This is my tenth post on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). I hear lots of bemoaning of BYOD – the old joke about “bring your own disaster” – and how it is just being done to support executive toys. My view: so what?! Implementing BYOD is the right thing to do for most organisations. If you can ride the wave of executive demand and deliver something that improves the security and usability of IT in your organisation…what are you waiting for?! Go do it!
If you are thinking about the future of technology, IT in general, or your organisation’s IT in particular, are you thinking about the implications of global phenomena? When formulating IT strategy (i.e. planning with a 3-5 year time horizon or longer) I believe that this is a necessity. The IT strategies that I have seen usually focus on only two things: (1) the current business strategy; and, (2) technology change. This strikes me as being far too narrow. The global and local trends that are all around us will have a tremendous impact on what we are able to achieve in business and with IT and I think that our strategies will be stronger for taking them into account. One of the largest and most important global phenomena that should affect our strategies (because it will affect everyone on the planet) is climate change.
I like Tim Harford’s books, and this is no exception: an entertaining and informative read on a new paradigm for success. Harford argues that you should avoid single, big, top-down, long-term strategies in favour of many, localised, small experiments that you can afford to have fail. Good experiments will succeed, bad ones will fail. This will give rise to emergent strategies – bottom up, localised approaches to solving problems that really work. If, during this process, you fail multiple times this should be both expected and planned for. Adaptability is key. Harford illustrates his idea with several intriguing case studies, including the war in Iraq and oil platform accidents. Highly recommended for those dealing with organisational strategy, innovation or just tackling the sorts of problems that are common in business.
The term “Sexy Billing” was first coined by Darran Clem of Telesperience (in fact Darran coined the twitter hashtag #sexybilling) in response to this post where Teresa Cottam complains that telecommunications billing wasn’t seen as sexy, but that it should be. At first it just made me laugh. But then I began to think – why was that? I have devoted several years of my life to working on and thinking about billing in telecommunications (and elsewhere) – why would I do that if I didn’t think it was sexy in some respect? What would it mean for billing to be sexy? In fact what does it mean to say that a topic is “sexy”? We don’t mean we are sexually attracted to it (I hope)! Instead, when we say that something like a car is sexy, we mean that it is glamourous, it’s attractive, that when we are involved with it we are filled with a sense of delight. Pondering this, I realised that many of the core aspects of billing aren’t sexy. Those hard issues around rating algorithms, trade-offs between the performance and reliability, processing vast numbers of transactions, integration with the demands of customer relationship management, finance and business intelligence systems are just that – hard, and not intrinsically exciting. However, the experiences that billing gives rise to can be sexy – that is they can be the kind of experiences that customers, management and internal staff want to have and be associated with. Now, they often aren’t sexy – but they could be and should be! So here is my take on what sexy billing might look like.
In my career in telecommunications I have worked across Europe, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I’ve also spent most of my life in the Asia-Pacific region, and used telecommunications services across various countries. My experience has shown me that telecommunications providers, vendors and professionals need to have a markedly different attitude towards this region. Europe is a considerably more homogeneous region than Asia-Pacific. The OSS and BSS solutions that I was involved in within Europe were remarkably similar in their approach (if not their functionality), whereas the solutions that I worked on in the Asia-Pacific region were radically different in their approach to delivering what was often the same functionality.
A piece of advice I was recently given was that I shouldn’t worry about strategy tools and models (e.g. strategy maps, five forces, balanced score cards etc.) but instead should just get on and “do” the strategy. The advice comes down to: don’t focus on the method for coming up with and describing your strategy – focus on what you need to do and how you are going to do it. My initial response was “this is good advice when you are doing strategy, but not so good when you are wanting to use or model existing strategy” (for instance when doing enterprise architecture). On further reflection, I think I was mistaken.