Monday, 24 December 2007
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
I couldn't help thinking, while reading it, of Eddie Izzard saying "Brian, where's the honey!"
Friday, 14 December 2007
Friday, 26 October 2007
He also comments on the need for speedy networks to complement this explosion in storage. I hadn't really considered storage as a compelling driver for network speed, but seen this way, it is obvious that there is a huge disparity in the speed of improvement in these technologies.
Friday, 12 October 2007
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) within an organisation is the subject of much debate. We are starting to move on from the rather blunt discussion of whether or not the role should exist at board level – that surely is dependent on the strategic intent for IT within the business, and the capabilities of the individual concerned. The blend of skills required for the CIO role is certainly changing, but my concern is that there is still a substantial gap between the typical core education and career development path on the one hand, and what we expect of the CIO on the other.
I believe that the core skills required for the CIO role should include the following ten principles, and we must ensure that the career development path reflects these:-
1. Awareness of the core processes that support the organisation. Firstly, a CIO must have a comprehensive understanding of the organisation, its value proposition, its structure, its resources and funding, and the core revenue and cost-generating business processes that make it tick.
2. Appreciation of the role of information within the organisation. This is a key point because it focuses on information, rather than technology, as the basic currency of the CIO role. Understanding how the value-creation processes of the organisation rely on (and can be enhanced by) information, should be the most fundamental part of the responsibility.
3. Sound understanding of business and organisational finance. The CIO requires both a general understanding of business finance, and a specific familiarity with that aspect of his or her own organisation. I believe that CIOs should not be reliant on others to assess the financial worth of prospective projects, but should be able to use such knowledge to understand where their efforts can most usefully be focused.
4. Knowledge of core technology propositions and technology trends. Whilst I would place a separation between the CIO role and that of the principal technology caretaker, it is important that the former understands the basic building blocks at his or her disposal, how these fit together, and how they are likely to develop over time.
5. Creative approach to business problem solving. This, I believe, is one of the unique skills of a CIO: the ability to bridge the gap between business requirements and how technology can support these. The rapidly-evolving nature of technology means that the problem-solving toolkit, and the accompanying patterns are also changing. CIOs must, therefore, constantly consider new solutions to the challenges facing them.
6. Ability to communicate the business impact of technology initiatives. The next requirement is to be able to communicate those solutions effectively to senior colleagues and to the organisation at large, in terms which are meaningful to the relevant audience.
7. Experience of initiating or leading business-change programmes. Whilst it is the CIO that is typically charged with developing the solutions to information-related problems, it is often the case that others are expected to implement that solution, and drive through what can be a significant scale of business change. Whilst a CIO must engage with many other participants within the organisation for project success, I believe that he or she should be capable of leading a programme where information management is the primary characteristic.
8. Understanding of how to assess and manage risk. The CIO should be fully conversant with assessing and managing project risk, with particular emphasis on those elements of risk that are associated with developing new information systems, and introducing them into an organisation.
9. Focus on service quality and service improvement. A key element of the CIO role is to foster a service approach, and to implement ways of monitoring, maintaining, and improving the level of service. Above all, this requires developing metrics for information costs and value, which should be as essential to the organisation as financial metrics, production statistics, or sales figures.
10. Aptitude for establishing and managing relationships with third-party service providers. Where an organisation has made a decision to outsource a substantial portion of its IT provision, then the role of the CIO will be to assist in managing the interface between the external providers and the requirements of the organisation. With an internal model, the CIO should similarly help define and manage the interface to IT services, and be closely involved in decisions on which services might sensibly be sourced externally.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Friday, 7 September 2007
Monday, 27 August 2007
Saturday, 14 July 2007
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Oh, to be able to convey such incredible machinations to joe public in a compelling, exciting way...
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
read more | digg story
Tuesday, 29 May 2007
It might seem hard to believe, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past of 2001 that magazines such as BusinessWeek screamed, "Sorry, Steve, Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work." Retail consultants and online chatterers fell all over themselves to join the nay-saying chorus - some chiming in right up until the moment it was reported that Apple's 174 stores generate $4,032 in annual sales per square foot. That beats Best Buy, Saks, and even Tiffany & Co.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this is a textbook example of how to do things right. Apple's retail success spoke for itself when its stores reached $1 billion in annual sales faster than any retailer in history. That was in 2004. In 2006? Sales reached $1 billion a quarter.
Crazy numbers that are often overlooked in the great Apple debates.
Thursday, 10 May 2007
Tuesday, 1 May 2007
The days of producing something intangible, yet selling it tangibly are numbered (that goes for media as well as software).
Thursday, 26 April 2007
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Wednesday, 18 April 2007
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Such has it been for years with home servers and so-called media centres. The more recent efforts haven't been too bad - the MVix and Apple TV, but where PCs are too big and desk-oriented, these devices are too constrained by media formats, either because of substandard hardware, or locked up software. When video standards are a broad, open market, it pays to be modular: have a tool for retrieval/storage/processing and distribution of media (a home server) and separate tools for presentation of media (a screen or a stereo or a printer). This home server just needs to be a suped-up hard disk attached to a network, with a webserver for GUI and LOTS of protocols for retrieval and distribution of media.
It doesn't sound hard, does it? Yet I've never seen such a straightforward device. The Apple TV is close, but is hobbled by format/protocol restrictions and DRM.
This device shows more promise. It just needs a complimentary box attached to the TV to convert datastreams into the plethora of multimedia formats (Component, co-ax, HDMI, DVI etc.).
I think the latter half of this year, going into next year, will be home media server time
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
The enterprise OS is a different story: the winner there will not necessarily be the most technologically advanced, but just the one who wins the skillset wars.
Where are the tech dev skills? Somebody give me a Google Earth overlay of tech dev skills: geography and skill type. That will lead to the next paradigm.
Monday, 19 February 2007
Thursday, 15 February 2007
With physical objects, you get predictable results: the chair stands, the car starts. Even when things go wrong, the symptoms are relatively straightforward, and the causes clear: the car won't start because the starter motor is broken or the battery is flat, probably caused by wear & tear or unusual weather.
This article (BCS) argues that software should be designed based on this dependability: risk-based software design. It's an admirable principle, but where to start...?
Tuesday, 30 January 2007
If I have any apparent bias, it's an appreciation of the innovations that macs offer in a Windows world. If Microsoft emulate Apple's good ideas, then good for us. Likewise, if Apple emulated Microsoft, then good for us.
This article is a rarity in that it addresses the latter.
So, it seems that Microsoft are still doing more with more: the American tradition of bigger engines = more power = good. When will M$ get out of Moore's Law's wake and start truly innovating: do more with the same or less. If they don't, they'll go the same way as the US car industry...