A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Solution

Credits: Alex, Arsalan Khan, Dan Hopkins, Eddie Heironimus and Uzair Khan 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report provides the Chief Information Office (CIO) of Citadel Plastics (CP)  – a fictional organization – recommendations and justifications that would help her make procurement decision on selecting a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution. In this paper, we analyze […]

5 Questions to Ask About Mashups

In computing, a mashup integrates/combines data and/or functionality from multiple sources and presents it in a single view. In organizations, mashups are used everyday in the form of business (accounting, administration, business development, customer service, engineering, finance, human resources, management, manufacturing, marketing, operations, production, research and development and sales) dashboards and Information Technology (IT) dashboards. […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Execution

In previous blog posts, I have given you thoughts on how factors such as Strategy, Politics, Innovation and Culture can be used to achieve Business Transformation in your organization. Today, I am going to talk about how these factors need Execution to be successful.Generally speaking, Execution is the act of doing or performing something. In terms of the organization, […]

Khan’s Oath For Technology Professionals

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this pledge: I will respect but also appropriately challenge the hard-won technological gains of those technology professionals in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those diversity of people who are to follow. I will apply, for […]

How Mediocre Hiring Managers Hire Mediocre Employees

Once upon a time, there was a hiring manager who always worked with mediocre employees and had never worked with a great employee. One day a great employee A from another organization decided to work for the organization of the hiring manager. The hiring manager took a long, hard look at employee A’s resume and […]

How to Map a Process Using Free Tools

Processes (or procedures) are a series of steps taken to accomplish a specific end. They can be standalone, interconnected or be part of something bigger (e.g., governance). They can be Business Processes, Information Technology (IT) processes, Systems Processes and Business Processes within IT. In organizations, there are many processes that happen sequentially and/or in parallel with other […]

The Very Eager Executive

In the meeting an executive expresses his realization that the organization needs to change. During month one, the executive starts a listening tour across the organization to understand what is going on. This listening tour entails asking what is working, what is not working and what can be improved. During month two, the executive tries […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Innovation

The word “innovation” is often used in organizations to portray that they are somehow advancing their organization. But what really is innovation and who can and should innovate really depends upon who you talk to and what context and timeframes that person is referring to. Thus, it seems that innovation is something subjective but people do […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Strategy

If you have a strong understanding of how culture affects your organization’s strategy then you have better ideas of creating strategies that are truly transformative for your organization. Having said that, most organizations don’t make the time to strategize about strategy development processes and thus are not fully aware of the intended and unintended affects of […]

5 Questions to Ask About Artificial Intelligence

In 1956, John McCarthy, the father of Artificial Intelligence (AI), brought together expert thinkers from multiple disciplines to explore how machines could “mimic” certain human traits. These expert thinkers came from the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, Logic, Mathematics and Psychology and wanted to find out how machines could: Use language Form abstractions and concepts […]

75 Questionable Thoughts About Organizational Transformation

Strategies People Only executives can transform organizations Internal expertise have no/minimum value Everyone will be eager to contribute Processes Internal business processes and Information Technology (IT) processes don’t matter Interfacing processes with partners and vendors don’t matter All processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been documented and followed without deviation Products Our products can’t […]

Business Agility and Digital Transformation

What is Business Agility? Business is “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for…” Corporations –> Money Non-profits –> Social Causes Education –> Knowledge Government –> Citizen Services Military –> National Defense Agility is the “ability to move quickly and easily.” Business Agility is the ability to move quickly […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Politics

Politics in an organization is about influencing others by using official and unofficial power. Official power comes from management titles while unofficial power comes from peers, juniors and even outsiders. Everyday in organizations official and unofficial power is used to: (1) frame problems, (2) influence changes and (3) make/guide decisions. This power can affect organizational structures, […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

The term Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is used to describe the strategies, methods and tools to produce, share and capture information in organizations. Humans and/or computer systems use this structured (e.g., data in databases), semi-structured (e.g., social media) and unstructured (e.g., emails) information to make decisions that can improve the organization. Since every individual/team/group/unit/department produces […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customers are the lifeblood of any organization. In order to capture and track customer information (e.g., demographics, buying habits, satisfaction and loyalty etc.), organizations use information systems called Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is utilized by sales, marketing, customer support services and other organizational functions to capture new and potential customer information from multiple sources […]

SPICE for Business Transformation

Imagine an organization where people, business processes, products, services and technologies are in sync. Where an organization performs at its most optimal levels and miraculously everyone is happy and contributing for the wellbeing of the organization. No, I am not talking about a fictional scenario in a far off land. I am talking about an […]

Healthcare.gov – Who is at fault?

Credits: Arsalan Khan, Ed Heironimus, Francis Wisseh, Maryam Moussavi and Udhayakumar Parerikkal 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This research paper analyzes the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)’s Healthcare.gov project in detail and makes recommendations on what could have been done differently. The project had 55 federal contractors working on it but this research paper will concentrate […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Business Transformation

Business transformation is the process of transforming (1) how things are made, (2) how things are bought, (3) how things are sold and/or (4) how services are provided. It has been pursued by organizations ever since the first organization came into being and would continue to be pursued in the foreseeable future. It is the […]

Lessons Learned in Creating a Corporate System

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This article discusses the various strategic, political and cultural factors that were associated with the decision to develop an online employee portal at SmFedCon. The cause and contributing factors that led to the software development project are explored in detail. Focus is placed on SmFedCon’s decision processes to make the initial decision not to […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Culture

Peter Drucker, one of the most influential management consultants in the world, is often attributed to coining the phrase “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Organizations that can harness the power of culture can create environments where everyone can contribute towards the attainment of strategic objectives. However, most organizations are unable to create such environments and […]

Standing Up an Enterprise Architecture Center of Excellence and a Certification Program at Your University

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This article proposes the establishment of a Center for Operations, Research and Education (CORE) at your university. CORE would be a team of people that proactively and holistically help achieve university’s business outcomes. Its mission would be to provide comprehensive educational programs in Enterprise Architecture, conduct research and use this research to help […]

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Service Orientated Architecture (SOA)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This article discusses what is Service Orientated Architecture (SOA), how it is used, what are its benefits and what are the challenges when adopting it for your organization. It explores the business and technology perspectives of where SOA can be applied internally and externally by showing the following benefits of SOA to your […]

Future Considerations for Hewlett Packard Enterprise

A year ago Hewlett Packard (HP) decided that it was going to split into two companies. This decision became real last week when HP officially split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as announced by Meg Whitman on her LinkedIn post. The main reason given for this split was focus. HP Inc. would […]

Future Considerations for Alphabet Inc.

A couple of weeks ago Alphabet Inc. emerged as a parent holding company of Google as announced by Larry Page on Google’s blog. The two main reasons given for this move is to make the company cleaner and more accountable. By cleaner, it means that products that are not related to each other would become […]

Understanding and Applying Predictive Analytics

Executive Summary This article proposes looking at Predictive Analytics from a conceptual standpoint before jumping into the technological execution considerations. For the implementation aspect, organizations need to assess the following keeping in mind the contextual variances: Strategies Tactics Operations Top Down Bottom Up Hybrid Organizational Maturity Change Management Training Practical Implications Pros and Cons of […]

3 Benefits and Challenges of Content Management Systems (CMS)

Content Management System (CMS) is a software system that helps to organize and facilitate collaboration of content. Some of the benefits and challenges that could arise from/during implementation and use of CMS are discussed below: CMS Programmatics – In a CMS, content, display of content, content revisions, canned functionality, integration with other systems and security […]

How to select an Enterprise Architecture Framework?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This article provides in detail the elements of an Enterprise Architecture (EA) framework that would be selected and deployed at a fictional United States (US) Federal Government contractor called FedCon. FedCon is divided into 3 Business Units (BUs) that are focused on providing Management Consulting, Information Technology (IT) Consulting and Systems Integration (SI) […]

Gamification

OVERVIEW: People who have not heard the term “gamification” before perceive it to be about games but this is inaccurate. In order to address this misperception, Deterding and his team researched the various uses of gamification and came up with a definition that states gamification as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts.” […]

35 Concepts that Affect Organizational Transformation Efforts

Organizational transformation entails understanding where the organization is today and where it wants to be in the future in terms of people, products/services, processes and technologies. In order to accomplish this transformation, we have to determine the organization’s ‘eligibility’ by assessing its strategy, politics, innovation, culture and execution (SPICE) factors. The SPICE factors help us […]

5 Questions to Ask About Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive Analytics is used for performance optimization. This optimization is accomplished by using a variety of statistical and analytical techniques to identify the decisions that need to be taken in order to achieve the desired outcomes. The data sources used for the determination of outcomes can range from structured data (e.g., numbers, price points etc.), […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Big Data

In statistics, a hypothesis is proposed and then data samples are collected to prove or disprove the hypothesis with acceptable confidence levels. For example, lets say that all our customers are aware of all our product lines. Basically, there are two ways of assessing our hypothesis that includes: (1) Proving our hypothesis and (2) Disproving […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your New Year Reboot

For some organizations, December/January is that time of the year where organizations reflect on what happened during the prior year and what goals need to be accomplished for the current year. This reflection revolves around the organization’s people, processes and technologies. It also involves creating strategies, understanding the effects of internal and external politics, competing […]

5 Questions to Ask About Customer Experiences

According to Forrester®, “to be truly competitive your company must become customer obsessed; you need to have deep knowledge of and engagement with your customers.” The need for the organization to be obsessed with the customer revolves around data and engagement. Data-level obsession encompasses collecting as much information as you can about the customer so […]

5 Questions to Ask About Gamification

The term gamification refers to “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts.” (Deterding et al.) The non-game contexts imply that gamification is different than games and can be applied to society, business, technology and individuals at various levels. Gartner goes a step further and defines gamification to be “the use of game mechanics […]

5 Questions to Ask About Three Dimensional (3D) Printing

Three dimensions (3D) printing refers to using a 3D printer to create objects. These objects are created layer-by-layer by using raw materials. Think of 3D printing as a “miniature version” of a machine in a manufacturing plant that creates objects. While in a manufacturing plant, the machine might be dedicated to creating only a few […]

5 Questions to Ask About Internet of Things (IoT)

According to Gartner, “Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technologies to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.” The communication of these physical devices with itself and/or with its environment (e.g., other physical devices, information systems etc.) generates tremendous amounts of data. […]

Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) Migration Case Studies and Lessons Learned – A Critical Review

Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) is a framework that allows business processes to be highlighted to deliver interoperability and rapid delivery of functionality. The benefits of SOA include reuse of generalized services, reduce costs and better business and IT alignment. If done correctly, it helps an organization respondent to ever-changing business needs efficiently. If done incorrectly, […]

Target’s Network Breach

Target’s corporate network was breached between November 27th, 2013 to December 15th, 2013 that resulted in 110 million credit cards and personal records being stolen. This data breach happened during the busiest days for retailers between the hours of 10:00am to 6:00pm. When I heard about this data breach in the news, I assumed that […]

5 Questions to Ask About Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics is a branch of data mining that uses a variety of statistical and analytical techniques to develop models that help predict future events and/or behaviors. It helps find patterns in recruitment, hiring, sales, customer attrition, optimization, business models, crime prevention and supply chain management to name a few. As we move to self-learning […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Information

Information collection, understanding and sharing has been a worthwhile pursuit since the dawn of humanity. At the beginning, now and in the foreseeable future this pursuit will continue, even if the “tools” change. We will continue to use information to make short-term and long-term decisions for our groups and ourselves. But depending upon the sources […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Business Processes

The term business process is used to describe the connectivity of the various “steps” performed to achieve a certain goal. These steps are performed by information systems (e.g., calculate products sold per region), individuals (e.g., print/read reports) or a combination of both. The basis for these steps comes from policies (e.g., thou shall not eat […]

5 Questions to Ask About Your Information Supply Chain

Today’s organizations fundamentally revolve around people, processes and technologies. The underlying common thread across all of these areas is the ability to communicate and manage information. Information is used to make decisions that can be either good or bad. Based on the article Bad Decisions Arise from Faulty Information, Not Faulty Brain Circuits, we can decipher […]

What’s Wrong With My Enterprise Architecture? – a response

Recently, a fellow Enterprise Architect reached out and asked my opinion on his article.  Below is my response: • Enterprise Architecture has many definitions. Here is one that I tried to create in 160 characters. “EA bridges business and IT via enterprise integration/standardization resulting in people becoming more efficient and effective in achieving their objectives.” • While […]

Where is My Big Data Coming From and Who Can Handle It

Recently, a reader asked my insights on the article (Data Scientists are the New Rock Stars as Big Data Demands Big Talent).  Here is my response. It seems like in today’s world people and organizations are somewhat struggling with this big data concept and do not know where to begin. Due to this reason they […]

5 Factors for Business Transformation

Business transformation entails assessing people, processes and technologies of the organization in terms of current state (where the organization is right now) and future state (where the organization wants to be). In these assessments people, processes and technologies are not standalone areas but are part of an integrated and holistic organization. If any of these […]

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Information Technology (IT) with sprinkles of Enterprise Architecture (EA)

A few weeks back I posted an article (Why IT Should Be on the CEO’s Agenda) on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) LinkedIn group about why Information Technology (IT) should matter to the CEO. A reader commented and referred me to his blog post. After reviewing his post, I have the following responses: I […]

To the Cloud or Not to the Cloud

It seems like these days most organizations are interested in jumping onto the Cloud Computing bandwagon in one way or another. While there are many reasons why organizations want to move to the Cloud, I believe that optimization of business and technology processes should strongly be considered Pre-Cloud adoption. Additionally, organizations need to develop strong […]

5 Observations on Being Innovative (at an organizational level)

A typical organizational analysis entails observing the organization from the strategic, political and cultural lenses encompassing people, processes and technologies. While these lenses are useful in understanding the workings of an organization, they are not sufficient for an organization to be innovative. To be innovative, organizations need to have a constant flow of ideas that […]

An Observation of Healthcare at a Clinic…

Last week, I took my wife to a well-known local clinic since she had the flu that is spreading across U.S this year. Since I had my notebook, I started to make some observations in regards to the overall process and customer service. In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to make a surface-level current […]

Future Considerations for Kodak

Recently, I was asked to perform an organizational analysis of Eastman Kodak based on an article published in The Economist titled, “The last Kodak moment?”.  Here are my views if I was a new CEO sending a memo to the Board of Directors: Eastman Kodak has been around for more than 132 years. In these […]