Discover Performance Blog

Welcome to the Discover Performance blog, a resource for enterprise IT leaders who share a passion for performing better. Here you’ll find strategic insights and best practices from your peers as well as from HP’s own practitioners who help others define, measure and achieve better IT performance.

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Displaying articles for: July 2012

Your cloud or virtualization strategy demands a new approach to your IT books

Better Less.jpgPublic cloud, private cloud and virtualization demand that VPs of Operations and their teams be able to do something brand new. No longer is it acceptable to have costs locked up in the pieces and parts of technology cost centers such as networking, storage and so on. Instead (as I recently wrote in my post “Allocating IT costs so the business gets IT!”) infrastructure, maintenance and people costs need to be brought together into an end-to-end IT service cost. This is pivotal to making strategic choices between internal and external delivery options, so that the overall cost of running the business of IT can be reduced.

Using cost allocation so the business gets IT!

Better Less.jpgLast week in my post “Achieving financial transparency through IT Financial Management,” I talked about the importance of getting IT costs to a business service level. As a reminder, we need to do this in IT so the business understands where the money on a plan is going and so IT can “act like a businessperson” in its discussions with the business regarding spending priorities. But how do you do this when how IT collects its costs by cost center? The answer is allocation.

The hidden factor that’s limiting your ability to compete

keithmacbeath.jpgBy Keith Macbeath, senior principal consultant with HP Software Professional Services

Every enterprise has an approval system for IT projects, and as part of this system there are gates a project has to pass through. But how well are these gates functioning, and how quickly do they open and close? If yours is like many enterprises, those gates have been created in collaboration with finance, and the natural tendency of people in finance in mature organizations is to feel that delay of expenditure is no bad thing.

Of course that can be true, especially if delay means time to think through the value of a proposed investment. But it’s not true if you’re in a fast-moving marketplace where IT investments are critical to your ability to compete, which these days is true of just about anybody in retail or consumer businesses. With so much action happening in systems of engagement, if you’re not with the program, you’re out of the picture. And that can be fatal if you’re Borders, say, or Circuit City. If your decisions – yea or nay - are not being made with sufficient speed, your business could be at risk. Here's how to increase the speed and quality of your decision making.

Labels: Innovation

DevOps gurus track the value—and ROI—of DevOps

Paul Muller-Gene Kim.jpgBy Brian McDonough, Discover Performance managing editor


HP Software Chief Evangelist Paul Muller just posted a podcast on his Cross the Streams blog—a conversation he recorded at Discover Las Vegas with DevOps luminaries Gene Kim and Patrick Debois. Kim and Debois are on the team writing The DevOps Cookbook, out later this year, and they shared their thoughts on the movement, what it really offers to business leaders, and how you get your ROI.


Paul’s got the audio, but only we would sit down and type you up a full transcript.  So pop over to Cross the Streams to launch the sound, then come back here to follow along.  After that, check out our Q&A with Gene Kim, and the rest of our new DevOps issue.

Labels: DevOps

What does a CIO need to know about DevOps?

I recently sat down with two of the DevOps movement's most visible and respected authors of DevOps and Lean principals to share our experiences and thoughts on what CIOs looking to cut through the hype need to know about DevOpsYou can check out my interview with Gene Kim and Patrick Debois at my Crossing The Streams blog.


Tags: Agile| devops| kanban| lean
Labels: DevOps

Achieving business transparency through IT Financial Management

Better Less.jpgIn one of my recent posts (“Using COBIT 5 to show IT’s contribution to financial performance”), I mentioned that the new COBIT 5 standard provides a scorecard for IT to rate itself on how it supports financial performance. One goal in particular – driving transparency into IT costs, benefits and risks – is especially difficult for IT. It’s so difficult (but so important) that I wanted to look at what’s keeping IT from realizing this goal.

COBIT 5 scorecard measures the quality of IT’s financial performance

Better Less.jpgLast week in “Making COBIT 5 part of your IT strategy,” I wrote about why the latest release of the COBIT standard should be on your radar. This week I begin a detailed review of COBIT 5, starting with how your IT organization can use this version to show how IT is contributing to your business’s financial performance, and in particular, helping to mitigate risk and ease the compliance burden.

Labels: IT strategy

The 7 key attributes of IT leaders

CV.PNGBy Christian Verstraete

Christian Verstraete is the CTO for HP’s Cloud Strategy Team Worldwide. His responsibilities include the definition of HP’s Cloud functional and reference architectures and the coordination of cloud activities across HP.  Frequently published in periodicals, Christian is a featured speaker at global cloud & supply chain events. He is one of the authors of “Connected Manufacturing, Thought-provoking essays from industry leaders” and of “Collaborative Sourcing, Strategic Value Creation through Collaborative Supplier Relationship Management.” He is member of the board of the Supply Chain Council and a 2007 DCVelocity Rainmaker. He also blogs extensively on CloudSource and is one of the most popular bloggers on the Enterprise CIO Forum.


As part of my responsibilities, I talk to a lot of CIOs and IT leaders. It’s always fascinating to learn about their different approaches to IT strategy. And, frankly, over the years I have heard many of them. Intuitively it seemed the ones spending most time defining clearly what they were trying to achieve and benchmarking themselves against what was done elsewhere were the winners. Now there is new research that pinpoints the characteristics of IT leaders versus IT laggards. 


Labels: IT leaders

Collaborative thinking: 3 steps to DevOps

devops.jpgBy Miron Mizrahi and Herman Willemen


Do you know an IT organization where everyone’s showing “green” yet the results tell a different story? When an individual team within a company focuses only on optimizing its own area, team members are often oblivious to what’s needed for the company as a whole to be successful. Each team member doing a terrific job in his or her own cubicle doesn’t cut it when that work has to be handled - or mishandled - by someone else before it moves on to its ultimate use.


But with a collaborative thinking approach both development and Ops teams organizationally focus on common goals, and the DevOps principle of “optimize the whole” spreads through the organization, making continuous improvement possible. Here are three steps to achieving this.

Labels: DevOps

3 steps IT can take to prove and manage value

keithmacbeath.jpgBy Keith Macbeath, senior principal consultant with HP Software Professional Services


The IT function brings value to the business, right? Most, if not all, of us in IT would say yes. Can you measure it? There’s the problem. The value that IT brings has always been assumed. And since historically that value hasn’t been talked about in a structured or quantified way, IT has gotten labeled as a cost center. Today, with external services chipping away at internal IT’s role, the issue of demonstrating value has never been more critical.


Of course, if IT was truly just a cost, then enterprises would try over time to get rid of it, or do the absolute minimum. Yet there are very few industries today in which IT does not play a very significant role in the operation of the business. So IT is there for a reason. But the reason that value management hasn’t been done is that it requires a certain number of things that IT either has been uncomfortable with or hasn’t gotten around to.


IT needs to tackle these issues however if it wants to be a strategic partner to the business. Here are three steps that IT can take to turn this around.

Making COBIT 5 part of your IT strategy

Better Less.jpgI was recently with a number of IT Executives at HP’s Discover Conference. I asked them how important COBIT was for their companies. For those that are new to IT management and compliance, COBIT is the business framework for enterprise IT management and governance created by the standards body ISACA. Just about everyone in the group said COBIT was extremely important. But there’s recently been a new release of COBIT (COBIT 5), and most of the people I asked didn’t seem to know what it means for their organizations.

Labels: IT strategy

How CIOs can become change agents and deal with rapid rate of change

paulandjake.PNGIndependent blogger, videographer and tech expert Jake Ludington recently sat down with HPSW Chief Evangelist Paul Muller to discuss exactly that and how both see the role of IT changing and what we can expect to see in the future.


Traditionally IT’s role was to provide the infrastructure or the plumbing that is the foundation for business operations. But that role is going away (or to a less senior manager within IT) as the CIO moves into a more strategic role, using technology to help speed business innovation. As the CIO moves to a producer role, he or she becomes more of a change agent who delivers the innovations that move a company forward. The CIO becomes, Paul says, more like an orchestra conductor and less of just another member of the ensemble.

Labels: IT leadership

5 ways to improve your executive relationships

 Joel Dobbs.GIFJoel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC(CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business. Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Executive CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.


“We control fifty percent of a relationship. We influence one hundred percent of it”- Christopher Marlowe


In my various mentoring and coaching engagements, the issue of developing and maintaining effective executive working relationships almost always surfaces I have found that the higher one climbs in an organization the more important relationships become.  In fact, at the executive committee or board level, relationships trump almost everything else.  Sure, you still need to be competent in your field and your organization needs to deliver, but if you can’t get along with and relate to your peers, you won’t last long.

Labels: IT leaderships
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