Hal Gregersen gave a keynote at the MIT Sloan CFO Summit last week, and he came armed with a jarring statistic. “The average kid sitting in a one-hour class during a one month period asks one question per month about the content of the class,” said Gregersen, executive director at the MIT Leadership Center. That’s kindergarten through college.
Guess who’s asking the questions instead? Teachers. And they’re asking a lot of them — 50 to 100 questions an hour, according to Gregersen. If students are slow to respond, teachers will follow up with — you guessed it — another question.
“What do kids learn growing up,” Gregersen asked attendees. “Answers matter.”
This deterioration has been going on for decades — not just in the United States, but globally, according to Gregersen. And, while it’s easy to connect the data point to parenting, it’s an important factoid for leaders, too, especially those looking to participate in the innovation game.
Through his research, which includes interviews with some of the most successful leaders of our time, Gregersen has discovered that questions are critical to innovation. From his website: “The moment we stop asking questions is also the moment we stop innovating solutions to today’s challenges.”
To reverse the trend and to help leaders (and soon-to-be leaders) on their path to innovation, Gregersen founded the 4-24 Project. He recommends participants set aside four minutes every 24 hours to ask nothing but questions — on whatever personal or professional issue they’re dealing with that day. From the 4-24 Project site: “Consider it a ‘Question Cloudburst’ as you rapidly dump all the questions out of your head.” Once the four minutes is up, “identify the ‘best’ questions and start answering them.”
The process, itself, will almost never yield an answer, but, according to Gregersen, that’s not the point of the exercise. Instead, it provides a moment of introspection and a practice that encourages curiosity — two human-centric tools that could help businesses survive what Gregersen calls “the tsunamis of uncertainty.”
Want to be a disruptive leader? Start by mastering the art of asking questions, Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski writes in her latest Data Mill column, where she also addresses how CFOs are capitalizing on big data.
According to Agile development guru Jim Highsmith: “You can’t plan your way into solving uncertainty; you have to act your way into solving uncertainty.” Read Highsmith’s 2015 prescription for adaptive CIO leadership and find out how to streamline your business strategy.
It’s time to stop pondering the IT skills gap and adapt leadership, training and recruiting styles to resolve it, says IT business strategist Harvey Koeppel. In his latest column, Koeppel shares twelve ways to resolve the IT skills gap.
Attention, entrepreneurs! Knowing what you need and how to get it is key to starting a successful business. Read SearchCIO small-business columnist Bryan Barringer’s tips on how to raise the capital needed to launch your business.
According to a survey by IDG Enterprise, 2014 has been a generally positive year for cloud computing. Read the results of the survey and find out what IT executives cite as this year’s biggest challenges.
Scratch Wireless Inc. dreams big with “Wi-Fi First” mobile phones. Is it the next mobile disruptor or just a blip in the mobile evolution timeline? Features Writer Kristen Lee talks to Scratch Wireless CEO and Gartner researcher Brian Blau to find out.
In the latest IT Compliance Advisor roundup: The federal government scrutinizes Apple’s security practices; plus, two U.S. business alliances are pushing for greater data management transparency, and a new study shows that Americans remain suspicious of online services and government spying.
Is your project pipeline in check? Test your knowledge of project management essentials with SearchCIO’s newest quiz and review some of our recent stories.
Are you considering a hosted private cloud? With the release of a Forrester Wave report comes important information for IT leaders to consider when evaluating hosted private cloud providers.
When it comes to data security, it’s important to know the basics. Data protection expert Winn Schwartau discusses modern information security essentials and why companies must remember the fundamentals when developing cybersecurity strategy.
Finally, discover the power of social collaboration in engaging small business employees and improving overall business efficiency and confidence in this CIO Symmetry blog post.
Follow @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance for our new stories throughout the week
Small businesses and startups are known for a culture of innovation and a willingness to take risks in order to stand out. Just take a gander at Scratch Wireless, the latest headliner in SearchCIO’s Startup Spotlight video series, which is striving to disrupt the mobile market. Its “Wi-Fi first” approach allows customers to use certain mobile devices anywhere Wi-Fi is available. If it catches on, such an approach could change the monthly fee structures telecoms charge for data usage.
But along with this prized culture predicated on risk comes many challenges, including that many innovative startups vie for the same customers’ attention. In this crowded field, some SMBs are still struggling to develop their brand. And there’s one factor that exacerbates this problem, posits technology services provider EveryoneSocial.
The provider’s infographic, titled The Building Blocks of an Employee Advocacy Engine, argues that today’s most innovative businesses are plagued not just by “cutthroat competition,” but also by the large proportion of employees who lack engagement at work. Sixty-three percent of the 9,000 employees EveryoneSocial surveyed fell into this category; given that these same employees should be building the company’s brand, small business leaders looking to stand out must encourage them to become not only brand ambassadors, but also thought leaders, the infographic suggests.
Chris Lambrou, director of special projects for Midwest Real Estate Data LLC and a finalist in SearchCIO’s IT Leadership Awards, can speak to the importance of empowerment firsthand: He said his biggest career influence was the way his former employer, a Fortune 500 company, did business — by encouraging employees that their ideas were valuable. “Ultimately, it’s about understanding your self-worth that in turn makes you a better employee,” he said.
So where to start? With human-to-human connections, the infographic suggests. As Lambrou explained, “Group collaboration is what makes great companies so special — their ability to perform integrated, multifaceted tasks.”
The infographic stresses social networking tools for fostering team collaboration, urging businesses to provide employees with the resources to build their own follower base, something many employees already excel at in their personal social spheres. (And, perhaps, SMBs’ Agile nature could work in their favor around employee engagement and social media adoption, a characteristic tweet jammers during a social-themed #CIOChat said large businesses sorely lack.)
The infographic urges small business leaders to start with a structured employee-advocacy program, suggesting the following tips to get started:
- Clearly articulate a social media strategy that’s aligned with business priorities
- Draw up and pass around a “company-wise” social media policy
- Nominate and train individuals to pilot your social program
- Hold frequent training sessions
These recommendations aren’t unfounded. When given a choice between using traditional email and a social collaboration platform, those who chose the latter shared 38 times more content over six-month period than traditional email users, the survey found.
Employee engagement isn’t the only perk social platforms offer. “One of the things that big data and social networking allow all organizations to do is to identify opportunity,” Gartner analyst Raymond Laracuenta told SearchCIO. He advises SMBs to create “purpose-built social networks” and to use social to develop new products and services for target markets. “Really mining information from social networks … to collect data for other customers and for their prospects is probably one of the greatest opportunities for them,” he said.
So you think you can be an innovative disruptor that sticks out from the rest? It’s time to take a crucial step: Use social networking to engage your team and develop your brand — and then let your employees spread the word.
Facebook recently unveiled plans to launch a professional network called Facebook at Work that would compete with sites like LinkedIn. The service would allow users to message their colleagues, connect with people in their professional network and collaborate on work-related tasks. Is this a needed service or a future failure? In this installment of CIO Voices, top CIOs weigh in on Facebook at Work.
Speaking of Facebook at Work, in this week’s Searchlight roundup, Associate Site Editor Francesca Sales discusses whether the service can rejuvenate enterprise social collaboration. Also in Searchlight: Russian hackers stream live footage from 600 U.K. webcams; Firefox ditches Google for Yahoo.
Cop-turned-CIO Brett Goldstein has taken his commitment to Chicago to the next level by using open data to make his city smarter and more connected. Learn how Goldstein endeavored to break data out of silos in a cost-effective manner that didn’t require a complete overhaul of the city’s infrastructure.
Hortonworks Inc., a major distributor for Hadoop, announced last week that it was going public. What does this mean for big data and the enterprise? Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski evaluates the Hortonworks IPO and the future of open source data in the latest Data Mill.
With big data often comes big risk. In this Q&A, ARMA 2014 Conference presenter Barclay T. Blair discusses the benefits of information governance strategies and analytics in mitigating big data risk and improving the value of information.
How healthy is your mobile user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design? It’s clear that without proper attention to UX, your app could be headed for the sick ward. In this #CIOChat recap, participants share their UX and UI best practices in mobile app development to ensure a healthy, lasting and user-centered mobile app.
With customers rapidly spreading across multiple communications channels, it’s time for CIOs to catch up. But connecting successfully with customers is no easy task. In our newest SearchCIO feature, hear from top CIOs and experts on how they’re aiming to master multichannel customer engagement.
How do you calculate the value of IT within your organization? It’s a critical part of a CIO’s job, but it can be tricky without the proper approach. In this installment of CIO Voices, two IT leaders share their strategies for quantifying the value of IT.
Think big text and big data are the same? Think again. Unlike big data, big text almost always refers to social media data, and it comes with its own complications. Parse the differences between big data and big text, as well as big text’s present and future applications, in this week’s Data Mill.
The loss of intellectual property, network breaches resulting in customer data leakage, the intrusion of malicious software and viruses on internal networks — with so many dangers lurking, it’s critical that companies conduct a detailed and all-encompassing risk assessment. Expert contributor Bryan Barringer lays out 10 factors to consider when conducting a mobile risk assessment.
Our tweet chatters had a lot to say in the recent #CIOChat! First off: How do you decide whether native or HTML5 apps are right for your organization? In this #CIOChat recap, participants discussed the pros and cons of native vs. HTML5 apps. Then, check out our other chat installments on user-centered design for mobile app development and the present and future of mobile app construction.
Following the recent breach of the White House’s unclassified networks, another federal breach has occurred, this time involving the U.S. Postal Service. Learn about the widespread impact of the breach, plus hear Obama’s take on net neutrality and IBM’s discovery of a 19-year-old Microsoft bug, in this week’s Searchlight.
The chief digital officer role is unnecessary, according to a recent report by Forrester Research. Do you agree? On the TotalCIO blog, read our take on Forrester’s 2015 predictions report, which also looks at the need for a strong CIO-CMO partnership.
SAP ERP implementation can be complicated; once installed, how does a CIO figure out whether that implementation was justified? Veteran CIOs and IT leaders shared their experiences and advice regarding SAP at the recent SIMposium 2014 conference. Also from the conference: Inhi Cho Suh, vice president and general manager of big data, integration and governance at IBM, spoke about knowing your competition and building an “analytics everywhere” culture by thinking like an art curator.
To meet customers on their own terms, companies have to build what Forrester has dubbed “the contextual marketing engine.” See what this means for your company, and learn from McCormick & Co.’s contextual marketing success story.
In the digital age, as compliance regulations and risk management responsibilities grow, so does the weight of responsibility thrust upon the shoulders of governance, risk and compliance (GRC) professionals. Accordingly, GRC professionals are seeking higher compensation and authority level to reflect their vital business role.
Finally, check out the latest IT Compliance Advisor news roundup to read about a new malware that has set its sights on Chinese Apple users, more details on the Home Depot cyberbreach and an unsung security specialist making waves in cybercrime combat.
Is your business looking at the right factors when choosing its leaders? According to author and consultant Roxi Bahar Hewertson, many businesses aren’t. Read this Q&A with Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski to find out why emotional intelligence is a vital and often-overlooked characteristic of a good leader.
When it comes to mobile application development, user experience (UX) is critical to an app’s success. If developers don’t establish communication and trust with end users, an app — particularly a mobile payment app — is likely to fall flat. Read a UX designer’s seven tips for creating a great, user-centric mobile payment app in Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski’s latest Data Mill.
Speaking of mobile payment apps, in an increasingly complex cybersecurity environment, are these new payment methods opening up a whole new world of PCI DSS compliance challenges? In this #GRCChat recap, we discuss the challenges that accompany mobile payment applications and how to appropriately augment PCI DSS compliance regulations.
Microsoft is revamping its software strategy, and free Office apps for iPhones and Androids are a new and prominent offering. Will the move help the company better compete with Apple? Learn about Microsoft’s plans for Office 365, as well as the rise of Workday and Facebook’s stake in the election, in this week’s CIO Searchlight by Associate Site Editor Fran Sales.
Artificial intelligence isn’t part of some far-off future — it’s happening now. Flip through November’s CIO Decisions ezine –with a Terminator-themed introduction by SearchCIO’s Rachel Lebeaux — to learn how smart machines, robots and other such technologies are making inroads in the enterprise. Also in this issue: a company dabbles in pre-emptive shipping; CIO expert Harvey Koeppel shares his story of responding to a life-or-death disaster; and mesh computing might transition to prime time in the enterprise.
Looking to move data management operations to the cloud? You’re not alone. In the concluding segment of SearchCompliance’s three-part webcast on cloud technology, information governance expert Jeffrey Ritter presents a five-step strategy to ensure a company’s cloud service providers are following e-discovery and information governance mandates .
Are you prepared for a shift from a business-driven technology strategy to a technology-driven business strategy? It’s happening now, and happening fast. Read what a CIO of a multibillion insurance company believes are the five drivers behind this shift to technology-driven business strategies and what he’s doing to take advantage of them.
The next big thing in data curation just might be Tamr Inc., a tool created by the duo behind the Vertica analytic database. The tool acts like a Web search engine for enterprise data; in this week’s Data Mill, we provide an introduction to Tamr, plus JSON as the next SQL and why agile doesn’t always work.
The Internet of Things (IoT) got you down? Check out IT and business strategist Harvey Koeppel’s humorous and informative take on the meaning and disruptive nature of IoT and the 10 things CIOs can do to prepare for IoT dominance.
Traditional analytics have become so ubiquitous that interest in other, more complex analytics technologies is increasing. For those looking to bring text analytics in-house, there are several factors to consider before you take the next steps — including social media use and the pick-prove-sell process.
Even the White House isn’t immune to cyberhacks: Earlier this week, an intruder breached the White House’s unclassified computer networks but didn’t do any damage or obtain any classified information. With so many threats out there, does your organization stand a chance? The PricewaterhouseCoopers 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey offers some tips and tricks to outmaneuvering cyber foes.
Public application programming interfaces (APIs) are popping up like weeds, according to Gartner analyst Gary Olliffe. Learn four ways to manage this new API abundance — and the new complications that come with it — in Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski’s coverage of Olliffe’s API information session from the recent Gartner Catalyst conference.
Another 2015 prediction poll is in, this one from advisory firm CEB, and the outlook is positive. Decreased maintenance budgets and a shift in funding to more customer-centric technologies are highlighted in Executive Editor Linda Tucci’s TotalCIO blog post.
Don’t be blindsided by cloud contracts — before striking a deal, read through these six basic issues this IT lawyer encounters on a regular basis when he reviews cloud options with his clients. Speaking of cloud service commitments, watch the latest SearchCompliance webcast installment on cloud technology, in which information governance expert Jeffrey Ritter explains why companies must know their own specific governance and e-discovery needs before entering a cloud service agreement.
Following the recent string of high-profile data breaches, data security and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) are back in the spotlight. In SearchCompliance’s latest #GRCChat, Twitter offered its take on PCI DSS standards, whether they’re sufficient to protect credit card data and the importance of improved audit processes in pinpointing security flaws.
In our latest news roundup on SearchCompliance’s IT Compliance Advisor blog, read about some seeming compliance leniency around Apple Pay; plus the Federal Communications Commission took its first steps toward data security enforcement, Google cracked down on online piracy, and Verizon is in hot water with privacy advocates.
Finally: Information security was named one of the top three IT projects for 2015 in TechTarget’s IT Salary Survey. Want to know if your information security strategy is strong enough to handle today’s digital curveballs? Take our quiz to find out.
Follow @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance for our new stories throughout the week.
You know things are getting real when the FBI and Secret Service get involved. When it comes to protecting your organization, traditional, siloed security no longer holds a candle to today’s persistent cybercriminals, who still slip through the cracks, sometimes without organizations’ knowledge; we saw this in last week’s Searchlight, where one major technology firm’s intellectual property was being stolen right under its nose.
As Bruce Schneier, CTO at incident response startup Co3 Systems, told the audience at a recent security conference in Boston, “Fundamentally, attacks are by people and response is by people.” Indeed, according to Dell Security’s infographic, “The Human Side of IT Security,” more than two-thirds of data breaches are associated with humans. Strategic, targeted attacks can only be intercepted, taken apart and thoroughly analyzed by humans equipped with the necessary tools and expertise.
For small businesses, which don’t necessarily have large security budgets, hiring a dedicated security executive might be a challenge. However, there are other ways to fine-tune your SMB’s security culture to take into account not just security tools and processes, but also people. “If you can’t remove the people from the loop, make them more effective,” Schneier said.
Dell’s infographic offers the following tips for tackling vulnerabilities:
Phishing. This type of email fraud makes up 91% of targeted attacks. Because spear-phishing targets unsuspecting employees, IT should constantly educate end users, test their knowledge of security best practices and have a clear, responsive reporting protocol in place — and make sure employees are aware of it.
Infected websites. Sixty-four percent of users admitted to visiting non-work websites every day. Dell advises employees to be cautious about where they click and to apply security patches as soon as they’re available.
Weak passwords. Often the Achilles heel of security processes, easy-to-hack passwords account for 76% of network attacks, according to Dell. IT must enforce airtight password policies, including two-factor authentication and single-sign on, urge end users to create and memorize strong passwords, and discourage giving them out to others.
Security culture. “IT security technologies are only as effective as the people who use them,” Dell says. Fifty percent of organizations with a security awareness program were less likely to suffer an employee-related breach. The infographic advises organizations to hire a chief information security officer; for smaller businesses, perhaps appointing an executive to sponsor security would be more feasible. IT should also encourage a strong security culture by regularly administering security training and compliance programs.
The results are in: 2014 was a good year for IT executive pay, according to the TechTarget 2014 IT Salary Survey. SearchCIO Executive editor Linda Tucci talked to IT professionals who said the upward trend is a necessary payback after weak compensation prior to 2013, and companies can no longer ignore the increasingly important role IT executives play in business success. Also check out Tucci’s additional coverage of the salary survey, in which she discusses job satisfaction, bonuses and the factors that influence IT compensation.
Speaking of the recent salary survey, the IT executives we polled largely agreed that security and cloud are their top priorities of 2015. But the pace of adoption is different for everybody, as evidenced by the interviews Feature Writer Kristen Lee conducted with some of the CIO respondents.
And following the most recent slew of cyberhacks, it’s no surprise that security ranked as one of the top priorities for 2015 in the salary survey. But it may surprise some that mobile technology — which ranked second in last year’s survey — is considered less of a priority this year. Check out the full list of priorities, plus other insights into 2015 project areas.
Hadoop, the open-source software framework, has become such an integrated part of IT systems that the technology has started to fade into the background, Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski reports in this week’s Data Mill. The focus has instead shifted to the success stories data enables, rather than the technology itself.
With sophisticated cybercrime now so widespread, it’s increasingly common for organizations to be unaware that their networks are being attacked — that is, until the government comes knocking. In this week’s Searchlight, Associate Site Editor Fran Sales discusses federal intervention in cybercrimes and when to ask for help.
Business transformation is a common enterprise goal, but how do you actually make it happen within your company? Hear how one CIO led a business transformation, converting his company from a fragmented mess into a unified entity. He shares his five principles of business transformation, followed by the primary tactical changes he made to successfully turn a PowerPoint presentation into a bona fide IT and business strategy.
Compliance mandates established by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or SOX, are not new, but many organizations still grapple with the myriad effects of SOX on corporate governance and IT operations. In the latest SearchCompliance handbook, we explore the data management implications of SOX, how public organizations can comply and thrive, best practices for integrating IT strategy with governance, and more.
According to independent enterprise mobility consultant Bryan Barringer, “The first step toward securing funding and giving a successful investor pitch is to accept that no one understands or knows your business idea better than you do.” But communicating your idea and passion effectively isn’t always easy. Luckily, Barringer is here to divulge how to ace an investor pitch.
It’s almost time for the next #CIOChat! Join SearchCIO editors, fellow tweeters and guest expert Barringer Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. EDT to talk enterprise mobile application development. We’ll be discussing app dev methodologies that work, the importance of the user experience and more. See you there!
Please follow @SearchCIO, @SearchCIOSMB and @ITCompliance for our newest stories throughout the week.
It’s no secret that cloud is a big part of a CIO’s IT strategy, and results from TechTarget’s 2014 IT Salary Survey bear that out: the 333 senior IT executives polled in this year’s survey ranked cloud computing as one of their top priorities for 2015, tied for the No. 1 spot with security.
Cloud may be a top priority, but the pace of adoption is different for everyone, as evident in the follow-up interviews I did with some of our CIO respondents to the survey. Some still don’t trust it, some are slow to adopt it, and for some the cloud is, plain and simple, an IT lifeline.
The latter is certainly the case for Troy Neal, Director of IS/MIS/IT at YES Prep Public Schools, which provides an educational program to low-income students.
“In education we’ve seen a steady decrease in budgets. Especially from a state funding and federal funding standpoint,” Neal said. “You’ve got to get creative with budgets.”
For Neal, the solution was moving to Office 365 not only for his staff members but also when implementing technology in classrooms to help teachers and students.
“We’re out helping the students with 365 in the classroom right next to the teacher,” Neal said. And though Neal is trying to battle budget cuts with the cloud, “knowing what the direct outcomes will look like down the road” by seeing first-hand the positive effects of the technology being implemented in the classroom is what keeps him and his team going.
For others, like Bob Daugherty, Director of IS/MIS/IT at Deming Malone Livesay & Ostroff (DMLO), an accounting firm, the move to the cloud is colored by regulations and security concerns. The move to the cloud for an accounting firm is necessarily a cautious trip, he said.
“We’re a little bit slower to move to the cloud than most industries I think simply because we’re hemmed in by what our accounting software vendors will do,” Daugherty said.
For DMLO, security trumps the computing benefits of cloud because the firm is in the possession of people’s social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses and more.
“We’ve got just about everything somebody could want to steal your identity here in the office,” Daugherty said. Given the persistence of attackers, the firm must prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, “the chances are getting better that [a breach is] going to happen to us. So that’s one of the reasons we’re focusing on security this year and probably the next couple of years at least,” Daugherty said.
Freddie Martinez, director of IS/MIS/IT at Fountain Tire, a Canadian tire dealership, also told me he wasn’t quite sold on the cloud yet.
“I’m not too comfortable yet that they have the security that I require,” Martinez said. “You know, everybody can put storage equipment and computer equipment out there and say they’re providing a cloud but when it comes to security, it’s the one risk that everyone’s thinking about.”
Check out more analysis from the 2014 TechTarget IT Salary and Careers Survey: