So what's your summer going to look like? I've put together a list of Top 10 priorities that are perhaps staring back at you from your just-completed document entitled "To-Do List: Summer Projects."
Since the list I'm proposing below might seem crazy, I'd appreciate it if you'd help me see the error of my ways and send me your own list of Top 10 priorities for the next few months. Rank them from most important (No. 1) all the way to still very important but just not as important as the ones above it (No. 10), and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll pick one at random and the winner will receive a complimentary registration to our Fall Conference, to be held in Tucson, Ariz., Sept. 22-25: "Business Agility: Readiness and Resilience". Here's my list, and I look forward to seeing yours:
1. Working closely with the CEO and the board. With so much uncertainty and flux swirling around us, it's never been more vital to ensure that every dollar and every man-hour and even every brain cell within your business-technology organization are being tightly focused on the projects and initiatives at the top of your CEO's priority list.
2. Business issues. Closely related to No. 1 but scaling out to other top execs and managers, this one centers on critical issues such as visibility and forecasting, expense reduction, logistics improvements, pursuit and deployment of best practices, and relentless efforts to innovate and find new sources of revenue.
3. Security, both physical and electronic. In an age of "blended threats," this one seems to spread and morph at such dramatic speeds and in such dramatic ways that it could well require not only new thinking and technologies (not to mention new $$$), but perhaps even new organizational structures to ensure that what is conceived and approved is actually and productively applied.
Those who despise human freedom will attack it on every continent. Those who seek missiles and terrible weapons are also familiar with the map of Europe. Like the threats of another era, this threat cannot be appeased or cannot be ignored. ... The terrorists are defined by their hatreds: They hate democracy and tolerance and free expression and women and Jews and Christians and all Muslims who disagree with them. Others killed in the name of racial purity or the class struggle. These enemies kill in the name of a false religious purity, perverting the faith they claim to hold. In this war, we defend not just America or Europe; we are defending civilization itself.
-- President Bush, speaking in Berlin, May 23
4. Collaborative business strategy and deployment. Encompassing every facet of a company's product development, operations, marketing, sales, customer relationships, branding, and more, this concept, this philosophy, enhances a company's ability to be more agile and responsive to shifting market demand by tightly integrating the flow of knowledge from the farthest-flung supplier's supplier to the ultimate customer's customer.
5. Expanded focus on customers. How can your business-technology team give everyone in the organization-from sales to manufacturing to finance and research and development to human resources and shipping-greater exposure to and understanding of your current and future customers?
6. Wrestling the budget monster. Cutbacks, redeployments, shifting priorities, contingency plans-what are the best ways to work with the CFO without gutting your ability to achieve your most pressing objectives?
7. Software quality: Whom can you trust? Which vendors are delivering on their promises, and which are just daring you to drop their bug-riddled stuff and face the consequences of switching costs?
8. Technology decisions. What's the best approach for enterprise application integration, for Web services, for storage strategies, for Linux, for disaster recovery, and for business continuity?
9. The return-on-investment thing. Maybe it's no longer the thing before which all others must bow, but it still carries quite a wallop. How do you pay sufficient attention to this and fulfill your responsibility to make things clear, while also avoiding endless revisions and scenarios that stifle your ability to get on with other things?
10. Outsourcing: To do it, or not to do it? As is the case with big enterprise applications vendors, outsourcers have had to unbundle their services and embrace flexible offerings as customers have become far more demanding and selective.
Does this list make any sense? Share your feedback and your own Top 10 list, and perhaps we'll see you at the InformationWeek Fall Conference in September.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.