On changing the culture, On social media

Norwegians are talking, but are they thinking and analyzing?

In this blog post I criticize journalists for being to tabloid and immediate referendums thrown at the people for contributing to stupidity. Here goes.

According to the biggest newspaper in Norway there was a Norwegian girl who first reacted to the new terms from Facebook and eventually gathered enough support to get them changed. This time to the good! Such immediate referendums made available through Internet have totally changed the way both companies, but also the politicians have to do their work. Dramatically!

However, they have a potential downside (at least one). When our Minister of Justice, mr. Knut Storberget nearly have to leave his chair because of an uncontrollable and extremely tabloid flaming from Norwegian newspapers and media, supported by the simplifying opposition, I understand that people turn to blogs instead of newspapers, but probably not to a large enough scale. And if they add to their media habits with blogs, do they read them with a critical analysis in mind? People have a tendency to believe in what they believe in, and then search for (and of course find) supporting evidence wherever they look. This is also why the Liberalistic Party (Fremskrittspartiet) is finding so many supporters these days. They tell people the simple story; Storberget did not have control over his Ministry, and should leave (and add to the story a couple of other blunders he made in the fall). I do not think it is that easy.

No one is perfect, not the secretary who happened to post the Police Hijab press release on the ministries web pages too early, neither the minister himself who followed up very clumsy at the beginning. He might however have learned by now. I do not know. He is probably no worse than any unknown alternative, but to be forced to step down by the opposition on this matter, because the press and opposition wants blood. As more and more voices are fronted, more and more blood seem to be what one want, and more and more dirt is being written about our high profiled politicians, I can not do anything but conclude that it has become a hell lot harder to be a politician, and that they have to listen to many almost immediate referendums to stay on top, and have the journalists back away.

Are the journalists just doing their job as the critical media shall be, or are they stressed to the brink, buying good stories based on presumptive evidence, and trying to make them hit the front page just to sell more papers, miscarrying justice as they go, and terrified that the media house they work in will set them on the street due to bankruptcy?

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On changing the culture, On collaboration, On the CIO role, On the IT Industry

Evolving the role of the IT organization – rebranding the CIO – CIO 2.0

Today I read the latest Norwegian issue of Computerworld (nr 5 2009, pg 6), and to my great pleasure I found an article from our Senior Gartner columnist about the “war” between the IT Organization wanting to standardize and the vast amount of different quick win business applications that the business side want to use right away. These two agendas just does not match. Who wins; the IT department or the business side? And what happens with the IT department if they always loose? And what happens to innovation if the IT department always win? Gartner predicts that individual system choices will be more and more common. This, to my delight, foster creativity, but it also makes defining a complete IT Architecture nearly impossible and to manage, and if I may add, IT risk even harder to manage. The suggested solution: managed diversity.

I am a follower on the IT Strategy blog by Raj Sheelvant where he earlier wrote about rebranding the CIO, meaning the CIO could be an enabler instead of a brake in the organization.

Imagine a CIO fully grasping this concept? I certainly think an CIO coming to me and saying, use whatever program, as long as you tell me, and you try to convince the others doing the same as you to use the same program, would give me positive feelings. Now, how to make this work in practice? I think it is possible to sum it up in four very clear actions/policies:

Internal money
I absolutely think the Gartner approach where one may has to pay “internal money” in order to deviate from the given IT standard gives meaning. This not only incentivizes the business side to choose the preferred IT Standards, but it also enables the IT Department to provide some supporting resources to the new choice of technology if they should choose to deviate. It raises the question of how to price this though, but that is a whole other discussion.

Taking the consulting role
The CIO is no longer in charge of just operations of his system portfolio, but to give the business side good advice on how their choices of technology will work. He may ask questions like “how is backup taken care of” and “who do you call when it does not work” and last but not least “how is it integrated with our other portfolio of systems”? The CIO will have to “sell” the benefits of his policy, and enabling the organization to make informed choices. This is totally the other way around, opposed to the more or less undocumented denial one sometimes meet.

Keeping control
Make sure to define clear system policies that enables individual freedom, but keeping the necessary level of control. This must mean that applications used at work should be approved, so the IT Organisation knows about it, but that denying people to use it, given that they can pay for it as in the first bullet, is more difficult.

Dealing with the lifecycle cost and risk
To be aware of the lifecycle cost when enabling a new tool is critical. The feeling that deviation from the standard creates higher costs later, may also be why the CIO seems negative in the first place. Often quick and dirty projects only thinks about getting the tool up and running and forget about maintenance, backup, access control, security and so on. These issues must be tackled in order for the new tools to meet a long and prosperous life in the organization.

Any comments to these four elements? Anyone missing?

IBM illustrated this new role at their CIO Conference in November 2007 like this:

Good luck CIOs!

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On entrepreneurship, On social media

Social media to Struggling media – and back

The media sector has since the dot-com been in a changing world. This week it is also evident in Norway. Schibsted, the leading Norwegian media conglomerate said they need to cut 750 mill NOK, most due to plummeting advertising revenues (and some due to failed Classified Ad initiative in Spain). This is not a unique incident, as many media companies see the true results of the financial crisis. Hjemmet Mortensen is another example who published information about their cuts today.

I think I have to repeat my mantra, change is good – it opens for new opportunities. I must admit however that I wonder how the ad-market will look like in the future. The future is for fortune tellers to describe, I on the other hand, just wonder how one sell more stuff if you do not advertise? Is this the real social media revolution that we see? More Twitter, recommendations and relations, a more transparent reality – a flatter world! Now it is here for real.

A surprising effect is that local newspapers in Norway are still more or less withstanding (actually Norwegians reads more papers than most others). I guess it is because national and international news are available best online, while local news is still best in the paper. Are there entrepreneurs out there who are ready start the war for local content? Oh yes!

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