What is Data Migration? – Confessions of a Data Migration Dummy

Confessions of a data migration dummy
I remain forever grateful to a Data Centre Team Leader who helped me understand data migration. 
“Janet” he said “the data has to have a home to go to”.
And at that moment I finally got it.  Before that I had been going to meetings, reading documents and simply not understanding what people were talking about.  Asking questions just created more confusion. My role at the time was change support for a Data Centre during and after a major migration exercise, so I really needed to understand this, what would happen and who and what would be affected so I could communicate this to others and help everyone get ready.

What the Team Leader did was what we often have to do in IT projects – use a metaphor or analogy to get a point across. For me, the main barrier to understanding migration was the limitation of my own mental models. So when the team leader talked about the data finding a home, this bought forward an image of many different houses and their contents moving to a large apartment block. So from thinking about this I understood how migration happened, why clean data was important, and why care and attention that had to be given to timing and managing business continuity risk.
Catering for different mental models is nothing new in IT projects.  Whatever our speciality we all need to understand who and what we are dealing with and pay attention to the language we use.  From time to time, I notice the tendency to feign understanding and not ask questions for fear of looking ignorant. I prefer tolerate the eye rolling reaction to an admission of ignorance simply because the explanation is important to me and the people I work with. I wonder sometimes what George Orwell would make of the language of IT. 
I think that he would like the precision and clarity of some technology terms but would be quite dismissive of words or expressions that mean nothing. When communicating IT concepts or complex project management processes, we all need to be good communicators who think about the audience.  This is especially so for cloud deployments which come with new concepts and language that take time to grasp.
A good rule of thumb is this.  If you don’t understand it yourself, you won’t be able to explain it to others. And if stakeholders don’t understand you – in time they will disengage – which is a major risk for projects who need engaged stakeholders to be successful. 

Nothing is lost by asking the question – but a lot can be gained from making the effort to understand something new.    

Written by – Janet Crews
Senior Consultant – Information Professionals

Janet is a storied, qualified, change management professional, with many years of both commercial and government based experience.
You can connect with or find out more about Janet on linkedin:  au.linkedin.com/pub/janet-crews/6/900/907

Why I LOVE Linkedin.

It was a problem in search of a solution.   

Communication Breakdown.
For Project Managers, the problem ‘bubbles up’ at an awful moment of realisation.  The new technology the project is installing and which will rely on collaboration and information sharing to deliver business benefits – is incompatible with your client’s business culture.  How could it have come to this and what do you do?  Compartmentalise the problem by calling it ‘out of scope’ or tell your client the truth – that their business won’t get a ‘bang for their buck’ from their investment because the culture gap is just too big to cross.     
It was during one of those discussions among peers that a ‘cut through’ insight about the problem came from an Enterprise Architect. “Why can’t change and benefits be integrated into enterprise architecture before the project starts, and before the influence of silo thinking and competing mindsets takes hold?
The chain of ideas was continued by a Change Manager and an IT Benefits Manager.  “Of course, integrating enterprise architecture and benefits goals would have a deeper and more effective impact on project viability, and it makes a lot of sense to assess cultural compatibility well before the project starts”.   This led to a more focussed discussion within the broader peer group about what this approach to change would look like, how it would fit together, how it could reduce risk and whether we could be certain that the problem IT Project Managers agonize over – and which our group had spent the best part of a month talking about – could be eliminated.   This in turn led to a realisation that we should develop these ideas further.   And so this is what I found myself doing in my spare time, contributing towards developing a better and more viable approach to change management in a project environment.
Chain of Collaboration.
The discussion did not take place in a workshop or a business strategy meeting.  The Enterprise Architect was in Montreal, Canada, the Change Manager and the Benefits Manager were in Brisbane, Australia.  Other contributors and reviewers were from Canada, United States, South Africa and the Netherlands.  It happened in one of those virtual networking spaces that we are increasingly gravitating towards to meet peers, build networks and collaborate around common interests – the linkedingroup for change management practitioners.   
These collaborations are commonplace nowadays.  New communities, causes and peer groups are formed everyday because technology enables it.   The tools we have at our finger tips are cheap, quick and effective.  And we like the speed at which we can connect, review others work, give feedback on ideas and contribute to innovation.   What started out as a professional networking space has literally exploded into a place of marketplace of ideas, debate and opportunity.   
I started taking cautious steps in this world, which led to more experimentation from increased confidence.   Here you interact, share ideas and participate in two-way communication.  It takes a leap of faith to do this with people you’ve never met.  But my experiences so far have taught me that the bad’s co-exist with the good’s.  Communication takes a constant effort, misunderstandings are frequent and disengagement is frustrating.  Continued engagement is vital, because without it, people do not share information freely or offer up the ideas needed to drive new thinking about the problems and challenges we face as practitioners.  

After each interaction, I resolve to get better at virtual communication.   I like being part of this world and am relaxed about where collaboration leads.  I am also curious about what it takes to build a cohesive team in cyberspace, a team that is robust enough to work through its creative tension and build the trust needed to keep engaged as volunteers.  So I keep engaged – contribute, learn, extend my network and try different things – some work and some don’t.   But I know we are a team and I feel confident that our work will contribute something important to the body of change management knowledge.  

– Janet Crews Senior Consultant – Information Professionals

Janet is a storied, qualified, change management professional, with many years of both commercial and government based experience.
You can connect with or find out more about Janet on linkedin:  au.linkedin.com/pub/janet-crews/6/900/907

Farewell to a friend.

Farewell to a Friend.
We lost a friend recently in Greg McCallum, who sadly passed away on the 13th August 2014.  Greg became an Advisory Board member in 2012.  I first met Greg in 2010 at an AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors) organised site visit to Rio Tinto Alcan’s Gladstone facilities, and we shared each other’s company over a beer on the charter flight back to Brisbane.  It was then that I learned of Greg’s roles in government and industry and in particular his role as CEO of Citec, overseeing that organisation’s journey from internal government service provider to commercial organisation.
Since then, Greg and I, attended a number of industry events.  This included CeBIT in Sydney in 2011.  It was at that time over breakfast that I learnt of Greg’s special appetite for Vegemite.  Greg had a enormous appetite for this Aussie icon, and a special talent for consuming it the way he did.  But he was equally polite, gently requesting that one avert their eyes, prior to him enjoying his favoured breakfast food.
It was at a Premier Campbell Newman lunch, one of his first after being elected in 2012, where Greg’s ability to provide a short frank assessment on a topic can be best illustrated.  Premier Newman spoke of the need for cultural change in the public service and increased risk taking and innovation by Public Servants.  Turning to Greg for his opinions on this view, Greg dryly stated with his well entrenched understanding of public service “Well it will only happen if he (the Premier) supports it.  So he has made a start.”.
For those who have known Greg, it was obvious that he had battled with his health for many years.  But despite his degrading body, his mind was always quick in wit and observation.  He dealt with his physical challenges in the same way that most of us deal with our daily commute….sometimes annoying and occasionally frustrating, but always nothing more than a necessary part of the daily routine.
Last year, talking to Greg in the lead up to one of our Advisory Board meetings, he listed a number of recent health challenges he had faced in the preceding months.  Some of them moderate, some serious.  But in typical Greg style, it ended with the statement “but I should be right for next week’s meeting”.  And he was.
Greg and I had exchanged emails several times this year, the last in this previous month.  This year seemed to be presenting a few more health challenges than normal for Greg.  With little regard for these obstacles, again in typical Greg style, he was stoically determined to make it into the city and meet as soon as he could.  Sadly he never made it. 

Project Assurance: When Is The Right Time?

If you are overseeing a Program or Project, is there a right time or a wrong time to perform Assurance?

To answer that question, we have to consider a few things, such as:

  • What is the purpose and objectives of the assurance?  There can be many reasons to perform assurance.  It could be something you normally do.  It could be a part of the standard governance process for your organisation.  You could be particularly concerned about the risk of the Program or Project.  And depending on the purpose there will be certain areas that will be of more interest.  These can all play a determining factor in the best timing.
  • What is the staging and timing of the Program or Project.  Every Program or Project has a lot of work to do in the normal course of business.  This creates pressure on the team at different points, but also allows the team to solve some risks in the normal course of their work.  There are also key points in most programs or projects at which you want to have risk mitigations or avoidance plans in place.  An obvious example is a go-live or cutover.
This results in four criteria that we use to influence recommended timing for our clients:
  1. Governance Requirements.  If you need to obtain approval from Project Owners, Sponsors or others than that will dictate some timing.  This could be approval to release funding, authorise the engagement of a supplier or some other governance authority.
  2. Resolve in Due Course.  Depending on what the objectives of the assurance, if you review too early, you will largely identify things that are yet to be done but will be done if you would have performed the review later.  A review like this is largely a waste of time for all involved.
  3. Address Recommendations.  Again, depending on the objectives of the assurance, if you review too late, you may come up with some very valuable findings and recommendations, but there is simply insufficient time to address them without causing some other delay or other impacts occuring. If this happens you just end up being very knowledgeable about your risks but more limited in options as to what to do about them.
  4. Peak Load.  To perform an Assurance review, it takes investment of time by key members of the Program or Project team, plus others across the organisation. If this happens at a peak load time, it may impact on the engagement and availability of those stakeholders you want to gain input from.  It could also take them away from completing critical tasks at a crucial time, resulting in the Assurace Program itself creating risk.  Obviously this is not a good outcome.
Making these assessments does take some know how of how Programs and Projects work, and the causality and dependency linkage between the various parts.  It can also require some sensitivity to the specific needs of each organisation.
As described in the first dot point, above.  All of this is predicated on one thing.  And that is defining the purpose and objectives of the assurance.  And knowing how to best define that is well beyond this post.
Do you have any other criteria that you use?  If so let us know in the comment section below.

Article Written By: Mark Nicholls.

Managing Director, Information Professionals. 
Mark is one of Australia’s most trusted IT Change Management advisors. He also has other entrepreneurial business interests that he operates through MaidenVoyages.

 If you liked this blog check out our other material at Informpros.com
Don’t forget to post your thoughts and comments below…

Business Strategy vs. ICT Strategy vs. Digital Strategy.

Business Strategies have been around for a long time.  ICT Strategies less so.  But the new kid on the block is the Digital Strategy.  What is it, and how does it differ from the first two.
The Oxford Dictionary has two primary meanings associated with Strategy.  The first is below.  The second has a military context.  This is understandable as many management concepts still in use today originated from the military.
Definition of Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.  Definition
It makes sense that a Business Strategy is therefore a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim for a business, or an organisation.  Their names may vary from Business Strategy to Corporate Strategy, Organisational Strategy or something else.  However, most of us know what these look like even if their name may vary.  It is usually developed, or at least lead by the Chief Executive, and it may have extensive input from the Board.
An ICT Strategy can take a number of forms.  In many organisations it is a response to the needs of the Business Strategy.  That is, it defines the ICT plan of action designed to achieve the ICT related aims of the business.  It is usually developed by the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or an equivalent role.  The Chief Executive is often consulted and involved to varying degrees depending on the organisation and on the Chief Executive.  The Board could also be involved, although in my experience it is rare for most Boards in Australia to play an active role in the preparation of an ICT Strategy.
In my view, this approach to the development of strategy has been a big weakness for many organisations.  It is based on a flawed assumption.  And that assumption is that ICT can only form an output from Business Strategy.  By definition, that means that ICT is not a useful input into Business Strategy.  This is flawed thinking, and has been for many years.  ICT has the potential to impact on Business Strategy.  And this effect is becoming more pronounced with each passing year.  For instance ICT innovations are allowing new entrants to enter existing markets, the creation of brand new markets and the creation of new business models and industry structures.  ICT is changing our expectations (as clients and potential clients) for how we interact with organisations.  If you have any doubt, you would know that you and most of your friends use ICT daily to buy, consume or research various products and services.  If you still have doubts, read Marc Andreessen’s article, Why Software Is Eating The World.  I have put some direct quotes from this article below.
Despite this flawed assumption, Business and ICT Strategies have largely been developed in this way for many years.  In more recent times, and perhaps for only the past five years, the Digital Strategy has come along.  It primarily came out of marketing departments who realised that there were more digital marketing and advertising options that they were having to consider.  But beyond that, they also realised that customers wanted to interact with their companies in multiple ways, including digital and online ways.  In some cases they also saw their own market share being eroded by these new entrants that were capitalising on Digital approaches to doing business, and these Digital approaches were being very successful.
Hence we have seen the rise of the Digital Strategy.  While its development may be lead by the Marketing Department, it is increasingly becoming of major interest to Chief Executives and Boards.  There have been enough company failures caused through being blindsided by Digitally enabled alternatives that it is worth them taking a keen interest.  This also means that the Digital Strategy is taking on a broader view, not just a marketing view but a broader strategic view of the organisation, and considering things such as industry structures, competitor behaviour, organisational capabilities, organisational structures, and many aspects of an organisation’s business strategy.
This evolution of the Digital Strategy is now becoming what the ICT Strategy could have been, and perhaps in some rare cases, has always been.  The Digital Strategy is now becoming an input into the broader strategic view of the organisation, helping to inform the Board and Executive team, and providing an input into the entire organisation’s strategy.
A word of warning: Be careful assuming that the above descriptions apply in every organisation though.  In some cases ICT and Business Strategy formation does happen in concert with each other, but this is rare.  And in some cases a Digital Strategy remains a marketing only view although this is becoming less common as a broader view evolves of what a Digital Strategy should be.
Can all three strategies sit side by side?  The easy answer is yes.  But over time, it is natural that they could merge.  For instance, would Amazon or Google or Netflix or Apple or Skype have a Digital Strategy and a Business Strategy.  I cant say for sure, but I don’t believe that they would think of strategy in two separate domains in this way.  In most organisations, it will be useful to have a Digital Strategy.  It will introduce new ideas and concepts and challenge the existing organisation and hopefully have a positive impact on the overall strategy for the business.

Overall, the emergence of the Digital Strategy having a whole of organisation view, and even taking an industry and marketplace view, is a good thing.  It helps organisations to see the opportunity and risk that is in front of them.  The view of many commentators is that eventually every company will have to become a technology company or they will no longer be around.  If that is true then the sooner you start this evolution the better off you will be.  And if a Digital Strategy helps get you started then that is great news.

Business Strategy
Digital Strategy
ICT Strategy
Developed by the Board and Chief Executive
Strategy Development is Lead By
CEO and Board
Was Marketing, Increasingly CEO & Board
Implications for every aspect of an organisations
Considers Client and Market Needs
Considers Industry and Competitor Behaviour
Considers new technology opportunities

Article Written By: Mark Nicholls.

Managing Director, Information Professionals. 
Mark is one of Australia’s most trusted IT Change Management advisors. He also has other entrepreneurial business interests that he operates through MaidenVoyages.

 If you liked this blog check out our other material at Informpros.com.au

Post your thoughts and comments below…

Excerpts from “Why Software Is Eating The World” (WSJ OP )
  • More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense.
  • The world’s largest bookseller, Amazon, is a software company
  • Largest video service by number of subscribers is a software company: Netflix
  • The most dominant music companies are software companies: Apple’s iTunes, Spotify and Pandora
  • The fastest growing entertainment companies are videogame makers—again, software.
  • And the fastest growing major videogame company is Zynga (maker of games including FarmVille), which delivers its games entirely online.
  • The best new movie production company in many decades, Pixar, was a software company. Disney—Disney!—had to buy Pixar, a software company, to remain relevant in animated movies.
  • Photography, of course, was eaten by software long ago. It’s virtually impossible to buy a mobile phone that doesn’t include a software-powered camera, and photos are uploaded automatically to the Internet for permanent archiving and global sharing. Companies like Shutterfly, Snapfish and Flickr have stepped into Kodak’s place.
  • Today’s largest direct marketing platform is a software company—Google.
  • Today’s fastest growing telecom company is Skype, a software company
  • LinkedIn is today’s fastest growing recruiting company. 
  • If you still need convincing or want to read more, read the entire article.

So you want to be a CEO?

This is a question that frequently raised its head during my tenure as a CIO. Almost as frequently as: does CIO stand for ‘Career is Over?’
There are certainly examples in which CIOs have risen to the rank of CEO. Generally these tend to relate to either company restructures that have seen the emergence of new business subsidiaries under a larger parent, or more typically internal ICT organisations that have restructured as ICT Companies, possibly from what Gartner terms as Internal Services Companies (ISCos). So, yes it can happen!
If that is your aspiration, I’ve provided five tips below to help you to make it happen.  They comprise:


·        Step one – Gaining Acceptance

·        Step two – Achieving Parity

·        Step three – Adopting a CEO Champion

·        Step four – Extenuating the Positives

·        Step five – Establishing your Virtual Footprint

Each is outlined below.

1.     Gaining Acceptance
The fact that CIOs are generally well represented around the ‘Top Table’ these days, removes one significant barrier to career escalation. As senior executives, CIOs get the opportunity to get to know the CEO and possibly members of the Board or Government whichever it happens to be. At the same time, they will have dwelled in the same pastures and to a large extend fed from the same trough as their senior executive colleagues. Above all else they should (if they’ve done their job well) have gained a whole of business perspective as well as fostering a degree of mutual respect and support.
2.     Achieving Parity
At least CIO’s can consider themselves to be alongside the likes of the Chief Finance, Strategy, Operating and or Procurement Officers in the line to the Head Hunter’s door, or can they?
I’ve worked with at least one CFO who has subsequently been appointed as CEO for another organisation and I’ve worked with a variety of other business executives that have done the same. Backgrounds have included Procurement, Engineering and assortment of Business Operational Executive Managers. The experiences differ but they do tend to have some things in common:
·        Most have a solid tertiary qualification;
·        Most have done more than one senior executive role;
·        Most have taken the lead in a significant change/transformation program;
·        All have been driven towards CEO attainment.
3.     Adopting a CEO Champion
Another important factor is that all of them have been mentored and supported by a sponsoring CEO. There is nothing quite like having a well-respected CEO in your corner to champion your cause, to mentor you through the teething troubles or to kick start you on the trail to being a CEO. It is a sure way to attach credibility to your aspirations.
4.     Extenuating the Positives
But there are also a few factors in your favour as a CIO:
·        Likelihood of a strong connection with transformational initiatives?
·        Familiarity with many other parts of business operations and offering a unique perspective?
·        Experience with good governance and service delivery and/or shared services?
·        Tertiary qualified?
·        More than a passing familiarity of the potential for ICT to generate business value.
The first thing to do is to articulate your value proposition.  I suggest using, practising and refining this as an elevator pitch. Then you’ll need to find a nurturing CEO (not the simplest of task in itself) to get you moving in the right circles and elevate your profile. In the interests of achieving parity, a sideways step into an alternative Executive Management role might round-off your preparation.
5.     Establishing your virtual Footprint
Today the tools are at hand to help you to establish and raise your profile on a local, national and international basis. Tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook are all at your disposal through which you can boost your virtual presence. Twitter and Blogs especially offer a means to get your views and opinions across, all of which can help to establish your reputation. You may also want to investigate how to accumulate your Klout score via Klout.com to represent the extent to which ‘you influence the world!’ Keep in mind of course that both good and bad reputations can be made over night!
At the same time, presenting at industry events and getting involved with industry bodies and associations can create openings through which you might display your talents. In other words, plan to migrate from being seen as a company champion to being revered as an industry champion.

In the meantime, as for me I think I’ll just stick to my ‘vowel theory’. That is in terms of my aspirations of moving from ex-CIO to CEO, I’ll continue to dispute the rule that suggests it should be “I comes before E, except after C”!


Tony Welsh
Associate Partner, Information Professionals

Tony has over 30 years experience as an ICT professional including 15 years in Chief Information Officer (CIO) roles. His particular skills include ICT and business strategic planning, program management, business and ICT alignment and stakeholder management. He is particularly valuable for organisations seeking to get more out of their ICT investments and/or to use ICT to transform their organisation.


When a Butterfly Flaps its Wings…Big Data style…Financial Market Risk in Play

One of the biggest and most pressing issues in the financial and trading industry today is meeting all the challenges connected to high frequency trading or HFT. HFT is an ultra-fast, computerised segment of finance that is now accounting for most trades. Last May 2010, HFT was one of the reasons why the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered from a sudden fall or a “flash crash”. This type of trading, however, is very different now from what it was three years ago because of one element — Big Data.

Big Data is a term used to refer to data sets that are too complex and large that they cannot be managed by just standard software alone. The financial market produces some of the biggest data of all with the trades, quotes, consumer research, earnings statements, polls, news articles, and official statistical releases involved.

When things go crash people go crazy.

Different generations of HFT have their different approaches as demonstrated by the unsophisticated speed exploits price discrepancies that the first generation of HFT had. Recent profits, in comparison with 2009, from the ultra fast trading firms were reported to be 74 percent lower by the Rosenblatt Securities, proving that being very fast is simply not enough now. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Marcos Lopez de Prado have argued that more and more HFT companies are putting their hopes on what is called “strategic sequential trading” which consists of algorithms that analyse financial Big Data in order to identify footprints left by certain market participants. For instance, when a mutual fund executes large orders in the first second of every minute before the closing of the market, the algorithm will be able to detect that pattern and anticipate that the fund will continue following that trend for the rest of the trade.

This type of HFT, however, can go wrong as reflected by what is referred to as the “hash crash” that happened on April 23, 2013. During this incident, a market drop happened because of a bogus tweet sent by the Associated Press talking about a terrorist attack on Barack Obama. It is different from the incident that happened on May 2010 since it was not caused by rapid sales creating more sales. Instead, it was triggered by a speed crash—specifically a Big Data crash.

Two years ago, it became common for hedge funds to get their market sentiment from whatever happens in social media. Here, trading algorithms based from messages posted on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and chat rooms are used to detect demand trends that might be related to certain companies. The downside is that these algorithms are making guesses on new information based on small sets of data. Recent months have also seen an increase on developing algorithms that do orders as soon as unexpected and unscheduled information is suddenly published such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

The bad news is that addressing this problem will need the ability to understand the mutating Big Data brings. The good news, on the other hand, is that regulators entirely acknowledge the need for the market to adapt to this problem. Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Scott O’Malia recently said in a Big Data Finance Conference that something needs to be done about the fact that “reckless behaviour” is now used in exchange of “market manipulaton.” Even though trading using information collected from social media may be accepted, pre-loading sweeping market orders just because an algorithm detected something different is considered reckless.

The question now is how can regulators make sure that trading participants use Big Data in a responsible way? The CFTC have considered before whether regulators should start certifying the algorithms of traders. This, however, posed the potential for interference and intellectual property theft. A compromise proposed was for market participants to set real-time indices that track what is deemed reckless behaviour instead. Once a trader crosses thresholds, he would be prosecuted. These indices, of course, will evolve with the market and can be defined in consensus by the market participants.

Big Data has been transforming markets the past few years. However, there is also the need to transform with them, especially when it comes to their appropriate regulation. This defines the challenge for those who find themselves lagging behind the speed of these changes, with government naturally amongst them.

Article Written By: Mark Nicholls.

Managing Director, Information Professionals. Mark is one of Australia’s most trusted IT Change Management advisors. He also has other entrepreneurial business interests that he operates through MaidenVoyages.

 If you liked this blog check out our other material at Informpros.com
Don’t forget to post your thoughts and comments below…

Tom Waterhouse – Change is a gamble.

Tom Waterhouse – Change is a gamble.

Now I am not a betting man and I am not defending Tom Waterhouse, but I was very interested to watch the public backlash against bookmaker Tom Waterhouse’s recent campaign to introduce his gambling services to TV sport. When his ads first appeared on TV I was very impressed with how he got his message across and how complete the campaign was. He pitched himself as one of us – he didn’t know how they hit a six, or how they took those big marks, or made those crunching tackles, but he knew what Aussies wanted – to bet on sport. 

Gambling seemed fresh and non-threatening. It was something even the kiddies could enjoy. And he was everywhere. It didn’t matter what sport we watched, there he was with new and innovative ways of betting. He would even give you back your money if you got some things wrong! Gambling must be fun. How could it be harmful in any way?
However, in a matter of a few short months it had become one of the biggest political issues in the country. The Prime Minister got involved and legislation was soon being drafted to stop Tom Waterhouse in his tracks. What went wrong? Change Management – that’s what went wrong. Or at least that’s what Tom Waterhouse did not do. 
He was changing the way people watched sport and interacted with gambling, and changing it in a big way. Tom Waterhouse was engaged in transformational change and he got it wrong. There are some lessons in this for us as business and information and management professionals. How do you accomplish transformational change and win the support of your stakeholders.
One of the main things Tom Waterhouse had to get right and any transformational leader must do is to build trust. What is trust? One good definition is that trust is the disposition of a person to make themselves vulnerable to another person without the expectation of being exploited. Associate Professor Ken Dovey of UTS says, “Trust combines an emotional expectation with a cognitive assessment about the predictability and reliability of another’s behaviour. Trust is mental model about how a particular relationship will work”. It is a basic human concept that must exist for effective collaboration and collaboration is how we get things done in an enterprise. By collaborating we transform creativity and learning into innovation. That is, we make change happen.
It seems also that as humans we are wired for trust in a biological sense. Professor Michael Kosfeld, in the Business Administration faculty at Frankfurt University, conducted experiments that showed when people interact the human brain releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that stimulates trust. In other words we want to trust each other in our work places. Professor Kosfeld says that “when trust is absent, we are, in a sense, dehumanised”.
Taken from a footy punters’ forum
So, how can we build trust? Firstly, we need to identify the stakeholders, the people we want to come on the journey of change with us. We especially need to find those people who have the trust of others already.
Secondly, we need to honour the rules of the organisation and its culture. Obviously, that includes the law itself, but there are also conventions and accepted rules of behaviour that should be followed.
Thirdly, respect should be shown for those who have different opinions and may not even agree with the change. If respect is shown to them, then respect can be won also. Accept that not everyone will agree with the change, however showing respect for those people will help to ensure that they do not work against the change and they may even support it because they have at least been shown respect and allowed to voice their concerns.
Finally, where there is conflict, be prepared to reconcile with those people, so as to break down barriers and to not isolate people. Remember that sometimes people react badly to change often out of genuinely good motives, such as, concern for the direction of the enterprise or for the welfare of colleagues. Perhaps they have reacted out of fear. Viewing these reactions as opportunities to find constructive criticism and address concerns that may be more widely held can turn negative reactions into increased confidence in the leadership. This in turn can lead to stronger bonds of trust.
Of course, there are many other things a transformational leader needs to pay attention to, however the building of trust is possibly the most important. Once trust is built then old ways of doing things can be challenged and new innovative practices can be introduced to our organisations. Leaders can then drive change by providing a vision that is based on the shared beliefs and values of members of the organisation.
Can Tom Waterhouse accomplish the same? It might be hard as he is dealing with the Australian sport viewing public, in effect, a very large and complex enterprise. He has already challenged the perceived rules of behaviour and borne the brunt of the reaction of breaking those rules and not building trust in the first place.

I’m not a betting man, but it will be interesting to watch as this story evolves.

* Article has been edited 22/08/2013 – Names were edited from Robbie to Tom Waterhouse to correct the original title and body copy errors. ala “Fine Cotton”

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Comment, please leave us your thoughts.



Written By: Information Professionals Associate Partner – Tim Hosking 

Tim is a senior business and information architect with wide experience in the private and public sector. His private sector experience is almost entirely in the finance sector, including Bankers Trust, Commonwealth Bank, Sydney Futures Exchange, Commercial Union (now part of CGU), and National Mutual Life Assocation (now Axa). His public sector experience has been with NSW Police Force, Police Integrity Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Tim has completed the ITMP program at UTS – Master of Business (IT Management) with special focus on research into enterprise architecture.

You can’t always get what you want….

“You can’t always get what you want.” The famous words from the Rolling Stones ring true when organisations acquire packaged solutions “off the shelf”.
Here is an analysis of what happens when an organisation has a legacy system it wants to replace with an “off the shelf” solution. There are three basic things to consider:
  1. What the organisation has right now, in terms of the capabilities the system offers
  2. What the organisation wants from a new system, often with updated capabilities, streamlined processes, support for new channels, etc.
  3. What the organisation actually gets from the new application it acquires off the shelf.
Let’s analyse the gap between what the organisation already has and what it wants. The gap between the two will depend on how big a business transformation the organisation is taking on. It is likely, however, that there will be at least some capability that the organisation currently has that it will want to retain. The figure below illustrates that there will be some overlap between what the organisation currently has and what it wants. Of course, there will be some legacy capability it will no longer be interested in, while there will be new capabilities required.
It’s reasonable to expect that where the business transformation is large the overlap will be smaller, and where the change is small the overlap will be greater.
Now, let’s analyse the relationship between what the organisation wants and what it will get off the shelf. It’s logical to conclude that what the organisation wants and what the organisation gets won’t match perfectly. There will be some kind of misalignment or gap between expectations and reality. The figure below demonstrates this:
The extent to which the two circles overlap will depend on lots of factors and obviously the more they overlap the better. However, no one should realistically expect that the two will exactly match each other. There will always be capabilities that the organisation wants that it will not get off the shelf. There will also be capabilities or functions it will get that it really isn’t interested in.
Now, let’s put it altogether and see what happens:
As you can see, it’s a bit more complex than it might have appeared originally. Obviously, the shape of this diagram is going to vary based on the organisation, the size and type of business transformation and other influences. However, there are a number of constants that are apparent.
Let’s look at what you will get. You will get some of what you want that you already have and want to keep. That’s a good thing. New capabilities that will replace your old ones and will hopefully do it more efficiently and effectively.
You will also get some of what you want that you do not have already. This is also a good thing. You want those new capabilities that were out of your grasp previously.
However, there are a couple of problems. You are also likely to retain some of the capabilities that you no longer want and you are likely to get some capability that you don’t have and don’t want.
Worse than that, you will NOT get some of the things you want, and you will lose some of the things you have and want to retain.

That’s right, “you can’t always get what you want.”


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Written By: Information Professionals Associate Partner – Tim Hosking 

Tim is a senior business and information architect with wide experience in the private and public sector. His private sector experience is almost entirely in the finance sector, including Bankers Trust, Commonwealth Bank, Sydney Futures Exchange, Commercial Union (now part of CGU), and National Mutual Life Assocation (now Axa). His public sector experience has been with NSW Police Force, Police Integrity Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Tim has completed the ITMP program at UTS – Master of Business (IT Management) with special focus on research into enterprise architecture.

So you still want to be a CIO?


The Reflective CIO – So you still want to be a CIO?
Welcome back! I figured it was about time to follow up on my original blog. Last time I discussed six time-tested observations I have made over fifteen years as a CIO. This time I thought I’d offer my perspective on a couple of topical subjects:
·       The evolving role of the ICT Organisation
·       The evolving role of the Chief Information Officer
You might believe that the two subjects are intrinsically linked and I would agree but I would suggest that the linkage will be radically redefined over the next couple of years.
1.     The Evolving Role of the ICT Organisation
First off, what are the main drivers for change? Well that might include:
·       Increasing the focus on business improvement
·       Freeing up scarce resources
·       Reducing the costs of running the business
·       Gaining access to a wider pool of capability
·       Refocusing on core business activities
·       Maximising profitability
·       Improving service quality
·       Achieving profitable growth
·       Differentiating products/services
·       Increasing customer self-service
·       Reducing risk
·       Increasing customer loyalty
At the same time you need to respond to emerging trends and realisations:
ICT Commoditisation
Let’s start with a clear definition.  I like the definition provided at www.BusinessDirectory.com – “Almost total lack of meaningful differentiation in the manufactured goods. Commoditised products have thin margins and are sold on the basis of price and not brand. This situation is characterised by standardised, ever cheaper, and common technology that invites more suppliers who lower the prices even further.
That same definition that applies to products can be applied to the services that are associated with those products.  Hence the trend in organisations to divest those services which have traditionally formed the backbone of the ICT Organisation.
BYOD – Now-Generation Outsourcing
An appropriate response to Gen Y and Gen Z consumers (i.e. staff and/or customers) is to let them redefine ICT as we know IT. The hardware is now user defined and supplied. The software and operating system is outsourced and managed over the cloud and Apps are readily available to download to devices of their choice.
In this scenario, the potential responsibility of the ICT Organisation or entity becomes that of providing secure (i.e. portal) access and facilities to update corporate information. BYOD is not without its challenges and it needs to be carefully planned and executed (see 10 Steps to a Successful BYOD Strategy)


Customer Self-Service –ultimate Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?
An undeniable trend is that of customer self-service. How can it be possible that you can get customers to answer their own queries or choose their own product, at their own expense, in their own time? And there’s more: they can process their own payment, up front, and even make their own arrangements for delivery. Yes and we will rate those businesses very highly!
The world is changing!
Strategic Sourcing
Whereas organisations were once faced with two primary options:
a.     In-house – The generally low value, low cost option
b.     Outsourced – The generally higher cost, higher value option
There is now a multitude of variations available including:
c.      Sole-Sourcing – Outsourcing to one principle vendor
d.     Multi-Sourcing – Outsourcing to multiple vendors
e.     Co-Sourcing – Partnering with a firm that employs staff to meet your long term needs
ICT as a Service
With the emergence of the cloud, a proliferation of ‘ICT as a Service’ variations have emerged providing choices to organisations. These include:
a.     Software as a  Service (SaaS)
b.     Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
c.      Platform as a Service (PaaS)
d.     And other variations are emerging such as Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS).
The theme of ICT as a Service features throughout the Queensland Government ICT Strategy 2013-2017 http://www.qld.gov.au/dsitia/assets/documents/ict-strategy.pdf and increasingly of those in other jurisdictions.
In essence, these services provide for organisations to procure ‘turn-key’ solutions on a regular (eg. monthly) subscription basis. As a consequence the assets remain the property of the service provider as with the responsibility to apply upgrades and refreshments over the contracted term.
In some cases, these services can also be integrated with buy back and leasing arrangements to facilitate flexibility with financing and for those with existing assets.
The Overcoming of the ICT Stigma
Fairly or unfairly, many ICT Organisations carry a reputation for underperforming and failing to deliver business value. Some are judged to be expensive and lacking in capability and frequently external service providers are viewed through rose coloured glasses.


Implications for the ICT Organisation
When you add it all up, it would seem that the writing is on the wall for the ICT Organisation. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the writing has been there for some time. Certainly, as a CIO I have been presenting that message to my teams since at least early 2000. As I look back now, those teams bear very little or no resemblance to the teams of today.  On and off-shore outsourcing and more recently the cloud, have played a major part in redefining them.
In Gartner’s IS Lite publications from 1999, they have espoused the virtues of a slimmed down IS/ICT organisation. Much of that work continues to be relevant today. However, things look to be destined to move to yet a new level. I would expect to see:
a.     Acceleration of the slimming down of ICT organisations
b.     The emergence of new governance structures to accommodate what I refer to as ‘External Trusted Advisors’ (ETAs)
c.      Further divestment of ‘demand-side’ responsibilities i.e. some aspects of architecture and strategy development, business enhancement (e.g. project management) and technology advancement (e.g. prototyping)
d.     Emergence of new roles and capabilities to generate business value in areas such as data analytics, open data, business intelligence, social marketing etc.
They have been saying that the “mainframe is dead” as long as I can remember. The reality is that they are still around but their role that has changed. Likewise, ICT organisations can survive but not in their present form. How will you and your organisation be impacted:
·       What’s your value proposition?
·       Are you relevant?
·       What differentiates your services from those of others?
If your organisation has the right answers to these questions, you might survive and even prosper.
So what will this mean for the staff of the ICT organisation? Well, the technical skills will still be needed but those opportunities will mostly be with ICT Service Providers (SPs) including Cloud SPs. There will continue to be a place for high value capabilities including vendor management, strategic planning, relationship management and portfolio management. Otherwise, it will primarily be those occasional bad experiences with vendors that will slow down the inevitable transition to outsourcing and particularly ICT as a Service.
2.     The evolving role of the Chief Information Officer
So, with the prospect of his/her empire crumbling, will “CIO” finally stand for “Career Is Over”? Well, in some cases the answer is yes. For others it will depend on two main factors:
·       How progressive is the CIO?
·       How aligned is the CIO with the CEO?
Progressive CIOs will be reflecting on this blog as confirmation of the career development strategy that they already have in mind. Others might re-think theirs and start getting on board. The remainder I will call Blue Sky CIOs – because they see no room for the cloud – are most likely to dismiss the scenario I’ve outlined as being unrealistic. Well, to each, their own. What is for certain is that the role of the CIO is evolving. What is equally certain is that the role is evolving in different directions. These include that of:
·       The Chief Digital Officer (CDO)
CDOs will typically have experience with digital technologies, e-commerce and digital transaction processing, social media and online marketing. They will be concerned about how digital changes marketing, recruitment, procurement, sales and finance. They will be heavily involved in data analytics and in employing Business Intelligence and influencing business strategy to adapt to the Digital Age. The CDO’s focus is customer-focused (front end) technologies.
·       The ‘Traditional’ CIO/CTO
CIOs/CTOs toil to keep leading companies abreast of cumbersome, enterprise-wide technology upgrades and efficiencies – virtual servers, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and IT infrastructure of all kinds. The domain includes the maintenance of Enterprise Architecture, policies and standards was well as traditional ICT services such as Desktop support, telecommunications management, applications development. As these services increasingly become the domain of external service providers over the cloud, the role will become less relevant.
·       The ‘Hybrid’ CIO
The ‘Hybrid CIO’ reflects the evolution of the CIO as a business leader, tasked with leading business transformation with equal focus on business process optimisation, information exploitation and technology innovation. In the scheme of things, this will result in the technology taking a back seat with emphasis switching to stakeholder management, vendor management and cloud service brokering rather than ICT service delivery. Business Process Management and Data Analytics (as with the CDO) will be at the forefront.
·       The ‘Virtual’ CIO
It’s also worth contemplating the role of the ‘Virtual CIO’. For SMEs unable to retain a permanent CIO and for larger organisations requiring CIO capabilities to plan or oversee transformational changes, this might present an answer. It might apply for traditional, hybrid or even Digital nuances. Essentially we’re talking about CIO as a Service (CIOaaS) which may have particular appeal to organisations contemplating a move on from their current arrangement but being less certain of the flavour they need next.
With each alternative role I expect significant change. The likelihood is that the traditional CIO/CTO will operate with a reduced sphere of influence – to a large part reverting back to the role of ICT Manager and being consumed within the domain of the CFO, CMO or even the CDO. Not all CIOs will make the transition to CDO and many will choose not to. For those that don’t, I suggest that transition to the ‘Hybrid CIO’ role would offer a better alternative and (possibly) a transition step to being a CDO.
Final Word

It’s going to be an interesting time ahead for both CIOs and ICT organisations. Now would be a good time to contemplate what the coming changes will mean for you as a CIO or an aspiring CIO and to position yourself to make the most of it. Thanks for reading!

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Tony WelshTony Welsh
Associate Partner, Information Professionals

Tony has over 30 years experience as an ICT professional including 15 years in Chief Information Officer (CIO) roles. His particular skills include ICT and business strategic planning, program management, business and ICT alignment and stakeholder management. He is particularly valuable for organisations seeking to get more out of their ICT investments and/or to use ICT to transform their organisation.