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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Seeing is Believing: From Big Data to Big Picture

Seeing is believing, one picture is worth a thousand words, all being said, Big Data need be painted into Big Picture, to capture big insight.

In order to create an effective visualization, business need to understand the meaning of data, after taking 5W+1H navigation, and using five senses to make sense of data, now, are you ready to move Big Data to the next level, from science to art, from common sense to unconventional wisdom, from black & white to full color spectrum?

And the right set of tools will make work more enjoyable, according to 2012 InformationWeek Business Intelligence, Analytics and Information Management Survey. Nearly half (45%) of the 414 respondents to the poll, which was conducted late last year, cited "ease-of-use challenges with complex software/less-technically savvy employees" as the second-biggest barrier to adopting BI/analytics products. That was just behind the biggest barrier, "data quality problems," cited by 46% or respondents.

 From data visualization to advanced data visualization, it’s not only about more advanced, easy-to-use visualized tools, but also about advanced data talent, they are artist, story teller, poet, anthropologist, historian, philosopher, and they  happen to be data scientist too  -the data analyst who lives in California or beyond,  with open mindset in designing, building, and using interactive, fluid, dynamic, and even three-dimensional visualization.

Like artist, they master the visual design elements, such as line, form, shape, and color, with principles like balance and variety, to make a visualization more vivid and customized for trends and comparisons. A piece of fine art does have both deep meaning and elegant style. 

Seeing is believing! Advanced Data visualization will provide better features such as:

  • A Single Screen Shot:  one can fit tens of thousands (an order of-magnitude difference) of data points onto a single screen.

  • Visual Querying : relatively easily visualize and identify a pattern or click on a portion of graph or chart,  then quickly zoom in to research the details;

  • Multi-dimensional linking & Chart: you can select one chart, via dynamic link, you can navigate into other charts . An extra axis in space, alongside an existing one or in a new direction (for a 3D chart), can also be useful for showing new variables
  • Personalization. The visualization tool is easy to use with personalized design, also addressing privacy and risk issues. You can give power users more in-depth view, and the view depend on one’s position, job requirement and role-base access privileges. 

  • Humanization: To get value from big data. Especially those "deep and broad data sets”, you must add contextual information and place analytical capability in the hands of those who need it, taken from the world of bits and bytes and converted into real insight & foresight for real businesspeople.
It takes sense and sensitivity to transform Big Data into Big picture, it’s not illusion, but illustration, to capture big insight from our big busyness world and small mankind world, always keep customers in mind, keep business purpose in mind, keep long term perspective in mind; but also open mind to be bold, creative and colorful.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Enterprise Weather Forecast: From Social Wind to Social Rain

Just like this Summer, people pray for rain worldwide, same as at many organizations, culture is a bit drought, and morale is a little low, after getting enough social technology insight, they look forward to have some social wind blow up, and social rain is coming soon: 

1. From Social Organization to Social Economy

 Social Computing grows with speed and scale, a just-published McKinsey study, "The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies," indicated, about 1.5 billion number of social networking users globally; 70% proportion of companies using social technologies, 90% proportion of companies using social technologies that report some business benefit from them; 20-25% potential improvement possible in knowledge worker productivity. Overall, it is estimated that between $900 billion and $1.3trillion in value can be unlocked through the use of social technologies.

  • Social technologies enable social behaviors to take place online, endowing these interactions with scale, speed and disruptive economics of the internet;
  • Provide platforms for content creation, distribution, and consuming. Co-creation and transformation of personal and group communication into content.
  • The real power of social technology also comes from the innate appeal of interacting socially and pleasure and intellectual stimulation that people derive from sharing what they know, expressing opinions and learning what others know and think.

2. Social Rain Strengthen Social Architecture & Culture of Innovation

Social organization need solid foundation and well designing, social architecture will help such works. The Wikipedia definition “Social architecture" is the conscious design of an environment that encourages a desired range of social behaviors leading towards some goal or set of goals” applies to organizational culture, social psychology, and community psychology.

  • Encourage Innovation: Using boundary spanning to fill out structural holes: Social Architecture is the fundamental structure of how we connect. One of the barriers to creativity and innovation is structural holes (connections that need to exist to make further connections). Boundary spanners (those that walk between groups) close the structural holes so that innovation can pass along in an organization. Using compensation, positive reinforcement, and providing organizational incentives for these boundary spanners to exist the organization becomes more innovative. However, boundary spanners tend to control the lines that connect the groups. Too many can cause problems in the organization. So the structures need to be set to encourage these behaviors, but only to the extent that it has positive impact.
  • Culture Trumps leadership & strategy to be key business success factor:  culture is about attitudes and behaviors, there isn't just one corporate culture. There's an overall corporate culture, lots of sub-cultures, and sub-sub-cultures within those: Seen in isolation, the interactions between various groups within an organization, provide little insight into the culture of the organization as a whole. Which of course means that have understand “what the culture of the organization is” via series of cultural analysis such as: social interaction analysis, sociograms, sociomapping and sociometrics;
  • Enforce Culture of Innovation at Agile Business: There’re three different types of groups: Organization structure (formal hierarchy); Work structures (tend to be horizontal interactions); and Social structures (tend to be any which way). The reason for identifying and using these three sets of groupings is to discover the degree of ‘cultural coherence’ within an organization, which may help recognize those positive cultural or sub-cultural traits, then using social technologies to amplify and enforce them to cultivate seven habit of the culture of innovation, as culture is a self-reinforcing loop.  It also reflects business’s core values & beliefs’, which is correlated with business strategy/execution and talent management for long term.

3. Social Rain Nurtures Big Data Oasis

 Data from social media sites, videos, audio files, images, emails, text messages, mobile transactions, and more have put us on pace to see a total of 35 zettabytes of data by 2020, that being said, social rain is nurturing Big Data oasis:

  • Business Foresight: Big Data created by social technology can help forecast and monitor operations and distributions, and optimize demand-supply value chain via improving intra-or inter-organizational collaboration and communication.
  • Customer Insight: Big Data also derives customer insights, helps real-time, multi-channel customer interaction & communication, to improve customer care and gain insight about what customer need next before they know themselves.
  • Deliver ROI for Social Business: Big Data analytics is about getting a working feedback loop from the social world back to us, let business quickly processes the vast data streams, analyze them, and deliver ROI for social business.  
From social business to social economy, from social wind to social rain, social echnology brings up the scale and speed of influence, to inspire enterprise creativity and amplify collective human capability.

Five Principles in Enterprise Principles

Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended.

Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended, that inform and support the way in which an organization sets about fulfilling its mission. The style of the principle should be short and recognizable. Its definition describes "what" the principle means in the language understood by stakeholders. 

The motivation describes "why" the principle is important to achieving the organizational mission. The implications describe "how" the principle changes behavior.

1.    Principles in Overall Business

First, principles are statements of belief that reflect the values, culture and real-world concerns of the organization. They normally have a longer shelf life than objectives, strategies, etc. Principles are certainly there to guide the organization, not just for the professional, they are not the same as ethics; but also for decision making, governance., etc.

    • Principle - a general guideline that requires judgment and informs decisions 
    • Policy – clear governable rules. Not following these kills a project (or worse). 
    • Standard – specific requirements that projects/artifacts/roadmaps shall meet. 
    • Procedure – standardized activities and deliverables to reduce risk and minimize errors. 
    • Guideline – best practices and reference models that we collectively agree will improve delivery, quality, and reduce cost. 

2. The principle in Decision Making

 Enterprise principles provide a basis for decision-making throughout an enterprise and inform how the organization sets about fulfilling its mission. Principles are those core decisions values (not value as in benefit, but values as in beliefs) that shape behavior and define culture.

Principles allow many people to individually make their own decisions to run in the same direction to meet the same objectives in a rapid manner. Not everyone will follow. But many will.  As principles provide a guideline of harmonizing decision-making across a distributed organization. In particular, they are a key element in a successful architecture governance strategy.

3. The principle in Talent Management

Principles are used to guide professionals along with ethics and values. Normally the common bond between departments, business units, divisions, and branches are strategic goals and objectives. Principles are also used to help people identify choices and make appropriate decisions.

Cultural values shape behaviors and principles help to articulate these values. Principles power individual and group dynamics, as it defines expected behavior

4. The principle in Enterprise Architecture

Principles can be used to reduce the set of options that a solution architect may choose from, and may be used to guide teams to address key challenges that plague an organization and which are often overlooked.  

They can drive behavior or architectural decision, architecture is largely about coordinating action across heterogeneous communities. Principles help these communities agree on what they will do in concert and equally important, what they won't do.

5. The Principle in Governance

Governance: Don't step out of line, and the line is drawn sharply. :-(
Principles: Please step into line, and the line is drawn with broader strokes. :-)

The standards can change without changing the principle.  Principles underpin the governance, and governance follows principles. Principles provide a more robust foundation that makes it possible to straightforwardly derive solution-level governance from enterprise-level governance. 

There is often a difference between what organizations say and what organizations do, corporate governance has a responsibility to set and develop enterprise culture. So, it will certainly articulate the highest level of values/principles.

 The principle is philosophy, based on your business value and strategy, 3P: Principle, Purpose, and Progress are inter-related with each other, as the principle is a positive guideline, helps the business make progress and fulfill the purpose.

"Purpose and principle clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they'll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs."
Dee Hock, Founder of VISA, quoted by Alan Hirsch in The Forgotten Ways

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

15 Classic EA Elevator Pitches in 15 Words

1.   EA is to deliver business vision- "You can't change what you can’t see"

2. EA influences the HOW by asking the WHY.

3.  EA helps to optimize all aspects of the enterprise to increase profitability.

4.     EA increases company profitably by better optimizing resources

5.     EA works on Decision support for business capability improvement & investment decisions. 

6.     EA is a continuous improvement exercise that “promises” to bring some value - eventually

7.     EA communicates the CEO's vision for the entire organization.

8.     EA is 90% WHY and 10% HOW

9.    EA is the coherent, coordinate capacity to develop the capability

10. EA is an actionable, risk-reducing method for modeling organization change by communicating impact

11.  EA is a bridge to connect & encompasses business transformation from A to B

12. EA: WHY" = Justifies "HOW" initiatives.

13. EA should give the business end-to-end visibility.

14.EA arranges enterprise muscles, bones, nerves and brain for cheetah-like agility

15. If the movie is a condensed view of life, EA is a condensed view of business

Bonus Reminding:




EA is a business best practice on “Simplicity is optimum of sophistication.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Tale of Two Processes

BPM becomes more critical than ever in most of organizations today, some call it as technology’s third wave, some may think it takes fifth discipline, because BPM underpins business’s capability, and capability will decide business’s strategy and affect business execution.

There are also different process terms coined out: lean process, or intelligent process, here, we brainstorm a tale of two processes:  robust process and dark process.

1. Robust Process

 Robust process means the higher level of process effectiveness and efficiency. It goes beyond process automation, or even process improvement, it also means process optimization and process maturity.

The 20 characteristics of robust process:
- Availability
 - Accountability
- Reliability
- Maintainability
- Usability
- Agility
- Repeat-ability
- Detect-ability
- Security
- Data and Process Integrity
-Consistent high-level performance
- Self-recovery & Self-repair
- Anticipated vs unanticipated
- Scalability

Robust process also means more broader concept:
(1) A set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole,
(2) A set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network

Robust Process takes more than  a single 'process owner', but everyone who has a vested interest, which usually means the whole organization and not some silo or functional entity either.

Robust process may take out of box thinking, one may need step outside the process domain to think about robustness.

The robust process means there's risk management well embedded into process, to make process and business as a whole more resilient.

The robustness of process also means: there're robustness of loyal users, usually enable innovation, empower employees, and deliver measurable business result.

2. Dark Process

Some may call dark process as “unofficial process”, which means that these are not identified, recognized, sanctioned or supported. We know they exist, but they are not “visible to management”.

Some also observe: creative people and innovative organizations will be empowered to solve ever changing problems around them ... and those believing in the fiction of uniformity, will call that work "dark processes”.

That being said, It doesn’t make dark process right or wrong. they are  problems,  also opportunities, and probably bigger than we think. Most of what we do in a social setting & work settings are not explicitly known. Even the people who perform as part of a dark process don't necessarily know why they are doing so. Like riding a bike, the exact movements necessary to keep your balance

It is perhaps the next good practice. Instead of reducing these processes, business should expose and understand why they exist in the first place. If they exist because so called 'best practice' or innovative initiative, then removing them erodes business success. Perhaps Dark Processes are the cool things we can find, and rebels are responsible for their existence, they are the processes that are not designed in the ivory process tower

What is called dark processes is simply what keeps a company running against its organizational restraints. Process reflects more the increasing power of process technology to support processes, and the desire to reach beyond the old fictions of what an organization does, and attempt to fill in all the details

Still, like “shadow IT” or architecture debt, there’s opportunity and risk, the effort can be put to shine some light on these dark processes, if it’s process innovation, the governance may help amplify and share the best practice, if it causes security or compliance issues, it need be eliminated.

Either robust process or dark process, today’s BPM need touch enterprise's body and heart, make business more agile and flexible than ever.

Middle Seat Pondering: Aviation’s Three Progresses & Three Dilemmas

The truth of the matter, air travel is the most efficient, safest and most affordable that it's ever been, to gain customers heart & pocket.
Airline may not be the industry with most of news, surely it’s an industry full of paradox: there are both excitement and frustration; regulation & chaos; the higher operational cost & razor thin profit, the golden old days & lost decade; the higher into the sky and lower as underdog, both as economy’s barometer and milk cow for federal tax; it’s a technology business in the cloud, and the retailers with wings;  though, the industry has been running for more than half century, it still takes energy, and inspiration to find its mojo.

In last couple of years, Airline do make some modest profit and recover back to the right track, most importantly, the industry continue to make impressive progress in a few key areas matter for customers, matter for nations and matter for economy: 

 1.  Significant Operational Improvement

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report released recently, 80.7 percent of flights arrived within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival time in June 2012 – a nearly 4 percentage point improvement from the same month last year. The industry has posted year-over-year gains in each of the past nine months. Also 99.67 percent of all U.S. airline passengers had their bags properly delivered, an all-time record for any June since the government began keeping records in 1988; the previous record was set in June 2011. The May baggage-handling performance represented the 13th consecutive month of year-over-year improvement. The two areas of improvement are related: When flights are late, bags often miss their connection.  If the current pace continues, the airlines will beat their best full-year performance, recorded in 1991, when nearly 83 percent of flights arrived on time. Airline also set the highest safety record in aviation history recently.

Why do these operational improvements so matter for airlines? When flights are on time, it isn’t just good for passengers – it also helps the airlines’ bottom lines; statistically, it costs an average of $75 a minute to operate a plane. Last year, domestic delays cost airlines an estimated $5.2 billion. U.S. airlines made a combined $577 million in profit last year. Moreover, it cost industry 74million/year due to bad experiences from delays, cancellations and poor communication of changes; 58% customers’ bad experiences are caused by similar reasons, and 70% of delays and cancellations are due to factors within the control of airline

“Our member airlines are delivering levels of customer service that no other industry, given its complexity, matches and are working to make air travel even more efficient for passengers and shippers,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Thanks to ongoing operational improvements throughout the system, airlines are delivering a strong on-time performance."

 2. Make Some Profit

The last decade is the lost decade for Airlines, due to economy tsunami, human calamity, nature disaster and flying fuel cost., etc, this is the industry faces more uncertainty, competition and complexity than any other industry, for years U.S. airlines have operated under a tax, regulatory and infrastructure environment that has made it increasingly difficult to be sustainably profitable and compete globally.

Airline took innovative approach to shape up the ancillary revenue model, go beyond the one size fitting all-take anyone from anywhere to everywhere, the change in model last two years enabled airlines to achieve razor-thin profits. For all of 2011, U.S. airlines earned less than $600 million or 81 cents per enplaned passenger. When the airlines are able to be sustainably profitable, everybody wins. A profitable airline industry can support more jobs, enable airlines to reinvest in their product with new planes and provide greater choices for customers, it enables the benevolent business life cycle for transportation and tourism industry overall.

Furthermore, Airline is barometer of national economy, an unprofitable industry will be forced to cuts routes and flights, leading to fewer consumer choices, frustration and fewer jobs,  become the burden for community & society, and directly or indirectly affect customers’ happiness index, or business’s optimism indicator.  

 3. Invest in Future

NestGen: Besides grasping current opportunity to run Airline as more healthy business, Airline also ally to advocate & invest NexGen air traffic system, According to the Federal Aviation Administration, NextGen promises to make air travel more convenient and dependable while flights remain safe, secure and hassle-free. Delays are estimated to be reduced by 38 percent by 2020, providing approximately $24 billion in cumulative benefits while saving 1.4 billion gallons of fuel and related emissions.

BioFuel: fuel becomes key factor to make and break an Airline these days. Forward-looking, global leading Airlines also pioneer to experiment on biofuel, it takes cross-industrial collaboration and global collective value chain on shared quest to advance sustainable biofuels. Airlines also promises to look at advancing biofuels that will support sustainability standards, collaborate as part of the group with top organizations to create biofuels certification criteria, and advance making aviation biofuels more attractive in the market. It will significantly benefit industry if the solutions can be found to make alternative fuel available at commercial scale and secure a sustainable future for aviation, it’s also one of many recent initiatives it has engaged in to promote more environmentally friendly air travel.

Regardless such impressive progresses made by Airlines, it still faces more dilemmas to achieve true operational excellence, customer satisfaction and high-performance result.

Below are some dilemmas facing Aviation:

1.   From “Leg Room” Pitch to Elevator Pitch

Airline has its own unique pitch which is widely accepted as the standard. Airlines front-to-rear space is measured by "pitch," defined as the distance between any given point on a seat to the identical point on the seat in the next row forward or to the rear. Airline can adjust pitch in one-inch increments, regardless of airplane model, so the legroom you get is strictly up to each individual airline . Pitch is a totally accurate way to measure how much front-to-rear space you have, for your legs and at reading-working level.

However, the dilemma is: Airline should both be good at leg room pitch in the plane and elevator pitch in board room, not only should Airlines be masters at changing cattle into sardines, but also they need be the change agent to deeply discover the business purpose, industry mission and service value, Airline is not only in the transportation business to send passenger from A to B, but also in the information business to understand the whole business picture and economic dynamic.  

2.   Delight Customer & Make Profit at same Time

That-FEE—keeps business survive, even with chance to thrive, it has also repeatedly top the list of passenger complaints, as the industry still suffers from low customer satisfaction,

Therefore, aviation faces another dilemma: how to delight customers and make profit at the same time?

  • Optimize Overall Customer Life Cycle Experience: Services that consumers pay for should be better than services they get for free. Via the progresses made by Airline we discussion earlier, It’s consistent with consumer result: “Ever since baggage fees were introduced, baggage service has improved considerably," the report said. "By charging fees, once neglected baggage service departments have become star revenue performers for airlines" that generates millions in revenue.", on the other hand:  baggage service may have improved,  but the boarding process has not, as everyone now tries to carry on their bags and jams the boarding area to get on early enough to get room for them, airline may just need continue to improve and optimize business processes, to make customers feel the service worthy of fees. . Don’t damage your brand by nickel-and-diming, focus on overall experience.

  • Enhance Customer Loyalty: You must first know who your customers are — not those who pay, but those who get others to pay. Then you must instill loyalty in these people, which is a tricky business when you have just destroyed your brand with a code-shared flight: Book on you, fly on them; Be generous with the little thing, pay attention to details which matter, be proactive to create upsides from negative; be creative to enchant customer; be sensitive about social influence and be open for customers’ opinions and feedback.

  • Make better choice with Reasonable Cost: The report, "Shocking News: A la Carte Shopping is Good for Consumers," calls add-on fees "the ultimate compliment for the consumer" because they give passengers the right to choose how they want to fly; and provide freedom of choices for customers who are able to pay for the services they value most.

  • Educate Travelers: The truth of the matter, air travel is the most efficient, safest and most affordable that it's ever been, to gain customers heart & pocket, Airline also need continue to educate travelers either via real life experience or social influence, to amplify good effort and behavior, and cultivate more advocates or travel influencers to inspire Aviation’s growth, this is not just a legacy industry, it’s an exciting travel partner to lift up human’s body and spirit.

3.   NexGen Mindset, Culture, Process with NextGen Technology

The Airlines need continue their journey in operational excellence by taking advantage of better technology: Airlines are flying newer planes with fewer maintenance problems. New tools track the boarding of passengers and loading of baggage onto individual flights, make more realistic schedules, the analytics tools to make fly smart, and social tools to engage customers and employees.

The dilemma here is: Airline can not just sit to wait for the NextGen technology ready, they need well prepare the convergence of nextGen mindset, culture, process and nextGen technology.

Airline should cultivate the open mindset, the culture of innovation, the fresh talent pipeline, and more optimized business processes to differentiate competitive uniqueness; Invest in tomorrow, and focus on today, well balance the long term perspective with short term win, continue to modernize legacy infrastructure, realize higher levels of satisfaction & loyalty, and deliver high performance result.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Five Senses to Make Sense of Big Data

Big Data will sharpen business’s sense and sensitivity; and the five senses can also help make sense of Big Data.

Big Data opens up a new chapter for predictive analytics, however, Big Data is so new, a little bit messy, and the tools are also at developing stage to present the complete picture customers need. There seems to be some uncertainty about the value proposition, the ROI of big data, and about the tools that would let people take advantage of it.

So the company should do some further preparation & experiementing before jumping in the new Big Data technologies such as: Hadoop, MapReduce, NoSQL, and NewSQL. In order to prepare for the Big Data journey, besides 5W+1H navigation roadmap brainstormed earlier, we may also take advantage of Five Big Senses to make sense of Big Data. Five senses are human’s natural capabilities to adapt to living environment, connect to nature, and experience the life, Five senses may also bring some new perspectives & imagination in Big Data, find new angles to manage it and new lenses to look at it.  

1.  Smell Data

Big Data like running river, continues to grow, merge into data Sea, with volume, velocity and variety. Where is data coming from? Operation data such as financial data, logistic data and HR data come from organizational supply chain, customer data from CRM/marketing, and big data from social/mobile/cloud/RFID, the deeper the data sea, the more hidden treasure is undiscovered, and more danger when navigate it.

If Big Data is like big sea, then it may just smell like ocean, one time it is fresh, the other time, it smells salty, can you smell the big fish--the distinctive opportunities such as revenue growth or cost optimization or the big threatening risks as shark approaching, or do you smell the sea grass or coral , the delightful chances to serve customers better,

Data is more like water, fresher is better, but if too little or too shallow, there’s no fish in it, being able to process and analyze your data as soon as possible is critical to gain competitive business advantage, however, the effective data management including data collection, data storage, data cleansing and data quality., are all necessary steps for treasure hunt.

2.  Listen to Data:

Big Data may also like a piece of music palyed remotely, inundated with many voices and noises, it takes effort and focus to capture & amplify it.

Big Data such as customers’ feedback, and employee’s opinions, one voice maybe a noise, but collective data is chorus, and statistic analytics such as sentiment analysis (Discover the positive and negative opinions about a product or brand),  gap analysis (helps companies compare actual performance with potential performance) will directly drive such as pricing strategy, customer insight, supply chain optimization and strategic workforce planning.

Big Data can make contribution to pricing strategy.  Pricing is one of the most powerful levers for improving profitability. Clear feedback loops so pricing teams can assess effectiveness and adjust as needed. Research shows that price management initiatives can increase a company’s margins by 2 to 7 percent in 12 months—yielding an ROI between 200 and 350 percent.

By listening Big Data, business can answer fundamental business questions—such as “Who is my most profitable customer?” and “What is my most profitable product or region?”

3. Feel Data

Feeling is through heart, not always from mind, feeling the pulse of business heartbeat means deeply customers’ participation and employees’ engagement.

Feeling the data to diagnose the business illness at the key arena via pondering the right questions:
  • What's the management’s decision point in key strategic issues?
  • What’s the touch point to engage employees and improve productivity
  • What’s customers’ pain point and how to optimize customer life cycle management
  • What’s the leverage point when bridging strategy and execution
  • What’s the tipping point to inspire the culture of innovation & change management
  • What’s the inflection point to take advantage of the new process and technology

The first step in making the most of your analytic DNA is to assess your current capabilities. Feel the data is to diagnose and determine the company’s current maturity and where the gap is, it also helps executives more clearly understand both the internal and external factors affecting profitability at a granular level and strategic level.

 4. See Through Data

Almost all organizations are aware of the potential of Big Data & Predictive Analysis, but very few have defined and articulated an enterprise vision and strategy for using it.

When we look at the Big Data Sea, what do we see, how to perceive it?
Do we see the data ocean like blue diamond under the sun, or the gray limestone through the shadow? Do we see the ebbs and flows, beauty of sea life, or the danger of whirling tides? Do we capture the color theme, the myth of pattern and the symbol of life in Big Data sea.

We should look for those enchanting pictures of data, also the missing pieces of data, Big Data can envision the mega-trends of business and its ecosystem, data insight and foresight provide the scientific scenario analytics via asking what are the trends, what is going to happen, and what are the best could be happened., etc.

See & Perceive Data: It's all about business perception via better visualized tool...to perceive the future of business Such big data insight will help leaders use a multi-faceted approach to business, integrating strategy, execution, governance, analytics, technology, and compliance. All are essential for capturing the full picture of high performance business.

5.    Taste Data

 Crunching data, not for swallowing, which may cause indigestion; small taste first will help find sweet spot, or learning some bitter lessons and hot, spicy trends. 

·       Tasting Data is like to have salad, need add some dressing, messy but creamy, made of the organic fruit and vegetables, have it to keep enterprise body fit;

·       Tasting Data is like to eat ice cream, to cool down irrational decisions or energize your business mood, it should be a delightful experience.

·       Tasting Data is like to try spicy food, stimulate business’s appetite, keep employees’ morale on;  

·       Tasting Data is like to drink juice, the juice is made of fresh fruit, and insight and wisdom is extracted from data,  essential matters;

·       Tasting Data  is also like to have a cup of coffee or tea, bitter, but energize you thinking….

Using five senses to make sense of Big Data, Big Data will sharpen business’s sense and sensitivity; to capture the full picture of future of business, so organization can well understand the challenges and better evaluate Big Data Life Cycle Management solutions, such as how to deploy it, secure it, govern it, persist it, make sense of it, to achieve the expected business results and goals.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Seven Cultural Habits to Harness Effective Business Innovation

“We must look at the lens through we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.”  ― Stephen R. Covey
From an innovation report released by Booz earlier this year, culture is key to innovation, as they surveyed almost 600 innovation leaders in companies around the world, large and small, in every major industry sector, Culture matters, enormously, Studies have shown again and again that there may be no more critical source of business success or failure than a company’s culture --it trumps strategy and leadership. 

Companies whose strategic goals are clear, and whose cultures strongly support those goals, possess a huge advantage, especially for the areas such as innovation.  

What is culture? Culture is how groups of people think and do things at organization. Culture is habit, culture is attitude, and culture is brand. The author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”,  Stephen R. Covey passed away last month, his book has been sold more than 25 millions of copies in different languages, though the book is more about individual self-improvement, the concept and philosophy and seven habits of essential can also help business improve organizational habit, to experience more successful innovation journey.

1.    Be Proactive

“Two people can see the same thing, disagree, and yet both be right. It's not logical; it's psychological.”     Stephen R. Covey

Being proactive means people in the organization appreciate creativity, not just be compliant for survival; they are encouraged to be proactively questioning, connecting, collaborating and solving problems creatively. Because at some lagging businesses with conservative or negative culture encourage employees to be steadfast to the point that they’d become risk-averse, tolerant of mediocrity, and suspicious of outside or new ideas.

For business leaders, it means they may push the new ideas proactively on how to leverage culture to drive innovation and increase business flexibility and agility, on the other side, they also cultivate the culture of “Pull”: proactively seek team feedback, deeply understand the potential business success factor and obstacles, and shape the culture which can harvest innovation.

2. Begin with the End in Mind

“We must look at the lens through we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.”  ― Stephen R. Covey

Innovation takes vision, vision may also help overcome culture inertia, as when everyone in the organization is collaborating to work towards the same goal; status quo, egos and silos no longer act as roadblocks,  Knowledge and creativity are unleashed to produce outcomes.

Begin with end in mind also means: innovation is the means to the end, not the end, the end is how to delight customers or improve employee satisfaction, with such noble goals in mind, the culture can become more resilient to adapt to changes, employees are easier to get buy in, and vision may also convey the good story telling to inspire culture of innovation. 

3.    Put First Things First

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are or, as we are conditioned to see it.” ― Stephen R. Covey

Culture is also about how to focus, focus on a few things matter for the business, and  the business also has capabilities to do better than competitors, Isn't that what innovation is all about: do it better, differentiate yourself from your competition, run, grow and transform the business. The other thing to consider is it's not just about technology,  it's about people, the partnerships, the process, and capability.

Put First Things First also means prioritizing, prioritizing the business goals which are most critical to your strategy; prioritizing the project investments which can help improve your key capabilities; prioritizing also means to follow 80/20 rule: to put 80% of resources into 20% activities which can produce the best business results; from change management perspective: emphasizing just a few will allow you to move the needle on culture change much more easily: such as selecting a few key behaviors to change, rather than trying to create a completely different culture overnight.

 4.    Think Win-Win

“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”  ― Stephen R. Covey

Culture is also about attitude, mutual trust is a good attitude to shape culture of innovation, to build up win-win relationship between employees and organization, business and customers; More specifically, it’s about building up the culture of "Reward success AND failure" - the logic here is that you reward people for trying new actions, and doubly reward them for successes. If you punish failure, you shut down innovation immediately.

Well, innovation is more about a process than a disruptive, enchanting new product these days. We need to tolerate the failure, also make the effort on a "lessons learned" exercise to share. And, this entire innovation process area needs some oversight to make it not be a major business disruption. There are systematic ways to manage these actions effectively and to benefit business for long term. 

5.    Empathy-Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

“Treat them all the same by treating them differently.” ― Stephen R. Covey,

Business leaders may think ideally that employees are paid to make a difference, the reality is that in many organizations, employees are trained to be compliance on the work being told to do, never to ask “why” or think independently, as employees’ creativity is not evaluated fairly in business’s talent agenda.

Empathy means business leaders and talent managers need deeply understand the value, the motivation and the habits of employees, and take customized talent solution to encourage innovative behaviors: as most of creative ideas or solutions will usually come from  the collective knowledge and experiences of the employees and the customers, not from the most powerful person or the smartest guy/gal in the room. And culture will be shaped by the majority of people in the organization.

6.    Synergize

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).”   
-- Stephen R. Covey

The creative team is usually composed of all sorts of talents, with heterogeneous cognizance, strength and skills, especially those roadrunner people who want to understand the whole game, the whole business — not just their job; people who think like business people and owners, people who shows curiosity to ask why — not like narrowly focused employees who follow rules and crave order only.  

The culture as habit here will harness the intersection of collective knowledge, wisdom,  and aspiration, synergize creative disruption, enhance interdependent, collaborative and even codependent culture, and channel such energy, enthusiasm, and ideas.

 7.    Sharpen the Saw

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”   ― Stephen R. Cove

The culture is a habit, the good habit is also an attitude, one may need to take most of the time to sharpen the saws, such as prepare the team, understand the problem, get the right tool ready before jumping in approaching solutions or drawing conclusions.

  However, sharpening the saw is means to the end, not the end. Some businesses misunderstand the innovation purpose, may think innovation is implementing the latest and greatest technology, rather than using advances in technology or existing technology differently to provide innovative solutions for business now and in the future.

Like individual’s habit, cultural habit is hard to change, but it’s changeable, business leaders can approach changing an organization’s culture evolutionarily or disruptively, below are ten contemporary business cultures to catalyze innovation and drive business transformation.

1) Customer-Centric Culture
2) Analytics-Based Culture
3) Design Thinking Culture
4) Diversity-Enhanced Culture
5) Learning-Enabled Culture
6) Crowd-Sourcing Culture
7) Self-Managed Culture
8) Innovation-Amplified Culture
(9) Risk-Awareness & Tolerance Culture
(10) Cross-functional Collaborative Culture

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reusability is Both Art & Science

Reuse is good, however, the dogmatic insistence on reuse at all costs has cost far more than people realize. To avoid misuse of reuse, one needs look at the issue with the full depth it deserves.

1.    Reuse Takes Strategic Thinking

  • Re-use is to balance paradox of Simplicity vs. Complexity
 Re-usability and Simplicity compliment each other to certain level of granularity within the organization. Re-usability will bring in required simplicity at an Enterprise level. When it comes to systems level, it becomes more tactical and at this level,  it could become overkill. It's never a question about operational advantages we get from re-usability like savings in costs (development and Maintenance), rapid deployments.. etc. But many times re-usability brings in additional complexity to support re-usable aspect. Many of times this happens because of overkill of re-usability and same is the case with too much of generalization at systems level. Reducing complexity is a key goal, but not necessarily the most important, for example, consistency and validity can be extremely important. That said, reuse is to balance the paradox of simplicity and complexity. 

  • The art of strategy in reusability
 Good reusability strategy need diagnose current problems, then, set up guideline, and take cohesive action to execute it:
(1) How does re-use be managed and validated for fit-to-purpose.
(2) The value derives from understanding the requirements and what is driving them
(3) Understand the 'big picture' from who is sponsoring the endeavor and keep in touch with them on a regular basis
(4) Knows when to reuse and when not to reuse: where it may be bad, where there may be risks, but also where, if appropriately mitigated the reuse could be good
(5) How to handle reuse at both strategic and tactical level

2. The Art of Reuse in Architectural Design

Re-use spans all the levels of EA abstraction all the way through realization:

  • Needs of reuse is very simple, applied is difficultEnterprise economic rationalization is both in project and wide enterprise. The business context is mandatory to inform level of reuse of value. It takes consideration of Enterprise Architecture Design.

  • EA is both art and science: The EA abstract layers include such as Generalization (Reuse)/Specialization (Customization), Classification (portfolio Management). Software Architecture is an art and Governance sometimes may not serve the goal of creating good art, but deploying services or components to the enterprise without governance is an invitation to a nightmare. Whether from ignorance or negligence, omitting a versioning strategy will cost more than any potential benefit from reuse. , In organizations where the culture promotes strong governance, you may be more likely to achieve the return on the investment from reuse that you are looking for. 
  • Simplicity is the most important design principle.  Reuse is about creating simple building blocks that can be applied over and over to minimize design cost and maximize value over the Lifecycle. Standards and Architecture framework attempt to improve this value by focusing us on functional boundaries. If we want to build reusable component,  we must define all the reuse cases at the design level and build this component based on it,  focused on real reusable cases instead of building something in a generic way and hoping that it could be reused later.
That said, architecture need play significant role in orchestrating reusability, agility and flexibility, to craft more cohesive business capabilities, value/cost/risk analysis need be done more coherently, organism & holism are the characteristics of effective business. 

3. The Science of Reuse

 Reuse of existing people, processes, locations, systems, services, data, applications and technology will always be considered first in the provision of any service to the Business Rationale. Re-use at the implementation levels (OO, POJO and EJB) and the related advantages are well known, but this is where the re-use could become overkill for various reasons like tactical solutions, performance, demand, etc. It should well clarify via scientific analysis and calculation:
(1) What is necessary and what is optional
(2) How reuse can be achieved
(3) Associated ROI. 
(4)Where is it deployed (multiple sites, outsourced cloud infrastructure, etc.)?
(5) Which modules are used by which people in which processes?
(6)What are the integration points (people, process, technology) for these modules?
(7) Are there technical standards issues with the product?
(8) Are there SLA issues?

Shared components make economic sense,  but that is conditional to business need and must be planned from that respect. One should have little faith in either accidental (emergent) or speculative reuse ("build it and they will come"). Throwing up services because "everyone's doing it" is only going to waste time and money. Reuse is science in this regard.

Moreover, reuse is useful, but it must be done intelligently. To be effectively used, one must also learn from the past. Not only should we question the applicability of a component for re-use, but we need to capture and analyze the lessons learned from the previous applications of the component. This needs to be done as part of the adoption process. Blind reuse results in the cut/paste issues that can come from adoption of inefficient generic or inappropriate components being forced into new roles. Where components are a good fit, we should reuse, or at least modify the component rather than starting from scratch.

In conclusion, re-sue is necessity, but it should be a natural reflex, and find the right “tipping point,” the art of reusability is about architectural design thinking and strategic planning; the science of reusability is related to governance and in-depth analysis & calculation, to achieve business results such as cost effectiveness & productivity, and good for business' long term development.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ten Excepts From Business Architecture Brainstorming

BA's Purpose: As an effective communication & governance tool to blueprint the future of business.

Enterprise architecture related to corporate business, and the documents and diagrams that describe the architectural structure of the business. People who build business architecture are known as Business Architects. Business architecture bridges between the enterprise business model and enterprise strategy on one side and the business functionality of the enterprise on another side. From Wikipedia, business architecture is a part of an Enterprise Architecture. Below are ten additional insights about BA: 

  1. Business architecture seeks to represent the architecture of an organization in terms of performance, process, information, and capability - either as it exists or as it is intended to be, thereby facilitating the planning and communicating of business change initiatives.
  1. Business Architecture is the requirement set for the Business; IT architecture may be one of those requirements. Other requirements might include Capabilities, Processes, changes in organizational structure, changes in value chains, and systems.
  1. Business Architecture is a series of methods and industry-standard practices to describe what you do, why, how, where and who derives or contributes the value of such interactions. It’s about 90% of Why & What and 10% of How. This is captured at a high level in a current state ("as is"), an idealized future view ("to be") and a roadmap to take us there.
  1. Business Architecture input can be used into organizational structure, and scope of responsibilities in an alliance type venture; BA input can also be used into where to direct resources and attention to strengthening business capabilities;
  1. BA helps to orchestrate the interrelationship between people and process, the enterprise as a whole is more about people, process, and technology. And EA = EBA + EITA, BA may focus on strategy maps, organizational structure, business capability analysis, BA can also be taken as an effective communication tool with well-visualized deliverables.   
  1. Business architecture needs to define the following components:
    1) A framework for Business Architecture
    2) A Method (Cookbook)
    3) A set of deliverables
    4) A Metamodel  
  1. BA's Purpose: As an effective communication & governance tool to blueprint the future of business, BA is not just for knowledge collection, more about capturing business insight/foresight.

  2. BA's Main Components: Business Value System, Organizational Structure, Business Processes, Business Capability, Business Culture…..
  1. BA's Hierarchy: A significant component of EA, 95% of voters agree EA = EBA + EITA
  1. BA's Users/Customers: Besides enterprise architects and business analysts, management teams from top-down, use BA to help in decision making. 

 The Future of BA Brainstorm:

  • Is there such thing as Agile BA or Social BA—the Blueprint for Social Enterprise or Agile Business.
  • Should Business Culture be included in BA?
  • How to make BA deliverable more visualized to delight users?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Three DIYs at Future of Enterprise

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Contemporary business becomes more complex than ever, due to the velocity and variety of changes and interdependent business eco-system, there's often a gap between what leadership says it wants and the types of behaviors that their management processes actually encourage. Therefore,  DIY –“Do It Yourself” culture should be promoting and permeating into future of true democratizing enterprise, from self-service leadership, to self-managing team, and self-service data and analytics,  as every leader and her/his organization will be pondering:

  • How can we be small and big at the same time, young and old, brave and wise, deep and broad?
  • How can we move towards a management model which works more with and less against human nature?
  • How can we qualify our thinking process to make decisions with the right data at the right time and at the right level?
  • How can we practice the coherent set of leadership and management principles?

1. Self-Service Leadership

  • Self-Service Leaders Convey Authenticity
 Leaders behavior is shaped by how leaders perceive themselves, by their character, drives and vision. At today’s social era, it’s more effective for leaders to lead via self-reflection or “self service”, such as blog or communicate through multiple social channels,  in order to deliver more cohesive message about authentic self and thought process in key decision making,  to build up unique leadership signature

The self-service leadership will deliver one’s self-concept which is reflected in the choices we make, how to procure the products and service, the criteria when selecting vendors, the value we appreciate, what professions to pursue, and how to exercise leadership., etc.

The good leaders are also good communicators. They have empathy to understand different audiences, and communicate appropriately in the right forms to the right people at the right level; The media may glorify and vilify a leader overnight, the rumors may destroy leaders’ reputation once a while, but a self-service leader will have self-confidence to deliver the vision when they encounter resistance, but also have self-awareness, be cautious about too strong ego which may become arrogant and narcissistic.

  • Consistency is paramount.
Self-service leaders may also lead via consistence, focus and sustainability. They express the cohesive messages about their leadership essentials and styles. DIY-self-service means open leadership, leaders enjoy sharing ideas, be open to new or creative ideas, always consider the other points of view, participate in and support group or team efforts, and work collaboratively with peers.

That said, self-service leaders eager to learn about self and others, willing to learn from feedback via social platform, also be interested in helping others think and experiment, embrace diversity, multiple sources and points of view,  be resilient and flexible about changes and communicate it clearly.

  • Underdog Leaders: Self-service is about using the right language of accountability
 Many underdog talents also face all different kind of career ceilings, self-service is a better practice to use the language of positive self-promotion and accountability, it’s more about promoting fresh concept, updated knowledge, and unique value proposition, to break stereotypical leadership image in 20th century, and standout to be a strong influencer & thought leaders who can make the dent in the universe and advance humanity.

Self-service underdog leaders can build up reputation via open mindset, and relying on healthy discussion & facts and collective wisdom to point the way toward the right conclusion or decision, also become advocate of diversified viewpoint and cultivate more high-potential underdogs. 

2. Self-Organizing Team, Self-Regulated Organization

  • Self-Organizing Team Nurtures Creativity:
 In 20th century’s command-control working environment, majority of employees are doing what they’ve been told, compliance is the key to survive; that’s why two third of employees do not feel engaged at work. Now,  the business becomes more dynamic, innovation is the only light every organization is pursuing now, at 21st century, nobody comes to work for being managed reactively, what maters now is creativity, the talents desire to work at the environment where they feel fulfilled and successful. And all talents intend to be self-determining and autonomous.

  • Agile –Self-Organizing Team Best Practice
 Self-Organizing team such as Agile/Scrum engineering team focuses on delivering work via culture of “PULL”, such a team well suited to adapt to the rapidly changes and complex business dynamic base on the interconnected actions of competitors, customers, users, and follow three I principles: Incremental, Iterative and Improving, it’s more focus on outside-in, customer viewpoint, instead of traditional top-down, inside-out business hierarchy.

Self-organizing team does not mean chaos, it means to build the cornerstone of self-regulating business, it should encourage transparency, and it won’t happen in darkness, there’s approval needed in big changes, the team secures flexibility and room to act and perform, the practice need reflect the fairness of the holistic performance evaluation, where changes in assumptions can be taken into account.

3. Self-Service Data & Analytics

  • Self-Service Data:
 We are not only embracing DIY culture enhanced by the latest technology trends such as CoIT-Consumerization of IT, and Social computing tools, now, we also live at the era of Big Data. The next level of self-service is self service on the data, both for internal and external use. It is about opening data and mastering the data, in order to gain business insight about customers, employees and products/services.

It will be an imperative to be able to do self-service on the data, because modern enterprises need to be much more permeable than they are accustomed to be. Business functions can self-service the data to analyze and capture the means for improving business. Protecting the data appropriately is essential while allowing self-service. So IT will focus on security, availability, and reliability increasingly.

  • Self-Service BI and Analytics
 With self-service data, non-technical users with easy-to-use analytics tools can be empowered to generate insights found that proactively responding to constantly changing business need, which is also the predominant reason organizations are sharpening self-service capabilities.

From a macro perspective, it’s easy to identify the biggest long-term trend in business intelligence, the self-service analytics tools are providing more professionals with the better interface, visual capabilities to access, analyze, and share data on their own. Such light-weight analytics tools will encompass a smart business with culture of DIY & analytics. 

DIY, is no long just a acronym or buzzword, it’s the mainstream culture in the future of business.