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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Paid To Do Nothing

On September 30, 2013, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By , , With No Comments

| One night after a long day at work I came home wanting to chill out and relax. As a father of four that is seldom an option. This particular night I arrived home right on bedtime and soon found myself in the middle of stories and good night cuddles….

The IS Hierarchy of Needs

On September 26, 2013, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

I developed the IS Hierarchy of Needs while I was the CIO of The Warehouse. I developed the hierarchy because I had to. Let me explain.I became the CIO of The Warehouse full of joy and hope of the world because I believe in the power of technology to be…

The Life Game Project

On July 24, 2013, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By ,, , With No Comments

  A few years ago I was invited to breakfast at the Takapuna Beach Cafe by a friend of mine. The purpose of this breakfast was to introduce me to Ian Howard, a friend of his. I turned up to the breakfast with no particular expectations. However, the conversation we had…

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…