Embrace Workplace And Workspace Diversity Now

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

As I sit at my kitchen table enjoying the quiet of my house before my kids come home, I know that I will move to my office and shut the door once that tranquility is shattered by their arrival. Then later this evening, once the house is again quiet with the monsters nestled in their beds, I might just take a few calls propped up on pillows in my bed. Yes, I do that regularly. Heck, they call it a laptop, right?  This is the "home" scenario. On the road, workplaces and spaces vary even more. I really work best from a hotel room, or the hotel bar if I have a good headset on.  None of this is new for me; I have played the role of an itinerant worker for years. But for a long time my employers continued to put my name on a door or cubicle. For me, that has now changed. No more nameplate for me. Employers are increasingly waking up to the fact that many employees (or "information workers," ugh... hate the term) just don't need or even want a fixed office or space. And, likely more importantly, the employers don't want that either. An empty office is an under-optimized asset. Both demand-side and supply-side forces converge to drive workplace and space diversity.

We hear a lot about empowered employees these days, and the changing nature of work and the workforce. Forrester's Workforce Employee Surveys investigate trends among information workers such as device usage, collaboration practices, workplace preferences, and attitudes about their employers. And, the signs are clearly indicating that the demand for workplace diversity and choice is on the rise:

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Make no mistake - IBM’s Watson (and others) provide the *illusion* of cognitive computing

IBM has just announced that one of Australia’s “big four” banks, the ANZ, will adopt the IBM Watson technology in their wealth management division for customer service and engagement. Australia has always been an early adopter of new technologies but I’d also like to think that we’re a little smarter and savvier than your average geek back in high school in 1982.

IBM’s Watson announcement is significant, not necessarily because of the sophistication of the Watson technology, but because of IBM's ability to successfully market the Watson concept.   

To take us all back a little, the term ‘cognitive computing’ emerged in response to the failings of what was once termed ‘artificial intelligence’. Though the underlying concepts have been around for 50 years or more, AI remains a niche and specialist market with limited applications and a significant trail of failed or aborted projects. That’s not to say that we haven’t seen some sophisticated algorithmic based systems evolve. There’s already a good portfolio of large scale, deep analytic systems developed in the areas of fraud, risk, forensics, medicine, physics and more.

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Open Data Is An Asset! New US Federal Guidance For Reaching Its Full Potential.

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

 

The recent Executive Order Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum Open Data Policy – Managing Data as an Asset have brought much attention to efforts to promote the use of data by the US federal government. In fact, highlights of the US Federal Open Data Project are already impressive.  Many agencies already provide their data in machine-readable formats through APIs, or at least downloadable data sets. However, I personally measure “highlights” in terms of the use of the data (not by the number of data sets accessible).  And, many organizations already put this data to good uses in health, energy, education, safety, and finance.  My recent blog, Open Data Isn’t Just For Governments Anymore, highlighted several examples of companies built on open data.  Think Symcat, Healthgrades, oPower, or even Zillow which has been using public data for a while now.  How many of you have “zillowed” your house, your neighbor’s house, or even a colleague’s house?  Be honest.  I have.

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The CIO’s Role In Business Transformation

Marc Cecere

At our recent CIO Forum in D.C., I had a number of conversations with clients who either had gone through or were going through a business transformation. From our talks, one theme jumped out at me — most CIOs will either lead some part of this transformation or get run over by it. From their perspective, there was no middle ground. To paraphrase one CIO, “There’s no way you can just go along for the ride and not get hurt.”

 A little data first. In a survey Forrester performed for Tata Consultancy Services, approximately 30% of those surveyed responded that the CIO was the most important senior leader in driving or supporting a business transformation; CIOs were rated highest — even above CEOs! With about a third of the sample coming from IT, the numbers were slightly skewed, but follow-up interviews with both business and IT people confirmed the results. To paraphrase the leader of IT strategy from one meeting, “Once past the vision phase, 80% of the work falls to the CIO.”

So why is the CIO asked to do so much in what is essentially a business initiative?

Let’s use KPMG’s Value Delivery Framework to illustrate. In it are five stages of a business transformation — discovery, strategy, road map, implementation, and monitoring — and a number of activities such as program management that span the stages. Of the five stages, implementation requires the greatest effort. From talking with those who have been through it, the greatest implementation challenges are in data, enterprise process redesign, project management, and organizational change management. And for at least the first three areas, IT is the group that is required to commit the most resources to these areas because IT has the greatest depth of experience.

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Amy’s Baking Company Social Media Meltdown: The ABCs Of Social Media

Nigel Fenwick

Of the many questions I get from clients, many center on the use of social media for customer engagement purposes — because sometimes IT staff are asked to block employees from using social media. But what should you do when the owners of the business take to social media?

Today, a small restaurant in Arizona is the hottest thing on social media. Their Facebook page has gone from 2,854 likes on May 14 to 74,687 on May 16. Was this incredible growth in “likes” the result of some incredibly successful social media campaign? Well not exactly.

The restaurant was recently featured on the season finale of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares — a show my wife and I really enjoy as it happens. It seems the main reason why the owners, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, invited the show to their restaurant was because business had gone downhill because of an Internet firestorm they themselves seemed to have not only started but also steadily fuelled.

Well one of the many, many lessons from the meltdown of Amy’s Baking Company (ABC) in Scottsdale, AZ is that owners should never try to use social media before understanding a few basic guidelines:

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Lessons On Innovation From Forrester's Forum For CIOs' Innovation Panel

Chip Gliedman

I recently had the distinct pleasure of moderating a panel discussion on innovation at Forrester’s Forum For CIOs, where I was able to share the stage with Lawrence Lee, Sr. Director of Strategy, PARC, a Xerox company, and Jim Stikeleather,  Chief Innovation Officer, Dell Services. We had the opportunity to discuss the business imperatives for innovation, how to look at inventions and translate them into business value, and how to build the narrative that tells a compelling story around these innovations.

While the discussion gave me fodder for a suite of future blog posts, I just want to highlight a few things that came out of our talk to get you thinking a bit more about how to make your innovation program more effective.

  • Innovation is about turning invention into business value. The innovation process takes these inventions (whether internally or externally generated) and answers the questions to decide whether there is a business opportunity hiding within or to decide quickly (and cheaply) not to pursue that opportunity because of some learned facts.
  • Innovation requires both discrete funding and discrete staff. To think out of the box, we need to have both the funding and people whose metrics and goals are around innovation. As we generally want our best and brightest involved in our innovation programs, we also need to protect them from being called back to deal with the crisis du jour.
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Software AG’s Cloud "Coming-Out"

Stefan Ried

 

Software AG today announced its cloud strategy. It is based on services that are already available, one that will soon be available (H2 2013), as well as a service planned for Q1 2014.

Journalists have already been in touch with me, asking the following question: Is this an overdue “coming out” after many competitors have already announced or offered extensive cloud strategies — or is this a courageous act from a leading technology firm demonstrating its strength in innovation?

I've known Software AG quite well for many years and believe that today’s announcement marks the next stage in a 10-year corporate turnaround strategy. I well remember the time before Karl-Heinz Streibich took over a nearly bankrupt software vendor 10 years ago. Since then, the firm has been through a financial stabilization phase, which saw both a spending and innovation freeze in many areas. Then, Software AG started to renovate its existing products to stabilize its market share, innovating both carefully and cost-effectively. The third phase saw its acquisition of webMethods and IDS Scheer, which brought the firm sufficient scale in both current products and consulting services. For more details, see my earlier blog post.

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Winning The Customer Experience Game (Part 2)

Nigel Fenwick

It may come as a surprise to some to hear that technology teams play an important role in the implementation of an effective customer experience strategy, but that's the conclusion from our latest research.

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Should Companies Allow Employees To Use Cloud-Hosted File Sync/Share Solutions? Yes, With Precautions.

Ted Schadler

 

The Wall Street Journal published a point-counterpoint article on cloud-hosted file sync/share solutions like Dropbox, Google Docs, and myriad others. They chose a title I wouldn't have used myself, but there you have it.
 
I took the pro side. You can read the whole article here.
 
My side of the argument is here:
 
Yes: Employees Are Doing What's Best for the Company
By Ted Schadler
 
Why do employees use cloud-based solutions like Dropbox, Box and SugarSync to sync and share files? As well over 100 million Dropbox customers have learned, it's because these services make it a cinch to move files from a computer to a tablet to a smartphone to another computer and back again. And it's a much better solution than email for sharing a bucket of files with others.
 
These services began life with a focus on home scenarios. But it didn't take savvy employees long to realize that these services also solve three big productivity problems at work: 1) getting all your work files on every device you use for work; 2) sharing files with colleagues; and 3) sharing files with trusted partners and customers.
 
So, should IT organizations allow employees to use these cloud-based services? That question is patently absurd. Why should an IT organization dictate what employees do to get their work done? Who made IT responsible for policing employee behavior and tools?
 
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Too Many Chiefs? Do Public Organizations Need Chief Data Officers?

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

I highly recommend reading Gene Leganza’s blog on the role of the Chief Data Officer, written several months ago.

Having had several related discussions this past week while in Washington DC, it is obvious that the question of how to use and manage the growing wealth of data, and incorporate it into an existing information governance organization and infrastructure (however mature or not), is top of mind in the public sector as well.  These questions are particularly timely for the federal government with the publication of the new Executive Order on Open Data and accompanying Memorandum on Open Data Policy – Managing Information as an Asset.  Do government agencies need a CDO in order to do this?

If they did, what functions does the new role take on?  Does the new role take on new uses of data for business strategy?  Who has responsibility for existing functions of information management and data governance?  Then from the organizational perspective, where does this new role sit?  Who reports to the CDO?  Gene discusses these questions in his blog.  With the increasing importance of data and the information they generate, organizations need to get their heads around the new assets they have – both for internal use and both partners external to the organization.  But the proliferation of “chiefs” doesn’t seem to be the answer.  Information is an asset to the company, yes. And it needs to be managed.  But not all assets have their own chief, nor should they.

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