The IT to BT transformation and 9 ways to profit from it


The Information Technology (IT) groups we all know and love are, slowly but surely, being transformed into new and more business-oriented organizations, best characterized by the term Business Technology (BT). This transformation of IT from being technology driven toward becoming business driven has long been in the making, is truly taking hold, and will potentially have major implications on your future employment.

I had the pleasure last week of speaking with David Bartoletti, a Senior Analyst with Forrester Research serving infrastructure and operation professionals. His company was commissioned by UC4 Software to evaluate the current state of IT process automation and explore possible areas for improvement. David’s paper was the first place I saw the term/concept of “Business Technology” truly and clearly defined.

For me, the combination of reading this paper and speaking with David brought two seemingly diverse concepts read more

Posted in IT Growth | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do an annual goals reset

In business, a year is very long time.  The economy can shift for better or worse, companies can merge, corporate business units can be bought and sold, senior company leadership can come and go, and projects can start and then surprisingly be canceled.

Under that backdrop, many companies include goal setting for the year ahead as part of their annual employee performance review process.  These types of annual goals have various names, including:

  • Manage by Objectives (MBOs)
  • Annual SMART goals
  • Incentive goals
  • Annual stretch goals
  • . . . and, well, just plan annual goals

All too often, whatever their name, thoughtful and well written read more

Posted in Strategic IT Management | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

9 Ways to properly prepare for an interview

In most human endeavors, preparation is the key to success. This could be running a marathon, negotiating the price on a new car, giving a speech, or as you may expect based on the title of this blog, putting your best foot forward in a job interview.

Tony Robbins, the great speaker said “The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck.” Abe Lincoln said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. “ The great golfer Arnold read more

Posted in IT attrition | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Working in the shower can be very productive

Truth be told, this column will be a lot more informative and a lot less provocative than the title alludes.

As funny as it sounds, some of my best work ideas have come to me when I’m not in the office.  As a software developer early in my career, there were times when I would practically be beating my head against my keyboard trying to define the best way to write a piece of  software and then, have the perfect design pop into my head while watching a baseball game on TV that evening.

Later in my career, as I read more

Posted in IT Managers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

15 Great IT telecommuting jobs


I’m considering going back to school for a degree in computer science. If I do, are there any IT jobs that can be done virtually from home?

In short, the answer to your question is yes, there are many IT related jobs that can be done virtually. If fact, as time moves forward, the list of potential virtual IT jobs is growing dramatically in both type and frequency.

Now for the long answer. I would like to begin with a note of caution because you will be new to the world of IT. Beginning your IT career working virtually can make it very difficult for you to gain a deep understanding of IT including:

  • The role of IT within an organization
  • Business and IT related processes beyond your specific task
  • Technology standards regarding process, documentation, naming conventions, and design methodologies

In addition to the items listed above, when working remotely it’s much more read more

Posted in IT attrition | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fishbone Diagrams: Another great root cause analysis tool for managers

This week’s column is my fifth and final column on root cause analysis tools for managers.  In previous weeks I explained Root Cause Analysis in general and three other great analysis tools; The Five Whys, Root Cause Mapping, and Brainstorming.  This week, as promised, I’ll be explaining Fishbone diagrams.

As you can see in Figure 1, Fishbone Diagrams are called Fishbone Diagrams because, well, they look like a fishbone. Its official name however is an Ishikawa Diagram named after its creator Kaoru Ishikawa. Other names read more

Posted in IT Management Skills | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

8 Great reasons to attend professional association meetings

A friend suggested that professional association meetings are a good place to network. I went to a meeting and didn’t make any good connections. Do you think going to these meetings are worth going to or are they a waste of time?

Professional association meetings are like Lays potato chips. You can’t eat just one. What I mean by this ridiculous statement is that the power of attending professional association meetings isn’t in just going once. The true value of these associations is going many times, for months and read more

Posted in IT Growth | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Brainstorming: A great root cause analysis tool for managers

This week’s column is my forth of five columns on root cause analysis tools for managers.  In the first column I explained Root Cause Analysis as the process of trying to discover the source (or sources) of a specific problem. I then went on to say that in the four weeks that followed I would describe a specific root cause analysis in depth.  To date, we have discussed The Five Whys and Root Cause Mapping (RCM).  This week we will be discussing Brainstorming.

I would like to begin by saying that Brainstorming read more

Posted in Strategic IT Management | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Maximize your productivity and build your professional brand by tool building

Sometimes a single activity can have multiple positive professional advantages. Building small tools in the workplace is the poster child for this phenomenon.

Regardless of your area of expertise within IT, there are small tools you can create, that once built, can make your job a little bit easier and a little bit more productive. Examples of these tools are:

  • If you are a DBA: Stored procedures that look for data inconsistencies across tables and/or databases.
  • If you are a programmer: Stub programs that mimic interfaces to other applications
  • If you are a tester: Create template testing plans.
  • If you are a help desk technician: Write custom scripts that do PC diagnostics or install company specific drive images.
  • If you are a project manager: If your IT shop does not currently use a formalized project management methodology, create one.
  • If you are a data communication specialist: Create a collection of vendor and open source based networking tools to detect, troubleshoot and correct networking related issues.

This list could go on and on. The moral of the above examples is to think about your specific job responsibilities and define a collection of job aides that read more

Posted in IT Growth | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cause mapping: A great root cause analysis tool for managers

This week’s column is my third column of five on root cause analysis tools for managers.  In the first column I explained Root Cause Analysis as the process of trying to discover the source (or sources) of a specific problem. I then went on to say that in the four weeks that followed I would describe a specific root cause analysis in depth.  Last week I explained The Five Whys and this week I’ll be discussing Root Cause Mapping (RCM).

Root Cause Mapping is a technique similar to The Five Whys, but read more

Posted in IT Managers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment