Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Using IT for Competitive Advantage   Leave a comment

They key question is what is your organisation’s core competency? And from that, are you using IT to improve that core competency?

There is a growing body of knowledge that lends weight to the argument that investment in the right mix of information systems improves economic performance. Specifically, getting this portfolio right has the following results:

  • improvement in the bargaining power with suppliers and customers
  • reduction in operating costs
  • lowering of processing costs
  • enhancing product differentiation
  • increasing barriers to entry

But, the focus of those making decisions should not be solely on the current tense. Benefits do flow on into the future.

Necessarily, these IT investment decisions are made with respect to the business vision. Is the vision to be a low cost producer? Is it to be an exporter of quality goods? Is it to be highly responsive to customer requirements? Are you seen as an innovative and cutting edge?

The answers to these questions will lead to the decisions that need to be made regarding IT spend. That is, how will IT be best used for your competitive advantage. For example:

  1. do your portfolio of information systems improve the efficiency of information flow?
  2. are you capturing how well you know your customers?
  3. are you using this captured customer information to improve your product offering (lower cost or differentiation)?
  4. do you know the history of all of your input costs, and do you analyse their trends?
  5. what is your attitude toward innovation, is information technology assisting in innovation management?

Information Technology can have such a positive influence on your organisation. Are you taking advantage of all that is on offer?

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my strategy and futures-centric blog.

Posted August 15, 2014 by terop in ICT Strategy, Innovation, Technologies

Justifying IT Investments   1 comment

What is often the case in decision making regarding IT investments is a focus on the cost of the investment to the exclusion of the benefits.

We focus on the licensing fees, the project management costs, the interruptions the changes will cause, and so on. But we don’t fairly assess the benefits. We don’t attempt to quantify what the positive outcomes will be. For after all, it is about wielding technology for the improvement of information flows. It is about getting better systems in dealing with the organisation’s information.

Seen in this light, IT projects should be measured with respect to the business process improvements they will make.

Alshawi, Irani and Baldwin in a 2003 study highlighted the fact that IT investment is about improvements to productivity improvement and competitive advantage. That any organisational and process gains come from the use of information technology, not from the information technology itself. And that these advances and enhancements are quantifiable through the following process:

  1. identification of benefits
  2. the changes needed to realise the benefits
  3. execution of these identified changes
  4. evaluation of the results of these changes
  5. discovery of further benefits

This benefits appraisal and management process speaks to the need for information technology projects to be aligned to the business vision to realise the full impact that these systems can bring. By including quantifications of investment outcomes using these terms, improvements in the robustness of the justifications for these IT investment decisions will ensue.

 

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my strategy and futures-centric blog.

Posted August 11, 2014 by terop in Architecture, ICT Strategy, Innovation

Technology Hype or Trend?   Leave a comment

In the world of technology there are many fascinating developments. Think about Google Glass, 3D printing, driverless cars and graphene.

But what causes these developments to move out of hype and inflated expectations into something disruptive. What causes a potential disruption to become an actual disruption?

Think about cloud computing. Several years ago it was pie in the sky. That there was the possibility that enterprises could offload all of their computing infrastructure to a third party. That organisations of all sizes could stick to their knitting and not worry about their IT.

And what happened? Delivery costs came down, governance questions were answered satisfactorily, provider choice blossomed. To the point that that hype has become a trend to the point that the technology is becoming embedded into how organizations run their IT.

Now, think about Bitcoin. About crypto-currency. Its all the hype now. There’s some inflated expectations that it will replace our standard commercial and retail transactions. That in the wake of recent financial matters that this industry is ripe for disruption.

So, what will happen? Well, the stages are:

  1. the framing of technology and its uses will iteratively improve over time
  2. some key people, institutions and organisations will take the lead and become a change agent with this technology
  3. issues around how the technology will be used in the mainstream will be resolved as it becomes more widespread

Thus, with respect to Bitcoin, watch to see if there are some key backers of the technology. It’ll tell you that this financial instrument is headed to mainstream.

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my strategy and futures-centric blog.

Posted July 22, 2014 by terop in Futures, ICT Strategy, Innovation, Technologies

A Mobile-first & Cloud-first era   Leave a comment

As a long time tech company watcher – say Google, IBM, Microsoft, and so on – its interesting to observe the changes in their emphases. With what they see as their competitive advantage in the years ahead.

Take Microsoft’s recent shift from “a devices and services company” to “a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first & cloud-first world”.

That implies that they see an inexorable shift to mobile computing. They see the end of the traditional server room.

But what are the implications for those that use computing and those that supply computing?

  1. location independent interaction with organisations will be assumed
  2. convenience and responsiveness will be the only acceptable customer service experience
  3. unlimited computing power will be available to organisations
  4. the ability to use information will be critical
  5. the security of the organization’s information will be critical
  6. internal ICT users will expect the same mobile-first & cloud-first experience as customers do
  7. the ICT portfolio will be skewed toward SaaS
  8. a reduction in the headcount of internal ICT support staff

The world is changing, and technology leaders like Microsoft are changing in order to keep up with the times. In order to survive and thrive.

Are you?

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

More mobility coming?   Leave a comment

Given that global tablet sales will be larger than PC sales next year, what are considerations should be weighed.

What are the trends already underway? What is likely to happen?

From an internal corporate perspective, among other areas there are impacts upon information security policies and systems supporting those policies.

From a customer interaction perspective, perhaps a greater emphasis upon customer experience with different computing device form factors.

From an IT perspective, there may well be a greater shift to services based in a public cloud.

And with this increasing trend to mobility, perhaps the most pervasive is the desire of all to have information available fast. For movement implies flow, which is not a cousin of patience and waiting.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, see my organisational strategy blog Strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Put the “Information Technology” back into IT   Leave a comment

IT is short for information technology. Its about the technology that supports, creates, transports and stores information.

But more often that not we use the IT tools at our disposal in such a prosaic fashion without fully comprehending the power available. We just open up Microsoft Excel to enter some of the latest financial data. Perhaps use Google Docs to share some facts. Even send some images via email or a social media platform.

But do we see the information we either have as a resource? As something that is valuable, as an asset of significance, as something worth more than just the intrinsic worth of its face value?

And do we see the tools we use, the Excel, the Google Docs, the email and social media platform as simply a tool to get a job done or as the means to facilitate something more.

What information do you have, and what technology are you using to exploit it?

What insights could you gain from the trends contained within the historical data about your customers, about your suppliers? Could your data be used to better support operational, even strategic, decisions?

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, see my organisational strategy blog Strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Posted June 17, 2014 by terop in ICT Strategy, Innovation, Technologies

Does your ICT Strategy support “two heads are better than one”?   Leave a comment

Let’s draw a thread here. To deductively, if you will, draw a conclusion.

Firstly, it is a given that compared with businesses that don’t, those that do engage in strategic planning perform much better in a wide range of statistics. Whether sales growth, profitability, return on investments, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, or even survival, a business that lifts its eyes toward the horizon and navigates a path toward it will do well.

Second, the milieu that we are entering is one based on collaboration. Is one based on partnering to produce innovation, to create new. It is where the economy, in broad terms, is dynamic and changing fast. Where two heads will always be better than one.

Third, a growing trend in business application are those geared toward enhancing “virtual” collaboration. Its moving away from email and physical meetings toward categories such as cloud-based file sharing & other enterprise apps. Toward a greater use of social media.

And so, how easy is it for “the business” to collaborate using the tools that IT provide? How quickly can users respond to changes in their business environment?

To continue realising the real gains from strategic planning, are those plans including IT that will facilitate the “two heads are better than one” approach?

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, see my organisational strategy blog Strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Posted June 10, 2014 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, ICT Strategy, Innovation

IT Spend – cost reduction or profit growth?   1 comment

Through a recent research mini-thesis I began to understand the view of management toward IT within a business. That management had the choice of viewing IT as either a cost centre or a profit centre. As a necessary evil, or as profoundly important to the future of the business.

If IT is a cost centre, well – just focus on efficiencies. Just make sure that you get the best value for money. That each of those computing clock cycles is used optimally and that none is wasted.

IT from this perspective is just a back-office operation. Things just need to run smoothly, efficiently and cheaply.

However, if IT is a profit centre – then focus on growth, on opportunities, on exploiting new ways of doing things. The effort is investment for bigger payoff. Its about using IT to improve, even create, intellectual property. That each of those computing clock cycles goes toward multiplying the effect of the investment.

IT from this perspective is for front-of-house. Its aligned to who you are as a business.

How, may I ask, is IT viewed in your business?

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, see my organisational strategy blog Strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Posted May 28, 2014 by terop in ICT Strategy, Innovation, Leadership, Technologies

How complex does your IT need to be? Try SaaS   Leave a comment

Exactly what business are you in?

Do you have an army of HR professionals, an array of people looking after accounts payed and received?

No? Well, why do you have an extensive group of IT professionals?

If you don’t and your IT isn’t working properly – that may be the reason. But that’s a topic for another day.

Asking from a different perspective, how may applications do you have? How complex is your business model?

Could your back-office functions be all done in one package and that package hosted on the internet?

You see, SaaS – software as a service – is just that. It’s a package, an application that is hosted by a vendor you trust that does the work you need it to do. Instead of that application being hosted internally, with all the attendant support and upgrade needs, all of the “lights-on” activity is taken care by that third party.

But, as with everything in IT, its just not that simple. There is the security of your data to consider. There are the linkages to other applications. There are some considerations around how close that data is in that potentially hosted application to your key intellectual property, how critical it is to your continued operation.

SaaS, that top layer, may be for you.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Got great computing ideas? Need IT infrastructure cost reduction? Well, try PaaS!   Leave a comment

Here’s some questions to ponder:

How much are you spending on IT infrastructure?
How do you currently develop applications?
How do you improve what you have?
What platforms do you have for those great ideas?

Well, PaaS – Platform as a Service – might be right for you.

With PaaS you don’t need to worry about the servers, the network, the storage and all of the trouble associated with these three. The provider takes care of that for you.

With PaaS you get a suite of tools and an application hosting environment.

So, how does this apply to you? Well, if you are in a standard IT shop – it may be that a lot of the infrastructure support costs could be done away with by reframing your cloud computing model search away from looking at the whole IT stack (applications, data & technology) to just the application and data layers.

That 70-80% of your IT budget which is spent on just keeping the lights going, could well drop significantly if you choose the right cloud computing model.

And what of your application developing, testing and deployment environment? Is it just on that Office PC or do you have to “fight” for resources on the virtual server farm. By considering PaaS a bit more robustness may be achieved for your work.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn