Simply put it is the very nature of the human condition.
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Wandering through the fields seeking praise. It is at times the very human condition that makes us real as we wander through our lives seeking praise.

It, praise, presents an interesting problem. When we are praised we sometimes question the source. We wonder if the validity of the source regarding the issue for which we are being praised. Why? Because we are always seeking praise and when it comes we don’t know what to do with it, so we put it into a small box and throw things at it to see if it is real.

Put praise in a box with radioactive materials, will it still be there when you open the box later? Like the cat it may be immortal at that point but it isn’t relevant until you open the box.

So we often run from praise. Of course a reason to run from praise is the reality of faint praise. that praise issued from someone that in the end isn’t really praise and of course then has a huge impact on us.

So we blush, find fault and pretend that in the end we were not praised.

Simply put it is the very nature of the human condition.


The Gadget review
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What would I do without gadgets. I was thinking maybe I should have a gadget free day. Then I realized what would I do? Go for a long walk, but I wouldn’t know how far I walked.
It is a thought process I go through every “oncest” in awhile. Do I rely to much on gadgets? Is usually my leaping off point. From there I consider what I do and how I use the gadgets to make things easier.
For example I used to pre-route my running routes by driving them with my car. What happened when I had to change course? I never knew how far I had run. Enter Garmin wrist GPS (ForeRunner) and no more pre-mapping out courses. So that one – huge time and effort savings good gadget to use.
iPad, it is now my mail machine, document editing and gaming/reading device when I travel. It has reduced the number of devices I carry (no more portable GPS, Kindle) so for that it is a valid gadget to keep.
iPod, ok this one is a stretch it has movies, music and books and is pretty small but I could carry that I my iPad if I wanted to, simply connecting the iPad to my laptop to move the data over. So this is the first one I have to really think about. The one thing that moves it over the edge? All my audible books and all my family pictures in one place when I travel so it noses over the line as critical.
There are a few devices that I don’t really need yet. Its fun to have them but they aren’t critical. My Samsung Galaxy tab is a great device but isn’t a game changer so it stays home. It may be useful next we go on vacation and need to watch multiple TV devices.
I should probably come up with a formal gadget criteria list and publish it.

OK IT show your work!
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Conceptually can an organization vault over their current state infrastructure and software problems by moving to a cloud computing solution?

Yesterday I started thinking about that very concept in relationship to the earlier argument I was having with myself over who can move to the cloud.

So the question today is, if in fact you leapfrog into cloud are you actually doing the right thing?

Of course that is a trick question. You can’t do the right thing by leaping over change. You in the end will miss some of the components of the change that are critical path. You can grab some of the value but you lose some of the insight gained from climbing up the hill.

That means the answer is no.


Its like math problems when you are 15 years old. You at some point begin to intuitively understand what the answer range is and eventually you can come up with the answer but you always have to show your work, why? Because the work shows that you were able to complete the steps properly and in order.

That means you can leap ahead to save money but make sure some of the savings are applied to fixing and automating the functions you skipped over. In the end showing your work will benefit your business.


still having that inner monologue…
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Ok it is a conversation I can’t get out of my head.

Assertion: that organizations that struggle with internal automation will in fact struggle with cloud solutions.

IF you have asked me that a year ago I would have said – yes. but in the year since then I have changed my mind. I am now of the opinion that in fact organizations that haven’t moved towards cloud computing solutions yet may in fact still be able to, and may find the cost and business value to be lower (cost) and higher (business value) then they previously thought.

Mobility will be the limiter going forward for not moving to the cloud. In the end anywhere access (any device) will result in more solutions needing to be cloud enabled. VPN clients don’t operate as efficiently on mobile devices and they chew up a lot of overhead. The value of the mobile device is being able to easily and quickly connect to what they need to use.

I am beginning to believe that in fact cloud computing may be the great equalizer. It would allow organizations to move forward quickly as long as they follow the standard planning processes.

I guess, my changing direction is the reason I can’t get this conversation out of my head.


Hopefully it doesn’t rain…
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Continuing on my now three days of arguing with myself about who is ready for cloud computing. I wonder is cloud computing a paradigm shift or the last stand of the old guard?

The ways things have always been done.

That has to be the scariest thing you ever year. That phrase was the major reason I couldn’t be a teacher anymore. It rocks you to its very core because its wrong.

Innovation moves at cloud speed. Cloud speed is a rate of change that tends to leave a number of companies in the dust and the reality is, the way things have always been is the argument used.

Sure taking an ERP or ERM system and moving it to the cloud today is more that most (if many at all) organizations can handle. That has as much to do with the complexity and necessity of the solution as it does anything else. If the big ERM vendors offered SOA like solutions that worked together (i.e. I could get billing from one system as a service and AR from another system as a service) we would in fact be further along in that space.

The rest of the solutions that are out there, however, could at least be made cloud available. This of course runs smack dab into the middle of the argument that starts this blog out – the way things always have been.

Its truly a scary argument as there really is only one answer to that question – no. It has never been the way people say it was. That is a trick argument used to hide behind. Things change and evolve constantly. They are not the way they were 10 years ago, a year ago or even last month in virtually every case.

Cloud Speed is about being aware that change is coming, and coming fast and adapting to that change. Sometimes however change leaves some people at the bus stop waiting for the bus that always comes.

Hopefully it doesn’t rain.


More on yesterday’s who can move to the cloud discussion
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Thinking more about my who benefits from cloud conversation started yesterday I have some additional thoughts. (of course)

The first thought has to do with the economic relativity of cloud computing. Everyone talks about cloud computing being a cost savings but in reality it is for solutions that are cloud ready. Many applications today are not ready for cloud computing due to the nature of the application or the reality of the solution around it. Some are however and it remains my contention that in fact an organization struggling with maturity will get the greatest value out of the commodity applications that can be moved to the cloud today. A Dynamic org will have already realized the vast majority of the cost savings inherent in the cloud solution before the solution is offered. For the dynamic org they may in fact be able to use the cloud version to streamline some of their internal processes.

My second thought has to do with the very process of migration. The migration of complex applications and complex data sets would swamp an organization that was struggling with maturity. I suspect right now it would actually push a mature organization to the edge, but the basic org would truly struggle. Part of the problem is that they would be able to move the “commodity” stuff but couldn’t move anything else without maturing their overall IT processes.

I guess in the end its true that an organization in the basic level of the Gartner IO model would struggle. I suspect however that the assumption that they cannot move is in fact wrong. They can move the commodity solutions and in effect have great cost and technology complexity savings.

But even the most mature organizations would struggle in moving an ERM or advanced EPM system to the cloud.



Organizational maturity and cloud computing
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In a recent conversation I was talking to a person about what companies will benefit from cloud computing. We were discussing (or arguing your call) the level’s based on the Gartner IO model of organizational maturity and the ability based on their maturity of an organization to move to a cloud solution.

My contention is and remains that in fact an organization on the lower end of the IT maturity scale (called basic in the Gartner MIT model) would benefit more than an organization at the higher end of the IO model (called Dynamic in the Gartner MIT model). His argument remains that the Basic org can’t take advantage of cloud as quickly because the don’t know what they don’t know.

I believe that in fact the basic org has much more to gain as long as they approach cloud computing with a plan. Now that flies in the face of the IO model a little, but it also move through that model in a effective way. A basic organization couldn’t move their enterprise applications to the cloud day 1, and frankly a dynamic org already has a cloud like platform for those applications. The basic org however would greatly benefit from the commoditized cloud services that are available from CSP (Cloud Service Provider) orgs today such as email, collaboration and CRM/customer management solutions.

They wouldn’t be as effective as a dynamic organization in prepping but once the email moved they would greatly benefit from the overall complexity reduction that would occur.

Its all about the next step for some of these organizations. Many of them are tied up in knots because well they have allowed themselves to be tied up in knots. If we evaluate where they can easily untie the knots its in the area of those commodity cloud services. Which means in effect basic orgs on the Gartner scale would benefit greatly from leveraging commodity cloud services.


Ethics Ramblings…
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What or who is a professional?

It is a question I’ve asked over and over again my entire career. What does it mean to be a professional. We all have the images in our head of what we believe makes up or comprises the components of what a professional person is.

But do those perceptions ever meet reality? Or vice versa is perhaps more apropos does reality ever meet the expectations of perception?

There are a number of really smart people I know that I would no stack my perception of professional against what they do and don’t do only because it wouldn’t be fair to them. They live in the world of the iconoclast and my perception of reality comes out of the button down world of teaching and the later reality of consulting with various companies. You can allow people to dress casually but if your environment is formal, it doesn’t matter how people dress.

So I guess after thinking about this does it matter what your perception is in the end? I have walked away from my perception time and time again (see above) because frankly the more important thing for me is ethics. If someone treats you ethically then in the end it doesn’t matter what happens next. That ethical reality that absorbs you makes it easier to accept that someone is a professional without the perception getting in the way.

So in the end it is more about ethics than the perceived professionalism of a person. Ethics don’t tell you how to dress or what you “should” wear. Ethics are the honest expression of where things are at any point in a way the person can safely hear. Ethics are doing the right thing when there is no one there (turning in that 20 that you find in the parking lot even though the parking lot is empty).

So then the question becomes who or what comprises the ethics the world needs?

Again I will go back to things I have said for years. No one person is always ethical. There are boundaries and failure points for everyone. Ethics isn’t an easy choice and no matter how hard we try we will at times for short. What ethics does though is gives us the ability to go back to the person afterward and say “sorry.” I guess in the end that is ethics at its best. Its not about being right. Its about being willing to be wrong.


Are question the food on which ideas feed?
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Interesting to be able to think strategically rather than tactically. How many of us spend years working in jobs where strategic thinking isn’t valued, encouraged or supported? I did for many years and struggled with that.  It is more than having a title its actually getting to do something in a supported manner.

I wonder, having left a job like that, how many people are stuck in jobs like that and don’t even know it. I worked with a lot of people who woke up one day like I did and realized in fact they weren’t doing anything strategic. Sure they were making money, but if that is what you are doing then you’ve missed out on a career.

Anyway it was something that struck me yesterday talking to a bunch of students who were asking some awesome questions.

Speaking of which, questions, are they in fact the signs of intelligent life on earth? I was thinking about the process by which an idea grows out of the tendril of “potential” into the reality of a true blossoming idea. Does that in fact require questions?

I found by the end of the day yesterday my initial idea had grown a little from the questions so I wonder if questions are the food by which ideas grow.


The concept of Universal IT
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I think we have gotten it wrong. Its not the consumer world taking over IT, its IT taking over the world.

The essence of IT consumer”ization” struck me the other day. When I was a full time IT person (which last happened about 15 years ago) we didn’t have as many consumer devices. In fact the vast majority of the hardware was IT or Enterprise first and then it moved to the consumer space. (a huge shout out to our summer interns I have to say I learned more from them then I suspect they learned from me!)

Today of course the reverse is true. I was talking to an intern the other day and as she is interested in marine biology we started talking about the shark tracking application I had read about. (Its now in the android and iTunes stores) It allows you to track great white sharks that have RFID chips on the West Coast of the US. That in and of itself is of interest because of Shark Week (the greatest week of TV, EVER!) on Discovery and because it is a mix of science, technology and IT.

Of course its easy to forget the IT part. We associate IT with the organization we are actually working for, owning, working with etc. In fact IT is the driver under the cloud computing movement. So really what we are talking about is the IT”ization” of the consumer world not the other way around.

A huge component of the consumer movement is the core concept of what IT has been doing for the past 30 years. Sure its no longer at the micro level (one-company) or even macro level (one-country) its now global (one-Internet).

  • Usability
  • Security
  • Access (anywhere anytime)
  • Information flow
  • Collaboration

So the next time you pick up your iPhone to complain about your IT department or your sit down at your desk to jot an email to the IT helpdesk complaining, or you blog or post on a wiki or in a chat room or even if you decide to go really modern and post it on Facebook and Twitter remember this in the end. You are using an IT system supporting a consumer device to complain about the corporate IT System your re trying to use that is also supported by IT.

Its not moving to the consumer. Its moving towards the concept of universal IT.