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Co-creation, Naff Label But Hits The IT Nail On The Head

Posted by Mike, August 18th, 2010
Filed under: Changing Face of IT, Collaboration
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Great takaways from Bernard Golden writing in CIO today for all IT staff, particularly CIOs: Cloud computing: Are you ready for co-creation?

In essence he, Michael Chui, senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute and Gartner VP Mark McDonald make the argument that the old world of IT is slowly dying away as:

… business groups within companies get more familiar with the capabilities and opportunities offered by integrated applications and distributed user populations, they start designing more and more innovative business offerings that assume the ability to handle unpredictable loads and manage very large amounts of traffic.

And for an IT staff member this should be an exciting time:

IT organisations that focus on efficiency are likely to be displaced by less-expensive external providers, while those that concentrate on building offerings that are part of their company’s core offerings will prosper. This latter point, by the way, is not the same as the commonly-presented “partnering with business units,” which is supposed to ensure that IT delivers what the business unit wants – too often, that results in better efficiency in rolling out standard apps. Instead, what this means is that IT must implement these kinds of co-creation capabilities.

We at WaveAdept focus on providing the leadership, framework and IT tools to facilitate this move to “co-creation” business models. We also know that it’s all about people and deliver a successful change management plan required to move you upward from an “internal only” focus to one of “open, external and geographical disperse”.

For those in IT check out the 4 step plan within the article:

1. Find every commodity application you run and create a plan to migrate to a low-cost reliable producer
Email is the poster child for this migration. It’s hard to understand why any organisation runs its own email infrastructure.

2. Create a cloud action plan
The demand from business units will arrive enormous and insistent. Trying to hold them off while the three-year transition plan comes into play is a recipe for what is termed “shadow IT.”

3. Get ready to improve your organisation’s skills
I can’t tell you how many companies we interact with that don’t understand that building scalable, elastic apps requires more than an underlying cloud infrastructure. Both development and operations skills need to be learned, and fast.

4. Learn how business innovation is being created
Go to a co-creation conference. Or a social media conference. Or create your own internal conference [..]. But don’t wait for your established vendors to provide this: they can support the initiatives with their offerings, but will never provide you with how to do it.

Talk to WaveAdept about how we have experience and focus on your business to move to a “co-creating” business environment.

Don’t Invite Your Staff On Holiday With You

Posted by Mike, August 16th, 2010
Filed under: Google Apps, How To
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Mike holds Jack on Riversdale beachGoogle Calendar makes it VERY easy to share your calendar with your staff and for most the default is “open to all within my organisation” (this can be changed organisation wide or for your own calendars). This ease of sharing can, for some, be a new ability and old habits can be hard to get rid off. An example of “old habit” is to invite staff to your holiday :-)

When you knew it was difficult to see other calendars the easiest way to let everyone know you were away was to pop an entry into their calendar – “Mike on holiday” – by inviting them. Not a problem if the event is “free” but a right royal pain in the nether regions if, as is more likely, you’ve set it to be “busy”. The recipient clicks, “Yes” to coming so that they have your entry in their calendar and all of a sudden no-one can book them for the week you’re away.

There is no need to invite people to your holiday event as they can see your calendar whenever they want and you will be showing busy because you’ll have booked yourself out :-)

So, please, don’t invite others to your holiday unless they really are coming …

So Who Goes To A Girl Geek Dinner, Take A Look …

Posted by Mike, August 13th, 2010
Filed under: Community, Event
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This week’s fantastic @wellingtonggd (website) was superbly arranged by Amber Craig with attendees hearing Rochelle Furneaux (aka @kiwiseabreeze), a dispute resolver extraordinaire, talk to about why intellectual property is important and how to be a technology lawyer?

Check out their photo’s at: http://picasaweb.google.com/goodhamish/GeekGirlsDinner2010

A fun night with great speakers – it’s why we love sponsoring!

Bye Bye Google Wave, It Was Nice Knowing You

Posted by Mike, August 5th, 2010
Filed under: Collaboration, Google Apps
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So Google has finally bitten the bullet and closed down the Google Wave product team, Update on Google Wave:

But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.

We here at WaveAdept* are sad to see such an innovative and forward thinking approach to collaboration fail to reach a large enough audience and more recently we were starting to use it more and more for collaboration. Having said that there are certainly a number of learnings that we can take from the “Google Wave experiment” and I will be espousing fully upon them at the upcoming NZ Google Barcamp in two weeks time – http://nzgbc.org

So, goodbye Google Wave, it was an interesting ride with, appropriately, highs and lows.

Remember everyone, it makes no difference how “cool” the technology is it is always, ALWAYS about the people and what they can do with it! And the same goes for the “simplest” and most common of tools that we believe we know the best, for instance how is the uptake of your Intranet and how do the lessons from Google Wave apply, call us to discuss how to gain increased adoption of your IT services

* Our company name was coincidental with Google Wave and at mo time did Google consult us :-) Having said that Dave and I did do fist pumps when Google announced this new product called Wave :-)

IT Staffer Meets The Cloud, “But What Will I Do?”

Posted by Mike, July 26th, 2010
Filed under: Changing Face of IT
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An excellent article over at Computerworld.co.nz titled “The human aspect of cloud computing” makes an excellent argument for remembering those hit hardest by the inextricable move of all organisations to use “the cloud” for their computing needs:

When companies decide to unplug on-premise servers, ditch the applications housed on them and adopt vendor-hosted software in the cloud, the IT staffers in charge of supporting and maintaining those discarded in-house systems are bound to get nervous.

“Nervous”, I’d say for some it is out-and-out sheer blind panic.

Whilst the article outlines a lot of good general advice when dealing with your IT staff we would like to add one more item to your “IT staff change management” arsenal.

When thinking about the correct time to move your computing to the cloud, and generally most companies start off my shifting the commodity items first (email, calendar, document storage), your IT staff will be asking one question, “What about me?” And remember it won’t just be those directly affected by your initial move to the “cloud” but everyone in your IT department will be watching as they know the trend is to move more and more “out there” and even if we’re technically not ready to host everything the rate of innovation from the IT giants means we talk in months/next year and not “in 5 years time” – check out the video on our post IT Executives Looking For Help With The Cloud for a great discussion on the monumental change IT is currently experiencing and how to manage/deal with it.

There will be staff that have made a handsome living massaging the best out of your mail servers, backing up and restoring calendar entries and ensuring that LAN storage quota is evenly and equitably managed (by which I mean if an executive manager’s PA demands more space you give it to them). A lot of these staffers will have spent most of their working lives deep in the hearts of tin boxes, cut off from the rest of humanity in a special air conditioned room that only they know the secret combination to. They have spent a lot of your money and their time in gaining certifications in your specific “magic” email system. In essence they feel special – the worse sort are those that feel “above” the rest of the company – you know who they are in your workplace.

And then they are told, early on (of course! involvement early is key) that what they are paid to do is now going to be done by Google (say) because they can manage everything for the cost of one certification course, it is obvious that they will ask, “What about me, what will I do?”

Exactly, what about them … and the answer to that question is something only YOU, they and your company can answer. However, in our experience IT staff react to the question in one of 2 ways:

  1. “Oh thank the lord, I no longer have to spend my weekends patching that bloody mail server and can get on with real work! Please do it NOW!”
  2. “I have a family to feed, I don’t know anything else, I’ll never get a job! Right, what can I do to stop this crazy thinking?!?”

And, in our experience, the chances of any single person going ’1′ or ’2′ is roughly 50/50.

Of course we generalise and there are shades of grey where people that flip-flop from ’1′ to ’2′ over and over again. There even those that are so ’2′ that you’d think the company would have to move them to “special projects” before the inevitable restructure that finds them without a box on the org chat BUT they suddenly “see the light” and overnight become the biggest advocates of ’1′ that it can be quite frightening requiring very careful management.

We are different, we all react to change with our own peculiar nuances and we all need hand holding at some point which is why we find the the Computerworld article spot on in raising the issue.

IT leaders better be ready to have an honest and informed conversation with their staffers. The path to success begins with explaining to them clearly the rationale for the move.

IT staffers will need hand holding, don’t try and scrimp and save on the efforts needed and most definitely do not expect them to “suck it up”. Your first job is to gauge how each and every IT staff member has reacted to that all important internal question, “What about me?” and help them move from being a reaction of ’2′ to a reaction of ’1′. Also, as an IT manager you should be looking at any move to the “cloud” as an excellent opportunity to end the “them and us” attitude that many IT sections have with the rest of the business and move closer to being a valued service to the day-to-day operations – I love this quote (my emphasis):

… call for IT staffers to communicate more with business units to find out what they can do to help improve the productivity of their peers in departments like marketing, human resources and finance, Wettemann says. “Eat lunch with someone other than fellow IT folks,” she says.

Good luck, and don’t forget we’ve been through this a lot, call us when you need help.

Other articles you may find useful: