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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seven Quotes to Unite The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Time is flying, Thanksgiving is coming again, it’s not just the day for family reunion, it’s also the season to unite our humanity and humility.

1.   Appreciate the Mother Nature
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;       
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The nature beauty we see everyday, we may take it granted, it’s the time to thanks creator for these daily miracle, life is beautiful!

2.   Thanksgiving is about Uniting Humanity
Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings. ~J. Robert Moskin

2011 is the year of change, from Arab Spring to OWS movement, we feel the hope, also the pain, Thanksgiving is the time to sooth the anger and unify the difference, by working together, human society can make the progress as a whole.

3.   Thanksgiving is time to Convey Humility
"The only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." -Meister Eckhart

Saying “thank you” is beyond courtesy, it’s the culture and attitude, sometimes we all need a bit appreciation, at the same time, don’t forget to appreciate others.

4.   Time to review the heart of courage & power of persistence
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."

Most of us maybe already very familiar with Pilgrim’s story, it’s the root of Thanksgiving and it’s the spirit of America: Native citizens and naturalized citizens learn and support each other, it’s the time to review the heart of courage, the power of persistence and spirit of sharing.

5.   It’s all about Preparing
Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence
No matter it’s thanksgiving meal or trip, the joy starts from preparation, and no matter which journey we are in  our life, preparation is the key, it’s the secret source for your thanksgiving banquet. As a nation, it’s time for us to prepare together for the future.

6.   Thanksgiving is time for Self-Reflection at Positive Way
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. - Charles Dickens

Though there’s day and night, ebb and flow, up and down, each one of us may still have a lot to thanks for, the economy may still be uncertain, life is still full of frustration, thanksgiving is the time to think positively, be grateful, take the good we discover now.  

7.   Thanksgiving is about Connection
Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God. ~Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)
  Thanksgiving is the time to reunion, recharging, re-imagining and revitalizing, it's the season not only for food, but also for thinking. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can Enterprise 2.0 Reboot Business to be the Brainyard in Cloud?

From last week’s Cloud Expo to this week’s Enterprise 2.0, the latest technology events lift up our holiday spirit by passionate vendors, disruptive technology, and progressive audience.

Especially we’ve just been through the Great Recession, for many middle-class families, businesses, and industries, the lost decade is painful and educational, we can’t afford to waste the crisis, timely technologies such as Enterprise 2.0 and Cloud computing will become the effective platform and tools to shape up the new way of thinking, new process of doing and new benchmark to evaluate. Here are the five takeaway from the conference:                                                        

1.Lead the Charge for Change

·  Crowdsourcing is a attitude:  New generation of social business empowered by enterprise 2.0 tools such as collaboration platform, web 2.0 technology (video, audio, blog., etc) and analytics will extend organization’s physical boundary, enhance employees’ participation and engage customers’ feedback, crowdsourcing becomes the new attitude and reality, it also stimulates creative side of our brain and  agility of our business  to find better solutions. 
·  Open Leadership + Open Culture: The traditional hierarchical corporate structure may have no choice but defensively select command style leadership to control, however, control only is no longer effective enough to do the right things, make the sound judgment & decision, or recognize the right talent.  Enterprise  2.0 enables flatter organization framework, to encourage open leadership style and open culture environment, in order to adapt to the exponential changing the economic environment and business uncertainty, open leadership inspires the democratic culture, collective wisdom, and analytic decision process. 

·  Leverage point for Changes: The only constant is change today, however, 70% of change management effort failed statistically, the leverage point of change is all about the good alignment of people, process, and technology, the enterprise 2.0 provides the great platform to leverage the changes, to encourage the knowledge sharing, multi-dimensional thinking & communication, and multi-facet process management.

2. You Can’t Fix a Business without Fixing an Industry

·   From Shareholder’s enterprise to Share Value business: From lessons of economic meltdown in recent years, both academia and industry research discover the business only focusing on shareholders’ benefit may not sufficient enough to share the prosperity with our community and society, enterprise 2.0 can help business to get more interconnect and interdependent with its macro-environment by engaging conversation with partners, customers, community group, industry experts, only the business which can share the common social value and take leadership & responsibility to reboot economy are the true innovation engine for our society.

·   Co-petitor: both as partner and competitor: The information-explosive, hyper-competitive economic environment make the world more complex than ever, business can no longer perform better without partnering enough, the industrial competitors may need to collaborate with each other more frequently to solve many common challenges together, the businesses can only be re-invented right after their struggling industry being rebooted, the whole business ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate and corporate with each other to re-invent  the full value chain.
·   From Wikinomics to Macrowikinomics: Mr. Don Tapscott’s series of book: Wikinomic and Macrowikinomics well reflect the social economic trend, the business cannot succeed in a world that is failing, we’ve been just living in such an emerging networked era, to call all of us to proactively influence the change and step up as a leader, the new characteristics of business and society are participation, collaboration, transparency, discipline, and governance. 

3. Communication is Oxygen of Organization

· Communication is Oxygen: The beauty of social platform and enterprise is all about communication, if culture is DNA of business, then communication is the air, the positive conversation is the oxygen to nourish innovation,  it’s human’s nature to communicate and participate, to share and brainstorm, communication enabled by enterprise 2.0 may reach the touch points to overcome change inertia and enhance management best practices. 

· Cognitive Diversity: Human may already know long time ago, our difference is deeper than the skin, the cognitive difference has more impact than the other difference such as gender, ethnic or culture, enterprise 2.0 tools not only help us bridge the gap, but also provides the platform for us to appreciate the cognitive diversity,  to team up the like-minded professionals and complement the collective thinking and skills.

· Get Bolder, to shape up the new box of thinking: “Out-of-box thinker” may not always be the compliment in traditional working environment, which more rewards the conventional thinking and compliance.However, social platform will groom the “odd” or “tough” raw talent to speak up as the thought leaders, change the things, pull the world together, and push the world forward, enterprise 2.0 can also shape up the new box for life learner to explore the cross-disciplined challenges, from out of box thinker to new box thinker, those are the superior talent for every visionary business to pursue. 

4. Gamification, for Talent Management

·  Signal of Trust--Social with Goal: Traditional pyramidal management more focus on control, the social business is the signal of trust, every technology has its purpose, social is no exception, social without goal is distraction, the goal of social is communication, sharing, purpose-finding, it’s the platform or tool to ignite staff’s creativity, and calculate the brand value or reputation

·  Self-Service & Self-Management: Social computing is going beyond the trust, it will shape the new organizational model for self-service or self-management, the future of business will be the hybrid of decentralized team or project management with centralized governance and resource support.

·  Incentive for Thought Leadership & Social Influence: Gamification concept is not just for gaming, now becomes the interesting enterprise 2.0 tool which has been embedded into enterprise platform for rewarding the innovation, thought leadership and influence. The next generation of talent management will develop the right incentives to inspire diversified talent to take extra miles, to learn the new things, to solve the problems with creative thinking, to become the organization’s brand evangelist, instead of playing politics or taking the negative competition.

5.  Journey the Road Less Traveled      

·  Blue Ocean Strategy: Social is a strategy, then the best practices, strategy is the set of choices to compete for the future, social platform helps business to listen to the customer and partners, to optimize customer satisfaction, also explore the blue ocean strategy for the potential new revenue stream or emerging business trends. 

· From Taxonomy to Folksonomy: Enterprise 2.0 as the emerging technology, is not just about the buzzword, the taxonomy, or the new fashion easily to fade away, it’s the new era of folksonomy; it’s not the IT for technology’s sake, it’s the technology for people, it is the convergence of enterprise IT with consumer IT, it creates the synergy by taking advantage of collective thinking and doing

  • From KPI to KAI: Being agile is every business’s strategic imperative regardless of size today, social computing as the effective communication tools intent to enhance the information flow and adapt to the change, also as the open platform to experiment the innovation.Traditional KPI (Key Performance Indicator) may not sufficient enough to benchmark the business results the executive need acknowledge, KAI (Key Agility Indicator) with new sets of metrics will help business to re-imagine the growth and re-invent the management. Some enterprise 2.0 analytics tools may help fill the gap and provide the most calculated perspective from a different angle.

In summary, enterprise 2.0 is the burning platform for change and culture evolution, also the effective tools to re-kindle the passion for work,  for humanity and for bigger dreams.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cloud Expo Theme: 3-D Cloud-From Vision to Implementation

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, being agile is strategic imperative for any size of organizations, cloud is just such a timely technology and methodology to install agile wings for organization.

As Cloud Evangelist, I’ve been participated cloud computing events about five years on the row, this year, from Cloud Connect to Cloud Slam, then this week, headed into Cloud Expo: cloud is truly growing bigger, full of energy, if it’s not too crowed yet.

Compared to last couple of years, Cloud computing has transformed from stage of technology vision into today’s strategic planning and implementation, the conference well articulate the new characteristics of post-digital IT through the tactical roadmap and collective best practices.

1. The DNA of Cloud Computing

·        Orchestration: All things are connected through Cloud
Instead of very specific technology, cloud computing is more about the omnipresent, interwoven fabric to connect all things into internet, based on virtualization, but not limited to it, it’s also about inter-connection, to converge enterprise IT with consumerization of IT, to modernize data center, to orchestrate the interoperability cross multiple platforms, applications and breakdown the silo functions and data, to transform business from ad hoc into harmony. 

·        Agility: Cheaper, better and faster can be the true DNA of Cloud
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, being agile is strategic imperative for any size of organizations, cloud is just such a timely technology and methodology to install agile wings for organization. Cloud accelerates IT transformation from monolithic infrastructure into mosaic design, adapt to light weight SAAS application, to bypass heavy-weight software package, faster provision, elastic to scale up,  automate back office , simplify and standardize IT services and delivery with speed. 

·        Culture Evolution: Change is DNA of Cloud
Cloud not only deliver the hard wins to improve organization’s bottom line, but also unleash the business potential through sharing the idea & data, connecting innovation dots with collaborative tools, growing leadership through reshaping the talent pipeline. Cloud washes the outdated culture, and empower the change management effort with right mindset, technology and methodology.

2. 3-D Cloud On the Way:  IAAS & PAAS are new Strength
If in last couple of years, SAAS-Software As A Service is the beauty on the surface of the cloud, this year, Cloud becomes the three-D picture with better vision of its internal strength: IAAS-Infrastructure As A Service and PAAS-Platform As A Service have built up the solid framework and gain momentum through key vendors alliance and standard enforcement, variety of user cases shape up the roadmap and share the best practices.

IAAS and PAAS service transformation will revitalize IT from the maintenance cost center into value added growth center, by deploying menu of service choices and self service portal, IT can empower internal IT development environment with agility, also provide business the flexibility and availability to consume IT resources as needed, and manage & deliver IT service with better visibility and transparency.

3. The Big Data Footprint In the Cloud

Big data, those unstructured data from social platform, mobile and RFID smart devices are expanding its big footprint surround the cloud, are they the big opportunities or big risks, the big strategy or big distraction? The advanced analytics tools, many of them are cloud based, intent to capture the big data insight, amplifying customers’ voices and perceive future of products & services.

Those new emerging vendors & tools also intent to incorporate external big data with internal performance data to complement existing capacity with the new capability, compared to traditional tools, they are more agile, specialized, easy to use and faster to experiment & further employments.  

4. Security, Security, Security
Security is the old story with new theme in the cloud, today’s organization is beyond its own physical boundary, extends into borderless digital edge, the tradition security solutions may not sufficient enough to protect business asset at cloud era, and security & privacy are still the biggest barrier for organizations to jump into the cloud and reap the benefit.

However, Cloud computing may also provide the new lens for both vendors and businesses to review and improve their security strategy and methodology, less stick to “control”:  the mentality grew under the corporate firewall; more focus on policy enforcement and governance capability, to embed end to end security ability into business processes more seamlessly, to enhance trust in this “always connected world”.

Either security for the cloud or cloud based security, the new emerging technology will always blend the proven protection disciplines such as confidentiality, authentication, availability, integrity with the new style of flexibility and resilience.

In summary, Cloud becomes the new normal, with many chances to win big; cloud adopters may no longer be the pioneers, they are surely the mainstream players, to exchange the collective wisdoms and co-create the next generation of IT.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Maria Curie’s Legacy: Three Edges of Leadership

Today is Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934)’s birthday, she was a Polish-French physicist and chemist, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. Her achievements also includes the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw.
As a scientist, after one and half century later, she is still the inspiring role model for today’s generation to pursue scientific domain and explore unknown relentlessly; beyond that, she is also a pioneer in multiple-disciplines to set up a good tone for today’s new edge of leadership.

1. Change the things, to push the world forward
The physical and societal aspects of the work of the Curies contributed substantially to shaping the world of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Cornell University professor L. Pearce Williams observes:
The result of the Curies' work was epoch-making. Radium's radioactivity was so great that it could not be ignored. On the experimental level the discovery of radium provided men like Ernest Rutherford with sources of radioactivity with which they could probe the structure of the atom. As a result of Rutherford's experiments with alpha radiation, the nuclear atom was first postulated. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked

2. Connect the Dots, Multi-Discipline Achiever
Curie was the first person to win or share two Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry. She is one of only two people who have been awarded a Nobel Prize in two different fields.
Curie's second Nobel Prize, in 1911, enabled her to talk the French government into funding the building of a private Radium Institute (Institut du radium, now the Institut Curie), which was built in 1914 and at which research was conducted in chemistry, physics, and medicine
3. Breakdown the Ceilings
She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon Paris
The work of Marie Curie helped overturn established ideas in physics and chemistry, it has had an equally profound effect in the societal sphere.
This aspect of her life and career is highlighted in Françoise Giroud's Marie Curie: A Life, which emphasizes Curie's role as a feminist precursor.
She was ahead of her time, emancipated, independent, and in addition uncorrupted. Albert Einstein is reported to have remarked that she was probably the only person who was not corrupted by the fame that she had won

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strategy is beyond Oxymoron

Global organization require a faster and more flexible approach to experiment with purpose, Agile strategy planning is a new imperative.
Based on the survey of nearly 800 executives: just 45 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the strategic-planning process. only 23 percent indicated that major strategic decisions were made within its confines. So what’s wrong with strategy and strategic planning? Does it become the oxymoron slow to reflect today’s rapidly change, or since the future is increasingly less predictable, are we coming to the end of strategy? The point is high-performance organizations do not follow the same strategy, they make dynamic strategy by executing them well. We would explore strategy discipline through next five fundamentals:

1. Definition of Strategy

  • The corporate strategy involves a proprietary set of actions that enables a company to be worth more than just the sum of its parts.
  • The strategy is also best expressed as an integrated set of choices compete for the future.
  •  The strategy is a handful of decisions that drive or shape most of a company's subsequent actions and have the greatest impact on whether a company meets its strategic objectives.
  • A real strategy is neither a document nor a forecast but rather an overall approach based on a diagnosis of a challenge

2. Strategy vs. Leadership:

Strategy and leadership: which is the chicken and which is the egg? Companies need to take more innovative approaches to this puzzle:  The effective leaders will plan for the future by asking “what if”: which also means to identify a few critical issues at business, and then focused on actions and resources on them. The great leaders push and pull the right strategy by aligning the right culture and team to execute it.

A good strategy is beyond the well-designed template filled out with goal and vision, it should be more subject to challenges we face and provides an approach to overcoming them, it’s executable. The good strategy will break an executive team out of tunneled vision, and transform into a creative, entrepreneurial and strategic perspective.

In order to shape the great strategy, the leaders may need to think in new boxes, and first you need to find new boxes—new models, new scenarios, new ways of tackling a problem—to structure your thinking and to provide the framework for fresh imaginative effort.

3. Good Strategy vs. Bad Strategy

Good strategy, works by focusing energy and resources on one, or a very few, pivotal objectives whose accomplishment will lead to a cascade of favorable outcomes. As "Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters" written by Richard Rumel defines The kernel of good strategy:
- A diagnosis: an explanation of the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as being the critical ones.
- A guiding policy: an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.
- Coherent actions: steps that are coordinated with one another to support the accomplishment of the guiding policy.

In today’s fast change economic environment, global organization require a faster and more flexible approach to experiment with purpose, Agile strategy planning is a new imperative.

Michael Porter’s Five Force Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kiman and Renee MauborgnA way to make the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for both company and its customers.. Some Bad Strategy Syndrome:
  • There is missing the link in the corporate strategy process, either it’s culture inertia, organizational capability or process inefficiency, usually the weakest link is people.
  • The Executives equate “strategy” with static, template-driven, top-down planning, filling in the blanks with “vision, mission, values”.
  • If failed to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don’t have a strategy. Instead, you have a stretch goal or a budget or a list of things you wish would happen.
4. Business Strategy vs. Technology Strategy

Smart organization will shape the capability driven strategy starting with series of strategic decisions, then focus on the key issues, to provoke the questions such as:
--What must we be able to do to reach the customer we want to attract?
--What actions might we take to win the new market?
--What are the options to move to this strategic direction? And Why?
--What does the future of industry ecosystem look like? …

In today’s digital working environment with technology savvy workforce, technology plays significant role in unleashing business potential, such as winning & retaining customers via the new digital channels; IT also becomes the catalyst to provide the tailored customer solutions by analyzing real-time data and capture the insight; the executives also seek accurate, on-time information to support decision making, optimize business process, reduce risk and reach saving potentials. etc.

IT strategy is no longer just a functional silo strategy to “keep the light on”, or only about the annual plans and budgets,  or the numbers-driven operational and cost planning, it becomes the strategy of strategy to provide the sets of choices to help business compete for the future, how to make the good IT strategy is also becoming the business imperative to effectively execute business strategy.

CIOs and IT leaders may proactively influence strategy by asking:
--Does current IT agile enough to catalyze the changing business need make to compete?
--Does IT portfolio & investment focus on the most critical challenges defined at strategy?
--Do the KPIs defined really measure the values the IT projects deliver to the business?
--How can the latest technology trend help shape the innovation, optimize process and cost, reduce the risks and attract the right talent?....

5. Strategy vs. Execution

If a good question is half of answer, then a good strategy planning is half of execution.   In current hyper-competitive business environment, strategy planning need be more agile and dynamic to embrace the changes and prioritize the deployment of resources more carefully, stay focused and execute it with efficiency and effectiveness.

The good strategy planning can blend top-down’s structural thinking with bottom up’s democratic opinion,  to avoid the blind spots, also inspire the morale at the whole organization to execute it with passion and mission.

Execution is a discipline to get things done, and integral part of the strategy. A well-defined strategy-execution-performance management system will assign accountability for initiative and make progress more transparent, measurable, by identifying clear goals and priorities, have the right people in the right bus at the right time, and frame the right incentive and rewarding system, the whole strategy-execution journey will:
  • Build up the clear milestones with short, medium and long term goals
  • Stretch the new thinking box to boost creativity and insight
  • Create more engagement models to foster dialogue, preparedness and alignment cross the organization.
In summary, the good strategy need be constantly revisited and reviewed to adapt to the change, today’s agile business need an agile strategy, with all these agile wings and good agile governance

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seven Questions to Reinvent Airlines

Corporate culture—the set of norms, values and assumptions that govern how people act and interact every day.
Airlines, as the most charming and challenging industry, the least profitable, but the most taxed industry, experience literal ups and downs since its formation in the 1920s,  though the balance sheet starts turn black in 2010,  this legacy industry is the third largest contributor to economy, have been through the lost decade, it may still have the rocky road ahead, Airline is beyond at transportation business, it’s at customer service business, it’s the economic barometer and growth engine.

It takes energy and passion to re-imagine Airline  and it need collective wisdom and societal support to re-invent Airline, we may need more radical thinking and fundamental revitalization via series of questioning:

1. Business Model Re-invention:
Q1: Can we transform Airline from commodity business into value delivery business?

Merchandise concept redefine airlines in the last couple of years, By bringing a retailer's “merchandising” perspective to the airline, airline identified a substantial opportunity to enhance the customer's travel experience via new service options. This was a significant mindset change for the industry that had focused on streamlining operations for the past 30 years with limiting customer choices, the de-bundled customer services also create critical ancillary revenue for financially struggling industry, a key mindset change was getting the airline to think of itself as an incredibly effective distribution channel and very powerful merchandising platform, it transforms into the retailer with wings.

Reinvent Customer Life Cycle Management
Airlines need shift to a customer-centric business model, focusing on individual customer needs and buying patterns.

Beyond just taking a long time to book travel, there is a more fundamental issue: does  the current distribution channels cater for the personalized service that a 21 century consumer has come to expect?  Optimize customer’s whole travel experience is one of the clear vision and goal for airlines to pursue, the key theme is about delivering choice and convenience to the customers in every segment of customer’s journey by creating a powerful framework to underpin its self-service initiatives, wide range of channels and choices to meet customers’ diverse preferences, it also help reduce the overall cost of service its customers and serve them even better, focus resource and service on customers’ touch point, and soothe customers’ pain point. Please also read: Seven Delights to Optimize Flying:

 To step further, social computing provides the opportunity to transform aspects of self-service into more real-time dialogue with customers, and offer more value-added service to reinvent customer life-cycle management with speed and re-imagine more potential revenue stream. 

Reinvent Loyalty Program
Loyal customers are truly the backbone of any successful business, given the high percentage of revenue derived from them. It costs significantly more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, also understanding customer behavior is critical to build and maintain true customer loyalty.

Most airlines have strong loyalty programs that bind their best customers and keep them returning to the same carrier. The “stickiness” of the programs focus largely on revenue optimization and airline operations, and less on customer satisfaction.

The future of loyalty program is based on social computing and enterprise 2.0, social loyalty becomes especially important once airlines realize that some of their most enthusiastic flyers are also its most vocal brand advocates. So the most high-value customers are not only in term of miles flown but also in terms of their social influence online, it also explores the role that predictive analytics can play in enabling carriers to make timely, meaningful and relevant offers that drive deeper loyalty and engagement among existing customers,  acquire new customers to outmaneuver the competition.

2. Tax & Regulation Re-invention:
Q2: Should Airlines taxed as sin or pay the fair share, does government and stakeholders are happy the way it is or make the necessary change to put is on the growth trajectory?

A lot of people and companies count on aviation’s success. About 2.8 billion people are expected to fly safely in 2011. That directly creates employment for 5.5 million people worldwide.

However, many seasoned airline executives point out airlines are taxed higher than the 'sin taxes' imposed on tobacco, firearms and alcohol, about the 17 different aviation taxes and fees amounting to USD16.5 billion already paid by airlines and their passengers.  And additional USD36 billion in new taxes are being proposed recently.

The industry are lobbying government for more common approach on standard policies and liability issues to realize its real potential as well as to further contribute to the economy and putting the industry on a growth trajectory.

In addition, Governments should be persuaded to framework the infrastructure needs to be put in place to support and facilitate the distribution of passenger data on a global industry-wide basis, also to help the industry on such important issues as re-equipping aircraft for the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System.

 3. M&A Capacity & Capability Re-invention:
 Q3:  Can consolidated Airlines become more agile to adjust the capacity & capability  to make sustained profitability ?

In recent year, airlines have been consolidated through M&A activities, it builds up strategic value for the industry at the long run. either scale deal—an expansion in the same or highly overlapping  business—or a scope deal—an expansion into a new market, product or channel (usually are a mix of the two types) would help airlines grow capacity and enable more capability, but the most critical factor is to make airline agile via consolidation, modernization,  rationization, integration, innovation and optimization., etc.  

What makes an airline agile? Taking agility to its simplest level: An agile airline is one marked by ready ability to move quickly,  adapts to business and technology change dynamics, responsive to competition, and maximizes all its assets and resources. A common denominator to agile airlines is an ability to move information to the right passenger, employee or partner with this same agility.

 4. Talent & Culture Re-invention:
 Q4: Can Airlines where organized labor has outsized leverage, with new united way to manage the inherent responsibilities and also leverage change sufficiently for long term prosperity?

  • Leadership Re-invention.
    The context of the industry impacts the type of leader or leader characteristics that are required for success. While disruptive forces such as external influences or technological breakthroughs can change the direction and potential for an industry, leaders, by their actions, can influence the evolution of an industry and aviation eco-system as well, the influential leadership can also inspire the creative destruction to revitalize the legacy industry like airlines. 

  • Culture Re-invention:  
Corporate culture—the set of norms, values and assumptions that govern how people act and interact every day. It’s “the way we do things around here.”

How to cultivate the positive culture, such as customer centric, safety driven and break up the “legacy mentalities” and encourage the new view and thinking for staff to take extra miles,  voice themselves via social networks, or corporate blogs, to ensure that these communication lines are open and people understand what sheet of music they are playing to, to win both hearts and minds.

5.  . Infrastructure &Technology Re-invention:
Q5: Can Airlines modernize the legacy infrastructure, simplify & optimize the process and ride the latest technology wave  to drive further effectiveness and efficiency?

Airline need simplify the complexity in their IT infrastructure without compromising on agility or security. To transition to the future state, airlines may need move from the traditional heterogeneous environment (typically defined by poorly integrated legacy applications) to common platforms that are closely integrated and aligned with key business processes.  The latest technologies such as cloud/mobile/social/Analytics will further transform IT infrastructure at more digitized pace, so airlines can achieve the agility needed to more quickly respond to customer demand and market changes.

By transforming into more integrated platforms, Airlines can enjoy greater business continuity, higher levels of redundancy, and enhanced internal and external service performance. Those changes translate directly into a lower total cost of ownership, a clearer focus on mission-critical objectives and a more competitive position in the demanding global economy.

New technologies,  more effective operations, more efficient infrastructure, and positive economic measures. This is the industry’s Four Pillar Strategy, defined by Tony Tyler, IATA's Director General and CEO

 6. MRO Re-invention:
  Q6: What if airlines operated their customer-facing IT with similar discipline and decision making as the maintenance function?

Besides labor and fuel cost, Maintenance is the third largest cost to run airline today, airlines today need put maintenance optimization into the long term strategy plan. 

Re-invent Airline Connection: transform paper-based, work-intensive and non-user friendly information exchange (to and from end users: pilots, mechanics, flight attendants) into more digitized, user friendly communication. 

Re-invent User and management decision: transform from decisions rely on time-late, unreliable, inconsistent and incomplete information into more real-time data, information and analytics.

Standardize Business Solution: there is a clear definition of the business problem that needs to be solved, and agreement who can solve which problems, also streamline the vendor relationship and optimize the business processes.

 7.  Alternative Energy Re-invention:
Q7: Are BioFuels well shaped to become the energy pillar for air transporation?

According to data from the International Air Transport Association, total emissions for the airline industry stood at 649 million tons of CO2 in 2010, up 3.5 percent from the previous year.  The industry has pledged to stop increasing its carbon emissions by 2020 even as global air travel increases, and to halve its carbon dioxide emissions from its 2005 levels by 2050.

The I.A.T.A. estimates that replacing 3 percent of the kerosene in jet fuel would reduce aviation CO2 emissions by over 10 million tons, at an initial cost of $10 to $15 billion in production and distribution facilities.  Aviation is working hard with a spectrum of activities to reduce environmental impact. Biofuels are seen as one of the pillars to achieving this target; I.A.T.A. predicts that biofuels could replace 6 percent of kerosene in the airline industry by 2020.

Converting 20 percent of aviation to biofuels would transform modern aviation, be a major signal that clean energy can work at scale, and offers a model for developing R&D, certification and supply chain consortia. It would take around 12 billion gallons of biofuels, and perhaps 120 million tons of biomass, distributed to 1700 or so airports around the world.

But availability of supply and its cost — biofuel is more than double the price of regular aviation fuel — are now the main impediments to its wider use. http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/10/13/quick-win-aviation-biofuels-offers-breakout-for-clean-energy/

In summary, in order to overcome the challenges, all forces such as the authentic leadership, the financing system, the committed end-user group, the technologies ready to scale and valid distribution channels need be well aligned and reinvent the alternative energy for the long term.