Thursday, 28 November 2013

Fame at last ?

I seem to have made it to the home page of Google's Apps for Edu site, with a quote from my blog. Not sure how long its been there, but its about 2 years old.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Disasters, cables and music

It's been a busy couple of days. Monday was back to back meetings. A liaison meeting with colleagues in the Library where we talked about a new building we are helping to design, plans for a new student system, and some systems we are about to develop to improve our research infrastructure. We also had a meeting with colleagues in EFM to talk about another proposed new building, the problem with this one is that many of our optic fibre cables run under the site! Some complex discussions about how and where to move them to, and how we can minimise the risk of services being affected to buildings served by these fibres.

Yesterday I was in Oxford where I am a member of their IT committee to give an external perspective. Discussions included their disaster recovery plans - something we all struggle with. It's a balance of risk and how mic resilience etc to build in. It doesn't help when business impact assessments are very dependent on the time of year. You might think the HR system would have a fairly low impact if it went down, but not if it affected your REF submission for example, or the Finance system if a big research grant submission was due, or the student system at registration. The list goes on.

In the evening I traveled to London for the launch of JANET 6, our new network. To quote their press release, "Designed specifically for research and education, Janet6 is highly scalable up to 8.8 Terabits of capacity and uses state-of-the-art 100Gigabit Ethernet technology. Janet6 provides excellent bandwidth and a flexible infrastructure, enabling the UK’s research, higher-education, further-education and skills-development sectors to collaborate and compete on a global scale." Exciting stuff. And the project was delivered on time and in budget. You can't say that about a lot of public sector IT projects!

The launch was at the British Film Museum in County Hall, a very impressive venue, which had been made over for the evening

And when the big red button was pressed to symbolically turn on JANET6, the Internet lit up on our tables

We had a talk from Ewan Birney from the European Bioinformatics Institute about how important the network is from a research perspective, and a demonstration of the low latency of the network using two musician playing together, 400 miles apart. The violinist in the room with us, and the cellist in Scotland. Very impressive. Here's a two minute video recorded on my phone, pretty poor quality, and the first minute is them speaking, but you'll get the idea!

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Social Business

Another session today was on how social business is changing the way organisations work by Stuart McRae from IBM

More companies now use social media internally than externally.
We are entering the post PC era. Apple selling 100m iPads in 2013. Usage shifting from creation at desks to consumption on the move
McKinsey estimates that social technologies could raise productivity in some areas by 20%
Driven by 4 disruptive mega trends. Social, mobile, cloud, analytics. (Now, where have I heard that before....)
Increasingly influential and vocal customers. We can't just listen to them. Need to interact and lead them,
Growing demand for 24/7 and mobile connectedness. People collaborate on the move.
If you want the best talent and employees, have to give them a working environment which gives them the best experience and productivity.

A Social Business strategy should be driven by the above challenges
It should enable the workforce to work more effectively, increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction
It should also produce exceptional customer experience, customer engagement and customer delight!

Primarily a culture issue, not technology.
Need to encourage employees to collaborate and not compete
Collaborate with partners to serve customers better
Engage employees in conversations with customers

Social businesses deliver better results by empowering their people to perform better and to serve their customers better.

Need to empower employees, even when it requires working across organisations
Corporate IT has to go away and become cloud based to achieve this.

20th century collaboration tools are no longer good enough. Eg email.
Email model vs social media model. With email everything is pushed to you, just in case you might need it. With the social media model you pull the information - when you need it, you can find it.

"It's not information overload, it's filter failure" , great quote from Clay Shirky

Encourage sharing of information, eg tweeting. Success comes from changing user behaviour, from "knowledge is power" to "knowledge sharing is rewarded".

Content needs to get away from being document centric. Move to online creation and collaboration with mobile device support. Focus on sharing.
Simplify the media. Focus on content and communication.
Make the content discoverable, use tags, social bookmarks. New generation of knowledge management.

Adoption is key to business success.

A thought provoking talk there's a lot more Information on this topic on his website.

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I've looked at clouds....

We had a session today from Tim Marshall, CEO of JANET on Cloud.

One of the first things he suggested that we should do,is make sure we know what's going on around us. Don't do things in a particular way just because we always have done.
A wonderful example is TVs coverage of tennis matches which is always for. The end of the court. That's because the aspect ratio of TVs used to be 6 by 4 and the end of court view fitted better. Now the aspect ratio is much wider, so you'd better a better picture if you put the camera in the middle, opposite the umpire. But, they've always done it like that...

We also need to examine our appetite for risk? Is it too low? Can cause innovation inertia.

Cloud doesn't change our business. Our business is not running IT. Our business is teaching, learning, research etc. Cloud is about changing the way we do our business, not the business itself. It's also about IT becoming more service orientated.
Much of the infrastructure is commodity now. If someone can do it better and cheaper why don't we let them.

We have to look at why we might want to keep things out of the cloud. Is it because we love the smell of a hot server in the morning...

the essential characteristics of cloud are:
On demand self service
Broad network access
Resource pooling
Rapid elasticity
Measured service

Tend not to get all of it, but bits here and there.

JANET 6 is our world class network which launches next week. It needs using. We should look at co-location. Get the tin out of the institution and somewhere else. (More than 50 miles away so people can't get in there cars and go and hug it.)

Several options from do nothing, to fully off site, via hybrid

UCAS uses cloud for burst capacity. Doesn't happen by magic. Took a lot of work to prepare UCAS applications to be cloud ready. But benefits huge.

Risk and innovation needs balancing.

What are the advantages of cloud?
Capacity, reliability, flexibility for large scale applications that are peaky
Cost effectiveness. Office 365 and Google are free.
Business Continuity
My comment, it's about service delivery and improvement
Cloud is about value, not cost

Mainly culture.
Some technical, ie getting applications cloud ready. But are lots of tools you can use.

Some competitive reasons eg HPC often kept in house. But why? Maybe culture. A lot of is commodity and people are buying it from amazon on their credit card as we speak.
JANET working on a provisioning portal for amazon

Some barriers are senior management who are concerned about cyber security

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Whack-a-Mole of new ideas

Next session was from Abilene Christian University about lessons from their mobile learning initiative

ACU is in Texas and has 5000 students,
They were the first university to establish a comprehensive 1to 1 mobile learning initiative that provides every student with an iPhone or iPod touch.

One driver was innovation and providing something to attract students.
But, the primary driver was the student profile.
Students coming in now were born in 1995, (he made the point that some of us have t shirts older than that)
They've never lived in a world where disaggregation isn't possible; where you can't always pause and rewind live TV.
They inhabit a world where you are always connected. There are more text messages sent now in a day than there are people on the planet.
Consumption spreads faster today, eg it took 2 years for Facebook to get to 50m users. It took 39 years for radio.
Implementation to saturation is very fast. It is only 3 years ago that the iPad was invented.

The world has changed, but have our classrooms?
Are our students engaged?

At ACU they had been trying to address the above two issues. In 2007 the iPhone was released. The Internet could now be in your pocket, all the time.
They set out to explore how this could be used in HE to foster innovation, and decided to give one to very student.

Some myths around innovation that they leaned during this implementation:
Innovation doesn't happen in eureka moments.
Innovation doesn't have a methodology. Need lots of trial and error and risk taking.
Best idea always wins. It doesn't.
People love new ideas. Not all do. Need to give people permission to go slowly. So, when they decided to roll out iPhones to all students, ( and they told faculty staff after they'd announced it),  they told staff they didn't have to let students use them if they didn't want to.

Resistance to change is part of our culture.
Are we playing Whack-a-Mole with new ideas? As they come up, we smack them down.

Organisational cultures are like an iceberg.
Top of iceberg things you can see. Artifacts
Below the surface are exposed beliefs. What we think is important
Down below. Basic assumptions. Things so engrained we can't find words for them. Each bottom one trumps the one above.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Only way to change culture is to work together to solve a problem. We need to reframe our discussions into a problem that we can solve collectively.

As you think about innovation on campus, remember that it's not about the technology. It's about the students, and preparing them for  the world they are going to inherit, not the ones they live in now.

IT at the Olympics

The opening keynote at CISG was from Gerry Pennell, former CIO for the London Olympics, and now Director of IT at Manchester University. Unfortunately I missed the first few minutes as I was at an organising meeting for next years UCISA conference - apparently he started with a video of the highlights of the olympics which I would have liked to have seen.  He went through some of his experiences, and pulled out some learning outcomes for HE.

Some notes I took of the key points:

We only had one shot at it. Getting it right was key - Atlanta suffered reputation damage by not being able to deliver the results needed. 
Embrace deadlines  - they are your ally. This was an IT project you can't be late on.
 Olympics is a fantastic example of real time data distributed to different channels and audiences.
Real time data & provision of mobile meant that the way people engaged  digitally was different to any other Games. In previous Games, people had checked results about 3 times a day.
60% of traffic during peak web activity during Andy Murray tennis final  came through mobile device
Consumer behaviour has changed. They had put lots of infrastructure in people were checking the real time data much more frequently -  checking results on a blow by blow basis and in the Andy Murray example, point by point
This lead to lots of requests to central servers which were running 88% utilisation when they had planned for  25%

Learning point:  get your plans right, but build in flexibility

Lot of testing took place. 1000s of hours including set piece technology rehearsals.
There were also 42 test events between May 2011 and games (eg the London marathon)
They learned things from the subtle to the blindingly obvious.
Good example of the blindingly obvious - everything depends on the delivery of cabins which have to be connected to the radio network.
At the first test events the cabins were made of metal. A faraday cage! They then discovered that they had been procured in a bulk deal for of all test events,  and the Games!

Learning point: Don't test technology in isolation. Have to test with processes and people for real learning

Cyber security was critical. They knew games would be cyber attacked and were advised that it would be from anonymous hacktivist groups.
There were 6 fairly serious cyber incidents. Some a surprising including:
A probing attack from semi professional hackers in Central European who have form for looking at web sites and publicising vulnerabilities. A DDOS attack from 90 IP addresses for 20 mins. Very sophisticated. A carefully timed and synchronised Botnet. Still don't know who or what they wanted
Another DDOS attack causing them to  fail over.
And a state sponsored attack.

Learning point: Build your cyber defences around people, processes and technology. Its about how fast you can respond.

Dealing with operational challenges was interesting! A really good example was the photo finish cameras in the main stadium which have to be at a steep angle, and subject to no vibration or movement.  The best position for the angle was the top of the stadium, but this was subject to vibration. So, they constructed a steel cage, connectect it to the bedrock, put a vibration dampening platform on it, tested it by getting hundreds of people jumping up and down to look for jitter.  However, after when Jessica Ennis had won her final race, the photo at the finish line was blurred. They concluded that the incredibly loud roar in the stadium had travelled up the steel cage which had acted like a tuning fork and vibrated!

Learning point:  Life is not always what you think its going to be. Expect the unexpected.

A question from the audience about how to motivate staff when they are engaged on a limited contract, with no real sanctions such as performance management or financial rewards got a good answer.   Get them engaged with the vision. A shared vision aand one that everyone is committed to is the oly way to do it.
Another good lesson for HE.

Keep calm

Monday was our Business Continuity Steering Group where we caught up on all things BC related, including Phase 2 of our incident contacts system where we'll be developing it to be used by departments to store all of their staff contact details and BC plans. We also looked at a number of procedures that we've been documenting in the light of various incidents and exercises including using our student accommodation in the event of a major incident, and evacuating buildings in an emergency that's not a fire. That's more complicated than you think! We've also produced a handy little fold-out card telling you what to do in an incident - which is summed up by Keep Calm and Call Control.

At the moment I'm at the UCISA CISG conference, primarily to have some meetings relating to next year's main conference which is being held in the same venue. I'm on the Conference Organising Committee, and with such a big and prestigious conference its important to get every detail right if you want to keep attracting delegates. Its is the little things that can make people enjoy, or not, a conference. The quality of the coffee gets as many comments as the quality of the speakers! Being at  a conference in the same venue means that we can check these details out. For the first time last night I was involved with choosing the menu for the gala dinner, which involved trying 6 starters, 6 main courses and 3 desserts. I wasn't very hungry this morning.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Engagement, experience and tattoos

The final few sessions of the conference covered a variety of things. a particularly interesting one was on engagement, with our employees and customers. It looked at the different ways people like to be interacted with, and how that can change depending on whether in a work environment or a social one. For example, people who are happy to sit at a desktop computer and use email at work, can use only mobile devices and shun email for other ways of communicating in their social lives. The talk proposed establishing an "engagement initiative" within our organisations which would bring together new partnerships for IT, especially with HR and other digital initiatives such as in marketing and internal comms.

Another session looked specifically at customer engagement, and how we can improve our customers' experience, and began by asking how many of us gave our customers such a good experience that they were willing to have the company logo as a tattoo. :-)

One of the key takeaways for me from this presentation was "Don't think that the customer experience is something soft, trivial, immeasurable, another name for customer service or will go away if ignored". Interesting.  Something we're looking at at the moment is how to introduce the wow factor into our customer experience.  Maybe we'll know if we've succeed if we see some University of Sheffield tattoos appearing....

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Is the world flat?

This morning I got together with colleagues from the HE Sector across Europe to talk about service portfolios and catalogues. Was really good to exchange ideas and see the different stages in the process we all were. Many different models, and different stages of maturity. Challenges across the patch also similar, and we will be sharing our work with each other to see what we can learn.

At lunchtime I went to the CIO lunch, and listened to a talk by Pankaj Ghemawat on Globalisation and the CIO. An excellent speaker, with a really interesting website.

He's done a lot of research on globalisation, and how the world is not exactly flat yet! It has been said for over150 years that the technology of the time is going to destroy national boundaries and make one world, starting with steamships and railroads.

Rather than summarise everything he said, (I was too busy eating to take notes), I suggest you play with the maps section on his website, or watch his TED talk:

Also today I've had a good walk round the exhibition floor where there are about 150 vendors, some we use, some offering new technologies. Always good to get a feel for what's out there.

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Keynote today was from Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, described as a thought leader.

It was a talk about change and relationship building. A fantastic speaker and storyteller, very compelling. Very difficult to take notes, but as usual, I've jotted down some main key points.

Behaviours don't change easily until your practices change.
For example, If you want a collaborative organisation, change 50% of your staff meetings to collaborative problem solving.

Relationships are critical to all elements of transformational success.
Highest return investment is a relationship investment.
It is the core of your success as a leader.
Need to build an environment round you that invites people in to build a relationship with you.

Most important element of a great relationship is trust.
Structural trust, eg because of role that you're in. But, this can be a barrier.
Professional trust, you get it because you respect each other's capabilities.
Personal trust, this is the critical one. Can be proactively driven and built.

Personal relationships can be built purposely.
People with better social capital are more likely to be promoted early, get better jobs, get larger bonuses.
He tells the story of someone complaining that a colleague always gets promoted, better chances etc because "the boss likes him better". His answer? "No shit."
That is a personal trust proxy.
Employees with most extensive social networks are 7% more productive.

How many of our staff think that we care about their success?
Managers with better social capital have teams which reach goals more rapidly, make better project managers, have teams which generate more creative solutions.
The number one factor for high performing business teams is deep social bonds.

Have many of us have a to do list?
A project plan?
A financial plan

Where is our people plan??

We need to identify the five to ten most critical people that we need to build better relationships with to archive our objectives. Could be vendors, senior team, business partners, own staff.
Then put plan in place to build those relationships.

He told story about how when he works as a golf caddy he was told by his Dad to turn up half an hour early. He used that time to walk the course, look at what was going on, talk to other workers. The information he gained made him one of the best caddies, and often requested.
So, think how you can show up at the golf course half hour early. Get better information.
Think how do you get to know your key people personally.
Build peer to peer connections and peer support groups.
In our teams, ask whether we we would let each other fail, not stay in our silos.

Action plan

Always ask who, not what.
Set goals, and see who can help. Who are the most important people to help us reach goals.

Systematically manage your targets
Focus attention where it counts. Measure the relationship quality. Don't just focus on the people you're comfortable with.

Expand your currency. Do your homework on individuals and how to help. Are you the sort of person people want to be around?

Accelerate relationships in every interaction
Prepare, research people.

Define your lifelines. A group that won't let each other fail.

Build your personal brand. Use social media

Lead with generosity, intimacy, candour and accountability
Ask for coffee, lunch, a call.

Never be afraid to ask, the worst anyone can say is no.

Ask, who in your life do you not let help you?

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Mobile Scenario

Wouldn't be a Gartner conference without a mobile scenario from Nick Jones.

Opportunity is to find new ways to use mobile to innovate. New business processes, more satisfied employees, competitive advantage, improved efficiency. All can be done using mobile technologies. Success is about tactics. Pragmatic decisions. Being agile to take advantage quickly. Don't need long term strategies.

Smart phones dominate devices, and notebooks in the minority, PC shipments falling dramatically. Tablets rising. Will overtake PCs in next couple of years.

Two platform world, iOS and Android. Microsoft still not taken off, but may rise.

Interesting technology trends.

Flexible screens coming, screens wrapped round wrist?
Faster CPUs, more efficiency.
Better cameras, multi lens cameras
More sensors
NFC ac still slow, but payment with it still low
Pressure sensitive touch screens, face recognition.

In wifi area as well as new technologies, are a lot of new requirements. Greater capacity demands, full coverage, new applications. More uses of wifi. Will have to be redesigned in many organisations.

Intersection between smart phones, mobile apps and Internet of things. Smart phone becoming the user interface for controlling or looking at data.
Smart fork, monitors how fast you eat. App to monitor how much you use as an inhaler. Smart home sensors. Smart light bulb. Smart cat collars.
By 2020 could have 500 smart objects in a home, all talking to a smart phone.
Mobile, cloud, information all come together to add value.

Need to make sure mobile strategy and unified comms strategies are developed and implemented in tandem.

Mobile testing is hard because of diversity of devices, but can buy testing time on multiple devices from specialist companies.

Key technologies to support mobile strategy
Cloud tools and apps.
Secure document sharing
Containerisation. Future security strategies will favour containerisation over MDMA (mobile device management)

Customer facing mobility really exciting.
Only 3 reactions to an app. - Yes, no, wow
Need to look at putting wow factor in.
Look at:
Creating new interactions and experiences
Satisfying new needs in new ways
Providing services in new situations
Contextual services

Technologies to look at:
External cloud for stability
Metrics and instrumentation to know how app is performing
Location awareness powerful tool for context
Augmented reality.

Look beyond efficiency and effectiveness and look for transformational change. Invest in ideation. Many innovative uses of mobility are still undiscovered.

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Interview with global CIO of BP, Dana Deasy.
Huge operation, budget of $3bn.
20,000 IT staff in 50 countries.

Really interesting interview. Just jotted a few notes down that resonated with me.

Radical changes, new people brought in with new skills. Biggest change is that BP has moved from trying to cut cost in IT, to spending more. Business is pushing IT, rather than pushing away from it.

Important that no matter how much change you want to implement, you have get the basic IT right.

Cyber threat very important to them, 40% of all attacks are in the energy sector. Organised crime, state sponsored activity, very well organised and sophisticated. Don't always know what they're after. Risk is a part of the weekly agenda.
Big debate at moment is locking down of personal devices. Balance between flexibility and freedom and protecting the firm.

Most IT organisations have sophisticated service stacks, data centres, networks, applications, all with service levels etc. Now need to flip it and move to business outcomes. SLAs are different. Eg Not based on "uptime", but based on whether outcomes have been met. IT professionals have to be able to see services end to end, not just know or understand their bit of the stack. It's not about network availability, or storage, it's about meeting business objectives. Need a radical change of culture. Need people who are business savvy, and technical enough to talk to technical IT people.

HPC very important to them. 4th largest HPC centre in world. Memory measured in petabytes. Analysis of seismic readings requires a lot of compute power.

Huge advocate of getting to know your peers in industry. Eyeopening and sometimes humbling. Only 50% of CIOs in audience regularly network with their peers. Including me of course :-)

Moving to a new role in banking soon. Most important legacy for him to leave behind? "Have I left a sustained talent base and delivered leaders for tomorrow?"

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Enterprise Google

Went to a session this morning on Google for the enterprise. I know we've been a Google customer for several years, but there was nothing else on I wanted to go to, and I was interested to see how they would pitch it, and whether there was anything new. Good session. Pitched very much at the enterprise customers, and selling points were innovation (200 new features released each year), collaboration, and 24/7 support. Security and privacy obviously covered, and they showed the data centre video - I love the disc crusher!

They did a nice demo of the integrated nature of Google apps, including maps using an iPad and I learned things I didn't know were possible. I also learned that if anyone from Google asks you to go on stage as a volunteer say yes! You come away with the mini iPad they were using. 5m companies worldwide now use Google, including 44% of the FTSE100 and 74 of the top 100 US universities.

Showed a nice video from Ocado on how they use Google.

And they'd produced an app for the conference, and at one point had us all standing up playing golf by swinging our phones. First one to get a hole in one got a chromebook!

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Monday, 11 November 2013

Top Ten

As well as large sessions, there's round table discussions, workshops and one to one sessions with Gartner analysts to schedule in. This afternoon I had a session with Simon Mingay who ran a workshop for us recently on service portfolios, discussing with him our latest thinking on where we might go with our service catalogue and transforming it into a portfolio. It was great, well worth it. Lots more to think about now.

This afternoon finished with a session on the top ten strategic technology trends that CIOs should be aware of and factoring into their planning over the next three years. In summary they are:

Mobile Device Diversity & Management
Mobile Apps & Applications
The Internet of Everything
Hybrid Cloud & IT as Service Broker
Cloud/Client Architecture
The Era of Personal Cloud
Software Defined Anything
Web-Scale IT
Smart Machines
3D Printing

Most are self explanatory and not surprising. But a couple of interesting ones.
So, some notes about each one. I might not quite have grasped some of them, but I use the excuse that it's late in the day and I'm tired. :-)

Mobile Device Diversity & Management
No single vendor will dominate, will still be multiple phone and tablet platforms.
Will be many form factors, screen sizes, interaction styles, platforms, architectures. Knowledge workers will use at least 3 to 5 devices by 2016.
Will be management and security issues but many opportunities including new ways of working.

Mobile Apps & Applications
Will be much richer User Interface models – Voice, Video, (gestures, eye tracking).
Microsoft, Google and Apple will battle for leadership.

The Internet of Everything
Connected stuff. Lots of it.

Hybrid Cloud & IT as Service Broker
Hybrid is the future. Along with garlic bread.
It's about linking internal systems with external services.
Combining services to add value.
ITs role will be as an adviser, broker, provider and integrator.

Cloud/Client Architecture
This is very important. It's also very technical. My mind might have wandered off a bit here....

The Era of Personal Cloud
Center of each user's personal digital ecosystem, a unique collection of services for each user, assembled and evolved by each user.
It's the glue connecting the devices and services they choose to
use daily.

Software Defined Anything
Everything will be programmable.
Will have implications. Not sure I understood what they were.
We will live in an API economy though.

Web-Scale IT
A pattern of computing that delivers the capabilities of large scale cloud service providers, eg Amazon, Google. They have had to build their own infrastructure. Some of their best practices will leak down to our environment, eg DevOpps.

Smart Machines
These are cool, and I've blogged about them before.

3D Printing
Growing area. Will be lots of opportunities. Work out what they might be for us.

The end. Thank you.

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Taming the Digital Dragon

Next session is on the CIO Agenda, what are the practical implications of the things covered at a high level in the keynote.

Spending priorities - need to invest in new technologies, but also to refresh our core infrastructures to be ready to take advantage of new technologies.

Where is this innovation coming from?

Large IT vendors not the leaders, (apart from Google). Will be a large number of small vendors, we will have to work with more partners, and probably more immature ones.

Some questions CIOs need to ask themselves:
How do we get our core services digital ready?
What's the role of cloud?
How can we be fast enough?
How do we lead in an increasingly digital era?

Main reason for investing in cloud is not cost, it's innovation and agility. Risk can be managed, and benefits are there.

Many CIOs are running two speeds of IT, fast and traditional. Some using a separate, fast team, some using agile for small projects, some use methods like SCRUM.

Partnering with new, smaller organisations can produce fast, innovative results.

No more vanilla in IT any more. No right answer, all organisations will require different solutions.

Think about the digital strategy, and how it integrates with the IT strategy.

Ask ourselves, what will our digital legacy be.

In summary
Refresh and review infrastructure to be digital ready
Introduce and strengthen two speed approach
Reinvigorate sourcing and partnerships to get more innovation
Define and pursue your digital legacy

Avoid digital leaderships gaps, overlaps or ambiguity

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Leading in a Digital World

Opening keynote of conference proper this morning. Huge auditorium, very slick and professional as usual.
Conference theme is leading in a digital world, focusing on not if or when we go digital, but how fast. We need digital strategies that are integrated with our business strategies.
4 forces driving what we do, cloud, mobile, social, information
We are entering an era of digital industrial economy where every budget is an IT budget.

What should CIOs be responsible for in this new era? They need to manage, and have skills in the following five things:
Digital technology architecture
Enterprise information architecture
Cyber security and risk
Industrialised IT infrastructure
Digital leadership

3 imminent and important challenges:
Digitalisation, what it means, how it grows
Suppliers, and how digitalisation affects them
Information and the opportunities and risks it presents

Transformation of the business. Unprecedented combinations of new technologies. Digital products, services and customer expertise. More transparency, higher effectiveness. Internet of everything. Better connection with customers.
Some Gartner predictions:
By 2017 10% of computers will be learning
By 2020 1 in 3 knowledge workers will be replaced by smart machines they trained.
By 2020 there will be 30 billion devices connected to the intent.

Suppliers will change. In digital industrial economy we will see a new wave of vendors. We will need different supplier management skills.
There will be more IT, not less.
Largest growing technology market is the consumer one. Mobile, smart devices have taken over the technology world. By 2017 more words will be typed on glass than on physical keyboards.

Everything connected to Internet produces data. Data is consumed and produced by smart devices. Is a lack of organisational skills to manage this explosion of data. An opportunity, but also a risk. Cyber security will be an ongoing concern. Big data creates vulnerabilities in our infrastructures. We need to create privacy by design in our infrastructure. Use data driven predictive security. Rapid detection and response will dominate security budgets by 2020.

We are seeing rise of Chief Digital Officers. Are they competing with CIOs? Or are they change agents? CIOs need to build their five skills listed above to become the digital leaders. We need to harness digital technologies to transform our organisations.

Things, people, places and systems come together in the Internet of Things, Nice illustration using a city plaza, buildings and cars communicating with each other. Cars that autonomously move them selves when parking becomes available somewhere cheaper.
Senseaware is an early example of digital future. Monitors everything about transport of organs by FedEx and sends information about location, temperature, light exposure etc.
Financial institutions will also change. Already seeing beginning of this with Kickstarter, bitcoin, peer to peer lending. Can rent your driveway out as a parking space. Someone else parking in your drive used to be a problem, now it's a revenue stream. Everybody can be a technology company.
Every company will become a technology company

Internet of things, will be a huge range of smart objects. Some as simple as a sensor that tells you when a plant needs watering. Some as complex as a car. Every piece of domestic equipment will be controllable and able to report on its status. Already appearing.
Adidas have a football with sensors that link to an app to tell you how to improve your game.
A smart cooking thermometer is linked to an iPhone app to monitor your cooking
Huggies, nappy manufacturer have a sensor called tweetpee! Tells you when nappy needs changing.
Nike fuel band, wrist band monitoring health.

3D printing will totally revolutionise product manufacturing,
Can already print concrete. Jewellers using it. US military has deployed it to fix components.
Gartner predicts that by 2017 at least 7 of the worlds top ten multichannel retailers will be using 3D printing.

Analysing data produced by Internet of things is a huge challenge. Also need decisions, not just analysis. This needs processing power. IBMs Watson is a cognitive computer. Computers can drive cars. They can make sophisticated decisions, and we will have to allow them to do so.

We need to move from running IT to being an information and technology leader. We need to find ways of enabling the digital future and embrace innovation. Explore emerging technologies.

Good start to conference proper.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Technology strategies

So, I'm in Barcelona at the moment at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo. It's lovely being in one of my favourite cities, which we managed to get round on Segways this morning before the first conference session.

Did I mention I love Segways? And yes, the first session is on a Sunday. Today we're talking about building strategic technology maps.

IT strategies are usually based on supply, demand and control. Traditionally, IT depts concentrated on supply and control. But, demand is most important now. What is the institutional context, what are its capabilities, what does it need, how can IT contribute to the institution's success?

As CIOs, we should be translating the needs of the institution into the services and tools we supply.
We can use the hype cycle to map where we are with technologies. Label technologies at or near peak as experiments, not pilots. Used to stick to right hand side of cycle, but we should be looking now to use some of new technologies, we need to be at leading edge. Could be a competitive advantage.

The education ecosystem is expanding, there are increasing options, and more competition. We used to do everything ourselves, but now we use more and more tools, and buy in services. We need to stop thinking about infrastructure. Think about exostructure. Using the right standards, connectors etc, so we can make use of these tools and services easily and quickly. Need to work out what our own ecosystem is and we are positioned in it.

Lot of institutions still think of IT as a cost. But, the only way an institution is going to succeed is to invest more in IT to bring cost down in other areas.

Expectation setting and management are important parts of any IT strategy, and a funding strategy is key.

Need to know what sort of institution we are, and what we want to be . Develop IT strategy to match this and help institution get to where it wants to be.

Strategic technology quadrant can be very useful. Map what we do on a grid of improving organisational efficiency against improving student and staff experience.

Often as CIOs we are in the cold case, bottom left quadrant, thinking about infrastructure. But this has to be connected to other services in other quadrants.
Then look at how strategically important things are. Can be really good aid to discuWill also help and promote discussion in University wider than IT department.

Interesting discussion about learning stack services, including lecture capture. Conclusion was that it will be more important to have individual capture on staff laptops etc than an echo360 set up in every lecture theatre.

Define your services. Produce a service portfolio, linked to project portfolio with service catalogue at lower level.

Connect the dots
Find the white spaces
Think new things
Redo your service portfolio

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

One Step Beyond

As part of our Sheffield Leader programme, groups have to work on a joint project, and I am lucky to get invited to some of the feedback sessions. Yesterday I went to such a session on a project entitled "One Step Beyond".  This group had decided to look at the relationship of the University with the city, and had concentrated on our relationship with the Muslim community. It had obviously been a journey for them, and they had been in some interesting conversations with the local community, as well as our own chaplaincy, the Student Union Islamic Circle and the BME society. They'd also visited two local mosques, observed prayers, and had the faith explained to them,as well as visiting local Eid celebrations. A lot of fact finding, and some interesting conclusions. We perhaps aren't as visible to local communities as we should be and  it's easy to stay in our "silos" at work, and in our social lives. An interesting example was that many of us are too tied up in our own calendars, celebrations and events, and are often not aware of what's happening in other communities and faiths. A really interesting and thought provoking presentation.

Also so far this week, I've had a number of KITs (not kittens, Keep In Touch meetings), which are vital to me to keep abreast of what's going on in the University, and to network with colleagues.

I also had lunch with a colleague from Gartner, where we talked about how they might help us with some of our big projects which are coming up. Gartner have an enormous amount of research available, and anyone with a University of Sheffield Account can access it through our portal, MUSE. Just click on View All Services and go to Gartner Research. There's some fascinating stuff there.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

How my job has changed....

Last week I posted that I'd given a telephone interview with a journalist and how concerned I was about what I might have said. Well, the result has been published (see here) - there's a bit of poetic licence, and some things I refer to are theoretical rather than actual, but it's not at all bad. It reflects pretty much how I feel about how our jobs are changing.