Why do I blog (and write stupid, long winded emails)


The drive to communicate in writing. Why we still tolerate and love mail.

Because I think, I write blogs (and write stupid, long winded emails). Honestly, it is how I think or more precisely how I organize. The harder the activity without being overbearing, it forces me to organize my thoughts. Talking is the least of the offenses, so if I’m droning on like sewing machine, I’m working out a problem with you. If I’m in the shower, its my senses that are filtering my thoughts (water temp, standing, shaving my head (I’m bald damn it!), wondering where the water goes, if that fly I flushed when I was 12 has landed in nuclear waste facility and is now coming back via the drain to kill me, etc.). Maybe even while driving with me. I’ve heard Bill Clinton talks with his hands even when he drives. Strongly suggest Uber if you are with Bill.

On standing – Standing is remarkably tough if you look at as biologist so it counts as non-demanding filter. Ever tried standing and thinking and suddenly notice you’ve walked to the grocery store. Not walking; that is a reaction. Douglas Adams (author, not sane person, Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy, et. al.) talks about flying as the art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing. So the better word for walking is “a reaction for not falling while traversing a plane (level space) in a 3 dimensional world with Newtonian gravity”. Babies start on their toes and try to go fast to overcome forward inertia. My brother was very fast because he always walked on his toes. It also is genetic as his daughter does, too.

I LOVE you. Oh don’t go all homophobic on me, please! And since it in Magenta you don’t believe me, but it really is my heterosexual brain messing with you, really, I think, I mean it is; maybe its only my brain that is heterosexual, Oh shit!, maybe; grunt “gun”; grunt “football”, say “lumberjack”, cry “man”, sing “show tunes”, OH shit!; never mind. I mean I really, really like you, like you, had friends when you were in grade school and not like Facebook which one of the more insulting but viral trends of our generation and maybe the millennium but I digress and it is Mark Andreas fault who begat Mosaic who begat the WWW (world wide web) who begat Mark Zuckerberg after about sea of begetting (plus you learn stuff, more later, beget) and digress more and it is still Facebook’s fault and only because I really like the word begat and found out it came from the word beget (this is now later) which totally cool, wonderful and a Sesame Street moment and I’m Ernie and he’s gay (SHIT!).

Yeah, I’m definitely staring to not like hate like and fine (but that was for extra points since my wife says FINE and THE F-word are the same words spelled differently and lots more on that later). Fabulous is a good F-word. And so what is it about sex. Freud “shut up,” you are sick!



Tornado breath and lightening brain or vice versa.

Back to the other side of my brain, writing helps me slow the output so I can organize my thoughts. I used to think, it slowed my thoughts down or sharpened them, but the truth is they come at me like summer thunder storm; fast, heavy, loud, dangerous, and then not at all. When I can contain them like lightening in a bottle, I’m an utter genius. When not, lets just say I get offered pink slips, my friends hate me, and my even close friends buy me breakfast to start my day over including strong adult beverages.

Back to email [in case you thought I forgot], if you are getting my email, it means we are friends and I respect you even if I don’t like you and I want your opinion and I’m alive, thinking, filtering, and just maybe I think you’d be interested. Hey, you are actually being helpful. And I may like you or really like you (Damn!). And from my view, I’d rather you respected me than like me. It is less painful in every musical I’ve ever seen on Broadway. I have friends and their OK! (here we go again with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, damn). In this decade it is the equivalent of hanging out on the corner, the barber shop or the market or dare my highly heterosexual brain think it, the beauty parlor. This is big, harry, scary stuff, like a Bridget Bardot and Bouffants (here we go again!).

Why I wrote this blog entry. First, I’ve always been fascinated with how people think. Second, I love humor and I thought if 5 miserable people in NYC could be funny in a show about nothing, then this is definitely funny. But finally, and everything after the but is the real truth, it is Friday and I don’t want to do my EOW work bureaucratic administrative paperwork on the laptop. In short, I’m procrastinating and dragging you with me.

And for those of you who are my friends and even family and read my blog, you can stop reading now because you know enough about me that my apology for sexual, gender, race, ethnicity, discrimination, innuendo; and any harm that may have been done to dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, amoebas, pine cones, mushrooms, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, etc.; real or imagined, I beg your forgiveness in perpetuity since this all in jest; (with my high squeaky voice) maybe


Giving generously and effectively

The citizens of the USA are generous in giving charity – just make sure it counts because not all charities are equal. Some very legitimate sounding ones are a complete rip-off only making the officers of the charity rich and doing nothing, or nearly nothing, for the targeted cause. If you look at the National Center for Charitable Statistics, we give an amazing $228.93 billion of which 72% is by individuals. Overall, we contribute between 2.4 – 5.9% of our income. Unfortunately, the lower end of the range is from higher end of the professional salaries. I guess in route to becoming truly rich or becoming frustrated in not yet being rich, donations become a lower priority.

I strongly suggest you take a look at the ratings on a site like Charity Navigator. It does not rank charities, but rates them as 4-star through 0-star in terms of effectiveness and does not discriminate by cause. Whether you chose to give to Carolina Flood Relief, Breast Cancer, Religious organizations, Animals, etc., they can help your dollars reach the right audience. The American people certainly fortunate and for most of us, it is a land of opportunity. Yet for many, both in this country and around the world, it is not so and they could benefit from your help and a fraction of your resources. Please consider and give generously and wisely.

As a matter of disclosure, I do give Charity Navigator a small annual donation which my employer, IBM, matches.

IBM Innovation – A new bigger palette

My job is now IBM innovation as a SPEED Proof of Concept (POC) CTO. After 22 years a daily focus on SAP products starting with SAP Basis Training in 1993 on R/3 2.1 and making the SAP technology real for clients, I am now part of a team to accelerate IBM innovation. In the 22 years, of which 17 were with IBM’s SAP practice, SAP has done marvelous job of expanding from one black crayon (R/3) to a second blue crayon (BW) and then building up to riot of colored crayons. It was a wonderful journey of learning, great teams, wonderful adventures, many friends, and successful clients.

Now, as a SPEED POC CTO, I have not only crayons but every artistic media possible to help clients’ realize their digital enterprise via innovation. My job will be to pull together every element, those IBM has to offer, those in the market-place including SAP, those that the client possess, and the brain power in IBM to solve client conundrums with innovative capabilities. It is IBM innovation delivered with speed, velocity, and acceleration to empower our clients is critical. It is so critical that SPEED is not an acronym, but the name, the way, and the mode we work – hence an IBM SPEED CTO.

The SPEED POC team has already had some great successes. I hope to bring my knowledge of technology, architecture, cloud, analytics, mobile, social, security (CAMSS) and applications to the team. More importantly I want to bring what my clients have taught me, that cool, new or innovative is not important in of itself. It is only when cool, new and innovative opens new business capability that drives new business does it matter. I have 3 simple rules I follow when working with clients that I will continue to use.

  1. Understand the client’s real problem and why it is important
  2. Clearly, concisely, describe the proposed solution to the client’s problem
  3. Articulate why IBM is the best choice to deliver the solution

There is no doubt that joining the digital enterprise ecosystem is a critical theme (see last blog on S/4 and digital ecosystem) for IBM’s clients. I’m looking forward to helping IBM drive it with SPEED as a SPEED POC CTO.

So this blog will shift away from a SAP-centric focus to an IBM-centric focus on technology, but the technology has only been a portion of the discussion in this blog. I hope you choose to follow. I promise to be just a forthright as before with you. Thanks.

SAP S/4 HANA must be the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem Hub to succeed

120px-Crystal_Project_webSAP has the greatest opportunity to succeed or fail with S/4 HANA. The success or failure will be based around the ability to easily, simply, quickly and cheaply integrate into each company’s Digital Enterprise Ecosystem. S/4 HANA’s core value today is about running your transactions (OLTP) on an analytics (OLAP) system enabling real time analytics on the data in your SAP system. The real-time analytics capability is not enough to take the risk of going to S/4 HANA. SAP must go far beyond its comfort zone of building a great business system to building in an unparalleled ability to participate in the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem directly to and from S/4 HANA.

The value and the power of the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem can not be ignored and is becoming well understood by companies today. The following quote is just one illustration.

In 1990, the top three automakers in Detroit had among them nominal revenues of $250 billion, a market capitalization of $36 billion, and 1.2 million employees. The top three companies in Silicon Valley in 2014 had nominal revenues of $247 billion, a market capitalization of over $1 trillion, and only 137,000 employees. From McKinsey – Competition at the digital edge: ‘Hyperscale’ businesses.

SAP can not afford to play favorites in the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem. SAP claims openness, and in many cases they do adopt generic open standards, but there has always been a better, easier, simpler, faster and far cheaper way to integrate to other SAP products. In today’s API driven world, this is unacceptable. Being the hub of the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem means simple, easy, native, real-time API driven integration to every major SaaS system.

SAP needs to start with most recognized SaaS solution on the planet, SalesForce. Next they need to hook up Workday their dreaded rival to SuccessFactors and then they should just keep going down the list based on what SaaS solutions SAP clients are using with no prejudice. SAP execs should go ask your clients for their wish list and put it in S/4 HANA immediately. Certainly they should enable their own excellent SaaS products like SuccessFactors. While this strategy may be non-intuitive in the pre-ecosystem world, it is THE requirement in the new one.

What happens if SAP does not open S/4 HANA to the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem? The S/4 HANA will succeed as a modest upgrade. Companies will have to find overwhelming new, required processes in S/4 HANA (Simple Finance, Simple Logistics, …). At this point, every process is now being reevaluate and potentially rethought. The most likely scenario is migrating that process to a more agile SaaS solution. SaaS enables participating in the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem and adopts to the inevitable changes in business and technology. The changes like mobile, new currencies, new laws, rise texting, IaaS, etc. produce more gain than highly optimized process system than the more rigid on premise solutions like SAP ERP.

Simply put, if SAP S/4 HANA doesn’t become become 100% open to all SaaS players, companies will continue to tear apart the monolith ERP system and push its functions out to much more nimble SaaS solutions. The existing ERP systems will be put on life-support, made highly stable, and programmed around until they become useless and atrophied (see McKinsey’s A two-speed IT architecture for the digital enterprise).

SAP is in a great spot as companies are recognizing the power of the Digital Enterprise Ecosystem. It is my sincere wish that SAP recognizes they need to be the premier player in that Ecosystem and become the hub of their client’s Digital Enterprise. After 22+ years working with SAP, I know they have the talent and I know the companies that have believed in SAP deserve it.

CIO – Is it the pinacle of corporate IT?

The top of the IT hierarchy is the Chief Information Officer (CIO). I always thought my career zenith was to become the CIO of a major corporation, but I’m no longer convinced that it is the top IT slot or that I’d want the role or title. In many companies I see the CIO and all of IT becoming the keeper of the old IT legacy systems no one else will support. In fact I frequently observe the business going around the CIO and IT. At IBM, we now have non-IT execs coming directly to IBM without anyone from IT. My goal remains to help companies forge their future and not shovel coal into the old steam boiler. While the shift away from IT involvement is not 100%, it is real danger for IT departments if they don’t change.

First, technology is MORE important than ever. No significant business can function without it – period. Second, companies are spending more on IT every day. Third, IT is often not called IT, but companies can’t live without technology and they probably will not let the IT department run it (at least initially – spoiler alert!). Fourth, no one is business can afford to be ignorant of technology and more and more, business leaders are truly IT savvy.  Gone are days of execs having their admins’ print their e-mail, carry it home in a briefcase, then red pen it at night and have the admin respond in the morning.

At the same time, Non-IT execs, Line of Business Execs (LOB Execs), are now able to purchase the systems they require for their business function often in isolation or near isolation from the IT department by procuring SaaS solutions. The LOB even gets modern, mobile, automatic upgraded system. After all, why does the LOB need a giant monstrous ERP system when all the LOB exec wants to do is implement a system to call on my customers, procure some materials, manage my employees, etc. Without IT, LOB can go set up the system and all they need is minimal data to get going. Then the LOB can pay for as much or as little service as the LOB needs. The LOB has a 1:1 relationship between the cost of the service and the outcome of the service. The Hardware, Software, Support, and all upgrades are included, too. If the LOB doesn’t like the result, they drop the service.

Unfortunately this is not reality for very long as IT systems do not work in isolation, even if they are initiated in isolation. Eventually, the CRM system will need to understand the client orders and annual spend. Eventually, the Procurement system will need to tie to the finance system. Eventually, the HR system will need to tie to payroll, finance, security, etc. because people work everywhere in the business. Eventually, the C-level execs like the CEO, COO, and CFO will want to see the big picture across the business and if every system is in isolation, it is going to be very difficult to get the big picture.

Clearly, IT skills are required. So why is the CIO not in the discussion? Why is IT so often considered difficult to work with, a barrier, and a failure to the business? Unfortunately, most IT professionals start their answers with “NO”, why you can not get the request done, or why it will harm the system. IT professionals seem to only perceive the risk to IT and not to the business and even when they do perceive the risk, they don’t communicate to the business in terms the business can understand. Established businesses, both IT and business, often miss the opportunity that new technologies, new capabilities, and changing business environments present. Failing to understand the risk of not changing, not seeing the intersection of business and technology, lets companies like AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon take over markets that were considered unassailable. Seriously, why didn’t the cabs have a mobile app first? Doesn’t it make you laugh now when you see the “download our mobile app” tattooed on the back of every cab.

Start by realizing that the IT department does not have a lock and ownership of all the technology assets of the company. You might, but it will just make others like LOB execs want to go around you given that technology is required for any and every business function. Become an enabler of the business with technology even if it means consolidating, eliminating, or re-implementing the older systems to enable the newer capabilities. I recognize that this is difficult. Often those systems were built on your labor, sweat, and blood. You can’t keep stacking pieces on top of weak foundation. You have to get the business to partner with you so you can jointly move the company forward.

paceseter graphicThere are some very practical ideas in 2011 CIO study from IBM that you might take to heart. Even better, take a look at what happens when the business and IT come together around implementing Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security (CAMSS) is series of reports from the IBM Center for Applied Insights. The best companies, pace setters, continue to win in their markets. Can you help your company become a pace setter?

Maybe I am still interested in being a CIO, but not the Chief of the NO team. If I could be the CIO who could enable the business with technology, it wouldn’t be bad job. If I could make my company a pace setter that would definitely be a cool job.

How the Inernet-of-Things (IoT) is consuming me!

I just made an important recognition that I am node connected to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) via my life modem (a.k.a. smartphone). It serves as modem from my analog life to my digital representation and out onto the Internet-of-Things (IoT). Most of recognize that our smartphone records our life in a digital format. In essence it is a modem. Modem is short for MODulate / DE-Modulate which is process of converting an analog signal to a digital one and back. Our phone takes our analog world we perceive with our senses and puts it and more into a digital representation on our smartphone. I may want the info off the IoT, but it needs me.

Great article and image of the IoT from Forbes.

While I used to love to spend time getting to know someone by pouring over someone’s albums (yes, large vinyl disk), tapes, DVD’s, or CD’s, now all I really need to see is there smartphone. Here are some things I might find out just scanning the smartphone.

  •  All your contact information and maybe some of your affiliations based on apps installed
  • Your communications, duration, and frequency with via SMS, e-mail, and voice
  • Your communications, duration, and frequency with apps (snapchat, twitter, etc.)
  • Your locations throughout the days and weeks in the past (GPS)
  • Your plans for the next day, week, month and even year (calendar)
  • What travel services you frequent even w/out opening up the apps (travel apps)
  • Who your friends and acquaintances are and their personal information (every social app and website, communication logs)
  • What you like and dislike in the public space
  • What time you go to bed and get up (alarms, clocks, accelerometer)
  • What music, video, and games you like
  • What publications, blogs and websites you frequent
  • And even more…

All this information is poured up onto IoT plus you enhance it with social data. A few examples are I use Weather Underground for weather and confirm my weather experience up to every 15 minutes. I drive around with Waze or MotionX GPS consuming, entering, and confirming incidents, traffic, traffic cameras, and police cars. In each of these cases, what is the sensor – ME! I spy a traffic accident. I feel cold. I see a fire. I like a song. Have you noticed NetFlix gets quoted on the stats it keeps on us and our viewing which could be via mobile. Other mobile apps have become the authority and regularly report out our behavior, too. We, via our smartphones have become one of the biggest, if not the biggest, source of data for the IoT.

Why does it matter? While I had come to recognize I could get typical sensor data from the IoT like temperature, humidity, amount of fuel, etc on my smartphone, I had not realized how much it was two way street. I was consuming IoT data, but the IoT also consuming me as it needed a human touch and senses and my mobile device is the interface and translator into the digital world. It may explain why IoT’s rise of prevalence seems correlated to mobile devices although the technologies are analogous. It also makes me think different about relationship humans will have with the IoT and why it may become pivotal in our next chapter of technology advancement. Maybe he who controls the IoT might control more than just “things” since we are all jacked in via our smartphones.

Even if I haven’t convinced you are a node on the IoT and that it is important concept, I hope you’ve decided to increase the security of smartphone with a longer, more secure password given that it is digitally you.

I do think our next chapter of technology advancement will be socially even more disruptive, but that will be in my next blog.

Crash Course – How to build a career at a consulting company


Great overview of how to work in the consulting field.

Originally posted on Vijay's thoughts on all things big and small:

I left the world of system integrators and consultants a few years ago – but even today, the question I get asked the most is “how do I grow my career in consulting at my big name employer?”.  I thought I will post some of my thoughts – from my own experience in big consulting houses, as well as watching several others go through their careers from close quarters.

There are many ways to do this – so don’t think of it as “check these boxes and you are done” :)

1. Be the go-to guy in the company for something

This is the starting point – you need to be much better than everyone else, and willing to help everyone, for some unique topic that is in demand. This is how bosses know that you even exist in the company. The topic can be some technology, power point skills…

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