A CIO’s Christmas List

aciosvoice.jpg2014 has been a great year. Things are looking better. Hopefully the momentum will carry into 2015.

I have tried to be really good by being the best CIO I can. So Santa, this year, I would like the following:

  • Apple iPhone 6 plus. I have decided bigger is better but I haven’t figured out how to carry it.
  • A development team that can hit the ground running and fix code quickly.
  • An approved IT budget where I don’t have to make drastic cuts and figure out how to do more with so much less.
  • A migration plan to get legacy applications into the cloud.
  • Not to be hacked by foreign governments.
  • One of those toy helicopters. I think your elves are messing with us. I have yet to fly one of those straight and have it last longer than 3 days without breaking it.
  • A new set of golf clubs. It won’t help my game in the least but I will look cool on the greens.

Thanks Santa and Merry Christmas.

P.S. I left cookies and milk for you in our virtual environment. Please help yourself and ask your reindeer to pick up after themselves in the datacenter.

The Next Inflection Point in Business Analytics By: Gili Keshet-Aspitz, Verix

Big Data is the latest tech jargon to cause grief in the industry. As CIOs we are often charged with explaining it and implementing it. Far too often Big Data is baffling and often misused in business.

Gili Keshet-Aspitz has over 20 years of experience providing counsel to various startups and high tech leaders in marketing, strategic planning and management.  She has written a wonderful article on business analytics. Please see below.

The Next Inflection Point in Business Analytics

By: Gili Keshet-Aspitz, Verix

Big Data is a big name, all too often baffling and misused, yet we can not ignore the fact that in recent years, business users are flooded with available data – more varied and more complex than ever before. This data incorporates a wealth of valuable business information, some obvious and some hidden in various inter-dependencies. Traditional analytical tools, from Data Mining, to Data Visualization, slice and dice this data to provide all sorts of reports. However, as fast and graphically appealing these reports have become, we see a growing chasm between the needs of business users, and the value delivered by these tools.

As a result of this ever-widening gap, only a fraction of potential business intelligence users in the enterprise, actually utilize BI solutions. Whether regarded too complex to use, or too vain to trust, the majority of would-be consumers for valuable business information, opt to stay away and leave it to “the experts”, the analysts. This dependency on analysts creates a taxing bottleneck that raises a key question in today’s business intelligence market: How could we connect more business users to the information cycle in a cost effective manner? In other words, how can we allow business users to benefit from valuable available data, by making it more accessible to the masses?

So what’s missing in today’s analytical tools?

Traditional BI tools provide a broad, high level view of the business. The better ones, allow all sorts of drilling-in to create an impressive set of reports, presented graphically with colorful charts, tables, and maps. Alas, what these tools are missing, is focus. Many users can’t see the forest for the trees and definitely cannot tell where are the highest priority issues, relevant for every user in the organization.

A new wave of narrowly focused tools, tried to address this excess of irrelevant information. These tools provide a restricted view, focusing on a single area of interest. Concentrating on a specific field, insights generated by these tools are more actionable, though lack context and perspective as they view only a narrow sliver of the business.

Both approaches require professional analysts to compile the information into operational insights before they can actually serve business decision makers in any useful manner. With traditional BI tools, analysts ought to provide the focus. With the narrowly focused tools, analysts ought to provide the context. On their own, both approaches create too vague a picture to rely upon. This dependency on analysts creates that troubling bottleneck I mentioned above, and leads to that notoriously low utilization of business intelligence.

The solution lies in looking differently at the way business data is being analyzed. Instead of starting with all available data and slicing and dicing through it to provide a wide variety of views – by timeline, geography, sales, etc., a new method starts with common business processes and addresses typical questions in managing these processes. From the business process’ point of view, relevant information is being gathered and presented in an operational manner – focused and relevant, answering specific business questions and providing all needed context to understand the situation and immediately act upon it.

The novelty of this approach is the amalgamation of business logic with all available data, to automatically narrow it down on a case by case basis and hone in on insights that are relevant for each specific process and every constituent involved in that process.

The next inflection point in business analytics, brings vendors with deep domain expertise and knowledge of a market, to provide process-oriented analytical applications. Applications that on one hand, see” every bit of data that might affect their process, and on the other hand, show business users a narrow view that focuses them on relevant insights for their job and their role in the organization.

The beauty of this approach is the independence it gives business users, to self serve their basic analytical needs. Analysts love this method, as it frees them to focus on complex, unstructured, and innovative tasks, which they rarely had time for when occupied with mundane, repetitive tasks of serving all business users. A win-win situation that significantly boosts performance in organizations.

BIO

Gili Keshet-Aspitz,

Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing

unnamedGili Keshet-Aspitz has more than 20 years of experience providing counsel to various startups and high tech leaders in marketing, strategic planning and management. She has a strong technical background in engineering management, bringing products from concept to market. Gili has spent the last 4 years as the Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing for Verix, the leading business analytics solution for Pharma Commercial Operations.

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ReBoot – Where Is My TV Guide?

A CIO's VoiceThe other day I was having a conversation with someone in there 20s and I mentioned a TV Guide. They gave me that look you get when you tell people you remember when TV sets had knobs.

As technology marches on, there are some items in print that have or are disappearing. I remember reading the TV Guide but I have not used on in over 10 years, since I got cable and use the online TV Guide.

Do you remember encyclopedias? I grew up using them in school. With the internet you can find virtually any fact you need.

What about a dictionary or thesaurus? When was the last time you looked up a definition for a word? MSOffice has made them obsolete as well or you can use the internet.

I still read a newspaper on occasion. But for the most part I now read it more often on online.

As for magazines, I do read those. Mostly on my commute home or on the plane. But now they are quickly getting thinner with more content online along with more online ads.

Maybe some day we will no longer have to print information on paper. In some ways that is great progress. But in others something nostalgic is lost.

30 Must Read CIO Bloggers

cropped-aciosvoice.jpg

I am glad “A CIO’s Voice” made the list. Thanks Evolven

“These executives have a tremendous influence on the IT industry, developments and leadership. With their insights, they help to shape IT, identify trends, and make decisions that have far-reaching impact.”

http://www.evolven.com/blog/must-read-cio-bloggers.html

 

 

 

ReBoot – The Trouble is Between the Keyboard and Chair

I have been in information technology for more than 15 years now; to this day I am still amazed by some of the issues end users call helpdesk about. A CIO's Voice

Here are some real world examples:

1. User – “I cannot my desktop on my monitor. “ Helpdesk – “Have you pressed a key and moved your mouse? Maybe your PC is in hibernation.” User – “Yes but still nothing.” Helpdesk –“Is your monitor turned on?” User – “How do turn it on?” Helpdesk – “Push the power button on the lower right of the monitor.” User – “Ohh. I see a green light and now my desktop appears.”

2. User – “My phone is not ringing.” Helpdesk-“How do you know it is not ringing?” User – “I see it flash but no sound.” Helpdesk – “Is your ringer turned off.” User-“Yes”. Helpdesk –“That is the reason why you do not hear it ringing.”

3. User – “I don’t have internet access.” Helpdesk –“Can you give further details?” User – “When I go to Explorer and type Yahoo. It says page cannot be displayed.” Helpdesk – “Have you tried other sites?” User – “No.” Helpdesk – “Try typing yahoo.com.” User – “Amazing! Thanks for turning my internet back on.”

Just another day on the front lines of the technological jungle….

A Project Score Card

We have started the process of looking at a variety of ERP systems that

will fit our business. In evaluating the functionality of each system we ran into the problem that for the most part each system under review performed a similar function.

We therefore looked at how the systems match each of our business processes. We documented each process in a variety of swim-lane diagrams that shows the major areas/systems the process touches and the end result. It was a worthwhile endeavor that gave tremendous insight into broken processes. We then developed a series of requirements and from there built a matrix with our “current state” and “target state”. Our target state being where we want to be with all the bells and whistles.

We took this information and built a matrix with Actions required and assigned a Value and Score. The score is internal this this project but can be changed accordingly. Below is a sample to give you an idea.

Action

Value

Score

Data Entry – New Item

Core System

10

Data Entry – New Item

Support system

5

Data Entry – New Item

Not Supported

0

Data Entry – Update

Core System

10

Data Entry – Update

Support system

5

Data Entry – Update

Not Supported

0

Information Look Up

Core System

10

Information Look Up

Support system

5

Information Look Up

Not Supported

0

Document Creation

Automated within Core System

15

Document Creation

Manual- within Core system

10

Document Creation

Manual – Support System

5

Document Creation

Not Supported

0

Document Attachment

Requirements fully supported

10

Document Attachment

Requirements partially supported

5

Document Attachment

Not supported

0

Workflow Configuration

Auto apply from rule book

10

Workflow Configuration

Set up work flow every time

5

Workflow Configuration

No workflow supported

0

Sequential Workflow

Requirements fully supported

10

Sequential Workflow

Requirements partially supported

5

Sequential Workflow

Not supported

0

Rule Based Workflow

Requirements fully supported

10

Rule Based Workflow

Requirements partially supported

5

Rule Based Workflow

Not supported

0

 

For CIOs, trying to compare systems, utilizing a score card approach give insight into what direction to take beyond using just cost and functionality information.

Systems Objective Scorecard

During the course of managing an IT department, it is important for IT management to understand areas of risks. There are standard best practices that can be engaged to score your department/organization. Below I have added some as a starting point. These are by no way complete.

 

Management and Planning

Objective 1

The staff responsibilities to information systems environment are assigned to specialized personnel.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to not knowing and/or too many responsibilities associated to information systems.

 

Objective 2

The strategies about information systems, development plans and budget are mapped according to the strategic goal and company business.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the design, purchase/construction, development and system operations not responding to the company and business needs.

 

Objective 3

The selection of a service provider is based on company policies.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unsuitable service and inaccurate generated information, vulnerable or lack of integrity.

 

Objective 4

The services levels given by the provider are consistent with the Management expectations.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unsuitable service and inaccurate generated information, vulnerable or lack of integrity.

 

Objective 5

Users receive correct formation in use and handling the information systems.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead the incorrect use of information assets, which could cause generated information, were inaccurate, vulnerable or lacks of integrity.

 

Physical and Logical Security

Objective 1

Tools and security techniques are implemented and set up with the purpose of assuring a correct logical techniques level, narrowing the access to the programs, data and other information sources only for authorized persons.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information, due to absence of proper policies, the lack of implementation of these measures on information systems and ignorance on the part of users of safety standards.

 

Objective 2

Tools and security logical techniques are implemented to monitor and control actions on information systems.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to lack of control made actions on information systems, with possible impact in information confidentially, integrity and availability.

 

Objective 3

Information systems are correctly protected against external attacks and/or malicious codes.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information.

 

Objective 4

Tools and security are implemented to allow access to information systems only to authorized users.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information, due to an incorrect access profiles management.

 

Objective 5

All information resources are fixed by a correct security control, access to critical areas are restricted to authorized personnel.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information, as well as failures or incidences in information systems working and other disaster or extraordinary accidents.

 

Objective 6

All company information resources are identified and managed.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead the incorrect of fraudulent use of equipment and/or data they have, leading in a possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information.

 

Applications Development and Maintenance

Objective 1

Development or maintenance applications of projects are consistent with the management’s intention.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the design, purchase/construction and systems development not responsive to the end users’ needs.

 

Objective 2

Migration process of replaced old applications is carried out accurately and completely.

Deficiencies in this objective could negatively impact information integrity and validity.

 

Infrastructures Operations and Maintenance

Objective 1

Infrastructure development or maintenance projects (database software, networks, equipment) are in consistent with the management’s intentions.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to changes not responsive to the users’ needs.

 

Objective 2

Technological infrastructure are correctly identified and supported.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the changes not responses to the users’ needs, as well as a possible loss of knowledge in information assets.

 

Objective 3

Information systems levels of service providers are consistent with the management’s expectations.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the information systems not working correctly, resulting in potential risk to the availability of the information.

 

Objective 4

In disaster case, every essential business processes are recoverable in a defined time.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the information integrity and availability, due to incomplete, inaccurate or no recoverable data.

 

Objective 5

The information is kept in accordance to company laws, regulations and politics, could be recoverable, in case.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the information integrity and availability, be incomplete, inaccurate or not recoverable data.