Owen McCall Consulting Limited

Blog

The Big Three For Delivering Value From Technology

On December 6, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, With No Comments

I have recently had the privilege of talking to a large number of non IT executives who have responsibility for their organisation’s technology. While all of these people are very capable, talented executives none of them have specialised in the management and use of technology. At some level (while they…

The Reluctant Sponsor

On November 14, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,, , With No Comments

Just after new year I caught up with a friend and colleague for lunch (I’ll call her Nikki). We had worked together very closely previously for a joint client but we hadn’t seen each other for quite some time.  Our conversation was wide ranging and free flowing and eventually turned…

The Three Levels of Influence, and How to Improve Your Level of Influence

On October 16, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

I believe that for technologists to be truly effective they need to not only have great technology skills, but they also need to be influential.  Indeed, I believe that influencing is so important that we need to view it as a technologist’s second expertise.  That’s all very well, but how…

The Psychology of Change: Why don’t people follow the damn process?

On September 13, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

“We’ve invested heavily in defining and implementing good processes, practices and methods, the problem is we can’t get the people to consistently follow the process. Why is this?” I hear this lament from Service Desk Managers and ITIL SMEs about the service desk and support staff, I hear it from…

Six Tips for Award Entrants: One judge’s view.

On September 1, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,,, , With No Comments

Over the past six months or so I have had the privilege of judging several industry awards programmes including the CIO 100 in New Zealand, the CIO 50 in Australia and the NZ Hi-Tech awards. I judge awards for several reasons.  It’s a good way to give back, you learn…

High Performing IT Teams

On August 30, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

For those who know my Warehouse (TWL) IT story you’ll know that things were a bit bleak in the early days. I had joined TWL from Deloitte with the expectation that as a CIO my role would be to lead a team that would use IT to provide competitive advantage…

In Pursuit of Operational Excellence

| I recently wrote a blog where I outlined an epiphany I had around the need for an IT team to be operationally excellent  (the original blog can be found here).  In essence the insight was that high performing organisations have high performing IT teams and that a key characteristic…

The Case for IT Value: A review of my favorite research

On July 27, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,, , With No Comments

| For all of you who are regular readers of my blogs you will know that I am fairly obsessed with the notion of IT Value. This obsession stems from a belief that IT has huge potential to make our lives and organisations substantially better and that it is our…

Innovation and Change. When Leaders are the Problem.

On July 3, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,,, , With No Comments

Innovation is a hot topic around the globe at the moment and given the  tight connection between technology and innovation today it is something I am intensely interested in.  So it was with great interest that I read the following article and the full report from a few weeks back….

Project Success and Failure

| A few years ago I was contacted by a local doctoral student. They were looking into success rates and best practices for ERP implementations. What he as looking for was local case study input into his thesis. Whenever I get these requests I try and help as much as…

We Want to be Digital, But What Does that Mean?

| A few weeks ago I got a call from a client “Owen, we presented our digital strategy to the board yesterday.  It went well but the board wants us to go quicker and are prepared to invest in that.  Can we talk?” “Of course we can talk” I replied,…

Shadow IT. Mandate Without Service.

On May 26, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

Many IT organisations are strong on wanting a mandate.  This is what IT does and this is what users can and cannot do. The expectation is that if we can simply clarify and enforce the rules then shadow IT will go away and we will solve all, or at least…

High Performance. The Role of Process vs Outcomes

On March 29, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,,, , With No Comments

| I was meeting with a client a few months back.  This particular client was having some ongoing issues with the performance of their help desk.  Specifically, tickets were not getting closed in a timely fashion and as a result IT’s customer (i.e. users of IT services) were getting some…

It’s Not Where You Begin

On March 8, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

| I don’t know about you, but I have a series of moments which are burnt on my mind and I can recall them easily and always will.  Whether it is the birth of my children, the 1995 World Cup, which I watched with friends in Ngaio, or the turn…

When it Comes to Value Execution Rules

On February 18, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,,, , With No Comments

| I consider myself to be a strategist.  I love the process of determining a goal/vision, diagnosing the current situation, understanding the gaps  and working out a plan or an approach to bringing the goal to reality.  The best part of my job is working with teams through this process,…

A Renovation Approach To Going Digital

On January 10, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

| I reckon that for most large incumbent organisations (that is those born in an analogue age) going digital is a bit like embarking on a significant house renovation and extension.  But first let me take you back to the beginning of 2004. My wife and I decided to buy…

The Need for Speed – One Team’s Transformation

On December 6, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,, , With No Comments

| Speed is one of the imperatives of our time.  Every organisation I work with wants to be able to do things faster whether it’s speed to gain an advantage or the not so positive, but equally important, speed to close down a competitor’s advantage. Everyone wants to go faster….

Finding Common Ground

On November 15, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,, , With No Comments

| In my job you don’t go to many days without hearing someone talking about the gap between IT and “the business”.  It may be from someone in IT, who is struggling to be heard and understood by their colleagues.   It may be from an executive, who is trying to…

How to Transform Technology from a Negative Disruptive Force to a Positive Opportunity (Start with Why – part 2)

On November 14, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,, , With No Comments

| I recently wrote a blog on the importance of starting our thinking about technology based innovation from the perspective of purpose or as Simon Sinek urges start with why. To me the power of purpose as a starting point for thinking about technology is twofold.  Firstly, purpose tends to be…

When it comes to digital, always start with why!

On November 4, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,,, , With No Comments

| In the third most popular TED Talk of all time Simon Sinek urges leaders to start with why.  Sinek’s message was fairly simple.  Great communicators communicate very differently to most people.  Whereas most people communicate from the outside in, by describing what they do, great communicators communicate from the…

Hype Cycles vs Investment Cycles

On October 1, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,, , With No Comments

I noticed that Gartner released its latest hype cycle for emerging technologies last week (see this Forbes article for a summary).  I love the Gartner hype cycles and I loathe the Gartner hype cycles all at the same time because to me they represent the best and worst in the…

Line of Competence

On September 20, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,, , With No Comments

| Technology is changing the way companies do business but the sad reality is that in many organisations the IT team, the supposed technology experts are barely participating in these changes let alone leading them.  On the surface of it this makes no sense at all and many IT professionals…

Persistent Problems and Conventional Thinking

On September 8, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,, , With No Comments

I I have been thinking a lot about projects and project management lately.  Why?  Because effective project delivery is critical to delivering value from IT and as an industry we don’t do a great job of delivering our projects.  We are all aware of the statistics.  Most commentators report that…

Failure is Good. Yeah Right!

On September 1, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,, , With No Comments

| It has become very trendy to trumpet the importance of failure.  Many authors, and commentators are encouraging us to fail.  The rationale?  The only way to make progress, to change things, to innovate is to do something, most likely to do something new.  When you try something new there…

Facilitated Governance

On August 30, 2016, Posted by , In Blog, By ,,,,, , With No Comments

| There we were halfway through the workshop with the IT leadership team and our attention shifted to the team’s project delivery performance.  The insight from the executive was very clear.  They saw the IT team as the department of no!  It didn’t matter how good an idea it was…

Left Brain Leadership

| I have spent a large part of my career leading / managing teams.  I have had my moments of success and my moments of failure as a leader.  I look back at some of the things I have done in the name of leadership and cringe at my crassness…

Is the Internet Safe? Of course not!

On July 30, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

| The internet is not 100 percent safe, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using it to support you to take your business forward.  And rather than worrying about all those things that you don’t understand I think you should think of the internet in the same way you…

Influencing Through Value Propositions

On July 14, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

| Value.  As I have mentioned many times in my previous articles the role of IT teams is to use technology to deliver value to their organisation. One of the biggest challenges to the delivery of IT value is that delivering value through technology is a cooperative act between IT…

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective CIO’s (part 2)

On July 12, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,,,, , With No Comments

| I have been a fan of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits for a long time now.  It has been very influential in how I look at the world and how I live my life, despite my constant failures to live up to the habits.  It has also been influential in…

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective CIOs (part 1)

On July 10, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,,,, , With No Comments

| I have been a fan of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits for a long time now.  It has been very influential in how I look at the world and how I live my life, despite my constant failures to live up to the habits.  It has also been influential in…

Sources of IT Value

On July 5, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

| I talk and write a lot about value and the ability of IT to deliver real value for organisations. That’s our role, delivering value to our organisations through the smart and effective use of technology and information.  Despite this I have never formally captured my thoughts on what are…

Digital, the 21st Century Gold Rush

On June 30, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| A few weeks back I was deeply involved in a conversation with a colleague.  I don’t really remember where the conversation started or what’s its ultimate purpose was meant to be but it was one of those beautiful conversations that starts in one place, generates many connections and tangents…

We’re a Technology Company. Yeah Right!

On June 10, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

| It’s become very popular lately to declare yourself as a technology company.  It doesn’t seem to matter what industry you are in, the growing popular view is that every company is a technology company.  Here are some examples of company / executive pronouncements: Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of…

The Chief Influencing Officer

On May 30, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| I have always thought that success as a CIO ultimately comes down to your ability to be influential. It’s true that influence is important in many roles and essential for executive roles but in no other roll is it as important as for the CIO. Let me explain. The…

Too Much To Do

On May 27, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

| I had arrived early and took up a seat in a quiet corner of the cafe.  I was here for my first coaching session with Roseanne.  Roseanne was identified early as a high potential leader within a major corporate IT team.  Recently, however, her CIO had noticed a disturbing…

The Problem with Projects – They Don’t Deliver Value

| Organisations are obsessed with projects.  Every year they invest millions of dollars into projects presumably with the expectation that these projects will create value for them and support them to achieve their goals and visions.  The problem is, projects seldom if ever actually deliver value and seldom if ever…

The Relentless Pursuit of Sameness

On May 17, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

| “Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to. Alice: I don’t much care where. The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go. Alice: …So…

The Technology Puzzle

On April 21, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,,, , With No Comments

For more than a decade now the proportion of organisational technology spend being managed outside of the IT team has grown rapidly.  Most industry analysts reckon that the split in IT spending is nearly 50/50 between IT controlled and spent outside of IT.  There are many reasons offered as to…

Driving Digital Competence

On April 14, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,,, , With No Comments

My daughter Sarah has just passed her learner’s driving licence.  It is a very exciting time for her and a somewhat nervous time for myself and her mother.  The day after she passed I took her out for her first ever drive.  I decided that having her actually drive on…

Investing in Digital Competence

On March 18, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

Many years ago I remember sitting in a classroom listening to a lecturer. I don’t remember why I was there or what it was that I was meant to learn, the only thing I really remember is a cartoon that was flashed up on the screen. The cartoon had two pictures on…

One Approach to Strategy

On March 17, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| “Forget the arduous, intellectualised number crunching and data grinding. In real life, strategy is actually very straight forward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell.” Jack Welch I love this quote. It captures so much of where I have ended up when it comes to understanding strategy….

The 4 Jobs of Technology

On March 15, 2016, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

I have recently reread some of Clayton Christensen’s work. Christensen is most famous for his theory of disruptive innovation first espoused in the Innovator’s Dilemma.  In many ways the popularisation of the term disruption can be traced back to Christensen.  In one of the pieces I read Christensen looks at…

Defining Digital Competence

In a recent blog I raised the issue that most organisations don’t systematically invest in the digital competence of their team.  Having under invested, they then lament their inability to deliver real tangible value from their technology investments.  You can’t be a digital leader, or expect to realise the full…

Wizards in the Workplace

On December 18, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| Last July we embarked on a family trip to the United States. I dubbed it the “parks and parks” tour as the first half was spent in some of the famous national parks. The second half was spent in Orlando’s theme parks. One of the highlights of the trip…

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling

On December 16, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

I am a bit of a contrarian at heart so when I see large groups of people lining up on one side of an issue with no apparent opposition my natural inclination is to look at that big group of people and try and understand their point of view and…

Culture, First Among Equals

On November 12, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

In my view, Peter Drucker is one of the best leadership thinkers of our time so when Drucker says something I sit up and take notice. If Drucker said it then there is a very good chance that it’s true. So when I discovered that Drucker said that “culture eats…

C-Suite Soup: Win with Actions, Not Titles

On October 18, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| While a C-Suite title may sound cool and make you feel good, having a title or position is not the same thing as being a leader. It is also no guarantee that you can or will make a positive contribution. And in my book, making a positive contribution is…

Thoughts on Culture

On October 5, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

Lately I have had a lot of conversations about the culture of IT teams.  These conversations tend to have one of two themes.  The first is whether their team has a positive culture or a negative culture. Typically, these conversations are quite negative and focus on why our culture is…

Focus Equals Progress

On September 8, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| It started in high school.  Exams were coming closer and closer and I really hadn’t done any work for them at all.   I had spent many hours at my desk, supposedly working, when really all I was doing was listening to the radio and doodling a little.  Then…

Don’t Sell Technology, Satisfy Needs

On August 15, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| I often get asked how I go about selling technology. Sometimes, the question comes from technology company sales teams, other times from leaders of organisational IT teams. It doesn’t really matter who is asking, because the answer is always the same: it depends on the needs of the customer….

The More Things Change …..

On July 17, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With Comments Off on The More Things Change …..

We hear a lot about the increasing pace of change in our world today.  So much so that we have created a whole new set of acronyms.  My current favourite is VUCA, which I saw in a recent McKinsey article.  VUCA world – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. We seem…

Technology Hammer

On June 17, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With Comments Off on Technology Hammer

In 1964 Abraham Kaplan coined what he called the law of the instrument – “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.”  This law, and all of its variations, describe the IT industry, we play the role of the small boy and…

Educational Principles At Work

On April 17, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With Comments Off on Educational Principles At Work

As our oldest daughter was approaching her third birthday, my wife began to discuss with me what she wanted to do with preschool education for our children. In short, she wanted our children to attend a Montessori preschool and if at all possible a Montessori primary school as well. I…

Codifying Change and Success

On March 18, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

I have recently had reason to apply much of what I have learnt in my business life to my personal life. Without going into too much detail it occurred after a trip to the doctor where he told me I had type 2 diabetes. Initially I was devastated and went…

Hurry Up and Wait

On February 28, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| For large enterprises, the cloud is a revolution for those processes that are necessary, but not necessarily that important. Therefore, think very carefully before you move any process or application into the cloud, especially if it’s a source of competitive advantage. I have been to a number of events…

Aspiring IT Leaders

What makes a great CIO? What do CIOs do anyway? These two questions and variations of them seem to get asked regularly at conferences and on social networks such as LinkedIn. The latest round of these questions has inspired me to write this blog.  This is my take on what…

The Eight-Step Change Process Guide for CXOs

On December 18, 2014, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

| Ultimately, if CIOs are going to be successful in realising the value of IT for their organisations, then they need to become experts at successfully delivering change. However, organisations – CIOs included – are not very good at change. Depending on the research you read, anywhere between 50 per…

How to Sell to a CIO

On November 14, 2014, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,,, , With No Comments

Before I took up the role of CIO at The Warehouse I was a partner with Deloitte Consulting. As with most professional services firms my role was a mix of selling and delivering services to clients. Because of this when I joined The Warehouse I was quite open to meet…

A New Change Paradigm

On November 11, 2014, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

Ultimately, if CIOs are going to be successful in realising the value of IT for their organisations, then they need to become experts at successfully delivering change. However, organisations CIOs included are not very good at change.  Depending on the research you read anywhere between 50% and up to 70%…

Unmasking The New CIO

On October 3, 2014, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

For as long as I’ve been in the IT industry (which is a disturbingly long time) commentators have been lauding the virtues of the emerging ‘new CIO’. While the details change, the underlying theme remains constant; technology is changing rapidly and with these changes the role of the CIO must…