J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

September, 2011

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    IT Drivers for the Cloud

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    While putting together lessons learned from our Cloud-related Enterprise Strategy engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring IT drivers.

    The improvement of IT services and operations can deliver benefits such as improved service levels and cost savings. The Cloud offers numerous routes to IT optimization.

    10 IT Drivers for the Cloud
    Some of the key IT drivers for the Cloud include:

    1. A lack of internal skills, leading to increased external resource costs.
    2. Existing outsource refresh cycle points can generate the opportunity to consider alternative approaches.
    3. IT refreshes falling behind accelerating business-cycle demands.
    4. Joint collaboration, outsourcing and provisioning discussions that need more than transactional outsourcing models.
    5. The desire not to rely on specialists for commodity capabilities such as email.
    6. The desire to focus investments in core business areas and not IT – given IT is not what the business is about.
    7. The desire to move away from in-house development in order to lower cost.
    8. The desire to reduce the growing levels of external and internal resources needed to support day-to-day operations.
    9. The need to accelerate the improvement of infrastructure maturity to drive cost savings and to deliver new IT and business capabilities.
    10. The need to scale up and down IT to meet increased demands and changing markets, together with the introduction of new business organizations for example caused by mergers and acquisitions.

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    IT Scenarios for the Cloud

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    “I think it is one of the foundations of the next generation of computing." -- Tim O'Reilly

    While putting together lessons learned from our Cloud-related Enterprise Strategy engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring IT scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from an IT perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    IT scenarios for the Cloud are technical scenarios that can ultimately be linked back to business scenarios. For any given business scenario, one or more IT scenarios can be defined that expose a clearer picture of how the enabling technologies can be used to reach a solution.

    The following are key scenarios to be aware of from an IT perspective. These highlight the alignment of Cloud opportunities with common growth, deployment and management trends.

    IT Scenarios for the Cloud

    Cloud IT scenarios are organized into the following categories:

    • Business Intelligence
    • Cloud Computing
    • Consumerization of IT
    • Corporate Environmental Sustainability
    • Innovation for Growth
    • Low-Cost Computing in the Enterprise

    Business Intelligence
    The use of business intelligence is a recognized way to enable a company to make insightful choices and thereby improve effectiveness. The Cloud is a means to lower the barrier to entry for these technologies. In the Cloud, datacenter overhead is mitigated by a pay-as-you-go model and the total cost of ownership (TCO) for business intelligence is lowered.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Empower your people with business insights
    • Improve organizational effectiveness
    • Enable IT efficiency

    Cloud Computing
    The Cloud enables customers to deliver connected experiences by delivering applications or solutions that leverage enterprise-class services of Cloud platforms.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Trust in enterprise-class services
    • Deliver consistent, connected experiences
    • Harness the power of choice

    Consumerization of IT
    This scenario focuses on the evolution of corporate IT environments towards a user-centric computing model. User devices and personal devices entering the workplace are changing the IT landscape. Enabling these devices consequently enables the users and ultimately promotes an innovative workplace.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Boost productivity with new ways of connecting and sharing
    • Stay competitive as an innovative company and workplace
    • Deliver IT flexibility while managing security

    Corporate Environmental Sustainability
    Green IT is a testament to the active rethinking of business practices throughout the industry. Beyond pure ecological impact, corporations are achieving significant savings through smart use of technology.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Reduce energy demands
    • Manage energy and environmental footprint
    • Rethink business practices

    Innovation for Growth

    An investment in tools, processes, and culture can drive innovation and grow a business through new products, services, and/or processes. For nearly every enterprise, innovation is critical to long-term success. Investing to drive innovation can improve a business’s competitiveness and help it thrive in a challenging economy and shifting business landscape.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Engage: Widen the idea pipeline
    • Evolve: Turn ideas into action
    • Evaluate and execute: Optimize return on investment (ROI) and business value

    Low-Cost Computing in the Enterprise
    This scenario is centered on IT efficiency and lowering the cost of business. Savings are achieved by reducing both capital expenditures and operating expenditures. Costs are cut out of IT infrastructure and operations through more efficient use of hardware and software, standardized configurations, and streamlined management.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Maximize the efficiency of your IT infrastructure
    • Use technology to lower the cost of doing business
    • Take advantage of technology delivery innovation

    Common Scenario Patterns for the Cloud


    When reviewing successful Cloud implementations, the following patterns are common scenarios:
    • Growing Fast
    • On and Off Bursting
    • Unpredictable Bursting
    • Predictable Bursting

    In general you can think about the Cloud as an application that fits one of these patterns. Use these patterns to analyze and test potential Cloud scenarios for success. For example, the “On and Off Bursting” scenario is optimal for testing because you can run the application on premises and in the Cloud concurrently.

    Growing Fast

    clip_image002

    Archetype(s):

    • Startup companies
    • Viral applications and agents - Designed for 100, wanted by 20,000

    Characteristics:

    • Successful services that need to grow/scale
    • Keeping up with growth is a big IT challenge
    • Complex lead-time for deployment

    The Growing Fast pattern is typically represented by a startup company that begins with a minimal IT footprint, but quickly scales up their offerings as demand increases. Similarly, companies that might underestimate usage of their product might need to rapidly scale IT capabilities. Customers get to bypass the overhead costs of hardware and management, and focus on delivering business value.

    On and Off Bursting

    clip_image004

    Archetype(s):

    • Off-hours number crunching/computation jobs

    Characteristics:

    • On and off workloads (e.g. Batch jobs)
    • Over-provisioned capacity is wasted
    • Time to market can be cumbersome

    The On and Off Bursting pattern is commonly represented by a company needing batch processing or computation. For example, a big challenge for hedge funds is acting quickly on data or emerging events. Cloud computing offers the opportunity to come to book large numbers of machines for a short period of time to conduct analysis. The Cloud allows on-demand resource usage that removes the need for heavy capital expenditures on hardware that will sit idle for large portions of its lifespan.

    Unpredictable Bursting

    clip_image006

    Archetype(s):

    • Marketing campaigns

    Characteristics:

    • Unexpected/Unplanned peak in demand
    • Sudden spike impacts performance
    • Cannot over-provision for extreme cases

    The Unpredictable Bursting pattern occurs when scaling is not predictable. For example, an eCommerce site specialized in selling sporting goods for Spain’s soccer team after they won the World Cup. The Web site traffic surge due to this win was not predictable, and an inability to service the demand spike would cause a substantial loss in revenue opportunity. A site deployed in the Cloud could have additional servers provisioned in short order, or even be designed to dynamically scale server instances to follow the demand curve.

    Predictable Bursting

    clip_image008

    Archetype(s):

    • Seasonally driven eCommerce sites

    Characteristics:

    • Services with micro-seasonal trends
    • Peaks due to periodic increased demand
    • IT complexity and wasted capacity

    The Predictable Bursting pattern occurs when workload scales up and down based on a predictable pattern. An example of this might be a salary or payroll firm. On set intervals such as the 1st and 15th of each month, there is a spike in demand for computing power to process the payroll. By using the Cloud, the necessary computing power can be scaled to meet the demand, and then subsequently scaled back again to save expenses during the lower demand period.

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    Business Scenarios for the Cloud

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    While putting together lessons learned from our Enterprise Strategy cloud engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring business scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from a business perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    The following business opportunities reflect common motivation for Cloud migration:

    • Achieve cost-effective business continuity
    • Create new revenue streams from existing capabilities
    • Decrease power consumption
    • Decrease the time to market for new capabilities
    • Easily integrate new businesses into your organization
    • Improve operational efficiency to enable more innovation
    • Improve the connection with your customers
    • Provide elastic capacity to meet business demand
    • Provide Enterprise messaging from anywhere
    • Reduce upfront investment in new initiatives

    Achieve cost-effective business continuity
    Business continuity risk can be transferred to vendors by leveraging cloud solutions. Cloud providers can provide robust and less expensive business continuity solutions than businesses can achieve alone.

    Solution

    • Adopting a cloud service means the provider is responsible for disaster recovery. Cloud providers treat disaster recovery seriously as an outage impacts their bottom line.
    • Cloud services enable easy geo-availability. Applications can take advantage of datacenter geo-distribution without high investment or development overhead.
    • Cloud services provide capacity on demand. Utilizing cloud bursting helps address unpredictable usage spikes as systems resume operations after disaster recovery.
    • Reduce the cost of disaster recovery infrastructure. Replace parts of the dedicated disaster recovery infrastructure with cloud infrastructure.

    Benefits

    • Fast and SLA-based Recovery. Cloud capabilities provide a highly accessible disaster recovery infrastructure which can support near real-time recovery point and recovery time objectives when failing over from on-premises to cloud disaster recovery.
    • Boost Productivity. Any worker who can effectively telecommute can be productive in the cloud based disaster recovery scenario.
    • Lower Costs. Customers can maintain a hot-standby system for very little recurring cost and turn it up instantly in the event of a disaster.

    Create new revenue streams from existing capabilities
    Monetize business capabilities as a revenue generator. Leveraging a cloud platform to achieve a business capability can prove profitable through extending the implementation for others to consume on a subscription basis.

    Solution

    • New revenue streams. Monetize existing capabilities through new channels to offset the cost.
    • White label a business capability. Extend existing applications as a consumable service to generate revenue.
    • Expose internal content. Create API’s into core systems to use internal content as a revenue stream.
    • Leverage consumption based pricing. Use cloud based pricing models to lower costs, risks and time.

    Benefits

    • Additional revenue streams. Find new revenue streams from existing capabilities and data by providing them as a service.
    • Maximize capital investments. Distribute unused capacity of Dynamic Data Center to other departments or customers.
    • Lower investments for new opportunities. Pursue opportunities without costs and lead times required by a traditional data center.
    • Increase market share. Use the public cloud to access new markets in previously unattainable geographies.

    Decrease power consumption
    Reduce power costs and environmental impact through more efficient data center design and optimization. Leverage Cloud resources to outsource workloads gaining greater efficiencies and lower operating costs.

    Solution

    • Move workloads to the Cloud. Cloud providers gain greater power efficiency through economies of scale.

    Benefits

    • Lower costs. Reduce CapEx with fewer servers and reduce OpEx by powering fewer servers with greater efficiency.
    • Meet legislative regulations. Avoid non-compliance penalties and earn financial incentives by meeting government targets.
    • Minimize the impact of rising energy costs. Reduce the effect of unpredictable energy costs to future budgets by lowering consumption and increasing efficiency.
    • Reduce waste. Lowered energy consumption reduces the waste power generation.

    Decrease the time to market for new capabilities
    With the Cloud, the time to implement applications for pilot projects or production deployments is drastically reduced because of the reduction of environment and infrastructure concerns.  This accelerates the time from concept to execution for projects and allows organizations to explore more opportunities overall with much lower cost and risk.

    Solution

    • Quickly create new environments. Cloud-based Infrastructure enables organizations to create new environment in minutes instead of weeks.
    • Accelerate development efforts. The level of effort to develop applications is reduced as organizations can focus on functionality instead of plumbing.
    • Reduce the maintenance cost of new applications. Leveraging PaaS increases the consistency between applications and reduces the set of variables for troubleshooting and maintenance even when developed by 3rd parties.

    Benefits

    • Try more ideas more quickly. With the ability to deploy new capabilities at a much reduced cost, the customer can try out more ideas without fear of a costly failure. If the customer deploys five capabilities for the price of one, they dramatically increase their odds for success.
    • Quickly react to competitive threats. With the ability to quickly create and scale capabilities, the customer can quickly respond by launching a competitive offering.
    • Reduce costs. The new applications will have a reduced cost for maintenance and support because of the consistency provided by a common platform with IaaS/PaaS.

    Easily integrate new businesses into your organization
    Move people onto core systems with self-provisioning. Reduce business disruptions with flexible online business services. Accelerate speed to value by connecting across network and organizational boundaries to integrate acquired systems.

    Solution

    • Integrate organizations with shared productivity tools.
    • Host commonly accessible productivity tools in the Cloud.
    • Securely store and expose business information. Use Cloud services and federated ID’s to expose data.
    • Integrate data and processes quickly. Expose disparate systems and data using the Cloud and federated security.
    • Integrate instead of migrate. Cloud services federated security helps avoid migrating systems and organizations.

    Benefits

    • Increase the speed of value realization. Time to value is greatly reduced from acquired business.
    • Quickly integrate staff. Reduce integration time for the staff from the acquired organization into the corporate systems and functions.
    • Shorten the transition period. Greatly reduce the time required to achieve organization and business stability.
    • Consumption-based pricing. Pricing of Cloud services allows better prediction of the operating cost of new business.

    Improve operational efficiency to enable more innovation
    Enable investment to be prioritized on strategic initiatives through efficient use of available budget. Enable the business to make informed decisions through cost transparency for each IT solution and increase the accuracy in business cases for new initiatives.

    Solution

    • Sourcing strategy from the Cloud. Reduce complexity and operational spending by moving commodity services to the Cloud.
    • Gain efficiencies through shared services. Providing IaaS or PaaS provides standardization and scale while removing redundancy.
    • Increase automation of operational tasks. Create a dynamic data center that leverages shared infrastructure/platform and automated management.

    Benefits

    • Decrease headcount focus on operational tasks. Move commodity services to the Cloud. Increase use of shared services and automation so that fewer people are required for repetitive operational tasks.
    • Gain efficiencies: Latest technology without the need to upgrade, economies of scale, decreased deployment time.
    • Free up resources to focus on business innovation: More headcount available to work on innovation, strategic projects, and execution, more agility to better react on business requests / changes.

    Improve the connection with your customers
    Integrating systems through the use of Cloud services is often easier and lowers the barrier to entry compared with on-premises solutions. When integration is easier, organizations can provide more information to customers. This in turn increases satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

    Solution

    • Connect systems to provide a single view for customers. Technology deployed in the Cloud can bring together data easily and seamlessly.
    • Designed for external connectivity. Cloud services are designed for public consumption making it easy to expose information to customers.
    • Lower time to market.  Cloud integration is often easier to adopt which decreases the time to develop solutions.

    Benefits

    • Create new interfaces into business. The flexibility Cloud computing offers, provides opportunities to expose new data for customers.
    • Increase customer satisfaction. Making data available for customers.
    • Extend the reach of the business. Open new markets through global availability of data.
    • Increase the time employees spend with customers.  Readily available data empowers employees to spend less time searching and more time working with customers.

    Provide elastic capacity to meet business demand
    Leverage the on-demand consumption model of the Cloud to quickly provision and de-provision resources as needed. Increase agility by enabling your organization to react to an urgent business need quickly by applying Cloud-based resources.

    Solution

    • Operate at a higher level and scale incrementally. Use Cloud services to right-size capabilities and focus on driving core business value.
    • Overflow capability. Use the Cloud as a pressure release valve for IT organizations that might have insufficient personnel or are out of power and space.
    • Elastic and scalable. Cloud computing’s ability to quickly provision and de-provision services creates an elastic, scalable resource. Pay only for the services used.

    Benefits

    • Respond more quickly to business needs. Additional capacity can be added rapidly as needed.
    • Effectively scale capability up and down. Scaling down prevents paying for unused capacity.
    • Reduce your IT infrastructure and management costs. Leverage a Cloud provider for infrastructure and management.
    • Cost of failure is minimized.  If the project is cancelled, wasted up front capital investment is not as significant.
    • Risk of unexpected growth is minimized. On demand capacity from the Cloud service.

    Provide Enterprise Messaging from Anywhere
    Secure, reliable, timely access to the latest enterprise class messaging from anywhere helps maintain and improve corporate based productivity and manage overall, per user messaging costs.

    Solution

    • Migrate messaging to the Cloud. As appropriate, move workers from on-premises messaging to Cloud software services.
    • Self-provisioning. Provide self-provisioning for remote workers, suppliers, and partners.
    • Automatic upgrades. Avoid business disruption and allow IT to focus on higher value areas.
    • Segmentation of user types. Allow a more granular control of features per user group.

    Benefits

    • Rapid onboarding. Quick provisioning of external, temporary and new workers increases their productivity and reduces IT burden.
    • Resource elasticity. Enable growing or variable businesses to lower costs and the impact of changes.
    • Reliability. Negotiated and guaranteed uptime.
    • Predictable, reduced costs.  Reduce both upfront and ongoing cost and make costs more transparent and predictable.
    • Most recent features. Users can always take advantage of the latest features because of real time upgrades.

    Reduce Upfront Investment in New Initiatives
    Reduce the size of investment required to launch new initiatives and align the cash-flow requirements with actual solution adoption over time. Reduce the risk associated with upfront investments.

    Solution

    • Software-as-a-Service. Replace existing software with a SaaS public Cloud offering.
    • Platform-as-a-Service. Use PaaS offerings to begin developing new solutions without new infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Move existing infrastructure to the Cloud through IaaS offerings.

    Benefits

    • Reduction in capacity planning expense. This removes much of the complexity surrounding the planning of data centers, SKU management, and contract management.
    • Reduction in hardware, software, and real estate expense. The Cloud can reduce or eliminate the need for upfront investment in infrastructure for new initiatives.
    • Align cost with solution adoption. The cash-flow requirements of a new solution become directly tied to adoption of the solution.
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    Create New Revenue Streams from Existing Capabilities

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    While putting together business scenarios for the cloud, one of the scenarios that came up is “create new revenue streams from existing capabilities.”  The business opportunity, solution, and benefits are summarized as follows:

    Opportunity

    Monetize business capabilities as a revenue generator. Leveraging a cloud platform to achieve a business capability can prove profitable through extending the implementation for others to consume on a subscription basis.

    Solution
    • New revenue streams. Monetize existing capabilities through new channels to offset the cost.
    • White label a business capability. Extend existing applications as a consumable service to generate revenue.
    • Expose internal content. Create API’s into core systems to use internal content as a revenue stream.
    • Leverage consumption based pricing. Use cloud based pricing models to lower costs, risks and time.
    Benefits
    • Additional revenue streams. Find new revenue streams from existing capabilities and data by providing them as a service.
    • Maximize capital investments. Distribute unused capacity of Dynamic Data Center to other departments or customers.
    • Lower investments for new opportunities. Pursue opportunities without costs and lead times required by a traditional data center.
    • Increase market share. Use the public cloud to access new markets in previously unattainable geographies.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Achieve Cost-Effective Business Continuity

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    While putting together business scenarios for the cloud, one of the scenarios that came up is “achieve cost-effective business continuity.”  The business opportunity, solution, and benefits are summarized as follows:

    Opportunity

    Business continuity risk can be transferred to vendors by leveraging cloud solutions. Cloud providers can provide robust and less expensive business continuity solutions than businesses can achieve alone.

    Solution
    • Adopting a cloud service means the provider is responsible for disaster recovery. Cloud providers treat disaster recovery seriously as an outage impacts their bottom line.
    • Cloud services enable easy geo-availability. Applications can take advantage of datacenter geo-distribution without high investment or development overhead.
    • Cloud services provide capacity on demand. Utilizing cloud bursting helps address unpredictable usage spikes as systems resume operations after disaster recovery.
    • Reduce the cost of disaster recovery infrastructure. Replace parts of the dedicated disaster recovery infrastructure with cloud infrastructure.
    Benefits
    • Fast and SLA-based Recovery. Cloud capabilities provide a highly accessible disaster recovery infrastructure which can support near real-time recovery point and recovery time objectives when failing over from on-premises to cloud disaster recovery.
    • Boost Productivity. Any worker who can effectively telecommute can be productive in the cloud based disaster recovery scenario.
    • Lower Costs. Customers can maintain a hot-standby system for very little recurring cost and turn it up instantly in the event of a disaster.
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    Higher Profitability, Faster Time to Market, and More Value from their IT

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    I’m an avid collector of proven practices for execution and getting results.  Execution is your best friend, among changing times and evolving landscapes, especially when you combine your execution with effective strategy.

    One of the key practices for successful companies is digitizing their core processes.  Digitizing your core processes can create higher profitability, reduce time to market, and get more value from your IT investments, while lowering your IT costs.  That may sound too good to be true, but that’s a taste of what some of the data is showing.  Regardless of the data, you may have experienced this yourself first-hand, if you’ve seen a company that really has it’s IT act together.

    In the book, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, by Jeane W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson, the authors write about the difference that makes some companies survive and thrive, while others fold.

    Higher Profitability, Faster Time to Market, and More Value from their IT
    Digitizing your core processes can help you in multiple ways.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “We surveyed 103 U.S. and European companies about there IT and IT-enabled business processes.  Thirty-four percent of those had digitized their core processes.  Relative to their competitors, these companies have higher profitability, experience a faster time to market, and get more value from their IT investments.  They have better access to shared customer data, lower risk of mission-critical systems failures, and 80 percent higher senior management satisfaction with technology.  Yet, companies who have digitized their core processes have 25 percent lower IT costs.  These are the benefits of an effective foundation for execution.”

    Leading Edge Companies Pull Further and Further Ahead
    A good foundation for execution can help you focus, invest wisely, and get ahead.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “In contrast, 12 percent of the companies we studied are frittering away management attention and technology investments on a myriad of (perhaps) locally sensible projects that don’t support enterprise wide objectives.   Another 48 percent of the companies are cutting waste from their IT budgets but haven’t figured out how to increase value from IT.  Meanwhile, a few leading-edge companies are leveraging a foundation for execution to pull further and further ahead.”

    Companies with a Good Foundation for Execution Have an Increasing Advantage
    A good foundation for execution is an exponential advantage.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “As such statistics show, companies with a good foundation for execution have an increasing advantage over those that don’t.  In this book, we describe how to design, build, and leverage a foundation for execution.  Based on survey and case study research at more than 400 companies in the United States and Europe, we provide insights, tools, and language to help managers recognize their core operations, digitize their core to more efficiently support their strategy, and exploit their foundation for execution to achieve business agility and profitable growth.”

    I’ve seen the force multiplier of strategy+execution, and it’s no surprise why that is the difference that makes the difference between companies that thrive, and ones that die.

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    Why Some Companies Execute Better

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    Execution is king.  That’s what one of my most seasoned mentors taught me, early on at Microsoft.

    I’m always on the hunt for principles, patterns, and practices that improve execution, whether at the individual, team, or organization level.  Since I’ve joined the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy team, I get to take more of a balcony view across companies, and see different success patterns for execution.  It’s been very revealing how technology can help a business thrive.  It’s also been revealing how technology decisions can be a distraction or get in the way, if a company doesn’t have clarity on its strategy.

    In the book, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, by Jeane W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson, the authors share their perspective on why some companies execute better.

    You Do All the Right Moves, But You Still Can’t Get Ahead
    Competition is only getting tougher.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “In short, you do everything the management literature says you should, but you still can’t get ahead.  And the signs aren’t encouraging for the future.  You see Chinese companies taking over manufacturing in industry after industry.  Indian companies providing more and more services.  Small, agile competitors from around the world picking off niche after niche in your markets.  Competition is only getting tougher.”

    Yet Some Companies Thrive
    Some companies thrive while others are lucky just to survive.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “Yet some companies – some of your competitors – seem to be able not just to survive but to thrive.  In the face of tough global competition, companies like Dell, ING DIRECT, CEMEX, Wal-Mart, and others are growing and making money.  These companies have more-productive employees, get more from their investments, and have more success with their strategic initiatives.  What are they doing differently?

    They Have a Better Foundation for Execution
    They digitized operations and created a foundation for business agility.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “We believe these companies execute better because they have a better foundation for execution.  They have embedded technology in their processes so that they can efficiently and reliably execute their core operations of the company.  These companies have made tough decisions about what operations they must execute well, and they’ve implemented the IT systems they need to digitize those operations.  These actions have made IT an asset rather than a liability and have created a foundation for business agility.”

    The question I think this brings to mind is, “Have you identified your core and critical operations, and clarified what to digitize?”

    This plays right into thinking about your cloud strategy.

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    4x4 Sources of Strength

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    “Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.” -- General George S. Patton

    Life can have a lot of ups and downs and your ability to bounce back is one of the keys to your success.

    Here is a simple model I put together as part of my 30 Day Bootcamp on Getting Results to help you multiply your ability to bounce back in any situation:

    image

    I wasn’t sure whether to call my model a 4×4 Force Multiplier Frame or 4×4 Sources of Strength.   For now, I’m going with 4x4 Sources of Strength.

    If you know somebody who’s been knocked down and needs help getting back up, share this frame with them as a way to help them get back on their feet and find their sources of strength from the inside out.

    I tried to keep the model as simple as possible and easy to remember, while giving you a variety of sources of strength and energy to draw from.  I wanted this frame to serve as an “at a glance” reminder of how you are a force of one, from the inside out, as well as from the outside in.  Change your frame to change your game.

    Mind
    Here are some ways to bounce back with your mind:

    1. Focus on what you control and let the rest go.
    2. Like a rubber ball … Having the right mental model or metaphor is where it starts.  You can be like a rubber ball and bounce back from anything.
    3. Set limits on things.   If you let your body go until it crashes or runs out of steam, it can be too late.  You have to set limits either in terms of buffers or boundaries or timeboxes.
    4. Ask yourself, “What do you want your life to be about?”
    5. Turn resistance into your sparring partner.  Resistance is the enemy.  Respect it, but don’t let it wear you down.
    6. Visualize the prize.  If it works for Olympic athletes, it might just work for you.  Picture it, then make it so.
    7. Improve your self-talk.
    8. Change your beliefs.   Find a model or learn from others what some more empowering or useful beliefs might be.
    9. Change your focus.   You can change your focus by changing the question.
    10. Focus on what you control and let the rest go.
    11. Change your state.
    12. Know how to psyche yourself up.
    13. Don’t keep solving the same problems.  Burnout isn’t caused by working hard or working long hours.  It’s caused by working on the same problems or not making progress.
    14. Mentally prepare for it.   Simply resetting your own expectations can help you prepare for anything.  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
    15. Choose to act strong
    16. Turn a setback into a defining moment.
    17. Take breaks.   Even little breaks interspersed can help you mentally, emotionally, or physically.
    18. Use your renewal patterns.   Maybe this means taking an afternoon siesta.  Find what works for you.
    19. Shake things up.   Sometimes the best way to break out of a rut is to shake things up.
    20. Shift to the future.
    21. Ask yourself, “Who’s in your corner?”
    22. Know that resistance is the enemy.
    23. Brace yourself and pace yourself.  You might have to chip away at the stone.
    24. Remember your heroes.
    25. Remember your shining moment.
    26. Play the right “head movies.”  If you keep playing the wrong scenes in your head, you wear yourself down.  Find a new scene or movie to play in your head that inspires you.

    Body
    Here are some ways to bounce back with your body:

    1. Allow for recovery.
    2. Take action.  Sometimes you have to take action first and then energy and motivation follow.  You can think of this as “fake it until you make it.”  This is especially true for me when I run.
    3. Play like a kid, sleep like a baby.   I heard Deepak Chopra say in an interview that children sleep like a baby because of their dynamic activity throughout the day. To know great rest, we need to know great activity and vice-versa.  I know for myself that if I don’t get my downtime, I go into a slump. I’m a fan of giving my all while I’m driving a project, and then taking a break after I ship.
    4. Avoid spiking your blood sugar.   Spiking your blood sugar is one of the worst ways to work against your body.  It creates higher highs, and lower lows.  You can reduce the roller-coaster effect by limiting your intake of things that have a high-glycemic index.  Another approach is to balance your ratios of fat, carbs, and protein, such as in the Zone Diet.
    5. Swap out starchy carbs for more fibrous ones.  This seems to be a pattern that helps a lot of people find more energy in a consistent way.
    6. Eat more frequent and smaller meals.   This is another way to balance your body’s needs throughout the day.   One pattern is to aim for having a small meal or snack throughout the day, such as every three hours.
    7. Respect your cycles.  We all have our up times and our downtimes, even throughout the day.   If you find you need more sleep, test giving yourself more sleep.   Know your peak energy cycles throughout the day and leverage those.
    8. Don’t bake bad habits in.  When Bruce Lee was “off” or he couldn’t practice a technique properly, he stopped.  The last thing he wanted to do was burn in a habit or practice that was ineffective.

    Emotions
    Here are some ways to better balance and bounce back with your emotions:

    1. Think the thoughts that serve you.  Your thoughts create your energy.
    2. Pull yourself forward by what you really want to do.
    3. Grow your compassion.  Keep your heart open.  One of the worst ways to kill your lust for life is to grow callous and cold.
    4. Hold yourself high.  Your physiology affects your emotions in a strong way.  Sometimes you need to smile before you feel happy.
    5. Believe in yourself.  This might mean as simple as deciding that you’ll “give it all you’ve got” and “whatever happens happens.”  You don’t have to put your focus on your ability.  You can put your focus on your effort or your determination.  Where you put your focus will change how you feel.
    6. Find your “why.”  This is how you light your fire from the inside out.  Don’t depend on external things to keep you going.  Root yourself firmly in your own foundation.
    7. Leverage your relationships and network.  There is strength in numbers or even just somebody who wants to listen.

    Spirit
    Here are some ways to bounce back with your spirit:

    1. Make it bigger than yourself.   Find a cause where you can put your focus on something you think is great.  Having a cause is a great way to get back on your horse or back up to bat.
    2. Do what you love or do what you were born to do.  Either way, you win.  If you can’t find your calling, then look for your unique contribution.
    3. Connect to your values.
    4. Immerse yourself in great literature or music.
    5. Find the synergy.  According to Stephen Covey, we unleash our spiritual intelligence when we combine meaning, integrity and contribution – by serving and lifting all stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees and their families, communities, society — to make a difference in the world.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Move to the Cloud, Use the Cloud, or Be the Cloud

    • 0 Comments

    Mental models can really help you simplify how you think about a problem.  One of the more useful mental models I’ve come across while working across cloud solutions is: 

    … Move to the Cloud, Use the Cloud, and Be the Cloud.

    It’s a simple way to think about the role you play in the cloud arena, or the role the cloud plays in your arena.  Here’s a quick rundown of each one  …

    Move to the Cloud
    A “move to the cloud” leverages the cloud by moving software or data to the cloud.   An example of this would be building out Software as a Service offerings.  

    Use the Cloud
    Using the cloud is taking advantage of the cloud through consumption of some cloud services. This could be using another company’s SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS offerings to take advantage of the cloud benefits. You can benefit from the elastic capacity and increased flexibility.

    Be a Cloud
    Be a cloud refers to building cloud offerings for consumption by other partners (internal or external), or consumers. This is can be a SOA implementation, or building out a Private Cloud and offering services internally to other organizations within the same company.

    It’s a simple model, but I think it helps bring clarity to the table when people are talking about their cloud strategy.

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