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Agile Results, Digital Business Transformation, and Program Management
Updated: 4 hours 26 min ago

Digital Transformation Defined

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 07:16

This post is a walkthrough multiple definitions of digital transformation from multiple sources.

Digital transformation can be elusive if you can’t define it.

Lucky for us, there is no shortage of definitions for digital transformation.

I find that rather than use one single definition for digital transformation, it’s actually more helpful to look at a range of definitions to really internalize what digital transformation means from multiple angles.

Before you walk through the definitions, be sure to review Satya’s pillars for Digital Transformation so you have a simple mental model to work with.

Wikipedia on Digital Transformation

Wikipedia has a simple explanation:

“Digital transformation refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”

What I like about that definition is that it goes beyond pure business and includes all impact on society, whether it’s education, government, sports, arts, leisure, etc.

Altimeter on Digital Transformation

Altimeter defined digital transformation from a customer-focused lens in their online report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation:

“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

What I like about Altimeter’s definition is that it’s outside in vs. inside out.  The big idea is to leverage technology to adapt to your customer’s changing preferences.  So if you “transform”, but there is no visible impact to your customers or to the market, then you didn’t really transform.

Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business on Digital Transformation

Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business define Digital Transformation in Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations like this:

“Digital transformation – the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises.”

While their definition may look simplistic, the power is in the data behind the definition.  It’s a global study of how 157 executives in 50 large traditional companies are managing – and benefiting from – digital transformation.

Agile Elephant on Digital Transformation

Agile Elephant defines digital transformation like this:

“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.”

While this definition may seem more elaborate, I find this elaboration can really help get somebody’s head into the digital transformation game.

MIT Sloan’s 9 Elements of Digital Transformation

In The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee identify the key attributes of digital transformation:

Category Items Transforming Customer Experience
  1. Customer Understanding
  2. Top-Line Growth
  3. Customer Touch Points
Transforming Operational Processes
  1. Process Digitization
  2. Worker Enablement
  3. Performance Management
Transforming Business Models
  1. Digitally Modified Businesses
  2. New Digital Businesses
  3. Digital Globalization

 

The nine elements are excerpted from their digital report, Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations.  Here are quick summaries of each:

  1. Customer Understanding – Customer Understanding is where “Companies are starting to take advantage of previous investments in systems to gain an in-depth understanding of specific geographies and market segments.”
  2. To-Line Growth – Top-Line Growth is where “Companies are using technology to enhance in-person sales conversations.”
  3. Customer Touch Points – Customer Touch Points are where “Customer service can be enhanced significantly by digital initiatives.”
  4. Process Digitization – Process Digitization is where “Automation can enable companies to refocus their people on more strategic tasks.”
  5. Worker Enablement – Worker Enablement is where “Individual-level work has, in essence, been virtualized — separating the work process from the location of the work.”
  6. Performance Management – Performance Management is where “Transactional systems give executives deeper insights into products, regions and customers, allowing decisions to be made on real data and not on assumptions.”
  7. Digitally Modified Businesses – Digitally Modified Businesses is “finding ways to augment physical with digital offerings and to use digital to share content across organizational silos.”
  8. New Digital Businesses – New Digital businesses is where “companies are introducing digital products that complement traditional products.”
  9. Digital Globalization – Digital Globalization is where “Companies are increasingly transforming from multinational to truly global operations.”

Sidenote – George, Didier, and Andrew sum up the power of digital transformation when they say, “”Whether it is in the way individuals work and collaborate, the way business processes are executed within and across organizational boundaries, or in the way a company understands and serves customers, digital technology provides a wealth of opportunity.”

Digital Business Transformation

I think it’s worth pointing out the distinction between Digital Transformation and Digital “Business” Transformation.

Digital Business Transformation is specifically about transforming the business with digital technologies.

There are many lenses to look at but in particular it helps to view it through the lens of business model innovation.   So you can think of it as innovating in your business models through digital technologies.   Your business model is simply the WHO (customers), the WHAT (value prop), the HOW (value chain), and your WHY (profit model.)

An exec from SAP at Davos said it well when he said “new business models are driven by different interactions with companies and their customers.”

In pragmatic terms, that means evolving your business model and interaction patterns to meet the changing demands of your customers all along your value chain.  For example, consider how millennials want to interact with a business in today’s world.  They want to learn about a company or brand through their friends and family on social networks and through real stories from authentic people, and they want access to services anytime, anywhere, from any device.

Another way to think about this is how many companies are learning how to wrap their engineering teams around their customer’s end-to-end journey to directly address the customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Hopefully, this helps give you a good enough understanding to get going with your Digital Transformation and to understand the difference between Digital Transformation and Digital Business Transformation so that you can pave your path forward.

If nothing else, go back to the Altimeter Group’s definition of Digital Transformation,“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”, and use Satya’s pillars for Digital Transformation as a guide to stay grounded.

Additional Resources

Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations, by Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, by Altimeter

The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

SWAYAM: India’s First MOOCs Platform

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 18:20

It’s always cool to see the work our team is doing around the world to help hack a better world.

Our Digital Advisory Services team is helping the Government of India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), to reimagine the student experience and to develop India’s first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) platform.

Apparently, the presentation went so well that the honorable HRD minister, Smriti Irani tweeted our Student Experience Journey Map that helps show the vision and the Digital Transformation opportunities.

Way to go!

image

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Satya Nadella on Digital Transformation

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 23:55

Satya posted his mental model for Digital Transformation:

image

I like the simplicity.

What I like is that there are four clear pillars or areas to look at for driving Digital Transformation:

  1. Customers
  2. Employees
  3. Operations
  4. Products

Collectively, these four Digital Transformation pillars set the stage for transforming your business model.

What I also like is that this matches what I learned while driving Digital Business Transformation with our field with customers, and as part of Satya’s innovation team.

Effectively, to generate new sources of revenue, organizations re-imagine their customer experience along their value chain.  As they connect and engage with their customers in new ways, this transforms their employee experience, and their operations.  As they gain new insight into their customers behavior and needs, they transform their products and services.

In a world of infinite compute and infinite storage…how would you re-imagine your business for a mobile-first, cloud-first world?

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

A Language for Architecture

Sun, 04/03/2016 - 17:52

This is an article that I originally wrote for the Architecture Journal to walk through how we created “a language for software architecture.”  Since the article is no longer available, I’m making it available here for old time’s sake.

The goal at the time was to create a simple way to work through solution design challenges and expose some of the key architectural concerns and choices.

The idea was to make it very easy to zoom out to the broader context, and then very quickly zoom into common architecture choices, such as deployment topologies and cross-cutting concerns.

I also wanted to be able to better leverage the existing patterns in the software industry by giving them a backdrop and a canvas so architects could compose them easier and apply them in a more holistic and effective way.

Grady Booch, one of IBM’s distinguished engineers, had this to say about the Architecture Guide where we first created this “language for architecture”:

“Combine these styles and archetypes, and you have an interesting language for describing a large class of applications. While I don’t necessarily agree that these styles and archetypes are orthogonal (nor are the lists complete) for the general domain of software architecture, for Microsoft’s purposes, these styles offer an excellent operating model into which one can apply their patterns and practices.”

While a lot has changed since the original creation of our Architecture Language, a lot of the meta-frame remains the same.  If I were to update the Architecture Language, I would simply walk through the big categories and update them. 

Summary

One of the most important outcomes of the patterns & practices Application Architecture Guide 2.0 project is a language for the space. A language for application architecture. Building software applications involves a lot of important decisions. By organizing these decisions as a language and a set of mental models, we can simplify organizing and sharing information. By mapping out the architecture space, we can organize and share knowledge more effectively. By using this map as a backdrop, we can also overlay principles, patterns, technologies, and key solutions assets in meaningful and relevant ways. Rather than a sea of information, we can quickly browse hot spots for relevant solutions.
Contents

  • Overview
  • A Map of the Terrain
  • Mapping Out the Architecture Space
  • Architecture Frame
  • Application Types
  • Application Feature Frame
  • Architecture Styles
  • Quality Attributes
  • Layered Architecture Reference Example
  • Layers
  • Tiers
  • Conclusion
  • Resources
A Map of the Terrain

One of the most effective ways to deal with information overload is to frame a space. Just like you frame a picture, you can frame a problem to show it a certain way. When I started the patterns & practices Application Architecture Guide 2.0 project, the first thing I wanted to do was to frame out the space. Rather than provide step-by-step architectural guidance, I thought it would be far more valuable to first create a map of what’s important. We could then use this map to prioritize and focus our efforts. We could also use this map as a durable, evolvable backdrop for creating, organizing and sharing our patterns & practices work. This is the main map, the Architecture Frame, we created to help us organize and share principles, patterns, and practices in the application architecture space:

image
Mapping Out the Architecture Space

Creating the map was an iterative and incremental process. The first step was to break up application architecture into meaningful buckets. It first started when I created a project proposal for our management team. As part of the proposal, I created a demo to show how we might chunk up the architecture space in a meaningful way. In the demo, I included a list of key trends, a set of application types, a set of architectural styles, a frame for quality attributes, an application feature frame, a set of example deployment patterns, and a map of patterns & practices solution assets. I used examples where possible simply to illustrate the idea. It was well received and it served as a strawman for the team.

Each week, our core Application Architecture Guide 2.0 project team met with our extended development team, which primarily included patterns & practices development team members. During this time, we worked through a set of application types, created a canonical application, analyzed layers and tiers, evaluated key trends, and created technology matrix trade-off charts. To create and share information rapidly, we created a lot of mind maps and slides. The mind maps worked well. Rather than get lost in documents, we used the mind maps as backdrops for conversation and elaboration.
Key Mapping Exercises

We mapped out several things in parallel:

  • Key trends. Although we didn’t focus on trends in the guide, we first mapped out key trends to help figure out what to pay attention to. We used a mind map and we organized key trends by application, infrastructure, and process. While there weren’t any major surprises, it was a healthy exercise getting everybody on the same page in terms of which trends mattered.
  • Canonical application. This first thing we did was figure out what’s the delta from the original architecture guide. There were a few key changes. For example, we found that today’s applications have a lot more clients and scenarios they serve. They’ve matured and they’ve been extended. We also found today’s applications have a lot more services, both in terms of exposing and in terms of consuming. We also noticed that some of today’s applications are flatter and have less layers. Beyond that, many things such as the types of components and the types of layers were fairly consistent with the original model.
  • Layers and tiers. This was one of the more painful exercises. Early in the project, we met each week with our development team, along with other reviewers. The goal was to map out the common layers, tiers, and components. While there was a lot of consistency with the original application architecture guide, we wanted to reflect any learnings and changes since the original model. Once we had a working map of the layers, tiers, and components, we vetted with multiple customers to sanity check the thinking.
  • Application types. We originally explored organizing applications around business purposes or dominant functionality, customer feedback told us we were better off optimizing around technical types, such as Web application or mobile client. They were easy for customers to identify with. They also made it easy to overlay patterns, technologies, and key patterns & practices solution assets. The technical application types also made it easy to map out relevant technologies.
  • Architectural styles. This is where we had a lot of debate. While we ultimately agreed that it was helpful to have a simple language for abstracting the shapes of applications and the underlying principles from the technology, it was difficult to create a map that everybody was happy with. Things got easier once we changed some of the terminology and we organized the architectural styles by common hot spots. It then became obvious that the architectural styles are simply named sets of principles. We could then have a higher level conversation around whether to go with object-based community or message-based and SOA, for example. It was also easy to describe deployments in terms of 2-tier, 3-tier, and N-tier.
  • Hot spots for architecture. When you build applications, there’s a common set of challenges that show up again. For example, caching, data access, exception management, logging … etc. These are application infrastructure problems or cross-cutting concerns. You usually don’t want to make these decisions ad-hoc on any significant application. Instead, you want to have a set of patterns and guidelines or ideally reusable code that the team can leverage throughout the application. What makes these hot spots is that they are actionable, key engineering decisions. You want to avoid do-overs where you can. Some do-overs are more expensive than others. One of the beauties of the architecture hot spots is that they helped show the backdrop behind Enterprise Library. For example, there’s a data access block, a caching block, a validation block … etc.
  • Hot spots for application types. When you build certain classes of application, there’s recurring hot spots. For example, when you build a rich client, one of the common hot spots to figure out is how to handle occasionally disconnected scenarios. The collection of hot spots for architecture served as a baseline for finding hot spots in the other application types. For example, from the common set of hot spots, we could then figure out which ones are relevant for Web applications, or which additional hot spots would we need to include.
  • Patterns. Mapping out patterns was a lengthy process. Ultimately, we probably ended up with more information in our workspace than made it into the guide. To map out the patterns, we created multiple mind maps of various pattern depots. We summarized patterns so that we could quickly map them from problems to solutions. We then used our architecture hot spots and our hot spots for application types as a filter to find the relevant patterns. We then vetted the patterns with customers to see if the mapping was useful. We cut any patterns that didn’t seem high enough priority. We also cut many of our pattern descriptions when they started to weight the guide down. We figured we had plenty of material and insight to carve out future pattern guides and we didn’t want to overshadow the value of the main chapters in the guide. We decided the best move for now was to provide a Pattern Map at the end of each application chapter to show which patterns are relevant for key hot spots. Customers seemed to like this approach and it kept things lightweight.
  • patterns & practices solution assets. This was the ultimate exercise in organizing our catalog. We actually have a large body of documented patterns. We also have several application blocks and factories, as well as guides. By using our architecture frame, it was easier to organize the catalog. For example, the factories and reference implementations mapped to the application types. The Enterprise Library blocks mapped to the architecture hot spots. Several of the guides mapped to the quality attributes frame.
  • Microsoft platform. This was a challenge. It meant slicing and dicing the platform stack in a meaningful way as well as finding the right product team contacts. Once we had our application types in place, it got a lot easier. For example, depending on which type of application you were building (RIA, Web, mobile … etc.), this quickly narrowed down relevant technology options. We created technology matrixes for presentation technologies, integration technologies, workflow technologies, and data access technologies. Since the bulk of the guide is principle and pattern based, we kept these matrixes in the appendix for fast lookups.
Key Components of the Application Architecture Map

Over the weeks and months of the project, a very definite map of the landscape emerged. We found ourselves consistently looking for the same frames to organize information. While we tuned and pruned specific hot spots in areas, the overall model of common frames was helping us move through the space quickly.

  • Architecture frame. The architecture frame was the main organizing map. It brought together the context (scenarios, quality attributes, requirements/constraints), application types, architectural styles, and the application hot spots.
  • Application types. For application types, we optimized around a simple, technical set that resonated with customers. For example, Web application, RIA, mobile … etc.
  • Quality attributes. We organized quality attributes by key hot spots: system, runtime, design-time, and user qualities.
  • Architectural styles. We organized architectural styles by key hot spots: communication, deployment, domain, interaction, and structure.
  • Requirements and constraints. We organized requirements by key types: functional, non-functional, technological. We thought of constraints in terms of industry and organizational constraints, as well as by which concern (for example, constraints for security or privacy).
  • Application feature frame. The application feature frame became a solid backdrop for organizing many guidelines through the guide. The hot spots resonated: caching, communication, concurrency and transactions, configuration management, coupling and cohesion, data access, exception management, layering, logging and instrumentation, state management, structure, validation and workflow.
  • Application type frames. The application type frames are simply hot spots for key application types. We created frames for: Web applications, rich internet applications (RIA), mobile applications, rich client applications and services.
  • Layered architecture reference model. (Canonical application) The canonical application is actually a layered architecture reference model. It helps show the layers and components in context.
  • Layers and tiers. We used layers to represent logical partitions and tiers for physical partitions (this precedent was set in the original guide.) We identified key components within the key layers: presentation layer, business layer, data layer, and service layer.
  • Pattern Maps. Pattern maps are simply overlays of key patterns on top of relevant hot spots. We created pattern maps for the application types.
  • Product and technology maps. We created technology matrixes for relevant products and technologies. To put the technologies in context, we used application types where relevant. We also used scenarios. To help make trade-off decisions, we included benefits and considerations for each technology.
User, Business, and System Perspective

One thing that helped early on was creating a Venn diagram of the three perspectives, user, business, and system:

image

In application architecture, it’s easy to lose perspective. It helps to keep three perspectives in mind. By having a quick visual of the three perspectives, it was easy to reminder ourselves that architecture is always a trade-off among these perspectives. It also helped remind us to be clear which perspective we’re talking about at any point in time. This also helped resolve many debates. The problem in architecture debates is that everybody is usually right, but only from their perspective. Once we showed people where their perspective fit in the bigger picture, debates quickly turned from conflict to collaboration. It was easy to move through user goals, business goals, and system goals once people knew the map.
Architecture Frame

The Architecture Frame is a simple way to organize the space. It’s a durable, evolvable backdrop. You can extend it to suit your needs. The strength of the frame is that it combines multiple lenses:

image

Here are the key lenses:

  • Scenarios. This sets the context. You can’t evaluate architecture in a vacuum. You need a backdrop. Scenarios provide the backdrop for evaluation and relevancy.
  • Quality Attributes. This includes your system qualities, your runtime qualities, your design-time qualities and user qualities.
  • Requirements / Constraints. Requirements and constraints includes functional requirements, non-functional requirements, technological requirements, industry constraints and organizational constraints.
  • Application Types. This is an extensible set of common types of applications or clients. You can imagine extending for business types. You can imagine including just the types of applications your organization builds. Think of it as product-line engineering. When you know the types of applications you build, you can optimize it.
  • Architectural Styles. This is a flat list of common architectural styles. The list of architectural styles is flexible and most applications are a mash up of various styles. Architectural styles become more useful when they are organized by key decisions or concerns.
  • Application Feature Frame. The application feature frame is a concise set of hot spots that show up time and again across applications. They reflect cross-cutting concerns and common application infrastructure challenges.
Application Types

This is the simple set of technical application types we defined:

Application Type

Description

Web applications

Applications of this type typically support connected scenarios and can support different browsers running on a range of operating systems and platforms.

Rich Internet applications (RIA)

Applications of this type can be developed to support multiple platforms and multiple browsers, displaying rich media or graphical content. Rich Internet applications run in a browser sandbox that restricts access to some devices on the client.

Mobile Applications

Applications of this type can be developed as thin client or rich client applications. Rich client mobile applications can support disconnected or occasionally connected scenarios. Web or thin client applications support connected scenarios only. The device resources may prove to be a constraint when designing mobile applications.

Rich client applications

Applications of this type are usually developed as stand-alone applications with a graphical user interface that displays data using a range of controls. Rich client applications can be designed for disconnected and occasionally connected scenarios because the applications run on the client machine.

Services

Services expose complex functionality and allow clients to access them from local or remote machine. Service operations are called using messages, based on XML schemas, passed over a transport channel. The goal in this type of application is to achieve loose coupling between the client and the server.

Application Feature Frame

This is the set of hot spots for applications we defined:

Category

Description

Authentication and Authorization

Authentication and authorization allow you to identify the users of your application with confidence, and to determine the resources and operations to which they should have access.

Caching and State

Caching improves performance, reduces server round trips, and can be used to maintain the state of your application.

Communication

Communication strategies determine how you will communicate between layers and tiers, including protocol, security, and communication-style decisions.

Composition

Composition strategies determine how you manage component dependencies and the interactions between components.

Concurrency and Transactions

Concurrency is concerned with the way that your application handles conflicts caused by multiple users creating, reading, updating, and deleting data at the same time. Transactions are used for important multi-step operations in order to treat them as though they were atomic, and to recover in the case of a failure or error.

Configuration Management

Configuration management defines how you configure your application after deployment, where you store configuration data, and how you protect the configuration data.

Coupling and Cohesion

Coupling and cohesion are strategies concerned with layering, separating application components and layers, and organizing your application trust and functionality boundaries.

Data Access

Data access strategies describe techniques for abstracting and accessing data in your data store. This includes data entity design, error management, and managing database connections.

Exception Management

Exception-management strategies describe techniques for handling errors, logging errors for auditing purposes, and notifying users of error conditions.

Logging and Instrumentation

Logging and instrumentation represents the strategies for logging key business events, security actions, and provision of an audit trail in the case of an attack or failure.

User Experience

User experience is the interaction between your users and your application. A good user experience can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the application, while a poor user experience may deter users from using an otherwise well-designed application.

Validation

Validation is the means by which your application checks and verifies input from all sources before trusting and processing it. A good input and data-validation strategy takes into account not only the source of the data, but also how the data will be used, when determining how to validate it.

Workflow

Workflow is a system-assisted process that is divided into a series of execution steps, events, and conditions. The workflow may be an orchestration between a set of components and systems, or it may include human collaboration.

Architectural Styles

For architectural styles, we first framed the key concerns to organize the architectural styles, and then we defined some common architectural styles.
Organizing Architectural Styles

These are the hot spots we used to organize architectural styles:

Hot Spots

Architectural Styles

Communication

Service-Oriented Architecture(SOA) and/or Message Bus and/or Pipes and Filters.

Deployment

Client/server or 3-Tier or N-Tier.

Domain

Domain Model or Gateway.

Interaction

Separated Presentation.

Structure

Component-Based and/or Object-Oriented and/or Layered Architecture.

Architectural Style Frame

These are some commonly recognized architectural styles:

Architectural Style

Description

Client-server

Segregates the system into two applications, where the client makes a service request to the server.

Component-Based Architecture

Decomposes application design into reusable functional or logical components that are location-transparent and expose well-defined communication interfaces.

Layered Architecture

Partitions the concerns of the application into stacked groups (layers) such as presentation layer, business layer, data layer, and services layer.

Message-Bus

A software system that can receive and send messages that are based on a set of known formats, so that systems can communicate with each other without needing to know the actual recipient.

N-Tier/3-Tier

Segregates functionality into separate segments in much the same way as the layered style, but with each segment being a tier located on a physically separate computer.

Object-Oriented

An architectural style based on division of tasks for an application or system into individual reusable and self-sufficient objects, each containing the data and the behavior relevant to the object.

Separated Presentation

Separates the logic for managing user interaction from the user interface (UI) view and from the data with which the user works.

Service-Oriented Architecture

Refers to Applications that expose and consume functionality as a service using contracts and messages.

Quality Attributes

For quality attributes, we first framed the key categories to organize the quality attributes, and then we defined some common quality attributes.
Organizing Quality Attributes

This is a simple way to organize and group quality attributes:

Type

Quality attributes

System Qualities

· Supportability

· Testability

Run-time Qualities

· Availability

· Interoperability

· Manageability

· Performance

· Reliability

· Scalability

· Security

Design Qualities

· Conceptual Integrity

· Flexibility

· Maintainability

· Reusability

User Qualities

· User Experience / Usability

Quality Attribute Frame

These are some common quality attributes:

Quality attribute

Description

Availability

Availability is the proportion of time that the system is functional and working. It can be measured as a percentage of the total system downtime over a predefined period. Availability will be affected by system errors, infrastructure problems, malicious attacks, and system load.

Conceptual Integrity

Conceptual integrity is the consistency and coherence of the overall design. This includes the way that components or modules are designed, as well as factors such as coding style and variable naming.

Flexibility

The ability of a system to adapt to varying environments and situations, and to cope with changes in business policies and rules. A flexible system is one that is easy to reconfigure or adapt in response to different user and system requirements.

Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability of diverse components of a system or different systems to operate successfully by exchanging information, often by using services. An interoperable system makes it easier to exchange and reuse information internally as well as externally.

Maintainability

Maintainability is the ability of a system to undergo changes to its components, services, features, and interfaces as may be required when adding or changing the functionality, fixing errors, and meeting new business requirements.

Manageability

Manageability is how easy it is to manage the application, usually through sufficient and useful instrumentation exposed for use in monitoring systems and for debugging and performance tuning.

Performance

Performance is an indication of the responsiveness of a system to execute any action within a given time interval. It can be measured in terms of latency or throughput. Latency is the time taken to respond to any event. Throughput is the number of events that take place within a given amount of time.

Reliability

Reliability is the ability of a system to remain operational over time. Reliability is measured as the probability that a system will not fail to perform its intended functions over a specified time interval.

Reusability

Reusability is the capability for components and subsystems to be suitable for use in other applications and in other scenarios. Reusability minimizes the duplication of components and also the implementation time.

Scalability

Scalability is the ability of a system to function well when there are changes to the load or demand. Typically, the system will be able to be extended over more powerful or more numerous servers as demand and load increase.

Security

Security is the ways that a system is protected from disclosure or loss of information, and the possibility of a successful malicious attack. A secure system aims to protect assets and prevent unauthorized modification of information.

Supportability

Supportability is how easy it is for operators, developers, and users to understand and use the application, and how easy it is to resolve errors when the system fails to work correctly.

Testability

Testability is a measure of how easy it is to create test criteria for the system and its components, and to execute these tests in order to determine if the criteria are met. Good testability makes it more likely that faults in a system can be isolated in a timely and effective manner.

Usability

Usability defines how well the application meets the requirements of the user and consumer by being intuitive, easy to localize and globalize, and able to provide good access for disabled users and a good overall user experience.

Layered Architecture Reference Model

This is our canonical application example. It’s a layered architecture showing the common components within each layer:

image

The canonical application model helped us show how the various layers and components work together. It was an easy diagram to pull up and talk through when we were discussing various design trade-offs at the different layers.
Layers

We identified the following layers:

  • Presentation layer
  • Business layer
  • Data layer
  • Service layer

They are logical layers. The important thing about layers is that they help factor and group your logic. They are also fractal. For example, a service can have multiple types of layers within it. The following is a quick explanation of the key components within each layer.
Presentation Layer Components

  • User interface (UI) components. UI components provide a way for users to interact with the application. They render and format data for users and acquire and validate data input by the user.
  • User process components. To help synchronize and orchestrate these user interactions, it can be useful to drive the process by using separate user process components. This means that the process-flow and state-management logic is not hard-coded in the UI elements themselves, and the same basic user interaction patterns can be reused by multiple UIs.
Business Layer Components
  • Application facade (optional). Use a façade to combine multiple business operations into a single message-based operation. You might access the application façade from the presentation layer by using different communication technologies.
  • Business components. Business components implement the business logic of the application. Regardless of whether a business process consists of a single step or an orchestrated workflow, your application will probably require components that implement business rules and perform business tasks.
  • Business entity components. Business entities are used to pass data between components. The data represents real-world business entities, such as products and orders. The business entities used internally in the application are usually data structures, such as DataSets, DataReaders, or Extensible Markup Language (XML) streams, but they can also be implemented by using custom object-oriented classes that represent the real-world entities your application has to work with, such as a product or an order.
  • Business workflows. Many business processes involve multiple steps that must be performed in the correct order and orchestrated. Business workflows define and coordinate long-running, multi-step business processes, and can be implemented using business process management tools.
Data Layer Components
  • Data access logic components. Data access components abstract the logic necessary to access your underlying data stores. Doing so centralizes data access functionality, and makes the process easier to configure and maintain.
  • Data helpers / utility components. Helper functions and utilities assist in data manipulation, data transformation, and data access within the layer. They consist of specialized libraries and/or custom routines especially designed to maximize data access performance and reduce the development requirements of the logic components and the service agent parts of the layer.
  • Service agents. Service agents isolate your application from the idiosyncrasies of calling diverse services from your application, and can provide additional services such as basic mapping between the format of the data exposed by the service and the format your application requires.
Service Layer Components
  • Service interfaces. Services expose a service interface to which all inbound messages are sent. The definition of the set of messages that must be exchanged with a service, in order for the service to perform a specific business task, constitutes a contract. You can think of a service interface as a façade that exposes the business logic implemented in the service to potential consumers.
  • Message types. When exchanging data across the service layer, data structures are wrapped by message structures that support different types of operations. For example, you might have a Command message, a Document message, or another type of message. These message types are the “message contracts” for communication between service consumers and providers.
Tiers

Tiers represent the physical separation of the presentation, business, services, and data functionality of your design across separate computers and systems. Some common tiered design patterns include two-tier, three-tier, and n-tier.
Two-Tier

The two-tier pattern represents a basic structure with two main components, a client and a server.

image
Three-Tier

In a three-tier design, the client interacts with application software deployed on a separate server, and the application server interacts with a database that is also located on a separate server. This is a very common pattern for most Web applications and Web services.

image
N-Tier

In this scenario, the Web server (which contains the presentation layer logic) is physically separated from the application server that implements the business logic.

image
Conclusion

It’s easier to find your way around when you have a map. By having a map, you know where the key hot spots are. The map helps you organize and share relevant information more effectively. More importantly, the map helps bring together archetypes, arch styles, and hot spots in a meaningful way. When you put it all together, you have a simple language for describing large classes of applications, as well as a common language for application architecture.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Personal Empowerment All-Stars: Jack Canfield, Ken Blanchard, and Stephen Covey at Microsoft

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 16:44

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”  — Stephen King

One of the best things at Microsoft is the chance to meet extraordinary people.

Jack Canfield, Ken Blanchard, and Stephen Covey are a few that top my list.

They are personal empowerment all-stars.

As I was re-writing my posts on lessons learned from Jack Canfield, Ken Blanchard, and Stephen Covey, I noticed what they share in common.

What do Jack Canfield, Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey have in common?

Their work has a heavy emphasis on personal-empowerment, positivity, and people.

I thought it would be interesting to write a narrative about lessons learned from each, to supplement my bullet point write ups.

Here we go …

Jack Canfield at Microsoft

Jack Canfield is all about taking full responsibility for everything that happens in your life.  And he starts with self-talk.  He says it’s not what people say or do, it’s what you say to yourself.  For example, it’s not what Jack says to Laura, it’s what Laura says to Laura.

From a personal empowerment standpoint, Jack reminds us that we have control over three responses: 1) what we say or do, 2) our thoughts, 3) the images in our head.  Jack is a big believer in the power of visualization and he reminds us that’s how athletes perform at greater levels — they see things in their minds, to guide what they can do with their bodies.

Jack shares a very simple formula for success.  Jack’s success formula is Event + Response = Outcome.  If you want to change the outcome, then change your response.  It sounds simple, but it’s empowering.

Jack Canfield also reminded us that we are the creative force in our life and to get out of victimism:

“You are not the victim of your circumstances–You are the creative force of your life.”

Grow your circle of influence and make tremendous impact.

Read more at Lessons Learned from Jack Canfield.

Ken Blanchard at Microsoft

Ken Blanchard is really about accentuating the positive.  So much of the world focuses on what’s wrong, but he wants to focus on what’s right, so we can do more of that.

Ken has an incremental model of leadership that starts with you and expands from there: you, your team, your organization.  The idea is that you can’t lead others effectively, if you can’t even lead yourself.

Ken’s model for leadership is really an adaptive model, that’s focused on the greater good, and it starts by helping everybody get an “A.”  Leaders that apply one style to all team members, aren’t very effective.  Ken suggests that leaders apply the right styles depending on what individuals need.  Ken’s 4 leadership styles are:

  1. Directive
  2. Coaching
  3. Supportive
  4. Delegating.

Perhaps, the most profound statement that Ken made is that “leadership is love.”  He said that leadership includes “loving your mission”, “loving your cusotmers”, “loving your people”, and “loving yourself — enough to get out of the way so others can be magnificent.”

Read more at Lessons Learned from Ken Blanchard.

Stephen Covey at Microsoft

Stephen Covey was really about personal effectiveness, realizing your potential, and leaving a legacy.

Covey really emphasized a whole-person approach: Body, Mind, Heart, Spirit.  His point was that if you take one of the four parts of your nature away, then you’re treating a person like a “thing” you control and manage.

Covey also emphasized the importance of a personal mission.  It gives meaning to your work and it helps you channel all of your efforts as you live and lead your legacy.  He also suggested writing your personal mission down and visualizing it to imprint it on your subconscious.

The other key to realizing your potential is finding your voice.  Use all of you, your best way, in your unique way, for your best results.  That’s how you differentiate and add value for yourself and others.

And, of course, Stephen Covey reminded us of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind.
  3. Put first things first.
  4. Think win-win.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  6. Synergize.
  7. Sharpen the saw.

Habits 1,2,and 3 are the foundation for private victories and integrity.  Habits 4, 5, and 6 are the keys to public victories.

Read more at Lessons Learned from Stephen Covey.

All-in-all, I have to say that while individually each of these personal empowerment all-stars has great wisdom and insight for personal effectiveness, leadership, and success, they are actually “better together.”

Each day in the halls of Microsoft, I find myself reflecting on their one-liner reminders, whether it’s Covey’s “Put first things first,” or Canfield’s “You are the creative force of your life”, or Blanchard’s “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Now Available: The Relaunch of Sources of Insight

Wed, 03/16/2016 - 19:41

image“Do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for.” — Oliver James

Long ago, I had spun off a focus on Personal Effectiveness to Sources of Insight.

I mentor a lot of teams and leaders for high-performance, and I needed a place to consolidate and share principles, patterns, and practices for personal effectiveness. In fact, the tag-line is:

Proven Practices for Personal Effectiveness

I’ve significantly revamped the user experience, the content, and the collections of resources on Sources of Insight to reflect the latest feedback that users have shared with me (thank you all.)

Sources of Insight is for people with a passion for more from work and life. The goal of Sources of Insight is to be your source of insight, inspiration, and impact to help you achieve more in work and life. Whether you are an achiever or a high-performer, or simply want to work on your personal effectiveness, Sources of Insight will help you accelerate your results.
Better Insights, Better Results

One of the slogans I use is “Better Insights, Better Results” because the big idea is to “empower people with skill for work and life.”

Sources of Insight is now a success library of more than 1,300 articles with a focus on helping you “create a smarter, more creative, more capable you.”

You can think of this as applying patterns & practices to work and life, as well as making “Agile for Life” real.

The idea here is to give you the tools and techniques that will help you rise above the noise, get a better vantage point, and make better decisions to change any situation you find yourself in, or to create better situations from the start.

Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

As part of building out Sources of Insight, I draw from great books, great people, and great quotes, to help you “Stand on the shoulders of giants.”

As my friend puts it, what I really do is help you “Run with the titans.”

I’m a big believer in finding the “best of the best” from various disciplines and experts around the world and synthesizing into actionable guidance.

I periodically have featured guests on Sources of Insight.  I try to find the people that are the best in the world at what they do, or that have some interesting insight that will help you think differently or make more impact.

Many of my guest posts are by best-selling authors, but I also include comedians, and others.  

Some of my guests include Al Ries – the father of brand positioning in the mind, Guy Kawasaki – who is all about empowering people, Gretchen Rubin – author of The Happiness Project, Jairek Robbins – author of Live It (and Tony Robbins’s son),  Jim Kouzes – author of The Leadership Challenge, Marie Forleo – some say she is a female Tony Robbins, Michael Michalko – author of Thinker Toys, and a former Disney imagineer, Rick Kirschner – author of Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, Tim Ferris – author of The 4-Hour Work Week, and many more.  (You can see featured guests at a glance on the Feature Guests page on Sources of Insight.)
Realize Your Potential

What makes the articles a bit different on Sources of Insight is they usually reflect problems that I am helping people with, so they are real-world scenarios and solutions.

In this way, Sources of Insight is more than a clearinghouse of the world’s best insight and action for work and life – it’s also a self-paced, virtual mentor where you can learn how to be YOUR best.

Some readers say that the key thing for them is that Sources of Insight helps you “realize your potential.”

As Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, “Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.”

And I would add, nobody else is going to do it for you Winking smile
Popular Topics for Personal Effectiveness

On Sources of Insight, I cover key topics for personal effectiveness. The most popular topics are:

Personal Effectiveness

Emotional Intelligence

Leadership

Life Hacks

Motivation

Productivity

Personal Development

You can browse more topics including Confidence, Conflict, Influence, Intellectual Horsepower, Interpersonal Skills, Strengths, Time Management, and more on the Topics page at Sources of Insight.

Great Books, Great People, Great Quotes

I also have collections of Great Books, Great People, Great Quotes:

Great Books – These are hand-crafted indexes of interesting and insightful books that you can use to improve all aspects of your work and life.  I spend a lot of money on books every single month and I read a lot of books each and every week.  In fact, many of my blog posts are what I call “Book Nuggets” which are like the best needles in the haystack.  My Great Books collection reflects a heavy investment in my quest to find the best wisdom of the world that is spread across hundreds, and thousands of books. Some of my more popular collections of books include Business Books, Career Books, Leadership Books, Personal Development Books, and Productivity Books.

Great People – This is where I shared and scale my best lessons learned and key insights from all walks of life.  What I do is I try to compact and distill the best insights from various people into lessons learned.  You can think of it as “Greatness Distilled.”  Some people are famous and others are unsung heroes.  What I focus on is the interesting insights that you can use to get better at work and life.  Here are a few of my more popular great people pages:  Bruce LeeChalene Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, and Steve Jobs.

Great Quotes – This is my attempt to organize collections of the world’s best wisdom of the ages and modern sages at your fingertips.  The right words can spark the right ideas, or the right thinking or the right feeling or taking the right action.  The right words help us live better, and they help us do better, and they help us be better.  The right words help us build better vocabularies and better mental models and better ways of doing and being, living, and even breathing.  Here are some of the more popular quotes collections: Focus Quotes, Happiness Quotes, Inspirational Quotes, Leadership Quotes, Motivation Quotes, Personal Development Quotes, and Productivity Quotes.
Articles

As I mentioned early, Sources of Insight is a Success Library of more than 1,3000+ Articles for Personal Greatness.  You can start at the Articles page, 

The Articles page has a simple set of some of the best articles.  From there, you can also explore the Archives.  You can also browse Topics from there.

Some of the most popular articles include:  7 Habits of Happiness, 25 Inspirational Movies, 50 Life Hacks for Your Future Self, 101 of the Greatest Insights and Actions for Work and Life, 101 Questions that Empower You, How To Get Whatever You Want, How To Think Like Bill Gates, Inspirational Quotes, Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee, The Exponential Results Formula, You 2.0.

Books

On Sources of Insight, the Books page is where I share free eBooks as well as feature the books I author.  At this point, my main book featured is Getting Results the Agile Way, which is a personal results system for work and life. 

Getting Results the Agile Way is where I introduce my simple productivity system: Agile Results.

Agile Results is really a simple system for meaningful results.  It helps you create more moments that matter.  It also helps you work on the right things, at the right time, the right way, with the right energy, to amplify your influence and impact.

Most importantly, it gets you spend more time in your strengths, less time in your weaknesses, and it helps you give your best where you have your best to give.

In terms of free eBooks, on the Books page you can find the following free books:  You 2.0, 30 Days of Getting Results, Getting Started with Agile Results, and The Zen of Results.

Courses

On Sources of Insight, the Courses page is where I share training to help you realize your potential and bring out your best.

My favorite way to provide training is through what I call “Monthly Improvement Sprints” or “30 Day Improvement Sprints” or just “30 Day Sprints.”

They are effectively 30 Day Challenges where you practice a little each day, to get better over time.

I find 30 Day Challenges or 30 Day Sprints are a great way to build better habits, learn new things, and improve your skills and abilities at whatever you focus on.

On the Courses page, you’ll find 30 Days of Getting Results, which was my attempt to share the absolute best principles, patterns, and practices for personal productivity.

Best of all, it’s free.  It could well be the best self-paced training you ever take for high-performance and for mastering productivity, time management, and work-life balance.

Plus, it’s a powerful way to learn Agile Results in a simple way, with one mini-lesson each day, that includes an exercise to put it into practice.

Resources

On Sources of Insight, the Resources page is effectively a library of helpful resources at your fingertips.  Here are a few of the key resources:

Book Review – My Book Reviews are like mini movie trailers of books, where I include key highlights from the book as well as my key take aways.  I don’t really do book reviews, where I talk about pros and cons.  Instead, I look for the most interesting or the most insightful parts of the book and focus on those.  I always ask the question, “How can I use this?” and I apply those “Book Nuggets” and those key take aways to real world scenarios.

Cheat Sheets – Cheat Sheets put key information at your fingertips.  The only Cheat Sheet I have so far is a Blogging Resources Cheat Sheet.   It’s actually a very powerful Cheat Sheet though, if you happen to be a blogger.  I get asked a lot about blogging, everything from how to get started to how to create a successful blog.  People ask me what the connection of blogging is to Personal Effectiveness, and to me it’s simple:  Working on your blog, is working on your life.  By building a blog, you build a personal platform for learning and growth.   Blogging is still one of the most effective ways I know to focus on personal development, while giving your best where you have your best to give, and sharing your unique expertise with the world.  I plan to add some very special Cheat Sheets of hard-core knowledge, so this page is more of a placeholder for now.

Checklists – Checklists are a quick way to provides lists of “one-liner reminders.”  In general, I try to focus on creating actionable checklists that inspire and trigger the right thinking or the right actions.  Currently, I provide a Focus Checklist, Leadership Checklist, Time Management Checklist, and The Charge Checklist, which is a checklist I created based on the best-selling book, The Charge.

How Tos – How Tos are a great way to turn insight into action.  My most popular How  Tos include How To Achieve Any Goal, How To Avoid Breaking Under Pressure, How To Change Any Habit, How To Find Your Strengths, and How To Find Your Values.

Product Recommendations – This is my roundup of the best products I’ve used for personal development and improving personal effectiveness.  The big deal here is The Greatest Personal Development Gifts Ever.  Not only are these the personal development programs that have served me well, but they are the gifts that I give to friends and family to give them an edge in work and life.

Trends – This is where I share key trends each year.  If you’ve ever read one of my trends posts, you know that they are deep, and they help give you a big advantage when it comes to seeing the road ahead.  One of the most important personal effectiveness skills that you can build is anticipation.  The way to improve your anticipation is to learn how to identify, understand, and apply trends to create your future.  When you focus on trends, they also help you build your visionary leadership skills, and if there’s one thing this world needs more of, it’s visionary leadership.  Here is my Trends for 2016 post.  It is a really deep dive into what’s happening around the world, but it also provides you the balcony view at a glance.  Use this as your advantage to maneuver at work, to shape your business, and to shape yourself, with clarity, courage, and competence.  After all, 2016 is the year of the bold!

Personal Effectiveness Toolbox

I wonder if I saved the best for last?  The Personal Effectiveness Toolbox is, to this date, my greatest compilation of the greatest programs and tools to help you do more and achieve more in this lifetime.

On the Personal Effectiveness Toolbox page, I share all of the best tools that I have used over the years to exponentially improve my ability to get results and to amplify my impact.

These are some of the best programs that have helped me really understand influence and impact.

They have helped me create my own personal achievement systems.

They have helped me get over any limiting beliefs and master my mind.

They have helped me really understand emotional intelligence at a deeper level and learn real skills and techniques.

They have also been my greatest programs for personal development and improving personal effectiveness across mind, body, emotions, career, finance, relationships, and fun.

Change the World or Go Home

We have a little saying that we use in the halls at Microsoft:

Change the world or go home!

Every now and then, you can see a poster in the hall or on somebody’s wall of the Microsoft Blue Monster.

It was the work of Hugh MacLeod as you can recognize by his art – simplicity and elegance in action (and you can read the backstory at The Blue Monster.)

image

You have everything at your fingertips to be YOUR best and to realize your potential, the agile way.

Go ahead and change the world, your way.

Always remember to give your best, where you have YOUR best to give.

Thrive on.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Digital Transformation is Ongoing

Sat, 03/12/2016 - 02:05

Digital Transformation is much broader than a technical play.  It’s a chance to reimagine your customer experience, how your employees work, and how you perform operations.

It’s also a chance to continuously create and capture value in new and innovative ways, and I don’t just mean with DevOps.

Your business isn’t static.  Neither is the world.  Neither is the market.  Neither is Digital Transformation.

Instead, Digital Transformation is a way to continuously evolve how you create and capture value in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

In Digital Transformation Dr. Mark Baker shares how “digital” is more than just bits and bytes and there is always more Digital Transformation that can be done.

Digital Transformation is Bound by Business Decisions, Not Technical Ones

Your Digital Transformation should not be bounded by technical decisions.  Your Digital Business Transformation approach should be driven by your business decisions and your business design.  What matters is that the landscape is digital and that you have to design for new customer experiences, new ways of working, and new ways of performing operations in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Via Digital Transformation:

“Today, when we talk of digital transformation we mean restructuring an organization to use any and all information and network-based technologies that increase its competitiveness, in a way that, over a period of time, excludes and out-competes un-transformed organizations.  Of course, in a literal sense, when we walk literally about digital we mean something like expressing data as series of the digits 0 and 1 or using or storing data or information in the form of digital signals: digital TV, a digital recording or a digital computer system.

However, if we think about it that way the whole scope of our understanding and what we are thinking of achieving is quite limited and fairly technical.

In the bigger sense of digital we mean a road map that includes the full process of making a business or service so that every part is freely accessible at every level with bounds set by explicit management models, not by physical constraints.  Ultimately it means that all decisions become business or usage decisions, not technical ones.”

Example of First Generation Digital Transformation

There are always some basic things you can do to get in the game of Digital Transformation.  But that is just the start.  Baker shares an example using a library and how they performed their Digital Transformation.

Via Digital Transformation:

“It might be useful to give a simple example where, whose general principles apply to all digital projects.  The Bodleian Libraries are a collection of approximately 40 libraries that serve the University of Oxford in England.  One of the largest and most important libraries in the world, they hold 11 million printed items, 153 miles (246 kilometers) of shelving, including 3,224 bays with 95,000 shelf levels, and 600 map cabinets to hold 1.2 million maps and other items.

During the first generation of transformation I talked to senior librarians at the Bodleian, and the digital library projects that I was told of turned texts into bitmaps.  Information was still effectively siloed and not electronically searchable within books, but the advantage of digital transformation at that stage was that the physical master copies were protected and copies could be sent with manually controlled access over electronic network to authorized users anywhere in the world.”

Example of Second Generation Digital Transformation

Once you go digital, more opportunities open up for further transformation.  Baker continues the example of a library that undergoes Digital Transformation.

Via Digital Transformation:

“Later more advanced approaches, like Project Guttenberg, digitized the text into ASCII format so that catalogs of books were both digital and searchable as were the individual books.  Beyond that, projects like Google Books Library Project allowed the whole contents of all the books to become accessible to a single keyword search that could search all text across volumes.”

There is Always More Digital Transformation That Can Be Done

There is always more you can do and there are many stages to a full Digital Transformation.

Via Digital Transformation:

“Of course, going digital goes beyond digitizing content and a more advanced model would determine accessibility, access and usage rights and payments, not just in the local user community but worldwide.  In a project of that type any user would be able to do keyword searches across all the contents of a particular library and then usage and any payment would be determined for the specific books or documents they wanted access to, appropriate access would be granted and payment (if any) would be collected. If acquisition was performed on the same platform then requests for information, usage statistics, reader feedback and null-searches could be matched to the acquisition of new materials for the library, so as to better serve the users.

Ultimately even search goes further so that improved semantic search tools would allow search by meaning s well as by key words or phrases, as well as predictive analysis of future usage creating a proactive model, rather than a  reactive model where the available content is always out of date.

At each state the instigators might have expressed the view that they had ‘gone digital’ and at each stage there would have been much, much more that could be done.  This is, of course, just one specific instance of digital transformation related to libraries, but shows a simplified example of how there are many stages to a full transformation.”

Digital Transformation is not done when you are “transformed.” 

It’s a journey of continuous evolution.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

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Tue, 03/08/2016 - 22:53

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Digital Transformation is Business Transformation

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 20:22

Digital Transformation is everywhere.   It’s easy to let the tail wag the dog, especially when you are in the face of disruption.

But great and meaningful change always goes back to strategy.

In fact, if you really think about it, a lot of digital disruption is rooted in simple strategies for creating and capturing value at the edge, shifting power to users and consumers, reducing friction, and driving extreme efficiencies as new customer segments are created, new markets are forged, and the market seeks the dominant design.

Fundamentally, Digital Business Transformation is the digitization of business.  But as part of digitizing, you need to know WHY and WHAT you are digitizing before getting lost in the HOW of digitization.

To survive and thrive in the digital age, it helps to have a handle on how to think about the landscape and how to play the game.

In Digital Transformation Dr. Mark Baker shares how different consulting companies and business leaders are thinking about Digital Business Transformation.

Business Strategy for the Digital World

PwC is in the leadership quadrant because rather than focus on a digital strategy for the business world, they focus on a business strategy for the digital world.  I can relate to this because I’m on a team where we put business before technology.  This means fundamentally thinking about market trends, business drivers, business outcomes and investment objectives to shape the Digital Business Transformation approach.

Via Digital Transformation:

“PwC Consulting, if you look at the Gartner reports, or if you look at the Forrester reports, you’d see that they’d been doing a lot of work in the space over the past few years and are positioned in the leader’s quadrant.  Some of the reasons for being in the leader’s quadrant for PwC is because they’ve done something remarkably well and I really, really like the philosophy and that’s why I joined PwC.  It’s because that they believe that, you know, we don’t need the digital strategy.  What we require is a business strategy for the digital world and it just makes so much sense.”

Customer Journeys are Changing—How Do I Engage with My Customers?

One way to keep your bearings in the Digital Age from a business leader standpoint is to remember that your customer is your North Star.  A business exists to create a customer, as Peter Drucker puts it.

It’s easy to get lost in trying to implement multi-channel this, or API structure that, but those aren’t the real questions.  According to PwC, the real questions to drive your Digital Transformation start with recognizing that your customers demand new ways of learning about , trying, exploring, adopting, and socializing your products and services now.  So the real question is how do you connect and engage with your customers in relevant ways.  Once you shift your focus to your customer and their journey, now you can align your technical capabilities to support your key decisions that directly address your customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Via Digital Transformation:

“So I think when we talk about PwC and their philosophy for digital, what they’re really saying is a digital strategy perhaps is limiting the impact of digital in today’s world.  It’s really a business strategy for the digital age and we do know that the digital age is here to stay for a considerable long time and it’s not about saying, ‘Hey, how do I have a multi-channel strategy or you know, how do I, you know, choose to go with an API structure?’  These are not the questions that are really being asked. 

The questions that are really being asked are…you know, ‘Customer journeys are changing today because of what digital has done, and therefor, my acquisition or my retention, you know, frameworks, or the way I’m going to go out and engage with my customers, needs to change.  So can you help me to manage this change?’  So there’s a difference between the two things to say, ‘Here’s a digital strategy,’  ‘Here’s a multichannel strategy’ while on the other hand you’re saying, ‘Hey, how do I actually…’ The same questions, but asked for the digital age and I think there’s great merit in that position.  So that’s all about PwC Consulting and their take on digital.’”

Digital is Greater than the Sum of All Parts

Digital Transformation cuts across the board and spans your business.   A simple way to think of it is to think in terms of the impact on customer experience transformation, employee or workforce transformation, and operations transformation.    Your customer experience transformation spans your value chain.  Your value chain connects your customer to product or service, supported by your business capabilities, which in turn are supported by technical capabilities.   And as you evolve your value chain to better support customers, you also change how your workforce interacts with customers, partners, and each other.  And as you evolve your workforce, you evolve your operations, and you innovate as you find ways to do things better, faster, and cheaper.

As you can imagine, you can’t just look at one business function or one piece of the business.  You need to take a whole business view to better understand how Digital has a ripple effect across the entire business, and how the sum of the digital change is more than the parts.

Via Digital Transformation:

“So digital isn’t a part of a division.  Digital is greater than the sum of all parts.  As we’ll see as we progress, if change is inevitable, it’s likely to be transformative and revolutionary rather than incremental and evolutionary in many cases, and there is likely to be disruption and resistance.  That doesn’t man that if it is planned ahead, like expert surgery, or a space mission, it can’t be mitigated in such a way that no individual step is traumatic, and the appearance of an incremental, stepwise process is retained.”

Digital Transformation is here.  You can run from it, or you can embrace it and re-imagine how you can lead your business in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

 

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Microsoft Stories of Digital Business Transformation

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 17:52

Digital Transformation is happening every day, everywhere around the world.

Business leaders are re-imagining what they can do in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.   They are exploring new ways to create and capture value, and how to expand to new customer segments in a globally connected world.  Cities are looking at new ways to connect with citizens and to re-imagine education, health, safety, and sustainability.

In this post, I’ll share with you a walk through of some of the interesting stories of Digital Business Transformation and Digital Transformation that are happening around the world.  While all of the stories are public, chances are you may not have heard of them unless you know where to look.  As we walk through the stories of Digital Transformation, I’ll leave signposts and a breadcrumb trail so that you can find your way to some of the key sources that you can use for finding more stories of Digital Transformation.

What is Digital Transformation

You can think of Digital Transformation as the digitization of processes, products, and services.

According to Wikipedia, Digital Transformation “refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society”.  Capgemini explains Digital Transformation as “the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises”.  Altimeter defines Digital Transformation as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.” 

Howard King defines transformation as "a whole scale change to the foundational components of a business: from its operating model to its infrastructure" and digital as "as any technology that connects people and machines with each other or with information".  He then defines Digital Transformation as a visible wholesale restructure to avoid a tipping point caused by digital technologies and downstream market effects.

Automotive

Before we look at automotive examples of Digital Transformation, let’s set some context for how the automotive industry is evolving.

According to Sanjay Ravi, Sanjay Ravi, Managing Director, Worldwide Discrete Manufacturing, Enterprise and Partner Group, the car is becoming part of broader Internet-of-Things (IoT) ecosystem around smart homes and smart infrastructures is definitely helping to drive industry transformation.  Microsoft is enabling the intelligent car and reinventing productivity in the car.  Along those lines, Microsoft is supporting and enhancing connected car and autonomous vehicle strategies with partners.

These innovations focused on Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, productivity tools, and personal computing technology are providing the technology platform for automotive companies to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and enable their cars to become “companions and assistants to your digital life”, as Sanjay puts it.

If you’re wondering what Microsoft’s role in all of this transformation is, as Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of global business development said, “We are partnering to build mutual value, not to compete.”  Read more at Microsoft partners with automakers to change the future of driving with cloud-connected cars and check out the Microsoft in Discrete Manufacturing home.

  • Delphi.  Turn any car into a connected car with affordable, cloud-based telematics.
    • How Delphi Automotive transformed its business model with connected-car services - One of the best examples of a leader in this business transformation is Delphi Automotive. With 90 million cars produced worldwide, Delphi Automotive recognized the opportunity that today’s cloud technologies presented, to give drivers many exciting ways to remotely monitor and control their cars. And they created Delphi Connect to do that, which can turn any car into a connected car with affordable, cloud-based telematics.
    • Video: Delphi Turns Every Car into a Connected Car with Affordable, Cloud-Based Telematics - What if your car could text you when your teenager was driving where he shouldn’t? Or instantly turn into a Wi-Fi hotspot? Delphi Automotive created Delphi Connect to give drivers many exciting ways to remotely monitor and control their cars. Delphi used Microsoft Azure to develop the product and uses the Azure cloud to move data between cars and drivers. Using Azure helped Delphi succeed in a new market, offer richer features, reduce development costs (and pricing) by one-third, and scale the service globally.
  • Nissan.   Nissan can remotely charge your vehicle using the Azure cloud
    • Nissan selects Microsoft Azure to power Nissan Telematics System.  Nissan CTS is coupled to Azure, allowing a remote connection to the vehicle. With CTS, Nissan LEAF drivers can perform a range of functions on their car, while not even inside. These include using mobile phones to turn on and adjust climate controls and set charging functions remotely even when the vehicle is powered down. An onboard timer can also be programmed to start the charging event.  With the standard Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant for all Nissan LEAF around the world, drivers can manage incoming text messages via voice control without taking their hands from the wheel or their eyes off the road. Drivers are alerted to an incoming text and, after initiating the system, can hear the text read out loud and respond by voice, or via the steering wheel switches using preset answers such as “driving, can’t text,” “on my way,” “running late,” “okay.” These experiences are powered by the back-end connectivity and support of Azure.  Nissan can also send over-the-air “point of interest” (POI) updates as they become available, enabling customers to have the latest information as the company continues to refresh its services. Connectivity to Azure allows Nissan to bring new connected features to market faster and offer flexibility for the future.
  • Quoros Automotive.  Chinese Car Company Puts IT Systems in the Cloud to Create the Ultimate Connected Car.
    • Quoros Automotive - What if you could design a car from a clean sheet of paper—no history, no restrictions? This was the opportunity facing Qoros Automotive, a new international car manufacturer from China, which chose to run its cars’ vehicle telematics system in Microsoft Azure. By using Azure, Qoros gained tremendous freedom to create a rich “connected car” experience for modern drivers. Qoros also avoided an 18-month-long effort and multimillion-dollar expense of building a datacenter and can expand much faster on a global scale.
CityNext

Empowering cities & citizens.

Microsoft CityNext is an initiative that empowers cities to be more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive—with a simplified approach. It helps cities unlock their potential by delivering innovative digital services that can help citizens lead safer, healthier, and more educated lives.  You can read more about it at CityNext.

  • Independence Day.  3D Soundscape for the visually impaired. 
    • Independence Day.  Microsoft’s 3D soundscape technology — an audio-rich experience in which the headset, smartphone and indoor and outdoor beacons all work together to enhance the mobility, confidence and independence of people with vision loss.
    • Microsoft Updates Navigation Headset for the Blind“In 2011, Microsoft UK teamed up with charity Guide Dogs to create 'Cities Unlocked,' an organization that worked to create a headset designed to help the visually impaired. That device came last year, but now it's received some major hardware and software upgrades. Although the original simply used bone conduction to send audio clicks and cues to guide the user around, the latest iteration is less of a practical tool and more of an information-rich service. It uses something called ‘3D soundscape technology,’ which is kind of like a GPS that describes everything that's around them, from local cafés to alerts telling them when a bus or train is approaching the stop.”
    • Video: Cities Unlocked: A Voyage of Discovery
  • City of Birmingham 311 Call Center.   Birmingham 311 Call Center Boosts Operational Efficiency, Avoids Higher Costs with CRM Solution.
    • City of Birmingham.  The City of Birmingham, Alabama, needed a new 311 call center solution to help route and track service requests from citizens. The call center’s previous system was expensive to maintain, difficult to use, and did not support how city departments worked. The city examined several solutions and selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM because of its technical flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. In addition, licensing costs for the solution were just one-fourth of what established 311 software vendors demanded. With help from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner 2B Solutions, the City of Birmingham implemented the solution with custom workflows that supported processes at more than 20 different divisions. Just several months later, the 311 call center has improved service levels and dramatically increased employee adoption of the system, enabling managers to better track performance.
  • City of Glasgow.   Glasgow foresees a city of the future, where citizens have open access to big data.
    • How Glasgow is Reinventing Itself with Data.  In 2013, Glasgow City Council won £24 million in a competition to become a model for demonstrating smart city technology at scale. Here’s how the city is using the latest technology and open data culture to reinvent itself:
      • The city of the future is transparent. Glasgow realized straight away that you can’t take advantage of Big Data analysis tools unless you have loads and loads of data. Glasgow City Council moved to embrace an open data culture – declaring that all its non-sensitive and non-personal information would be open by default and freely shared. Initially, the council’s push for more open data was met with skepticism by some but the council persevered, saying open data is easier to analyze and share. They made their case using visualization tools, such as the PowerMap plugin for Excel, which helped stakeholders grasp the power of data analysis. As the appetite for insights grew, so did the willingness to share data.
      • The city of the future is responsive. Of course, it’s not enough to simply have access to troves of data. An organization needs to be able to store, sort, search and analyze data quickly and easily. That kind of capability would have required an expensive infrastructure investment in the old days of keeping everything on-premises. Luckily, Glasgow opted for a cloud solution: Microsoft Azure. Now they’ve got a powerful storage solution that scales, keeping costs contained.
      • The city of the future is an engine of growth. What does all that joined-up data get Glasgow in the end? For starters, services are more efficient, as analysis tools such as Power BI, let the city allocate resources more effectively. But that’s really just the start. Because Glasgow is committed to open data, people outside of city government can also access the data. Citizens can make better use of services and feel more engaged. Businesses can spot opportunities for growth. Communities can prosper.
    • Glasgow: A City of the Future (The Guardian)
      • Ecosystem for Future City Innovation.  “We want to create an ecosystem of future city innovation in the city,” says Birchenall. “Microsoft was a really good partner for us, as they understood and shared this vision and are helping to put in place a foundation on which we can develop that ecosystem.
      • Internet of Things.  The emergence of sensors in everyday items offers new insights into city life. “Intelligent street lighting will help us to detect and record air quality, noise pollution and footfall all over the city,” explains Birchenall.  It’s not just the council or big business who will benefit. Anyone who has a vested interest will be able to understand the services people may need. “Even a one-man taxi business could change his pick up points to serve more customers and generate more income,” says Birchenall.
      • Community Insights.  Access to this new and precise data will influence the future development of Glasgow’s communities. “When planners meet with local leaders to discuss developments, they will understand the requirement better than ever before and will be able to make better decisions. In a time when budgets are tight, it is important to make every penny count and the aim is to do more with less,” explains Birchenall.
      • Insights from Everyday Activities.  Making it easy for people to access information is key and Birchenall envisages the emergence of many apps to fulfil this requirement. Birchenall says: “There are already several locally-developed, third-party apps in place, such as the crowdsourcing of traffic information and popular cycle routes which indicate the presence of cycle racks and unfriendly inclines. Using these types of apps will become part of everyday life.”
    • Reimagining Public Services: The Art of the Possible
      • Citizens’ expectations for government are evolving. Everyone is trying to do more with less. At the same time, the next wave of mobile devices, social networks, cloud platforms and business insights tools have as much potential to change the way we live and work.
      • In Durham, the local constabulary became England’s only “Outstanding” rated police force by using Dynamics CRM to more efficiently manage case files and solve cases faster.
      • At West Wakefield, doctors are using Skype for Business to hold remote consultations with patients, erasing barriers to care for people who would otherwise struggle to make it to a local surgery.
      • In Shropshire, a collaboration platform allows council staff to work from anywhere, delivering services faster and lowering the cost of transaction.
      • In Glasgow, the city council adopted an open data policy, encouraging greater transparency and helping citizens make better use of services. Tools like Microsoft PowerBI and PowerMap grant access to simple visualisations of city data that can be acted on in real time.
  • Kent County Council.  Reimagining Public Service at Kent County Council (UK)
    • Kent County Council.   Kent County Council (KCC) UK is responsible for providing public services in education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety and waste disposal to 1.4M residents across 12 district councils and 300 town and parish councils. KCC wanted to rethink Citizen Services for a digital world that would improve health and social care, regenerate towns and cities, and grow its gross domestic product (GDP) by using technology as an enabler to help make people’s lives better.
Education

Empowering every student to achieve more.

Core to our mission is creating immersive and inclusive experiences that inspire lifelong learning, stimulating development of essential life skills and supporting educators in guiding and nurturing student passions. We empower students and educators to create and share in entirely new ways, to teach and learn through exploration, to adapt to individual learning needs, so they can make, design, invent and build with technology.  You can read more at Microsoft in Education

  • Tacoma Public Schools.  Predicting student dropout risks, increasing graduation rates with cloud analytics.
    • Tacoma Public Schools.  Tacoma Public Schools used Microsoft Azure Machine Learning to predict student dropout triggers and intervene on behalf to at-risk student early enough to keep students on a path to graduation. The result: graduation rates have increased from 55 to 78 percent.   Eventually, the district plans to use its Azure Machine Learning solution to make its original vision a reality. The end goal is a scenario in which a teacher or principal can log into a portal each morning to see a data view of each student, and then be proactively alerted by the system when a particular student is at risk of failing a course or dropping out. “We want to make it easy for a teacher or administrator to be notified if there’s something different about a particular student from one day to the next. Once they get that alert, teachers will be able to take action and intervene, all because of the data,” says Taylor. “That’s the point we think we can get to with Azure Machine Learning.”
Healthcare

Empowering health professionals and partners with the right technology to improve patient care and help save lives.

From an Advanced Analytics perspective, health analytics solutions from Microsoft and partners can give everyone in a health organization powerful new ways to work with data. They can empower health professionals to glean actionable insights from the mountains of data that patient care can generate.  From a care team perspective, Microsoft is providing care teams with easy ways to communicate, collaborate and improve productivity to ultimately enhance care efficiency and outcomes. 

From a Cloud perspective, today’s organizations are looking for more agility, easier management, and access to more capacity to enable them to handle increased demands without increasing costs. Health organizations can benefit from Microsoft’s industry-leading approach to security, privacy, and compliance while minimizing cost and complexity. 

From a clinical mobility perspective, Microsoft can enable health professionals to spend less time navigating technology and more time caring for their patients. Microsoft can provide a seamless experience that gives clinicians and other health professionals the information they need on a single, clinical-grade device.  You can read more at Microsoft in Health.

  • Dartmouth.  Population health at a glance.
  • Kent County Council
    • Video: Kent Healthcare - The City of Kent has demonstrated a very pragmatic approach to “Consumerization of Healthcare” with a Patient-Centered Healthcare approach (and remote support for patients.)
Manufacturing

“We’re a more connected company because we have better ways of communicating on local and global levels,” says Kevin Parlette, Vice President of IT at Dana.

  • Dana Holding. Modern productivity in manufacturing: the Connected Factory.
    • Dana Holding: Modern productivity in manufacturing: the Connected Factory.  What have the Model T, London taxicabs, 18-wheel rigs, World War II–era Jeeps, giant earth-moving machines, and every car on the NASCAR racing circuit had in common? They have all relied on products from Dana Holding Corporation, which has a proud heritage of innovation in supplying the transportation industry—one that spans more than a century of creating ground-breaking products.  So how does a company continue to improve on its history? For Dana, the answer lies in operational efficiency. “We’re focused on removing constraints for our employees,” says Jeff Heyde, Director of Global Systems at Dana Holding Corporation. “In the past, employees had to stop and figure out how to share their prototypes, work effectively with offshore teams, and stay productive from wherever they were. Today, we’ve empowered employees to do it all without thinking about it.” Dana is optimizing more than its operational efficiency; it’s also investing in and deriving greater value from its full workforce. By using Office 365, Dana communicates directly with more employees because its 12,000 factory workers will be able to use kiosks on the plant floors to access everything from employee benefits to safety updates. They used to rely only on their managers to give them information or relay their feedback, but now they also use the intranet and relevant business applications to stay up to date. Plus, they can join other Dana employees, including the company’s Chief Executive Officer, and participate in the company’s enterprise social network, Yammer. “We’re a more connected company because we have better ways of communicating on local and global levels,” says Kevin Parlette, Vice President of IT at Dana.
Oil & Gas

As the oil and gas industry continues to grow in complexity with changes in regulations, tighter margins, and possible infrastructure threats, executives need an easy way to collaborate.  In order to succeed in a competitive environment, manufacturing organizations must continually deliver new products, improve processes, and find new ways to deliver value to customers.

Companies need to foster a culture of innovation that makes it easier for people to connect to people, share information, and work together across organizational and geographical boundaries. Use technology to collaborate and create content based on information, analytics, and insights from customer interactions, product performance, and social networks, with real-time availability to accelerate innovation. Provide devices and apps that support design and engineering needs. Enable teams to collaborate and communicate across geographic and organizational boundaries. Extract insight from disparate data sources.  Read more at Microsoft in Process Manufacturing.

  • M.G. Bryan.  M.G. Bryan Pioneers First-of-Its-Kind Cloud Computing Asset Performance Management System.
    • M.G. Bryan Pioneers First-of-Its-Kind Cloud Computing Asset Performance Management SystemM.G. Bryan Equipment Co., a leading heavy equipment and machinery OEM for the oil and gas industry, is using cloud computing for remote asset management of high-tech fracturing equipment. Designed and integrated with Rockwell Automation, M.G. Bryan’s new equipment’s control and information system leverages Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Azure cloud-computing platform to help provide secure remote access to real-time information, automated maintenance alerts, and service and parts delivery requests. With Rockwell Automation, M.G. Bryan designed a simple, user-friendly system using the cloud to improve productivity and business intelligence.
  • Schlumberger.  Big Compute for large engineering simulations
    • Schlumberger: Big Compute for large engineering simulations - If you are not familiar with Schlumberger, it’s probably because you are not too familiar with the oil and gas industry. Otherwise, I am certain that you would know them quite well (and you can probably skip this section). Simply put, Schlumberger is the largest oilfield services company in the world. It employs 115,000 people in more than 85 countries. Their products and services span from exploration through production. It supplies technology, integrated project management and information solutions to customers working in the oil and gas industry worldwide.  The accessibility and scalability offered by cloud computing should be the answer to the challenges mentioned earlier, but before this is true, the backend infrastructure must have the right technology to enable the simulator to really perform.  This is where Schlumberger and Microsoft working together have created and delivered the most appropriate technology solution, as Owen comments:  “The work done on both Azure VMs and Microsoft MPI to reduce the latency across nodes has meant that we can run scale tests using INTERSECT from several hundreds of thousands of cells up to a billion cells, showing the same kind of results and scalability as running on bare metal. We chose Azure for our commercial launch in North America and Europe because of their presence in those markets, their willingness to work tightly with our engineers to build a great solution for our customers, they have an offering that supports low latency networks over RDMA (InfiniBand) which has a notable impact on the scalability of MPI based applications. INTERSECT is our best in class reservoir simulator capable of scaling to a billion cells; it cannot effectively achieve this scale without fast low latency networks.”
Robotics

“Robots serve as the link between IT and production, between humans and technology.” -- Dr. Christian Schlögel, CTO of KUKA

  • Kuka AG.  Building the intelligent future generation of robotics for manufacturing.
    • Kuka AG -   Microsoft and KUKA present intelligent future generation of robotics.  At Hannover Messe, Microsoft Corp. and KUKA AG, a leading manufacturer of industrial robots and automation solutions, are presenting a mutual application that shows KUKA’s Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant (KUKA LBR iiwa), built with Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) services.  Using precise movements and perceptive technology, this lightweight robot is able to sense its way around a complex task and perform precise automation movements safely and securely. This special feature enables KUKA LBR iiwa for human-robot collaboration. The combination with Microsoft Azure IoT services, Kinect hardware, and the OPC-UA communication standard leads to one of the world’s first showcases blending IT with robotic technologies into a smart manufacturing solution with new capabilities.  Movement data from the robot is streamed to the Azure cloud where workers can monitor progress and receive status reports from the factory floor. Errors in the supply chain are addressed in real time through Windows tablets, making the automated process faster and easier. Another benefit of the Azure cloud is that it allows users to view and act on data through a management dashboard, providing business analytics and trend intelligence. If a certain piece of the dishwasher is breaking more frequently than other pieces, for example, advanced data stream analysis can help understand what may be causing the issue or use predictions to recommend pre-emptive repairs with machine learning technology.  Read more at Kuka AG.
Transportation

“For a number of industries, from long-haul transport, to mass transit, to forestry & mining, delays or disruptions in transportation can spell doom for their business. Any period during which equipment or vehicles are not functional due to technical failure, maintenance, or inefficient operations has an impact on the bottom line.

This is where transportation companies have a real opportunity to use technology to their advantage, by connecting their assets and offering performance analytics services to reduce downtime and increase revenues. Today, transportation companies can implement intelligent analytics services that predict mechanical and other issues before they arise, helping companies combat razor thin margins and grow their transportation business.”  You can read more at Scania Leads a New Era of Trucking Services with Data and the Cloud.

  • Scania.  Measures the entire transport flow of a mine.
    • Scania Leads a New Era of Trucking Services with Data and the Cloud - In the case of mining, successful transport is all about moving high volumes of heavy material at the lowest possible cost, particularly since transportation expenses often make up a third or more of the total mining operating costs.  In order to help mining companies tackle these costs, Scania developed a system on the Microsoft Azure platform that measures the entire transport flow of a mine, with data sent wirelessly every second from the trucks in the production flow to Scania’s field workshop. This allows them to calculate uptime and down times and have useful data to make decisions that affect operational efficiency in real time in their customers’ mining operations.

As you can see, Digital Transformation is all around you.

Now that you know what kinds of Digital Transformation are taking place, along with concrete examples of Digital Transformation in the real world, hopefully that inspires you to re-imagine what you can do in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Microsoft Stories of Digital Transformation

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 09:52

Digital Transformation is happening every day, everywhere around the world.

Business leaders are re-imagining what they can do in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.   They are exploring new ways to create and capture value, and how to expand to new customer segments in a globally connected world.  Cities are looking at new ways to connect with citizens and to re-imagine education, health, safety, and sustainability.

In this post, I’ll share with you a walk through of some of the interesting stories of Digital Business Transformation and Digital Transformation that are happening around the world.  While all of the stories are public, chances are you may not have heard of them unless you know where to look.  As we walk through the stories of Digital Transformation, I’ll leave signposts and a breadcrumb trail so that you can find your way to some of the key sources that you can use for finding more stories of Digital Transformation.

What is Digital Transformation

You can think of Digital Transformation as the digitization of processes, products, and services.

According to Wikipedia, Digital Transformation “refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society”.  Capgemini explains Digital Transformation as “the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises”.  Altimeter defines Digital Transformation as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

Howard King defines transformation as “a whole scale change to the foundational components of a business: from its operating model to its infrastructure” and digital as “as any technology that connects people and machines with each other or with information”.  He then defines Digital Transformation as a visible wholesale restructure to avoid a tipping point caused by digital technologies and downstream market effects.

Automotive

Before we look at automotive examples of Digital Transformation, let’s set some context for how the automotive industry is evolving.

According to Sanjay Ravi, Sanjay Ravi, Managing Director, Worldwide Discrete Manufacturing, Enterprise and Partner Group, the car is becoming part of broader Internet-of-Things (IoT) ecosystem around smart homes and smart infrastructures is definitely helping to drive industry transformation.  Microsoft is enabling the intelligent car and reinventing productivity in the car.  Along those lines, Microsoft is supporting and enhancing connected car and autonomous vehicle strategies with partners.

These innovations focused on Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, productivity tools, and personal computing technology are providing the technology platform for automotive companies to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and enable their cars to become “companions and assistants to your digital life”, as Sanjay puts it.

If you’re wondering what Microsoft’s role in all of this transformation is, as Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of global business development said, “We are partnering to build mutual value, not to compete.”  Read more at Microsoft partners with automakers to change the future of driving with cloud-connected cars and check out the Microsoft in Discrete Manufacturing home.

  • Delphi.  Turn any car into a connected car with affordable, cloud-based telematics.
    • How Delphi Automotive transformed its business model with connected-car services – One of the best examples of a leader in this business transformation is Delphi Automotive. With 90 million cars produced worldwide, Delphi Automotive recognized the opportunity that today’s cloud technologies presented, to give drivers many exciting ways to remotely monitor and control their cars. And they created Delphi Connect to do that, which can turn any car into a connected car with affordable, cloud-based telematics.
    • Video: Delphi Turns Every Car into a Connected Car with Affordable, Cloud-Based Telematics – What if your car could text you when your teenager was driving where he shouldn’t? Or instantly turn into a Wi-Fi hotspot? Delphi Automotive created Delphi Connect to give drivers many exciting ways to remotely monitor and control their cars. Delphi used Microsoft Azure to develop the product and uses the Azure cloud to move data between cars and drivers. Using Azure helped Delphi succeed in a new market, offer richer features, reduce development costs (and pricing) by one-third, and scale the service globally.
  • Nissan.   Nissan can remotely charge your vehicle using the Azure cloud
    • Nissan selects Microsoft Azure to power Nissan Telematics System.  Nissan CTS is coupled to Azure, allowing a remote connection to the vehicle. With CTS, Nissan LEAF drivers can perform a range of functions on their car, while not even inside. These include using mobile phones to turn on and adjust climate controls and set charging functions remotely even when the vehicle is powered down. An onboard timer can also be programmed to start the charging event.  With the standard Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant for all Nissan LEAF around the world, drivers can manage incoming text messages via voice control without taking their hands from the wheel or their eyes off the road. Drivers are alerted to an incoming text and, after initiating the system, can hear the text read out loud and respond by voice, or via the steering wheel switches using preset answers such as “driving, can’t text,” “on my way,” “running late,” “okay.” These experiences are powered by the back-end connectivity and support of Azure.  Nissan can also send over-the-air “point of interest” (POI) updates as they become available, enabling customers to have the latest information as the company continues to refresh its services. Connectivity to Azure allows Nissan to bring new connected features to market faster and offer flexibility for the future.
  • Quoros Automotive.  Chinese Car Company Puts IT Systems in the Cloud to Create the Ultimate Connected Car.
    • Quoros Automotive – What if you could design a car from a clean sheet of paper—no history, no restrictions? This was the opportunity facing Qoros Automotive, a new international car manufacturer from China, which chose to run its cars’ vehicle telematics system in Microsoft Azure. By using Azure, Qoros gained tremendous freedom to create a rich “connected car” experience for modern drivers. Qoros also avoided an 18-month-long effort and multimillion-dollar expense of building a datacenter and can expand much faster on a global scale.
CityNext

Empowering cities & citizens.

Microsoft CityNext is an initiative that empowers cities to be more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive—with a simplified approach. It helps cities unlock their potential by delivering innovative digital services that can help citizens lead safer, healthier, and more educated lives.  You can read more about it at CityNext.

  • Independence Day.  3D Soundscape for the visually impaired. 
    • Independence Day.  Microsoft’s 3D soundscape technology — an audio-rich experience in which the headset, smartphone and indoor and outdoor beacons all work together to enhance the mobility, confidence and independence of people with vision loss.
    • Microsoft Updates Navigation Headset for the Blind“In 2011, Microsoft UK teamed up with charity Guide Dogs to create ‘Cities Unlocked,’ an organization that worked to create a headset designed to help the visually impaired. That device came last year, but now it’s received some major hardware and software upgrades. Although the original simply used bone conduction to send audio clicks and cues to guide the user around, the latest iteration is less of a practical tool and more of an information-rich service. It uses something called ‘3D soundscape technology,’ which is kind of like a GPS that describes everything that’s around them, from local cafés to alerts telling them when a bus or train is approaching the stop.”
    • Video: Cities Unlocked: A Voyage of Discovery
  • City of Birmingham 311 Call Center.   Birmingham 311 Call Center Boosts Operational Efficiency, Avoids Higher Costs with CRM Solution.
    • City of Birmingham.  The City of Birmingham, Alabama, needed a new 311 call center solution to help route and track service requests from citizens. The call center’s previous system was expensive to maintain, difficult to use, and did not support how city departments worked. The city examined several solutions and selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM because of its technical flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. In addition, licensing costs for the solution were just one-fourth of what established 311 software vendors demanded. With help from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner 2B Solutions, the City of Birmingham implemented the solution with custom workflows that supported processes at more than 20 different divisions. Just several months later, the 311 call center has improved service levels and dramatically increased employee adoption of the system, enabling managers to better track performance.
  • City of Glasgow.   Glasgow foresees a city of the future, where citizens have open access to big data.
    • How Glasgow is Reinventing Itself with Data.  In 2013, Glasgow City Council won £24 million in a competition to become a model for demonstrating smart city technology at scale. Here’s how the city is using the latest technology and open data culture to reinvent itself:
      • The city of the future is transparent. Glasgow realized straight away that you can’t take advantage of Big Data analysis tools unless you have loads and loads of data. Glasgow City Council moved to embrace an open data culture – declaring that all its non-sensitive and non-personal information would be open by default and freely shared. Initially, the council’s push for more open data was met with skepticism by some but the council persevered, saying open data is easier to analyze and share. They made their case using visualization tools, such as the PowerMap plugin for Excel, which helped stakeholders grasp the power of data analysis. As the appetite for insights grew, so did the willingness to share data.
      • The city of the future is responsive. Of course, it’s not enough to simply have access to troves of data. An organization needs to be able to store, sort, search and analyze data quickly and easily. That kind of capability would have required an expensive infrastructure investment in the old days of keeping everything on-premises. Luckily, Glasgow opted for a cloud solution: Microsoft Azure. Now they’ve got a powerful storage solution that scales, keeping costs contained.
      • The city of the future is an engine of growth. What does all that joined-up data get Glasgow in the end? For starters, services are more efficient, as analysis tools such as Power BI, let the city allocate resources more effectively. But that’s really just the start. Because Glasgow is committed to open data, people outside of city government can also access the data. Citizens can make better use of services and feel more engaged. Businesses can spot opportunities for growth. Communities can prosper.
    • Glasgow: A City of the Future
      • Ecosystem for Future City Innovation.  “We want to create an ecosystem of future city innovation in the city,” says Birchenall. “Microsoft was a really good partner for us, as they understood and shared this vision and are helping to put in place a foundation on which we can develop that ecosystem.
      • Internet of Things.  The emergence of sensors in everyday items offers new insights into city life. “Intelligent street lighting will help us to detect and record air quality, noise pollution and footfall all over the city,” explains Birchenall.  It’s not just the council or big business who will benefit. Anyone who has a vested interest will be able to understand the services people may need. “Even a one-man taxi business could change his pick up points to serve more customers and generate more income,” says Birchenall.
      • Community Insights.  Access to this new and precise data will influence the future development of Glasgow’s communities. “When planners meet with local leaders to discuss developments, they will understand the requirement better than ever before and will be able to make better decisions. In a time when budgets are tight, it is important to make every penny count and the aim is to do more with less,” explains Birchenall.
      • Insights from Everyday Activities.  Making it easy for people to access information is key and Birchenall envisages the emergence of many apps to fulfil this requirement. Birchenall says: “There are already several locally-developed, third-party apps in place, such as the crowdsourcing of traffic information and popular cycle routes which indicate the presence of cycle racks and unfriendly inclines. Using these types of apps will become part of everyday life.”
    • Reimagining Public Services: The Art of the Possible
      • Citizens’ expectations for government are evolving. Everyone is trying to do more with less. At the same time, the next wave of mobile devices, social networks, cloud platforms and business insights tools have as much potential to change the way we live and work.
      • In Durham, the local constabulary became England’s only “Outstanding” rated police force by using Dynamics CRM to more efficiently manage case files and solve cases faster.
      • At West Wakefield, doctors are using Skype for Business to hold remote consultations with patients, erasing barriers to care for people who would otherwise struggle to make it to a local surgery.
      • In Shropshire, a collaboration platform allows council staff to work from anywhere, delivering services faster and lowering the cost of transaction.
      • In Glasgow, the city council adopted an open data policy, encouraging greater transparency and helping citizens make better use of services. Tools like Microsoft PowerBI and PowerMap grant access to simple visualisations of city data that can be acted on in real time.
  • Kent County Council.  Reimagining Public Service at Kent County Council (UK)
    • Kent County Council.   Kent County Council (KCC) UK is responsible for providing public services in education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety and waste disposal to 1.4M residents across 12 district councils and 300 town and parish councils. KCC wanted to rethink Citizen Services for a digital world that would improve health and social care, regenerate towns and cities, and grow its gross domestic product (GDP) by using technology as an enabler to help make people’s lives better.
Education

Empowering every student to achieve more.

Core to our mission is creating immersive and inclusive experiences that inspire lifelong learning, stimulating development of essential life skills and supporting educators in guiding and nurturing student passions. We empower students and educators to create and share in entirely new ways, to teach and learn through exploration, to adapt to individual learning needs, so they can make, design, invent and build with technology.  You can read more at Microsoft in Education.

  • Tacoma Public Schools.  Predicting student dropout risks, increasing graduation rates with cloud analytics.
    • Tacoma Public Schools.  Tacoma Public Schools used Microsoft Azure Machine Learning to predict student dropout triggers and intervene on behalf to at-risk student early enough to keep students on a path to graduation. The result: graduation rates have increased from 55 to 78 percent.   Eventually, the district plans to use its Azure Machine Learning solution to make its original vision a reality. The end goal is a scenario in which a teacher or principal can log into a portal each morning to see a data view of each student, and then be proactively alerted by the system when a particular student is at risk of failing a course or dropping out. “We want to make it easy for a teacher or administrator to be notified if there’s something different about a particular student from one day to the next. Once they get that alert, teachers will be able to take action and intervene, all because of the data,” says Taylor. “That’s the point we think we can get to with Azure Machine Learning.”
Healthcare

Empowering health professionals and partners with the right technology to improve patient care and help save lives.

From an Advanced Analytics perspective, health analytics solutions from Microsoft and partners can give everyone in a health organization powerful new ways to work with data. They can empower health professionals to glean actionable insights from the mountains of data that patient care can generate.  From a care team perspective, Microsoft is providing care teams with easy ways to communicate, collaborate and improve productivity to ultimately enhance care efficiency and outcomes.

From a Cloud perspective, today’s organizations are looking for more agility, easier management, and access to more capacity to enable them to handle increased demands without increasing costs. Health organizations can benefit from Microsoft’s industry-leading approach to security, privacy, and compliance while minimizing cost and complexity.

From a clinical mobility perspective, Microsoft can enable health professionals to spend less time navigating technology and more time caring for their patients. Microsoft can provide a seamless experience that gives clinicians and other health professionals the information they need on a single, clinical-grade device.  You can read more at Microsoft in Health.

  • Dartmouth.  Population health at a glance.
  • Kent County Council.
    • Video: Kent Healthcare – The City of Kent has demonstrated a very pragmatic approach to “Consumerization of Healthcare” with a Patient-Centered Healthcare approach (and remote support for patients.)
Manufacturing

“We’re a more connected company because we have better ways of communicating on local and global levels,” says Kevin Parlette, Vice President of IT at Dana.

  • Dana Holding. Modern productivity in manufacturing: the Connected Factory.
    • Dana Holding: Modern productivity in manufacturing: the Connected Factory.  What have the Model T, London taxicabs, 18-wheel rigs, World War II–era Jeeps, giant earth-moving machines, and every car on the NASCAR racing circuit had in common? They have all relied on products from Dana Holding Corporation, which has a proud heritage of innovation in supplying the transportation industry—one that spans more than a century of creating ground-breaking products.  So how does a company continue to improve on its history? For Dana, the answer lies in operational efficiency. “We’re focused on removing constraints for our employees,” says Jeff Heyde, Director of Global Systems at Dana Holding Corporation. “In the past, employees had to stop and figure out how to share their prototypes, work effectively with offshore teams, and stay productive from wherever they were. Today, we’ve empowered employees to do it all without thinking about it.” Dana is optimizing more than its operational efficiency; it’s also investing in and deriving greater value from its full workforce. By using Office 365, Dana communicates directly with more employees because its 12,000 factory workers will be able to use kiosks on the plant floors to access everything from employee benefits to safety updates. They used to rely only on their managers to give them information or relay their feedback, but now they also use the intranet and relevant business applications to stay up to date. Plus, they can join other Dana employees, including the company’s Chief Executive Officer, and participate in the company’s enterprise social network, Yammer. “We’re a more connected company because we have better ways of communicating on local and global levels,” says Kevin Parlette, Vice President of IT at Dana.
Oil & Gas

As the oil and gas industry continues to grow in complexity with changes in regulations, tighter margins, and possible infrastructure threats, executives need an easy way to collaborate.  In order to succeed in a competitive environment, manufacturing organizations must continually deliver new products, improve processes, and find new ways to deliver value to customers.

Companies need to foster a culture of innovation that makes it easier for people to connect to people, share information, and work together across organizational and geographical boundaries. Use technology to collaborate and create content based on information, analytics, and insights from customer interactions, product performance, and social networks, with real-time availability to accelerate innovation. Provide devices and apps that support design and engineering needs. Enable teams to collaborate and communicate across geographic and organizational boundaries. Extract insight from disparate data sources.  Read more at Microsoft in Process Manufacturing.

  • M.G. Bryan.  M.G. Bryan Pioneers First-of-Its-Kind Cloud Computing Asset Performance Management System.
    • M.G. Bryan Pioneers First-of-Its-Kind Cloud Computing Asset Performance Management System –  M.G. Bryan Equipment Co., a leading heavy equipment and machinery OEM for the oil and gas industry, is using cloud computing for remote asset management of high-tech fracturing equipment. Designed and integrated with Rockwell Automation, M.G. Bryan’s new equipment’s control and information system leverages Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Azure cloud-computing platform to help provide secure remote access to real-time information, automated maintenance alerts, and service and parts delivery requests. With Rockwell Automation, M.G. Bryan designed a simple, user-friendly system using the cloud to improve productivity and business intelligence.
  • Schlumberger.  Big Compute for large engineering simulations
    • Schlumberger: Big Compute for large engineering simulations – If you are not familiar with Schlumberger, it’s probably because you are not too familiar with the oil and gas industry. Otherwise, I am certain that you would know them quite well (and you can probably skip this section). Simply put, Schlumberger is the largest oilfield services company in the world. It employs 115,000 people in more than 85 countries. Their products and services span from exploration through production. It supplies technology, integrated project management and information solutions to customers working in the oil and gas industry worldwide.  The accessibility and scalability offered by cloud computing should be the answer to the challenges mentioned earlier, but before this is true, the backend infrastructure must have the right technology to enable the simulator to really perform.  This is where Schlumberger and Microsoft working together have created and delivered the most appropriate technology solution, as Owen comments:  “The work done on both Azure VMs and Microsoft MPI to reduce the latency across nodes has meant that we can run scale tests using INTERSECT from several hundreds of thousands of cells up to a billion cells, showing the same kind of results and scalability as running on bare metal. We chose Azure for our commercial launch in North America and Europe because of their presence in those markets, their willingness to work tightly with our engineers to build a great solution for our customers, they have an offering that supports low latency networks over RDMA (InfiniBand) which has a notable impact on the scalability of MPI based applications. INTERSECT is our best in class reservoir simulator capable of scaling to a billion cells; it cannot effectively achieve this scale without fast low latency networks.”
Robotics

“Robots serve as the link between IT and production, between humans and technology.” — Dr. Christian Schlögel, CTO of KUKA

  • Kuka AG.  Building the intelligent future generation of robotics for manufacturing.
    • Kuka AG –   Microsoft and KUKA present intelligent future generation of robotics.  At Hannover Messe, Microsoft Corp. and KUKA AG, a leading manufacturer of industrial robots and automation solutions, are presenting a mutual application that shows KUKA’s Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant (KUKA LBR iiwa), built with Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) services.  Using precise movements and perceptive technology, this lightweight robot is able to sense its way around a complex task and perform precise automation movements safely and securely. This special feature enables KUKA LBR iiwa for human-robot collaboration. The combination with Microsoft Azure IoT services, Kinect hardware, and the OPC-UA communication standard leads to one of the world’s first showcases blending IT with robotic technologies into a smart manufacturing solution with new capabilities.  Movement data from the robot is streamed to the Azure cloud where workers can monitor progress and receive status reports from the factory floor. Errors in the supply chain are addressed in real time through Windows tablets, making the automated process faster and easier. Another benefit of the Azure cloud is that it allows users to view and act on data through a management dashboard, providing business analytics and trend intelligence. If a certain piece of the dishwasher is breaking more frequently than other pieces, for example, advanced data stream analysis can help understand what may be causing the issue or use predictions to recommend pre-emptive repairs with machine learning technology.  Read more at Kuka AG.
Transportation

“For a number of industries, from long-haul transport, to mass transit, to forestry & mining, delays or disruptions in transportation can spell doom for their business. Any period during which equipment or vehicles are not functional due to technical failure, maintenance, or inefficient operations has an impact on the bottom line.

This is where transportation companies have a real opportunity to use technology to their advantage, by connecting their assets and offering performance analytics services to reduce downtime and increase revenues. Today, transportation companies can implement intelligent analytics services that predict mechanical and other issues before they arise, helping companies combat razor thin margins and grow their transportation business.”  You can read more at Scania Leads a New Era of Trucking Services with Data and the Cloud.

  • Scania.  Measures the entire transport flow of a mine.
    • Scania Leads a New Era of Trucking Services with Data and the Cloud – In the case of mining, successful transport is all about moving high volumes of heavy material at the lowest possible cost, particularly since transportation expenses often make up a third or more of the total mining operating costs.  In order to help mining companies tackle these costs, Scania developed a system on the Microsoft Azure platform that measures the entire transport flow of a mine, with data sent wirelessly every second from the trucks in the production flow to Scania’s field workshop. This allows them to calculate uptime and down times and have useful data to make decisions that affect operational efficiency in real time in their customers’ mining operations.

As you can see, Digital Transformation is all around you.

Now that you know what kinds of Digital Transformation are taking place, along with concrete examples of Digital Transformation in the real world, hopefully that inspires you to re-imagine what you can do in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

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Trends for 2016

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Trends for 2016

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 16:08

Our world is changing faster than ever before.  It can be tough to keep up.  And what you don’t know, can sometimes hurt you.

Especially if you get disrupted.

If you want to be a better disruptor vs. be the disrupted, it helps to know what’s going on around the world.  There are amazing people, amazing companies, and amazing discoveries changing the world every day.  Or at least giving it their best shot.

  • You know the Mega-Trends: Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data.
  • You know the Nexus-Of-Forces, where the Mega-Trends (Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data) converge around business scenarios.
  • You know the Mega-Trend of Mega-Trends:  Internet-Of-Things (IoT)

But do you know how Virtual Reality is changing the game? …

Disruption is Everywhere

Are you aware of how the breadth and depth of diversity is changing our interactions with the world?  Do you know how “bi-modal” or “dual-speed IT” are really taking shape in the 3rd Era of IT or the 4th Industrial Revolution?

Do you know what you can print now with 3D printers? (and have you seen the 3D printed car that can actually drive? … and did you know we have a new land speed record with the help of the Cloud, IoT, and analytics? … and have you seen what driverless cars are up to?)

And what about all of the innovation that’s happening in and around cities? (and maybe a city near you.)

And what’s going on in banking, healthcare, retail, and just about every industry around the world?

Trends for Digital Business Transformation in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First World

Yes, the world is changing, and it’s changing fast.  But there are patterns.  I did my yearly trends post to capture and share some of these trends and insights:

Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold

Let me warn you now – it’s epic.  It’s not a trivial little blog post of key trends for 2016.  It’s a mega-post, packed full with the ideas, terms, and concepts that are shaping Digital Transformation as we know it.

Even if you just scan the post, you will likely find something you haven’t seen or heard of before.  It’s a bird’s-eye view of many of the big ideas that are changing software and the tech industry as well as what’s changing other industries, and the world around us.

If you are in the game of Digital Business Transformation, you need to know the vocabulary and the big ideas that are influencing the CEOs, CIOs, CDOs (Chief Digital Officers), COOs, CFOs, CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers), CINOs (Chief Innovation Officers), and the business leaders that are funding and driving decisions as they make their Digital Business Transformations and learn how to adapt for our Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

If you want to be a disruptor, Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold is a fast way to learn the building blocks of next-generation business in a Digital Economy in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

10 Key Trends for 2016

Here are the 10 key trends at a glance from Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold to get you started:

  1. Age of the Customer
  2. Beyond Smart Cities
  3. City Innovation
  4. Context is King
  5. Culture is the Critical Path
  6. Cybersecurity
  7. Diversity Finds New Frontiers
  8. Reputation Capital
  9. Smarter Homes
  10. Virtual Reality Gets Real

Perhaps the most interesting trend is how culture is making or breaking companies, and cities, as they transition to a new era of work and life.  It’s a particularly interesting trend because it’s like a mega-trend.  It’s the people and process part that goes along with the technology.  As many people are learning, Digital Transformation is a cultural shift, not a technology problem.

Get ready for an epic ride and read Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold.

If you read nothing else, at least read the section up front titled, “The Year of the Bold” to get a quick taste of some of the amazing things happening to change the globe. 

Who knows maybe we’ll team up on tackling some of the Global Goals and put a small dent in the universe.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Trends for 2016

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 08:08

Our world is changing faster than ever before.  It can be tough to keep up.  And what you don’t know, can sometimes hurt you.

Especially if you get disrupted.

If you want to be a better disruptor vs. be the disrupted, it helps to know what’s going on around the world.  There are amazing people, amazing companies, and amazing discoveries changing the world every day.  Or at least giving it their best shot.

  • You know the Mega-Trends: Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data.
  • You know the Nexus-Of-Forces, where the Mega-Trends (Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data) converge around business scenarios.
  • You know the Mega-Trend of Mega-Trends:  Internet-Of-Things (IoT)

But do you know how Virtual Reality is changing the game? …

Disruption is Everywhere

Are you aware of how the breadth and depth of diversity is changing our interactions with the world?  Do you know how “bi-modal” or “dual-speed IT” are really taking shape in the 3rd Era of IT or the 4th Industrial Revolution?

Do you know what you can print now with 3D printers? (and have you seen the 3D printed car that can actually drive? … and did you know we have a new land speed record with the help of the Cloud, IoT, and analytics? … and have you seen what driverless cars are up to?)

And what about all of the innovation that’s happening in and around cities? (and maybe a city near you.)

And what’s going on in banking, healthcare, retail, and just about every industry around the world?

Trends for Digital Business Transformation in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First World

Yes, the world is changing, and it’s changing fast.  But there are patterns.  I did my yearly trends post to capture and share some of these trends and insights:

Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold

Let me warn you now – it’s epic.  It’s not a trivial little blog post of key trends for 2016.  It’s a mega-post, packed full with the ideas, terms, and concepts that are shaping Digital Transformation as we know it.

Even if you just scan the post, you will likely find something you haven’t seen or heard of before.  It’s a bird’s-eye view of many of the big ideas that are changing software and the tech industry as well as what’s changing other industries, and the world around us.

If you are in the game of Digital Business Transformation, you need to know the vocabulary and the big ideas that are influencing the CEOs, CIOs, CDOs (Chief Digital Officers), COOs, CFOs, CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers), CINOs (Chief Innovation Officers), and the business leaders that are funding and driving decisions as they make their Digital Business Transformations and learn how to adapt for our Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

If you want to be a disruptor, Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold is a fast way to learn the building blocks of next-generation business in a Digital Economy in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

10 Key Trends for 2016

Here are the 10 key trends at a glance from Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold to get you started:

  1. Age of the Customer
  2. Beyond Smart Cities
  3. City Innovation
  4. Context is King
  5. Culture is the Critical Path
  6. Cybersecurity
  7. Diversity Finds New Frontiers
  8. Reputation Capital
  9. Smarter Homes
  10. Virtual Reality Gets Real

Perhaps the most interesting trend is how culture is making or breaking companies, and cities, as they transition to a new era of work and life.  It’s a particularly interesting trend because it’s like a mega-trend.  It’s the people and process part that goes along with the technology.  As many people are learning, Digital Transformation is a cultural shift, not a technology problem.

Get ready for an epic ride and read Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold.

If you read nothing else, at least read the section up front titled, “The Year of the Bold” to get a quick taste of some of the amazing things happening to change the globe. 

Who knows maybe we’ll team up on tackling some of the Global Goals and put a small dent in the universe.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Start with Needs and Wants

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 17:18

“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” – Peter Drucker

So many people start with solutions, and then wonder where the customers are.

It’s the proverbial, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The truth is, if all you have is a hammer, then get better at finding nails.  And while you are looking for those nails, get better at expanding your toolbox.

If you want to be a better Entrepreneur or a trend hunter or a product manager or a visionary leader, then start with needs and wants.  It will help you quickly cut through the overwhelm and overload of ideas, trends, and insights to get to the ideas that matter.

Some say the most valuable thing in the world is ideas.  Many others say that coming up with ideas is not the problem.  The problem is execution.  The truth here is that so many ideas fail because they didn’t create a customer or raving fans.  They didn’t address relevant pains, needs, and desired outcomes.  Instead, they solve problems that nobody has or create things that nobody wants (unless it’s free), besides the creator, and that’s how you end up in the mad scientist syndrome.  Or, ideas die because they were not presented in a way that speaks to the needs and wants, and so you end up a brilliant, misunderstood genius.

Start Viewing the World Through the Lens of Human Needs and Wants

Here is some good insight and timeless truths on how to find trends that matter and how to create ideas that do, too from the 5 Trends for 2016 report by Trendwatching.com.

Via 5 Trends for 2016:

“Trends emerge as innovators address consumers’ basic needs and wants in novel ways.
As trend watchers, that’s why we look for clusters of innovations which are defining (and redefining) customer expectations.

Start by asking why customers might embrace you using a channel. Next, challenge whether existing channels really satisfy the deep needs and wants of your customers. Could you create any new ones? Finally, imagine entirely new contexts you could leverage (perhaps even those that customers aren’t yet consciously aware of).

As long as the onslaught of technological change continues, we’ll keep shouting this mantra from the rooftops: stop viewing the world through the lens of technology, and start viewing technology through the lens of basic human needs and wants.

Put another way: all those tech trends you’re obsessed with are fine, but can you use them to deliver something people actually want?”

Start with Scenarios to Validate Customer Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes

A scenario is simply a story told from the customer's point of view that explains their situation and what they want to achieve.

They are a great tool for validating ideas, capturing ideas, and sharing ideas.  What makes them so powerful is that they are a story told in the Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC).  The Current State story captures the pains and needs.  The Desired Future State captures the vision of the desired outcomes.  Here is an example:

Current State
As a product manager, I'm struggling to keep up with changing customer behavior and band perception is eroding.  Competition from new market entrants is creating additional challenges as we face new innovations, lower prices, and better overall customer experiences.

Desired Future State
By tapping into the vast amounts of information from social media, we gain deep customer insight.  We find new opportunities to better understand customer preferences and perceptions of the brand.  We combine social data with internal market data to gain deeper insights into brand awareness and profitable customer segments.  Employees are better able to share ideas, connect with each other, connect with customers, and connect with partners to bring new ideas to market.  We are able to pair up with the key influencers in social media to help reshape the story and perception of our brand.

Customer Wants and Needs are the Breeding Ground of Innovation

Makes total sense right?   But how often do you see anybody ever do this?  That’s the real gap.

Instead, we see hammers not even looking for nails, but trying to sell hammers.

But maybe people want drills?  No, they don’t want to by drills or drill-bits.  They want to buy holes.  And when you create that kind of clarity, you start to get resourceful and you can create ideas and solutions in a way that’s connected to what actually counts.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Start with Needs and Wants

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 17:18

“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” – Peter Drucker

So many people start with solutions, and then wonder where the customers are.

It’s the proverbial, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The truth is, if all you have is a hammer, then get better at finding nails.  And while you are looking for those nails, get better at expanding your toolbox.

If you want to be a better Entrepreneur or a trend hunter or a product manager or a visionary leader, then start with needs and wants.  It will help you quickly cut through the overwhelm and overload of ideas, trends, and insights to get to the ideas that matter.

Some say the most valuable thing in the world is ideas.  Many others say that coming up with ideas is not the problem.  The problem is execution.  The truth here is that so many ideas fail because they didn’t create a customer or raving fans.  They didn’t address relevant pains, needs, and desired outcomes.  Instead, they solve problems that nobody has or create things that nobody wants (unless it’s free), besides the creator, and that’s how you end up in the mad scientist syndrome.  Or, ideas die because they were not presented in a way that speaks to the needs and wants, and so you end up a brilliant, misunderstood genius.

Start Viewing the World Through the Lens of Human Needs and Wants

Here is some good insight and timeless truths on how to find trends that matter and how to create ideas that do, too from the 5 Trends for 2016 report by Trendwatching.com.

Via 5 Trends for 2016:

“Trends emerge as innovators address consumers’ basic needs and wants in novel ways.
As trend watchers, that’s why we look for clusters of innovations which are defining (and redefining) customer expectations.

Start by asking why customers might embrace you using a channel. Next, challenge whether existing channels really satisfy the deep needs and wants of your customers. Could you create any new ones? Finally, imagine entirely new contexts you could leverage (perhaps even those that customers aren’t yet consciously aware of).

As long as the onslaught of technological change continues, we’ll keep shouting this mantra from the rooftops: stop viewing the world through the lens of technology, and start viewing technology through the lens of basic human needs and wants.

Put another way: all those tech trends you’re obsessed with are fine, but can you use them to deliver something people actually want?”

Start with Scenarios to Validate Customer Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes

A scenario is simply a story told from the customer's point of view that explains their situation and what they want to achieve.

They are a great tool for validating ideas, capturing ideas, and sharing ideas.  What makes them so powerful is that they are a story told in the Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC).  The Current State story captures the pains and needs.  The Desired Future State captures the vision of the desired outcomes.  Here is an example:

Current State
As a product manager, I'm struggling to keep up with changing customer behavior and band perception is eroding.  Competition from new market entrants is creating additional challenges as we face new innovations, lower prices, and better overall customer experiences.

Desired Future State
By tapping into the vast amounts of information from social media, we gain deep customer insight.  We find new opportunities to better understand customer preferences and perceptions of the brand.  We combine social data with internal market data to gain deeper insights into brand awareness and profitable customer segments.  Employees are better able to share ideas, connect with each other, connect with customers, and connect with partners to bring new ideas to market.  We are able to pair up with the key influencers in social media to help reshape the story and perception of our brand.

Customer Wants and Needs are the Breeding Ground of Innovation

Makes total sense right?   But how often do you see anybody ever do this?  That’s the real gap.

Instead, we see hammers not even looking for nails, but trying to sell hammers.

But maybe people want drills?  No, they don’t want to by drills or drill-bits.  They want to buy holes.  And when you create that kind of clarity, you start to get resourceful and you can create ideas and solutions in a way that’s connected to what actually counts.

You Might Also Like

6 Steps for Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

10 High-Value Activities in the Enterprise

Agile Methodology in Microsoft patterns & practices

Customer-Connected Engineering

How To Turn IT into an Asset Rather than a Liability

Scenario-Driven Value Realization

Why So Many Ideas Die

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Start with Needs and Wants

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 09:18

“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” – Peter Drucker

So many people start with solutions, and then wonder where the customers are.

It’s the proverbial, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The truth is, if all you have is a hammer, then get better at finding nails.  And while you are looking for those nails, get better at expanding your toolbox.

If you want to be a better Entrepreneur or a trend hunter or a product manager or a visionary leader, then start with needs and wants.  It will help you quickly cut through the overwhelm and overload of ideas, trends, and insights to get to the ideas that matter.

Some say the most valuable thing in the world is ideas.  Many others say that coming up with ideas is not the problem.  The problem is execution.  The truth here is that so many ideas fail because they didn’t create a customer or raving fans.  They didn’t address relevant pains, needs, and desired outcomes.  Instead, they solve problems that nobody has or create things that nobody wants (unless it’s free), besides the creator, and that’s how you end up in the mad scientist syndrome.  Or, ideas die because they were not presented in a way that speaks to the needs and wants, and so you end up a brilliant, misunderstood genius.

Start Viewing the World Through the Lens of Human Needs and Wants

Here is some good insight and timeless truths on how to find trends that matter and how to create ideas that do, too from the 5 Trends for 2016 report by Trendwatching.com.

Via 5 Trends for 2016:

“Trends emerge as innovators address consumers’ basic needs and wants in novel ways.
As trend watchers, that’s why we look for clusters of innovations which are defining (and redefining) customer expectations.

Start by asking why customers might embrace you using a channel. Next, challenge whether existing channels really satisfy the deep needs and wants of your customers. Could you create any new ones? Finally, imagine entirely new contexts you could leverage (perhaps even those that customers aren’t yet consciously aware of).

As long as the onslaught of technological change continues, we’ll keep shouting this mantra from the rooftops: stop viewing the world through the lens of technology, and start viewing technology through the lens of basic human needs and wants.

Put another way: all those tech trends you’re obsessed with are fine, but can you use them to deliver something people actually want?”

Start with Scenarios to Validate Customer Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes

A scenario is simply a story told from the customer’s point of view that explains their situation and what they want to achieve.

They are a great tool for validating ideas, capturing ideas, and sharing ideas.  What makes them so powerful is that they are a story told in the Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC).  The Current State story captures the pains and needs.  The Desired Future State captures the vision of the desired outcomes.  Here is an example:

Current State
As a product manager, I’m struggling to keep up with changing customer behavior and band perception is eroding.  Competition from new market entrants is creating additional challenges as we face new innovations, lower prices, and better overall customer experiences.

Desired Future State
By tapping into the vast amounts of information from social media, we gain deep customer insight.  We find new opportunities to better understand customer preferences and perceptions of the brand.  We combine social data with internal market data to gain deeper insights into brand awareness and profitable customer segments.  Employees are better able to share ideas, connect with each other, connect with customers, and connect with partners to bring new ideas to market.  We are able to pair up with the key influencers in social media to help reshape the story and perception of our brand.

Customer Wants and Needs are the Breeding Ground of Innovation

Makes total sense right?   But how often do you see anybody ever do this?  That’s the real gap.

Instead, we see hammers not even looking for nails, but trying to sell hammers.

But maybe people want drills?  No, they don’t want to by drills or drill-bits.  They want to buy holes.  And when you create that kind of clarity, you start to get resourceful and you can create ideas and solutions in a way that’s connected to what actually counts.

You Might Also Like

6 Steps for Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

10 High-Value Activities in the Enterprise

Agile Methodology in Microsoft patterns & practices

Customer-Connected Engineering

How To Turn IT into an Asset Rather than a Liability

Scenario-Driven Value Realization

Why So Many Ideas Die

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Agile Results for 2016

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 16:54

Agile Results is the personal productivity system for high-performance.

Agile Results is a “whole person” approach to personal productivity. It combines proven practices for mind, body, and emotions. It helps you realize your potential the agile way.  Best of all, it helps you make the most of what you’ve got to achieve higher levels of performance with less time, less effort, and more impact.

Agile Results helps you achieve rapid results by focusing on outcomes over activities, spending more time in your strengths, focusing on high-value activities, and using your best energy for your best results.

If you want to use Agile Results, it’s simple. I’ll show you how to get started, right, here, right now. If you already know Agile Results, then this will simply be a refresher.

Write Three Things Down

The way to get started with Agile Results is simple. Write three things down that you want to achieve today. Just ask yourself, “What are your Three Wins that you want to achieve today?”

For me, today, I want to achieve the following:

  1. I want to get agreement on a shared model across a few of our teams.
  2. I want to create a prototype for business model innovation.
  3. I want to create a distilled view of CEO concerns for a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

In my mind, I might just remember: shared model, business model innovation, and CEO. I’ll be focused on the outcomes, which are effectively agreement on a model, innovation in business models for a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world, and a clear representation of top CEO pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Even if I throw away what I write down, or lose it, the value is in the brief moment I spent to prioritize and visualize the results that I want to achieve. 

This little vision will stick with me as a guide throughout my day.

Think in Three Wins

Writing these three items down, helps me focus. It helps me prioritize based on value. It also helps me create a simple vision for my day.

Plus, thinking in Three Wins adds the fun factor.

And, better yet, if somebody asks me tomorrow what my Three Wins were for yesterday, I should be able to tell a story that goes like this: I created rapport and a shared view with our partner teams, I created a working information model for business model innovation for a mobile-first cloud-first world, and I created a simplified view of the key priorities for CEOs in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

When you can articulate the value you create, to yourself and others, it helps provide a sense of progress, and a story of impact.  Progress is actually one of the keys to workplace happiness, and even happiness in life.

In a very pragmatic way, by practicing your Three Wins, you are practicing how to identify and create value.  You are learning what is actually valued, by yourself and others, by the system that you are in.

And value is the ultimate short-cut.  Once you know what value is, you can shave off a lot of waste.

The big idea here is that it’s not your laundry list of To-Dos, activities, and reminders -- it’s your Three Wins or Three Outcomes or Three Results.

Use Your Best Energy for Your Best Results

Some people wonder why only Three Wins?  There is a lot of science behind the Rule of 3, but I find it better to look at how the Rule of 3 has stood the test of time.  The military uses it.  Marketing uses it.  You probably find yourself using it when you chunk things up into threes.

But don’t I have a bazillion things to do?

Yes. But can I do a bazillion things today? No. But what I can do is spend my best energy, on the best things, my best way.

That’s the best I can do.

But that’s actually a lot. When you focus on high-value outcomes and you really focus your time, attention, and energy on those high-value outcomes, you achieve a lot. And you learn a lot.

Will I get distracted? Sure. But I’ll use my Three Wins to get back on track.

Will I get randomized and will new things land on my plate? Of course, it’s the real-world. But I have Three Wins top of mind that I can prioritize against. I can see if I’m trading up for higher-value, higher-priorities, or if I’m simply getting randomized and focusing on lower-value distractions.

Will I still have a laundry list of To-Do items? I will. But, at the top of that list, I’ll have Three Wins that are my “tests for success” for the day, that I can keep going back to, and that will help me prioritize my list of actions, reminders, and To-Dos.

20-Minute Sprints

I’ll use 20-Minute Sprints to achieve most of my results. It will help me make meaningful progress on things, keep a fast pace, stay engaged with what I’m working on, and to use my best energy.

Whether it’s an ultradian rhythms, or just a natural breaking point, 20-Minute Sprints help with focus.

We aren’t very good at focusing if we need to focus “until we are done.” But we are a lot better at focusing if we have a finish line in site. Plus, with what I’m learning about vision, I wonder if spending more than 20-Minutes is where we start to fatigue our eye muscles, and don’t even know it.

Note that I primarily talk about 20-Minute Sprints as timeboxing, after all, that’s what it is, but I think it’s more helpful to use a specific number. I remember that 40-Hour Work Week was a good practice from Extreme Programming before it became Sustainable Pace. Once it became Sustainable Pace, then teams started doing the 70 or 80 hour work week, which is not only ineffective, it does more harm than good.

Net net – start with 20-Minute Sprints. If you find another timebox works better for you, than by all means use it, but there does seem to be something special about 20-Minute Sprints for paving your work through work.

If you’re wondering, what if you can’t complete your task in a 20-Minute Sprint? You do another sprint.

All the 20-Minute Sprint does is give you a simple timebox to focus and prioritize your time, attention, and energy, as well as to remind you to take brain breaks. And, the 20-Minute deadline also helps you sustain a faster pace (more like a “sprint” vs. a “job” or “walk”).

Just Start

I could say so much more, but I’d rather you just start doing Agile Results.

Go ahead and take a moment to think about your Three Wins for today, and go ahead and write them down.

Teach a friend, family member, or colleague Agile Results.  Spread the word.

Help more people bring out their best, even in their toughest situations.

A little clarity creates a lot of courage, and that goes a long when it comes to making big impact.

You Might Also Like

10 Big Ideas from Getting Results the Agile Way

10 Personal Productivity Tools from Agile Results

What Life is Like with Agile Results

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Agile Results for 2016

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 08:54

Agile Results is the personal productivity system for high-performance.

Agile Results is a “whole person” approach to personal productivity. It combines proven practices for mind, body, and emotions. It helps you realize your potential the agile way.  Best of all, it helps you make the most of what you’ve got to achieve higher levels of performance with less time, less effort, and more impact.

Agile Results helps you achieve rapid results by focusing on outcomes over activities, spending more time in your strengths, focusing on high-value activities, and using your best energy for your best results.

If you want to use Agile Results, it’s simple. I’ll show you how to get started, right, here, right now. If you already know Agile Results, then this will simply be a refresher.

Write Three Things Down

The way to get started with Agile Results is simple. Write three things down that you want to achieve today. Just ask yourself, “What are your Three Wins that you want to achieve today?”

For me, today, I want to achieve the following:

  1. I want to get agreement on a shared model across a few of our teams.
  2. I want to create a prototype for business model innovation.
  3. I want to create a distilled view of CEO concerns for a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

In my mind, I might just remember: shared model, business model innovation, and CEO. I’ll be focused on the outcomes, which are effectively agreement on a model, innovation in business models for a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world, and a clear representation of top CEO pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Even if I throw away what I write down, or lose it, the value is in the brief moment I spent to prioritize and visualize the results that I want to achieve. 

This little vision will stick with me as a guide throughout my day.

Think in Three Wins

Writing these three items down, helps me focus. It helps me prioritize based on value. It also helps me create a simple vision for my day.

Plus, thinking in Three Wins adds the fun factor.

And, better yet, if somebody asks me tomorrow what my Three Wins were for yesterday, I should be able to tell a story that goes like this: I created rapport and a shared view with our partner teams, I created a working information model for business model innovation for a mobile-first cloud-first world, and I created a simplified view of the key priorities for CEOs in a Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.

When you can articulate the value you create, to yourself and others, it helps provide a sense of progress, and a story of impact.  Progress is actually one of the keys to workplace happiness, and even happiness in life.

In a very pragmatic way, by practicing your Three Wins, you are practicing how to identify and create value.  You are learning what is actually valued, by yourself and others, by the system that you are in.

And value is the ultimate short-cut.  Once you know what value is, you can shave off a lot of waste.

The big idea here is that it’s not your laundry list of To-Dos, activities, and reminders — it’s your Three Wins or Three Outcomes or Three Results.

Use Your Best Energy for Your Best Results

Some people wonder why only Three Wins?  There is a lot of science behind the Rule of 3, but I find it better to look at how the Rule of 3 has stood the test of time.  The military uses it.  Marketing uses it.  You probably find yourself using it when you chunk things up into threes.

But don’t I have a bazillion things to do?

Yes. But can I do a bazillion things today? No. But what I can do is spend my best energy, on the best things, my best way.

That’s the best I can do.

But that’s actually a lot. When you focus on high-value outcomes and you really focus your time, attention, and energy on those high-value outcomes, you achieve a lot. And you learn a lot.

Will I get distracted? Sure. But I’ll use my Three Wins to get back on track.

Will I get randomized and will new things land on my plate? Of course, it’s the real-world. But I have Three Wins top of mind that I can prioritize against. I can see if I’m trading up for higher-value, higher-priorities, or if I’m simply getting randomized and focusing on lower-value distractions.

Will I still have a laundry list of To-Do items? I will. But, at the top of that list, I’ll have Three Wins that are my “tests for success” for the day, that I can keep going back to, and that will help me prioritize my list of actions, reminders, and To-Dos.

20-Minute Sprints

I’ll use 20-Minute Sprints to achieve most of my results. It will help me make meaningful progress on things, keep a fast pace, stay engaged with what I’m working on, and to use my best energy.

Whether it’s an ultradian rhythms, or just a natural breaking point, 20-Minute Sprints help with focus.

We aren’t very good at focusing if we need to focus “until we are done.” But we are a lot better at focusing if we have a finish line in site. Plus, with what I’m learning about vision, I wonder if spending more than 20-Minutes is where we start to fatigue our eye muscles, and don’t even know it.

Note that I primarily talk about 20-Minute Sprints as timeboxing, after all, that’s what it is, but I think it’s more helpful to use a specific number. I remember that 40-Hour Work Week was a good practice from Extreme Programming before it became Sustainable Pace. Once it became Sustainable Pace, then teams started doing the 70 or 80 hour work week, which is not only ineffective, it does more harm than good.

Net net – start with 20-Minute Sprints. If you find another timebox works better for you, than by all means use it, but there does seem to be something special about 20-Minute Sprints for paving your work through work.

If you’re wondering, what if you can’t complete your task in a 20-Minute Sprint? You do another sprint.

All the 20-Minute Sprint does is give you a simple timebox to focus and prioritize your time, attention, and energy, as well as to remind you to take brain breaks. And, the 20-Minute deadline also helps you sustain a faster pace (more like a “sprint” vs. a “job” or “walk”).

Just Start

I could say so much more, but I’d rather you just start doing Agile Results.

Go ahead and take a moment to think about your Three Wins for today, and go ahead and write them down.

Teach a friend, family member, or colleague Agile Results.  Spread the word.

Help more people bring out their best, even in their toughest situations.

A little clarity creates a lot of courage, and that goes a long when it comes to making big impact.

You Might Also Like

10 Big Ideas from Getting Results the Agile Way

10 Personal Productivity Tools from Agile Results

What Life is Like with Agile Results

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Productivity Power Magazine

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 18:27

image

"Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before." -- Franz Kafka

One of my experiments over the weekend was to do a fast roundup of my productivity articles.

Here it is -- Productivity Power Magazine:

Productivity Power Magazine

I wanted to create a profound knowledge base of principles, patterns, and practices for productivity.  I also wanted to make it fast, really fast, to be able to go through all of my productivity articles that I’ve created for Sources of Insight and on MSDN. 

I also wanted it to be more visual, I wanted thumbnails of each articles, so that I could flip through very quickly.

After looking at a few options, I tried Flipboard.  It’s a simple way to create personal magazines, and world class publications like The New York Times, PEOPLE Magazine, Fast Company and Vanity Fair use Flipboard.

Productivity Power Magazine (A Flipboard Experiment)

Here is my first Flipboard experiment to create Productivity Power Magazine:

Productivity Power Magazine

I think you’ll find Productivity Power Magazine a very fast way to go through all of my productivity articles.  You get to see everything and a glance, scroll through a visual list, and then dive into the ones you want to read.  If you care about productivity, this might be your productivity paradise.

Note that I take a “whole person” approach to productivity, with a focus on well-being.  I draw from positive psychology, sports psychology, project management practices, and a wide variety of sources to help you achieve high-performance.  Ultimately, it’s a patterns and practices approach to productivity to help you think, feel, and do your best, while enjoying the journey.

Some Challenges with Productivity Power Magazine

Flipboard is a fast way to roundup and share articles for a theme.

I do like Flipboard.  I did run into some issues though while creating my Productivity Power Magazine: 1)  I wasn’t able to figure out how to create a simpler URL for the landing page, 2)  I wasn’t able to swap out images if I didn’t like what was in the original article 3) I couldn’t add an image if the article was missing one, 4) I couldn’t easily re-sequence the flow of articles in the magazine, and 5) I can’t get my editorial comments to appear.  It seems like all of my write ups are in the tool, but don’t show on the page.

That said, I don’t know a faster, simpler, better way to create a catalog of all of my productivity articles at a glance.  What’s nice is that I can go across multiple sources, so it’s a powerful way to round up articles and package them for a specific theme, such as productivity in this case.

I can also see how I can use Flilpboard for doing research on the Web, alone or with a team of people, since you can invite people to contribute to your Flipboard.   You can also make Flipboards private, so you can choose which ones you share.

Take Productivity Power Magazine for a spin and let me know how it goes.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Productivity Power Magazine

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 10:27

image

"Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before." — Franz Kafka

One of my experiments over the weekend was to do a fast roundup of my productivity articles.

Here it is – Productivity Power Magazine:

Productivity Power Magazine

I wanted to create a profound knowledge base of principles, patterns, and practices for productivity.  I also wanted to make it fast, really fast, to be able to go through all of my productivity articles that I’ve created for Sources of Insight and on MSDN. 

I also wanted it to be more visual, I wanted thumbnails of each articles, so that I could flip through very quickly.

After looking at a few options, I tried Flipboard.  It’s a simple way to create personal magazines, and world class publications like The New York Times, PEOPLE Magazine, Fast Company and Vanity Fair use Flipboard.

Productivity Power Magazine (A Flipboard Experiment)

Here is my first Flipboard experiment to create Productivity Power Magazine:

Productivity Power Magazine

I think you’ll find Productivity Power Magazine a very fast way to go through all of my productivity articles.  You get to see everything and a glance, scroll through a visual list, and then dive into the ones you want to read.  If you care about productivity, this might be your productivity paradise.

Note that I take a “whole person” approach to productivity, with a focus on well-being.  I draw from positive psychology, sports psychology, project management practices, and a wide variety of sources to help you achieve high-performance.  Ultimately, it’s a patterns and practices approach to productivity to help you think, feel, and do your best, while enjoying the journey.

Some Challenges with Productivity Power Magazine

Flipboard is a fast way to roundup and share articles for a theme.

I do like Flipboard.  I did run into some issues though while creating my Productivity Power Magazine: 1)  I wasn’t able to figure out how to create a simpler URL for the landing page, 2)  I wasn’t able to swap out images if I didn’t like what was in the original article 3) I couldn’t add an image if the article was missing one, 4) I couldn’t easily re-sequence the flow of articles in the magazine, and 5) I can’t get my editorial comments to appear.  It seems like all of my write ups are in the tool, but don’t show on the page.

That said, I don’t know a faster, simpler, better way to create a catalog of all of my productivity articles at a glance.  What’s nice is that I can go across multiple sources, so it’s a powerful way to round up articles and package them for a specific theme, such as productivity in this case.

I can also see how I can use Flilpboard for doing research on the Web, alone or with a team of people, since you can invite people to contribute to your Flipboard.   You can also make Flipboards private, so you can choose which ones you share.

Take Productivity Power Magazine for a spin and let me know how it goes.

Categories: Architecture, Programming