the evolutionary age of cloud, CIOs will act more as conductors than constructors, with the ability to connect IT capabilities to business strategy, focus on integration and orchestration, look for productivity (cost and efficiency), effectiveness (doing the right things to achieve expected results) and capture business growth opportunities, in order to transform from cost center to value creator.  










Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Root Cause to IT Project Failure: Poor Management or Weak Governance?

Governance brings outside-in view; while management takes inside-out processes. 

Every successful project has many parents; but the failure seems to be like an orphan, no one like to admit it. In fact, there are many causes to fail an IT project such as Scope Creep, Failure to obtain stakeholder commitment, inability to assemble a high-performance team, and failure to plan or execute well. So to dig through the root causes, more broadly speaking, is IT project failure caused by poor management or ineffective governance?

  • Governance and Management have a different role in the IT project success and failure. The role of governance is to ensure that projects are properly monitored and tracked to ensure cost, quality and time are maintained and a framework to ensure right kind of projects are being pursued and prioritized. Management, on the other hand, should ensure right resources, such as people, technology, skills are provided and operationalizing the product in the organization and measure various metrics for ROI. Management has the core sponsor of the project and not the governance.
  • Governance brings outside-in view; while management takes inside-out processes. Management focuses on a piece with a defined scope to produce defined results. Governance focuses on how the pieces fit together to achieve larger goals. Businesses are like onions, have layers that differ in scale. Corporate, initiative, or program level management imposes governance on individual projects. In another word, Management should be concerned with budget and resource provisioning while Governance should ensure proper execution as per the best practice to use the resources optimally.
  • Governance is a tool of management. A failure to fully integrate governance mechanism into management processes results in the issues not being caught early, and so it is a good candidate for the ultimate cause to failures. Standards, templates, rules, organizational structure, and review structure exist to provide alignment across the pieces and across layers. Not for their own sake. Keeping them separate leads to Architecture (or other) Review Boards that focus on the check offs: are the variable in the right case, does every operation have a purpose, does every attribute of the requirement have a value. Effective governance should be about motivating and enabling people to do the right thing.
  • Governance is about decision rights. Organizations which abrogate their responsibility for the use of IT by leaving decisions about how IT will be used to IT function get themselves into all sorts of trouble. Requirements management is the backbone of the IT value stream and requires excellence within and between every IT function to be effective. In an environment fraught with complexity and immense pressure to deliver, it doesn't take much for this fragile system to break down. Governance should be applied to ensure that common understanding is reached before implementation begins. If not, failure is nearly inevitable.
  • Project management and governance are interdependent disciplines. The management structures and project organization are supposed to separate to the governance of a program. Too often in some organizations, the Project Organization structure and the governance bodies (typically Steering Groups, etc.) shown on the same diagrams and mentioned in the same breath. It is this lack of clarity - for responsibility and decision making - that can derail projects, and these can be both a symptom and cause of confusion between governance and management.
  • Governance is a bit of an umbrella term: But if it includes the engagement and the acceptance of ownership for benefits realization for the project by the line of the business owner, then governance (or lack of it) is THE critical factor for project success. The essence is to have that senior business owner regard the project as the sole or the most important instrument of his/her successful achievement of business targets. And then during the project execution, use the governance framework to deliver what the sponsor needs so that the project does not flip to become the excuse for their non-delivery. 
Therefore, An effective IT or PMO leader has to know how to balance the needs of the project management with the needs of good governance -- to use the right methodology, apply it at the right time and in the amounts that are really needed, in order to improve overall IT project success rate.





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