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Summer 2015 TayganPoint Newsletter - Q2
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The Technology Issue

Welcoming the summer months means gearing up for more sun, family outings, fireworks and vacations. And from a business perspective it means a midpoint of the year to evaluate the progress of existing technology projects and plans, as well as the release of exciting new technology in the business marketplace.
 
Like most companies, with every new transformation project TayganPoint undertakes, we are faced with the impact of technology – both new and existing.  Whether we are working to realign corporate strategy, improve existing processes, manage new programs or even navigate organizational change, there seems to be a technology component that will impact the success of the initiative.
 
We explore this omnipresent topic, and the related challenges, from a number of angles.  Our first article, Emerging Technology: Catching the Next Wave, speaks directly to the emergence of new technologies this summer, and how to best time their launch within your organization.  We take a look at the added complexities and challenges CIO’s now face every day in Paradigm Shift: New Issues Facing Today’s CIO.  And finally, in the article, The Need for Speed:  Shortening the IT Timeline, we provide some guidance on how to improve speed-to-market when managing the tech components of your larger transformation projects. 
 
As always, TayganPoint is committed to helping you transform your business, through new idea generation or by capitalizing on your existing breakthroughs.
 
Joy Taylor & John Cassimatis
Co-Founders, TayganPoint Consulting Group
Emerging Technology: Catching the Next Wave
By John Collins & Tanuj Pandey, TayganPoint

Surfers catch waves by paddling towards the shore.  Their timing matched to the speed of the wave, they make their move from prone to upright and ride the crest of the wave with their board just ahead of the breaking water.  Jumping on a wave too early leads nowhere and jumping on too late can cause a wipe out.
Similarly, when timed perfectly, catching the momentum associated with emerging technologies can generate amazing opportunities for both new and existing companies.  But allowing an important new technology to peak without adopting a strategy to embrace and capitalize on it can result in being outpaced by competition, losing revenue opportunities, or even business failure.  The challenge is in differentiating between unrealistic hype and important technology trends.

As an example, the digital media revolution has created its share of winners and losers in both new and existing organizations.  Companies like Netflix, Hulu and Zynga found their niche and rode the wave from small upstart to entertainment industry leader.  Historic powerhouse media companies like Yahoo and Apple invested heavily in paid content distribution and reaped the rewards of well-timed adoption.
When evaluating Emerging Technologies, it’s helpful to understand them in the context of the typical technology life cycle below:
  1. Concept
  2. Research & Development
  3. Early Adoption or Abandonment
  4. Growth
  5. Maturity/Mainstream (Peak Interest)
  6. Decline and/or Replacement
Keeping a close eye on market trends and monitoring those technologies that move beyond the Concept and R&D phase and into the Early Adoption phase is likely to produce the strongest opportunity with acceptable risk.  When evaluating the impact the proposed technology will have on existing business, companies should be asking themselves the following questions:
  • Will the technology enhance or threaten our market share?
  • Does the technology create new competition?
  • Has the technology moved beyond the hype and into the mainstream?
While looking back can help companies understand the impact past technology innovations have had on their industry and competition, looking forward and constantly evaluating emerging technologies is an essential part of staying relevant.  Some trends to watch in the coming years that are likely to have major impact across industries include:
  • The Internet of Things
  • Wearables
  • Big Data & Predictive Analytics
  • Robotic Automation & Artificial Intelligence
It is likely that some, if not all, of these technologies will drive new markets, create new opportunities, and ultimately decide the winners and losers across multiple industries.


Want to continue the conversation?  Contact John or Tanuj via email at jcollins@tayganpoint.com or tpandey@tayganpoint.com 
Paradigm Shift: Issues Facing Today's CIO

By Joan Walker, Sr. Consultant, TayganPoint


Gone are the days of a company’s lone “IT person” – a mysterious and omniscient entity, sitting in an over-sized coat closet with fans running 24/7 to keep servers cool as they answered endless questions related to all things related to corporate technology.  
Evolution has been kind to IT support, as they morphed into more sophisticated teams, now with a CIO at their helm.  Responsibility grew even further, as the office of the CIO was faced with challenges around infrastructure, main frames and in many cases, maintaining “home grown business applications” proprietary to the organization.

Today, the role of the CIO role continues to undergo a profound transformation that is pushing business-technology leaders inevitably closer to customer demands, experiences and customer engagements.  A critical shift to achieve success for today’s CIO is the need for comprehensive understanding of the business they are supporting, from not only an IT perspective but also through a true business lens.
Phil Wienzimer’s latest book, The Strategic CIO: Changing the Dynamics of the Business Enterprise, reinforces these ideas.  Both CIOs and key IT personnel need to recognize how the business operates, the value provided to customers, the competitive market and industry trends. 

The shift in challenges range from how to help drive revenue; big data and analytics; support for the latest ‘bring your own device’ phenomenon; IT security; cloud capabilities and, if the organization is focused on growth, M&A IT integration.  These are just some of the concerns that need to be considered if CIOs are to be charged with keeping their organizations competitive in the marketplace.
Companies and organizations have started looking to their IT organizations to support and enable business growth.  How IT struggles with, and ultimately tackles, the demand for tactical services while enabling the organization’s strategic objectives can be a critical success factor.   

How a CIO becomes successful, depends greatly upon how they can quickly build trust among their peers and gain insight into what is critically important to the business.  Building and strengthening these relationships early is imperative in understanding the underlying concerns of the organization in order to identify the key imperatives and build a clear roadmap aligned with and supporting the overall business strategy. 

The role of the CIO is so much more than the technology itself.  It’s about becoming an executive level business partner trusted to comprehensively understand the core business and industry challenges as they enable the company through technology-driven solutions.  With so much added complexity and responsibility placed on the shoulders of the CIO, we’re pleased to see the role of IT has graduated far beyond the icy-cold coat closet of decades past.

To connect with Joan and talk more about this topic, please email her at jwalker@tayganpoint.com

Hear more from Joan Walker about the evolving role of the CIO...

...and explore even more topics through our YouTube channel, The TayganPoint of View
The Need for Speed: Shortening the IT Timeline

By Jackie Misiak, Consultant, TayganPoint


It’s daunting – being stuck in a holding pattern as you look eagerly to your IT team to implement the technology components of your business transformation.  To compound your growing (yet controlled) impatience, you begin to see the dollar signs growing around this area of your project as well.
If you have been responsible for a transformation or process improvement where your project required an IT solution, you have probably struggled with both the timing and the associated cost.  Whether you are modifying an existing application, implementing a new one, or leveraging third-party software as a service to meet new requirements, the struggle is the same.  IT appears to move too slowly and be too costly.

What if there was a way you could mitigate the challenges and shorten the IT timeline.  There are a few key factors you can control and drive that will speed your project toward success.

Phase your transformation
There should be at least two phases to your implementation.  Phase I should include only the most critical elements needed to start delivering business outcomes.  Phase II can then include those requirements not related to the most important needs.  Some call these items “nice to haves” but if you want speed you will push more requirements out of Phase I and into Phase II.  No matter how good you and your team are, there is much you will learn as you implement and start to live your new process or organization structure.  Information gathered through these new experiences may begin to change your thinking about the process.  The changes in thinking may impact the technology configuration and programming.  The success of your transformation, especially in the eyes of your key stakeholders, will be directly linked to how you, your system, and your team respond to these learnings.  Phase II should be planned to start immediately after Phase I is implemented and should include the at least some of the adjustments identified in Phase I, demonstrating responsiveness to what you have learned and assessed from your initial roll-out.

Define what CAN be done quickly (and what can’t)
Partner closely with IT and have them identify the different solution options available to you with specific focus on which is the fastest to implement.  Be sure to request and fully understand the pros and cons for each solution.  Use this exercise to define the Phase I solution, but delay incorporating the more structured and time-consuming elements like automated interfaces, complex data transformation and an extensive selection of reports.  These elements should be incorporated in Phase II or even Phase III or IV.

Focus. 
It seems obvious, but it is often ignored or left behind.  Be very clear what business outcomes are most important to your transformation and focus all your Phase I work on these elements.  It is important to consider the process, data, reports and governance structure impacting your intended outcomes.  Work to understand what pieces of the business process or change management process are critical to achieving these outcomes and concentrate on those first.

Know your data better than anyone else
IT should not be expected to intimately understand your data, what you need or which system would be most appropriate from which to source the data.  With more and more IT services being outsourced in large corporations, it becomes even more important for the business process owner to take responsibility for the data.  While IT can help identifying systems where data may exist, be sure you and your team are the real data experts.  Understand which systems are currently housing the data you need and be sure you use the system that is being best managed and maintained by the right parties.   Document and create clarity around the data calculations or transformations you need. 

Avoid automated interfaces
Automated interfaces can be complex and increase IT timelines exponentially.  Instead, opt for manual data extracts and uploads from authoritative source systems.  Consider how much time is spent on the development and implementation of interfaces.  Leaving that for a future phase can significantly improve speed of delivery, expand the knowledge of the data in the business area, improve upstream processes and drive end-to-end process more efficiency.  IT can provide easy and standardized ways to extract and import data, making for a relatively simple, although manual data interface.  The business team should be responsible for this data movement especially during this part of the process.  

During transformation, there is a tendency towards driving ALL the change, ALL at once.   Sadly, this approach mitigates both speed and learning.  However, if we streamline our thinking about many of the processes and transformations and see them more as ever changing elements, we’re presented with the opportunity to build flexibility into the equation, enabling a more nimble and timely IT solution and related business transformation.    


Please feel free to reach out to Jackie at jmisiak@tayganpoint.com to learn more about these concepts and others in the technology solutions space.

What Other People Are Saying...
Here are a few other articles we've found of interest in the past few months...we hope you will too...

 

What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work
Originally published in The New York Times Magazine  |  May 5, 2015


The Psychology Behind Sales Price, Value, and Quality
Originally published as part of the Ideal Candidate Blog  |  Jan 5, 2015

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TayganPoint Consulting Group  |  243 N Union Street, Suite 210  |  Lambertville , NJ 08530  |  P:  609.460.4211
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