Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

How is EA Related to Information Management and to What Extent

Information Management is a Governance Activity which is within the Scope of EA.
Information is life blood in digital organization, the effective information management will directly impact organization’s business capabilities and capacities, so what’s the correlation between information architecture and information management, information and process; as information architecture is sub-set of EA, how is EA related to information management and to what extent?

  1. Metaphorically, the information architecture would be like the description of the nervous system. A disruption in the flow of information along the nervous system leads to serious disruption of body function. Likewise, information architecture is a critical piece of the enterprise. A disruption in the information flows can seriously disrupt processes and production. Information architecture like organization’s nervous system, orchestrates data and information into the knowledge/insight in enabling business collaboration and optimization. 
  1. EA provides information related artifacts and IA (Information Architecture) is a good starting point for an EA program. ALL architectures would be subsets of true enterprise architecture; however, what architecture subsystems are considered at what level would depend on variety of factors including organization, skill-set, culture, business model, level of organizational commitment etc. The EA framework "Data and Information" architecture component includes artifacts like the knowledge management plan, the information exchange matrix, entity-activity matrix, etc. Actually, focused information architecture may be a great place to start an EA program as the information is related to and sometimes reveals processes and systems. 
  1. Information vs. Process: Information and process are two sides of the same coin - it is unwise to consider one without the other. Information is the connection between two processes and a process is the connection between two information "states". Information is contextual. It is a process input and process output and can exist in a variety of forms. On the other hand, enterprises have parts of their business which are transaction oriented and therefore process intensive, and parts of their business which are information intensive. So the analysis needs to be wise to take heed of the nature of the activity to determine how best to analyze the subject area. For some, it is enough to view an enterprise through the process lens and virtually ignore the information lens. For others, it is essential to view an enterprise through the information lens and virtually ignore the process lens 
  1. Information management is a governance activity, all governance and management processes are within the scope of EA/ business architecture. As such, it should manage the information (objects identified and represented in the architecture) in order to achieve the organization’s outcomes (also identified and represented in the architecture).  
    • The debate Data/Information/Knowledge cannot be avoided. That becomes especially clear for enterprises since they must: (1) deal with a huge amount of changing data from their business context; (2) select and process a subset into information relevant for their concerns; (3) use that information as knowledge. 
    • Quality checks: 1) does every functional requirement have a corresponding information requirement. 2) Does every information requirement have relating functional requirements for creating, updating, and deleting/archiving  
    • In the BA part: 1) All the organization's information is dealt with at a conceptual level (CDM); 2) Appropriate IT processes for information governance and management are defined.  
    • In the ITA part: 1) All the information that is to be used by applications is dealt with at a logical level (LDM). This is a subset of the information in BA 
  1. Informational Architecture Objectives (Similar Format to define Knowledge-architecture, wisdom-architecture):
    • Covers Governance, Management and Accomplishment (includes strategic, tactical and operational);
    • Identifies weaknesses and priorities in strategy formulation;
    • Identifies weaknesses and priorities in strategy roll-out;
    • Incorporates cultural requirements;
    • Has a formal and complete informational design capability (information requirements / user requirements);
    • Provides i) primary (common-cause), ii) secondary (special-cause) and iii) corrective action informational as appropriate;
    • Establishes the three informational occurrences required for all management & accomplishment elements;
    • Incorporates informational balancing;
    • Establishes optimized structures for best informational application (including processes);
    • Provides a real-time architecture and inputs to the Information Architecture.
Data Architecture:
• Identifies entities;
• Assigns attributes;
• Defines table layout;
• Defines physical model;
• Defines files;
• Defines records;
• Defines fields. 

Knowledge Management approach - Bottom up or top down

Knowledge is Power via Varying Directions. 


There are basically two themes in managing information and knowledge, the maintenance of information and the activities with emergence of new information. With exponential growth of data and information, what is the better knowledge management approach-bottom up or top down. A better question may be- “To what degree and where do you use a bottoms up approach and to what degree and where do you use a top down approach?”



Start with the business goal you want to achieve and the measures that determine success and get agreement with senior management first. Then design the program. What is most important is to understand what KM activity is required (to achieve your end state and through which business process it will be enabled. Then you can look at the organizational structure of the company to determine policies, regulations and laws that must be followed and who in the company is directly and indirectly involved in the process you are trying to enable. Once you identify who the people are you must look at their interactions with the process and what behaviors you want them perform. If these are behaviors that altruistic, benefit them in doing their job, are self-rewarding (saves time) and self-fulfilling, then you most likely can generate a bottoms up approach. If it is a matter of behaviors required for people to perform specific processes or perhaps change the way they have been doing something then a top down approach may be more appropriate.

Generally, you need to do both top-down and bottom-up simultaneously: Usually, the central or top down functions are best able to manage standards (common tools) and to help scale what is working (low cost shared Services) But keep as many resources as you can close to the core business teams you support. However, if you go too top-down, you can end up delivering to the "lowest common denominator", and not having any raving fans in the business. Collaboration to harness the ideas and ingenuity of your staff cannot be nor should be controlled. KM should reflect a top-down approach in terms of processes and procedures. But for the development of tools to assist the organization as a whole, it does need to be a bottom-up approach, since your end users are the ones touching the tools which need to be user friendly to decrease the learning curve for use and acceptance of the tool. When establishing policies, the top level need to have awareness on what is going on at the bottom levels of the organization to ensure understanding and compliance.

It is balancing the two forces (KM team and KM customer) that will determine success. If KM teams think they need more control- KM may be too centrally focused. Talk to the end customers and ask if they are getting the value they hoped for. If the end customers think they need more standard and help from global - KM may be too distributed. Talk to KM team about what common challenges they see on the business or regions and how they could address them centrally. If the end customers and the KM team both think they need more resources (and for the same things), then, the two forces may strike the right balance.

Take advantage of the latest learning tool and knowledge sharing platform: One KM approach is the management puts in place the social learning tools & platform, and provides a loose structure for employees to connect and collaborate and generate bottoms up ideas, issues and solutions. The management tone decides KM style: Do senior leaders recognize great ideas acknowledge and reward or do they justify every criticism and keep telling people why that won’t work? If they use it as a barometer for discovery and problem identification, they might find the work force identifying and solving many problems that management was getting involved in. Thus, freeing them to work more strategic issues. A cooperative net model like social network permits to share knowledge and create common models that evolve themselves naturally like organic organism.



Managing information and knowledge becomes more critical than ever in digital era, the static KM approach is too slow to adapt to the changes and dealing with exponential information growth, the more dynamic approach needs to well mix top-down structure & standard with bottom-up flexibility & customer satisfaction. This requires a holistic look at the entire knowledge environment and identifying how the KM initiative aligns with the company or business unit objectives. It is a complex balancing act. 


EA as Innovation Framework

The Framework of Innovation is to Highlight, not to Restrict Creativity. 

A systematic innovation approach is to depict innovation as a system (rather than a traditional process) whose performance depends on the alignment of its various components (people, actions, controls, resources, etc.), EA as something to describe enterprise, helps optimize all aspects of the enterprise to increase profitability. All innovations mean change, and it is also obvious that such a change can only be achieved via corresponding change in EA. So which role can EA play to manage business innovations?

EA as a descriptive innovation management framework, which catalogs the all of the tools and data available to the organization. EA is the body of knowledge. It is like an enormous box of Lego bricks. Innovation can then be driven by intelligent and motivated individuals from both IT and the business community seeing how these components can be assembled or utilized in new and hopefully better ways. 

EA has influence power to enable innovation at people's minds.  Innovation requires a few elements under EA's custody or influencing power, which deals with how people must think in order to innovate:
(1) a risk-free environment: so people can be allowed to take risk and make mistakes. (EA should contemplate, consider, project, design and enable this element in every way).
(2) a culture in which divergent forces are imposed on delivery/production ability so to avoid 'compromises' solutions, which kill chances for business innovation
(3) a drive to couple positive human emotions to the whole innovation lifecycle –to transform the novel ideas and achieve its business value.

EA as Culture Catalyst, Designer: Innovation is more creative and spontaneous and should be encouraged more through corporate culture than only through EA influence. EA may be a catalyst towards enabling that cultural change if it does not exist but it should be encouraged through the culture. Innovation does not come from technology or EA itself, but from a risk-free, divergent-thinking culture which - as spontaneous as it may seem - needs breeding. There is a role for architecture in the design of roles, interactions and incentives that align with this culture, and this is a point in which it seems most methodologies are still narrow - they cover continuous improvement and incremental innovation, but shy away from disruptive innovation. 

The quality of EA depends on the quality of the information the enterprise understands about itself. Without any EA, Innovation is stunted by an incomplete understanding of what it is trying to do and what tools it has at its disposal. This then results in different initiatives often re-inventing the wheel, building new data bases to store data that is already partially stored somewhere else or replicating functionality which is provided by another application. Advantages by using EA as framework is that all concerns are visible, the substantiation for colliding concerns are discussed and a compromise will be part of the solution space. In short, all aspects of the business problem are addressed and will be handled, and the holistic thinking and solutions are encouraged to optimize complexity.

EA is for clearing the sky, not for creating fog: It is easy to create the fog, to complicate things, to avoid direct answers to a question, to use terms arbitrarily, to invent absolutely meaningless terms. The real knowledge is not always simple, but it tries to simplify things, not to complicate them. EA needs to become such real knowledge which expresses its clear understanding by clear ways. Innovation may transform the business and does not always need to involve technology or IT. IT is just another aspect of the business in terms of innovation. EA should be in a position to assess the ramifications behind the transformation, help maximize the potential behind the transformation and ensure the innovation transformation is in alignment with the enterprise strategic goals/objectives.

EA is a Framework for Enterprise Opportunity Management: Innovation management is more culture and knowledge-management than EA as such, but EA can help in quite a few ways. One is that if it has a structure that describes the enterprise and its interrelationships, EA knows where an innovation might be tested out and put to use. If EA maps cross-links to people - such as in communities-of-practice, and social-network maps linked into EA - then also know who. But perhaps the most valuable thing is recognition that risk and opportunity are essentially the flip-sides of each other: if EA incorporates risk-management (which it should), it implicitly also incorporates opportunity-management. If you make that perspective explicit in EA, it automatically provides a stronger support for playing with innovation.

The innovative idea is in the head of an innovator, but having a good means for its realization is a great enabler, EA needs to play as such an enabler.



Friday, November 29, 2013

“Out of the Box” Thinking

"Out of Box" Thinking is really just shaping a Bigger Box, a New Box of Thinking. 


Out of Box Thinking implies a certain level of creativity or unconventional problem-solving. While the box is usually conceptualized as an intellectual boundary, it is most often an emotional one, with fear as the dominant emotion, because fear is the glue that holds the box together. With fear gone, people don't suddenly become creative, but you have a shot.

Try changing the box for a much bigger. More precisely, “Outside the Box’ thinking is the New Box thinking. One question always ask is WHAT exactly is IN the box....we talk about getting out of it, often, businesses regularly forget what's IN it. And then, look beyond the light you see when you first jump out of the box for answers, not just what your eyes are still blinking at, but look around, look above and look deeper. It is difficult to think outside the box from within. Invite other in, or get out of the box. For real creativity, take a look at outside your industry - far outside your industry. If you have to pull the team out of the box. That's when the real ideas work.

Out of Box Thinking still needs to have logic. While there may not be a box, there has to be a target. The most effective brainstorming is focused on a clear and targeted objective. The idea of brainstorming or the crucible of confrontation can be useful, but in order to "guide" the participants through the stages of it, you still need a structured process for unstructured thinking. otherwise, things such as personal dynamics, seniority, grade etc will limit its potential. Maximum value can occur if one follows a logical process that incorporates brainstorming:
1) What is the problem?
2) What is the cause of the problem (in-depth thought here often opens up the creative "outside the box" solution set)?
3) What are possible solutions?
4) What is the best solution?
5) Implement and repeat

Don’t get too restricted by logic processes. Don't constrain thinking by considerations that belong to one or more steps ahead. The real kicker during the "logical process" is restraining the group to not move ahead even subconsciously. Applying reasonable time constraints, but allowing freedom of "no-idea-is-a-bad-idea" thoughts in this process and have the team to solve a collective problem. Also, fundamentally, be sure to get all potential perspectives involved, so everyone has a say and no one can say they weren't asked. Management is really open-minded to implement fresh new ideas, it often comes down to two things: being explicit about purpose, and sincerity in problem-solving. Regardless of what technique folks use to solve a problem, in most cases, the question of "What is the purpose we are striving for? And laser focus on goals, not processes.

Cross-Functional brainstorming leads to Out-of-the-Box innovation: The other area for successful brainstorming is to make sure the people in the room are not intimidated and unable to participate. At organizations with hierarchical culture, it is useful to group people by "level" in the organization avoiding putting bosses and staff in the same group. This help to avoid intimidation (despite how unintentional) staff may feel when presenting ideas around superiors. The group can and should be cross functional as appropriate however people are less guarded when they do not feel judged, the reluctance to test ideas is reduced when people are concerned about appearing less prepared or like they will be judged. Humans have egos.

'C-Generation' Thinking has natural cross-box interaction: "Thinking outside the box" and "brainstorming,", these terms are still within the box and are not clearly understood by today's workforce, sometimes referred to as the "C-Connecting generation"? Thinking outside the box and brainstorming is approached very differently, as today's employees search for connections across many discussions at the same time, sometimes in a short burst at a time. There’s also need to add another level to the discussion that is continuous improvement. The native digital generation may solve problems differently from older generation – they view the "group" as very important and hierarchy is less identifiable. Indeed, we are all C-Generation now.

Thinking "Outside the Box" is simply all part of a well round paradigm. It is not only the ideas that are important, but the challenge and willingness to try, the atmosphere in which the ideas are presented, the mindset out of fear and mediocre, and the culture to catalyze innovation.  












Risk-Intelligent Culture

Risk-Intelligent Culture shapes Digital Enterprise.

Risk-awareness culture, which in practice means a culture where thinking about managing risk as part of "how things get done around here”. What is the importance of risk-awareness culture in order to successfully implement, support and sustain risk management? Without a strong risk-awareness culture, you will be unable to accomplish much in the way of a successful risk management implementation. Even step further, how can organizations capture opportunities from risk, and move up from risk-awareness to risk-intelligence?

1. Tone at the Top 

Tone at the top: This is a make-or-break and goes straight to culture, the starting point would always be to get an understanding of current attitudes to risk management at all levels, from senior executive team to front desk, and use the results to decide how to build a stronger risk-awareness culture.

The top issue is having a strong, independent and inquisitive Board that has control over management  not the other way around. The risk-awareness culture is indeed important but it may not give you the full picture unless you also analyze the risk attitude of the top management...
1) Oversight organizational culture and governance, risk management
2) Clarity of the assessment structure and objectives
3) Ensure the sufficient resources to execute

Fitting in the culture gives different results than living it. Risk is too abstract a concept for many to relate to. Try as one might, instituting a risk-awareness culture is just one more silo and administrative requirement that people often feel they need to deal with rather than embrace. Here must be awareness from all people overall organization. Top management commitment is also important to build risk awareness culture successfully. All people must support it if they want to create risk management effectively in organization.
1) Senior management buy-in and sponsorship
2) Ownership and accountability at all levels
3) Non-retribution policy for risk identification and reporting

2. Enterprise Opportunity Management

 From ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) to EOM (Enterprise Opportunity Management): As organizations are at the journey for digital transformation, even having a risk-awareness culture is not strong enough to adapt to the changes, at higher mature level, risk-intelligent culture needs to be cultivated, as every risk has opportunities in it, and every opportunity has risks with it. Therefore, Enterprise Risk Management has to be expanded into Enterprise Opportunity Management.

Build Effective Communication Strategy: The key is for the risk management team to understand how different silos/departments are and manage the tailored solutions. It’s important that risk managers compare their expert understanding of organizational risk with what is known, not known, or misunderstood in various silo/departments. Then effective communication strategies can be put in place to bring different perspectives into greater unison, which is an important part of improving communications and achieving risk-intelligent culture. The "experts" often learn quite a bit about their understanding of risk in this process as well.

Using Same Common Language: A major part of the challenge in getting thinking about risk management embedded in the culture is being able to help people at all levels understand risk issues by using language that makes risk management clear & relevant to each individual.

Tried & true WIFM principle: If you can't answer the “What's In It For Me” question when trying to engage people in thinking about risk, then it will continue to be regarded as "something done at headquarter" or  seen only as a compliance issue at operational level. In fact, Risk Management needs to be well embedded in all key business processes, and it becomes opportunity management, as statistics shows that organizations with high mature risk management practices can achieve 20%+ more revenue increase than laggards.

3. Risk-Awareness Culture Issues 

Following are some of the other important risk culture issues:

* Consistency of direction from management

* Employees' awareness of short and long-term objectives and strategies

* Alignment of objectives between business units and corporate

* Clarity of individual accountability for objectives

* Employees' understanding of policies

* Management's receptivity to messengers of bad news

* Employees' level of understanding of risk

* Management's emphasis on risk management and control

* Availability of processes to manage change

* Effectiveness of controls

More information on risk culture assessment 

Culture is the collective mindset, behavior, and business brand; therefore, it takes collective effort from top-down to bottom-up, effective strategy and efficient mechanism to cultivate a risk-intelligent culture, which is one of key factors in running a high performance business.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

To Celebrate 800th Blog: ‘Thankful Thought’ on Thanksgiving Day!

Be Thankful for a beautiful day! And it’s Thanksgiving Day! 

Be Thankful as the Sun is rising every morning; and the stars are shining in the sky;

Be Thankful as the flowers are blooming every season and the bees are dancing around;

Be Thankful as the birds are singing on the trees; and the clouds are flowing above;


Be Thankful for being who you are, as every life is special and purposeful;
Be Thankful for what you have, though life is like moon, with full and wax; 
Be Thankful for what you understand, because it gives you confidence to move on;
Be thankful when you don’t know something; for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for good times; As it becomes sweet memory to flow over
Be thankful for the difficult times; during those times you grow. 

Be thankful for human’s potentials; because of it, you can continue to discover the fountain of wisdom;
Be thankful for your limitations; because they give you opportunities for improvement. 

Be thankful for every fresh day; as it’s the new beginning of life;
Be thankful for each new challenge; because it will build your strength and character. 

Be thankful for your adventures; because they make impressive life stories;
Be thankful for your failures; as they will teach you valuable life lessons.  

Be thankful, as GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive. 
A positive attitude can move the mountains. .
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles.
And they can become your blessings with nature harmony.  

Be thankful for a great day, happy Thanksgiving

 "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melodie Beattie 


A Strategic Board

A Strategic Board has a view of looking ahead, an insight of looking deeper, and a competency to looking beyond. 


One of the most important responsibilities of Board is to oversight business strategy; however, it doesn’t mean Board itself is being strategic enough. In some cases, Board members time is stretched thin so they do not allocate enough time to understand key issues and in many cases board members are not motivated; others wonder why many Boards aren't active enough to catch the derailment of strategies. So what are requirements to become a truly strategic Board? 


A strategic board should be knowledgeable enough to set broad strategic goals: They need to educate themselves by hearing different views about the organization, its environment, and strategic alternatives. The board represents the ownership and they really cannot do a good job if they don't have the knowledge to challenge and set the broad strategic goals. Objectives and tactics are the appropriate points of delegation to management. 

A truly strategic Board takes practice, practice, practice: The Board's role is to pull management out of the trees to see the forest; to see the shape of the landscape to come and how it will capture the best picture; to ensure there is a strong context for establishing the tactical choices when the surprises that will invariably show up. The challenge also includes converting vision (aka innovation) to clear marketing and executable management processes. 

A truly strategic Boards can add real value to management in the strategy arena: Especially if management confuses strategy with the longer-term financial plans. In today's world with such frequency of change and competition showing up in the most bizarre ways, can a company actually do a "Strategic Plan" and in what ways does the Annual planning retreat need to change? By Context, it is referring to a deep understanding of the core purpose of the organization, its values, who it is serving and how is it attempting to improve the lives of those it serves. 

The Board members must be competent with unique insight with the right knowledge/ experience: The BoDs need to gain a deeper understanding about the enterprise in order to be a credible actor in the strategic dialogue. This requires a major time commitment. If all three elements are in place, it works. Casual strategy leads to superficial results. As a good strategy has always to diagnose the key business problems/issues, set the guidelines, make a set of choices, and include a series of actions.

A strategic Board not only oversees strategy but also influences the process as well: The process of strategic planning is the best indicator of how well a board really understands and invests time in learning about their companies and also identifies the levels of collaboration, synergy, trust, and confidence that exist (or not) between the board and executive of the organization. Great strategies are developed by a process of testing and debating that requires all the players (board and executive) to be, knowledgeable, as well as having trust and confidence in each other's particular skills and knowledge.

A strategic Board is a prerequisite to building an effective and high-performing Board. Thereof, in order to become more strategic, Boards need to spend their efforts on developing an understanding strategy so they can set the vision and broad goals. The company’s senior executive team needs to assist the board with leadership issues and then organize the operational aspects of achieving the vision and goals.


Read more about the Digital Theme of Modern 'Boardship'
A Decisive Board

Can Big Data have Big ROI

Look at Big Data ROI from all different Angles. 
Though Big Data is the big trend every forward-looking organization intends to catch, as it enables business to capture insight & foresight upon their customers or products service offering, however, from industry study, the return on investment for big data is far lower than promised. What’re the root causes, how to measure Big Data investment more effectively, and can Big Data have Big ROI? 

Quantifying the impact of analytics in some form should always be possible. Total investment on Analytics and incremental revenue generated by analytics…can lead to ROI on Analytics. BI solution should be based on a quantitative and analytical method at the same time. Because an analytical method allows you to assess economic, financial and technical impact of an investment, and the method must simultaneously be quantitative by the nature of the problem. Also pay the attention to the need to make big data analysis simple, fast and easy for all business people to use. In terms of ROI, it could be impactful and measurable when you apply big data style analysis to operational decisions – the thousands of decisions made each day at the frontlines of business. 

The low ROI may be related to ineffective or failed enterprise analytics. The problem is threefold. 1).You must have the experience/and competence in analytics and handle the data, to retrieve the information caught in the data. Even if you are successful you are left with problem 2). Be able to understand what to do with the result. How you can capitalize on it and put it into process. 3) Define the set of KPIs to measure the ROI

ROI measurement is an incremental process that changes as new variables are included in its calculation. The closer you get to the 'real' ROI the better for the business. BI tools can be used to uncover business deficiencies when their results are made actionable and they are most valuable when they are part of a holistic approach to addressing business challenges. Get the ROI of an investment, an opportunity cost, an appropriate amount of investment, are part of the economic analysis. Better implementation of the economic analysis to business arises from the linear programming algorithm to non-linear, or optimization in its different forms. Because you not only get an optimal solution, but the dual of it. 

Measure ROI on a BI tool investment: How can you measure ROI on BI Investment tool where a BI solution directly helps organizations in making their decisions based on facts? The intelligence provided by that tool needs to be made actionable. Then you will need to collect the results of those actions in the form of gains or losses. A timeframe needs to be set to gather incremental results and measure ROI as a projected result. At the end of the timeframe, you would have to subtract the gains/losses from the investment cost 

There may be many other factors to include in the 'before and after' measurements, and that was a basic approach. From a practical point of view, you need to start with a set of data elements that are already available. For example, if there was a marketing effort underway for a new product, all costs incurred in every channel should be included in the final calculation of Net profit and ROI. If some of those costs cannot be originally captured, those calculations will be skewed. This means that each of the ROI measurement presentations to Management needs to include what variables were used in the analysis. 

Review the BI/Analytics/Big Data investment portfolio holistically via the effective governance principles. Many "big data" experts claim that they can't compute ROI because what they are doing is too important to have a valid control group, it is obviously not true. Review BI/analytics PPM holistically, one can get much higher return on investing in BI itself. If investment in BI has given right returns, then implementing a right Big Data Landscape should give very high return. Expand the architecture to next level - if BI implementation has not given the return than look at the issue - either something to do with vendor or base organization is not flexible to change 

ROI directly linked to the saved loss if the firms trying to initiate an analytics project for the first time - Usually an analytics project is taken up by a company when they face a business challenge. And a problem becomes a business challenge when the company is facing some kind of loss, negative returns, wastage or not meeting its targets etc. Averting this challenge will be one of the prime objectives of a project. The ROI for such cases should be directly linked to the loss arising from the initial problem and identify cost of hiring a team to mitigate this loss. ROI = (Saved loss)/Cost incurred for analytics

Companies track the accuracy of the analytics model and plan the entire value chain based on the forecasts for ongoing Analytics projects in a company,  such as forecasting demand. ROI for such projects cannot be directly computed. However, ROI improvement for other departments of the company will become the ROI for the analytics projects as the improvement is caused by the prediction accuracy. 

ROI is more based on "impact" and "urgency" calculations when measure BI projects against other BI projects for prioritizing and the ROI determines which goes forward. That is, you decide how great the impact of an implemented solution is based on number of users that will benefit, time saved, dollars projected to be raised as a result of the implementation and the other factor being timing of when the organization needs the solution 

Analytics ROI on Productivity: Productivity gain does not guarantee savings and some business areas may be reluctant to report this gain due to fear that it will result in request to reduce staff. But with growing data volume and demand for BI, most business areas have unmet demand and would be eager to have their staff shift their time so they spend more time on value added work such as analyzing information rather than finding and assembling it. It works best when ROI metrics are positioned this way.

Big Data needs to have a reasonable ROI, however, always keep in mind, Big Data benefits for both incremental business improvement and long term business growth, ROI number is just one dimension to assess Big Data investment, but not the only one. 

Seven Core Principles of Digital Leadership

Digital Leadership is authentic, influential, insightful and more. 


The business world is in the face with such new normal of digitalization, urbanization, and globalization, with the characteristics of VUCA-Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, so what are the core leadership principles to fit in such digital era?  

Authenticity: At the age of digitalization, ‘being who you really are as a leader’ is more critical than ever, as your digital footprint is omnipresent, the working life is converging with personal life. You have to be real and true to yourself and others. This will translate and distill into believability throughout your entire organization. You will be seen as a person / leader who can be trusted not just by your employees but also by your customers / clients.  

Influence: Leadership is Influence. At digital age, leaders can make and amplify influence through multiple digital channels, you not only consume the content, as a leader, you also create content to convey the vision and leadership. To "influence" means to be able to help shape other people's views or opinions towards one's own views or perspectives. The leader’s influence is based on the courage to inspire, confidence to assert, wisdom to negotiate, and uniqueness to bridge via taking advantage of expanded digital platforms.  

Empathy: Empathy is the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings; or the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. Technology makes the world much smaller than ever, we are all net citizen and C (connecting) generation now, it’s the leadership trait in developing the true understanding based upon related interaction with others. It’s the leadership capacity to be non-judgmental; the capacity to appreciate and communicate with respect for other people's ways; the capacity to be flexible with tolerance for ambiguity.  

Agility: The most critical characteristic of the digital age is the speed of CHANGE. Effective leaders should have the ability to adapt to changes, and adaptive leaders will inspire crowd sourcing and crowd storming, and adaptive leadership teams comprising a diverse range of individuals with the cognitive difference will be able to draw on a wider set of experiences in order to inform their decision making. It’s meritocracy at its best – a highly diverse set of people collaborate seamlessly to represents nature of how successful organizations work today. 

Insight: Due to the complexity and ambiguity of digital normal, INSIGHT is not ‘nice to have’, but ‘must have’ leadership trait, as insight is based on information, knowledge, and multi-dimensional intelligence, thus, an insightful leader has better perception to be a good communicator upon thinking deeper, rather than just speaking louder. upon knowing when to voice out, when to keep silent, think deeper before speak louder; use fewer words to express more; master of crowd-sourcing and enjoying collective wisdom, with practical ability to convince the value and gain support.

 Balance: Both mankind world and nature world are so dynamic with the balance of energy. Balance is more crucial at digital era due to the interdependence and hyper-connectivity of the business value chain and ecosystem. Balance is the best strategy to engage, yield,  redirect, and embrace the interaction of two complementary and opposing forces-yin and yang, leaders need to cultivate the culture of balance --the collective mindset about how they do things here and balance the diversified viewpoints, creativity, and discipline; the team's collective capabilities upon which strength and skills available, and balance of the long-term strategic goals with short-term tactical tasks. 

Maturity: Maturity is one of the essential ingredients of leadership. By using this word, it often means to be open minded, taking personal responsibility and not blaming others. having the ability to remove emotion from your decision making, so that you can see things from an alternate perspective.  Maturity is one part of higher Emotional Intelligence for an effective leader but is not necessarily equal to emotional intelligence. High mature leadership takes discipline, determination,  and perseverance 

Digitalization and the latest technology trends promote self-organizing teams and creative working environment, however, it doesn't mean leadership is out of fashion, on the opposite, it takes better leadership vision and stronger management discipline to thrive at today’s business dynamic.

Architectural Assessment Checklist

 Enterprise Architecture is not one dimensional, but multi-dimensional. 
EA is not one thing, but many things; EA is not one dimension, but multi-dimension, therefore, how to assess EA is perhaps tougher than what you think, but what is architectural assessment checklist?

EA assessment need to have clear purpose first, is it for evaluating EA, or EITA, if it's at logical or implementation level maturity, or is it for evaluating IT maturity (IT infrastructure, application, asset management., etc), or it's for setting up governance framework., etc. Either case, you may invite some customers outside EA team, and listen to different perspectives, at tactical level, KPIs may bring some insight, however, the issues are: many organizations may lack of the "right" set of KPIs in their IT or EA to bring the insight for objective assessment. Prepare Architectural assessment checklist based on the objective of the exercise
-Collect initial data through an automated process
-Then engage and interview stakeholders based on the checklist.

Beginning the end in mind: EA is about how to encompass organization from as-is state to future state, so beginning the end in mind is important; also assess things matter to improve business's unique capabilities, both from strategic and operational perspectives. Following the logic steps in EA assessment, and the checklist responses would be weighted and would give you an idea of the maturity
Step 1: Determine Intended Use of Architecture
Step 2: Determine Scope of Architecture
Step 3: Determine Data Required to Support Architecture Development
Step 4: Collect, Organize, Correlate, and Store Architectural Data
Step 5: Conduct Analyses in Support of Architecture Objectives
Step 6: Document Results in Accordance with Decision-Maker Needs  

Governance is the key throughout all aspects to help people know what success and 'right' looks like. Without an internal recognition and sanctioning of a particular architectural approach, there seems to be a great deal of philosophy and metaphysical IT-type debate. The systematic assessment can describe a method for assessment in terms of a set of building blocks
-show how the building blocks fit together
-contain a set of tools
-provide a common vocabulary
-include a list of recommended standards
-include a list of compliant products that can be used to implement the building blocks

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Systematic Innovation

The Spark of Innovation needs a Framework to Shine Through and Focus upon. 


There are many forms of innovation - technological, application, product, design, business model, process, communication and customer experience -- just to name a few. Each has its own unique pathways. Also, as innovation can and should occur at different and ALL levels of the corporate structure: from C-level to the shop floor, to make any entity slimmer and stronger. So, can forward-looking organizations manage their innovations more systematically and how?


"Systematic Innovation" is a structured process and set of practical tools used to create or improve products/services/processes that deliver new value to customers or satisfy employees. A systematic approach is to depict innovation as a system (rather than a traditional process) whose performance depends on the alignment of its various components (people, actions, controls, resources, etc.). Organizations should ideally have a sustainable approach to innovation. The companies who get the most from innovation effort have the right ambition, good leadership, and culture.

Innovation can be viewed as consisting of many different stages. Some of which are more structured than others. For instance, creativity is generally accepted to be less structured than development. The latter is likely to be far more 'process driven' than the former. However, regardless of how structured stages of innovation are, stakeholders possess mental models (faulty as they may be) of 'how' innovation works in their ways. The key point is that the ideas being generated need a spark of creativity. But even here many innovations can arise from combining old ideas.While organizations can innovate without clear systems of innovation, the ability to achieve sustained innovation results probably does require at least some degree of a 'hard-wired' innovation system.

The tailor-designed innovation Strategy is the key. Organizations find it difficult to depict or visualize innovation simply because it is difficult to visualize when innovation discussed in the abstract. Management can't just pick an optimum innovation strategy off a shelf and run with it. Neither can it just copy one from the firm next door? Instead, it must design a strategy that fits its own situation. But design requires an ability to articulate and reflect - which both are greatly assisted by visualizations. Visualization is crucial yet largely overlooked in innovation strategizing.

Innovation in organizations is multi-dimensional: Adhere to a broad definition of innovation (designing and implementing new and useful things, business model, process, etc.), then quite clearly there are many avenues to get there. It is, therefore, unsurprising that people in organizations will consider only the parts of the process they understand and consider relevant to them. To depict Innovation could be pretty difficult since it is mainly related to human being. In fact, as living people adapt themselves progressively to the various present and future situations when systemized processes are enabled to update themselves without the human touch

The systematic innovation is based on the in-depth understanding business issues. Innovation process could be very loose on purpose...what is very rigorous and systematic is the analysis of the original business problem, product issue, opportunity, marketing dilemma etc.. The ability to innovate is ultimately dictated by the depth of understanding of the problem/issue to be resolved. It’s the important step to identify, understand and evaluate the opportunities where important problems need to be solved or important jobs need to be done (satisfying important customer needs), and then, the practice for systematic innovation can focus on translating from the innovation system to the business process.

To develop a systematic innovation - you need to have the organizational culture correct underneath - many companies can put in place a good systematic approach in process terms, but if the underlying culture doesn’t support risk taking, collaboration, learning (often most via "failure") and self-empowerment, then it’s very difficult to get the best out of the process. Get the two together, and it’s the way you go. Innovation is a learning process that is vital for the organization as well as the individual. Innovation generates value - economic and social value.  It opens up new possibilities of combining existing competencies in new ways which can form new competencies as a stepping stone for doing more of the unexpected creative stuff. 

Accessing Innovation Capability of any organization requires a systematic approach. Innovation often has a lot to do with external circumstances (and people tend to focus on internal circumstances). But just because innovation is greatly influenced by external circumstances doesn't mean the innovation system of the organization is (or should be) unstructured. The robust process and tools that enable any entity generate winning concepts on the CONSISTENT basis, which is the prerequisite for sustaining advantage and growth.

Five Key Elements in Systematic Innovation: "People" are the most important element in the mix. "Innovation" is a result of at least 5 main elements,  1) Strategy 2) Culture, 3) People 4) Process and 5) Tools. These are important elements and missing only one of them will severely influence the sustainability of any intentional innovation effort. A structured approach with all key elements will improve the inventive thinking and the consistency of the innovation results by an order of magnitude


Innovation is a journey and is therefore not possible to pre-describe how it will work out, it involves luck, trial, and error, groping, curiosity, experimentation, research, using structured methods, tools, reviews, systematic analysis, debugging. it also requires a lot of listening and an enormous amount of convincing power. Still, a systematic approach can increase the chance to lead innovation success on the consistent basis.


The Top Five Challenges in Effective KM Management

Knowledge Management is the First Step to Cultivate Organization's Learning Capability.

Knowledge Management refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. With information only a click away, and knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened at digital era, what are the top challenges in effective Knowledge Management (KM) today. 

Transparency:  Transparency of internal communication or decision making is important but challenging, because the decision comprises knowledge in itself, especially when you take the reasons for taking the decision in this regard. Internally communicating the motivation for a decision has advantages on both sides (1) the decision maker is 'forced' to actually think about why he/she decided to do this or that...this exercise will make knowledge more explicit, even for him/herself. (2) all people influenced by the decision know on what basis the decision was made 3) Nothing can be absolutely transparent, it takes balanced approach to manage EA effectively.

Succession Planning: knowledge cannot just be effectively transferred via documents or other means of ‘storing knowledge’, if knowledge is defined as strategy, practice, method or approach as well as the expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education... The successful succession planning requires, among other things, an overlap between the incoming and the outgoing person to allow for a face-to-face handover (in addition to documentation and some sort of system to capture all relevant information). One of the obvious challenges is a potential lack of incentive on the site of the departing staff member to share relevant information with their successor. Making this a mandatory step of your check-out procedure could be one way of mitigating this problem but there might be better ways. 

KM can not capture the ‘Expert Knowledge;’ effectively. Inefficient knowledge captures and reuses, multiple storage places and methods of saving, and many KM solutions do not help experts articulate the nature of their expertise. Much of what is captured, stored, and delivered is shallow information - not expert knowledge. "KM solutions" assume the expert knows what to share, and that the knowledge seekers know what to look for. These are skills that must be developed, on both sides of the equation.

The culture may not allow the knowledge workers to "do knowledge right". Everyone is run off his or her feet, silos are prevalent, and there may be few opportunities (or indeed rewards) for behaviors such as in-depth investigation of past thinking, thoughtful sharing and the like. But in practice, day to day pressures trump the good intentions, and crisis management ends up prevailing. To adapt the old IT adage about doing things right vs. doing things over, there may not be enough money or political will to invest in suitable KM mechanisms and rewards for good knowledge stewardship … but there will be enough money to perform heroics when things go wrong. The organizations should look for practical proof that in the long run, giving knowledge workers a culture in which insights and expertise can be generated and protected

Lack the alignment of leadership, process, technology and measures, etc. 1) Having no or a way too idealistic definition of KM is one of the key issues. Linked to that is the creation of false expectations in terms of what a company can achieve with KM. 2) C-level buy-in, or rather, lack of, But KM needs to be discussed as a tangible component of strategy, which starts with C-level guidance and communication. 3) A lack of political will to see a true I&KM program through. The need for instant gratification, without the willingness to understand the infrastructure needed to be successful. 4) Not engage in the latest technology trend. The introduction of social knowledge management for business is very natural progression and can be one way to address knowledge capture real time through discussion threads that are stored in a KM system. 5) Accountability - not enabling those WITH the knowledge by affording the time to adequately contribute to the knowledge bases and not building accountability (their role) into the knowledge chain

The real challenge in KM is adaptation, with the ability to ride ahead of changes curves, and design the solutions enabling organization’s digital transformation.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Information Management vs. Knowledge Management

Information comes from Machine Power, and Knowledge comes through Brain Power. 


Information Management is to connect people with the right information at the right time & location, to ensure that accurate information is accessible and shared within relevant business units. This information is open to interpretation in accordance with the level of knowledge one has. Knowledge Management safeguards full understanding business processes, tools that are used and the people using those to optimize business efficiency. From Wikipedia: Information management (IM) is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organizational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge.

Information Management is about process, organization, and access. Information Management makes information available and useful. Knowledge Transfer allows people to understand new topics and get access to knowledge. It is about refining data into useful facts. There's no cultural or social context. Knowledge, however, is different - it is where the cultural and social context alignment (or misalignment) with the information that precedes it. Information is often available in data; knowledge is often inside the minds of employees/ experts. Knowledge basically involves the human factor and capturing the benefit of someone's experience, then applying it and making it available to broader and broader audiences who can benefit from that combined intellectual asset of information and experience. That is why it is so difficult to gather or control knowledge and avoid loss of the knowledge when employees or experts leave a company. IM primarily manages existing information, and KM supports the creation of new knowledge.

IM vs. RM vs. KM vs. CM:
Information management (IM) differs in that it is concerned with the classification, manipulation, and dissemination of existing recorded information. 
Records management (RM): differs in that it is only concerned with information containers that fit the definition of a record, which can be somewhat different from organization to organization. 
Knowledge management (KM), is to capture and otherwise facilitate the recording of information that would not otherwise be shared or recorded.
Content management (CM): is completely different from those three as it is really concerned with the publishing (to some degree) of information and the manipulation of already published information for easier consumption.

The philosophical understanding of Information vs. Knowledge                                  
-Information is machine product; knowledge is product of human mind;
- Information can't be always knowledge; Knowledge doesn’t always inform you...
-One person’s knowledge is the other one’s information only; what information is for one person, it is knowledge for another.
-While information is ingredient of knowledge; but in order to interpret information; you need knowledge; 
-Both Information and Knowledge are not equal to insight, but they are the foundation to capture insight….and allow people to make right decisions

The intention of Eco-Information Life Cycle Management (Data-Information-Knowledge-Insight-Wisdom) is to build a high intelligent organization via capturing insight & foresight in making the right business decisions timely and bringing profits to the organization for the long term.  






What Percentage of Total Project Cost should be Spent on Managing Project Risk

The risk management cost allocation needs to be in proportion to the risk inherent in the works. 

Due to the rapidly change business environment with emerging VUCA (Volatile, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) factors, Risk is one of the core areas and Risk Management is getting more visibility nowadays, even to an extent that projects are driven on the risk basis. So is there a percentage amount that is considered optimum for a project risk management, what percentage of total project cost should be spent on managing project risks?


Risk calculation is part of the cost estimate-ROI equation, or put another way, the cost-benefit analysis. There is no hard and fast rule. One should consider costs of various aspects before guesstimating potential risk management cost (vendor, resource turnover, backup plans, etc.), but then at some point, the value of the project itself should define the boundary condition. That is why it is so important to not only clearly know the drivers and return on the project investment, but also as early as possible.

Project driver and return on investment should play the major role in risk management. Usually, the risk budget is not set aside but agreed to by project sponsors to be made available if needed and for that they have options of delaying/canceling/ reducing other initiatives. Given that it is often difficult to calculate the value of the project precisely, it quickly becomes a debate on how much should be allocated for project risk buffer and whether just in terms of money, time or resource as well.

The risk management cost allocation needs to be in proportion to the risk inherent in the works. In construction risk is often represented by the contingency sum, but this is rarely used in IT. Instead, the estimate tends to include higher margins of error as the complexity grows. A bespoke design, for example, would tend to have more risk than a simpler off the shelf implementation. There is no standard, but common sense dictates it should be less than 50%! And generally, 5 - 15/20% is an acceptable range in most cases unless there is severe recognition of known unknowns or unknown unknowns. Setting aside an arbitrary budget for project risk can be counter-productive as it can set false expectations.

Risk management requires good support structures such as governance and escalation channels. If not already set up then they become an additional cost that needs to be considered. The risk analyst/coordinator for the project will also have the chance to identify operational risks associated with the project and stakeholders and will enforce its registration and mitigation through the Risk management process within the organization which will be a value add.

Follow up with a series of risk identification/management planning sessions, to identify all risk, develop mitigation plans and to associate risk funding. And the risk allocation is also related to project status -already in progress or one that is yet to start, deciding when to close the project due to risk cost incurred, or, just allocating risk budget for an upcoming project. For large size project in the enterprise, just as you have workforce /human resources (in IT projects) from all related areas to accomplish a project, a dedicated person from Risk division/department/area should also be part of the team and of course budgeted. Further, the project is based on a 'freedom of choice' - this is not always the case. Constraints such as compliance and fixed completion dates can alter the cost-benefit equation from a measure of positive benefits realization to a negative outcome reduction.

So there’s no magic formula or one size fit all golden ratio in allocating project risk budget, but an organization with risk intelligence should follow key risk management principles or ‘borrow certain industry best practices’ in order to manage risk accordingly and improve project management maturity.