CIOs need to get creative… optimize to fund innovation:
“Corporate Executive Board collected 2013 IT budget projections from almost 200 companies globally, which expect to spend a total of more than $50 billion on IT. Based on this benchmark data, we expect IT budgets to rise 1.8% on average, with operating expenditures rising 2.5%. Following large increases in capital expenditures from 2011 to 2012 (9.7%), CIOs are expecting to hold capex relatively flat. Two-thirds of CIOs expect to see increases in operating expenditures in 2013, while one-fifth plan to reduce them. Despite economic woes, European organizations are expecting a 2% increase in IT budgets as they cautiously embark on a search for corporate growth.
Compounding the woes of sub-inflation budget growth, more than two-thirds of the IT budget is already spoken for before a single new business project can be launched.
Despite CIOs’ efforts to reduce maintenance and mandatory spending, those areas continue to represent nearly 70% of the budget. By contrast, innovation accounts for only 7% of the total…”
“With the aid of atomic clocks, GPS receivers and some of the most esteemed figures in computer science, Google has crafted a planet-spanning distributed database.
Google published information about the database, named Spanner, over the weekend in a wide-ranging research paper. The paper (PDF) describes Spanner as “the first system to distribute data at global scale and support externally-consistent distributed transactions”.
In simple terms, Google has managed to design an information store that spans its fleet of datacentres around the world and lets applications read (and, to a lesser extent write) data without being crushed by huge latencies. Software using the system can replicate data across countries and continents, while having extremely fast read times.”
“My days are now full of IT transformational discussions. Dozens of conversations have become literally hundreds, and — better yet — more of our partners are seriously interested. All good.
More data points means — of course — more patterns observed: inherent mindsets and behaviors that inhibit any sort of serious IT transformation.
When I find them, I share them: realizing you have a problem is always part of the answer.
One aspect of the problem? IT people have an inherent engineering bent. They try to fix the entire problem — all aspects — as if IT production and consumption was a self-contained, optimally-designed system with full access to all the components and knobs…”
“Five years ago, “shadow IT” efforts were the dirty little secret of organizations. An impatient marketing or finance manager would, on the sly, secure some extra budget money and hire a contractor to build a little database that tracked mailing addresses or top-line financials. Slowly but surely, as the little database grew bigger and bigger, the manager would wedge the cost into her operating budget. Other managers might take notice and started building their own databases. Then came the cloud, which only heightened frustration with IT’s lack of velocity in delivery, and managers flocked to outside vendors to automate various business processes, from customer relationship management to supply chain reporting to social media analytics.
Now Shadow IT has burst out of the closet and is waltzing around the corporation, leaving IT departments rushing to do damage control.”
“Big data is going mainstream, but there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from Silicon Valley data scientists whose businesses depend on data to survive. Although their use cases don’t always align with what more-traditional businesses are doing, they know enough about the science and technology to save big-data newcomers a lot of frustration.”
“Technology is a bitch. It affects every industry, often in ways that are difficult (if not impossible) to anticipate. There’s always the possibility that a Napster or a Netflix or a Wikipedia will arrive to completely disrupt your business or industry.
So it makes sense to have some kind of system that allows you to continually develop options and explore possibilities, so that when the day of disruption does arrive, it finds you ready with a few alternatives in hand. The time to seek those alternatives is now–not later, after a crisis has already arrived.”
Why it is my job to ask questions, rather than proclaim answers:
“Well-defined problems lead to breakthrough solutions. When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren’t sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they’re attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important. Without that rigor, organizations miss opportunities, waste resources, and end up pursuing innovation initiatives that aren’t aligned with their strategies. How many times have you seen a project go down one path only to realize in hindsight that it should have gone down another? How many times have you seen an innovation program deliver a seemingly breakthrough result only to find that it can’t be implemented or it addresses the wrong problem? Many organizations need to become better at asking the right questions so that they tackle the right problems.”
Good post. Agree with author, Allan Kelly, there is a need to “reset” expectations and relationships.
I think it’s time we in the IT industry come clean about how we charge you, why our bills are sometimes a bit higher than you might expect, and why so many IT projects result in disappointment. The truth is that when we start an IT project, we don’t know how much time and effort it will take to complete. Consequently, we don’t know how much it will cost. This may not be a message you like to hear, particularly since you are absolutely certain you know what you want.
Herein lies another truth, which I’ll try to put as politely as I can. You are, after all, a customer, and, really, I shouldn’t offend you. You know the saying “The customer is always right”? The thing is, you don’t know what you want. You may know in general terms, but the devil is in the details—and the more details you try to give us beforehand, the more likely your desires are to change. Each time you give us more detail, you are offering more hostages to fortune…”