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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Kick Off Fresh 80/20 Business Habits in New Year

Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.  ~Spanish Proverb

New year bell is ringing, new year resolution is already sizzling up in the air, it takes good habits to make it stick, for individuals, positive habits can shape you to become more healthy and effective; for businesses, it’s also the time to kick off fresh enterprise habits, to amplify collective human capabilities, and to create business synergy. 

1. Business Synergy 

Reality: At the average organization: 80 percent of share of energy that does not create external value, 20 percent of shares of energy is value-creating.

New Habit: Focus on 80% of energy for value-creating activities such as strategy, innovation, & effectiveness and business transformation, 20% of energy is for internal support

2. Business Culture 

Culture is collective thinking in group of people, negative culture will sink business.

New Habit: 80% of thinking need be positive & optimistic, and the other 20% of “Paranoid” thinking is aware of the risks, such new habit can shape the positive business culture and harmonize business. As long as we react positively to the uncertainty, we become more engaged and business productivity will be improved.

3. Business Leadership 

The spirit of organization comes from top, leadership is about influence.

New Habit: 80% of leadership team have cognitive difference; complement each other’s strength, skill set, leadership substance and style;

4. Business Strategy 

Strategy is a set of choices being made, following a series of action for business to compete for the future.

New Habit: 80% of strategy need be shareware, not shelf-ware, need be brainstormed through collective insight cross enterprise, to embrace 3 “C”s: Creativity, Cascading and Context.

5. Project Management 

Project Managers know that 20 percent of the work (the first 10 percent and the last 10 percent) consume 80 percent of their time and resources.
New Habit: You can't commit until you have high level of confidence in making the outcome appear. The proposal should have an 80% confidence of completing on value delivery,  "on or before at date" and "at or under budget."

6 Business Process Management 

Process: Pareto rule applies; you will get 80% of process improvement benefits from 20% of your business processes

New Habit: Focus on the 20% of processes most critical for businesses, expand process management horizon, not just for automation, but also for process innovation and optimization.

7. IT Budget Management 

Reality: 80 percent of IT budget goes for “keep the light on” maintenance, only 20 percent of budget is invested in the project for business’s growth or innovation

New Habit: 80 percent of IT budget should be invested in the projects for business’s growth or innovation; only 20 percent of budget goes to infrastructure maintenance 

8. Customer Relationship Management 

Pareto rule applied: 20 percent of Customers generate 80% of business revenue.

New Habit: Understand your loyal customers deeper through data analytics, continue to optimize customer life-cycle experience through digitalization, and focus on bright spots to enable business growth.

9. Quality Assurance 

Pareto Rule applied: 20 percent of the defects cause 80 percent of the problems.

New Habit: Not every bug is created equal, promote agile methodology and mindset, and keep business ends in mind, in order to improve product/project quality and customer satisfaction.

10. Talent Time Management 

Pareto Principle for a manager is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 percent of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter.     
New Habit: The good habit is always related to time management, keep focus, stay hungry, make priority list, spend majority (80%) of time and energy on things matter.
"Vital few and trivial many"-- The 80/20 Rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial. May your new enterprise habits energize, synergize and catalyze a business transformation in upcoming new year.

“Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”  ― Samuel Smiles

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The CIO’s Tough Choice: Be Proactive or Reactive, and When?

CIOs' proactive in trying new things shall not get confused with spontaneity or do things without a plan.
Organizations large or small on the journey to digital transformation, IT plays a critical role as an enabler to drive changes. From IT leadership perspective, why are some CIOs reactive, rather than proactive in trying new technologies? Are they just reluctant to change a working system, or are they not empowered enough?

1. CIOs are not Empowered Enough

  • The Business’s Attitude to IT: It all depends on how IT is treated as a cost center or a strategic partner to the business. Is the company willing to take the risk that involves the adoption of new technologies? Does new technology contribute to the business objectives? Is the new technology aligned with the IT strategic plan or is just a whim of the vendor?  If IT is considered just an executor and a follower of business leads and their decisions, then the CIOs are not empowered enough to take decisions which obviously lead them to be reactive, but not proactive. 
  • From the leadership/management perspective: CIOs are not part of business planning and strategic decision makers in most of the organizations and they get the decision from someone who is part of the strategic decision maker. Since CIOs are not part of the strategic decision maker hence, resistance to change is just a lack of clarity. CIOs are not empowered enough to take decisions which obviously lead them to be reactive, but not proactive.  If IT is considered a strategic partner, innovator and business enable, then CIOs are given a seat at business strategic plans and meetings. This obviously gives them the power to make and break decisions in a proactive manner and to best apply new technology to help accelerate the success of the company. 
  • “Maintaining” Mindset: Many CIOs graduated from IT management where their job was to maintain. The transition from a maintenance mindset to a value creation mindset is a stretch for some. Boldness is often not part of their personality profile. It may not be so fair to only have CIO shift the mindset, from boardroom to front desk, new thinking means new learning attitude, from business side, it means to show the constructive dissatisfaction, understand the risks and potential bear traps; for CIOs, from "No" to "Yes", it takes positive thinking as well as enterprise-wide supporting.  
  • Silo Thinking: It is, however, very common for the business to think that they understand how to implement IT, but, in the end, create a silo for their own section of the business. Also, many organizations still treat IT as a backend function that enables them to do day to day tasks. Business and IT working in silos will just not help. It just happens that daily operation grind takes precedence over value-driven changes in the system. 

2. Fair Reasons for CIOs to be Reluctant to the new Technology

  • CIOs have to balance real technology needs against the risk tolerance of the enterprise: Is the technology proven or is it so new that it presents undue risk to the organization? The number of circumstances that require a CIO to be a trailblazer in technology adoption is few. Being a fast follower give a CIO time to see how the technology actually stands up, usually, IT is accountable for potential risks, that's why the CIO feel cautious of new technology trends; be aggressive and cautious at the same time. 
  • From a finance perspective, does the CIO have the budget? Most of the budget is allocated to cost/value proven tech and projects rather than new technology where this aspect is yet to be estimated or where this aspect is at not acceptable levels. Senior IT leaders weigh the risk/reward / ongoing maintenance (labor) equation all the time whether conscious or not. - budget cut, priority changes, resource reallocation, technology diversion, etc - which force them to be reactive and be more mechanical!
  • Does the organization have a need for new technology? The CIO must reflect his/her employer's needs, and sometimes this means not following the herd and waiting out the cycle until the investment capital is available. In other words, is the new technology table stakes for the industry or does it provide the organization with a competitive advantage in generating revenue? Many times neither of these are true. If it doesn't represent innovation in a direction that supports the most critical business initiatives it may not be a priority for the CIO.
  • CIOs should not rush to new technologies without exhausting the benefits available on the existing technology: They should try new technologies when there are clear returns that can't be found in the existing technologies, of course with great care on the potential risks. CIOs who will not disrupt something that is effective, and will induct new technology only when it shows clear business benefit.
  • CIOs become reactive from experience: Being proactive can many times turn into "changing for change" sake. Any decision needs to be made in a deliberate, informed manner. They need to be introduced to the nuances of technology and how it helps before they can become proactive. Sounds easy but takes a while to reach there in such cases. Ultimately, if the CIO can convince the business to really want a change then it is a good idea to proceed, otherwise, it may not be a bad idea to stay with the status quo (perceived to be reactive).
  • Reaction vs. production is also situation-driven: Although being proactive is an excellent attribute, there are limits, and it's not the ultimate objective of every situation or challenge. Reaction vs. production is also situation-driven, part of the strategy, in order to move faster, one may need to slow down, in order to leapfrog, one may need crouch down first, in order to turn around, one may need practice upside-down first. Don't ignore that it could also be a deliberate technology adoption strategy. There have been enough abysmal failures to prompt some caution.

3. How to Make IT a Real Business Catalyst

To be reactive is not a good position for a CIO. And maybe the word "reactive" as itself induces to think that the CIO is pushed to act as a result of external pressure. It’s not a matter of being reactive or not. It is not a matter of being fearful or brave. It is a matter to add value to the business or not. Does new technology produce a relevant value to the company? 

  • To make IT a real enabler and compliment the business road-map, IT management must get a feeler of the business view: IT must be measured from a business viewpoint. That should help in trying new technologies. A CIO needs to first understand their business and industry, then evaluate technology based on the value or competitive advantage it brings to the business. Secondly is the CIO's ability to "sell" the business value at the C-Level.
  • Understanding the technology is one thing, understanding the impact of the change to the business is another thing entirely: The CIO can only create a value-driven strategy if they have the data available to them though it might not be the role of the CIO to find that, CIOs should proactively understand businesses and customers first to avoid changing for the technology’s sake.

  • Demonstrating the full reasoning behind the proposal: Only if CIOs have opportunities to oversee businesses and be able to take a reasonable plan to the board to discuss the latest and greatest, they could be able to demonstrate the full reasoning behind the proposal, to shift to proactive mode smoothly; and that needs a strong team, and a full understanding of the business and how IT underpins all elements of it.

  • CIOs have to make a priority choice based on ROIs and risks: if a new technology emerges that needs to be incorporated and has not been forecasted reactively. All that being said, the CIO is responsible for new technology adoption, the CIO's role is more than strategy implementer and more into strategy maker or at least with the influential power to shape and keep in harmony the business, market, products, and resources.
  • Every risk has opportunities: If CIOs can understand deeper with business's support: every risk has opportunities, then IT can add more value to the business's strategy. The key here is to gradually institutionalize and communicate innovation throughout the organization. It's also important to note that a 'firefighter' can't just leap into being an innovator; it takes gradual steps and phases to slowly institutionalize such a practice. 
  • CIOs' proactive attitude in trying new things shall not get confused with spontaneity or do things without a plan: From returning the organizational structure to optimizing business processes, all need to be well aligned in order for CIOs to make effective decisions timely, be optimistically cautious, CIOs’ positive tones can amplify collective human capabilities in organization and takes calculated risk in gaining business competitive advantage.
  • There are risk/$$ sharing models to experiment new technologies: But organization leadership should have a culture to set a goal/metrics that every year this innovation center has to incubate and foster emerging trends and apply them to their business. Small initiatives will earn large credibility. A CIO needs to be forward-looking to see where relevant technology, and their industry, is heading. Technology can be efficiency-driven, or it can be disruptive - changing the industry. It is the CIO's job to discern the difference and make a business case. 
  • Why do the innovations happen and who are the strategic partners to drive innovation:  Innovations happen because of specific business needs. Unique challenges become more apparent as we push the limits of the available technology, which pushes us to find a solution to the problem at hand. The role of the CIO is to drive the corporate vision and strategy through effectiveness and innovation in the knowledge and information channels. The CIO has to look forward and actively position the business in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities. DRIVING is not a passive activity.
IT is now permeating into every corner of the business, the CIO's leadership penetration is about the depth of thought leadership as well as the breadth of enterprise knowledge upon understanding business as a whole. CIOs can take the most proactive approach and make a difference. Good CIOs have negotiation and people skills and use these to add to the vision of the business. They are dynamic and productive.

More Tough Choices for Business to Make: 

Friday, December 28, 2012

IT Spending Benchmark Debate: Ideally what should be percentage of IT spent of an organization relative to its revenue?

IT spending is an investment, but it is very difficult to quantify the ROI.

A quick search of "IT spends by revenue by industry" gets some interesting data. The Fortune 500 average is slightly above 4%. Most industry IT spending is less than 3% of revenue! The median is 3% to 5%. So ideally, what should be the percentage of IT spending of an organization relative to its revenue? Seriously, the answer to this question depends on the industry, the company, the company's financial state, the company's competition, the company's IT history, and most importantly, the company's strategic plan and the fit of the IT plan to support the company's plan. Also, IT spending benchmark is more complex than such data point, It far too often becomes policy which is either too constraining or too generous.

1. The Purpose to Do IT Spending Benchmarking

CIO must do some benchmarking not only to justify the dollar amounts spent but also to make sure that the company is spending a reasonable portion of its revenue on IT relative to other companies in the industry to be able to keep it in business in the long run.
  • Cost Optimization: Adjustments should be made to these IT spending numbers by shifting the spending figures on a yearly basis after closely evaluating the key IT performance metrics in a micro and macro environment to achieve cost optimization for the business. The bottom line is that the CIO should be able to show that with the multi-million dollar investment in IT that he is proposing, the company will achieve a lower overall expense in the future. IT spending per worker seems to be more consistent but still widely variable. What is always true is that there will be IT spend that can be cut or avoided and there is more value that can be extracted.
  • Objective assessment: Benchmarking is a way of learning from other organizationsComparing to external benchmarks is a healthy exercise and positions the CIO as a critical thinker who assesses the company from both an internal and external perspective. Tangible benefits can also be realized. But it is not to construct measures to beat the internal organization into submission. Sadly such crude measures have led organizations to make decisions that are based on short-term cost savings that lead to higher costs downstream or even worse, loss of competitive position. 
  • Decision validation: Most CEO & CFO are interested in benchmark data to validate and support their decisions. So even if your CEO loves what you are doing for them with your IT dollars, there is still value is analyzing the IT spend benchmarks. It can be a valuable tool for discussing the value of IT with senior management. If your spend is higher than the benchmark, you should be able to articulate why. 
  • Investment justification: It’s about spending the money right, and getting the right results. You should not spend to meet a quota, nor should you avoid spending to stay within a quota. You should spend to make a return. Assuming a proper business case is involved with each IT project, the answer to the question of "how much" becomes "however much makes business sense". If done properly, IT investments save the business money through improved efficiencies and better service. 
  • Merits...
    - ensures you are looking at your #s in a manner consistent with others
    - helps positions IT as transparent
    - provokes thought and challenges the status quo
    - validates your spending levels or forces you to explain why it differs from the norm.
  • Metrics:
- Operational Budget as a Percentage of Revenue
- Operational Budget to Staff
- Operational Budget to IT Staff 
- Track IT spending as a % of revenue on a cash basis: that's OPEX less depreciation + capital outlay.

2. Don’t get Misled by a Too Generic Benchmark

IT spending is an investment. Indeed it is, but the challenge is that, most of the times it is very difficult to quantify the ROI on IT investments; reasons being many - one of them is being absence of pre-defined parameters & statistics against which the benefits to be measures, there are tremendous variations in the percentage of IT dollars to revenue.

  • How to use revenue benchmark objectively? It’s not necessary to ignore the % revenue benchmark, just don't spend a lot of time using them as an investment data point, otherwise, you might follow those %'s right into the ground. Since there is no consistency in accounting practices, "IT Expenditures" can vary from organization to organization, management has a responsibility to employ funds in such a way as to achieve the best possible return on investment. If that is achieved by spending on IT, then do it.
  •  What proportion of IT spending is used to run, grow or transform your business? Also, consider more systematically beyond a generic data point. The amount can further be divided into strategic (future business critical), tactical (efficiency and effectiveness improvement), and operational (work and service capacity) investments and expenditures:  what proportion of IT spending is used to run, grow or transform your business? Doing it can help you weed or prioritize with better results, such as assign an attribute to each project indicating if it's strategic in nature (change in business model), revenue oriented, efficiency / cost oriented, or regulatory / compliance.
  •  What about IT capital projects? In some companies, those are treated as capital expenditures and not as part of the normal IT expenses, though IT has a heavy hand in the process, business would capitalize that expense instead of accounting for it in the normal IT chart of accounts. It’s a commingling of OpEx and CapEx in relation to IT spend compared to revenue. OpEx, with the exception of M&A or massive expansion, could be rationalized as a percentage of revenue year over year, and should be as a metric. However, CAPex defies this principle. Capital expenditures are always driven by ROI. Any CAPex ROI should fall within the first three years or a compelling argument must be made relating to the typical five-year lifecycle.

  • How about Shadow IT Spending: Depending on the industry, IT spending usually runs 3% to 5% of revenue. However, these numbers typically include all IT spending, not just what the IT department may spend. You need to be careful and look not just at the formal IT department budget but also where is shadow IT spending occurring. Is HR system support handled in IT or in the HR department? Is the Sales department buying its own PDAs, iPads, laptops, etc?

  •  It’s “just a number”: this kind of metric is useful for budgeting with new businesses that don't have run rate metrics or mature processes. But it should be remembered that it's "just a number". Actual expenditure should always involve a business case. No matter what the percentage is to Revenue, what should be included in the Expense line for total IT spending. As you can see, the metric differs greatly when you compare apples to oranges. 
Therefore, IT spend as a % of revenue depends on many factors... The answer is entirely situational and depends on too many factors. The real danger is that it detracts from optimizing the investments. The only sensible thing to say is that the information leader should continue to improve the efficiency of OPEX through driving down cost and improving quality and ensure that CAPEX is supported by the organization and directed to yielding business benefits!

3. Further Questions for IT Spending:  "How much should I spend?", to "How much can we make by spending x on this?".

Crude measures such percentage IT spend against revenue is liked by CEOs & CFOs and Business Strategists because they give some semblance of measurement and objectivity. Sadly, these ratios are not precise and the way the figures are constructed based on accounting rules and allocations, make these crude measures dangerous and can often lead to ridiculous and even dangerous decisions being made.

  • Look at the ROI:  Every budget is IT budget now. When business and IT functions are not integrated and thus seen as a cost to the company then this question (IT % of revenue) is always going to occur. If, however, IT and Business are operating in collaboration such that the business knows how much it costs to build and maintain and that they will get the internal charge each month that appears on their budget codes ( TCO costs)
  • Better service for less cost is the continuous improvement agenda here for most organizations. This has to be about focusing on benefits generation, return on investment and contribution to innovation, even when the projects themselves are primarily justified by cost savings rather than revenue enhancement or innovation. 
  • One important consideration is technology spend versus IT spend, with IT spend a subset of technology spend. You really want the technology to spend across the enterprise. Usually, the IT spend does not include head room for innovation and growth, but the technology spend figure should account for these.
  • IT expenditure depends on Business Strategies, Visions, and industries. The maturity of the organization and its' relationship with IT can be another factor. Whether in "Growth" or "Cost-cutting" Strategies, IT expenses (OPX+CPX) fluctuate between 0.5 to 15%. The same applies to how the business views IT: as "Utility" or "Competitive Advantage". The worst case for any CIO is to exist in "Cost-Cutting" or "Utility" environments, It's a constant struggle with the business to justify any expenditure.
  • C-Suite Dialogue: If a CIO is asked the question, rather than answer it mechanically, he/she should take it as an invitation to a dialogue with other C-suite members to explain why the question is nonsensical. Through theses dialogues, perhaps the colleagues will come to understand the contribution that the IT function make and help the Board collectively to make the right decision for the organization
  • Board Room Agenda: If the Board wants to know percentage IT spend/revenue as part of a set of measures to ensure IT service provision is cost-effective and service-improving but looks for investment projects to be justified and governed on the basis of benefit delivery, return on investment and/or contribution to innovation, then the CIO is in a very good shape.
  • IT budgeting should also follow the general business governance principles:
    -Listen to people involved : If every budget is IT budget, then find right people cross-function with deep communication
    -identify suspected key indicators: Always be critical and creative at the same time, to find space can be improved.
    -measure: follow the SMART measure rule, attempt improvement, track, analyze, learn, and repeat. 
Therefore, IT spend benchmark has a couple of dimensions.  If IT is successful at deploying solutions that provide 'true' value to the business, then they may be more apt to spend, the role of technology in the company’s value creation stream plays a major role. This is largely dependent on the nature of the business, the strategic focus, the role IT plays, the accounting rules, and the vision, the mindset, and charm of the CIO! among others. CIO should be as focused on business strategies that create an advantage. In addition, a common yet important practice is to also compare to organizations slightly higher in growth, in order to gauge what decisions you should make, and can justify in the future.Yes, CIO fads and charm does play a huge role in this.

The CIO’s Five Leadership Traits

Being Authentic is Influential.

Like any other senior executives, CIOs have varies of personalities and unique leadership strength, no matter you are character-based leader or charismatic executive; a transformational strategist or a transactional manager, effective CIOs should share some common leadership traits, these traits of CIOs have a significant effect on culture, mood, motivation, aggressiveness, innovation, helpfulness, business mindset, creativity, tech depth, skills, emerging tech use, teaming, rate of change; more broadly, the CIO’s leadership influence will directly impact business, culture education, and society. To brainstorm more specifically, what is the right personality, personal attributes, and daily mode of operation a CIO must have to succeed with the people and staff within IT?

1. CIOs as Authentic Business Leaders

The spirit of business comes from the top, authenticity is important for CIOs and all leaders. A CIO just needs to be him/herself really. We're all different and unique human beings, so there's nothing to suggest we all have to be with the same personality. On the other hand, traits such as integrity, trustworthiness, and work ethics are traits that should exist in all professionals rather than just in the CIO.
  • The daily mode of operation should be WILLINGNESS: They are willing to engage organizational leadership and get buy-in on emerging technology and innovation, as well as engaging staff to impart your overall VISION and the importance of successfully completing projects and tasks on time and within budget. 
  • Being Authentic is influential: CIOs' influence is based on persuasive communication, via logic, analysis & synthesis, but being persuasive need be authentic, convincing and consistent. A CIO as an authentic leader will positively affect people and staff of IT through management style, work ethics, fairness, aggressiveness, forgiving, knowledge, efficiency, calm control, approachability, ability to succeed, & caring, using social media and technologies at work, and the relationship between IT and business.

2. CIOs as Insightful Strategists with Vision

Leadership is the ability to paint a picture of a better tomorrow. This might be the role of influencing the CEO to make the jump to new technology. This might be a role of getting a team to work longer, harder, more efficiently and/or more effectively than even that team thought possible
  • A Business Visionary: The impact the vision of a leader has on the environment in which they operate. This might be a role of effectively communicating organizational decisions, in a way which not only allows those decisions to be accepted but inspires teams to clearly see the picture of a better tomorrow. It may be providing the vision because of an intimate understanding of the business and communicating that vision in a way in which the picture becomes clear to those who can provide direction, funding and/or permission to execute the vision for the benefit of the organization. 
  • A Business Strategist: Understand your environment and playing field to develop a plan to harness the opportunities you identified. When the CIO is in charge of a forward-looking organization that needs/expects a lot from technology, the style of the CIO needs to be more of a strategic partner/vision designer. He/she needs to be a trusted partner to the business areas who understands the business and communicates well with others. 

3. CIOs as Empathetic Talent Masters

CIOs should also have deep mentoring capabilities - not just for the IT team, but for the organization. CIOs can also empower talent to achieve more. The CIO's personality should be engaging, whereby it provides purpose, direction, motivation, guidance, invokes thought, and calls the staff into action. If done properly, just get out of the way and allow your staff to WOW you with their creativity and energy.
  • A special accent in CIO leadership is the ability to inspire the team function: A good portion of the CIO's team is the hardcore IT guys or soft touch information gals, server/storage/ cloud /virtualization/network specialists or data/process/application designer/analyst/architect. A majority of the folks are introvert geeks living to a big part in the IT fancy land of bit & byte or the smart world of machine intelligence. And they need to be this way to be dedicated specialists in their trade. 
  • Talent Engagement: Where the CIO comes to play is to find a way how to lead gurus or geeks, how to build a team out of well shaped individuals, how to find a way to further shape the modern IT professionals as the corporation needs them; to inspire them not to burn out or get unmotivated, to make them leave their comfort shell and approach the users, the process ... the business. To look through the IT team and to see through the talents, that's what a must for a CIO that is right in the place to have the right talent in the bus.
  • Empower talent for cross-functional collaboration: It is important that the CIO spends the time to learn the dynamics of team culture and the organization where it is embedded most valuable for the CIO role and that is to know the teams, then he/she will be able to maximize the synergies and avoid duplication of efforts. CIOs can work more closely with HR & talent managers to provide a digital platform, empower talent for cross-functional collaboration. 

4. CIOs as Innovative Change Agents

Since the CIO is a senior level executive and often a member of the board, he/she needs to understand business and lead the key project to contribute to the business as well as drive the change in the business. The CIO needs to be intrapreneurial. He/she needs to be a business change agent who can move the company in a direction that will best identify the company.
  • Agile mindset and methodology to master complexity: CIOs should be very comfortable in dynamic situations, secure enough in the knowledge that they may not know EVERYTHING but would LOVE to know as much as they can (a constant learner), being learning agile & and adaptive, as IT leaders usually need to handle the double complexity of both business and technology, and engage talent into innovative conversation, produce fresh idea, and manage them to achieve business result.
  • Planning by nature of personality: CIOs maybe not so spontaneous when running a project or solving complex issues, always take step-wise action and be thoughtful when practice changes. Truly and totally know, understand and internalize the paradigm of IT as a service. As an innovator, the CIO's spontaneity comes from the freedom of choices as well as the flow of creativity. 

5.CIOs as Intrinsic Customer Champions

Modern CIOs not just serve internal users, but also make a digital impact at every touch point in the end customer experience. Thus, CIOs also need to be the intrinsic customer champion, to manage customer relationship based on the nature of customer and understand of need by putting customers’ shoes on.

  • Business Opportunist: Be willing to take the constructive criticism from customers, and turn the beating, lashing, and criticism into opportunities by demonstrating through the delivery of successful IT projects that not only benefit the business but gives you a sense of personal satisfaction.

  • Customer Empathy: CIOs should be familiar with both business and IT, understand both internal users and external customer, by taking advantage of analytic tools and social platforms, CIOs can master global customer dialects, listen smarter, not just harder, transform IT into the business catalyst and customer champion. 
As a CIO, one must practice leadership principle, possess a great work ethic, be comfortable with paradoxical thinking, be knowledgeable, be decisive, be a team builder, be respected, be available, be a negotiator, be an innovator, and always a student of emerging technology. The CIO/CTO also must recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and compensate for either a dose of personal education or by filling the gaps with the right personality mix.

Read more leadership blogs here:

Ten “Cloud” Perspectives with Sunny View

Cloud computing is the provisioning and consumption of virtualized computing resources using a self-service, elastic motif in order to meet fluctuating demand.

  1. Cloud Computing is a set of best practices for building an elastic and dynamic set of compute resources to be delivered as a service. 
  1. Cloud computing is an architectural deployment model that leverages on-demand provisioning and management of compute, network, and storage resources to meet specified capacity, performance, and security needs. 
  1. Cloud is computing services distributed across and delivered over the public Internet. 
  1. Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. 
  1. Cloud computing is the provisioning and consumption of virtualized computing resources using a self-service, elastic motif in order to meet fluctuating demand. 
  1. Cloud computing is a new consumption and delivery model inspired by consumer internet services, which includes on-demand self-service, ubiquitous network access, location independent resource pooling, rapid elasticity and pay-per-use. 
  1. Elastic, non-committal, Real-time on-demand leased services over internet for your computing resource needs - infrastructure, data, security, platform, applications, even processes! 
  1. Cloud Computing is about computation or services which is location-transparent and it can be more easily and ubiquitously accessed, often at much lower cost, increasing its value by enabling opportunities for enhanced collaboration, integration, and analysis on a shared common platform. 
  1. Cloud computing enables individuals and institutions to create pull-based business models through the consumption of network-based business and technology services on a needs basis. 
  1. Cloud computing is digital evolution which provides both enterprise customers and individual users the new way to consume shared computing service at unprecedently hyper-connected digital environment; it's also the new business model for computing service providers to serve their customers via subscription model.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ten Insights of Leadership Substances vs. Styles

“The leader shows that style is no substitute for substance, that creating an impression is more potent than acting from one’s center.”      --Lao Tzu

Leadership is both art and science, leadership need both hard discipline and soft touch; leadership also has both substance and style; though everybody talks about style, not so many people understand the meaning of the word in the business environment. If leadership substance is about why and what of leadership, then, leadership style is the way how something is said or done, as distinguished from its substance. Leadership demands the expression of an authentic self. Authenticity is not the product of pure manipulation. It should accurately reflect aspects of the leader’s inner self.

1. If Vision is Leadership Substance: Larger than selves than the moment;
   then, the presentation is style: Open vs. closed; proactive vs. reactive; pull vs. push.

2. If Trustworthiness is leadership Substances: Leaders keep their word, transparent, and candid; exploring and decisive; summarizing others’ positions;
then, collaboration is style: Flexible vs. stubborn;  understanding vs. argumentative.

3. If Empathy is Leadership Substance: Leaders perceive things via multiple angles;
    then, communication is style: Listen to vs. talk; introversion vs. extroversion; monolithic vs. mosaic.

4. If Insight is Leadership Substance: Leaders go deeper, and have self-awareness;                                
    then, thinking process is style: synthesis vs. analysis; data driven vs. gut-feeling.

5. If Adaptability is Leadership Substance: Adaptive leaders create a shared sense of purpose and learning through self-correction; make dissenting opinion compulsory
then, flexibility is style: open-minded  vs. status quo.; inclusive vs. exclusive.

6. If Innovation is Leadership Substance: innovative leaders build up a creative working environment and manage novel ideas to achieve business values;
then, entrepreneur-style means:  Highly creative and speculative, embrace change and connect dots;; outside-in vs. inside-out style.

7. If capability is Leadership Substance: Capable leaders have aptitude to set up strategy and execute with holistic thinking and logic planning;
then the attitude is style: Confidence vs. hesitation; humility vs. arrogance; courage vs. fear.

8. If effectiveness is Leadership Substance: Effective leaders are doing the right things;
    then, leader’s decision-making styles include democratic vs. autocratic; strategic. vs. tactical;

9. If influence is Leadership Substance: Leadership is an influence, nothing more, nothing less;
    then leading style is convincing vs. controlling; walk the talk vs. talk the talk.

10. if “Globility” is Leadership Substance: Global leadership is about managing an integrated enterprise across borders and achieve the common objective.
then, global style is about: Global accent (understand the multitude of business, technology and global dialect) with intellect curiosity and reflective empathy.

 When company boundaries are blurred and the world is so hyper-connected, who leads whom? How can leaders regain the society’s confidence? How can they harness the creativity and passion of the workforce in pursuit of competitive advantage & unique difference on the global stage? It takes both leadership substance and style to sharpen modern leadership.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Carol: Ho, Ho, Ho of Leadership Influence

Christmas Eve is peaceful and cheerful, from Santa Claus’ workshop in North Pole to Charles Dicken's Chrismas Carol, Christmas is filled with history, fairy, joy and theme. And it's also the moment to learn some leadership influence: 

1.    Power of Positive

 “All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names, They never let poor Rudolph play in any Reindeer games”

Santa looked for the strengths and uniqueness in Rudolph; he looked for what was fair, what was right. What Rudolph could do; how he could contribute, how he make difference.

Holiday is such a moment to make a habit to think positively, and leadership is all about such positive flow through the atmosphere, we can touch it, smell it and live with it. 

2. Power of Provocation                   

“Santa Claus is comin' to town. He's making a list, and checking it twice. He's going to find out who's been naughty or nice. Santa Claus is comin' to town”.

Great leadership influence is thought-provoking, insightful, and unimaginable, great leaders know it’s not about how successful they are, but how they can brings hope, value and delight to the others.

3.    Power of Passion

”Reindeer sleigh, come our way,  HO HO HO, cherry nose Cap on head, suit that's red Special night, beard that's white. Must be Santa, Must be Santa, Must be Santa, Santa Claus”

Great leaders take journey step-by-step, they play the role seriously, but not take themselves too seriously, they wake up the righteous and cheer up the powerless; they may not make the influence via the volume of voice, but upon the symbol of wisdom. They enlighten all way along.

Christmas is the moment to hold all thoughts and ponder deeper about great leadership influence again.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Three Questions Haunting in the Cloud

The disruptive technology, distributed processing, lower costs of adoption were ultimately balanced by the higher total cost of ownership (TCO) including costs of management complexity.

Cloud computing, in some form or other is a paradigm shift for the consumer to use computing service, for organizations to run business or for technology companies to provide service, there’re still numerous changes need be made to consumers, as customers or as advisors to accommodate this new direction.

1. Is Cloud only a cheaper option or a real value for the business?

Cloud is not always less expensive, but it can be if it is either implemented as a variable cost or if there are specific costs in the existing IT that have not been re-engineered over time. The value that is derived is related to the defined strategy and how well the implementation delivers on the strategy. There are three phases to most good implementations - Build strategy, implement, and adjust operations to run the new cloud system efficiently.

  • Most organizations today are implementing cloud to improve agility to support the business. From one of comprehensive global survey reports, the top driver going to cloud is:
    a. Reduced cost
    b. Reduced time to market
    c. Operational efficiencies
    d. Free up data center space
    e. Avoid operational expenses, preserve capital 

  • Enterprises need to be realistic about the kind of savings that can be found in the Cloud. The disruptive technology, distributed processing, lower costs of adoption were ultimately balanced by the higher total cost of ownership (TCO) including costs of management complexity (server sprawl).      
  • Lowering barriers to entry is not to lower overall cost. If you go to the cloud as cost reduction only, you might be disappointed. Cloud's key differentiator is flexibility and scale. If you need to buy that, it's a good option, but in most organizations, there'll be a hybrid solution of multiple services and in-house provision. So you have to have a robust contract, supplier and service management capability.
The value of Cloud and the ultimate aim of cloud exercise should be, as always, to simplify operations, increase business agility, and it will be even better if it can cut operational and capital expenditures significantly.

2. Is Cloud Enterprise ready?
The cloudiness of cloud computing is dissipating as IT professionals are architecting the next generation of computing architecture. Is Cloud enterprise ready? The simple answer is a resounding YES, especially in the SAAS marketplace where there is a large number of enterprise-ready solutions, available anytime, anywhere, any place mobile or otherwise.However, there’re pros and cons to consider when stepping into the cloud. 

The pros of Cloud outweigh the cons and this approach does a few key things:
(1) shortens the lead time to benefit when implementing new systems,
(2) Being cheaper is one of the advantages.
(3) Allows the internal staff to better cope and focus on other value-added activities,
(4) Removes some of the burdens for DR
(5) Cloud based implementation can help shift fixed IT costs (software licenses, servers and networking equipment) to operational expenses. Operating costs will be based on actual usage of resources, without the need to build peak-load capacity

There are also a few issues that temper that readiness.
1) Identity Management - where and how do you synchronize on-premise solutions with multiple cloud providers?
2) Application Integration - simple on premise - very hard when data may be spread out between multiple SAAS, PAAS and IAAS providers plus your On-Premise apps.
3) International - due to privacy issues, trade agreements, lawsuits, tax authorities, etc. What Cloud solution works in one country or in the US may be doomed to failure in an international setting. 
(4). It needs due diligence on value, reliability and security. It needs proper planning and proper analysis of well-established operational management. The classic cautions about the cloud are the same for enterprises of all sizes – security of data, mobility of data and workloads from one cloud to another
(5). Issues like integration in hybrid architectures and “public” or “generic” cloud where some specific requirements should be customized for the concreted business case, could be key points to drive cloud like a real option.

In spite of the cloud optimism, most of the mission critical systems still run on the traditional mainframe which means cloud to see a stage where mission critical apps are hosted and run, has still some distance to cover. . The entire IT model and function will go through many iterations before the cloud is deployed across all functions and happens on a grand scale across the enterprise and geographic boundaries. As such step-wise to deliver full value with the security in place will require the entire cloud offering to mature.

Further questions still exist, though, Time will tell as it did with other major phases of computing in the past.
1) Will everything end up on the cloud in companies in the next 5+ years? When will the majority of large companies be putting main strategic apps, data, and more on a cloud?
2) Will it become culturally acceptable for CIOs and CFOs to relinquish control and management from on-premise IT? 
3). Will it become culturally acceptable and financially acceptable for business and engineering groups to own their own systems, apps, and support, also sharing responsibility for corporate security, privacy, common data elements, etc.?
4). What the support model will look like when a company puts most of their crown jewels up in the cloud.
5). Even though the individual group now owns the apps, data, etc. on the virtual cloud. How much, if any, maintenance and fixes will be required to be done by the users, and in conjunction with the owners and supporters of the cloud systems and networks? 

3. How many enterprises are ready for cloud computing? How many CTO/CIOs really understand cloud computing and how to use it for their own enterprise needs? 

Cloud is the natural progression to the next level. While this will help the organization to focus on their core competencies leaving the SAAS, IAAS and other 'on premise' models to do the job. Even Cloud is enterprise ready. How hard shall you push IT into the cloud (the big envelop)? The large scope of Cloud Solution, planning could be more critical than implementation:
* To craft the solid cloud strategy;
* Experimenting, improving it with GRC discipline;
* Scale up with effective KPI metrics.

Some of the major challenges for the C-level executives to start using public cloud are
1). perceived loss of control
2). influence by IT vendors to sell boxes to enterprises
3). legacy applications which may not be cloud ready
4). federation is still a challenge with public clouds
5). CFOs questioning return on investment of CAPEX
6). Security concerns

·       CIOs still have to make sure they have strong contracts with good SLAs. These SLAs have to include remuneration for failure to meet service levels. CIOs have to make sure they understand and agree to the full requirements of what one is going to put in the cloud....

·       Private cloud is different to the traditional corporate IT infrastructure, but its key attribute is that the enterprise itself, and presumably the CIO has 100% control of attributes like security. Outside your own "cloud", you are at the mercy of whoever is responsible for the entire service, and vulnerable to the weakest component in that stack; in the event of any concerns during the procurement process, or indeed the development of a cloud-based sourcing strategy, then you simply adjust your procurement process to explore it and satisfy the attributes you have identified, such as security. If an offering doesn't meet these, then it is rejected.

·       Security, privacy, and compliance for data and processes may be the deciding factors in many cases. In developing cloud strategies, you need to first assess the current state and then decide on rules and policies that will govern the whole transition. To succeed with your cloud strategies, your people, processes, and technologies need to be organized effectively. Cloud-enabled business strategies can knock down functional and information silos while focusing on outcomes that drive business performance. 

·       Check List for Cloud Migration:
You must get answers to the following:
1) Do you know all the whats and whys of existing and new services and how they can be moved to the cloud?
2) Have you assessed all financial, security, legal, internal compliance, privacy, and feasibility issues?
3) Do you have a clear roadmap for moving from the current state to the cloud?
4) Have you documented all the desired benefits to provide a benchmark for the experience?
5)  Do you have transition and change management plans for moving to a cloud environment?
6) Do you have a business continuity plan in case the cloud service provider collapses or is out of business?
7) Can you later switch the service provider or move to internal clouds or come back to the original state?
8)  Does the cloud provider have connectivity and service-level contracts and does the provider have the capability to support them? Penalty clauses can be an option.
9) How does the cloud service provider ensure the privacy of your data and the services offered?
10) Is your data safe? Can you back it up and restore it?
11) What is the market standing and reliability of the cloud service provider?
12) What will be your cost for, say, the next five years?
As the 'Cloud' matures, more and more applications of increasing sophistication and specificity move towards this environment. It’s time for IT folk to recalculate the performance models and parameters to yet another new computing environment.

In summary: Virtualization has become norm in the past decade and cloud may become norm during the next decade, though the phenomenon is evolving and may take a while before it becomes de facto norm to go to cloud for any requirement, cloud computing will be the next major wave in computing architecture and will be used by most companies in one form or another. 

BPM Book & Website Collection

Business process management (BPM) is the management discipline can transform an entire organization. BPM is a holistic management approach to aligning an organization's business processes with the wants and needs of clients. It promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology. BPM attempts to improve processes continuously. It can therefore be described as a "process optimization process."

  1. Business Process Management: The Third Wave                                                                       --Peter Fingar and Howard Smith
It is argued that BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach.

  1. People-Centric Process Management by Ian Gotts & Mark McGregor 
A book intended to be a catalyst for action aimed at leaders of process change or transformation projects

  1. Value-Driven BPM - The Value-Switch for Lasting Competitive Advantage   Peter Franz and Mathias Kirchmer.

  2. Business Process Change by Paul Harmon's, Second Edition

  1. BPMN Method and Style with BPMN Implementer's Guide (2nd Edition)
            Bruce Silver's

  1. Essential Business Process Modeling  by Michael Havey

  1.  Business Process Management Practical Guidelines by john Jeston and Johan Nelis. 

  1. Six Sigma for Managers  -Greg Brue

  1. An Introduction of Enterprise Architecture  Scott A. Bernard

  1. The Great Game of Business    by Jack Stack. 

Website Collection (BPM Knowledge Focues):

  1. http://www.ebizq.net  The Insider's Guide to Next-Generation BPM
  2. http://www.bpminstitute.org/  A Peer to Peer Exchange for BPM Professional
  3. http://www.bpm.com/
  4. http://www.bpmleader.com/  BPM Community for BPM Professiona
  5. http://processpedia.com.au/community/category/processpedia-resources/