Thought Leadership2019-11-01T10:49:15-06:00
22Nov, 2019

Should IT Leadership enter the Gig Economy?

By |November 22nd, 2019|Categories: Transitional Leadership|0 Comments

With the recent growth of the gig economy in all kinds of sectors and roles, it bears asking whether this kind of structure might be a cheaper option for more companies searching for top-level IT leadership.  Answering this question will have some nuances, but it seems clear that going with a "gig CIO" is worth considering, and is likely better than at least one all-too-common mistake in choosing heads of IT. When you hear “gig economy,” likely you imagine transactions with Uber or Upwork—companies that operate under a “pay by the drink” approach.  It's part of a larger trend which also encompasses the Cloud revolution, where you pay per month for the specific amount of compute and storage you've utilized.  In general, participants in our economy are increasingly preferring to pay for only what they use, in many categories of goods and services.   Approximately 57 million people (36% of U.S. [...]

26Oct, 2019

Innovation – The Great Equalizer

By |October 26th, 2019|Categories: Innovation|0 Comments

For small and midsize companies competing against large competitors, it can often feel like they are set up to fail. The competitors may have stronger purchasing power, economies of scale, and lower cost of capital, making it hard for the smaller companies to gain any sort of an edge. But the innovation of new technologies is giving many companies hope that they can indeed compete with large competitors several times their size. Innovation is the key to balancing the scale of power. Despite their significant advantages in economies of scale, larger companies also have a liability which can become significant in the emerging Digital Age. Because of their size, large companies have many more layers of bureaucracy and formality. Each of those layers in a larger organization is a delay in decision-making and innovation, particularly when the changes being contemplated are significant and impact a company's business model, pricing, supply [...]

11Oct, 2019

Transformation Needs the Top, Even if it Doesn’t Start There

By |October 11th, 2019|Categories: Digital Transformation, Innovation|0 Comments

No matter where the vision for innovation comes from, the board and CEO must support and evangelize transformation for it to succeed. If the board and CEO don't fully grasp why the transformation is needed, or how it should be achieved, it can bring about more harm than good. They would be better of pausing or canceling the project until everyone can get on the same wavelength. The worst whiplash an organization can receive is a "transformation" project being pushed by IT which doesn't have the support of top leadership. Why? Because the rest of the company will take their lead on how to respond—how seriously to take the change—from their top leadership. If they see shoulder shrugs, they may shrug too and won’t be fully committed to getting on board. Just as importantly, the support from top leadership will deeply impact the behavior of those pushing the change—in IT [...]

5Oct, 2019

Step 1 to Swimming in the Digital Pool – Get in the Water

By |October 5th, 2019|Categories: Digital Transformation, Innovation|0 Comments

Do you have a vision for the potential of technology to impact your company's future, but lack the details to make specific proposals? Part of leadership is seeing the need for change and taking steps to share and implement this vision with your team. The first step doesn’t have to be perfect or huge—you need not jump into the deep end of the pool right away, but it's critical at least to acknowledge that you need to learn how to swim. No matter how your organization uses data—processing, analyzing, or simply entering it and viewing it on a daily basis—there is a high likelihood that some kind of digital technology can take your efforts to the next level.  Initially, you may not have clarity on how automation, AI, or analytics will play a part, but neither is it a requirement for someone to know all the strokes before deciding they [...]

12Sep, 2019

Best IT Strategy for a Non-IT Startup? It Depends

By |September 12th, 2019|Categories: Innovation, Transitional Leadership|0 Comments

Tech company startups are the darlings of the press and of venture capitalists.  It certainly seems that tech companies dominate the list of "Unicorns" and top IPOs from the last few decades.  Their pace of revenue acceleration (though not necessarily usually earnings) are breathtaking - at least for the few who make it "over the hump" to reach critical mass.  But these are far from the only startup businesses where key IT decisions are needed. In non-IT startup companies, the landscape of tech choices is different, although potentially just as impactful on the company's chances of success.  Tech isn't their product, but in many cases it may make up a significant part of their engine (there is a spectrum of IT impact, of course - that's one reason why "It Depends..")  Interestingly, from the myriad books on the topic of startups pumped out of publishing houses these days, very few [...]

1Aug, 2019

Early AI Won’t Reach Professionals’ IQ. Build it Anyway

By |August 1st, 2019|Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Innovation|0 Comments

When you teach your children how to read, you don’t hand them a dictionary. You start with one letter, then move on to the next, hoping you know enough words that describe the letter “X” and can create a system from which they will learn on their own. No one expects a toddler to suddenly pick up the morning paper and process the symbols inked onto the page into useable information—but even knowing that, they begin the long, tedious, (painful?) steps to ensure that one day their child, years down the road, can read the morning paper if they so choose. The results are worth the pain in the end. Yet when people hear about the developments of AI in business, many of them assume the process is pointless if the technology has not reached a level of newspaper-reading, so to speak. What would be the point of investing money [...]

14Jul, 2019

Dangerous Inoculation – the Problem of Failed Early Digital Projects

By |July 14th, 2019|Categories: Digital Transformation, Innovation|0 Comments

Organizations run the risk of being "inoculated" against the power of innovation if their early investments in technology or "digital transformation" fails to deliver business benefits.  In fact, "Digital" is becoming a four-letter word in some companies. One risk is if the initial digital "pilot" is over-hyped by its sponsors, possibly in an effort to get approval for the initiative if it's a controversial topic.  While it may seem justifiable to over-promise a little with the idea that "they'll get excited when they see how close the team can get", in fact this is a very dangerous stretch which risks killing the chance of future projects altogether.   Better to continue to win hearts and minds to the vision using reasonable expectations than to stretch them unwisely. Inoculation can occur even if expectations aren't stretched though.  In some organizations the skeptics may lie in wait for a pilot project to fail [...]

1May, 2019

Turning IT into a Profit Center – Client Success Story

By |May 1st, 2019|Categories: Innovative Success|0 Comments

Innovation Vista keeps our past clients and partnerships confidential.  Unless you choose to publicize our joint work, the public - and specifically your competitors - will not know you are working with us, or planning anything new or different.   Sun Tzu said it well: All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.  -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War It is often useful for new and potential clients, though, who are envisioning possible innovation and digital projects, to consider how our approach has benefitted other companies, even just in broad anonymized strokes... One recent example was a financial intermediary involved in connecting counterparties with specific investment needs [...]

2Dec, 2018

How is IT Doing? Ask Business Leadership FIRST

By |December 2nd, 2018|Categories: Assessments, Transitional Leadership|0 Comments

"We do a great job.  90% of our KPIs and projects are in the green, and we had 99.9% uptime last month..." ...Comments like this can be indicative of successful IT shops, hitting on all/most cylinders and empowering their companies to great results. ...Comments like this can also come out of IT leaders' mouths in departments which are completely failing their businesses - possibly without them even knowing it.   Wait, you say.  How could Key Performance Indicators be put in place, or projects approved, without the business being on board?  And if 90% of them are in the green isn't that a good sign?  Not necessarily.  They could very well be meaningful, but KPIs may not really measure how well IT is supporting and empowering the business.   Consider these common situations: KPIs surrounding reaction times to requests, but none addressing proactivity KPIs about bug fixes, but none measuring the [...]

20Sep, 2018

A security checklist for CEOs to sleep at night

By |September 20th, 2018|Categories: Assessments, Security|0 Comments

CEOs are in a complex quandary on information security. On the one hand this is a topic requiring deep technical expertise which is (usually) outside the wheelhouse of CEOs, unless they head up a security tech company. On the other hand, it has become abundantly clear that in the court of public perception (and for that matter, the court of law), it is considered a CEO's personal responsibility to ensure that appropriate protections are in place to protect the information of a company's customers - particularly consumers. No CEO wants to end up on the front page of the newspaper or sued for negligence over a breach. Recent incidents should serve as sufficient motivation: Yahoo - 3.5 billion account details were hacked in two different breaches.  Every single account on a system serving nearly half of the world's population in 2013-14 (not fully disclosed until 2017) Sony Motion Pictures - [...]