If This Then That (IFTTT), A Futurists Blessing

IFTTT.PNG

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a simple, but absolutely fundamental programming principle.


It is also the basis for futurist-thinking such as war-gaming and strategic planning.  For example, if North Korea put’s a nuke on the launch pad with the targeting at the U.S., then we will do kaboom!


IFTTT is also an app and is used in algorithms such as with Twitter, so when Trump or other famous and powerful people say something on the global social media stage, Wall Street’s high-speed, high-frequency trading desks are at the front of the line to respond to market-moving news.


So powerful is IFTTT, you could almost predict the election results from it (the outrageously biased media may want to open their tarnished rose-colored glasses and try it).  For example, if you take for granted, forget or neglect working class America, then the great “blue wall” tumbles. 


IFTTT also works in politics of all sorts. If you abandon friends and allies and embrace terrorist enemies, then the world order is turned on it’s head and the Middle East and beyond burns and rages in turmoil. Similarly, if you are biased between people, races, and political parties, then you polarize the country and create divisiveness and hate and obstruct even the possibility of virtually any progress. 


So you really don’t have to have a crystal ball to see the writing on the wall for the results of profoundly good moves and the display of stupidity galore. 


One final IFTTT before the major transition of power this week: if you talk big, but don’t really deliver results (or you deliver lots of bad stuff), then you get seen for being all poetry and no prose, and your legacy goes bye bye. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Good IT Gone Bad

upside-down-jpeg

So over and over again, good IT goes bad in a flawed decision-making process. 


Even with the best laid plans and governance processes in place, somehow decisions get politicized, go bad, and projects fail. 


Here are some of the popular reasons why this happens:


1) Someone has something to prove – Often their is a person incoming to power who wants to show off what they can do. Instead of focusing on what is best for the organization’s mission and people, they put themselves first. IT becomes not a tool for efficiency and effectiveness, but rather as some project rushed through for someone’s resume and narcissist career progression. Time to add another notch on your IT belt!


2) Someone used it, saw it, or heard of it someplace else – So why follow a structured decision-making and vetting process for new technology, when Joe Schmoe already has the answer of what we can use and what we should do. Perhaps, Joe Schmoe used the technology in another place and for another reason, but that’s what he knows and instantaneously, he’s the maven, subject matter expert. Or maybe, Joe Schmoe attended a vendor conference or read a trade mag on the airplane and now he is guess what, the all-knowing on the topic. Get ready to pull out your wallets to pay for the wrong thing for your needs and organization, but it’s okay becuase Joe Schmoe assured you it’s great!


3) Someone wants to use technology like a Swiss army utility knife – Let’s just buy this amazing tool; it can slice, dice, chop, mince, or Julienne; actually there is nothing this IT tool can’t do. Buy it and use it for all your technology projects and needs. Why buy specialized tools, when you can have one that does everything–it will be your data warehouse, cloud provider, handle all your transactions, and be your artificial intelligence all in one.  Don’t worry about the complexity, integration, training, support or how good it does any specific thing–just trust us!


In general, it shouldn’t be so easy for leadership to get sold and fooled by the wrong people with the wrong agendas. Yet, these things seem to take off like a speeding locomotive, and if anyone tries to step in front of it, career splat for some unfortunate well-meaning character!


Some leaders and organizations only seem to learn by making the same IT mistakes again and again–it’s costly to their mission and to their stakeholders, but someone is making out like a bandit and it’s on their dime. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

On The Lookout To Managing Risk

risk-management-jpeg

So risk management is one of the most important skills for leadership. 


Risk is a function of threats, vulnerabilities, probabilities, and countermeasures. 


If we don’t manage risk by mitigating it, avoiding it, accepting it, or transferring it, we “risk” being overcome by the potentially catastrophic losses from it.


My father used to teach me when it comes to managing the risks in this world that “You can’t have enough eyes!”


And that, “If you don’t open your eyes, you open your wallet.”


This is a truly good sound advice when it comes to risk management and I still follow it today. 


Essentially, it is always critical to have a backup or backout plan for contingencies.


Plan A, B, and C keeps us from being left in the proverbial dark when faced with challenge and crisis. 


In enterprise architecture, I often teach of how if you fail to plan, you might as well plan to fail. 


This is truth–so keep your eyes wide open and manage risks and not just hide your head in the sand of endless and foolhardy optimism for dummies. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cherry Blossom Sky

lorful

Cherry Blossom

What beautiful weather we are having this time of year.


Just loved this gorgeous Cherry Blossom tree with the white leaves against the pale blue sky. 


Almost looks like snow flakes, but thank G-d those are gone now. 


All this nature is sort of the opposite of work, but on my mind is this quote that I heard this week:

_____________

“Plan the work

AND

Work the plan”

_____________


It’s simple, but gets right to the point of the necessity of planning and then executing on the plan.


I like the gorgeous nature and this smart saying.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Random Luck My A*s

EA

Here’s an interesting enterprise architecture themed fortune cookie. 


“Good luck is the result of good planning.”


Everybody wants good fortune, but a big differentiator is whether you are willing to think through life’s scenarios, pull together a solid plan (A, B, and C to be on the safe side) and put in the effort and hard work to achieve your dreams and goals.


Fortunes rise and fall likes the tides, but a solid plan (with G-d’s blessings) can take you further than any ocean spans.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Enterprise Architecture – Make The Leap

Enterprise Architecture

Another good depiction of enterprise architecture.


What we are, the divide, and what we want to be.


We have to make the leap, but only with good planning and decision-making governance. 


Otherwise, it’s a long fall down the project failure abyss. 


Faith is always important, but so it doing your credible part. 😉


(Source Photo: Via Instagram)

| Go With A Winning Strategy |

Chess

So there was an office discussion the other day about something having a “checkered past.”


And one of my colleagues said wisely about it, “I rather play chess!”


I though it was a smart retort, since chess is a game of strategy versus checkers, which is more a game of luck. 


Checkers is by far the more one-dimensional game with each piece moving or jumping in a similar fashion, while in chess, you deploy specific types of pieces (king, queen, rook, bishop, night, or pawn) for different manuevers. 


In life, when we deal with things that are especially challenging, double-edged, tricky, or plain dangerous, we need to handle it with a well-thought-out game plan and a solid strategy.


Having a plan and maintaining agility in dealing with the “facts on the ground” as they unfold is by far the better problem-solving approach than just trying to jump over the other guys pieces or block his next move. 


Chess in the only way to get to checkmate 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Florls Looijesteijn)

Governance, Pay Attention

Monkeys
So I chose this photo to represent bad governance. 



The governing board covers their ears, eyes, and mouth.



Because they hear and see no evil and speak no truth. 



They are deaf, blind, and dumb–they provide no real oversight. 



Simply choosing to collect their pay checks and stock options for residing on the governance board.



This is their payoff–not to govern–but rather to shut up and stay out of it!



I read a good overview of what governance is supposed to be and comparing it to management functions (Reference: Exam Preparation Course in a Book for Passing the CISM):

  • “Oversight versus Implementation
  • Assigning Authority versus Authorizing action
  • Enacting policy versus Enforcing policy
  • Accountability versus Responsibility
  • Strategic planning versus Project planning
  • Resource allocation versus Resource utilization”



When the board does their job, then the organization has a business strategy, manages risks, allocates resources, delivers value, and measures and monitors performance. 



In other words, no more acting like a bunch of out of control monkeys. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

Corporate Dictators Gone Wild

Corporate Dictators Gone Wild

Interesting book review in the Wall Street Journal on Moments of Impact–corporate strategy meetings.

The authors, Ertel and Solomon, see strategy meetings as critical for “to confront radical challenges” “cope with fast-changing threats”, and confront competition.

It is an opportunity to:

– Look at the big picture, including industry trends.

– Hear different points of view from as broad array of perspectives as possible (instead of the usual “fences and silos” that prevail in corporate life).

– Decide to change (“Creative Adaptation”) or to stay with tried and true strategies (“stick to their knitting”).

The book reviewer, Adrian Woolridge, though has a much more skeptical view of these strategy sessions calling them “dull, unstructured time-sucks” and “more often than not, [they’re] a huge waste of time”:

Why?

– They produce “airy-fairy nonsense.”

– Rather than abandoning the corporate hierarchy, the sessions anchor in “status hierarchy.”

– Outside strategy “experts” brought in “are nothing more than cliche-mongers.”

– The “games” are silly and non-impactful.

– Often rather than strategic conversations, we get “lazy consensus,” where decisions are driven by senior managers with a bone to pick or a reorganization in mind.

What the truth…as usual, somewhere in between these 2 states of idealism and cynicism.

We can choose to take planning seriously to bring people together to solve problems creatively and gain consensus and commitment or we can use strategy as bogus cheerleading sessions and to manipulate the sheep to do what the seniors already know they want.

If we really work as a team to press forward then we can accomplish great things through our diversity and strength, but if strategy is nothing but corporate dictators gone wild, then the cause is already lost to the competition.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)