I Like That Technology

I Like That Technology

Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal makes the case for letting employees go rogue with IT purchases.

It’s cheaper, it’s faster, “every employee is a technologist,” and those organizations “concerned about the security issues of shadow IT are missing the point; the bigger risk is not embracing it in the first place.”

How very bold or stupid?

Let everyone buy whatever they want when they want–behavior akin to little children running wild in a candy store.

So I guess that means…

Enterprise architecture planning…not important.
Sound IT governance…hogwash.
A good business case…na, money’s no object.
Enterprise solutions…what for?
Technical standards…a joke.
Interoperability…who cares?
Security…ah, it just happens!

Well, Mims just got rids of decades of IT best practices, because he puts all his faith in the cloud.

It’s not that there isn’t a special place for cloud computing, BYOD, and end-user innovation, it’s just that creating enterprise IT chaos and security cockiness will most-assuredly backfire.

From my experience, a hybrid governance model works best–where the CIO provides for the IT infrastructure, enterprise solutions, and architecture and governance, while the business units identify their specific requirements on the front line and ensure these are met timely and flexibly.

The CIO can ensure a balance between disciplined IT decision-making with agility on day-to-day needs.

Yes, the heavens will not fall down when the business units and IT work together collaboratively.

While it may be chic to do what you want when you want with IT, there will come a time, when people like Mims will be crying for the CIO to come save them from their freewheeling, silly little indiscretions.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Federal Leadership Is A Journey

There were three news articles in Federal Times this week (17 December 2012) that highlighted some disappointments for the time being, but that offer hope for the future:
–   Conflicts of Interest at DARPA: The previous director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigated by the Defense Department Inspector General for conflicts of interest related to the award of “hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to a company she co-founded and partially owned.” The hope for the future—the new DARPA director has “sent a full list of her financial assets to all of the agency’s employees.”
–   Missed opportunity for use of mobile devices, BYOD in the Federal workforce: The CIO Council’s report on “Government Use of Mobile Technology: Barriers, Opportunities, and Gap Analysis” was required by the Federal Digital Strategy (May 2012); however, while there is clarity of the need for greater mobility in the workforce, instead of a clear architecture forward, the report calls for more guidance from the administration on “how to handle the tricky legal, privacy, and financial implications.” The hope—the report looks toward  a government-wide or agency policy and guidance to support more flexible use of mobile devices and a cross-functional team to evaluate Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for the future.
–   NASA doubts commitment of getting to an asteroid: NASA, which has been criticized by some for not having a clear direction, has been charged with “sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025,” yet there is not consensus that this is “the next step on the way to Mars.” The hope—NASA can restructure, engage in cost-sharing partnerships, or otherwise increase budget or decrease scope to right-align and achieve clear focus on the next great goals for outer space.
Lesson learned: leadership does not have all the answers nor do they always do everything right, but leadership is a journey. So while today, we may not always be making the best acquisitions for advanced research, achieving clarity of a mobile strategy, or landing people on Mars—we are on the way—through one small step for leadership, one giant leap for the rest of us.
(Source Photo: here with attribution to NASA)

Out-Tech The Competition

Emails_jealous

Talking with my daugter today, I learned that times have changed for our children and I realized for us as well.

It used to be that kids would work hard to out-dress each other–who has the coolest outfit, the shiniest shoes, even the best piercing, but now tech is outgunning fashion. 

In my daughter’s school, she says it’s no longer about clothes, but about tech devices–who has the latest iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, the thinnest laptop, the coolest apps, and so on. 

How you dress today is less important than what technology you use!

For us adults, this message was brought home by an article in Federal Times (5 Nov. 2012) entitled “Jeans and flip-flops at work.” 

As the President of the American Federation of Government Employees Union Local 22 stated: “It’s not about dressing up , it’s about dressing down and allowing the creativity to flow.” Similarly, the Director of Public Relations for Young Government Leaders was quoted as saying: “Today’s young leader feel their work makes a bigger statement than what clothes they wear.”

So the pressure is off with the dress code, but what about the technology your using?

Government Executive (1 Nov. 2012) in an article called “Technology Hand-off,” points out the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and as Darren Ash, the CIO of NRC points out “Apple just released the iPhone 5. In the Android market it seems like a new model comes along every month. We can’t keep up.”

And it’s not just the CIOs that are screaming for relief from the incessant change and speed of technology change, everyone is constantly competing for the new technology…from waiting days in line for the next generation Apple device to doing a device refresh every 2-3 years on average, we are addicted to the “latest and greatest.”

One CIO, who was the first in an agency to get an iPad, took it proudly to every meeting, especially in front of the executives–first it made him look very progressive and “with it,” but then as the iPad envy set in, the whole executive leadership soon were carrying the devices as well. 

So out dressing the guy next to you is so blasé, now what’s important is whether you can out-tech them!

Whether it’s clothes or technology, the competition out there is fierce–and the cultural statement is clear–get with it or get run over by it. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)