I hope you read this post to the end, I think you’ll be surprised at what you learn, and we may have something in common. When I get asked, what do you do, I have to decide which answer I’m going to give, because I do so many things. I shared a while back, but you probably didn’t know, I run and own multiple businesses, one is a webhosting company called Billyhost.com. You would assume I do many things related to that business, and you would be right, but what you probably didn’t know about Owen is, not only do I build websites, but not just any website, I specialize in WordPress and Headway Themes, I don’t do any others. To make matters worse, I actually don’t enjoy the details of building websites, but the truth is, I’m good at it, and you should know, I’m not cheap.
My tech career started back in 1981 when I was in Radio, I was 23 going on 24, I’m now 57, and much has changed. Back then I had to learn how to program automation systems for radio stations, I also was the first radio station manager to run a traditional radio station from a computer, hard drive and DAT tapes, and a microphone, that’s it. That was 1991/92.
The second thing you would learn about me, if you meet me in person, I like to talk…I was in radio, it’s what I do. So I love to do public speaking, mostly on what I share here on this Blog, the open & free business model and how it shapes the future of business, that’s my passion! What I’m not good at is….writing, you probably figured that out already : )
I have worked for many non-profit organizations, sit on a number of boards, and I also check business plans for entrepreneurs, just to name a few other things. I have a background in broadcasting, IT, and Management, and I’m a geek. But I’m a different kind of geek, I’m a highly relational geek that values people over task, I would make a great players coach from that perspective in sports me thinks.
I share this with you because, well…you should know I’m more than just a one-dimensional person, most of us are, but we never tell anyone. I do many things, I wear many hats, which means I’m versatile and bring a lot to the table. That’s the business side of me, academic side if you will. I’m a business man, a visionary type, I have a deep passion for helping people see the changes coming in business. I don’t see everything, but some things seem obvious to me, but not to business owners to close to their problems, therefore they can’t see the forest for the trees. Once I’m inside someone’s business, and I get enough background, I automatically soar to 50,000 feet and look at the business for broken bits, and patterns. This tech career and passion for business, lead me to becoming a Futurist and public speaking on the topic of the open & free business model, the future of business.
I’m jumping all over, but I get like that when I get inside my head : ) Anyway!
The real thing you don’t know about me is this, I’m very insecure, and, I have had a sad broken-heart most of my adult life. I think most creative, artistic people live a life of suffering. I have always felt sad inside, everyday, just heart-broken, because the world I live in is seriously broken. My family and friends would tell me to suck it up, it’s the way things are, deal with it. I should mention, those words have never helped me…or anyone else I think.
I have always had to fight tooth and nail for everything I have, unsuccessfully most of the time, which I’m certain most of you have as well. But I never, ever gave up. When I was younger, I had to be liked, validated by others, I had to be the center of attention, and that’s when the sadness began, way back in High School if memory serves me. Today, I don’t need to be validated, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do, whether you like it or not. I know that sounds wrong, but it’s the truth. I don’t agree or go along with much of what the masses say and do, I know I’m different, even weird, I don’t really fit in. But know this, I care a great deal for people, I believe people are the product, without them you’ll never have success or be fulfilled in anything you do.
I grew up in a time where you didn’t speak up against your parents, other adults, your teachers, or anyone in a position of authority. Hence, I was always in trouble, I always questioned the status quo, mostly because things didn’t make sense. I’ve always gone to the school of hard knocks, I learned more there than through traditional school formats. I always try to find new ways to fail, not on purpose, it just worked out that way. What doesn’t kill makes you stronger right?
I’m not sure if you’ll get anything out of this confession, but I hope you do, I can’t control the outcome of you reading this, that’s your job. My wish, deep down inside, is to change the world. I urge you to dig deep within, find what truly energizes you, the answer to the question of, “If time & money were no object, what would you do?”. I’m almost 60 years old now, I feel I haven’t done that which I was meant to do on this earth, but I journey on. As an encouragement, I don’t believe I have found that thing I was meant to do yet, which means, you’re never to old to find out, or to go out and do it, so don’t stop searching. Listen to your life and you’ll find some clues. Remember, you don’t build a life, you live one.
I’ve cracked myself open just a little so you could peer inside, I’ve shared weaknesses in me, you may think it’s silly, you probably don’t care, but you might glean something from this writing, something that may help you to keep going. The weaknesses in me are many, and now you know a few, but I have a wonderful business life, personal life, and family, and I love to help….I have conquered a few weaknesses in me, what’s your story, what are you hiding, what’s preventing you from being who you are meant to be, and more importantly, how are you changing the world, to make it a better place.
Steve Jobs once said,
“The people who are crazy enough to think they
can change the world, are the ones who do.”
This section may answer some question but will also bring out more, consider it an opportunity to think tank with your team. The S.W.O.T (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) gives a quick reference to things that may or may not be real, but are possibilities. The accumulation of all these steps builds a road map, an understanding, and makes it possible to explain or describe where you are going in a short concise way, and makes it obvious what you are planning to do in the coming month’s and or years.
Keep in mind there is no wrong or right answer here, you are merely compiling and observing your organizations current status. This is just one step on the journey, one step in building a business case, and one more step in assessing what services and changes are needed to support your organizations business requirements. The basics rarely change, only the technology does, and of course there is always a list of nice to haves, documenting everything helps you filter what’s important and what is not.
Again, this list will be different…it should be as technology and business needs change. Here is an example:
1. Minimal Core Infrastructure (name your application here)
2. New, enthusiastic team
1. 85% of staff are new to the organization
2. Unable to meet the expectations (Can’t move fast enough to please everyone)
3. Network instability
4. Lack of integration of core applications
1. Social Media Networks
2. Open Source
1. Inability to compete for qualified skilled people
2. Security – hacking, spam etc.
3. Inadequate budget
4. Little control over vendor products or direction
5. Little control over technologies
This is just an example of what your S.W.O.T. might look like, pull your team together and ask all the tough questions, make an exhaustive list and then pick the top 5 from each of the 4 areas in your SWOT.
This is the prime definition taken from the Wikipedia site on SWOT Analysis:
SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.
Until next time
This is the third part of the Analysis section in our mock I.T. Strategic Plan. This section is all about observing and assessing what you have and what assets you may have. You might call it an inventory of which gives you a high-level snapshot of your organization, assets, liabilities and so on. Again, I am not going into great detail in these posts, they are intended to be quick references to give you an idea of what might go into each area and section of your plan.
This part is called Core Competencies, here are a couple of possible entries for your consideration:
1. Good people; qualified, experienced and possibly well trained.
2. Infrastructure; This would be software and hardware that is well integrated.
3. Ability to relate or communicate the services that IT can provide
4. You may have adequate funding available to meet objectives
Again, each of these are just examples of what might be in this part of your plan. The list can be as long as you want it but most likely you will only have a few items to enter here. I.T. Plans take very different shapes depending on the organization and who is building it, it’s a perspective and point of view…or a summary of how you see the needs of the organization and how you view the use of technology.
Next I will go over S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Another area of observation and reflection, until next time.
We are at the observation or Analysis part of our I.T. Strategic Plan, this area can have many or a few sections, I am listing possible categories or subsections for you to review and consider, and then I will look at each one separately. In this section we will look at the following:
2. Key Success Factors
3. Core Competencies
4. S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)
5. Possible Interrelationships
6. Budget Alignments
7. Planning Observations
These may be the same for you or you may have different categories but you get the idea, all of these mini-descriptions I have been laying out for you, are a framework to work from. The first one we’ll look at today is Markets, we need to determine who your supporting and or selling to internally and externally.
Depending on how your organization is structured will determine who is who. For example, if your organization has an HQ (Headquarters), multiple businesses under one umbrella, Field staff and customers, you will need to identify who they are and what they do from an access point of view. Each market will require levels of access and different types of information, it could be sales reports, personal data and or customer’s wish to track & see there purchase history.
One market would be internal HQ staff, another would be field staff, if you have multiple companies or offices with multiple databases you would have to break those independent units down. Documentation becomes critical here because you must know exactly what they need, access points, security, data requirements and so on. As you can see this can be a very laborious pile of work, that’s where your work earlier with department heads and subject matter experts pays off. You would already have a requirements document and a wish list, that would be your starting point to map out the details.
Identifying your markets means you most likely understand all the different complex levels of need. For example, HQ staff will want quick access to the seamless information, e.g. a full 360 degree look at a customer, maybe their personal data or a staff member. Field staff who are stretched for time and resources want strong productivity tools. To be able access financial documents and other required reports. This could also serve as clear evidence that you are indeed providing for and supporting staff in the field. Your I.T. Plan can solve a number of technical challenges but it can also restore or maintain confidence in HQ for those who do not work in the Mother Ship. By providing multiple levels of service and support, is the best PR money can buy, provide the best service and all will speak highly of you and your team.
Next I’ll look at the Key Success Factors section.