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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

IT Indicator

IT is an integral part of the business, and every IT project is a business initiative. 

IT is pervasive in any contemporary enterprise today, however, most of IT organizations still get stuck into lower level maturity, with the reputation as a cost center, IT should work with stakeholders to develop KPIs that show how IT is improving business and enforcing business capabilities. Here are four views of KPIs, from IT cost breakdown to IT Performance quadrant; from PMO measure to business capability metrics.

1. IT Cost Breakdown

The big challenge facing business today is the "Speed of Change,which is often applying activity-based management concepts to IT services. Essentially, that involves a very detailed cost breakdown of the IT Services, to a resource unit level, for example, which is then allocated across geographic and business hierarchies, using cost modeling techniques. Performance is measured at many different levels in the hierarchies, by region of the world, country, the line of business, business unit, account, program, senior VP, junior VP and so on. The mappings are ultimate between direct, indirect, fixed and variable costs and revenue, for the purpose of determining the economic value of the IT services and assets, including their value above their costs.

The cost breakdown provides insight into where the most money is being spent, which in turn identifies opportunities for bottom line improvements. A chargeback can be done on a more equitable, actual usage basis, rather than assuming everyone is using the same amount. The detailed data becomes a base from which statistical analysis can be performed to do far more accurate financial budgeting projections, based on natural growth rates at a fine-grained level and capacity planning is more accurately predicted too. Collecting and acting on business feedback is the most important project each year for every IT department. The goal of cost breakdown is to provide a clear, measurable view of the business’s top IT priorities.

The senior leadership team should ask every department how much the IT service is worth to them. Each department will need to measure that in a way appropriate to their business function. The things that can be measured from within the IT function are all surrogates for real performance indicators. Measuring them and improving their scores will probably improve the actual performance of the IT function but the relationship between the surrogate and real performance is not guaranteed
(1) IT Savings (IT work which positively impacts the bottom line)
(2) IT expense as a percentage of sales
(3) IT spend per employee
(4) IT employees as a percentage of total employees
(5) Uptime % for business critical systems
(6) Customer service % of positive responses
(7) Utilization of key IT managed resources
(8) TCIT (Total Cost of IT) includes all costs associated with building, running and operating the IT environment and includes workforce costs, license costs, hardware costs, software costs, systems costs, outsourcing costs, a portion of HR costs, etc. (In other words, more than just the IT budget)
(9) IT ROI Ratio = (Net Operating Revenue – (Total Expenses – TCIT))/TCIT
(10) Return on IT Investment = Net Operating Profit / TCIT

Of course, the first time that you measure, it is pretty meaningless. And furthermore, the metrics will be different for different industries. The controversial point for IT cost breakdown is: With today's complex enterprise architectures it's becoming more and more difficult to identify the cost per unit. When the business has to include a measurement methodology in every service request over $X, the business becomes a much more prudent IT purchaser. When we spend all the time on debating measuring what IT is doing and practically no time discussing measuring the value produced, then all we accomplish is to perpetuate the disconnect between IT cost versus IT value. 

2. IT Performance Quadrants

Managing stakeholder expectations is key to the success of IT. So depending on which stakeholder and what the role of the CIO is to your organization, metrics can be created that show governance and effectiveness of IT. Plus, IT KPIs should be focused on what is relevant to the target audience with a clear purpose as to what is being measured and why. There are four main purposes for IT metrics:
A: Provide transparency into IT
B: Aid setting direction for IT
C: Drive performance of IT
D: Communicate the business value of IT

There are at least three target audiences: IT, IT management, and business leadership. Each has a different focus. For instance, IT will measure CPU utilization, disk utilization, program defects. stuff that the technical staff should and does care about, but business units and for that matter, CIOs don't necessarily care about at a detail level. For IT management level (CIO & direct reports), things like project delivery, How much time we spent on new project delivery vs. support and administration, overall system uptime, help desk service levels at an aggregate level, etc. things that give us an indication as to whether things are running OK at a department level. IT should also understand the main KPIs that the business uses to measure their performance. While these are not IT metrics, understanding them will enable IT to have a better business conversation about what we are doing and how it will drive business And at the strategic level, the well set of IT metrics need to be available to present at the big table for business communication performance. 

Here are the IT performance quadrants:

(1) Customers 
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS):  IT internal users and/or end customers whatever works for your business, consider using them to measure customer and/or partner advocacy of your IT organization
  • Service Desk: Customers Satisfaction Surveys 
  • Lead time to ship an order 
  • % of support customer calls fixed at the first call or before a call (self-healing) 
  • % of order returns 
  •  Time to market a new offering
    - % of business suppliers linked to your IT     
(2) IT Service/Project Performance 
This needs to be an easily understandable KPI but probably built up from a complex set of / OLA's - KPI's - Project success factors. 
  • IT: Projects Delivered/On-Time 
  • Dev: Projects On-Time/Budget 
  • Adherence / Defects in Controls & Compliance ( aligned to SOX, PCI, or any standard 
(3) Fiscal Health 
A simple KPI that can be tracked but built up from the budget performance:
  • Average cost, whatever the businesses believe are the right measures
  •  Balanced Budget
  •  IT Service Chargeback is often the best metric but has debatable data collation mechanisms Variance etc  
(4) Organizational Capacity 
  • Turn-over 
  • Absenteeism 
  • Engagement/Satisfaction 
  • Learning and Development      
A well-defined scorecard should contain a good mix of outcome measures (or long-term strategic value) along with performance drivers to track the progress in the short term (operational value) in spite of capturing multiple perspectives, the balanced scorecard must still retain a strong emphasis on financial outcomes. Whatever metrics you find value in using must be relevant and resonant to your audience, as well, or your credibility will significantly suffer.

3. PMO KPIs 

Running IT as a business, every IT project is a business project. CIOs act as an intrapreneur, to ask self two questions:
Question 1: most important. If I own this company and pay everyone paycheck, what do I like to see from my IT department?
Question 2: how much of the IT budget is spent on three buckets: (1) keep the light on activities, (2) to do business better, and (3) to grow the business. These answers will guide CIOs further to ask for different metrics which can meet customers/partners at where they are at. It seems very simple, but it’s a daunting task to define the category and then work on your OPEX and CAPEX.

PMO KPIs can further help CIOs to run IT as a business:

(1) Project Management Office KPI - ROI 
ROI is an important KPI for top management however slightly more difficult for a PMO to measure. The PMO provides the framework in which success is built so this KPI is a softer metric that illustrates the influence of the PMO on the overall performance of the organization. Tip, at least, one of your KPIs should try to illustrate this.

(2) Project Management Office KPI - Time to market
This is an easy one to build a KPI around. Your PMO should be increasing the speed at which Projects are delivered thus improving time to market. Likewise, with better compliance with project schedules, the PMO also helps ensure that a product meets its release date.

(3) Project Management Office KPI - Resource Utilization
An effective PMO ensures that time is being used in the most efficient way possible by assigning resources to the tasks that are most suited to them thus maximizing the value of that particular resource. Building a KPI around this principle will highlight the value the business is receiving from its own resources. 
·  IT Spend per employee: absolute and variance 
·  Employee Customer Satisfaction 
·   % of Projects in IT budget versus Run 
·     IT Maturity level 
·    IT R&D Spending 

4. IT KPIs to Measure Business/IT Capabilities

IT is an enabler of current and future capability for both the organization and its ecosystem (the market comprising competitors, suppliers and other agents, regulators and so on) much of the board conversation about IT should be framed in respect of the business activities and the ecosystem, still, strategic KPIs may be hard to define, but it helps enforce effective communication at strategic conversation. Thus, CIOs need to pursue tactical, strategic and innovative alignment with the business.  The long-term growth is usually based on a unique set of business capabilities, how can KPIs capture such "capability" insight or process effectiveness, innovation?
Understanding and having a visual representation of your IT/Business capacity will result in your ability to understand where your internal resources are being deployed. With this metric in place, you can then begin to decide which business units /departments/ stakeholders are receiving too much capacity, and which ones are not. 

(1)  IT Capabilities to Enable Business Growth/Development: Assuming a healthy pipeline of work, trending to forecast on releasing new capabilities (the business getting what they paid for), IT value to the business can be categorized in a number of ways, here are four.
Improving Speed/Agility (Speed to Market, ability to change direction with the market, etc) 
Improving Revenue (enable the business to gain market share, enter new markets, etc) 
Lowering Risk (reduces business system downtime, create business continuity, etc) 
Lowering Cost (reduces the cost of the current business process, improve margins, freeing up capital for new ventures, etc) 

(2) CHANGE Capability: The metrics focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of change made is important. And change consists of one or more of the following:
- People change
- Process change
- Technology change

(3) Value-added Capabilities (Observational Assessment or through VoC with Stakeholders)
-Digital Capability
-Innovation Capability
-Monitoring and Control

(4) Business Capabilities from Multiple Perspectives:
  • People Perspective (Productivity Improvement, Operational Savings, and Cost Avoidance) 
  • Process Perspective ( Process Improvement, Time, and Period reduced for the business by IT) 
  • Information Technology Investment and Longevity of Investment (IT Expenditure Vs Savings)
  • Technology Perspective (Easiness and Usability, Features and Reduction of Bottlenecks) [NPS would be the best option] 
  • Governance Perspective: for CIO dashboard - the Governance layer (the Evaluation, Scope, and Monitoring) and the tactical management layer (Run, Build, Deploy and again Monitor).  
Modern CIOs are customer relationship managers, strategic communicators, project managers, and innovation experimenters; if, as a CIO, your key metrics focus only on cost, then don't be surprised if you are managed on cost. If your metrics are all pointed backward at the technology, then don't be surprised that the business can't really understand the value of IT. Only through the well-defined set of KPIs, IT can both qualitatively and quantitatively measure value delivery to business and achieve a high-performance result.

Three “N”s in Nature Leaders

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”               –Henry Ford

From one generation to the next, the substance of leadership does not change, it's about future and change; influence and innovation; direction and dedication. However, the trends and styles have to be continually adjusted in order to lead effectively. More fundamentally, is leadership nature or nurtured? Such debates are always thought-provoking, surely there are many key leadership ingredients which can be nurtured, such as empathy, humility, influence, however, there are raw (nature) leadership ingredients which come from nature, grow upon nature, here are three “N”s in nature leaders. 

1.    Novelty

Nature leaders are fresh and open, bring up such leadership novelty -as a key ingredient in innovative leadership. Innovation is light every forward-looking organization is pursuing now, and innovation is not only about new product/services, leadership innovation is strategic imperative at the digital era, as innovative leadership will catalyze the culture of innovation, and further enforce communication innovation.

  • Open Nature: Nature leaders have such open nature, like sponge, indefatigably absorb the fresh knowledge and diversified viewpoint; like river, flow through and keep moving; like wood, sprout out and grow up, blossom with innovation, inspiration, and influence, nature leaders are both wild and wise, as nature is his/her coach, to lead via nature, not via brute force.
  • Nature Valley: Nature leaders are both shapeable & shapeless, their thoughts are deep as nature valley, their vision are also curvilinear;  they are out of box thinker, as nature is out of box, to dig through insight, like nature, such leadership embraces the thickness of nature colors and theme of nature diversity, they touch both heart and mind, spirit and beings.   

 2. Navigation

Nature leaders seem to be nice and even na├»ve, compete by not competing, voice by not talking; blend in by not following blindly, perceive by nature curiosity. 
  •     Nature Path: Nature leaders follow both heart and mind, as nature is their navigator, to connect dot in nature life path; they respect human nature, confident but not arrogant, they experience ups and downs, but they won’t lose their character; they don’t take short-cut or linear route, and they don’t mind throw their life a curve, as nature encompasses them for the leadership purpose, so they may not always follow other’s footstep, they are not stereotypical leadership image, as nature is unique, energetic and bright. 
  • Nature Impulse: Nature has its speed and rhyming, from four seasons to time frame, from wax & wane of moonlight to ebb and flow of sea; nature leaders are also dynamic, speed up and down, set back or bounce up, push & pull; true, there is no better navigation system than bad experiences in life so that we can recalculate the lives through better choices to reach potentials and intended destination. So nature leaders can lead with understanding, cognizance, empathy and maturity.
 “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”  ― Douglas AdamsThe Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

3. Nimbleness

In nature, everything is connected with something else; but they also have such nature distance to keep all things in harmony; nature is grand but also nimble, nature leaders follow the spirit of nature to lead through:

  • Nature Synergy: Nature leaders create team synergy & organizational nimbleness via empathy and wisdom, at today’s agile business environment, business nimbleness means adaptability, elasticity, flexibility, resilience, and transparency. 
  • Nature Balance: Nature is full of balance, all beings support Yin and embrace Yang, the balance of light and darkness; the hardness and softness; tangible and intangible; nature leaders are masterful in balancing the strength of talent, balancing the multitude of perspectives, and balancing leadership and management. 
The strength of nature leaders come from nature, grow upon nature, and serve nature with natural energy. “His Natural Leadership skills as a point guard stands out more than anything.” Jeff Smith.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

BPM's Best First Step: Three-Step to Implement BPM Best First Process

BPM has become strategic effort in many organizations today, as business turns to be over-complex and hyper-connected; however, around 70% of BPM projects fail to reach the expected result. Every journey starts with first step, how to select your best first BPM project? There are many parameters in question and what you pick should depend on your organizational context - objective, culture, governance maturity, process maturity, technological competence, political angles, also, how to implement BPM smoothly? Here are three logic steps. 

1. First Best Process Selection 

The best first process is to start with  the one of greatest pressing importance to the business - the process that people care about the most, the process on fire, and likely the one that justified the initial investment in BPM.

  • The Characteristics of Best First Process: The Best First Process to implement with BPM is the one where you have strong buy in from the business sponsors and you can almost guarantee to yourself that the implementation will be a success. Best first process has these characteristics:
    -Has real value
    -Measurable outputs (including ROI)
    -Well defined goals
    -Good learning experience potential 
  • Be "very clear" on the key driver among many and sticking guns to it.  Many BPM implementations come with different "Key Driver". The process selected needs to address "that" key driver for the organization in question. Ironically, the Key driver for the organization going into BPM gets lost in the multiple messages coming from all around once the initiative really kicks off. In the attempt of trying too hard to be successful, the objectives of the first project get overloaded with various "general success criteria".. It could be any of the following:
    - Process heavy on interaction (intra-departmental) and light on technology
    - Process light on collaboration and containing couple of key technological evaluation points
    - Process that directly impacts the KPIs being targeted, but still light in terms of changes
    - Process that demands lowest level of Change Management.     
  • The more systematic approach to the problem of picking up the right process is high-level value chain analysis followed by performance gap analysis. These activities should precede the BPM project and they provide valuable results to assess that the process they select isn't so complex or large that it can't be completed, or the effort will simply be discouraging. Companies often think that starting with an overly complex process first is a good way to see if BPM is of value. While BPM software is most likely capable of managing those complex processes, it takes time to implement those which could lead to a delay in user adoption and immediate ROI. Whatever category (HR, Finance, etc) of processes that BPM can be applied to, start with the less complex and get immediate traction with end users.

2. Well Define Scope of Best First Process 

The process scope need be well defined. This way a major business problem can be addressed hand-on while garnering support from across the organization.

  • Finding the balance comes with experience. The process need have high business impacts with low risk to the business. Unfortunately high impact usually means high risk. It's like heavy-lifting: picking up a weight that is too heavy for you (high stakes) mean a risk of not qualifying; yet a weight too light means loosing the competition. When facing tough choice, one would rather accept a risk of hitting a problem that turned out to be more complex than expected than choosing an easy journey. The customer will appreciate your efforts anyway in the former case and probably give you an opportunity to move on. But in the latter case there is a risk to hear at the end of the project: "So what? We are not impressed much."     
  • Derive simple objectives for that first project from a view of the overall objectives of BPM for the enterprise. The success in the first projects is crucial. as in the larger scheme, the first few projects are going to set the pace and the stage for further BPM success - so it is important to derive simple objectives for that first project from a view of the overall objectives of BPM for the enterprise. A smooth path to the roll out is not enough to call the first BPM project a success. It is equally important for the project to be able to hold good potential for a learning experience for future projects. 
  • Capture the Dynamic Nature of BPM: Many times, a process CAN be well-defined but is NOT well-defined yet. Sometimes a prospect suggests: "There is the process X that we know from top to bottom. We already implemented it in system Y. Now let's implement it in BPM and look at the difference.". However, doing project this way, you won't be able to demonstrate the dynamic nature of BPM - it'll be process automation, not process management.

3. Low Complexity Fragment of High Complex Process 

High business impact process usually means high complexity. From the other hand, you obviously cannot afford high complexity (and hence high costs and huge timeframes) at the first project.

  • The solution for this dilemma is LOW COMPLEXITY FRAGMENT of high complex process. Find a process with critical business issue behind it, whatever complex it is and define it as the outer scope of your project. Then find a fragment of that process that you'll be able to cope with at your first project within reasonable timeframe and costs. 
  • Set Right Project Milestones: Typically critical processes are complex and you never reach the end, thus this have an impact how process is designed and implemented, ultimately may become a never ending story. It means that caution is needed the way the project is managed in a way that users, champion and sponsor can feel the results on a timely basis. Otherwise people will disbelieve in options taken. Once BPMS can provide slices of improvement step-by step, and sometimes it is possible to deploy parts of the to-be process running with the as-is one. 
  • Start with IT Process as usually IT is in charge of BPM: since 99 out of 100 times IT will be in charge of implementing the first BPM project - IT is just as much a business as any others, and has many, many processes - from the unstructured to the highly structured (think process management vs. automated workbook) - and even has a well accepted process guideline such as ITIL. Let IT find a process in their own department, analyze it, implement it in BPM and deploy it. It will be great learning experience - and when they get to the next non-IT process. In reality, very few (if any) IT departments use BPM for their own processes.     
In order to take the solid first, best step in BPM journey, think broader than "process" in its simplest form, plan for the view of the overall objectives of BPM for the enterprise, leverage key business drivers, accumulate knowledge and best practice, and set up the right milestones to measure result.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Is BALANCE the Ingredient of Effective Leadership

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control.  Lao Tzu

There are many important ingredients in effective leadership, such as trust, empathy, influence, humility, etc. However, the world is still full of stereotypical leaders, look the same, think the same, and act the same, what is missing?
  could it be “BALANCE”?

 The Oriental philosopher Lao Tzu wrote "All beings support Yin and embrace Yang and the interplay of these two forces fills the universe. Yet only at the still-point, between the breathing in and the breathing out, one can capture these two in perfect harmony.". The Ying & Yang of Leadership doesn’t only refer to gender or character difference, but more as to the cognitive difference.  

  • The “Yang” Type Leaders:  The Yang is that which is manifest; it is what we see on the surface, the Yang type leaders are aggressive, however, excessive Yang only sees what is overt, tangible, and concrete. Their obsession is with status and looking good. What lies beneath is of little interest to them. This obsession with the overt makes them blind to the subtle, the implied, the covert, which is the Yin realm. Excessive Yang may represent something "negative," like egotism or narcissism.
  • The “Yin” Type Leaders: The Yin force, meanwhile, is its reciprocal- that which lies concealed beneath the surface, the latent force. Excessive Yin would present as yielding without structure which would result in collapse. In opposition to an individual who is excessively Yang (aggressive), excessive Yin may be perceived as a lack of confidence, procrastination, and micro-management.

The Effective leaders need a good balance of Yin & Yang: Nature is the balance of the dark and the light, the female and the male, the down and the up, the yin and the yang. Observe the beauty, power, and grace between the two and life takes on new meaning.

Yin and yang are two sides of the same coin. We need to accept and appreciate both Excessive Yang may lead to Narcissism which stems from the denial of true Self, something we all have to overcome;  to witness the perfection of the world around us, the perfect balance of the universe. This is challenging, because the ego thought system, something we all share until we learn to transcend it, the best strategy is to engage, yield,  redirect, and embrace the interaction of two complementary and opposing forces – Yin and Yang, as the world -both mankind world and human world are so dynamic with balance of energy.

Build the Team with Balance of Strength: The most important decisions for a leader are great people decisions because a leader's success will be determined by the leader's people decisions. A leader must build a high-performance team to gain a competitive advantage. Once you know the strengths of your team, these individuals should participate in deciding what is most important and how to achieve the needed goals. The leader needs to balance the Yin and Yang and nurture focus to achieve the desired results. Building a high-performance organization is a constant journey of evaluating and upgrading the organization to achieve a high-performance result.

Leaders need to cultivate the culture of balance --the collective mindset about how they do things here and balance the diversified viewpoints, creativity & discipline; the team's collective capabilities-which strength & skills available, and balance of the long-term strategic goals & short-term tactical tasks -what're the top business priorities the team should achieve, and how to align with daily tasks to measure the result in balanced scoreboard.  

BALANCE is indeed the critical ingredient in effective leadership, without it, the world will get stuck in extreme; with it, the world can be led with harmony. 

For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions.     --Lao Tzu

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Thursday, March 28, 2013


Big Data talent should have 3-‘C’ quality: Curiosity, Creativity and Concentration.
There is no denying that the volume, variety, velocity and complexity of data from new sources (think social data for one) is growing dramatically and affects many industries heavily. 

The data volume is doubled every two years, but only 1% of data get analyzed, and more than 70% of Big Data effort fails. Is Big Data becoming a big headache for many organizations?

1.   Big Data Life Cycle Management

Big Data is really all about analyzing massive amounts of unstructured data and applying intelligence to it to derive some form of value - be it greater understanding of consumer behavior, ways to shorten process chains or some other benefit. But the question is whether organizations have even tackled the basics of data management - do we really know and understand what data we have, where it is, who is responsible for that data (oh, and how long we should keep it for, what security is needed etc. ) as well as what value is there in unstructured data, that structured data engines cannot possibly deliver?  
  • The life cycle of big data is to evaluate capacity planning for Big data services through timely intervals and expected growth cycles. Every bit of data counts, however, not every bit of data is created equal. The velocity and a metric for relevant time sensitivity is important in the collection processes of what you are analyzing and for what purpose pursuant to the predictive analytics needed to support the model coupled with levels of complexity. You may wish to start with an industry leader model as a systematic approach to master volume, velocity and complexity. 
  • The idea with big data is not to push it out to the information consumer but to analyze it using Analytics tools,  with the hopes of extracting actionable business information and opportunities that you can then push out to the information consumer (those in your company, or your business partners, who can make meaningful changes based upon what the information tells them). And YES,   it is a very worthwhile project for many industries. 
  • How to Manage Big Data without uplifting cost:  If we look at Big Data as an opportunity to gain the insight,  we all want without the uplift costs of structuring the data to our pre-conceived notions of what the data can tell us, then the new value and opportunity is to learn something that we would otherwise miss point. Here is really first to find a business case where big data can provide the solution for.

2.    Big Data Analytics Starts with Business Case

Now we may ask if we can use the Big Data and if we have a problem where its solution might come from this data and that solution would give us competitive or comparative advantages. It is clearly big challenge to treat unstructured data such as behavioral response by leveraging traditional technology as well as new approach. 
  • Start with Business Case: "Big Data" will let us eventually open eyes beyond transactional value of current IT services, and it will be addressed as a form of "Decision Supports". The business value of Big Data will be derived by someone first figuring out what business problem it can solve, a problem that other options cannot. So start with questions, and explore Big Data for:
         1) Customer Insight -Understand customer with data-based empathy, and optimize customer experience life cycle  
         2)  Decision Making Insight -Provide talent the right information at the right time to make right decision timely.  
        3)  Talent Insight --Know your talent in and out, analyze talent pipeline, develop your workforce analytic competency.  
  • Let Big Data tell you something unknown about unknown: Some argument point include: This is less about people asking the right questions in the context of what they already think they know about the world and letting the information tell us things we hadn't realized, but it’s having an interrelated impact. In this context, every business needs Big Data and the analysts that can use it effectively. If we analyze information quickly without having to first scrub it and index it, then we have a really powerful tool for changing our businesses to provide the products that matter. 

3. Big Data Talent, Structure, Framework, Test and Metrics

That will be the most difficult and innovative task on how to turn unstructured data into a strategic asset, an asset whose value can be measured. The problem is most organizations do not have the people who can do that. It takes talent, structure, framework, methods and metrics.
  • Assuming structure is required at a semantic level, in order to produce meaning, and given that much of the effort in Big Data is directed toward putting a structure on sources of unstructured data. Also you may want to think first about a Big Data framework before selecting a product, platform or a service.

  • Big data need to embrace a predictive analytic methodology for the development of methods and metrics that will deliver the greatest impact given a desired business schematic that the front office can embrace using an array of predetermined structured and unstructured data. Without proper visualization and analytics,  gathering so much data is not going to help. Not many products come bundled with all these components. Again, integrating all these components is another challenge

  • Whatever you do there will be some smoothing or refinement through testing the results and refinements to your model and about all use cases. There is the test to learn which methodologies or methods will work in an effort ascertain an acceptable result. Then there are the use cases that must demonstrate to the stakeholders the challenges needed through metrics to solve tactical and strategic business problems

  • Last, but not least, Big Data talent is on demand: Big Data talent should have 3-‘C’ quality: Curiosity, Creativity and Concentration, "PHD" is nice to have, not must have, the analytic skills and business knowledge are both important to master Big Data
Is 80/20 Rule also applied to Big Data and soothing your headache? Some say,  taking decisions effectively & efficiently is doing it with just 20% of the information and estimating the other 80%. There lies the rub: how do we get the 20% of what we need in a timely fashion? It takes talent, strategy, methodology and measurement.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Five Factors in Deciding the CIO Maturity Level

When CIOs climb upward the maturity path, then their IT organizations will also move up to achieve the high-performance result.

Modern CIO is one of the most paradoxical and sophisticated roles in contemporary business today. What determines the maturity level (performance, strategy, influence., etc.) of a CIO - the amount of money spent? The assets controlled? The complexity of the organization? The number of staff members? The innovation delivered? Or just a simple title? 

Though it is a pretty subjective question that can depend on many circumstances, the core factors that should be used to determine the level can vary but all encompass the following: 

1. Strategic Leadership 

Any CIO should be proactive in business strategic planning to ensure IT strategy is an integral component of business strategy, and IT is perceived as a value to the business and not a cost center.

  • IT Strategy should always be in sync with business strategy and goals other than ensuring an effective IT operation itself. This allows IT and business strategies to inter-mesh and gets buy-in for implementation. IT strategic plan is a process assessing changes in business strategies and external environment ( technology changes, regulatory update., etc) and re-calibrating the IT direction. The key to success is to develop a shared understanding of where IT should be headed to ensure sustained business success. This shared understanding is not only within IT but also with other IT stakeholders, the C-level execs, business partners and key service providers 
  • There is a sharp delineation between the CIO and the "Director" level position. Directors are primarily focused on the operation and management-level issues of existing infrastructure. While they may play a part in strategic-level planning and leadership issues, But the CIO is more as the leadership role in crafting strategy and conveying the IT vision with primary stakeholders.

2. Know-How - Knowledge (Technology/Business/People)

Within a mature organization, the CIO is a leadership role. It is a commanding knowledge of missions, policies, processes and human capital towards a level of technical agility and informational relevance. The CIO is an enabler who takes the visions, strategies, and planning of the executive level and creates the infrastructure that will exist to support it.

  • From Information to Insight/Intelligence: Today, many organizations/ businesses are shallow in the corporate knowledge. It is people (not machines) that understand "why" the numbers or data is saying what it is saying. We need interpreters that have a comprehension/synthesis level understanding of the business enterprise (not just fact-based information), CIOs and effective IT are business information stewards, play a significant role in capturing business/customer insight and bridging the cognitive difference.
  • CIOs as “T”- Shape specialized generalists to apply Five WHYs to diagnose root causes: Knowledge Management is missing, most organizations do not have the IT or Business SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that can answer the "why" question to the data that is gathered, or the information being called "Business Intelligence." High mature CIOs and IT don’t only look at symptoms but dig into root causes.

3. Capability-Problem Solving/Handle complexity/Make Profitability

Capability = Capacity + Ability, high mature CIOs have strong capabilities to solve critical business problems, break down complexity into logical steps to streamline business execution, also contribute to business profitability.

  • Reduce Complexity: Develop strategies and processes so as IT contributes more to reduce the organization’s unnecessary complexity 
  • The dollar value CIOs bring to the company: In terms of increased ROE, increased efficiency, shorter time-to-market for the new product offering, cost-saving, business revenue generation, etc... 
  • Leverage limited resource to Growth: While people are an integral part of any success, strategic IT is different from strategic recruiting, the moral of the story is you can't run a business by categorizing one vertical purely as a profit/cost center, you could be closing many opportunities to grow by leveraging strengths of those verticals. But the real question is:  If you have a limited amount to spend on growing your company, where and how will you invest? 

4. Influence - Ability to engage others in a CIO's vision and strategic plan

  • Leadership influence: What determines the level of the CIO position is the impact he/she has made on others (and hence his/her reputation, his/her reporting line, his/her title), hopefully further to his/her achievements, rather than his/her mere achievements for the company bottom line that helped him/her reach his current level. 
  • Position Influence: Another factor (not always a good one) such as: Does he/she sit at the big table (the board). Are they part of the core operating committee of the company? What has there been a progression within the company? Span of Control - total team and number of direct reports. That would indicate leadership and influence.  
  • Knowledge/Social Influence: High mature CIOs are usually thought leaders, who make influence through their breadth of business knowledge and the depth of IT insight, they are also social influencers for varying subjects such as technology, education, customer., etc.

5. Innovation - Ideas brought to the Table for Implementation

Innovation is not serendipity at the digital era, it’s how to transform novel ideas into the business value, and it’s manageable. CIOs and IT are in the right position in managing innovation processes and measure results accordingly.

  • Innovation methodology: Adopt innovative methods to increase IT and Business organization's agility and competitiveness.  
  • Innovation process and technology: Align and utilize technology and processes to increase business revenue, increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, optimize total operational costs.
  • Cultivate the culture of innovation: Enforce open communication, and enhance learning agile, build up a creative and productive working environment by taking advantage of the latest technology tools. 
When CIOs climb the upward maturity path, then their IT organizations will also move up to achieve the high-performance result, which will directly drive the business’s overall capabilities to compete for long-term growth.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

UX as Key Factor in Process Design

To ensure UX address appropriately in process design, well align your design talent with the process, and test, refine design, test, refine the design.

It’s very important to consider user experience (UX) in the designing process. However, sometimes UX is addressed either superficially (“this screen needs to match our corporate color scheme”), or not at all. 

Alternatively, sometimes a customer will be so devoted to UX that they'll hire web UX consultants, who will design lovely, clever screens that—oops!—turn out to be difficult to replicate using the form builder. So, how to ensure that UX (User Experience) is addressed appropriately when designing processes?

  1. First is ensuring users are involved in the design with no limitations in thinking. This will be a novel experience for them with decades of ”IT” imposed "solutions" as either COTS or custom coded. However, when within days they see their ideas coming to life, users will quickly take ownership; feel empowered and confident about future changes.  
  1. The second has to be with the user interfaces that are easy to use. Appropriate model transformations and quick prototyping facilities grant that business-level designs are always aligned with user interaction designs that implement them. This grants impressive advantages in terms of speed of delivering the solutions, as well as ease of understanding and usage by customers.     
  2. Information architects are at the table with the process design ones, when doing requirements elicitation and specification with the END-user. Design Thinking and Service Design are the approaches to take this larger perspective. The user experience of a process is not only the BPMS application. In the customer journey and employee journey, various channels and interactions will be needed. How to design processes that facilitate the optimal value creation and experience for customers, employees, and organization?      
  3. It is a matter of matching expectations with budget and with skilled user experience (UX) designers and custom developer. A certain amount of usability can be baked into the process and the client apps just based on the experience of the process analyst/designer. But for really strong UX, especially in demanding environments, budgeting sufficient time for a UX designer and a significant additional amount of customized software development to match is the only way high levels usability can be achieved. 
  1. Explicitly Considering User Experience and Interaction Design as a First Class Citizen: In every process, you have to think about how to support executors with the right tools and facilities to enable them to make the process perform. That's not only screens in a bpms, but also the availability of information, the possibility to ask for help, back up by colleagues, etc, together with the business process modeling: Actual real-life use of a system will highlight areas where process design best practices and usability may work against one another. Therefore budgeting for an iterative development model will ensure that the users are not stuck with the first pretty wire-frame that was put into code. 
  1. An interesting challenge is often about balancing time, investment, and limitations of UI of BPM-Suites. Typically, when implementing a BPMS, users come from a situation in which they used a number of systems - automated or manual, including paper files, etc. The switch to one applicative interface will require a very thoughtful designed user interface. This means expertise on user interface design (and no, typical business analyst or BPM-engineers do usually to have these strengths, but often overrate their capabilities). It also required testing iterating testing. Various good techniques (observation, reflection, etc) are available. 
  1. Test UX design in the real world and be willing to iterate. If you don't test, you don't know. Playbacks for users before designs are completely implemented, field-testing with pilot groups, frequent turns on the development. Because design is all about getting the requirements right, and sometimes normal people do not know how to communicate "design" language to designers 
To ensure UX address appropriately in process design, well align your design talent with the process, and test, refine design, test, refine design... There is nothing more to say!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Four Aspects in Measuring Enterprise Architecture Effectively

The set of possible measurements for EA is very large. This is partially because EA is the glue between strategy & execution, Thus, the main principle is: Focus on outcomes, "beginning with the end in mind.", Generally speaking,  EA benefits indicators can be grouped into the next four categories.

1. Communication Value 

Successful EA effort will enforce cross-functional communication; on one hand, EA addresses abstract concepts like business motivation, and on the other hand, addressing how business processes are enabled in very concrete and material ways such as IT applications and infrastructures.

  • Enforce stakeholders’ communication: Success criteria for successful EA organizations are improvements in KPIs for their stakeholders. Complexity is inherent in negotiating how to please many masters and quantifying their contentment quotient in hard currency. An enterprise defines objectives of its enterprise architecture practice including different priorities for the activities. To measure the success of enterprise architecture, multiple types of metrics are needed. 
  • Communicate the Change: EA is about change. And you need to measure if you can manage changes. One central EA objective is to improve the improvements. So, measure your business improvement processes and check if you are successfully changing it.  
  • Convey Triple Bottom Lines: There's the basic premise that EA should be measured by its impact on the bottom line. It is not just economic measurements, but environmental and social measurements as well. The latter two still being less standardized, and thus, more ambiguous and harder to actually get agreement on what exactly to measure. Still, there is potential to the idea since it means an enterprise cannot simply stop accounting once a good service passes through its doors. 

2.  Strategic Value

EA is a missing link between strategy and execution.  So one of the measures can be the effectiveness of execution. In order to measure the value of EA, one has to be able to see the enterprise holistically as an organism is struggling to survive in a hostile environment, not just as a means to an end.

  • Generic Enterprise Architecture Capability Map, Metrics and Measurement capability are placed in the business perspectives; EA ROI is based on that organization's TCO models as Dollars are usually far more persuasive than logic. The Capability Portfolio ranges from Advocacy Curve measurements (how many people are actually doing what EA is influencing them to do, and how well) to regular old operational and HR metrics for the EA team as a unit.  
  • Measure Strategy Alignment & Execution: Although the focus on reducing TCO is important - what is more important is the competitive edge and innovation right.  By looking at metric(s) that show integrated project planning investment in strategy alignment & execution vs.other - which by the way directly influences reducing TCO
  • How "LEAN" is EA without losing effectiveness - the cost-effectiveness of the organization's EA. Many times it seems as if businesses focus solely on cost reduction which can be counter-productive. Most cost-centric initiatives are indeed counterproductive. It's important to look at how an initiative will contribute to or decrement other goals as well. The capability-based analysis makes sense to ensure that completeness.  
  • Tracking the EA & reusability and generating a GEM (Good Enough Metric) or any other KPI, to be review with the senior management on a periodic basis. By having an asset registry- to log all enterprise "assets" or reusable components that can be further reused by various "teams" within an enterprise.  
  • EA KPIs stay focus on measuring some cohesive business goals:
    -Business strategy-execution progress measurement
    -Business culture Index, productivity
    -Business Communication Effectiveness
    -Business growth opportunity
    -Cost Structure Optimization
    -GRC Management

3.    Tactical Value

At the tactical level, the purpose of 'doing EA' is to improve the efficiency with which an organization operates. Measures of efficiency would vary based on the nature of business the organization is in

  •  Processes metrics and KPIs to validate improvement: Focus on measuring the effectiveness & efficiency of EA by measuring the processes and KPIs performance within the organization, evaluating the improvements in these processes and KPIs and validating these improvements with the goals or the benchmarks. 
  • Cost metrics to demonstrate the cost-saving, an increase in revenue generated by EA. This metrics is appropriate for showing value for standardization, resource-consolidation, and exploitation of opportunities. As far as the expense of EA. There are a lot of organizations that are getting into EA without a good grasp of how much capital and resources they have to devote to a minimum-functional EA 
  • Time Metrics to demonstrate the improvement in the efficiency of the processes. Ensuring the reusability of components /assets is part of the employee's annual performance plan/goals so that EA and reusability can be enforced in day to day routines. Otherwise, it has a tendency to stay in the discussion boards and not get implemented. The best way to measure the success of Enterprise Architecture effectiveness, when you will start receiving calls from the LOB executives for their needs.  
  • Activity Metrics to show the efficiency and output of enterprise architecture. (Example: Number of architectures reviewed, number of standards created, number of business problems solved, reduced production defects related to the architecture). This is good to keep track of the efficiency of EA, but these are not good to demonstrate the value of EA. Also, there can not a thumb rule to define the processes and KPIs within the EA purview. The processes, KPIs, measurement methods, metrics for data collection and representation would differ from one enterprise to other 
  • EA Measure: Is Architecture right (freeze), the documentation complete and delivered on time
    - Has the enterprise architect delivered against all projects (PM feedback)
    - Demonstrable cost savings
    - Risks identified and solved
    - Time spent right
    - Auditor report
    - Customer and Peer 360-degree feedback
    - Architecture Maturity Matrix

    4. Governance Value

Governance right is the other key area EA can deliver value. Determining costs associated with risks is as much art as it is science in many cases, but where EA can point to a mitigation a cost-benefit can sometimes be determined. Of course, many risks are not uncovered at the level of abstraction of EA efforts and are not known until detailed implementation architectures/plans are developed.

  • Risk Metrics to demonstrate the impact of EA on reducing risks for the enterprise's business. Innovation and Governance related activities are good candidates for these metrics. EA should demonstrate the risk of not adopting innovative ideas, new technologies, and opportunities.  
  • Governing Right: The scope of enterprise architecture is broad. To measure & monitor performance & effectiveness of the EA, organizations can use the performance monitoring framework such as a Balanced scorecard.  At a high level, it includes
    (a) Cost reduction by standardization and resource consolidation,
    (b) Improvement in efficiency by process optimization,
    (c) The exploitation of opportunities by bringing innovation and research,
    (d) Solving business problems (example: merger, divestiture, expansion of business in new market/regions, new products, etc)
    (e) Governance to ensure an operational model of the enterprise is aligned for its vision 
  • Avoid pitfalls: EA makes it easier to avoid the kinds of problems that "order-taker" IT organizations run into all the time:
    -well-intentioned projects that the business wants, but don't deliver value
    -implementation of redundant, complex, and duplicative capabilities
    -ignoring root-cause problems because they are politically difficult to address
    -infeasible or conflicting business strategies that never get resolved but drive wasteful or conflicting behavior
    -un-vetted or un-reviewed business decisions and initiatives that optimize one area of the business at the (greater) expense of other areas
Usually, the organizational management changes the focus of EA based on its need, the combination of metrics for measuring EA effort would change from time to time. Accordingly, the metrics should be adjusted, but the important thing is, EA is the means to the end, always focus on business goal and strategy execution via communication well and governing right.