IDG Contributor Network: Why the Internet of Things without the hardware is just vapor

Imagine it’s a Friday night and you decide to try out a fancy-looking new restaurant in town. You pull up to the front and are greeted by a white-gloved valet and a maître d’ who addresses you by name. The maître ushers you inside and seats you at a white-table-clothed, candle-lit table, complete with gleaming cutlery and crystal glassware. You take in the elegant surroundings while your stomach rumbles at the promise of a decadent meal to come.

But when you ask your server for a menu, you get a puzzling response—

“We’re actually what’s known as a “food agnostic” restaurant, which means you can eat whatever you want.”

“Really? That’s incredible! Well, in that case, I’ll have a sirloin with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and some steamed broccoli.”

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IDG Contributor Network: How to start your first trial engagement with outsourcing

Has the time come for your company to explore software development outsourcing? The potential for cost savings is always attractive, but there are many other good reasons software development outsourcing has been pursued by other companies, including:

  • A large backlog of existing projects, exceeding your staff’s capacity to address
  • Local talent pool challenges – finding and retaining programming talent.
  • A need for new (or even niche) technical skills that are not part of your team’s core skillset.
  • A need to temporarily scale up in programming capacity, then throttle back down at some point.

Regardless of company size, outsourcing has delivered on promises for cost savings, flexibility, and scale.

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IDG Contributor Network: Playing to win with enterprise technology

Enterprise technology is like baseball: a lineup of varying levels of ability wouldn’t stand a chance against best-in-class players, carefully selected for their unique skillsets that perfectly craft a team.

As much as we hate to admit it, not every player on your favorite baseball team can knock it out of the park. As fans, we tend to overlook these flaws to remain loyal. But as a CIO, your loyalty should remain unwaveringly with your employees. This calls for a fantasy baseball approach (with a permanent number one draft pick) where you pick and choose best of breed solutions to keep the odds in your team’s favor. If your company requires tools that support thousands of unique, talented and diverse employees, one solution will never be enough.

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IDG Contributor Network: How blockchain is hastening the advance of autonomous cars

Our modern era is a pivotal time, and new technology is constantly pushing the status quo. While tech gurus, engineers, and developers make steady progress in numerous industries, there are only a few trends that will define this point in time for our successors. Those who look back fondly at the dawn of the 21st century will likely count the advance of blockchain and autonomous vehicles among the key emergent technologies. They will also recognize that these two innovations were undoubtedly intertwined.

Hands off the wheel

The dream of self-driving cars first captured the hearts and minds of people in the 1980s, with Carnegie Mellon and Bundeswehr University Munich students creating the seminal autonomous vehicles ALV and Eureka Prometheus, respectively. These cars did not rely on magnetic tracks or remote control like previous attempts, but without further advancements in technology that hadn’t yet taken place, progress stagnated. The first true step forward in allowing auto manufacturers to build their own self-driving models was the proliferation of wireless internet.

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IDG Contributor Network: The Agile PMO

The Project Office has received a negative reputation in many corporate circles. Often hailed as the “Project Overhead,” many consider the PMO a waste of corporate budget and time, an office that exists to create strict consistency rules while hampering the efficiency and effectiveness of software, firmware and hardware delivery. Unfortunately, my experience interacting with dozens of PMO’s, the criticism has roots within reality.

Back in the early 2000’s, I felt that viewpoint too when I joined my first company that had a true PMO, which seemed more focused on standards and consistency then delivery success. That viewpoint persisted in my next company when I tried to preserve my own flavor of delivery whilst paying homage towards the old “iron triangle” of schedule, budget and scope (when MS Project was king) for my projects.

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47% off Garmin vivosmart HR Activity Tracker – Deal Post

Garmin’s vivosmart is the touchscreen activity tracker with wrist-based heart rate and a full suite of smart notifications. The sleek band is comfortable to wear all day, and the always-on display shows your stats, even in sunlight. With a built-in heart rate sensor and altimeter, it tracks and displays steps, distance, calories, heart rate, floors climbed and activity intensity. Receive text, call, email, calendar and other alerts on your wrist when paired with your phone. The full featured activity tracker averages 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 2,600 reviewers, and is discounted right now down to just $79.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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IDG Contributor Network: Managing your IT career

Over the last couple of years, I have been amazed at how many CIOs that I know personally have been “in transition.” One good friend even “transitioned” for a couple of years. Honestly, I had this happen to me once as a startup person and I can tell you it is no fun. Given that CIO and other IT leader tenures have been getting shorter, I wanted to hear their perspectives regarding managing an IT career.

Members of the CIOChat that I run shared openly on this topic. They were candid that the ‘control era’ is over. They said CIOs and their leadership teams need to know that they cannot control everything so instead they should work at influencing decisions instead. At the same time, CIOs in the chat suggest that trying to make yourself indispensable does not work. It will, unfortunately, stop an IT leader’s upward movement.

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IDG Contributor Network: Platform business models: 4 key steps for implementation

Platform business models allow enterprises to set up powerful industry-focused, cloud-based ecosystems for value exchange and innovation among participants. After their initial debut in the tech sector, they’re now appearing across almost all industry verticals, including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, public sector, telecom, transportation and utilities.

In “Platform business models: A primer”, I wrote about how these models are fast becoming the dominant business model for companies with advanced digital transformation strategies. The business model is particularly compelling because it converts traditional, linear value chains into multi-dimensional value networks and ecosystems. Organizations employing platform business models are often seeing a 4x multiplier in terms of average valuation compared to more traditional business models and McKinsey noted recently that “companies pursuing offensive platform strategies yield a better payoff in both revenue and growth”.

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How to select the best self-service BI tool for your business

The business information (BI) market is fierce and crowded. Historically, the big players — think Oracle and IBM — engaged in feature wars to try to justify budget-stretching (if not budget-busting) pricing, and relied heavily on high-touch salesmanship. To make matters worse, the vendors expected your IT department to work with the vendors’ own consultants to configure their products and integrate them with each of your systems of record, often at additional cost.

Once a traditional BI system was installed and running, managers had to wait for weekly or monthly line-of-business reports, meaning decisions often took a month, plus another month to implement. Adding a report required a request to woefully-backlogged IT, and could take weeks or months to design and code.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why CIOs need a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer

Experts are divided about whether enterprises need a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (CAIO) and how the role relates to data scientists and CIOs. The argument against the role is that you don’t want a C-level position focused on a technology. In this view AI is a tool and it makes no more sense to hire someone at that level just to implement AI than for other tools.

Over the next few weeks I hope to demonstrate how far reaching AI is. I also will argue that the winners and losers in most industries will be determined by AI more than any technology since the PC revolution.

‘AI’ isn’t your movie monster

The term “artificial intelligence” has morphed away from referring to artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI is the pursuit of “true” intelligence, architected to mimic biological intelligence. That is what you see enslaving mankind or falling in love in the movies every summer. Today “AI” is an umbrella term that includes more practical and readily available technologies.

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IDG Contributor Network: Can a program status report be too sexy?

Have you ever noticed how much time your consultant invests in producing a status report for your program? Filled with the appropriate amount of industry buzzwords, these documents often are used by the consulting service providers to lay down the groundwork in support of future change orders. The glitz and sizzle included in these documents can often be seducing to your executives, leading them to believe that the program is well managed, even though the program is crumbling.

Status reports can serve one of two purposes. They can either be the most valuable tool that a program manager has at their disposal, or they can simply be the paper weighing down the box you use as a doorstop. Constructing and evaluating status reports is a critical skill that many program managers and project leaders lack.

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53% off InnoGear LED Solar Motion Sensor Outdoor Security Light, 4-Pack – Deal Alert

InnoGear’s 24 LED solar light can automatically light up your home, yard, garage, driveway, patio, deck, or any other area that gets sun during the day. The motion sensor will be triggered when someone or something enters its 16 feet range with a 90 degree angle, for an increased sense of security around your home. These lights are waterproof and made of a durable ABS material. Right now a pack of 4 lights is discounted 53% down to just $27.99. See this deal now on Amazon.

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IDG Contributor Network: Data and the human factor: are you shackling your best and brightest?

I had the pleasure of hearing one of our customers, an analytics leader at a large pharmaceutical company, present their achievements in the emerging field of Real World Evidence (RWE) last month. In contrast to controlled clinical trials, RWE looks to measure and predict health outcomes and understand underlying factors using data about everyday patients and their environment—i.e., the real world. As you would expect, this is an incredibly challenging task: creating a valid cohort from millions of patients, capturing and aligning electronic medical records and , and accounting for exogenous factors such as the weather and economic conditions, to name a few.

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IDG Contributor Network: 5 companies using big data to disrupt healthcare

Health care is an industry ripe for disruption. While health care overall is a highly polarizing topic, the services provided by the industry are essential. The industry also spans a number of different applications, like pharmaceuticals, , primary care and emergency services, just to name a few. With increased diversity comes increased complexity, which is why industry leaders are turning to innovative technology solutions to help them next-level their operations and the service they provide.

While technology is an essential part of delivering care to patients, it’s important to understand how technology can help change the way the industry operates. Technologies like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and mobile solutions are all making waves in helping to improve the efforts of health care companies, while opening up new sources of data for the industry.

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IDG Contributor Network: How much is client service worth?

Client service is a big and important part of your IT organization’s support. In fact, it may be worth a lot more than you think.

To illustrate how important client service is to a company, I’ll use three personal examples. In your IT manager role it is important to understand the value of client service and what it can do for your IT organization. These three company examples will give you a sample of just how important it is with companies that understand the value of client service.

Example 1: IBM

I worked for IBM way back in the “mini-computer” days when small and medium companies were buying their first computer. It was an exciting time that included lots of fun as well as hard work.

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IDG Contributor Network: How to charter customer success within your organization

Launching Customer Success within your organization? That’s great! It means you have conceptual buy-in about the value that Customer Success can bring, and probably the expectation that the new team will contribute to an increase in overall revenue through their dedication to preserving existing customers.

Executive buy-in and expectations tied to revenue are foundational to launching a Customer Success team of any size. However, if you’re leading a new team, you know there’s much more to establishing your team within your organization. Other teams (sales or professional services) may not “get” what you do. There can be legitimate confusion and tension about where Sales ends and where Customer Success begins, and who “owns” the customer. There can be internal and customer-facing friction if there’s not a solid charter and supportive leadership in place to give CS the identity, vision, and capacity it needs to deliver.

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How Bank of America’s tech chief manages culture

Governing technology within a large enterprise requires getting the entire IT department to buy in to a cultural ideology, a singular way that work gets done in alignment with the corporate mission. It’s a tough task Cathy Bessant, chief technology and operations officer of Bank of America (BofA), is undertaking as she shepherds 95,000 employees through a shift to faster software and service delivery. Bessant governs culture by tapping into what should be every IT leader’s best friend: Data. Data, she says, sets her free.

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(Insider Story)

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The secret to being a superhero CIO? A kickass sidekick

The Lone Ranger had Tonto; Batman had Robin. And Han Solo would have been lost in space without Chewbacca.

Like those superheroes, top-notch CIOs rarely do the job alone. They need skilled lieutenants who can step in when the boss is busy wrestling bad partnerships, provide sage tactical advice behind the scenes, and keep their strategies initiatives flying in the right direction.

That’s because the CIO job has gotten a lot more complex over the past decade, notes Greg Layok, senior director at West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consultancy.

Today’s CIOs focus less on tactical technology and more on strategic business initiatives, he says. At the same time, though, they’re still responsible for keeping the servers humming in a tech landscape that changes almost daily, with traditional silos being torn down and technology embedded throughout the organization.

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IDG Contributor Network: GE digital transformation: collaboration leads to innovation

GE is undergoing a massive digital transformation from an Industrial to a Digital Industrial. As we navigate this journey, we are learning… a lot. It was one year ago this month that I moved back to the U.S. with my family from living abroad in Budapest, Hungary. As I reflect on the past year, one of the key lessons I’ve learned is the importance of collaboration.

Over the past year, we’ve built our Digital DNA for Customers, taking 50 instances of our CRM and creating one master CRM, the GE Hub. We built minimum data standards and implemented data governance in Commercial for the first time to enable a 360-degree view of our customers. We still have a lot more work to do, but as we enter into the next phase of our journey, I’m reminded of some simple truths. One of my favorites comes from my technology partner, Nick Perugini, GE Commercial CIO, who recently shared: “We all cross the finish line together, or nobody wins.”

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IDG Contributor Network: When UI is about experience – and when it is not

When it comes to watching a movie, playing a video game, or even shopping online for certain types of products, it’s almost all about experience. If the experience was good, some amount of pleasure was involved.

However, when you want to book a cab on your mobile app, you are not looking for experience in the sense of pleasure. You are looking to get the task done as quickly as possible. The same is true when you want to fill out your employer’s time sheet software.

Role of UI in strategy translation

Strategy translation matters more at “higher” level steps such as the step involving the discovery of a “reservoir” (a set of processes that, if done further work on, has the potential to generate strategic objectives). But the same objectives must drive all strategy translation steps right until the end. The steps include the task of designing the user interface (UI) architecture.

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