High Performing IT Teams

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 and create value. However, what I found when I arrived […]

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 of being a high performing IT team is operational excellence. […]

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

| 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 job, as an industry, to ensure that this value is […]

Innovation and Change. When Leaders are the Problem.

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.  First things first, congratulations to Chris Paykel and James Hurman […]

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, “but before we dive into it, what exactly does the […]

Shadow IT. Mandate Without Service.

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 a few, of the world’s problems.   The problem is mandates […]

High Performance. The Role of Process vs Outcomes

| 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 what exasperated (to be polite).  The question on the table […]

It’s Not Where You Begin

| 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 of the millennium with family at Waikoikoi.  Another of these […]

A Renovation Approach To Going Digital

| 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 an old villa in Auckland.  We were new to Auckland […]

Finding Common Ground

| 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 “go digital” and is finding it difficult to get the […]

Line of Competence

| 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 are confused if not downright angry about it. They have […]

Persistent Problems and Conventional Thinking

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 50% of our projects fail and to make matters worse […]

Failure is Good. Yeah Right!

| 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 is a chance that it won’t work out the way […]

Facilitated Governance

| 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 IT would find a way to make sure it didn’t […]

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

| 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 my understanding of what you need to do to be […]

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective CIOs (part 1)

| 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 my understanding of what you need to do to be […]

Too Much To Do

| 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 trend in her performance.  Roseanne and her team were missing […]

The Technology Puzzle

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 why this move has happened, however it is hard to […]

Driving Digital Competence

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 the road with other cars was a step too far […]

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 value from your digital investments unless your team members, who […]

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 makes a great CIO. At a high level I believe a […]

How to Sell to a CIO

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 with potential service providers to see what value they could […]

Knowledge is Power! Or is it?

| We hear all the time that knowledge is power. In our industry we use this mantra as a justification for all sorts of investment, particularly investments in business intelligence. But is knowledge really power? Let’s consider this. In our house we have one rule (thanks to my sister, from whom we lifted this rule). That rule is “everyone deserves […]