Recent Posts

You can’t avoid the IT Laws of Nature

5 minute read

I recently read an interview with Catherine Bessant, CIO of Bank of America (a quick and simple registration on is required). Catherine comes across as an impressive CIO role model. She has taken an unusual path to the role and has an unusual approach to some of the challenges which we can all learn from. For this post I have picked out one of Catherine’s key areas of focus. She describes herself as “freakishly focused on simplification.” Given the intricate and fast moving nature of IT, you might think this focus is incompatible with the CIO’s role but it should be near the top of every CIO’s agenda.

Beware the Sirens of IT transformation

5 minute read

I have been writing a series of posts about implementing an operating model for IT which is based upon services. If you followed the last post you will have already started to engage your key stakeholders and they will already be thinking about their IT needs and their role in making the IT ecosystem work. Now you will be looking for advice on how to map out the value chains for the new IT model. The next post will go into more detail on how to use value chains and provide some examples but first I thought I should share a few warnings. We are about to enter what is probably the most dangerous part of the journey where unwary CIOs could be lured off course and face disaster. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Questions are the first step towards service oriented IT

4 minute read

This post is one of a series about developing a service-oriented operating model for IT. Previous posts have covered: the concept of a service-oriented operating model for IT designing the right organisation structure. This post is about the first step in the IT transformation process - engaging with the rest of the organisation. This means IT leadership engaging with other leaders across the enterprise and not just the rest of the IT department. Whether or not your vision is to move to a service-oriented operating model this is the first step in the process.

Strategy or routine operations - Binary Thinking Hex No. 8

1 minute read

Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 8: The CIO needs to focus on strategy and ignore routine operations Binary Thinking: CIOs should not waste their time on the trivial matter of keeping the IT machine running. These days the issues in running IT are well understood and should be left to subordinates. If necessary a CIO can appoint a CTO to look after technology. Instead the CIO should be a business strategist and spend most of their time sitting with the CEO and the board and: talk about social media and new consumer devices, agree the budget for replacing all existing IT equipment with public cloud services and consider what questions could be answered through Big Data once the management hierarchy has been made obsolete by collaboration and gamification.

Agile or waterfall - Binary Thinking Hex No. 7

1 minute read

Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 7: Changes and projects can be delivered in an agile or waterfall way Binary Thinking: Traditionally people commissioning a change have carefully specified their requirements and then left a project team alone for months, or maybe years, to develop and deliver a capability to fulfil the requirements. This disciplined, structured approach has been largely discredited in the IT domain as the cause of many high-profile project failures. Alternatively changes can be made in an agile way which means delivering basic capabilities in days or weeks and working closely with commissioners to add further capabilities iteratively over time. These days everything should be done using an agile approach.