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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Monday, September 26, 2016

Reward My Loyalty … with Spam!

Business
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 10, 2016
2:31 pm

How many times have you purchased something on line, or even just expressed a bit of interest in a new product, and are immediately hit with a seemingly endless series of marketing emails? 

The marketoonist captures this sentiment brilliantly:

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Identity as a Business Enabler – A New Concept?

Business, Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
4:22 pm

Foundation

Sometimes, I get impatient with the pace of progress in the Identity industry in general and certain companies in particular.  Yesterday, I listened to a presentation where the speaker was extolling the virtues of thinking of Identity and Access Management as an enabler for Digital Transformation, not just a defensive protector of data and systems.  He spoke as if this were a startling new concept.

I looked back in my blog and found a couple of entries that show at least some of us considered Identity to be a key business enabler a decade ago:

From May 2005 (the first month I blogged)

Viewing Identity Management as a business enabler rather than just a cost-reduction vehicle or compliance assistant allows us to think beyond the constraints of how we do business now. Just think of how many more customers you could serve, how many more services you could deliver and how many more partner relationships you could leverage if you knew that identities of all participants were highly secure but highly connectable!

From January 2007

Identity is an essential, core enabler of online business. Identity must not be an afterthought, a necessary evil, or a function forced by government regulation. It is more properly recognized as a key business enabler. The modern business paradigm of delivering highly personalized service to individual consumers demands that Identity is at the core of the business process.

It is a concept that is still valid today.  I’m glad to see more folks are catching on.

 

 

Do Clickthroughs Drive Sales?

Business
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 16, 2016
9:30 am

Aw, the firm predictability of click-throughs to revenue!

Marketoonist 160516

Thanks to Tom Fishbone, the Marketoonist, for this wry wisdom.

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Digital Business – Do We Have the Right Buzzwords?

Business, Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, December 7, 2015
9:17 pm

Today at the Gartner IAM Summit today I heard the term “Digital Business” dozens of times.  Do you think we have the right collections of buzzwords to describe that trend?

Buzzwords

Thanks to the Marketoonist for the insightful drawing!

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What in the world is Digital Transformation?

Business, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, September 4, 2015
5:11 pm

Digital: “of, relating to, or using data in the form of numerical digits

Transformation: “change in form, appearance, nature, or character.”

BlindMenElephant 720

The more I read about and discuss the hot buzzword “Digital Transformation,” the more I think of the old “Blind Men and the Elephant” story.  Each blind man’s perception of reality was different, depending on which part of the elephant’s anatomy he examined. The meaning of Digital Transformation also seems to depend highly on who is thinking about the subject.

First, consider a few examples of how business leaders may think of Digital Transformation:

To the business leader who has the vision of leveraging a company’s vast data resources to open new revenue opportunities through selling access to that data to interested customers, Digital Transformation is all about rapidly delivering that digital asset (data) to customers in new, innovative ways.

To the leader who is primarily interested in customer acquisition and loyalty in a consumer goods market, Digital Transformation may include “store of the future” concepts and providing a omni-channel customer buying experience.

To the health care executive, Digital Transformation may include providing electronic health records for patients that span multiple care providers to provide a more seamless and effective experience for patients and more profitable revenue channels for the many enterprises involved.

I’m sure thou can think of many more business examples.

Now think about what you have heard technology vendors say about Digital Transformation:

“You must leverage the Cloud to enable Digital Transformation.”

“Exposing and consuming APIs are essential are essential to Digital Transformation.”

“Digital Transformation is removing or consolidating information system silos.”

“Digital Transformation is all about enabling multi-channel customer experience.”

“Digital Transformation is all about harnessing Big Data.”

There are lots of body parts to the Digital Transformation elephant. Each of the viewpoints above is somewhat correct, but is lacking in completeness.  Digital Transformation is a big subject.

Perhaps the overall business perspective might be described in these ways:

Digital business models have become essential for companies across a range of industries. … going digital is now a prerequisite for surviving and thriving. (McKinsey)

Competing successfully in the digital industrial economy is rapidly becoming a leading strategic imperative for businesses all around the world. (Gartner)

Digital Transformation involves dramatically changing the enterprise to embrace and leverage digital technology to compete in new, innovative and disruptive ways.

From the technology viewpoint, we must remember that technology must enable business, not just exist for the sheer beauty of new stuff. Many technologies are converging to enable Digital Transformation – Mobile, Social, Cloud, Big Data, Internet of Things, APIs – I have probably missed a few. Any or all of these technologies can be leveraged in a Digital Transformation, depending on what is needed to support the business. No single technology is sufficient.  

We must remember that huge changes must be made in IT to enable dramatic changes in business. Gartner’s Peter Sondergaard recommends:

Digital startups sit inside your organization, in your marketing department, in HR, in logistics and in sales. As IT leaders, you must design, resource and deploy for a world that’s digital first. In this new model, every business unit is a technology startup. Now is your opportunity to create that team. Partner with the digital startups inside your organization and prove that you can move fast too. Embrace the outside change. 

Taking both business views and IT views into consideration, I rather like this definition of Digital Transformation from the Agile Elephant, a UK based consultancy:

Digital transformation is the process of shifting your organisation from a legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital, social, mobile and emerging technologies.  It involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.

This made me remember a statement made by Tom Peters in his book, Thriving on Chaos, which I first read in 1989:

Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change. That is, excellent firms of tomorrow will cherish impermanence and thrive on chaos!

A word of warning, however. Several years ago, when “Business Process Re-engineering” was a popular buzzword, a friend of mine was really excited when he was first assigned to a re-engineering team in his company.  He was not so happy a while later when he hold me his position in the company was re-engineered. He had been laid off!

We must be agile ourselves to survive and thrive!

 

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The Power of PowerPoint

Business, Humor
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, August 24, 2015
8:31 am

How many PowerPoint slides have you presented?  How many statistics have you used (or abused)?

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No, I don’t want to engage!

Business, Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, June 22, 2015
8:05 pm

Do you ever wonder why in the world you receive the ads you do on Facebook or other online venues? Methinks personalized, targeted advertising still has a long way to go.

Marketoonist 150622 engage

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Happy 100th Birthday, IBM!

Business, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, June 16, 2011
7:34 pm

It was 100 years ago today that the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation was incorporated through a merger of four companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Corporation, and the Bundy Manufacturing Company.  It’s name was later changed to International Business Machines Corporation.  Today we salute IBM for its innovation and endurance, its ability to remake itself time after time, and for leading the way to the era of modern computing which we now enjoy.

I highly recommend that you read the ZDNet Article, “IBM at 100: 15 inflection points in history” and step through the accompanying photo gallery, “IBM: 100 years of THINKing big.

IBM

I love old photos of the big panels with so many flashing lights.  And that guy probably knows what each of those lights means!

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Dilbert and Alice on Meeting Punctuality

Business, Leadership
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, May 21, 2011
5:26 am

Have you ever thought what Dilbert and Alice are saying in this comic strip?  Don’t lie, now.

 

Dilbert

We could all work on being a bit more punctual for meetings and con calls, don’t you think?

 

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Business Continuity as a Service?

Business
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, May 5, 2011
12:45 pm

My cyberspace friend André Koot recently translated his provocative blog post, entitled “Continuity as a Service,” from Dutch to English.  If you are interested in cloud computing, I highly recommend that you take time to read the article.

I like André’s comment about cloud computing in general:

The cloud reminds me of that old Blob, the science fiction movie, cloud is becoming so pervasive that it seems to take control of everything. And just admit it, we find that exciting, scary and fun at the same time. But if everything disappears in the fog, how do we know that business is as usual?

We all know that cloud computing has new risks and challenges.  But one risk that is often overlooked is business continuity:

Most risks are well known. Using standard operating procedures, access control and audits we can identify and mitigate problems relatively easy. And already there is a lot of information about security in the cloud. But one area of risk is not yet completely clear, the risks of business continuity.

Although new legal relationships are essential, they certainly don’t solve everything.

But the core of the AAS problem is that contract partners are not always the parties who offers the actual service. You can try to mitigate risks in contracts, but the fact of the matter is that you want to move to the cloud, because of the positive price / performance ratio of multi-tenancy and the (re) use of standard applications. Long term subcontractor relations in the real world don’t exits in the Cloud. If one platform provider is too expensive, our service provider just moves to another. This means that we are victims of the arbitrariness of our providers.

André  goes on to explore several situations that should be carefully considered:

  • What happens if the SAAS provider goes away?
  • Is “Cloud Escrow as a Service” a valid concept?
  • What happens if the PAAS provider underneath the SAAS provider goes away?
  • What measures should you take now so you can endure a cloud failure?

André’s parting comments are certain timely:

The uncertainty surrounding continuity is high at this moment. The question is whether for business-critical applications sensible solutions in the cloud exist today. An assessment around the continuity and security risks and safeguards in place seems to be appropriate.

Amazon’s recent challenges certainly focused our collective attention on this important subject. In order for the challenges related to business continuity in cloud computing to be solved, there is much work to be done.

By the way, I thought the photo of a life preserver in the clouds was very appropriate for this post. It came from a blog post about business continuity by Maurice Saluan, VP-Channel Management for Zenith Infotech, a company heavily involved in cloud computing and business continuity.

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