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What Color Are Your Employees? Wed 28 Feb 07

Exit Losing experienced employees is never pleasant.  You've invested a lot of time and training effort with them.  They have a lot of valuable job related expertise and institutional knowledge that can not be easily replaced. 

Have you ever experienced the following scenario?

Joe:  I just heard that Sam just quit.

Pete: This is going to hurt.  He was my best employee

Joe: Yeh, he was good.  What a shock.

Pete:  I'm not too surprised.  He wasn't happy with his career opportunities here.

If you're Joe, at this point you bite your tongue and wonder, "If you knew he wasn't happy and might leave why didn't you do something?"

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Everyone Is Looking For The Easy Button Tue 27 Feb 07

EasybuttonAbout a week ago I wrote a post entitled 'Sup Chumps and Why IT Sucks that turned out to be one of my more popular posts.  The post was a discussion of Chis Koch's article Why IT Sucks which was about the our customer's perception of IT which is usually negative.

And what made my post so popular?  Of course it was the wit and wisdom of my commentary and all that extraordinarily perceptive insight.  Right?  After all, what else could it be?  A review of the site traffic statistics provided the answer.

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Should Senior Execs Blog? Mon 26 Feb 07

Quill A little while ago Jason Alba over at JibberJobber interviewed me when he awarded me his "You Get It!" award for February.  One of the more thought provoking questions that he asked was:

I have a friend that wonders why a senior level exec would blog – he isn’t IT and you are, so he’d slightly discount your answer if it comes from an IT slant – why would you suggest that a senior exec has a blog (if you do suggest that)?

I replied that there were good reasons for a senior exec to blog but also that blogging wasn't for everybody.  The reason for this post is that I thought it would be good to expand on that answer.

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Shadow IT Revisited Fri 23 Feb 07

Shadowit_2Ben Worthen has written a great article on CIO.com about dealing with Shadow IT, "Users Who Know Too Much (And the CIOs Who Fear Them)".  He outlines a key factor about Shadow IT: "Users want IT to be responsive to their individual needs and to make them more productive. CIOs want IT to be reliable, secure, scalable and compliant with an ever increasing number of government regulations. Consequently, when corporate IT designs and provides an IT system, manageability usually comes first, the user’s experience second. But the shadow IT department doesn’t give a hoot about manageability and provides its users with ways to end-run corporate IT when the interests of the two groups do not coincide."

Because of this Shadow IT isn't something that will go away.  We can't legislate it away or control with strict policies and procedures.  I interpret his article as additional support to my original opinion of "the only way to put an end to shadow IT is for formal IT to compete with shadow IT head-on and outperform it."  The great part of the article is that he makes some very interesting suggestions on how to do this.

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IT as Dentistry Thu 22 Feb 07

David_maister_1David Maister over at Passion, People and Principles recently had a post about how consultants and other service personnel have something in common with dentists and proclaimed "We're All Dentists".  Maister includes IT technicians within this group. 

His rationale is, "As providers, we see what we do in a positive light (solving problems and bringing about improvements.)   However, from the users’ perspective our presence signals pain, disruption, inconvenience, expense. Ultimately, we may benefit from the provider’s activities, but I’d rather not HAVE to deal with them at all."

Maister goes on to say " We need to remember our place. We’re not glorious “saviors” of clients with problems: we are an unfortunate necessity."

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Hold The Presses! CIOs Are Becoming Strategic! Wed 21 Feb 07

Wall_street_journal_2 That's right, CIOs are becoming more strategic.  And it's official too.  Well as official as having the Wall Street Journal saying so that is.  The WSJ is a pretty good indicator of what's going on in the business world so I'm taking this as a good sign.

Puiwing_tam In yesterday's edition (February 20, 2007  Page B1) the Wall Street Journal ran a story by Pui-Wing Tam entitled "CIO Jobs Morph From Tech Support Into Strategy".  This story is available online, however you must be a registered subscriber to view it.  It is a rather interesting story of how IT is progressing from just tech support to becoming a strategic business partner.  Tam provides some examples of IT and CIOs being involved in the development of new business lines, meeting with customers and helping to transform the business.

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Another Perspective on Second Life Tue 20 Feb 07

Cbs_3This past Sunday the CBS News Sunday Morning program ran a story on Living A Virtual Life On The Internet (note the online version is not a transcript and varies slightly from the broadcast version) with Second Life (SL).  It was a rather interesting update and shows how big and mainstream Second Life has become.

How big?  How does the following sound?

  • It is a $220 million a-year economy
  • Several Second Life entrepreneurs are clearing $200,000 a year
  • Residents spend on average $600,000 ($US not Linden dollars) every day

How mainstream?  How does the following sound?

  • Toyota, Microsoft and Intel are wanting a representation in SL.  As technology companies you might expect Microsoft and Intel to be there but Toyota?
  • Harvard Law School conducted a seminar in SL with people from around the world attending.

So do I still stick with my predictions about the future of Second Life?

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'Sup Chumps and Why IT Sucks Mon 19 Feb 07

ItfrustrationLast Monday on CIO.com Chris Koch wrote Why IT Sucks an article about why people (including IT folks) love to hate IT.  However, this wasn't the standard fare with a listing of all the problems with IT and how we are our own worst enemy.  Although much is this criticism is well deserved, Koch suggests that it also has to do with hierarchy and power (control of information) plus ingrained perception.

Along with all the negative aspects of IT there is a lot of things that IT has done well.  Technology has become an integral part of our life from ebay, to online banking, to the Internet, and to more access to information than was ever thought possible only a few years ago.  And yet the perception of arrogance and aloofness persists to the point that it is a cultural icon.  Staples, the office supply company recently ran a TV commercial that typifies the perception of IT.  The tech support guy walks in to the office greets everyone dismissively with a " 'Sup chumps" starts playing games on the PC and when asked for help simply responds that he is on his break.  One office worker asks another "I thought we got rid of him" only to receive the response "We wanted to, but he's the only one that knows how to fix our computers".  Staples spent millions on running this commercial knowing that everyone could identify with the situation even though in reality very few of us really have to face an IT department like that. 

The perception has become the reality.  So just changing the way we operate isn't enough.  We also have to change the perception.  So how just how do we go about changing perceptions.

Continue reading "'Sup Chumps and Why IT Sucks" »

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Changes To My Site, A Little Weekend Remodeling Sat 17 Feb 07

Construction_1 This weekend I'm implementing 3 changes to my site to hopefully improve its readability and usefulness to you.

The first change is with the category of posts.  In looking at the various categories I noticed that they were overly broad and therefore of limited help when searching for posts of particular interest.  Therefore, I've added new categories and refined others.  I'm now in the process of going back to all my old posts and updating their category classification as needed.

While making the category change I'm also implementing the second change.  Where appropriate I'm adding a list of related posts and/or a category suggestion at the end of each post.  Hopefully this will help guide you to other posts that you might be interested in.  An example of this is at the end of this post.

I'll be making these changes throughout the weekend starting with the most recent posts.  Hopefully, I'll make it through all of them but as weekend remodeling jobs have a tendency to do, it could be sometime next week before I'm through.  Please bear with me.

The third change I'm happy to say is complete.  This involved a cosmetic change in the way my responses to your comments appear to highlight that I value your comments and do respond to them.

If you have any other suggestions for improvements I'd love to hear them.  I'm always looking for ways to improve.

Here is that example of  how I'll be listing related posts.

If  this topic was of interest, you might also like these:

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An Unexpected Obstacle to Forming a Business Analysis Group Fri 16 Feb 07

Yeahbut In the last post I talked about forming a Business Analysis group to provide a strategic service of helping the business operations to better utilize technology.  In talking about this concept with other people I was surprised to hear of one significant obstacle to implementing this.

A friend and fellow CIO was set to implement this concept.  He had support from top management and the business units and had started to interview candidates.  However under intense pushback from within the IT group he decided to postpone the implementation.

Sometime later I was talking to the president of a large company.  This president liked the concept but was concerned about the effect of it on the IT department.  To my surprise this president raised the same objection as my friend's IT staff had.  Wait a minute!  A company president and the IT staff having the same concern?  This seemed like a very unusual situation.

And just what was this objection they had in common?

Continue reading "An Unexpected Obstacle to Forming a Business Analysis Group" »

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