CIOs are leaders in determining the direction of a business. When the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) aimed to produce a zero-carbon, zero-waste event using energy-efficient technology, Gerry Pennell, CIO of the London summer games, used his IT expertise to help make the London summer games the greenest games ever.
Pennell deployed a combination of green IT technologies including piezoelectricity. Piezoelectricity occurs when pressure is applied to an object — a negative charge is produced on one side and a positive charge is produced on the other. Once pressure is relieved, electrical currents flow. Twelve 17.7″ X 23.6″ energy floor tiles lead visitors to Olympic Park. The kinetic energy harvested from over 12 million foot impressions will illuminate central LED floodlights 24 hours a day. This produces 2.1 watts of electricity per hour. The extra renewable energy is then stored in a lithium polymer battery for up to three days. It’s also sent via transmitter to power local street lights, displays and other off-grid applications.
On the surface, it sounds like one of those inventions that seems so simple in a “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of way. If someone told me I could step on a piece of rubber and generate light for three days, I never would have believed them. Now just imagine if all sidewalks, paths, corridors and floor spaces were constructed of piezoelectric tiles. This trending technology could be the key to helping CIOs run an energy-efficient and sustainable business. For example, the energy created from swivel chairs constantly rolling across piezoelectric tiles could operate low-power applications in offices. On a grand scale, a CIO could run an entire energy-savings system from the foot traffic of company employees.
These special rubber piezoelectric tiles are the handiwork of young London brainiac Laurence Kemball-Cook’s Pavegen Systems. The tiles are a great low-carbon solution. They are waterproof, last up to five years and are made from recycled trunk tires and some marine grade steel.
Kemball-Cook has installed his tiles as a dance floor at the music festival Bestival in Isle of Wright, England. Currently, he has 30 permanent installations in schools, shopping malls, city squares and now the 2012 London summer games. However, the piezoelectric device’s hybrid formula is a secret. Even the price per tile is kept a mystery. Kemball-Cook eventually wants to make his tiles practical for the real world and affordable to smaller markets.
Piezoelectricity isn’t a new concept. The East Japan Railway Company in Japan experimented with piezoelectric flooring since 2006 at its main station. In 2010, the city of Toulouse, France, installed piezoelectric tiles in sidewalks to generate its street lamps. Israeli company Innowattech tested piezoelectricity on railroad tracks and highways.
While many of these examples come from organizations with deep pockets, smaller companies are employing piezoelectric technology today. For instance, some dance clubs capture the energy on a dance floor and use it to power LED lights.
CIOs drive an organization’s performance and end results, so it’s mission-critical for CIOs to be as engaged as possible with all aspects of the company, including the human element. Piezoelectricity might just be the green way for CIOs to involve employees in IT.
For instance, in my own work life, I’m in my own mindset at my desk. I sometimes forget that I work alongside a durable IT team. With piezoelectric flooring, I might feel more included in my company and the behind-the-scenes operations. There would no longer be an invisible shield between employees and the IT team. Transmitters connected to piezoelectric floor tiles could charge our office printers and power ceiling lights. Knowing that just walking from my desk to the break room could generate electricity would bring all the departments together. And, with that, midmarket CIOs could be one step closer to not only a more tightly knit company, but a smaller carbon footprint.
Miki Onwudinjo is a TechTarget editorial assistant and a journalism student at Northeastern University in Boston.]]>
CIOs looking to harness the power of talent retention should look no further than Apple’s low-paid workers. Wait, something doesn’t sound right about that plan.
Got a BlackBerry? You’re quickly becoming an endangered user.
Did you think Dell had slowed down with the buyouts? Silly reader. Dell is acquiring Quest Software this week.
CIOs got heart, too. Check out the CIO Scholarship Fund event to help future IT leaders with tuition.
The leap second caused outages on many sites over the weekend, like Reddit, BuzzFeed, Gawker, LinkedIn and Yelp, plus scores of Linux sites. Bad news for lovers of cloud computing services. You’ll be happy to know that the TechTarget network was just fine.
And if the leap second wasn’t bad enough, real storm clouds knocked out Amazon’s data center, wiping swaths of the Internet’s cloud computing services with it, including Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest.
At this month’s SearchCIO360 dinner, we met Seth Kutty, director of IT at Tesla Motors, one of the ten companies that are changing the world. Don’t miss our upcoming dinners in Chicago and Boston!
And as we have been writing about here in the CIO/IT Strategy Media Group for some time now, the “new” CIO is many things to many different companies. But our SearchCIO.com news director did a little digging into just exactly what kinds of skills companies are asking for in their top IT executives, and the answers are very interesting.
Here’s a sampling:
Not only do they sound like some real or potential Hollywood action flicks, these job skills show how intertwined the CIO and senior IT have become in the inner workings of the business as a whole. Non-IT executives should remember that when they are looking for ways to transform their businesses for today’s uncertain markets.]]>
That is, it has never been more important for CIOs to think about competitive advantage as a business philosophy.
Today, every bit of technology usage amounts to some sort of competitive advantage. It’s a factor in big data and business intelligence, outsourcing, and cloud.
Now technology for competitive advantage is starting to count as a benchmark for CIO success, writes SearchCIO.com Senior News Writer Linda Tucci. Gathering competitive intelligence has become a daily task for George L. Reed II, CIO at Seven Corners Inc., a privately held global travel insurance provider in Carmel, Ind. “You learn who’s taking risks,” he said.
Fortunately, this is the right time for CIOs to come to their CEOs bearing competitive intelligence, which would lead to new ideas — or as Michael Porter might say, what not to do.]]>
If you’re like most CIOs, your chances of ascending to the CEO position are very slim. When the board is looking for a new captain, in most cases, you’ll see people who hold another senior management position — like chief operating officer or possibly CFO — as the prime candidates. The CIO is rarely included.
Weathington’s analysis matches the findings of a recent Gartner Inc. survey of 229 CEOs on the role of the CIO: Most CEOs believed their CIO doesn’t have what it takes to ascend to the boardroom. Gartner reported that CEOs (45%) see their CIO moving to a CIO role in another company. Only one in 229 of the CEOs polled felt their CIO was primed to be their successor.
This might be a disappointment to ambitious CIOs, but there’s still hope. Gartner’s survey revealed that CEOs are taking financial cues from their strategic changes. When asked to “select two roles that are usually most closely involved with supporting the chief executive in a strategic change to [the] business,” CEOs overwhelmingly selected the CFO (33.2% chose that role first, and 26.6% chose it second). The chief operating officer/head of operations was a close second (19.7% first choice, and 22.3% second choice) while the CIO and IT director roles barely garnered a nod in helping guide the business’ strategic changes (2.6% first choice, and 2.6% second choice). Even in this tough economy, CEOs need their trusted advisers to show them the money.
Gartner analysts commented that while they were not surprised the CIO wasn’t on the top of the list, “we thought that the CIO role might be more relevant.” Gartner analysts also noted that HR directors were seen as more important than CIOs, despite the realities of our technological world having a real impact on a business’ performance.
The takeaway here is clear: If they want to be considered credible innovation leaders and partners in their company’s strategic changes, it’s vital that CIOs look for ways to make sure that information and technology are playing a part in their board’s vision and driving their company’s fiscal growth.]]>
We have written much in the past two years about how the CIO must make friends throughout the enterprise — with the CFO, the CEO, the chief marketing officer and even the facilities manager.
Yet despite their real efforts on taking the lead on business transformation and innovation, CIOs today still won’t find their best friend inside the corporation. That’s because the CIO’s real BFF is another CIO.
After enjoying our third SearchCIO 360 dinner this week in New York, I am convinced that CIOs will always learn more and become more effective in their own jobs — not to mention with business transformation — by listening to the experiences of their peers. Only in this way will they start to feel that they aren’t alone against the sea of troubles IT presents on a daily basis.
Need more evidence? None other than the CIO of IBM, Jeanette Horan, who oversees hundreds of thousands of users and millions of database reports a day, and says she needs the comfort of peer networking to help understand things — and to help others understand.
“People are very interested to hear how we eat our own cooking,” she said during a recent interview. “And the other thing is IBM’s business results; we have to say we’ve been doing very well over the past few years, and so there are a lot of people who want to know, how did you do that? And obviously, the whole kind of role that the CIO organization plays has been instrumental in helping that with respect to the productivity gains to the business.”
“CIOs like networking,” she said. “The topics I most often get questions on are BYOD, governance — not “IT,” as in how do you manage your data center, but governance, as in how do you stay aligned with your business. And the other topics that are hot right now are analytics and cloud. The reason is, they are new, and everybody is trying to figure out what’s the real use case and what’s the real value proposition; and they [CIOs] are really hungry for examples — that’s what they want.”]]>
But if you talk to some agile purists, they balk at the idea of using the two project development approaches together. At their basic premises, agile and Waterfall fight against one another: Waterfall deals with change by resisting it; while agile, and in particular Scrum, embraces change, according to Elena Mitelman, principal of agile consulting firm Smart Edge LLC.
To give a broader scope of Waterfall vs. agile approaches such as Scrum, here’s Mitelman’s take on both:
Used since mid-late 1990s.
Term formally coined in 2001 by Agile Manifesto.
Likens software development to lab research.
Still iterative, but iterations are unlike prior models.
Very light on documentation.
Manages risk between and within iterations.
Encourages risk-taking and exploration.
Keeps costs down by implementing only what’s required at this time, keeping things simple.
Chaotic, yet controlled.
Has been proven on many projects.
Not without implementation challenges.
Used since 1970s.
Assumes software development is similar to manufacturing and construction.
Sequentially flows from specifications through maintenance.
Deals with change by resisting it – cost of change goes up as project progresses.
Documentation-heavy process to prevent change.
In a perfect world, a simple and cost-efficient process.
But the world is not perfect…
And in the end, she is obviously a Scrum vs. Waterfall fan. Her reasons for evangelizing Scrum: It doesn’t prescribe to any specific engineering practices; it focuses on interactions between people; unlike Extreme Programming, or XP, it doesn’t require that you follow a number of set practices; and it is not specific to software development.
“[Scrum] can be used for any project, including launching a product, starting a company, etc.,” she said.
I’d like to hear from you if you are mixing and matching approaches, and how it’s working out for you, or if you think a Scrum and Waterfall combo leads to project failure. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.]]>
According to the June Dice report, 71% of technology recruiters and hiring managers expect to add more staff in the second half of the year than they did in the first half. And salaries for new hires are on the rise in the battle for talented IT, with 30% of respondents paying more for new hires, as opposed to 9% six months ago.
With a promising job market on the horizon, there are more employees quitting their jobs than there are getting laid off. The recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey showed that in April, almost 2 million unsatisfied employees quit their jobs, up 12% from January — while layoffs went down to about 1.75 million.
After a 15-month stretch of holding on to what you have, the slight post-recession upturn has given workers the confidence they need to walk away from unsatisfactory jobs. And it’s not only about making more money. Employees who feel underappreciated, overworked or disengaged will also start packing up their desks — especially the most talented ones, who know they deserve more.
A recent survey published in the May edition of the Harvard Business Review showed that 12% of the top talent (employees dubbed as having “high potential”) in the 100 organizations studied were actively looking for new jobs.
So what kind of employee retention strategies do you already have in place, or what can you establish to hold onto the talent you have? Try to create a working environment that employees like being part of. Providing a great workplace that offers flexible work hours, better work/life balance and the opportunity to be creative and innovative could trump the more-money card a competing employer might offer.]]>
The tiny memory sticks did not contain malicious material — only tips and information on health IT — but practically everyone had a story to tell of how they had been burned in the past by the innocuous-looking swag.
One CIO of a midsized pharmaceutical company told me that he had just gone through a memory stick nightmare the day before. A USB stick he had been expecting from one of his vendors arrived in the mail and no one thought twice about using it. “You’re supposed to trust these people,” he said.
Turns out, the stick was infected. The infection (he declined to share exactly what it was) soon spread through part of his company’s network and cost four hours of cleanup time that day.
“I will never trust these things again,” the CIO said, “especially the ones you get at conferences, because you really have no idea where it’s been or what’s on it.”
Another suspicious passerby told me that he had recently completed some internal security training in his company and was told simply not to use them, period.
While the concern isn’t new (the risks of USB storage devices have been highlighted for a while), I have to admit I was surprised by the number of people who had something to say about it. Of the 25 or so people I interacted with firsthand on this topic, I would say at least 20 of them questioned the security of the small handout.
More surprisingly, however, was the number of the people who had a horror story (or knew of someone who did) and still took the drive. In fact, I only saw one person refuse it.]]>
While Childs should have surrendered the passwords when asked, one juror, Jason Chilton, felt that the city was also at fault, saying that “management did everything they possibly could wrong.” Ineffective management and communication, he said, put Childs in a difficult situation.
Childs was on call all day, every day for IT and network support and was the only one who knew the passwords. There was also a “wide gap between Childs’ specialized understanding of that network” and that of just about every other city employee. (Childs was the only one in the department who had obtained an expert-level certification on the FiberWAN equipment.)
Childs was holding all of the power in this case, a big no-no. No one person should have total control of and access to critical systems like the network. Strong IT management and leadership keep the checks and balances in place.
So, how effective are you at managing IT in your own organization? Gaps in communication, oversights in IT project progress and management, and imbalanced resource allocation can throw off your team dynamics.
To pull back on your IT leadership reins, start communicating with your group — and actually listen to what your employees have to say. Make your “open door policy” more than just a slogan. If your employees know you actually listen to their concerns, you’ll get more information from across the department and can prevent minor quibbles from turning into big issues.]]>