Choosing New Year`s Resolutions

 
 
By Eileen Feretic  |  Posted 2012-01-19
 
 
 

The start of a new year is always a good time to resolve to make both our professional and personal lives more efficient, organized and saner. It’s a nice idea, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, when it comes to our jobs, many of us can barely find the time to manage the things we have to do, never mind the things we’d like to do. We end up juggling too many tasks, which often results in a series of fire drills that eventually end in mistakes, missed opportunities, chaos and burnout.

Establishing priorities can bring some order to the chaos. Of course, everyone’s job has different priorities, but, in this issue, we’ve focused on some key business challenges that should be on the must-do lists of many of our readers.

Take big data, for instance. Every organization, regardless of size, has data stored in a variety of places, including PCs, mobile devices, email servers, storage devices, social networks and the cloud. Unfortunately, a lot of this data—documents, presentations, emails, videos, blogs, tweets and other online information—
is not used to best advantage in supporting the enterprise and delivering value to the business.

“Combining everything and making sense of it is the challenge of the digital age,” Gary Curtis, chief technology strategist and managing director at Accenture, told Sam Greengard for his cover story, “Big Data Unlocks Business Value” (page 20). “Currently, few organizations are tapping into the full potential of their data.”

If that’s true of your enterprise, then leveraging your corporate information resources more effectively should be high on your list of 2012 priorities. Why? “Organizations that use big data effectively,” Sam writes, “are more likely
to realize a significant competitive advantage and open up new business opportunities.”

Another to-do item should involve taking full advantage of virtualization technologies. In “Leveraging Virtualization’s Business Value,” (page 16) writer Tony Kontzer points out that “today’s virtualization deployments are about much more than efficiency. They’re about providing the kind of agility and availability that business demands in the 21st century.”

The ultimate goal of virtualization, Tony adds, is “about getting IT away from the business of managing hardware and software and instead delivering bottom-line business value.”

The virtualization article is the first story in Baseline’s new editorial section, Bottom Line, which will illustrate through real-life examples the business value provided by various technologies. In future issues, we will cover business solutions such as content/knowledge management, clouds, business process management, collaboration tools, e-discovery, tablets and green technology.

Our GamePlan section (pages 10 through 15) includes stories about other key challenges facing business and technology leaders this year. Fred Matteson of Alvarez & Marsal writes about the need for the IT organization to transform itself in order to transform the business. He says that CEOs “must drive a mandate for change and look to the CIO to implement the technology that enables transformation.”

Security is, as always, a major challenge. Ken Goldstein, a vice president at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, writes that many organizations “still have not made cyber-security a top priority. Without realizing it, these companies practically invite hackers to take their best shots.” He lists potential targets of hackers and urges management to take a proactive approach to IT security.

With employees’ growing use of social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, organizations will face another critical issue this year: mitigating the risks the use of these tools creates. David Barron, a labor and employment attorney at Cozen O’Connor, writes: “With new technology and communication avenues come new obligations to police and regulate those same avenues in the workplace. … It is critical for employers to recognize the risks and, at a minimum, provide some reasonable guideposts for employee conduct.”

While there are probably many other items on your list of 2012 workplace resolutions, I hope that the issues we discuss in this issue of Baseline will give you helpful advice on establishing priorities and setting a strategy for dealing with what will undoubtedly be a challenging year.