Challenges of a CIO – Part 4

CIO#4 wordleErikHaahr

 

In my last blog , I described some of the initial results from the change programme started by Peter Sommer when he joined Olfama as CIO and I described the challenge with project portfolio management.

Peter and John started to define the project portfolio management process with a brainstorming session. They found that the process should ensure that every corporate strategic initiative was supported by at least one project and at the same time there shouldn’t be too many independent projects supporting a single initiative. They knew that projects could be categorised in three distinct groups: Projects to help keep lights on (Run the business), projects to grow the business and projects to transform the business. Peter and John realized, that projects supporting a strategic initiative would fall into the “Grow” and “Transform” categories, and that the metrics for these projects would be different from [Read more…]

Minimum Viable Bureaucracy (MVB)

 

Bureaucracy-1How much bureaucracy can an organization bare in order to be able to respond to disruptive innovation? As less as possible. We can frame that as the “Minimum Viable Bureaucracy”, in sync with the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) from the Lean Startup and DevOps practices. We need just that level of bureaucracy to maintain the choas we need to be innovative, and the structure we need to not fall into total disorder.

But the tragedy of organizational culture is that in it tends to optimize on the wrong stuff. The result is that mediocracy will take over. Although we mean to do well (I think), we don’t know what we’re are doing in optimizing the less important stuff: HR procedures, useless meetings, weird IT procedures, it all alienates people and dehumanizes organizations. No wonder startups can win the fight. It’s taking away resources from the more important elements: humans, clients, obsessions to do  best for them.

It’s all there in writing. Either you look at Clayton Christensen’s “overshooting” theory on disruptive innovation, or in the systems theory of Hannah Arendt’s treatise on the “Banality of the evil”. In the end organizations end up to be mediocre, because they are obsessed with procedures and optimizing what the install based system needs. It just a matter of time for a new generation of companies to take over that focusses on matters of real life.

One way out is the Steve Job’s kind of leadership. He would not get fooled by mediocracy. The other is to introduce another system, the Minimum Viable Bureaucracy, and create a new space for innovation and creativity.

Disney launches a wall-climbing robot: Wally

They’re calling it VertiGo: a wall-climbing robot that is capable of transitioning from the ground to the wall, created in collaboration between Disney Research Zurich and ETH. But I think Wally would have been a better name 😉

The robot has two tiltable propellers that provide thrust onto the wall, and four wheels. One pair of wheels is steerable, and each propeller has two degrees of freedom for adjusting the direction of thrust. By transitioning from the ground to a wall and back again, VertiGo extends the ability of robots to travel through urban and indoor environments. The robot is able to move on a wall quickly and with agility. The use of propellers to provide thrust onto the wall ensures that the robot is able to traverse over indentations such as masonry. The choice of two propellers rather than one enables a floor-to-wall transition – thrust is applied both towards the wall using the rear propeller, and in an upward direction using the front propeller, resulting in a flip onto the wall.

How many passwords are we juggling with today?

Sogeti Labs Password juggler

Looking for a guaranteed job for the next decades? Worried about the future job of your children? Advise them to go and study IT security and specially authentication concerns. Be sure that for the next decade, this will be one of the main IT problem, companies have to cogitate on.

Some history. For years, more than 95% of Fortune500 relied mainly on Microsoft Active Directory authentication system (to which we can add around 90% of medium and large enterprises all over the world). As a legacy of the 90’s, we [Read more…]

Yo CEO. Want to learn Deep Learning?

Yo CEO, want to learn deep learning? Should you? It’s clear that machine intelligence and deep learning will impact the future of many organisations, if not all of them. We’re maybe not able to predict exactly how this will play out. Self driving cars, robots as a call center agent, Watson giving medical advise… they are only a few examples. All have the potential to disrupt your market completely. So if you can spare 40 minutes of your time, you can watch this recent talk by Jürgen Schmidhuber at the Deep Learning in Action talk series. Be warned. It’s quite a techie talk. But it will give you a good understanding of how deep learning works and explains the historical context. Working on your tech-savviness is probably on your agenda for 2016 anyway. So let’s start.

Jürgen Schmidhuber
Since age 15 or so, Prof. Jürgen Schmidhuber’s main scientific ambition has been to build a self-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI) smarter than himself, then retire. He has pioneered self-improving general problem solvers since 1987, and Deep Learning Neural Networks (NNs) since 1991. The recurrent NNs (RNNs) developed by his research groups at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA & USI & SUPSI and TU Munich were the first RNNs to win official international contests. They have revolutionised connected handwriting recognition, speech recognition, machine translation, optical character recognition, image caption generation, and are now in use at Google, Microsoft, IBM, Baidu, and many other companies. The first 4 members of DeepMind (sold to Google for over 600M) include 2 former PhD students from his lab. His team’s Deep Learners were also the first to win object detection and image segmentation contests, and achieved the world’s first superhuman visual classification results, winning nine international competitions in machine learning & pattern recognition.

 

 

 

Datacenter Bites the Dust!

We usually approach IT matters as source of disruption in our lives but we don’t mention the effect caused by this revolution on the IT world itself. Infrastructure as we used to know is about to pass away.

It has become so cliché to talk about disruption nowadays. This past decade and this will go on for sure in the future, we heard about the irremediable impact of IT in our everyday life: internet, web 2.0, wearables, 3D print, bitcoins, IoT, blockchain… and many more. We talk about the way we now buy, pay, book, rent, sell, share… and I could go on and on.

[Read more…]

How to build a doctor?

FullOrangeMy role in Sogeti is to build solutions to collect and analyse data for our customers.  We are presenting the knowledge in Big Data to people who would not have the experience and ability to process this information in the past.  Now we present this knowledge in understandable ways and even say what the “Next Best Action” is.

How far can we take the idea of collecting and analysing information, and informing people what their options are?  For example, could we replace a Lawyer or Doctor, with a Machine?  Can we replace a human who uses their experiences and training, with data and an interface?  Will you be replaced by technology?

For the purposes of this blog post, a Doctor does not only have the letters “Dr.” in front of their name.  What you need to be concerned about is “Am I a Data Bank?”

[Read more…]

Designing for the Future … and the “Future” is NOW (Part 1)

Usability in Ubiquitous Computing and Interactivity

Once upon a time, we used computers exclusively at our desk to look for information, or to use a specific application. But, increasingly, computing devices are becoming an extension of human experiences, as we go about Preview_Wireless_technologyour daily schedules. Event-based, contextualized presentation of information is introducing new demands to the usability factor for applications running on mobile devices. Now, more than ever, usability  needs to hone the user experiences that are enabled by ubiquitous computing.

To consider the implications of the lack of usability in a mobile application, the interactivity modes in which a user incorporates its capabilities into their daily flow, need to be analyzed. A badly designed interface in a mobile application, which is used in short, five-second episodes throughout several periods during the day, can cause a lot of pain for the user solely due to the frequency mode. Other high-context applications need to take a deeper anthropomorphic view of the users’ needs to ensure that specific interactions deliver the usability components for a superior experience. A lack of insight into these aspects will cause the user to abandon the application due to the mismatched impedance. [Read more…]

Converged Solutions Help Transform Healthcare and Financial Services

It’s almost impossible to name an industry that hasn’t been transformed by technology. But as technology advances, so do the opportunities for transformation.

Consider two of the biggest industries in the US: Healthcare and Financial services. Not coincidentally, they’re also two of the most affected by new business demands and new technologies.

Healthcare

heathcare-automation

Source: Infiniti Healthcare

This industry was burdened with cost challenges even before the enactment of the Affordable Care Act; now, the industry has been mandated to improve patient care and reduce costs. It must get better at identifying patients with chronic conditions, to shift services from in-patient care (more expensive) to outpatient care (less expensive).

One of the best ways to tackle these challenges and achieve transformation is to focus on making data-driven decisions—that is, using data to predict trends. Being truly efficient about this, of course, means compiling data from a variety of sources. In healthcare, these days, this means being able to compile and analyze data from electronic medical record (EMR) applications, from medical devices that are part of the growing Internet of Things and even from social media. [Read more…]

Has Apple gone crazy?

Apple Store GeniusesThe answer is “yes.” Probably, when you read the title, you had guessed the answer to be “no,”  and thought that this was just a teaser to draw your attention. Unfortunately, it’s not so! In fact, I was in California a couple of days ago and had visited an Apple store there. The experience was …. quite an experience. I needed to buy a small and a big thing. The small one, because I forgot my chargers for my iPad mini and MacBook (Damn!). The big one, because this would be a great excuse for me to buy the new MacBook. [Read more…]