In The Know or Dark

So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you–positively or negatively. 


They can help either to keep you “in the know” or “in the dark.”


As we all know by now, information is power!


When you’re in the know–you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what’s happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization. 


When you’re in the dark–you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter.  A colleague of mine put it this way: “Don’t get between a man and his firing squad.”   


So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare. 


To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn.  And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable. 


But to another extent, there are others–superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers–who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend…some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn’t it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else.  What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!


Why some friend and others foe you–who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate. 


In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Information Is Power

Just wanted to share something I heard and liked about data and information:

“Everything is a record, record, record
in a table, table, table.”

Can everything in life really be reduced to lines of records, with fields of data in tables of information?


This is the information age!


Analytics and Big Data rule!


Knowledge is power!


In any conflict, we seek information dominance and supremacy!


Artificial intelligence is the future!


Records are unique with their own sys.id.


Creativity and innovation are also records in the table–even if they are the one in a million. 


The more records and tables–the more dots and connections between them–the more intelligence we can glean. 


Yes, everything is a record, record, record in a table, table, table. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Personal Technology Trumps Work IT

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The pendulum has definitely swung—our personal and home technology is now often better than what we are using in the office.

It wasn’t always that way. Early on, technology was mysterious to those not professionally engaged as system engineers or IT professionals. Technology was expensive and made sense for business purposes, but not for home use. IT was a professional enabler to get the job done, but consumer applications were scarce and not intuitive for anything but the office.

The world has turned upside down. Now as consumers, we are using the latest and greatest computers, smart phones, gaming devices, and software applications, including everything social media and e-Commerce, while in the office, we are running old operating systems, have nerdy phones, locked down computers, applications that aren’t web-enabled, and social media that is often blocked.

The Wall Street Journal (16 November 2009) summed up the situation this way:

“At the office, you’ve got a sluggish computer running aging software, and the email system routinely badgers you to delete message after you blow through the storage limits set by your IT department. Searching your company’s internal website feels like being transported back to the pre-Google era of irrelevant results…This is the double life many people lead: yesterday’s technology for work, today’s technology for everything else…The past decade has brought awesome innovations to the marketplace–Internet search, the iPhone, Twitter, and so on, but consumers, not companies, embrace them first and with the most gusto.”

What gives and why are we somehow loosing our technical edge in the workplace?

Rapid Pace of Change—We have been on technological tear for the last 20 years now; virtually nothing is the same—from the Internet to cloud computing, from cell phones and pagers to smart phones and iPhones, from email to social media, and so much more. From a consumer perspective, we are enamored with the latest gadgets and capabilities to make our life easier and more enjoyable though technology. But at work, executives are tiring from the pace of technological change and the large IT budgets that are needed to keep up with the Jones. This is especially the case, as financial markets have seized in the last few years, credit has tightened, revenue and profitability has been under extreme pressure, and many companies have laid off employees and others have even gone kaput.

Magnificent Technology Failures—Along with the rapid pace of change, has come huge IT project failure rates. The Standish group reported this year that 82% of IT projects are failing or seriously challenged. Why in the world would corporate executives want to invest more money, when their past and present IT investments have been flushed down the toilet? Executives have lost faith in IT’s ability to upgrade their legacy systems and fulfill the promises behind the slew of IT investments already made. Related to this is the question of true cost-benefit and total cost of ownership of all the new technologies and their associated investments—if we haven’t been able to achieve or show the return on investment on all the prior investments, why should we continue investing and investing? Is the payoff really there? Perhaps, we are better off putting the dollars into meeting core mission requirements and not overhead, like IT?

Security Risks Abound—With all the technology has come a whole new organizational risk set in terms of IT security. Organizations are hostage to cyber criminals, terrorists, and hostile nation states who can with a few keyboard strokes or mouse clicks disable the company transaction capability, wipe out its memory, steal its information, or otherwise neutralize it from functioning. And the more technology we add, the more the risk level seems to increase. For example, the thinking goes that we were safer when we ran everything in a locked down, tightly controlled, mainframe environment. The more we push the envelope on this and have moved to client server, the web, and now to even more transparency, information sharing, and collaboration—through social media, cloud computing, and World 2.0—the thinking is that we are potentially more open to local and global threats than ever before. Further, with the nation under virtually constant cyberattack and our capabilities to slow or stop these attacks seemingly not existent at this time, executives are reluctant to open up the technology vulnerability spigot any further.

While there are many other reasons slowing or impeding our technology adoption at work, we cannot stop our march of IT advancement and progress.

We are in a global competitive marketplace and the world waits for no one. The problems resulting from the speed and cost of change, the high IT project failure-rate, and the cybersecurity danger/challenges cannot be allowed to inhibit us from progress. We must address these issues head on: We have got to achieve efficiencies from technological advancement and plow the cost-savings into next generation technologies. We have got to drastically improve our IT project success rate though mature implementations of enterprise architecture, IT governance, project management, customer relationship management, and performance measurement (Reference: The CIO Support Services Framework). And we must invest heavily in IT security—with money, people, policy, training, new technology safeguards, and more.

Innovation, technological prowess, and information superiority is what gives us our edge—it is tip of our spear. So yes, we must carefully plan/architect, wisely invest, execute well, and secure our IT. But no, we cannot dismiss the evolving technologies outright nor jump in without proper controls. We must move rationally, but determined into the future.

>DoD Enterprise Architecture

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In a world where information superiority can mean battlefield victory, enterprise architecture is critical to military transformation and execution.

Military Information Technology, 11 February 2008, reports “Enterprise Architecture: Key to Netcentricity.”

http://www.military-information-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=2328

Why is EA important in general:

“An actionable EA provides organizational leaders information sufficient to make enterprise plans, investment resource and management decisions, and to optimize key operational and support processes.”

Why is EA important to The Department of Defense?

The warfighter relies on information superiority to sense a threat, decide on a course of action, and execute faster than the enemy. This is not much different than survival in America’s Wild West years ago, by those who had the fastest [gun] draw.

Today, “The OODA [observe, orient, decide, act] loop is a ‘sense and respond’ cycle driven by actionable data and information for superior information management, battlespace awareness, and operational decision-making…when organizational components use rich and timely information, dramatically improved battlespace operations effectiveness can be realized…the single unifying approach that delivers the needed information and insight is enterprise architecture.”

What is netcentricity?

Netcentricity or “network-centric operations (NCO) enables military forces to anticipate and adapt rapidly to changes in the environment such as enemy warfare tactics. NCO touches all aspects of department operations and, by integrating organizational networks and information, enables enhanced warfare operations effectiveness. NCO is enabled through dramatic changes in mindsets, processes, IT and access to information and networks.”

“An actionable EA is critical to the DoD realizing netcentric capabilities.”

Unfortunately DoD is struggling to implement actionable EA. The General Accountability Office (GAO)…in 2006 found that the EA programs of the departments of the Air Force, Navy, and Army were among the four most immature EA programs within the government.

What does DoD need to advance their EA?

GAO found that “strong executive leadership could resolve all the challenges organizations experienced in developing and using actionable EA capabilities.”

Transformational leaders in DoD will provide the “vision, integrity, communication, inspiration, and empowerment.” And they “empower organizational members with human, material, and financial resources to accomplish the vision.”

EA cannot be achieved without management commitment and adequate resources!

What about the DoD leaders who say that EA cannot be implemented “because the organization is too complex”?

This thinking is sort of ironic, because EA is what captures information, analyzes and catalogues it, and serves it up to the end-users to enable better decision-making. EA is what simplifies information and makes it transparent enabling strategic transformation and the realization of netcentric capabilities.

EA is exactly what DoD needs for evaluating itself, planning its future state, and transitioning itself to achieve its goals of battlespace superiority through information superiority.

“Implementing an actionable EA capability can take up to five years and requires…[DoD leaders need to] focus on long-term performance improvements,” through enterprise architecture implementation.