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Increasing Business / IT Alignment When Getting from “Need” to “Solution”

Increasing Business / IT Alignment When Getting from Need to SolutionBy Paul Hoekstra
Associate

It has been estimated that over 70% of all system outages are a direct result of changes that have been made to the operational environment. It's no coincidence that at many organizations, IT has in effect lost control of the production environment and is in constant firefighting mode. The regular unpredicted downtimes, missed deadlines and cost overruns deteriorates the value of the IT organization as a whole and the trust in the CIO in particular.

An Often Overlooked Way to Use Social Media in the Wine Industry

An often overlooked way to use social media in the wine industryBy Steven McIntosh
Associate

Part of my consulting practice involves a lot of work with wineries. I've found that smaller wineries – those that sell less than one million cases per year – are always looking for ways to increase winery direct sales. Many ask me for advice on ways to use social media in the wine industry to gain greater access to customers, increase customer loyalty and increase sales.

Transform or Die

IT organizational change must always be top of mindBy Mark Tonnesen
Associate

Organizational change – including IT organizational change – is not a "project." It's not something with a nice, neat start date and end date, with deliverables and measurable outcomes. For an organization to survive over time, organizational change must be a continual initiative or charter that is always top of mind for members of the executive team, including the CIO.

The Secret to Selecting the Right IT Product

Selecting the right IT product – a proven processBy David Haedtler
Principal

The decisions made about major IT issues – such as selecting the right IT product for your enterprise – can have an enormous impact on your organization's productivity and success. That's why clients often engage our services when they're faced with making software/vendor procurement decisions. They want to ensure that the contract is awarded to the product and vendor that is the best fit, not simply to the sales person with the closest ties to the CEO or other decision maker.

For important IT decision making, such as choosing enterprise software, the secret to success is to define your selection criteria first, and then see how each of your options stacks up. Here is the proven process that I recommend:

Data Center Consolidation: Stop Wasting Resources on In-House Data Centers

Why data center consolidation is a good ideaBy Mark Tonnesen
Associate

Over the years, the norm within most IT organizations has been to want to own, manage and control things. The objective has been to have some control over the outcome and, ultimately, the success. As a result, many CIOs are still hosting their own data centers. While this approach probably made a lot of sense in the past, times have changed. The reality is, it's no longer a competitive advantage to own and run your own data center.

To stay competitive, your priority needs to be the delivery of the services that ride on top of your data center infrastructure. That's why consolidating your data centers, virtualizing as much as possible, and partnering with a reputable hosting provider should be part of your strategic IT planning process.

Leveraging LEAN to Increase Business/IT Alignment

Leveraging LEAN to increase business / IT alignmentBy Paul Hoekstra
Associate

As an IT executive and consultant I've seen firsthand that many IT organizations are struggling to deliver relevant services to the business. There's a misalignment between what the CIO is trying to do and what his or her counterparts in sales, customer service, finance, human resources, etc. are trying to do. And what I've seen is that this absence of business / IT alignment often stems from the IT group not having the people or approach to understand the business from an operational point of view.

As a result, I often see situations where, for example, the HR Director goes directly to a cloud provider and simply buys a solution – reducing the IT department's involvement to just doing a security check and integrating the solution for the login. This diminishes the value of IT as an organization, which in turn leads to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness across the entire business.

Business Continuity Planning: Ensure Your Business Survives a Disaster

Business continuity planning ensures proper disaster recoveryBy Rocky Vienna
Principal

According to the U.S. government, up to 40% of businesses fail to reopen following a disaster. Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy have underscored the need for Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) planning. Here's what you need to know.

Before we delve into the components of BC planning, let's clearly define the difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. Disaster Recovery refers to the IT plan that assumes that an event (usually physical in nature, such as an earthquake or fire) has occurred, resulting in significant disruption to business computer systems. A Business Continuity Plan is the set of business procedures that enable business organizations to respond to an event that has disabled the company's business systems in part or in whole. Some events, such as the sudden loss of a key service vendor or supplier, do not require DR but still need to be considered for BC.

3 Key Things to Impart When Mentoring IT Professionals

Mentoring IT ProfessionalsBy Steven McIntosh

As a senior IT executive I've reached the point in my career where I feel it's important to take the time to give back to others that are just coming up the IT ladder. If you're at a similar point in your career, you probably feel the same way, too. So the questions become: How do you mentor IT professionals? What are the most important things to impart when mentoring IT professionals?

While individual needs will differ, I believe that the following three items should always be on the list:

The Major Change Management Implications of Minor Projects

Change management is necessary for even minor projectsBy David Haedtler
Principal

I've seen it happen many times in the IT world. There's a project to implement a supposedly simple software upgrade, such as Microsoft Office, and the IT people only see it as a technical change. Sure, the screen will be a little different on the new version than on the old, but who cares? It's still Office. They'll get used to it.

Then changes are made, the migration is completed and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. As it turns out, lots of people – including some very important people within the organization – did care about a particular menu or command that no longer exists. And lots of people are moaning and groaning about their decreased productivity because the new system is so confusing and different.

The Best Way to Evaluate & Realize the Value of IT

Business / IT alignment is vital for realizing the value of ITBy Mark Tonnesen
Associate

If you're a CIO you've probably heard the question before, usually asked by your company's CEO, finance executives or operations leaders: "What's the value of IT?" And chances are the people asking this question have expected a metrics-based answer involving a close look at the percentage of revenue spent on technology, the number of projects delivered, the percentage of on-time and on-budget deliveries, etc.

Stop Asking the Wrong Question

As far as I'm concerned, though, "what's the value of IT" is the wrong question to ask and the wrong way to look at IT's true value. Here's why.

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