By Jeff Thompson

 

I’ve been running into more and more “Wave 2” CIOs and CTOs as of late—part of a growing “post-cloud” leadership team—and beginning to hear a common story. They’ve inherited a cloud-first estate from their predecessor(s) and are struggling to rationalize the promised value of the platform. Did it make their business cheaper? Faster? More agile? Is there less downtime? Did it solve their security challenges? Is their data protection more robust and well tested? Have they introduced new business capabilities and services they couldn’t have otherwise?

In many cases, the resounding answer to many, if not most, of these questions was “No.” The same business dysfunction had simply been fork-lifted to a new platform. Fear sets in of cloud platform services lock-in becoming the next generation of the dusty AS/400 in the corner. The midrange engineer packing up for retirement chuckles at the thought as they walk out the door.

Perhaps the overwhelming chant of “cloud-first” from their peer group triggered a fear of missing out from the last exec. The “Wave 2” leader quietly changes the mantra to “the right workload on the right platform.” But wasn’t that always the rallying cry of an effective organization?



 

Ever play the telephone game? You know, the one where you whisper a message to the next person, who whispers to the next person until you reach the end of the line. Does a message reach the destination? Sure! Does it stay intact? Never.

I was recently informed that things fell out of alignment for a critical section of a larger implementation plan. There were three vendors involved, numerous engineering pillar leads at the customer and FOUR project managers across the group! Lots of issues and questions—little progress.

Spin-off email chains, single vendor meetings and direct verbal conversations were contributing to continuity and context problems. We pulled people together, recommunicated the objective, achieved two-way confirmation of understanding between various parties, sent clear notes and defined owners and follow-ups. Back to the races.

A single quarterback that is responsible for ensuring success is crucial. They need to define, communicate and confirm understanding, no matter how many times the ball passes hands—or you’ll be playing the business telephone game. After all, didn’t we learn back in kindergarten that doesn’t work?


Last weekend, I took my kids to a “bounce park” filled with inflatable bounce houses. This was my first time there and I experienced an event shared with other establishments: they had digitized – great! … but not really …

Unfortunately I was handed a tablet and had to enter every last detail about our family, including addresses, dates of birth, and driver’s license information – 21 fields in total. In fact, I think about the only PII I wasn’t asked to enter was my mother’s maiden name and social security number. There was no policy available (even on request) on data retention, privacy, and accepted use. Can bounce houses in PA be subject to GDPR? Please?

“No children, you can’t jump yet. Daddy’s still struggling with understanding why this is a required field, and coming to terms with overbearing data collection in the face of playtime.”

It’s an interesting world we’re embarking towards. I guess I just have to hope “digitalwaiversrus” – the cloud service collecting my information on behalf of the bounce company – has a healthy security practice.