When is enterprise mobility not really ENTERPRISE mobility? (hint - most of the time!)

We often hear about how important enterprise mobility is to businesses. For years ICT events companies have been holding events about "enterprise mobility" and "the future of wireless" etc - and they have filled halls with attendees and sponsors/exhibitors.

But really - is mobility really that important to businesses? Weren't the people with "mobile" in their title the first to go when the global financial crisis hit? And point me to more than a handful of businesses whose business relies on their mobility capabilities.

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IBM's CIO study reveals where you should focus your IT leadership efforts

In September this year (2009) I was invited to New York City by IBM to preview their soon to be released CIO study. Very soon after my return home I wrote up an insightful, relevant, and actionable blog post on what I learned at the event. Of course you are going to have to take my word on this, as for some reason I can't find it... It has disappeared into the ether (perhaps I didn't hit the "Save" button at the bottom of the page?). So, despite that fact that the study was released three months ago, I am going to redo my analysis of the study - although now that some local (Australian & Indian - sorry rest of Asia Pacific!) results have been released there is some more relevant information available.

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When is enterprise mobility not really ENTERPRISE mobility? (hint - most of the time!)

We often hear about how important enterprise mobility is to businesses. For years ICT events companies have been holding events about "enterprise mobility" and "the future of wireless" etc - and they have filled halls with attendees and sponsors/exhibitors.
 

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Are IT departments in Asia Pacific still focused on IT process improvement?

Recent research undertaken by Forrester across Asia Pacific has indicated that while there is clearly a strong drive to improve the efficiency of IT systems, this will not often be through the implementation of process improvement systems, such as ITIL or CMM.

 
Major IT Management Themes In Asia Pacific
Forrester BDS data
Source: Enterprise Global Technology Adoption Survey, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, And Africa, Q1 2009
 

 

So why has interest in these processes suddenly plummeted in Asia Pacific? While I have no strong evidence of the answer to the question, the many discussions I have had with IT leaders across the region leads me to believe that a number of factors have lead organizations to delay or put a stop to their ITIL process improvements and their broader ITSM initiatives. 

 

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Analysis from Microsoft TechEd 2009 - Take 2

So I have now spent a couple of days at TechEd - attending sessions when possible, and meeting with some Microsoft executives to discuss their strategies in more detail, I have also spoken with the "real" attendees at the event when possible (after sessions, in coffee queues, etc) to get their take on the proceedings.

As hypothesized in my first blog post, my first impressions were correct. Microsoft is a much more positive organisation - no longer apologising for its past sins (Vista, Windows Mobile 6 etc) but looking forward to better times where solid and reliable platforms, such as Windows 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5 will help their customers to make better use of the great platofrms that already exist within their customer base (such as Exchange, SQL Server. Windows Server and SharePoint).

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Analysis from Microsoft TechEd 2009 - Take 1

Cutting IT spend is in vogue in Asia Pacific - even for those companies getting an increased IT budget!

I recently completed a report comparing the movements and trends in IT budgets across different countries across the Asia Pacific region. The general finding of the report was that although IT budgets are down on average, there is a chasm appearing between the "haves and have nots" for IT spend. In summary, while the average decrease in IT budget decrease is around 5%, of those companies getting an increased IT budget, their spend increased by between 15-20% on average, and for those receiving an IT budget cut, the decrease was often around 20%. The decisive factor on the direction of the IT budget was often the level of exposure to the global financial crisis. Those with a high level have seen the highest budget cuts, those with low levels of exposure (or those profiting from the crisis) are seeing increases or flat IT budgets.

But as is often the case with statistics, they do not tell the entire story. What is becoming clear is that even those companies with increased IT budgets are looking to decrease their IT spend in as many areas as possible. Much of the interest in the region in cloud computing has actually come from the public sector - one of the sectors that has been relatively sheltered from the slowdown in IT spend. Virtualisation is on the agenda for nearly all companies, as they look to make better use of the hardware that they already have.

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It's time for IT departments in Asia Pacific to get Lean

I just read on Twitter that apparently it is too late to get Lean or Agile. I do question why the two have been bundled together (one is a development methodology, one is a management principle), but either way, I disagree with this statement - at least part of it. Moving to an agile development process is not a decision that should be taken lightly - it involves significantly re-engineering many processes, including much of the program and project management - and this is not a trivial issue! So the statement around Agile I agree with!

However, getting Lean should be on the agenda for all CIOs - in fact, I would argue that Lean is more important now than it has ever been due to the current changing needs of customers. Lean management principles are fundamentally about focusing on delivering the best outcome for the customer with minimum waste. And with major changes going on with the way people consume IT, focusing on the changing requirements for IT customers and delivering them efficiently is extremely important.

Lean typically uses many small changes to achieve this outcome. And it is this point which makes Lean particularly relevant for the current economic environment - you can remove waste (read: save money) through many small improvements - and as a general rule, small changes don't need serious change management capabilities."Lean thinking" should be at the core of all that we do in the IT department - and running some Kaizen blitzes to make small improvements and remove waste should be on the agenda.

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The lighter side of tech: Michael Jackson and technology

It's been a while since I blogged - and even longer since I did something a bit light hearted - so I thought it's time to make a comment on something about tech that has been bugging me recently.

So Michael Jackson and technology seem like very loosely related issues - and they definitely are. But the death of such a "big name" is quite a rare occurrence - and it makes people think back to the last time someone with such a high profile passed away, and how they reacted then. And at the same time, it demonstrates how technology, that is ultimately designed to connect people, actually ends up keeping us apart (or at least reminding us of the fact that we are apart).

When I think back to the last big "star" that passed away, in any territory of the world connected to the United Kingdom, it was probably the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This happened in August 1997. In North America, people have been comparing Michael Jackson's passing to that of Elvis, Buddy Holly, and the likes. Such big events act as markers of time. People remember where they were when they heard of Elvis', President Kennedy's, and Lady Diana's deaths. And often these were shared experiences - people remember who they were with at the time - as often they heard this information from other people. I remember driving on Spit Road in Sydney when it was announced on the radio that Diana, Princess of Wales, had passed away. I had my partner (now wife) and friends in the car with me at the time. We shared the experience, and somehow even bonded over it.

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Good news for IT folks - server sales are down!

I read on a twitter post recently that according to some recent research by Gartner, server sales are down 24%. And today I saw an article based on some IDC research that in Australia they are down by 39%. In my humble opinion, this is good news for IT leaders in Asia Pacific.

So why is it good news that server sales are down? The way I see it, IT departments are still serving their clients, web sites are not crashing, applications are stable, and generally IT systems in the region are running pretty well. So it seems that IT departments are doing well without all the extra hardware expenses.

The economic downturn has been a good thing for IT leaders. They have been forced to look for new ways of doing things - they have challenged the accepted wisdom. And they have continued to deliver what the business requires and have not had to buy a new piece of equipment every time they want to implement a new capability within the business. IT departments are now being given the license they have been asking for to consolidate systems across business units, departments and/or applications. Virtualisation, SaaS, cloud computing, SOA and many other technologies or technology-assisted services have come to the fore to allow IT departments to continue to deliver on the their requirements.

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