Transforming IT (and me) into the ‘New Normal’

pervasive-technologyTalking about the ‘New Normal’ is fun, until your CEO asks “what’s your plan?”

We, like most companies, are going through change which requires dramatic transformation in the way we do things.  Extreme application agility and operational leanness are mandated to service the way the business needs to run.

Welcome me to the New Normal.

As I’ve written about in the past, the New Normal is the reality that technology has become so pervasive that it is becoming a company’s primary way to engage with their customers.  And in order to support this, every company must think of themselves as a technology company first, their main product or service is secondary.

Working for a technology company with the main product being technology products and services means that EVERYBODY thinks they can do IT’s job better, faster and cheaper.  In many ways this is because EVERYBODY hasn’t considered the things that IT does very well, like securing business information, maintaining audit standards, ensuring export compliance, IP protection, disaster-recovery, business-continuity, keeping the networks operating, the data-center certified, should I continue?  IT all looks easy until you’re sitting across the table from an auditor explaining process-control and systems-of-record. #shoemakerschildren

Doing important work, however, doesn’t absolve us from transforming IT, because the business needs technology services that brings us closer to our customers.  Transformation requires a good hard look at some of the heavyweight systems and processes we’ve accumulated and quickly abandoning them while maintaining high service-levels and best practices.

ITIL, CMDB, CMMi?  We have to lean this out.  We need problem-solving and critical-thinking and most of all, quick delivery.  This requires staff that are adept to change and finding technical solutions to difficult problems.  That means taking the concepts and best-practices of, well, best-practices and incorporating them into the IT processes and services without the costs and burdens of implementation and certification.  Sacrilege, I know, but internal customers are asking for agility and value more than certificates.  Perhaps a lean MOU (memorandum of understanding) with customers and a simple RACI(responsibility assignment) matrix will serve as a guideline.

So, where to start?  We start by taking a good long look at budgets and staffing.  Hardware and software maintenance?  Are we getting value for that maintenance contract?  This is going to sound a little strange coming from a technology executive, but we should be getting discernible value for our IT spend.  Looking at budget also requires a good long look at contracts.  Many of these can be rewritten to our benefit if we work closely with vendors who are considered REAL partners.  Partners negotiate because good contracts bring more business.

What we don’t want to do is indiscriminately reduce headcount.  The New Normal requires new skills and people that have deep technology expertise are easily re-purposed.  Sometimes leaders have to encourage and mentor change, but it is quite easy if we are direct and transparent with staff.

OK, that’s all nut-and-bolts savings and we’re in the middle of executing projects based on these opportunities.

But the New Normal requires that we invest in areas that provide differentiated value to the top-line as well as the bottom-line.

So, how do I do that?  As a technologist I need to focus on ‘gap technologies’ that will elevate our business value to our customers.  If I write about it here, I’m giving away the differentiated value that we’ll provide to our customers.

How about you?  How can I help?  Let’s talk.  Give me a call, send me an e-mail, meet me at the Detroit Hard Rock, let me buy you lunch in our cafeteria.  Because differentiated value starts with a real conversation and, as much as I love to talk, I love to listen even more.  Hopefully we both gain from each others experience.


Filed Under: Tech Talk
About Paul Czarnik
Paul the former CTO of Compuware, a venture-technologist and programmer. His hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music.

Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.

Top 7.5 Signs that Your CIO IS READY for the New Normal



My colleague, Trisha Winter, in her last blog picked on CIOs who are NOT READY for the New Normal.  That harshes my mellow, so I’m going to talk about Super-CIO capabilities that show readiness for the tranformative world of the IT executive.

If you remember, the New Normal is the reality that technology has become so pervasive that it is becoming a company’s primary way to engage with their customers.  And in order to support this, every company must think of themselves as a technology company first, their main product or service is secondary.

This New Normal is unavoidable so companies need to make sure that they are setting themselves up to succeed.  This means starting with IT and the CIO.  If you are a CEO and your CIO matches these signs, it is probably time for a promotion and raise, not for you but for your CIO.

  1. Your CIO understands your business and collaborates well with line of business (LoB) peers.Technical leadership requires a bit of salesmanship and showmanship, so your CIO should brush up on her/his speaking skills, or go to open-mic night at the local comedy club.  Hey, if Dick Costolo of Twitter can do it, so can every technology leader!  Best of all, your CIO must understand your business from the inside-out.  So, look for that interest and enthusiasm.
  2. Your CIO understands all technologies in use by the company.Your CIO not only understands the latest technologies, but understands the applicability of these technologies to your business and is able to articulate the value to you and the LoBs.  The IT ecosystem and culture means fostering an environment where disruptive things like BYOD, IT in Marketing, etc. all work together.
  3. Your CIO understands what your customers experience when they engage with technologies that they use to do business with you.Tech performance is MOST meaningful in the experience that your customers have when they’re directly doing business with you.  Your technical leaders and staff must be appraised on technology customer-experience and be tightly aligned with customer-facing employees.
  4. Your CIO measures all ‘moving parts’ of your technology investments and understands the value and practicality of all components.As the saying goes “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, an application, no matter how well it is developed, has at least one constraint that limits its performance. This is the basic Theory of Constraints, and great CIOs understand that application performance improvement is a complex, constant activity.
  5. Your CIO measures technology investments and technology performance against P&L.It’s a lofty goal to tranform IT from a cost-center into a profit-center, and ‘New Normal” CIOs will at least understand their value related to the performance of the company and will constantly work towards improving both the bottom and top lines of the company
  6. Your CIO understands big-data.  New Normal CIOs can articulate how big-data Volume, Variety, and Velocity can affect your company, and has added the fourth ‘V’alue benefit to the discussion.  ”Big Data” is an overused term, and some technology companies are trying to equate it to ‘just another buzz word’, BUT, the technology itself can and should be transformational into insight into sales success and customer retention.  Your CIO should be well-versed in discussing how real-time analytics can help your company.  If they have a problem describing the value, have them call me and I’ll teach them a card-trick on how to illustrate the value of big-data.  More on this in a future TechTalk
  7. Your CIO has implemented DevOps ‘best-practices’ and has created new ‘better-practices’ that differentiate your company from your competition.To me the word that best describes good DevOps processes is cadence.   Developing and deploying apps on a cadence fosters communication, collaboration, discipline, agility and leanness to your Development and Operations activities.  My favorite acronym is FUD = Focus, Urgency and Discipline.  Your DevOps teams should look at your competitors and figure out ways to expose their technology weakness and exploit your strengths in the marketplace.

7.5 BONUS! Your CIO has afternoon “thought-experiments” with his cat.


About Paul Czarnik
Paul is the CTO of Compuware where he provides technology strategy and investment leadership. A venture-technologist and programmer at heart, his hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music.

Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.

Big Data? Let’s talk about LITTLE data!


OK, I’m going to stay on tech here, away from the politics of big-data, because you can draw your own conclusions.  By now EVERYBODY has heard about ‘big data’, the information companies gather and what the government requires they acquire.  I personally have been involved in ‘lawful intercept’ projects and understand the technologies and laws that govern access. The fact is that ‘you’re opted in’, whether you like it or not, so when you think about what’s possible, you have to think of unlimited instrumentation, unlimited storage and unlimited computing power.  Everything is easily captured and quickly stored, ready to map(reduce) and query.  I’m not talking about batch analytics against a data-warehouse.  I’m talking about REALTIME analytics against realtime data. SO WHAT? Let’s talk about some use-cases that we can all easily understand.  Let’s instrument every vital sign occurring with the physiology of our bodies.  Everything event, every mood, every anomaly, every failure, every improvement.  Let’s map that against health models developed for our personal demographic and across geographies and populations.  I think we all understand that the benefits far outweigh the risks or politics and the technology exists to do this.  And even though it’s BIG DATA, it’s really the LITTLE DATA  that has the greatest benefit.  Did I eat a healthy meal or did it spike my blood-sugars.  Did my exercise improve my blood pressure or did I have a sudden unhealthy rise.  Does a cancerous cell that turned up in a fellow human have anything to do with my future risk for the same cancer, and can it be circumvented with preventative treatment?  Does the PERFORMANCE of my peers indicate PERFORMANCE for me and my descendants?  And, again, I’m talking about realtime-actionable information and predictive-long-term health benefits. HOW ABOUT YOU?  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO CIO’S? Since everything is possible and the use-cases limitless, it’s up to YOU as a TECHNOLOGIST to figure out what that means in your job.  How does data and fast access allow your company to find and retain customers?  Of course it depends on your industry so if you truly understand your target-customer and their compelling-reason-to-buy, what you need to understand about them should be quite obvious to you.   Assuming you figured out what data you need and how you acquire it, the trick is not to deluge your business peers with massive data-analytics, but to provideACTIONABLE analytics that your company can use to to improve and grow the business.  Think of it as a continuous process, based on your knowledge of your customer and the data they individually provide you and the collective intelligence that they communally provide you. So, when your CEO asks you what you’re doing about BIG DATA, you say “It’s the LITTLE DATAthat I’m interested in”.  And after she corrects your bad grammar, you can explain that while BIG DATA focuses on Volume, Variety and Velocity, LITTLE DATA focuses on VALUE. P-Cz About Paul Czarnik Paul is the CTO of Compuware where he provides technology strategy and investment leadership. A venture-technologist and programmer at heart, his hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music. Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.

Personal Performance Advice from a CTO

July 18, 2013 by Paul Czarnik

“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then YOU are the sucker.”


The opening line to Rounders is about poker, but the idea certainly applies to many things.  Replace the setting from poker-table to boardroom table and ‘sucker’ with ‘non-performer’ and it should give us technology executives something to think about.

  • Am I the team-player or the prima donna?
  • Am I the disrupter or the disruptee?
  • Am I the communicator or the turtler?
  • Am I the performer or the non-performer?

If you don’t know who the weakest person is at the table, then it’s probably you.  And you’re gonna lose.

Personal Performance Begins With a Mirror

When I look myself in the mirror every morning, do I see a person ready to take on the day or someone trying to get through the day?  I cannot ask my staff and systems to perform unless I personally commit to my own personal performance:

  • Nutrition -I subscribe to a paleo lifestyle, which helps deal with the complexities of a technology lifestyle.
  • Fitness -I do daily workouts, focusing on activities which reduce stress.
  • Sleep -I wish I got the recommended level of sleep, but I wake up after 6 hours, so I try to spend early morning time in quiet activities.
  • Brainpower – Multitasking of the brain is a myth!  In order to simulate multitasking, my brain needs to ‘swap out’ of memory current tasks and ‘swap in’ new work.  This is non-efficient, stressful, and will actually degrade brain function.  I take on a task and do ‘deep thinking’, focused on the task at-hand.  Quality brain activity is much more valuable than quantity brain activity.  So many people are trying to be massively scaleable on task completion; I try to be massively good at a few tasks and  find myself much more satisfied with my productivity and the quality of my work.
  • Career – I work for a meritocracy, where personal performance improves career goals.  If I did not work for a meritocracy, I would find a company that embraces meritocracy or become an entrepreneur again.
  • Relationships – This is the most important thing! Personal relationships are important for quality-of-life.  Professional relationships are important for quality-of-career.  I try to pay special attention to all relationships.

Now I am far from perfect, but I do know that performance starts with me and personal performance really isn’t indicated by how much I eat or how many push-ups I can do.

Personal performance is about Focus, Urgency and Discipline (FUD).

The point I am making is that although we try to quantify performance with metrics and statistics, it really comes down to a subjective and qualitative analysis based on a commitment to performance.  And this starts with ourselves making that commitment, both personally and professionally.


Filed Under: Tech Talk
About Paul Czarnik
Paul the former CTO of Compuware, a venture-technologist and programmer. His hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music.Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.

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What’s at Stake With IT Failures? Business Operations, IT Reputations, and a Lot of Money

As a CTO with 35 years of experience in IT, I know the value of technology performance. I understand how failures, slowdowns and interruptions can hobble a business and hurt the bottom line. Or at least I thought I understood. New information from a study my company recently commissioned has opened my eyes to just how costly IT performance issues can be, and how deeply damaging they can be across an organization.

What I love about this study, “Measuring the Business Impact of Technology Performance,” is that it isn’t focused on e-commerce. Instead, it gathered input from companies across the brick-and-mortar business spectrum – finance, retail, healthcare, manufacturing. This is so important because today technology is a vital part of every business, not just web-based businesses. Even more interesting is that it surveyed Line of Business (LoB) executives and IT leaders. This perspective allows us to see how differently those two groups view the influence of technology on a business.

The Numbers Tell the Story

The good news is that, although they ordered them a little differently, IT and LoB both have the same priorities when it comes to technology investments. They listed the top three as follows:

  • Increase speed of manufacturing and production.
  • Increase speed to market/to the consumer.
  • Ensure product/service quality.

The answers are a perfect example of how IT performance issues will impact a business across the board. This point is highlighted again in the study when respondents were asked which areas of their companies they would describe as “critically dependent” on technology operating efficiently. Of the 11 areas listed as options, 10 of them received what I would consider high scores from both groups. But this question also brings to light an important area of LoB/IT disconnect:

“While IT and LoB executives are in agreement with regard to the most ‘critically dependent’ areas, operational aspects such as supply chain, manufacturing and shipping/ receiving are considered more critically dependent on technology by IT executives.”

I believe this stat reveals two things: That IT is becoming more and more integrated into the business, and that IT needs to better communicate the ROI of technology failure avoidance and performance to LoB executives.

Here’s another example of how differently IT and LoB can perceive technology issues, seen through the prism of what it means to be “back to normal” after an IT failure.

How long did it take to get back to normal operations?

  • LoB executives said 24 days
  • IT executives said 11 days

That’s the definition of “disconnect,” and a huge red flag for anyone who’s concerned about IT’s reputation with the c-suite. Here are three more stats from the survey that aren’t helping perceptions of IT:

  • 80% of respondents say major technology performance issues are recurring.
  • 75% say issues are persisting or getting worse.
  • 48% say these issues are occurring several times per week to every day.

Building a better reputation for IT is going to demand strong technology advocates with access to LoB executives and the C-suite. A thriving company by definition must have a thriving and respected IT department.

What are these technology performance failures costing businesses? LoB and IT executives’ averaged response for a single technology failure, the short-term costs related to operations, sales and marketing are significant: $10.8 million, on average.

I’ve been in the technology business for more than three decades. I help customers think about technology performance and how it impacts their infrastructure and their business, and while many of the findings were validation of what I’ve long advocated, even I was surprised by a number of the figures in the study.

Finding Opportunity in Complexity

Technology has become a foundation for business — it supports everything from R&D and manufacturing to sales and customer service. That makes for a lot of moving pieces. Plus, today’s customers and employees have far more influence and power than ever before, so IT is no longer just a back-office issue — it’s in the back, in the middle and out front driving revenue.

What this all means is that today’s CTO needs to advocate for a complete technology performance strategy. Half measures won’t cut it — not when other companies are investing in disruptive technologies that will give them an edge, both at the enterprise level and with customers. And that advocate needs to be a change agent, someone who can break down silos, someone who understands why IT and the business need to come together in ways that will benefit both. Because, let’s face it, things aren’t going to get less complex from here.

Paul Czarnik is Chief Technology Officer at Compuware.

Preparing for the Next-Normal in IT Transformation

nextnormalThe phrase ‘new normal’ has been used a lot in technology, marketing and even has it’s own TV show on NBC (I’ve never seen it). The term ‘New Normal’ is fine for understanding what is happening today, but CIO’s really need to focus on a few things when planning  for  ’the NEXT-Normal’ .

BE LEAN  Why plan for the Next-Normal? Because it will be here much faster than you can imagine.  Business and technology trends are moving so quickly, tech-leaders must be attentive to new enablers to support the business.  Exploiting these technologies require that you also be lean and agile, so that you can quickly make decisions that will differentiate your company from the competition.  I have primarily used the term ‘lean’ in context of ‘lean startups’, but now am applying the same lean principles to IT transformation.  It’s not about saving money; it’s about IT ‘health’, much like being lean in your physique is about your personal health.

plansvbudgetPLAN, DON’T BUDGET   Let’s start with last years budget.  I’m not asking whether or not you were over or under your target, but did you execute on the priorities you originally planned?  I would guess that most of us would say “things changed” during the year.  Our IT Department never even uses the term ‘budget’.  We call them ‘plans’, because we understand that business priorities change, technology evolves and people change their minds.  We are chartered to maintain financial governance but we are evaluated based on value, productivity and innovation.  A good plan beats a budget any day.

FINE-GRAINED TRANSPARENCY  The next thing to do is account for every penny that is allocated, and do it for every business-unit, corporate entity and customer you support.  It’s a lot of work but the Next-Normal requires that you provide services competitively.  Does this mean that a business group can bypass your services for outside services?  YES!  In the past, this was called ‘shadow-IT’ and it was a good excuse for corporate IT to command control. Command-and-Control is gone; the Next-Normal requires Communication-and-Collaboration.  Yes, it is a good idea to take advantage of centralized services where operational scale means better value, but internal IT must be cost-competitive and be able to prove it.  Fine-grained analysis provides the transparency needed when transforming IT to the Next-Normal.

ThumbsUpHIRE PROFICIENT, PROLIFIC PEOPLE   Finally, the most important part of the Next-Normal.  Being lean is about running your organization with less people, but higher talented (and pricier) staff.    I have experienced much greater success with a smaller group of highly-skilled technicians than a large group of ordinary technicians or a super-large outsourced group.  The ‘Next-Normal’ in IT requires you to have smaller teams of talented individuals who are smart, motivated, optimistic and goal-oriented.  This is where you demonstrate your value to an organization.  The ability to hire and retain such staff is a skill that you must have in the ‘Next-Normal’.  It’s the same skill that you must have with your customers to ‘communicate and collaborate’ with your staff so that they operate in the same ‘lean’ philosophy across your organization.  I find it very easy to justify more expensive, local talent that delivers results than a large organization with large project schedules.

START THE NEXT-NORMAL TODAY!  So, how does an IT Department make the transformation?  First, by NOT considering it a TRANSFORMATION.  The Next-Normal requires constant change, so transform yourself into an entrepreneur running a startup, embrace the startup relationship with your internal customers, and motivate staff to become startup employees. Learn more about the consumer driven IT strategy forcing all this transformation talk here.

Want to learn more about “lean”?  Go to


 About Paul Czarnik

Paul the former CTO of Compuware, a venture-technologist and programmer. His hands-on experience and technical diligence model help with M&A activities and incubator/startups. Contact him at @PaulCzrnk to chat about IT Transformation (even though he hates that word), agile delivery, lean startup methodologies or music.

Paul serves on the boards of, iRule, the Motown Museum and the Admission/Retention Committee for Wayne State University.

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Core vs. Context – Analyzing Your Services


OK, let’s get this over with.  Like quickly pulling off a bandaid.

I do not like Core vs. Context Analysis!
Why?  Because it’s hard!
And every time I do it my chasm mentor finds a weakness.  Boo!


Let me explain. Geoffrey Moore, in his excellent book “Dealing with Darwin“, outlined a market framework that identified process which differentiate your offerings from your competition.  These differentiations set your strategy and focus on what’s important for your customers.


I’ve conveniently hijacked this concept for IT, because it applies.  If you break down every one of your offerings into ‘services’, you can now categorize them into Core, Context, Mission-Critical and Non-Mission-Critical services.


I always seem to make the mistake of putting too many services into the Mission-Critical / Core quadrant.  Networks?  Sure, can’t run the company without them.  E-mail? Ditto.  Applications?  All of them!  Too many CIO’s think that everything they do is MC-Core.


They may be mission-critical to the business.  You do need to produce product, invoice your customers, collect money, pay employees/vendors, etc., but these things are still contextual to you.  What that means is that though they are in your delivery charter, they are still services that you could outsource or offload to someone else.  The key word here is DIFFERENTIATION!  What do you do, as a service organization, that is different from what everyone else can do.  It may be dealing with trade-secrets, intellectual-property or data that is key to the value of the company.  These are areas in which you must invest IT assets for the benefit of your company.  Everything else must face scrutiny in how you prioritize your focus, effort and budget.   Once you have identified your services, you then must act on that analysis.  And that’s coming later.


This is an exercise where you really need to be BULLISH!!  If you get this right, then you are doing a valuable job for your company.  

If not, then you yourself have become NON-MISSION-CRITICAL and CONTEXTUAL.

And that’s not BULLISH!


Transmogrifying the World




OK, I’m supposed to be talking about ‘Core vs. Context’.  Mea Culpa.

Only I would dare to mix technology and religion!
Disclosure:  I worship and am a music-minister at a St. Patrick’s of White Lake.

So what does this have to do with IT?  A lot!  If you pay attention to what’s been happening, you probably have noticed that Pope Francis has publicly spoken about transforming the Catholic Church.  He wants a ‘poor church for the poor’.  While that has dramatic implications on the ‘way things are currently being done’, it should also remind you that transformation of anything, including something as big as the Catholic church, has commonalities to IT Transformation projects, such as:

  1. Change is necessary
  2. Change has to start ‘at the top’
  3. Technology is a key component to change

The last one excites me the most.  As I ponder changes in IT, technology is a major driver in transformation, after people.  There’s a lot to do and no time to waste.


So let’s think about the ‘church transformation’ and how technology plays an important role.  If the church becomes ‘poor’ by divesting it’s riches and investing in technology, it becomes much more influential and relevant by leveraging social-media, collaboration and logistics to meet it’s mission.  I don’t need to spell it out but, “imagine” no religion, but a community of ‘believers’ who spread their message, very economically, through current and future technologies, helping the needy through the technologies of logistical delivery.

That’s pretty powerful, practical and mission-fulfilling. This is what I believe as a technologist and a human.  (I won’t bore you with my personal philosophies).


OK, Back to BullishIT.  As leader of an IT organization, maybe we could take an early lesson from leaders such as Pope Francis:

  1. BE URGENT!  The world isn’t waiting and neither is technology
  2. BE HUMBLE!  The only thing that matters is getting it done
  3. BE POOR!  Stop complaining about your budget.  If you’re smart and creative you’ll figure out how to do amazing things cost-effectively.
  4. BE TRANSPARENT!  Well, this is very  important and we’ll see how this works out.
  5. BE COLLABORATIVE!  Reach out to other smart people who can help you.

Maybe I’m being a little bit naive and simplistic, but above all I have hope in technology people and faith in technology’s ability to do enormous good.  The lesson here is that we don’t have a lot of time, so get going!


The IT ‘Empty Nest’ – Letting Go



IT Transmogrification continues…

Previously, I talked about some GUIDING PRINCIPLES in approaching IT Transformation.  The first is:

Define each IT service you provide along with costs

The reason you do this is so that you can have a BUSINESS CONVERSATION with your customer about the service you provide and how much you are charging for that service.  You need to do this for EVERY service you provide, defining the WHOLE SERVICE, too.  Headcount, contracts, SLA’s, hardware, software, anything that’s involved in providing the services must be detailed and costed.
How many times have you heard from your customer “Just give it to us, we could do it better and cheaper”.  Well, my response is “Be careful what you ask for”.


Here’s the trick.  You have to illustrate the service in a way to your customer ‘as if’ you are delegating the service to their authority and responsibility.  The reason you must go through this exercise is because your customer must be in a position to ‘opt out’ of that service.  In opting out, they must also define how they will fulfill that service in a cost-effective manner that meets their needs and also be accountable for that service. Most services, even if they are insourced or outsourced, must be governed by a corporate entity, and that oversite remains with IT.

This is a necessary discussion because it makes them understand the service better and it makes IT more competitive.  By looking at SaaS offerings, doing it themselves or, perhaps, realizing that they don’t need the service, we all become better corporate citizens and the relationship to your customer is now beyond service-provider.  These discussions allow you to become the ‘trusted adviser’ of IT services.

Our team went through this exercise and every conversation we had with our customers was very cooperative and productive.  They were appreciative of the transparency we provided and became constructive discussions on what they really needed and how much autonomy they wanted.


  “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”

More times than not, you’ll find that your customer really doesn’t want to manage the service themselves.  They want a say in understanding the ROI on the service and you must treat them as a paying customer who can take their money somewhere else.   Authority and Responsibility begats Accountability and something-else-that-begins-with-the-letter-R. (I forget).

The lesson-learned here is complete transparency on the service you provide to your customer so that you will continue to provide that service.  On the other hand, if they take it and regret it, you could end up with ‘Boomerang IT’, and nobody wants that!

This is the NEW NORMAL.  This is BULLISH!

Next time I’ll talk a bit on “CORE VS. CONTEXT” analysis. BIG FUN!

Transmogrifying IT



OK, I hate it, not IT The it I hate is reading about every CIO who is ‘Transforming IT’.  Everybody’s doing it!  Who says IT suddenly needs to be transformed?


OK, I hate the term but, yes, IT groups need continuous change to adapt to the changing business requirements, reduce cost and increase technical value to the corporation.  So…


…you may remember the comic “Calvin and Hobbes”.

Calvin built a Transmogrifier  

Learn Something: Definition of TRANSMOGRIFY
transitive verb:  to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect
intransitive verb: to become transmogrified
Origin of TRANSMOGRIFY unknown
First Known Use: 1656


So, one of the projects I’m working on is the ‘Trans______’ of  IT.  The challenge is that most IT shops have many years of apps & infrastructure which have become an anchor.  This anchor is not only a drag on systems and applications, but also on careers and morale.  You just cannot move forward, so you need to cut the anchor.  This is nothing new.  Choose or build your new architecture and applications, migrate your systems and data to the new platform, abandon modifying the old system, but keep it around for historical and data warehousing.  We did this twenty years ago with an old VAX system and are overdue to do it on the current architecture.


In the coming blogs, I’ll discuss strategy and how to approach IT Transmogrification, but let’s start with some GUIDING PRINCIPLES:

  1. Define each IT service you provide along with costs.
  2. Identify Core vs. Context functions.
  3. Optimize Non-Core Services through reduction and/or outsourcing.
  4. Align Business Processes, standardize to avoid custom solutions.
  5. Assign service directly to a department, where possible.
  6. Invest in an Enterprise Data Architecture to provide information-sharing, governance and systems integration.
  7. Be transparent!   The best way to be successful is to be inclusive with your staff.

Let’s do ‘Lean Transmogrification’, so that we can quicly pivot if we accidently transmogrify into something that’s grotesque.  Humorous is OK.  This is tough work, BE BULLISH!