Chronicles of Digital Failure: Data Blunders

Part of an occasional series of missives on the failures and foibles of digital transformations.

A consequence of so-called “digital transformation” is that business departments take on responsibilities that IT departments once did (or should have been doing).  In some cases, the IT department never did that given function, or never did it well, and the business department takes on that task.  Other times, the IT department abdicates its responsibility, and instead just admires the problem as though they were another uninvolved spectator.

Most often, though, business departments do things because now with cloud, etc, they can.  And they can do it increasingly independent of IT involvement or oversight.  However, we should not confuse SaaS-enabled apparent self-sufficiency with actual competence.  Business users have neither the knowledge, skill, or temperament to do things correctly.

Today’s example:

Intentionally corrupting reference data to match ad hoc (manually generated) project data, because the ad hoc data’s errors were annoying.

The business user does not understand the long-term cost of this unforced error.  Because their day job focuses on the tactical output of dozens of such discrete tasks associated with projects or campaigns, they do not care about the strategic or long-term consequences.


AI Is Coming for Some IT Jobs – Datamation

“AI is most successful in addressing problems that are reasonably well-defined and narrow in scope, whereas humans excel at defining problems that need to be solved and at solving complex problems” : that’s the same thing often said for off-shoring projects.
from Diigo
Tagged: atwblog, ett, etfb, etl, artificial_intelligence via IFTTT

Who Needs To Lead Digital Transformation In 2017

The Forbes article, linked below, contends that leadership of digital transformation should transition from the CMO (outward facing) to the CIO/CTO (inward facing).  This aligns with unrelated research from Gartner.

Gartner recently observed that IT is being “re-internalized” by enterprises as they realize that technology is essential to competitive differentiation and advantage.  This makes sense, and frankly shouldn’t be a surprise.  I would add a couple of other factors:

Mature businesses are realizing that signing up for a hodge podge of SaaS services does not a coherent strategy make. Unguided, the business is at risk of making a mess of incompatible services, weak security, poor productivity and disjointed tools.  Business functions do not have Enterprise IT’s deep institutional experience of crafting strategy and aligning technology with the business.

The no-longer-so-emerging technology trends of cloud computing, mobile devices, social media and big data analytics are in some ways at odds with each other.  And certainly at odds with many risk-averse, stability-hungry legacy systems.  By heavily adopting cloud, you’re effectively just concentrating services somewhere other than your own old data center.  Or maybe in multiple somewheres.  For example, the analytics you want to run are being built from social media feeds, IoT devices, and other enterprise services, which may or may not live in those same clouds.  Integrating all of these services and data at the edge of your enterprise, while delivering high performance, strong security, and cost-effectiveness, is essential if you want your digital transformation to pay off.  But it’s also pretty complicated.  Complicated enough that you still need a really solid IT shop to make it all work together.

Lastly, IT reinternalization is evidence of a natural next-phase of digital transformations.  Digital transformation, for most organizations, has been driven by the customer experience.  The products and services that are delivered, how they are delivered, and how the enterprise interacts with the customer.  CMO’s most often lead digital transformations, and given the customer-driven angle this makes sense.  Especially in businesses which have historically not been heavily technology-driven in the first place, the CMO filled a vacuum.

But as digital transformation yields successes externally with customers, it will then turn inward.  This is the CIO’s domain.  Of course, the CIO has not been idle the past few years,.  There will have been cloud adoption to complement or replace legacy infrastructure.  BYOD to cope with, nee exploit, IT consumerization, etc.  Mobile devices.  Machine learning. DevOps…. And many more.  And, according to Forbes at least, this will pick up pace and require strong leadership from the CIO and CTO.

Source: Who Needs To Lead Digital Transformation In 2017

#EnterpriseArchitecture Trends Through 2018

The list below is from about a year or so ago, but it is interesting to think about side by side with Gartner’s observation about the “re-internalization” of IT.  That is, perhaps to the surprise of some, as digital business transformations gain steam, CEO’s are bringing technology back into the enterprise’s core because of its importance to maintaining competitive advantage.

Enterprises are grappling with how to integrate their new innovative “Fast IT” practices with the business critical, risk-averse functions dependent upon “Slow IT.”  Enterprise Architecture is where to look.

1. By 2018, 40% of EA teams will be recognized as leaders by their main focus on disruptive technologies application to drive business innovation.

2. By 2018, 40% of EA teams will be in charge of creating the company’s digital business strategy.

3. By 2018, the new financial aspects of connections will drive companies to increase investments in connected physical systems and resources by 30%.

4. By 2018, 20% of EA teams will utilize business ecosystem modeling to predict and recognize business moments.

5. By 2017, 20% of EA teams will be in charge of recognizing new business designs that influence business algorithms.

Source: Enterprise Architecture Trends for 2016