To Robo or not To Robo — that is the question

While taking a break, I took the opportunity to revisit my financial portfolio and considered picking up the phone and setting up an appointment with my financial analyst. But, wait a minute; I had received a communication recently from this institution about the availability of a machine-like interface where I can interact with a faceless agent who can provide me guidance on making financial decisions. Really? Who is behind this interface? Who is really thinking on my behalf? How capable is this person? Can I trust this “thing”? These were the thoughts that went through my mind as I pondered over my next step. Welcome to the world of Robo Advisors, the world of logic and algorithms and mathematical calculations that can have a direct impact on your own finances. Intrigued? Well, I am not surprised. I reached out to my colleague, Anthony Golia, the Chief Architect for Financial Services at Red Hat to have a conversation around this technology as well as the pertinent human and emotional perspectives that it could entail. Join me as I take you through this new world of financial advisors.

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Ten commandments for retail business and technology

Guess I was serious when I had shared that I may begin to like shopping after all. I found myself at the Manhattan Momentum conference, where the tag line was Active Solutions for the Active Enterprise. Active it was for sure, with the continuous dissemination and exchange of information across leading players in the retail industry for warehouse management, order management, transportation etc. I had the chance to interact with manufacturers, distributors, device makers, software developers, hardware vendors covering the spectrum of technologies that make the retail experience more and more innovative. However, what stood out for me was the remarkable alignment between the strategic observations made by Manhattan Associates president and CEO Eddie Capel, and the forward-thinking architectural tenets shared by Sanjeev Siotia, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Manhattan.  This is a lot more than just business and IT alignment. Both the retail industry as well as information technology are experiencing disruptions that draw out a parallel. Let me walk through the ‘Ten Commandments of the Retail Business and Technology.’

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Digital transformation: On your mark, get set, go! says retail.

Industries around the world are approaching digital transformation—the impact of using digital technologies across the board—in different ways. Some industries tend to view this as a transformation of the customer experience while others are more about the transformation of the enabling technologies. However, the retail industry is rather unique in that it is poised for a transformation of sorts both from the business and the IT sides of the house, almost as if there is a race to get there first! Even though, digital transformation is a journey rather than a destination. These are the thoughts that are slowly beginning to take shape in my mind as I gear up to facilitate the Executive Exchange Thought leadership session on the Race to Retail Digital Transformation — Business or IT? as part of the CDM Media CIO Retail Summit in New York.

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Simplifying technology to energize the business.

Perhaps it is with good reason that Super Bowl 51 was held in Houston, Tex., the nerve center of oil and gas companies with several key enterprises that drive the dynamics of the energy industry at large. The manner in which the game took a different turn all the way into the third quarter is quite symbolic of the ups and downs experienced by oil and gas enterprises over time.  “Who is the winner,” you ask? Well, in the Super Bowl of oil and gas, the winner is the company who has a laser focus on the business of oil and gas while taking steps to simplify the underlying technology infrastructure. Every company might be a technology company – but technology is not the core, differentiating competency of the enterprise.  Remember the call to action not that long ago: “Houston, we have a problem! Let’s innovate IT!?” Building upon the concepts outlined by Geoffrey Moore, it behooves oil and gas companies to grow the context (IT) by leveraging innovative technology solution providers while innovating the core business of oil. In other words, it is time that this industry simplified information technology to energize the business.

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Hi there, telco! What time is it?

“What time is it,” you ask?  Well, it is time for my first webinar with Ian Hood, Red Hat’s global chief architect for telco. What is so special about this? Well, by now we have collaborated on multiple blog posts in the telco sector including how various concepts like open source, cloud and blockchain can be applied to this fascinating industry. Psst! I will let you in on a little secret.  The way these posts have come about is through insightful discussions that Ian and I engage in and we author it live over a virtual meeting. I then take a shot at it to add a story line and Ian — my telco guru — keeps me honest. The upcoming webinar on Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. EST is going to be pretty much an insider’s look into one such discussion. You will hear first-hand how we go about having these discussions and the manner in which thoughts crystallize and take shape on a topic of choice. Question is: “Are you attending?”  Well, we certainly hope you are and you can even join in a Q&A that follows! So, let me ask the same question again — “What time is it?

 

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Wishing healthcare an innovative new year

As I gear up to deliver my first tech talk at the Illinois Technology Association on Jan. 25, I take a step back and relive my innovative experience delivering a similar session at the Gartner ITXPO Symposium last year. It is all about bringing the trifecta of business, technology and culture together to make Innovation real. Healthcare, for example, is a fascinating domain where there is always scope for innovation that can have a direct impact on our daily lives — whether it be from the perspective of the patient, the healthcare provider or the payer. Consider this paper-based device that can spin blood like a centrifuge — and thus called, lo and behold — Paperfuge! Or this app that took just a few minutes to diagnose the problem that took the doctors 16 years to find! Technology Innovation matters if and when it leads to business differentiation. Join me in wishing healthcare an innovative new year of 2017 — and if you happen to be in the area, I look forward to having an innovative discussion on this very topic at Tech Nexus on Wacker Drive in Chicago.

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Will 2017 be the “Year of Technology Realization?”

Aspire to be a technology strategist whatever your title says – the assertion by Vanguard CIO John Marcante rings true when I look ahead to what lies in store in the new year of 2017. I have the privilege of working – and collaborating – with a distinguished set of colleagues who are technology strategists at heart and who focus across a wide spectrum of domains across the public and private sectors. What follows is the output of a collaborative effort by this innovative bunch to put forth our collective predictions for 2017 – the year when technology has the potential to become real.

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How much DevOps should telcos take on?

A culture of engineering. That’s how an IT decision maker I recently spoke with characterized DevOps. It’s a definition that resonates very well with me because it really is about having the right mindset, one that transcends the entire business throughout the complete software development and deployment life cycle. A culture that accommodates the continuous and rapid evolution of the features and capabilities consumers now expect in every aspect of their daily lives. And doing this in a seamless, automated manner makes software development—and the services they enable—an exciting process that leverages collaborative innovation and purposeful automation.

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Striking the right balance of DevOps at telcos

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Blockchains can configure ‘Circles of Trust’ in telco

If you are a movie buff like me, you would have tried out six degrees of Kevin Bacon to find your shortest path to the actor of your choice — Bacon included. The actual route to Bacon is not predetermined and can vary depending upon your own network of acquaintances, which can change and potentially grow over time. What if you had the ability to select and configure the optimal path including the acquaintances? More to the point, what if you had an assurance that these acquaintances were inherently secure, with built-in trust? Not just a network of connections, but a Circle of Trust? Say hello to blockchains and join me as I share my thoughts from an enlightening conversation I had with Ian Hood, chief architect, Global Service Provider, Red Hat.

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Tip o’ the Red Hat to energy executives who shared their insights in Houston

ict-tip-o-the-red-hat-photoJust a few weeks ago, I made my first visit to the CDM Media CIO Energy Summit to moderate a roundtable on the relevance of IT to the energy industry. To kick off the summit, Dr. Steve Pratt, CTO of Centerpoint, gave a passionate and energizing keynote. His message? IT and its critical role in adding value to business. I couldn’t agree more.

“Strategy has become the single most important document,” asserted Pratt, effectively reinforcing the point about the vital need to realize value out of technology. Pratt’s keynote highlighted several best practices that can be adopted for IT to continuously add value and be relevant to the business.

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