Category Archives: it infrastructure

Ovum Industry Congress Europe Speaker Q&A: Ara Avakian, Global Reporting Initiative

Ara Avakian is Senior Manager Technology Solutions at Global Reporting Initiativeand he will be part of the following panel session at Ovum Industry Congress Europe, taking place in Amsterdam on 8 October 2014: To the Cloud and Beyond, alongside Belastingdienst and ONVZ. We asked Ara about his experience and projects, as well as his expectations from the conference. Here’s what he had to say:

Ara AvakianAra Avakian: At OIC Europe, I am most looking forward to hearing about how to transition to a data-optimized organization that is positioned to smartly capture, manage and capitalize on information. Despite new apps and enterprise systems some organizations still suffer from information silos, this may be due to insufficient buy-in or change management but an absence of easy to use tools may also play a part. I’d like to hear some examples of how organizations are transitioning and what their experiences have been.

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?

AA: Over the years I have seen a number of technology projects initiated without first undergoing a rigorous review against organizational priorities. I’ve seen this occur across a variety of industries and with projects including enterprise software, websites and online tools. I’ve learned that projects often get initiated for questionable reasons and that simply because we’ve received earmarked funds or someone in upper management is driving an initiative isn’t enough. It’s clear to me that all projects should be reviewed as part of a formal process with upper management (during budget season) where they can be checked for alignment against organizational strategy and prioritized with a clear cost and realistic schedule. These are minimum requirements and if not met then the initiative should be put on hold until more information becomes available. In some instances it’s correct to push back – as long as one can articulate the reasons in clear business risks to upper management. For my own proposals I’ve found it’s especially important to ask the ‘5-why’s’. Is it strategically aligned? Is it providing value or is it just cool? Can the ROI be quantified? Is it a priority worth the resources, time and budget or are my energies best spent elsewhere?

Ovum: What one thing would you implement tomorrow if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?

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‘Is hiervoor geen betere app beschikbaar?’

183x133The second edition of Ovum Industry Congress: Europe takes place at the Amsterdam Hilton on 8 October 2014, and offers complimentary passes to enterprises, presenting a first-class speaker line-up. You can read a review of the first edition, courtesy of Computable, below.

Het Ovum Industry Congres Europe 2013 vond plaats op 2 oktober 2013 in het Mövenpick-hotel in Amsterdam. Het programma bestond uit zes onderwerpen die door de analisten van Ovum in een kort tijdsbestek werden uitgewerkt en onderbouwd met onderzoeksresultaten. Na elke sessie vond een paneldiscussieplaats met zogeheten practice leaders binnen dit vakgebied. Een hoogwaardig congres, waarbij onderzoekresultaten werden gecombineerd met de daadwerkelijke discussies in de boardroom.

ICT van buiten naar binnen

De wereld is aan het veranderen door de inzet van ict. Spraakmakende voorbeelden van deze transformatie zijn: reizen, ziekenhuizen en videoanalyses (denk aan kentekenherkenning en persoonsherkenning bij de opsporing van criminelen). Deze transformatie is gebaseerd op de ict-evolutie van een vaste ict infrastructuur naar het afnemen van dynamische zakelijke diensten. Het wordt dan ook belangrijk dat de cio een belangrijke bijdrage gaat leveren aan het ontsluiten en coördineren van de ict-kennis voor de business. Deze uitspraak is gebaseerd op het onderzoeksresultaat dat meer dan de helft van de ict-afdelingen negeert dat meer dan 60 procent van de medewerkers privémiddelen ook zakelijk gebruikt. Daarbij komt dat steeds meer zakelijke managers beslissingen nemen die voorheen door de cio werden genomen. Een intrigerende trend op het terrein van apps: in het verleden werd elke app als een openbaring ervaring. Tegenwoordig zijn gebruikers veel kritischer. Medewerkers vragen: ‘Is hiervoor geen betere app?’.

Een selectie van uitspraken uit de paneldiscussie:
• Stop met praten over ict, dit wordt onderdeel van de business, net als hr, financiën en verkoop. Be the challenger of the business;
• Het topmanagement spreekt voor 80 procent over uitvoering en voor 20 procent over innovatie;
• Bied zakelijke gebruikers een overzicht van de zakelijke meerwaarde van ict;
• Voel je verantwoordelijk voor de klant van de klant, en dit vanuit het perspectief van marketing, transparantie als vertrouwen;
• Best way of governance: you need trial and error and top-down; een successtory vanuit de praktijk is om deze wekelijks te bespreken in multidisciplinair team, dan weet iedereen zijn rol en invloed.

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Next Generation Infrastructure Q&A with Rocco Labellarte, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Rocco Labellarte is Head of Technology and Change Delivery at Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and is appearing on the Industry Leaders Panel at Next Generation Infrastructure on 23 September in London, alongside the CTO of Framestore, and Heads of Technology from Mercedes F1 and Government Digital Service. We caught up with Rocco to chat about his experience and projects, as well as his expectations from the conference. Here’s what he had to say:

Rocco LabellarteRocco Labellarte: I am discussing Migrating to next generation infrastructure – Mountain or molehill? at NGI 2014. I believe it is an opportunity to underline the essential move toward IT being all about enabling business outcomes. IT becomes the toolbox; how businesses use that toolbox to achieve their desired outcomes becomes the more fundamental question.

Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job?

RL: The 3P’s: people, politics and people! Joking apart, being able to manage multiple stakeholder groups, communicate really well and bridge the language divide between what technology can deliver and what people want, makes up 70% of my job. It is a challenge, the rules are what they are, with each employer being just a little bit unique, and you have to adopt the frame of mind that “these are the rules you are going to have to play by, so get used to it”, otherwise you will find yourself stressed out in next to no time.

Ovum: What skills and qualities would you most value in your successor?

RL: The ability to be concise, energetic and with a sense of humour. Knowing what they are talking about helps too. A broad understanding of technology, a sound grasp of business essentials, a delivery mentality and the ability to work with people at all levels of the organisation.  If you convince people you know what you’re saying and you get them on board then they are more likely to trust you to just get on and deliver.

Ovum: What one thing would you implement tomorrow if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?

RL: A time machine. Hindsight is a fabulous gift we’ve all been given; the trouble is we always get after the event. It is what translates to experience and learning for the next time. If we had a time machine, we’d be able to learn from our mistakes, go back in time and avoid them. That would be fun.

You can view all of the topics to be discussed at Next Generation Infrastructure on the event agenda, and you can discuss these topics and more with Rocco, and all our speakers, by registering today (enterprise end-users can claim a complimentary pass).