Fresh Links Sundae – October 12, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Much of the current big data and artificial intelligence work have been focusing on using a data-driven approach to answering or solve business problems. Michael Schrage discusses how the work in automated hypothesis might increasingly inspire tomorrow’s breakthrough innovation. Let Data Ask Questions, Not Just Answer Them (Harvard Business Review)

Selecting the right features or attributes is one key step in strengthening the effectiveness of a predictive analytics model. Jason Brownlee explains what feature selection is and outlines a handy checklist for machine learning model building. An Introduction to Feature Selection (Machine Learning Mastery)

“Organisations are far too quick to blame their software tools for their woes,” said Rob England. He also points out that processes and tools are rarely the main causes of an organization’s problem. Don’t blame the tool: squeeze the asset, fix the behaviour (The IT Skeptic) Rob England

Organizations often shy away from the zero-based budgeting (ZBB) method because they believe it means “budgeting from zero.” Shaun Callaghan, Kyle Hawke, and Carey Mignerey dispel the myths behind ZBB and explain why it is a sustainable alternative to cost management appropriate for many. Five myths (and realities) about zero-based budgeting (McKinsey & Company)

Steve Schlarman believes that data classification is an absolute core tenet of information security. He explains how to leverage business context for building an information security strategy. The Data Classification Curve (RSA Archer GRC)

A number of people believe we should all be using the DevOps approach to managing our IT services. Stuart Rance briefly discusses what is behind the DevOps movement and some DevOps ideas that he thinks will work for every category of IT service. DevOps isn’t only for startups (Optimal Service Management)

Even with their inherent drawbacks, passwords remain one highly effective mean of securing information and access. Keith Palmgren explains that good passwords need not be hard to remember and difficult to use. How to Build Complex Passwords and Avoid Easy Breaches (SANS Institute)

Project management is one key competency area that is critical to an organization’s success. In a 6-part series, Tim McClintock discusses the pitfalls that project managers should work hard to avoid. (Global Knowledge Training Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 28, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sundae-image13526471Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

In a 9-part series, William Vorhies discusses the important considerations that can help you determine which NoSQL technology is appropriate for your project. I featured parts one through five last week. We feature parts six through nine here to wrap things up. Lesson 6: Document Oriented Databases  Lesson 7: Column Oriented Databases (aka Big Table or Wide Column)  Lesson 8: Graph Databases  Lesson 9: Making Your Selection – Final Considerations (Data Science Central)

Today’s business leaders need to understand enough about data analytics in order to begin to appreciate the opportunities possible by leveraging data. Alex Jones discusses a variety of different data analytics approaches along with their advantages and limitations from a business leader’s perspective. Data Analytics for Business Leaders Explained and Advanced Data Analytics for Business Leaders Explained (KDnuggets)

Many organizations believe they must hire data scientists from outside who will come with both broad and extensive background in order to succeed. Michael Schrage recommends a different approach in which organizations grow their data science talents from within the enterprise. Stop Searching for That Elusive Data Scientist (Harvard Business Review)

Analytics project is one of the top priorities for many organizations these days. IT is in a unique position to play a pivotal role in managing the full information life cycle. Pearl Zhu explains how CIOs can take on the adventure of analytics projects and deliver the business value from deploying them. CIO as Chief Analytics Officer (Future of CIO)

Data migrations are rarely an attractive of projects to sponsor. On occasions, the migration activities can be seen a difficult, bitter pill to take in and digest. Dylan Jones outlines the areas where the sponsors for data migration projects need to have considerable input and oversight. Are you a data migration sponsor? A reminder of your responsibilities. (The Data Roundtable)

Spreading the good news of business intelligence (BI) technology requires marketing, but good news alone will not be enough to move people to action. Max Russell explains how IT can leverage good marketing practices to improve its effectiveness in implementing and supporting BI in the enterprise. Marketing IT In-House: Good News Is Not Enough (TDWI)

Cloud computing has changed how IT operate and interact with its business constituents. Pierre Moncassin discusses how IT needs to transform itself towards providing services in a software-defined data center environment. A New Angle on the Classic Challenge of Retained IT (VMware CloudOps)

Decision making is the most prominent and critical element of a leader’s responsibility. When it comes to effective decision making, Eric McNulty outlines the four key tests of any critical decision. The Four Rs of High-Stakes Decision Making (Strategy+Business)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 14, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sundae-image13526471Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Most IT organizations have a set of IT and ITSM metrics, and those metrics have a direct impact on the organization’s ability to deliver value-add services to the business. Stephen Mann discusses the pitfalls we need to overcome and the good practices we should implement when designing ITSM metrics. 14 Common ITSM Metrics Pitfalls & 13 ITSM Metrics Best Practices (ServiceNow)

Large infrastructure functions have traditionally been organized in “technology domains,” but that model seems to be hitting its limits as businesses become more global and require more agility. A “plan-build-run” organizational model can help to break down silos and facilitate performance-improvement and transformation objectives. Himanshu Agarwal, Nagendra Bommadevara, and Allen Weinberg discuss how leading IT infrastructure organizations are increasingly adopting plan-build-run models. Using a plan-build-run organizational model to drive IT infrastructure objectives (McKinsey & Company)

Many predictive analytics efforts fail to produce expected result because they focus more on the end predictions, rather than grasping the analytic “hows” and “whys.” Michael Schrage explains why humbly learning from your mistakes can quickly and cost-effectively turn predictive failures into analytic successes. Learn from Your Analytics Failures (Harvard Business Review)

With the current focus on big data and analytics, enterprise data strategy is becoming an increasingly critical part of a portfolio planning process. Stephen Lahanas outlines the top seven considerations when crafting an enterprise data strategy. How to Create an Enterprise Data Strategy (Technovation Talks)

While all projects focus on delivering the value for the businesses, many of those projects had a hard time defining what constitutes value for their projects. Glen Alleman discusses that there is another equally critical element with which we must factor into the overall ROI calculation. Focus on Value is Only ½ The Equation (Herding Cats)

An effective IT service costing process can be a solution to the pressing need for tighter technology budget and better business/IT alignment. Khalid Hakim discusses the steps for setting up a better service costing process. How to Create a More Accurate, Useful, and Equitable Service Costing Process (VMware CloudOps)

Organizations deal with a variety of hardware and devices both at the end-user and in the data center environments. Accurate asset tracking is critical for all environments within an enterprise. David Foxen discusses the key approaches and considerations to asset tagging, along with strengths and weaknesses of each methodology. Quick guide to Hardware Asset Tagging (ITAM Review)

Many organizations use proof-of-concept exercise to validate the use of certain technologies or systems. Many of those technologies or systems later failed to produce the expected results or benefits in production. Bob Lewis cautions us to be skeptical when a proof-of-concept is showcased to be an absolute proof of something working. Proofs of concept usually aren’t (IS Survivor Publishing)

Fresh Links Sundae – June 8, 2014 Edition

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Many companies are struggling to add piecemeal elements to their existing IT operations in order to compete in the digital era. Some experts have suggested that reinventing the IT function may be another way to deliver the digital capability the companies need to compete. Henrik Andersson and Philip Tuddenham have identified seven elements that are critical to achieving the IT performance improvements required for the new digital world. Reinventing IT to support digitization (McKinsey & Company)

When moving towards a more “digital” enterprise, many organizations are adopting what Dion Hinchcliffe called the ‘bolt-on’ strategy, which typically means adding a few new digital channels to existing touch point. He explains why companies should consider another more transformative approach when going digital. Going Beyond ‘Bolt-On’ Digital Transformation (Enterprise Irregulars)

Today’s website and web applications contain many distributive technical components. Maintaining and diagnosing performance issues can be complex. In a five-part series, Clare Kirlin discusses the considerations and decisions required to ensure the performance of your websites and web application meets your business needs. New Blog Series: #OptimizeDigital (Part 1) 3 Miles and 14 Bottlenecks: Know Your Performance Enemies (Part 2) Optimize Measurements to Optimize Web Performance (Part 3) Real Users: A Common Web Performance Blind Spot (Part 4) The Quick and Easy Audit that Every IT Manager Should Perform (Part 5) (In the Limelight)

The technologies used in software development have changed radically in the last two decades. Mike Loukides reflects on the technology stacks in use today and describes the essential components everyone in the software development or operations team should know. Beyond the stack (O’Reilly Radar)

Leveraging his recent system migration experience, Andreas Grabner explains why by monitoring all your system components and correlating the results with deployment tasks will you be able to deploy with more confidence without disrupting your business. Web Service Monitoring 101: Identifying Bad Deployments (About: Performance)

With today’s complex projects, some are convinced that the current project management processes are obsolete for dealing with complexity on projects.  Glen Alleman believes that the notion is untested and recommends ways to deal with project complexity. How to Deal With Complexity in Software Projects? (Herding Cats)

In light of what we may have read about the discovery of mismanagement at the US Veterans Administration, Bob Lewis reminds us the importance of collecting and reporting on the right metrics that truly matter to the business. Your own personal VA scandal (IS Survivor Publishing)

We all want to stand out in some way, but we also want to fit in. Reflecting from a personal experience, Jeff Haden outlines the approach for working towards fitting into a larger community. The Best Way to Fit In and Truly Become Part of…Anything (Inc.com)

Food for Thoughts…

Many schools hold graduation commencement during the month of June.  Michael Schrage gives us a playful, but not implausible, look at a future commencement speech. The First Robot Commencement Address (Harvard Business Review)

Fresh Links Sundae – April 20, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-easter-eggs-image23845596Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Charles Araujo believes that a well-run operation is the strategic pathway to the most important asset of any IT organization: trust. He goes on to explain the three key qualities a disciplined IT shop usually possesses. The Three Attitudes of a Disciplined IT Department (CIO Insight)

Analyzing and displaying data correctly can be very context or situation dependent. Nancy Duarte shows us the questions we should be asking before properly analyzing or visualizing data. The Quick and Dirty on Data Visualization (Harvard Business Review)

The ever-increasing size of data is presenting a challenge for organizations to manage and analyze in order to deliver actionable business insight.  John Haddad outlines an approach of creating a data management supply chain that identifies business goals and deploy the agile infrastructure necessary to achieve those objectives. How to build a big data supply chain (InfoWorld)

Many teams resort to compromise in order to avoid conflicts when discussing or collaborating on important data-based decisions with another group. Michael Schrage believes that is an ineffective approach and suggests that we should demand our teams to demonstrate just how well they understand the other’s viewpoint and position. How to Have an Honest Data-Driven Debate (Harvard Business Review)

For many IT organizations, the changes in the business and technology environments have prompted the examination of the IT as a Service (ITaaS) model. Michael Biddick recommends IT organizations examine three key ITaaS elements as they attempt to transform from a sole service provider role to a service strategist.  Zen & The Art Of Service-Oriented IT (InformationWeek)

Oded Moshe believes that a good IT Asset Management (ITAM) practice can enable IT departments to make smarter decisions, demonstrate their value, and reduce nasty surprises. He goes on to explores nine ways IT department can improve their own effectiveness by leveraging ITAM. 9 Ways ITAM Can Empower IT (SysAid Blog)

An IT Asset Management (ITAM) program is often viewed as a temporary, stop-gap response to audit or compliance exercises, but it can yield long-term benefits if it is done effectively. Anne Watson outlines the elements for an effective ITAM program. Navigating the Political Storm Of ITAM (ITAM Review)

Effective performance can be viewed as a function of the quality of an idea times the employee’s commitment to make it happen. When communicating with direct reports, Marshall Goldsmith recommends that gaining their commitment and enthusiasm should be a priority. Their Commitment Might Mean More Than Our Insight (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Something else you might be interested in…

Microsoft has made a free eBook by David Ziembicki and Mitch Tulloch available for download. Free ebook: Microsoft System Center: Integrated Cloud Platform (Microsoft Press)