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Posts Tagged ‘Capgemini’

Leading Digital In Practice

May 14, 2015 Leave a comment
I had the opportunity to read and review the book “Leading Digital” by George WestermanDidier Bonnet & Andrew McAfee, and as you might guess from the review score, I thought it was an excellent book. However, there’s nothing quite like putting something into practice to get a real feel for it, and I was able to do just that on a couple of recent occasions. Read on for highlights…

LD Book sm2

If you haven’t already read the book*, I can assure you it is chock full of common sense and great ideas on how to go about transforming your typical large, non-tech organisation into a digital master. However, as with most things, the theory can be vastly different from reality in practice, so below are a few observations from recent experiences where we tried to put into practice some of the wisdom from Leading Digital:

1. Not every organisation is geared up to do this right away – Even those organisations perceived by peers to be ahead of the pack may just be ‘Fashionistas’ at heart (i.e. very quick to try out shiny new digital toys without adult supervision). To gauge readiness it is important to understand where an organisation sits in the digital maturity quadrant**. Some organisations believe they already know the answer, but it’s always advisable to verify such a crucial starting point, in order to work out their best route to digital mastery.


Quadrant-sm

2. Engage both business and technology communities from the start – Anything else is just window dressing because, although either group can sell a good story as why they’re critical, neither side can fully deliver digital transformation without the other. It really is a game of two sides working well together to achieve a single outcome – no short cuts allowed.

3. Ground up or top down is great, but together they’re unbeatable – Every organisation must address four interlocking*** areas of: Vision, Engagement, Governance & Technology to stand any chance of leading digital. Many often have one or more of these areas needing serious intervention to get up to speed.

The-How-cropped-sm

4. Employees know their organisation better than anyone – This may be stating the obvious, but on several occasions we found critical knowledge locked in the heads of a few individuals, or that departments don’t communicate enough with each other, (not even those using the same systems / processes / suppliers). It is therefore a vital step to unearth such locked-in knowledge, and to untangle any communication gridlock.

5. Using the right tools in the right way pays off big – The Digital Maturity Quadrant or Digital Maturity Assessment exercise are great tools for stimulating debate, conversations and mission clarity. However the readiness of an organisation may impact how such tools are perceived as well as their effectiveness. In such situations, we need to reassess the best way to achieve a useful outcome.

In conclusion, I’d encourage all large, non-tech firms to look for opportunities to put some of the book’s wisdom into practice. The pay off is well worth it, and besides it’s never too late to start on the transformation journey because, as author Andrew McAfee puts it, when it comes to digital, “we ain’t seen nothing yet“!


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*Source: Leading Digital by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee
**Source: Capgemini Consulting-MIT Analysis – Digital Transformation: A roadmap for billion-dollar organizations (c) 2012
*** Source: Capgemini 2014


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IT’s At The Airport

Last month, I helped coordinate a BCS London seminar about the role of IT in the airport and air travel industry, and as you might imagine it proved a very popular topic, complete with sold out venue and 4 expert IT practitioners from one of the world’s busiest hub airport. Read on for highlights…

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In the UK, London’s Heathrow Airport served over 73 million passengers in 2014, which makes it a daily hive of logistical complexity and activity involving multiple parties, inter-linked processes and diverse technologies all of which interface with IT. As a result, Heathrow’s IT Department plays a crucial role in the smooth operation of the airport, and our 4 speakers provided a glimpse into several aspects of this relationship at the airport, for example:
  • Airport Operations – Heathrow operates 98% runway capacity which roughly translates to a take-off or landing event occurring every 45 seconds, thereby making it one of the most efficient 2 runway airports in the world. Speaker, Brent Reed (Airport Ops Lead Designer), described how Heathrow introduced a world’s first Time Based Seperation (TBS) system to further maintain / improve on this efficiency, particularly on windy days – every second counts!
  • The Automated Passenger Journey – Heathrow is actively implementing the IATA Fast Travel Program strategy which aims to provide 80% of global passengers with a complete and relevant self-service suite by 2020. According to Capgemini’s Don Grose (Lead Solution Architect), this program will deliver multiple benefits for: passengers, airlines and airports, and Heathrow has already delivered or trialled several self service capabilities, including: Self Boarding, Automatic Ticket Presentation and Kiosk self service bag tags, Self Service Bag Drop trials, as well as biometric enrolment & verification.
  • Shadow IT at Heathrow – Andrew Isenman (Passenger Experience Design Lead), described how Heathrow employees are starting to engage their colleagues and digitally enabled passengers in different ways, sometimes even bypassing the IT departments. As a result, the latter have proactively started encouraging and shaping how this engagement happens, at the same time they’re addressing the usual questions around: support provision, reduced Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO), increased security and minimal technical debt.
  • Airport Innovation – Heathrow has embraced the drive for innovation with various initiatives, some of which were presented by Richard Harding, (Head of strategy and innovation at Heathrow). They included: the Heathrow innovation Process, Crowd dynamics (detecting / measuring / alerting via CCTV), WiFi digital finger printing, Airfield Asset inspection, Mobile Display units and treasure hunts. Key insights gleaned from Heathrow innovation highlight the need for: open innovation, active promotion, new governance processes, skills enablement and innovative culture / process metrics.
In conclusion, it was a very informative session on how IT enables the daily operation of a major hub airport. Times are changing, and air travellers demand a more personalised experience in their interaction with Heathrow and its many partners which make-up the airport ecosystem.  A huge thanks to the BCS London organisers and the speakers for making it an insightful and worthwhile event about IT at the Airport!
Categories: BCS, Event Tags: , , , , ,

The Architect and Digital

March 15, 2014 Leave a comment

I was very fortunate to participate in Capgemini’s recent Business Priority Week (BPW), alongside over 300 attendees from 22 countries, at the beautiful Les Fontaines retreat. The focus of the week was a new global service line called Digital Customer Experience (DCX), and we (from various business units, disciplines and competencies) were set a challenge to explore and articulate how we’ll work together to deliver this promise for clients.

Digital Customer Experience

The Digital Customer Experience

Being the clever people that architects are sometimes rumoured to be, the immediate response is directly related their role in a rapidly accelerating digital world. However, as an architect, I fear our time may be coming to an end unless we embrace the need to evolve the practice of architecture into something that clearly defines, assures and guides the digital customer experience for our organisation and our clients (incl. their customers / end-users). In order to do this properly, we must undertake an architectural journey to understand the context and key issues before deciding on the most appropriate response. Key questions to ask and answer include:

1. What is Digital and why is it such a game changer for our clients and our business?
A great story about rice, chess and an emperor was used to illustrate the impact of Moore’s Law to startling effect by revealing that we are only at the beginning of the digital journey, or as the authors of Race Against the Machine would say, “we ain’t seen nothing yet”.

2. Are established architecture approaches still relevant for digital?
The experience gained from several decades of putting together complex computer based systems was not lightly earned, and it would be spectacularly foolish to suggest that this is no longer required in the age of digital. If ever there was a time for true architecture it is right now, at the start of such an epic journey, however this implies a shift in the way architects engage clients and practice architecture.

3. So what is different about architecture for Digital and why is this important?
In a short answer – it needs a renewed focus on the business model. The role of architecture in digital is about getting closer to the business and helping achieve desired outcomes, (so far so normal), but this must be done at the exponential pace of digital, whilst maintaining ROI from existing technology investments. It is akin to walking atop the wall of a castle whilst juggling live cats and canaries, during an earthquake, and ducking missiles from inside and outside the castle. I’m sure you get the picture.

The above points indicate a necessary shift in mindset to handle the relative extremes in velocities at the interface of Digital vs. traditional IT systems. Among other things, the digital architect should:

  • Provide enterprise technology governance framework as a key point of reference for the various agile projects and initiatives commonly found in the would-be digital enterprise.
  • Utilise business modelling techniques (e.g. the business model canvas) along with time and velocity sensitive architecture principles to provide critical governance and to guide solutions from design right through to implementation, and beyond.
  • Be mindful of legal and ethical issues that can arise in the digital space (e.g. contractual obligations for digital services, and / or the privacy concerns of end-users).
  • Anticipate the needs of clients and their business in a fast changing environment, even when some stakeholders might challenge the need for architecture in any form.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that architecture has never been more critical than at this particular point in time. This therefore is a call to action for every organisation to challenge their architects to provide the governance and assurance needed to achieve the outstanding outcomes promised by Digital Customer Experience, whilst also protecting existing investment and core assets.

Capabilities for Sustainable Innovation

August 5, 2013 1 comment

According to a recent Forrester Benchmarks Report, (somewhat provocatively entitled: “CIOs Are Not Ready To Support Business Innovation”), there are 3 levels of capabilities required to sustain innovation which any aspiring innovative organisation will do well to take notice. These key capabilities are clustered around 3 levels of: idea, implementation and control (see diagram below):

Forrester Innovation Capabilities (Source Forrester Research)

Forrester Innovation Capabilities (Source Forrester Research)

Figure: Forrester’s 3 Level of capabilities for sustainable innovation*

Some key findings from the report indicate that:

  1. Sustainable innovation requires “repeatable, manageable and measurable processes” across the 3 capability levels. However, it is also worth bearing in mind that incremental change does not necessarily equate to innovation. 
  2. Ideas management (including: ideation, incubation and portfolio management capabilities) is ad hoc and under managed across many organisations. Incidentally, this is the layer in which many organisations concentrate their efforts, especially during the initial buzz of launching of a new innovation initiative or program (usually with a team of dedicated people, or part-time volunteers within the organisation). 
  3. Various process and cultural issues will challenge implementation (e.g.: change management, incentives and communication capabilities). The processes and culture of many organisations will need major adjustment to cope with / support sustainable innovation. The occasional one-off innovation, and / or slow incremental change, may not present much of a problem, but constant, sustained innovation is challenging and sometimes disruptive.   
  4. Clear differences exist between organisations and their approach to innovation control (i.e. governance, funding and measurement capabilities). Innovation programs require different governance and control capabilities than the rest of the organisation, especially for timelines and outcomes, but these need clear boundaries on behaviour, funding and metrics / KPIs. I recently reviewed a book about “the architecture of innovation”, which discusses this and some of the other items above, in some depth.

Based on the above, it could be argued that many organisations, (and their CIOs), are not yet fully prepared to support sustainable innovation. So the obvious question to ask: what are you planning or doing about it in your organisation?

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Please Note: This post kicks off a new innovation topic series on which I plan to blog regularly. The topic seems to have become pervasive of late. For example, I lead a small innovation group in my business unit at work and we blog a lot about innovation, plus I write about “Tools for Innovation”, on behalf of the BCS Entrepreneurs Group. Given my keen interest in / involvement with creative entrepreneurs, investors and innovative technologies, It just made sense to pull these strands of related posts together under one “innovation series”. Disclaimer: As ever, except where stated otherwise, all opinions / observations / critique remain mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, The BCS Chartered Institute for IT, or any other groups in which I’m involved.

Interviews with the next generation work force

March 18, 2013 Leave a comment

There is nothing better than a fresh perspective on the future of digital technology, especially from those most likely to create and use it in their impending working lives within the next 5 – 10 years. I am talking about the next generation work force, aka those currently in their mid-to-late teens.

Next Generation Work Force

Next Generation Work Force

I recently had the opportunity to conduct several mock job interviews with students from a local college in West London, as part of Capgemini’s Schools Outreach programme. Apart from this being a welcome change in routine (if such a thing exists for a consultant), it was most illuminating to learn what these young candidates expected from a prospective employer, and equally what they imagined an employer might expect of them.

So once initial nerves had settled, and the individual conversations started flowing, it quickly became apparent that some of these young people were already rather accomplished, and that perhaps they should be the ones telling us what we could expect from the work place of tomorrow. For example:

  • One young entrepreneur ran his own a digital agency, which he’d founded along with a few friends, and he clearly already knew more about digital services than his peers, and teachers / career advisors
  • Another had created a charity health info website which consistently came up in the first couple of pages across search engines – a clear testimony of SEO skills, which is pretty much in demand within the digital industry
  • Others had done something or other with the web skills they gained on the course, or elsewhere (e.g. one set up a simple ecommerce website for Mom’s business). And, Oh yes, their social media savvy was very much in evidence, as some had already checked me out on Google / Linkedin / Twitter and came prepared with some interesting questions / opinions about my favourite topics of digital content and rights management.

Overall, I was really impressed by the level of awareness and keen interest shown by these students, but that does not mean everything points to a rosy future for the emerging digital work force. For example, according to one career advisor, there are significantly more boys than girls on the ICT courses, hence the mock interviews featured more male candidates than their equally gifted but less represented female counterparts.

Unfortunately, this situation is also sadly mirrored in the IT industry and work force of today. However, there are signs that things will continue to improve, as long as the likes of Marisa Mayer (Yahoo!), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Padmasree Warrior (Cisco), as well as Capgemini’s Christine Hodgson, and Maggie Buggie continue to help light the way forward.

My participation at this event was made possible by our award winning Director of the Schools Outreach Programme, and I would encourage both peers and industry colleagues to go ahead and give it a try if you ever get the opportunity in your respective regions and organisations.

Social Media Jam: Google Maps Innovation

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday’s excellent social media jam event featured Google’s Ed Parsons talking about the immediate and future vision for Google Maps, at the Capgemini office in Central London. Read on for some notes, comments and observations from the session.

Ed Parsons Talking Google Maps at Capgemini

As first speaker, Parsons took the audience on a journey through Google Map’s current state and plans, including:

  • Map Annotation – a feature, currently in beta, of real time annotation of Google Maps, based on the user’s circle of trust. This level of customisation means that each user will have a unique Google Map experience based on their annotations.
  • 3D Modelling – In less than five years, there are plans for some 3D photo-realistic models of places and locations, in real time. This means the images generated will be almost indistinguishable from the physical version. However, some challenges to be overcome include real time simulation and Map animation – e.g. to get realistic effects for such things as parallax, the lighting on buildings or movement of leaves on trees etc.
  • Indoor mapping – Another initiative in the works involves mapping “the great indoors” i.e. providing maps and locations within buildings (e.g. via wifi) and integrating seamlessly with the outside environment. Essentially, you could use your mobile device e.g. Smartphone not only to guide you to a shopping mall, but also to a specific location within one of its department stores.
  • Future of Maps – Finally, according to Ed, the map of the future will not be a map at all, instead, it’ll be tightly integrated into contextual services accessible via such cool devices as envisioned in this YouTube video for the Google glass project. Such scenarios involve the use of real time information (e.g. about destination / routes / detours / traffic / historical preference / calendar etc.) e.g. in Google Now, to dynamically adjust the service / experience delivered to the user. Contextual services are really all about exploiting the value of information at the specific time of use, and it relies on ambient information in that magic zone between physical & virtual worlds.

In addition, attendees were treated to a quick overview of an interesting application of Map technology and audio, which essentially allows artistes to create an audio soundscape for specific locations. This topic was covered by Southampton University’s Ben Mawson, who is working on a technology that will allow users to enter and explore sounds linked in this way to a physical location, via their Android Smartphone.

Below are some comments, questions and observations from attendees including:

  1. The decision, by Apple, to introduce their own maps offering into the iOS may mean users not getting to play as much with Google Maps
  2. Google Maps and Circles are a natural combination for Map annotation, but this will depend on user uptake, and careful management to avoid coming across as overly intrusive to the user. It was suggested that an interface with Facebook would be great for such annotations, but don’t hold your breath.
  3. Battery life – In order to make the described features truly usable, the longevity of battery life must be addressed managed intelligently (e.g. GPS usage only when moving)

In all, this was a most interesting event, and a key take away for me was that contextual information and Augmented Reality have come a long way, but their full implications are only just beginning to be understood. This means they can easily become misapplied or overly intrusive, therefore due care must be taken over interpreting user intentions, as this could bring back similar issues of: IP rights infringement, user intent and privacy concerns, which dogged the music industry and its infamous Napsterisation.

The Open Group Conference

July 21, 2012 Leave a comment

This week’s quarterly Open Group conference in Washington DC,  featured several thought provoking sessions around key issues / developments of interest and concern to the IT world, including: Security, Cloud, Supply Chain, Enterprise Transformation (including Innovation), and of course Enterprise Architecture (including TOGAF and Archimate).

The Capitol in Washington DC

The Capitol in Washington DC

Below are some key highlights, captured from the sessions I attended (or presented), as follows:

Day 1 – Plenary session focused on Cyber Security, followed by three tracks on Supply Chain, TOGAF and SOA. Key messages included:

  • Key note by Joel Brenner described the Internet as a “porous and insecure network” which has become critical for so many key functions (e.g. financial, communications and operations) yet remains vulnerable to abuse by friends, enemies and competitors. Best quote of the conference, was: “The weakest link is not the silicon based unit on the desk, but the carbon based unit in the chair” (also tweeted and mentioned in @jfbaeur’s blog here)
  • NIST’s Dr. Don Ross spoke about a perfect storm of consumerisation (BYOD), ubiquitous connectivity and sophisticated malware, leading to an “advanced persistent threat” enabled by available expertise / resources, multiple attack vectors and footholds in infrastructure
  • MIT’s Professor Yossi Sheffi expounded on the concept of building security and resilience for competitive advantage. This, he suggested, can be done by embracing “flexibility DNA”, (as exhibited in a few successful organisations), into the culture of your organisation. Key flexibility traits include:
    • Your resilience and security framework must drive, or at least feed into, “business-as-usual”
    • Continuous communication is necessary among all members of the organisation
    • Distribute the power to make decisions (especially to those closer to the operations)
    • Create a passion for your work and the mission
    • Deference to expertise, especially in times of crisis
    • Maintain conditioning for disruptions – ability for stability is good, but flexibility to handle change is even better
  • Capgemini’s Mats Gejneval discussed agility and enterprise architecture using Agile methods and TOGAF. He highlighted the relationship flow between: agile process -> agile architecture -> agile project delivery -> agile enterprise, and how the latter outcome requires each of the preceding qualities (e.g. agile methods, and faster results, on its own will not deliver agile solutions or enterprise). My favourite quote, during the Q/A, was: “…remember that architects hunt in packs!”

Day 2 – Plenary session focused on Enterprise Transformation followed by four streams on Security Architecture, TOGAF Case Studies, Archimate Tutorials, and EA & Enterprise Transformation (including our session on Innovation & EA). Key Highlights include:

  • A case study on the role of open standards for enterprise transformation, featured Jason Uppal (Chief Architect at QRS), describing the transformation of Toronto’s University Health Network into a dynamic and responsive organisation, by placing medical expertise and requirements above the flexible, open standards based, IT delivery.
  • A view on how to modernise service to citizens via a unified (or “single window government”) approach was provided by Robert Weisman (CEO of Build a Vision Inc). He described the process to simplify key events (from 1400 down to 12 major life events) around which the services could be defined and built.
  • Samira Askarova (CEO of WE Solutions Group) talked about managing enterprise transformation through transitional architectures. She likened business transformation to a chameleon with: its huge, multi-directional eyes (i.e. for long term views), the camouflage ability (i.e. changing colours to adapt), and the deliberate gait (i.e. making changes one step at a time)
  • The tutorial session on Innovation and EA, by Corey Glickman (Capgemini’s lead for Innovation-as-a-Managed Service) and yours truly, discussed the urgent need for EA to play a vital role in bridging the gap between rapid business model innovation and rapid project delivery (via Agile). It also provided several examples, as well as a practical demonstration of the Capgemini innovation service platform, which was well received by the audience. Key take aways include:
    • Innovation describes an accomplishment, after the fact
    • EA can bridge the gap between strategy (in the business model) and rapid project delivery (via Agile)
    • Enterprise Architecture must actively embrace innovation
    • Engage with your partners, suppliers, customers and employees – innovation is not all about technology
    • Creating a culture of innovation is key to success
    • Remember, if you are not making mistakes, you are not innovating

Day 3 – Featured three streams on Security Automation, Cloud Computing for Business, and Architecture methods and Techniques. Highlights from the Cloud stream (which I attended) include:

  • Capgemini’s Mark Skilton (Co-chair of the Open Group’s Cloud Working Group) talked about the right metrics for measuring cloud computing’s ability to deliver business architecture and strategy. He discussed the complexity of Cloud and implications for Intellectual Property, as well as the emergence of ecosystem thinking (e.g. ecosystem architecture’ and ‘ecosystem metrics’) for cloud computing and applications
  • A debate about the impact of cloud computing on modern IT organisational structure raised the point that a dysfunctional relationship exists between business and IT with respect to cloud services. The conclusion (and recommendation) is that healthy companies tend to avoid buying cloud services in business silos, instead they will pursue a single cloud strategy, in collaboration with IT, which is responsible for maintenance, security and integration into the enterprise landscape
  • Prakash Rao, of the FEAC Institute, discussed Enterprise Architecture patterns for Cloud Computing. He reiterated the point made earlier about how enterprise architecture can be used to align enterprise patterns (i.e. business models) to development processes. Also that enterprise patterns enable comparison and benchmarking of cloud services in order to determine competitive advantage

 

The bullet items and observations recorded above does not do justice to breadth and depth of the entire conference which included networking with attendees from over 30 countries, across all key industries / sectors, plus multiple, simultaneous streams, sessions and activities, many of which I could not possibly attend. Overall, this was an excellent event that did not disappoint. Further materials can be found on the Open Group website, including:

I would recommend the Open Group conference to any professional in IT and beyond.