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12/2/2005
01:42 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Business Technology: Self-Evaluation: How'd You Do In 2005?

Look back at your work year via these questions and see how you score. Do it before you take out that second mortgage, Bob Evans suggests.

So with 2005 winding down, are you pleased with what you accomplished this year? Did you hit the goals and objectives you set for yourself?

Is your boss pleased with your performance this year? Is she pleased with what you accomplished?

Take a look at the following questions. For each one you can answer with an unconditional yes, give yourself 10 points. If you made some progress, give yourself the appropriate partial credit. And if it wasn't on your radar in 2005, give yourself 0 points.

Were you able to make substantial progress in overturning the traditional IT spending pattern whereby 80% or more goes into maintenance and low-value keep-the-lights-on work, while only 20% or less is devoted to new projects and innovation? Did you establish new objectives, new models, and new processes that will ensure this momentum is sustainable for years to come, and not just a one-hit wonder that fades in '06? (How'd you score: 10? 0? In between?)

Were you able to deliver to the executive committee a quantifiable, fully documented rationale for the business value of all projects? If not, do you feel you'll be more valued in 2006 than you were in 2005?

Were you able to win over the confidence of an LOB head who previously fought every proposal you'd make because he'd read the executive summary of a book saying that IT is irrelevant, and he wanted to be prized as a principled and contrarian visionary? If not, will other managers swing to his cynical side in 2006? And if that happens, will you have the supporters needed to keep making progress? Or to keep holding on to your job?

Were you able to get more of your people out to customer sites this year than last so that they can understand more fully the true significance of your team's work and the new priorities upon which they must focus?

When the CEO issued quarterly or annual earnings statements, was the business-technology organization cited as a powerful and strategic asset (hello, Wal-Mart) or as a bumbling troupe of dorks whose incompetence ruined what was otherwise a brilliant and world-conquering campaign (hello, Overstock.com)?

Were you able to recast your core relationships with your five most-strategic technology partners so that they became deeply vested in your risks and rewards, not just in what they said but in how they behaved and how they delivered? Is the basis of those new relationships fruitful and valuable enough that you'll actually deepen them in 2006, or was it in fact nothing more than a lot of lofty-sounding piffle that will blow away as old, disjointed habits return?

Were you able to identify which specific functions and processes within your organization should be outsourced? And were you able to make that happen in spite of the jingo opposition on one side ("Lou Dobbs says we're exporting America's future!") and the gorge-till-you-puke zealots on the other ("We need to immediately outsource EVERYTHING in the company except my job!")?

Were you able to create more value for your 10 top customers by creating with them -- not for them, but with them -- new processes predicated on new and mutually beneficial collaborative models that give both of you greater end-to-end visibility, greater insight into future demand, and the ability to deliver whatever is needed when and where and how it's needed?

Other Voices

As if the airline industry didn't have enough to worry about, it may be asked to maintain a passenger database so that federal health officials can warn travelers of potential outbreaks of communicable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control proposes requiring airlines to "submit [passenger] lists to CDC upon request" so the center can avoid the frustrations it experienced in trying to alert American travelers potentially exposed to the SARS outbreak in 2003.

-- Tony Kontzer, InformationWeek.com, Dec. 1


If your CEO were to visit any of those customers and ask the appropriate managers if they felt your company was now engaged in the co-creation of value with them, would the answer be yes or no? (Thank you, co-creators of value C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy, via their seminal book, The Future Of Competition [Harvard Business Press; 2004].)

Were you able to nurture and mentor and develop your top two or three reports so that if you had to disappear for a few months, the company's business-technology operations would run just fine, projects would continue, and panic would be avoided?

Were you able to suggest to your CEO three ideas for generating new streams of profitable revenue?

Were you able to suggest to your CEO three new ideas for increasing customer loyalty in ways that carry an attractive -- and provable -- ROI?

Were you able to achieve all of your MBO goals? If not, will the CEO say to you, "Gee, that's tough luck for you -- you delivered everything you were supposed to, but the other folks didn't pull through"? Or will the CEO say, "Your individual performance in 2006 clearly doesn't merit an extra nickel. In fact, the only reason I'm not going to try to force you to give back some of your salary is that you're fired."

Were you able to contribute to projects throughout the company -- centered on business technology or not -- that increased its ability to operate consistently, effectively, and profitably around the globe?

Were you able to enhance the cybersecurity of your global operations without reducing the robustness and thoroughness of your online capabilities?

Add up the points -- a perfect score would be 150. If you got over 135, you had a terrific year; 120-135, well done; 100-120, it's time to really get after it in 2006; and under 100, well, this might not be the best time to take out a second mortgage.

Bonus question: What questions should be added to this list? Send them my way, and the three best will receive either $1,000,000 in cash or an InformationWeek tchotchke, whichever I can get my hands on first.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Bob Evans's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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