21 November 2015

Isn't it about time Chief Digital Officers went away?


Diagram credit: @MarthaHeller
Despite being pronounced dead a few times the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role still seems to be going strong. Unfortunately, it is quite hard to tell if this resilience is down to the merits of the role or just mislabelling. These days, people have a tendency to add "digital" to quite ordinary things to make them sound more exciting and special - the letter "e" used to have the same magical effect, as in E-Business. For example, a recent poll by @marthaheller asked CIO's where they thought the digital department should reside - the results are above. It seems unlikely that Martha's followers had a common idea about what a digital department was for. In order to help, here is my digital department field guide. Are there any species of digital that I have missed?

2 September 2015

Are Architects ruining Enterprise Architecture?

Photo credit: Alan Levine

The signs are not good. A recent CIO Survey reported a big decline in demand for architects. Some highly respected experts are promoting new concepts, such as evolving microservices and "Death Star" diagrams which appear to defy many architecture conventions. I have worked in several organisations where I have been told not to mention architecture because executives are still angry about previous failed initiatives. These are not isolated instances. Visit any of the busy architecture community forums and you will find numerous discussions about the woeful state of the discipline and proposals for how to remedy the situation. My current role is focused on the enterprise architecture aspects of the CIO's portfolio so this is all a bit worrying. Can we save architecture? Should we try?

3 July 2015

Your investments in IT infrastructure are going nowhere fast

Photo credit: W.E Fretwell
I don't care if you are developing mobile apps or extracting minerals. You might be a young start-up, a national government body or a global corporate - it doesn't matter. If you make bad decisions about your IT infrastructure you will be saddled with a burden that sucks up money, puts obstacles in the way of innovation and will turn away customers, partners and your best people. You would think that organisations would do all they can to help their CIO avoid such a fate but, unfortunately, you would be wrong.

3 June 2015

Business cases can be wonderful

Photo Credit: Christian Schnettelker on Flickr
Is it just me or is there anyone else out there who actually likes developing business cases? Maybe there are a few but I am sure we are outnumbered by the many who find business cases a long-winded, administrative chore. Why on earth would anyone want to get excited about this?

29 April 2015

Let's be fair to procurement

Photo Credit: Justin Baeder on Flickr

In a recent Twitter exchange, digital leaders in the UK and US were critical of procurement in the public sector. Others make similar comments about their colleagues in Legal and Finance. I agree there is a problem but I don't think it is entirely fair to single out these teams. The rest of us need to accept some of the blame because, generally, we get the commercial services we deserve.

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