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 – October 5, 2014 Edition

business analytics word cloudFresh 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!

Predictive analytics can never offer any ironclad guarantees around prediction, so how do you evaluate a new tool or a new model? Theos Evgeniou offers some basic questions in evaluating new predictive models to help you get the most out of your predictive analytics. How to Tell If You Should Trust Your Statistical Models (Harvard Business Review)

Some organizations implement ITSM with a number of sophisticated processes that end up too bureaucratic to be effective. Stuart Rance suggests how you can simplify things but stay effective at the same time. Do you really need all those cumbersome processes? (Optimal Service Management)

Jason Brownlee believes that, in order to get good at applying machine learning algorithms, you need to build up an intuition of how an algorithm behaves on real data. He describes the process we should follow when studying machines learning algorithms. How to Build an Intuition for Machine Learning Algorithms (Machine Learning Mastery)

Some organizations’ metrics programs fail while others are successful. Phyllis Drucker outlines the steps for organizing your metric framework and how you can kick your metrics game up a notch. A five-step framework for business oriented metrics (The ITSM Review)

As a product manager for cloud services, Alex Bordei’s mission is to make sure his team gets the highest performance possible out of the technologies used in their services. He discusses how NoSQL databases can scale vertically and horizontally, and what you should consider when building a cluster. Scaling NoSQL databases: 5 tips for increasing performance (O’Reilly Radar)

When we train and deploy machine learning models for big data analytics, we run several risks when we strive for perfection and over-train the model. Kirk Borne advocates that we can reap great benefits from data analytics by having fast, simple, slightly imperfect machine learning. Machine Unlearning: The Value of Imperfect Models (MapR)

A number of IT organizations have transformed themselves from a technology-oriented to a services-oriented organization with the practice of IT service management. John Worthington discusses the various approaches and the continual cycle of service definition. What Does It Mean for IT to Be Customer-Focused? (VMware CloudOps)

Some people feel the traditional IT enterprise architecture (EA) can be too rigid or not flexible enough for today’s fast-changing environment. Charles Betz shares his ideas of what an Agile EA approach might look like. Agile and Enterprise Architecture (lean4it)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 7, 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!

The quality of the service catalog has a key, direct impact on IT’s ability to deliver value-add services to the organization. Stephen Mann discusses the barriers we need to overcome and the good practices we should implement for Service Catalog Management. 6 Barriers To Service Catalog Success & 13 Service Catalog Best Practices (ServiceNow)

A number of organizations have begun making use of predictive analytics techniques to interpret business results and make better decisions. Tom Davenport discusses the basics about predictive analytics that every manager should know for his/her organization. A Predictive Analytics Primer (Harvard Business Review)

There are many reasons why data governance projects fall short of expectations. In a three-part series, Bryan Finnegan shares his thoughts on achieving persistent data governance and recommendations for avoiding pitfalls in data governance projects. Achieving persistent data governance, pt.1: link your teams  Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 2: focus on trouble areas  Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 3: find a visionary (The Data Roundtable)

Stuart Rance believes it is a good idea to document improvements you want to make in the register and let it evolve as we discover new things we want to record. For those organizations that want to keep formal documentation on improvements, he gives a list of recommendations on how to make a register and populate the information. Managing a continual service improvement register (Optimal Service Management)

Many IT managers understand the importance of the Knowledge Management process but are unsure of how to get started. Simon Morris talks about the key elements of the knowledge management process and ways to use KM to strengthen your incident management practice. The Avocado of Knowledge Management (The ITSM Review)

People have different opinions about shadow IT efforts and how best to deal with them. Rob England gives his recommendations on working with Shadow IT within your organization. How to deal with Shadow IT (The IT Skeptic)

Overwhelming evidence points to a tendency toward cost and effort overruns due to poor estimation for many software projects. Magne Jorgensen summarizes some of the knowledge he believes we have learned about effort estimation over the years. What We Do and Don’t Know about Software Development Effort Estimation (InfoQ)

Bob Lewis believes that you can draw strong parallels between conducting covert operations and managing typical corporate projects. He outlines a list of the factors without which projects are bound to fail. Spycraft, project-craft … what’s the difference? (IS Survivor Publishing)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 24, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24270014Fresh 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!

To compete these days, Martha Bennett believes that it is essential to make the most of the data you have. She outlines five areas where the business leaders need to tackle. Planning Your Big Data Strategy: Five Keys To Success (Forrester Blogs)

With the digital business trend, many organizations look to their CIO to lead by demonstrating technology leadership. Bob Lewis discusses a list of what’s required for technology leadership to be possible. More technology leadership prerequisites (IS Survivor Publishing)

In military, tactics and strategy are both necessary elements, and they complement each other in achieving the objective. In a three-part series, Stephen Lahanas discusses the building blocks and the steps for building an effective IT strategy. Building Effective IT Strategy – part 1  Building Effective IT Strategy – part 2  Building Effective IT Strategy – part 3 (Technovation Talks)

Stuart Rance often gets asked how long should an ITSM project take. He offers his opinions and suggestions on how implement ITSM to obtain value in the shortest time possible. How Long Should an ITSM Project Take? (SysAid)

Some IT organizations prefer to implement IT assets and configuration management as a single practice together while some keep those processes separate. Derek Lonsdale discusses the factors that can help determine the best approach for your IT organization? The synergies and duplications of IT Asset and Configuration management (ITSM Portal)

The Business Relationship Manager (BRM) team often acts as a bridge between the IT organization and their business partners. Vaughan Merlyn discusses the signs of an ineffective BRM practice which does not add value. When Business Relationship Managers Collude with Dysfunctional Behavior (IT Organization Circa 2017)

The US Government recently published a list of good practices for building effective digital services. Mike Loukides explains why private enterprises should also consider adopting these practices for their operations. Not just the government’s playbook (O’Reilly Radar)

There are a number of service providers who can lend their expertise to help completing an ITSM effort. Amy DeMartine makes some suggestions for how to pick your next ITSM implementation services provider. How to Find the right provider to complete your ITSM project (Computerworld UK)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 3, 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!

The subject of data science receives much attention these days. Some people have used data management terms, such as business intelligence and predictive analytics, interchangeably even though they represent different disciplines. Dean Abbott talks about what similarities the two disciplines share and how they differ. Similarities and Differences Between Predictive Analytics and Business Intelligence (Data Mining and Predictive Analytics)

Neural network is a machine learning approach that is widely used in many data analytics efforts. Pete Warden offers step-by-step instructions on training your neural network. How to build and run your first deep learning network (O’Reilly Radar)

Big data and the Hadoop ecosystem are getting attention from many organizations these days. Rich Morrow outlines some of the most common surprises and challenges that new users of Hadoop run into in their early implementation period. Lessons Learned Deploying Hadoop (Global Knowledge Training Blog)

When you ask which service desk tool is the best for a particular IT organization, you will get a diverse set of opinions. Rob England outlines the essential criteria to consider when evaluating a service desk tool. What is the best ITIL service desk tool? (The IT Skeptic)

Rob Stroud and Rob England got into a discussion on the cloud-based ITSM solution. Mr. England and Mr. Stroud are two authorities I respect in the ITSM space. I thought the discussion was both interesting and educational. Is ITSM SaaS overrated? – Highlight and Is ITSM SaaS overrated? Round two – Highlight (CA Technologies)

When being asked about the tools and techniques used in their knowledge management programs, many IT organizations often just describe tools for managing and sharing documents. Stuart Rance thinks that is very limiting and offers additional ideas for enriching your knowledge management effort. Knowledge Management Is Not Just About Document Repositories (SysAid Blog)

Maturity assessment is a necessary part of ITSM improvement effort, but many organizations do not know how to conduct an effective assessment. Karen Ferris explains the challenges and pitfalls of conducting maturity assessment. ITSM Process Maturity Assessments – Handle with Care (Macanta)

A well-designed RACI chart is an effective tool for creating clarity in roles and responsibilities. Greg Sanker explains how a RACI chart can help in your ITSM effort. What’s a RACI Chart, and how to I use it? (ITSM Transition)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 27, 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!

Brady Orand and Global Knowledge are running a blog series “11 Common Mistakes of ITIL Foundation Newbies.” I had already featured the first five posts several weeks ago. Here are the last six installments of the series. ITIL Newbie Mistake #6: Being Too Process Focused  ITIL Newbie Mistake #7: CAB Meeting Burnout  ITIL Newbie Mistake #8: Too Much ITIL Talk  ITIL Newbie Mistake #9: Relying on Templates  ITIL Newbie Mistake #10: Expecting a Tool to Do the Work  ITIL Newbie Mistake #11: Thinking You’re Done. Ever. (Global Knowledge Training Blog)

Some manufacturers’ processing environments can have extreme swings in variability. As a result, those manufacturers need a more granular approach to diagnosing and correcting process flaws. Eric Auschitzky, Markus Hammer, and Agesan Rajagopaul discuss how advanced analytics can provide just such an approach. How big data can improve manufacturing (McKinsey & Company)

In his 20+ years of working in the IT industry, Barclay Rae continues to work with organization on fielding similar ITSM questions. He discusses the most important element for ITSM success that even trumps SLAs and KPIs. Do you have an SLA with your spouse..? (Barclay Rae Website)

Many organizations implements ITSM but neglect to have a CSI process in place. Stuart Rance talks about why he believes CSI is one of the biggest opportunities we have to create value for our IT customers. Building a CSI culture (The ITSM Review)

Many people talk about business digitalization as a portfolio of discrete game-changing technologies. Bob Lewis would argue that the digitization movement is different than what most people think because many have a false assumption about the digitization trend. The assumption of pervasive technology (IS Survivor Publishing)

To most people, innovation is risky, plagued with challenges, and hard to do successfully. Daniel Burrus illustrates how we can predict the changes accurately and be a great innovator. How to Transform Innovation ROI by Using the Science of Certainty to Accelerate Results (Daniel Burrus)

With the availability of many cloud technology and SaaS offering, companies are considering whether to leverage cloud for business intelligence and data analytics activities. John Myers discusses the emerging field of data analytics as a service and what criteria should an organization consider to determine whether it is ready for business analytics. Why Data Analytics as a Service? (EMA Blogs)

Many organizations are setting up the data analytics practice using big data technologies. Andrew Oliver outlines the top 10 worst practices to avoid. The 10 worst big data practices (Strategic Developer)

Fresh Links Sundae – June 29, 2014 Edition

dreamstime_xs_34568759-240x170Fresh 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!

Cloud computing is becoming widely adopted, and yet, many organizations still do not fully understand the advantages and challenges that come with cloud computing. Tom Bittman discusses three perceptions of “cloud computing” and how organizations can evaluate cloud computing from all angles to get the most value out of it. How to Create a Cloud Strategy That Fails Big! (Gartner Blogs)

Public cloud offering might be economically attractive, but the lack of customization and other security considerations can present challenges of their own. Brent Bensten explains why not all applications, services, and frameworks are built for cloud computing and how to deploy the right tool for the job. How to choose between custom and commodity clouds (InfoWorld)

Many people define KPIs for their IT service management processes by looking in books or by copying what others do; however, that is rarely going to give good results. Stuart Rance outlines a list of critical success factors (CSFs) and KPIs that organizations can leverage to design a set of problem management measurements. The critical test is to ensure those measurements will derive metrics about the things your organization cares about. Defining Metrics for Problem Management (SysAid)

The DevOps concept is being experimented or adopted in many organizations. For many IT operational teams, implementing a DevOps model within their own organizations still presents many challenges. Alex Honor discusses those challenges and make recommendations on how the development and the operational teams can work together to overcome those challenges while minimizing risks. Common Objections to DevOps from Enterprise Operations (dev2ops)

While there are many cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) offerings that present excellent value, it’s also true that many data protection vendors do not leverage the same definitions when classify their products as cloud-based “DR” or “BC” solutions. Lynn LeBlanc explains what are the four essential DR/BC capabilities when evaluating a potential cloud-based DR/BC offering. Evaluation Criteria for Your Cloud-based Data Protection Solutions (Data Center Knowledge)

Many organizations have their own change management process, but often the process is rigidly applied and not leveraged correctly for its true value to aid the business. Jon Morley illustrates how we can build on our existing change processes and bring them together to help develop an end-to-end change management solution that works for your organization. Advice for Building Your House of Change Management (The ITSM Review)

Cost, schedule, and performance are the most critical aspects we try to manage for every project. We can think of them as three biggest random variables we need to measure and control in order to succeed in a project. Glen Alleman shows how we can measure and estimate these random numbers with a reasonable level of confidence and margin for errors. All Project Numbers are Random Numbers — Act Accordingly (Herding Cats)

A critical component of a capable IT service management practice is the establishment of a Continual Service Improvement process. Building or changing organizational culture, however, is not so easily done because traditions are closely held as norms, values, and beliefs. Pearl Zhu recommends a four-step approach for shaping a continuous-improvement culture in your organization. A Continuous-Improvement Culture (Future of CIO)

Fresh Links Sundae – May 25, 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!

For organizations that want to run IT as a business, how should IT price its services and charge its internal customers? Bob Lewis discusses the three broad cost categories for invoicing. Chargebacks – tips and techniques (IS Survivor Publishing)

The value of data in business is a popular discussion these days. For managers who want to learn more about how information is being captured, quantified, and used to make business decisions, Walter Frick has a reading list to get those managers started. An Introduction to Data-Driven Decisions for Managers Who Don’t Like Math (Harvard Business Review)

IT has a critical mission of helping business drive success; therefore, the business needs to share responsibility for IT investments and projects as well. Pearl Zhu recommends how CIOs and CFOs can build a strong relationship for IT governance effectiveness and efficiency. CIO-CFO Collaboration for IT Governance (Future of CIO)

With Agile, many organizations have a heavy focus on value generation. While value generation is important, Glen Alleman cautions that focusing on value in the absence of focusing on cost of that value can be a going-out-of-business strategy. To Stay In Business You Need to Know Both Value and Cost (Herding Cats)

Many organizations experience a common pitfall in implementing ITSM – they were investing effort in creating and maintaining configuration information but getting little or no value from their investment. Stuart Rance suggests a list of improvements that every organization should consider. What’s the Point of Configuration Management? (SysAid Blog)

Dan Kane has found that usually the most overlooked part of organizational change is that of consequences and rewards. He believes that every successful process/organizational change does three things thoroughly and well. The Big 3 Questions of Consequence (Hazy ITSM)

Courtney Nash believes that we might have reached a point in software development where we can no longer understand, see, or control all the parts because they are increasingly complex and distributed. She also has some recommendations on what we can do to develop and manage systems with an enormous degree of sophistication and complexity. Everything is distributed (O’Reilly Radar)

Many of us take on the challenge of making changes and find the changes can be both time-consuming and hard to do. Marshall Goldsmith recommends that having the courage to face the truth up front when setting goals can help us stick to the plan. The Five Reasons We Give Up (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – May 11, 2014 Edition

dreamstime_xs_13938429-215x240Fresh 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!

Not many people have mastered the framework of analytical storytelling by combining narrative along with visual analytics. Tom Davenport describes some examples of such framework. 10 Kinds of Stories to Tell with Data (Harvard Business Review)

A cloud strategy that doesn’t include some key elements will never reach its full potential for business transformation. Paul Chapman outlines those key competencies required for a successful cloud effort. To Succeed in the Cloud, CIOs Must Look Beyond Technology (VMware CloudOps)

In the famed Raiders of the Lost Ark series, Dr. Indiana Jones was fairly successful risk manager, who achieved his objectives. Steve Schlarman shows us what can GRC and Security programs learn from the legendary character. GRC and the Temple of Doom (RSA Archer GRC)

Recently Stuart Rance was asked by his customers what key performance indicators (KPIs) should be used to measure IT change management. He shares and explains some KPIs that may be useful to your team or organization. Defining Metrics for Change Management (SysAid Blog)

Enterprise Request Management is a new framework for incremental and evolutionary approach to centralizing and modifying business processes and service requests across the company. John Sundberg discusses five steps involved in implementing ERM. Implement Enterprise Request Management in Five Straightforward Steps (The ITSM Review)

Many projects wait till near the end of the project to ask the question of how much value can be realized, and often it’s too late. Glen Alleman explains how this critical question can be answered by sound project finance processes. Project Finance (Herding Cats)

As more organizations begin to implement Agile, more and more project managers are transitioning to become Scrum Masters. Eventually, the question of who should the Scrum Masters report to in an organizational hierarchy will come up. Len Lagestee has some scenarios and recommendations. Who Should the Scrum Master Report To? (Illustrated Agile)

Laura Brandenburg believes that clarity is one of the most fundamental attributes of writing good requirements. She discusses the steps for producing clear requirements. 5 Ways to Write Clearer Requirements (Bridging the Gap)

Fresh Links Sundae – April 6, 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!

Many IT organizations have change management that is so bureaucratic and slow that it becomes unpopular with the business. Stuart Rance explains what the purposes of change management are and the steps that can be taken to do it more effectively. What Is Change Management For? (SysAid Blog) Stuart Rance

Business-IT engagement is a process through which business and IT stakeholders collaborate to create business values. Vaughan Merlyn explains how IT can improve its working relationship with business with his 3-level engagement model. The Disciplines of Business-IT Engagement (IT Organization Circa 2017)

Many organizations are considering or experimenting with big data initiatives. Tom Davenport outlines some key elements he has observed that make the initiative a success. What Makes Big Data Projects Succeed (Harvard Business Review)

A lot of companies are reorganizing themselves in push forward Big Data initiatives. Pearl Zhu compares and contrasts various approaches and paths for doing Big Data & analytics. Push or Pull: Which Way is Best to Do Big Data & Analytics? (Future of CIO)

Audit controls can be effective when applied to retrospective financial reporting, but they have shown losing effectiveness when dealing with today’s dynamic, fast-changing world. Brian Barnier believes we can make the controls more effective with business-objective-oriented management practices. Why didn’t the dog bark? (ISACA Now)

Denise Brosseu describes an amplifier as someone who curates, highlights and even shines the spotlight on the best ideas for the benefit of those around them. She talks about the benefits of being an amplifier and recommends the ways of becoming one. Are You An Amplifier? (Chic CEO)

In today’s competitive world, top executives recognize the need that leaders need to develop other leaders within the organization. Marshall Goldsmith and Kelly Goldsmith talk about six behaviors roadblocks leaders should consider when helping other leaders reach their goals. Helping People Achieve Their Goals (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

After delivering hundreds of live presentations in public, David Meerman Scott recommends the following 10 tips for anyone who wants to get better at public speaking. More top ten tips for incredibly successful public speaking (Web Ink Now)

Something else you might be interested in…

Microsoft has made a free Microsoft SQL Server 2014 eBook by Ross Mistry and Stacia Misner available for download. Free eBook: Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014 (MSDN Blogs)