Calling All CIOs: How To Prepare Your IT Team For Cloud Computing

Lindsey Nelson

As cloud computing continues to develop into the inevitable future, it’s playing a big role on a particular area – your IT department.

Every day those CIOs not investing in developing the skills of their workforce are risking being outsourced completely to third party services providers.

This is called Shadow IT and it’s when departments outside of IT use budget to implement a third party software product without IT’s approval or knowledge. So as a CIO, how can you combat this?

How To Prepare Your IT Team For Cloud Computing

Prepare your IT team for cloud computingFirst, work with your infrastructure and operations teams. Get them comfortable with the cloud and using it. Do an internal audit and see which departments are using what, then bring your I&O team up to speed on how they can support.

Having employees who are educated and trained on the latest and greatest can prevent your team from hitting the curb. Because if your IT team can’t figure it out, your fast-paced sales teams will find someone who can.

That’s why second, you need to position yourself and your team as an evolving one. You’re here to learn, collaborate, and improve the user interfaces of your outdated systems by using the cloud’s quick deployment advantages.

This is where the third reason comes in. It’s not going to be an easy journey, but start working right away on developing new processes that are easy to manage. It isn’t just the technology that’s changing, so is the workforce. Millennials like me don’t want to be bothered with 12 steps if we have a friend at a start-up that can do it in 5.

Now, as CIO you have the ability, if executed strategically, to become one of the most sought-out internal consultants, as well as gain some serious C-suite street cred. You must ensure you are walking the talk, especially when it comes to collaboration. Make sure you’re ready to share the IT decision making.

According to a Forbes article by Keith Engelbert, “As companies increasingly store more data in the cloud, more C-level executives and senior-level decision makers will also have access to corporate data in the cloud, which in turn will increase their influence with IT decisions that pertain to the cloud.”

So in summary,

  • Share
  • Play together nicely
  • Educate yourself and your team
  • Continue to develop your skills

Sounds more like lessons in life than in cloud computing, but hey – some things are universal.

Did I forget anything? Please let me know by commenting on this post or let’s continue the conversation on Twitter @LindseyNNelson

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Is it Possible To Flourish At Work And Be Happy?

untitled_2_by_mitokafander-d3ddmq0_700x300, Is it Possible To Flourish At Work And Be Happy?Do you punch the clock or do you arrive at work to do your best?

Do you complain about your workplace or do you seek to be part of a solution? And if there is no solution, do you find one – perhaps by leaving?

I’ll stop dancing around the point: is it possible to flourish at work?

Odd question? I don’t think so.

Flourish means to grow in a healthy way, vigorously. It means to thrive, do well, be happy, prosper. Can you see yourself doing this at work? And if not, why not? You have a choice in the matter.

If you’re a manager, imagine employees growing in their work with vigor. Imagine employees happy. That they take such purposeful steps to do good work is worth investigating and finding out how to make it happen.

Can you see yourself flourishing at work? And if not, why not?

The possibility for employees to flourish at work is not a notion for “some other workplace.” It can be a reality you create for your team. You can help employees flourish. You can help employees find happiness at work.

If you’re a manager, imagine employees growing in their work with vigor. That they take such purposeful steps to do good work is worth investigating and finding out how to make it happen.

The possibility for employees to flourish is a management imperative. It can be a reality you create for your team.

Is there, however, business value in flourishing employees?

Answer these questions to decide:

  1. Does quality work matter?
  2. Do you need employees to increase discretionary effort?
  3. Does it matter if your employees are doing well in and outside work?
  4. Do you need employees to challenge their own skills and thinking?
  5. Do you need a solution to find and keep employees?

Answer yes to any of the above questions and you have a business case for helping employees flourish at work. If we spend ⅓ our life working, then help it be characterized by happiness and the outflows of flourishing employees.

See, it’s no longer acceptable to have a work environment that sucks the life out of employees. If it sucks for employees, it likely sucks the life out of you, too.

There are better ways to lead and manage a team. A solution can be found in helping employees flourish at work, feeling happy with what they do and with their work. It simply starts by connecting with employees.

Art by Mito


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Does Your Business Intelligence Software Suffer From Low IQ?

Elizabeth Gaines

High IQ (interactive quotient) is one of the most important features for  Business Intelligence software users

Does Your Business Intelligence Software Suffer From Low IQ?A recent benchmark study conducted by Ventana Research revealed the need for smarter business intelligence tools designed specifically to address the needs of business users. 63% of study participants rated usability as the most important consideration for evaluation of BI software, well ahead of functionality (49%), manageability (47%), or even reliability (46%).

The results of the study reflect the frustration of many business users who find the advanced capabilities of BI software designed for analysts too cumbersome for their needs. Business users of BI placed greater importance on interactive and collaborative features that help them identify and take action on the most important information for their area of business without requiring IT or analyst involvement.

Top Usability Features on the Business User’s Wish List

1. Customizable Mobile Alerts

Whether they are on the road or simply immersed in the daily demands of business, users want BI systems that will alert them to a potential problem as soon as it is appears.

Among the most highly-valued features demanded by business users is the ability to quickly review their most important KPIs and set customized thresholds. Whenever the value of a key metric moves outside a specified range, BI users want to be notified by an alert sent via email or directly to their mobile device.

2. Contextualized Analytics

If you’ve ever been baffled by an operating manual written exclusively in pictograms you will understand the business user’s desire for text explanations in straight-forward language that can provide a context for dashboard graphics.

BI business users want text in addition to graphics so they can absorb the information as easily as they read a newspaper or scan a website. By capitalizing on the brain’s ability to process both language and visuals, next-generation BI software can greatly increase usability with text explanations that can be customized to the specific variables of a user’s business as well as their preferred language.

3.  Collaborations Tools for Annotating and Sharing

Business users need an integrated solution for annotating and collaborating on the results of their analysis. I have personally spent countless hours transferring the results of advanced analytics to a format that is more congenial to sharing (usually Microsoft PowerPoint.)

Business users need to share analytics in a form that allows them to annotate key points about a chart or graph and easily distribute it to colleagues or clients.  As social business becomes increasing the norm, BI software with integrated social features will make current practices obsolete. It will no longer be necessary to repeat a presentation many times over in order to socialize analyses across a large organization.

Why Are These Features Not Available In All Business Intelligence Software?

While many of these features are available in the best of Business Intelligence software, it begs the question: why are they not standard in all BI applications?  Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer for Ventana Research has this to say:

For years, BI software providers have stated there was no demand for capabilities like collaborative and mobile to make things easier for business users, but my analysis indicates this was because they were getting feedback only from IT organizations and IT industry analysts who do not research or understand the way business professionals operate and how they want to become smarter in how they communicate and collaborate, including via mobile technology.

It’s time to change that pattern by recognizing how business users consume and share the results of analysis. By incorporating the best of mobile and social business practices, BI for business users is evolving to meet the demand for enhanced usability.

Additional Resources:

Learn how SAP Business Objects is leading the way with Business Intelligence software designed to meet the top usability requirements of business users.


Are you a business user with a pet peeve about Business Intelligence software?  What improvements would you like to see in the next generation of BI software?


 Join me on Twitter (@eagaines) or connect on LinkedIn or Google+.

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How Do You Find The Time For Social Media?

Michael Brenner

How Do You Find The Time For Social Media?How do you find the time for social media? This is the question I get asked probably more than any other.

I have four lovely children, a demanding job, a wife with a successful career and more. So how do I find the time to tweet, blog, share, and comment?

The answer is simple: I make the time for social media because I think it’s important.

I believe that business people in general, and marketers especially, have an obligation to do more than just consume content or share other people’s content, but to become a content creator and to contribute to your work and your life.

Now I am not trying to guilt anyone into this. I realize there are a lot of reasons why people don’t spend the time on social media even though they know they should.

There are also plenty of reasons why people don’t work out, quit smoking or stop eating too much. You know, reasons like: I’m too busy with more important stuff, I don’t know what to say, I don’t understand the tools, I don’t see the value, and my favorite excuse: social media is for kids.

In order to find the time for social media, you need to see why it’s important, how it will change your life, how it will improve your business.

And you need to understand what steps to take to be successful. I call this the Social Business Imperative. I do not think it’s a choice when you accept that we live in a social world and that only the social business will win.

So if you don’t think you have time for social media, let’s find some for you. First you have to consider: How do you spend your day?

According to The Atlantic, we spend more than a quarter (28%) of our day answering email!

According to this infographic, the average worker spends 19% of their time in meetings. And they consider half of those meetings a complete waste of time. The average worker also reported spending another 25% of their day dealing with meaningless distractions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the problem is even worse for executives, with as much as 33% of their day spent in meetings.

Wow. So when my kids ask me what I do all day at work, maybe I should answer “I do email, sit on conference calls and listen to my colleagues talk about TV shows?” (Disclosure: these examples are purely fictitious. Any similarity to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental.)

So finding the time for social media is simply about making it a priority over emails that aren’t important, meetings that aren’t productive and the daily distractions that come along.

My main tips for making the time to blog, tweet, comment or share:

  • Make a small but daily time commitment.  You have to find the time to make small “investments” in social every day. Tweet once a day. Blog once a week. Do whatever works for you and be realistic. But it’s amazing what happens after a year. You’ll have sent hundreds of tweets, created dozens of blog posts, connected with lots of great people and learned more than you would have ever imagined.
  • Build your content and your audience based on your passion. Write about and share what interests you and you will attract an audience of like-minded people. They will inspire you with questions and theories and unique points of view that will spawn completely new thoughts of your own. This in turn becomes the idea factory you need to consistently generate lots of great share-worthy content.
  • Help others. Give-to-get (G2G), “pay it forward,” whatever you want to call it. The bottom line is that “karma” works in the social world. Share the work of people you admire and they will take a second look at your own work. Over time, you will become an authority yourself.

Are you an active social media contributor? Please share your thoughts and tips with us here. And follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+.


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[Pretend to] Know The Game At Sony Tennis Open With SAP Mobile App

Jen Cohen Crompton

[Pretend to] Know The Game At Sony Tennis Open With SAP Mobile AppFor a novice tennis fan, the sport of tennis can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of players, a bunch of stats, and a wealth of history behind each player’s performance. Heck, the scoring includes terms like “love” and for some reason points are collected by intervals of 15 and 10.

Even though learning the depth of the sport cannot happen over a few days by Googling, Wikipedia-ing, and Youtube-ing everything (I know because I tried), that is no reason to avoid attending a tournament, which is jam-packed with polo shirts, visors, great drinks, yummy food, and a cordial crowd. Factor in amazing athletes who calculate every move and play with intensity, demonstrate the utmost talent and professionalism, and have some awesome bodies, you end up with a laundry list of reasons why a tennis tournament is an event to attend and watch.

Now, just because you may not know what a nine-shot rally is or why that’s awesome, you don’t really have to know everything. Technology will help you by serving as your best friend and helping you [pretend] to know the game.

For the Sony Open Tennis tournament, SAP developed this year’s mobile app with the fan in mind. The app makes it a little easier to hang with the “cool crowd” and speak the lingo by providing everything you need/or want to know, in one organized space. Oh, and it’s free to download and even goes beyond the game to provide a map of the tournament venue that can even be sorted by bathrooms, food, and shopping locations (a must for those who are directionally challenged or hate carrying the paper map).

Wondering when Serena Williams is going to play? Great. Open the app, tap the schedule and the full line-up appears showing the order of matches and where they will take place. Tap the players icon, select Venus Williams, and you will see that she is currently ranked second, with 562 wins, and was born on September 29, 1981.

During a match, have the urge to give a quick elbow thrust and discuss the last shot? Tap the 3D Replay icon and watch virtual play-by-play replays of player performances, complete with a description so you’ll know when to say, “That was a nice 91 mph ace down the T.”

[Pretend to] Know The Game At Sony Tennis Open With SAP Mobile App

Want to impress your friends by telling them that Monica Seles was the youngest winner (in 1990 when she was 16 years, 3 months, and 23 days old) and Andre Agassi was the oldest ( in 2003 at 32 years, 11 months, and 1 day old)? Tap the event info and browse through the interesting event history and stats.

With all the facts, stats, instant action access, and match descriptions, having this mobile app at your fingertips can help you really start to walk the [tennis] walk…or you can simply pretend and just talk the [tennis] talk.


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