Suppose you’re a thermostat maker who learns that Google just spent $3.2 billion to buy another thermostat maker. You can be pretty sure “digital disruption” has struck. But most of us don’t get that clear a knock upside the head. “Everyone talks about disruption like it’s global thermonuclear war,” remarked Mark McDonald, an Accenture managing director who heads up the firm’s digital business strategy practice. “None of the companies that everyone talks about being disrupted died overnight. It happens gradually.”
Google just provided 3.2 billion reasons for companies to start taking the Internet of Things seriously. But Google’s blockbuster deal to acquire Nest also offers a warning that the next generation of smart, connected devices must get a whole lot smarter, and that it’ll take a big investment in people and tech to get there.
William Murphy, CTO of the investment firm Blackstone Group, seemed like a pleasant enough fellow when he came onto the Interop New York tech conference stage this week. He even promised to kick things off on a high note.
Then he proceeded to describe the perception of IT departments as at best adequate — a cost center and a back-office necessity at many companies. Worst case, “we’re categorized as people who say ‘No’ first and ask questions later,” Murphy said. IT’s too often considered defensive, late, overprice, uninformed and unhelpful.
The average patient can’t fathom why the sharing of electronic medical records is so hard. But those inside healthcare aren’t thrilled either with the state of electronic record interoperability, as several smart discussions at this week’s Digital Healthcare Conference in Madison, Wis., showed.
“If we’re this far into this implementation across the country, and we still have this level of discordance, shame on us,” said Dr. Frank Byrne, president of Wisconsin’s St. Mary’s Hospital. “How did we get here and how do we get out? Because we’ve created barriers.”
You probably have an app. We have an app. But do you really have a mobile strategy for how those apps fit into your business model? Is there a plan for keeping the creative energy focused on your apps so customers drool instead of mock? How are you building the in-house skills and collaboration to meet expectations that get higher with every smartphone and mobile game that’s launched? Are you giving employees mobile capabilities that make them anywhere near as efficient running their business lives as their personal lives?
Our InformationWeek 500 ranking is about innovation, but it’s also about asking tough questions and making hard decisions.
I always get inspired by our InformationWeek 500 ranking, research, and reporting. But our annual profiles of the most innovative users of business technology always deliver a swift kick in the pants as well. That pants-kicking feeling was particularly strong this year. I kept thinking about the hard questions that our profiles of various innovative companies should raise for anyone reading them. I settled on six, but I’d love to hear yours as well.
IBM’s new CEO survey offers a lot to think about, but one data point jumped out at me: CEOs see technology as the no. 1 external factor that will affect their business the next five years, out of nine choices offered. In 2004, it was no. 6 out of nine.
Cited by 71% of CEOs, technology isn’t far in front of people skills (69%) and market factors (68%) as a factor that will affect a company. But technology is the factor moving up the list.
Rick Roy, CIO of CUNA Mutual Group, sees several similarities between running the IT and procurement departments, both of which he’s in charge of for the financial services company. For starters, your team’s help isn’t universally welcomed.
If a department’s leaders are happily buying, say, temp services from one vendor, they’re not necessarily excited to hear that they need to start buying through a centralized group. That’s a lot like the conversations around shadow IT.
Ignore what motivates people in their jobs and they’ll eventually leave. Our IT Salary Survey provides data you can use to cultivate your top performers.
Two out of every five IT pros are looking for a new job, our 2012 U.S. IT Salary Survey data shows. Are you counting on high unemployment, or maybe that rickety foosball table in the lunchroom, to keep your best people from leaving?
Duluth Trading Company CEO Steve Schlecht points to two things at the heart of his retail company’’s success: creating one-of-a kind work clothes, and being “great storytellers” about those products. That storytelling approach explains the tens of thousands of YouTube views of videos for Duluth’s Ballroom jeans to let men “crouch without the ouch,” or for its long-tail t-shirts designed to cover up “plumber’s butt”.
Chief marketing officers are overwhelmed with data and the rise of social media, IBM research shows, yet they aren’t looking to CIOs for help.
The true test of friendship is whom you turn to in time of need. Chief marketing officers are in dire need because they’re swamped with data and struggling to make sense of it all. But they’re not turning to chief information officers for help.
Yahoo’s search for leadership has gone down many familiar roads: industry outsider (Terry Semel), return of founder (Jerry Yang), and proven operator (Carol Bartz). But with Scott Thompson, Yahoo is taking one of the least-traveled paths to a CEO, by picking a former CIO. But it’s a sign of how rare the CIO-to-CEO career path is that, minutes after the news broke on Twitter about Thompson’s appointment, someone chimed in to claim Thompson as part of the IT nation.
As we head into another CEO transition at Hewlett-Packard, as former eBay CEO Meg Whitman takes charge, take a moment to listen to these two CIOs asking questions of HP chairman Ray Lane at our recent InformationWeek 500 conference. Lane had just spent about 30 minutes clarifying HP’s strategy relating to PCs, tablets, and enterprise software.
There are worse things for an IT organization to be labeled than “slow.” But not many. IT pros take pride in keeping up with the rapid pace of technology change–constant change is what drew many to the profession. The challenge is meeting the expectations set by consumer tech while still providing systems that meet the reliability, scalability, and security the business needs. And do all that within budget.
AccuWeather made a small change that has had a big impact on its computing needs. When you check the local weather forecast on your smartphone, the device sends a GPS coordinate of 10 to 15 decimal points. If you’re standing in Central Park, the request is narrowed down to a few yards of your exact location.
But as you might guess, the forecast you get on the west side of Central Park isn’t any different from what you get on the east side.
These days, information technology giveth.
Web-enabled mobile devices and applications are the biggest game changers since the PC. The cloud has redefined how we think about computing power and even the need for data centers. Big data analytics are a looming business opportunity. The Windows desktop is giving way to a variety of devices–tablets, smartphones, maybe even Google rent-a-Chromes, all working alongside conventional PCs and laptops. IT is being embedded in everything from cars to slot machines to handheld checkout devices in retail stores.
More than once, I’ve taken a tour of a company’s IT “innovation lab,” only to come away feeling like I’d been to a really expensive science fair.
A lot of companies have innovations labs, where people try to break out of everyday thinking and spot what’s going to change the business six months, a year, five years down the road. There’s no magic formula for making them relevant to a given business.