How Amazon & Google changed the way we do business
Amazon and Google have changed the way we do business forever with the cloud. We must change our ideas, perceptions and behaviours to have a relevant role in the coming years.
This is the call to action I have been using within my business for a couple of years. Initially all our attention was focused on cloud technologies from the view point of how we managed technology and technology services.
However, what has become apparent is that cloud changes everything and ‘the everything’ is not just everything in IT but everything in business too. For the all ‘C’ level executives, that change is well under way. There is a real danger that the traditional business executive will not grasp the wider implications of cloud technology on their business, or the underlying changes taking place in society and the potential to impact their business in unpredictable ways until it is too late.
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The common definition of ‘cloud computing’ is that the following characteristics have to be in place. Shared resources, available in a self-service model with elastic capacity paid for on an as used basis. This has been made available by the way Amazon in particular reinvented our computing model and drove into first the consumer and then the business world.
Some of the capabilities cloud technologies are bringing to traditional businesses have been around a while, but have been viewed as consumer rather than business capabilities. That picture has now completely changed and with that change a new challenge is emerging for businesses beyond their IT function.
That challenge for the executives of businesses comes from ‘cloud computing’ creating new business models and new business opportunities, as well as new competitors and a new way of thinking about organisation design, agility, effectiveness and innovation.
As an example, the relevance of a traditional business case cycle that takes months and multiple layers of management to get approved, can mean a new ‘cloud’ based business competitor is up and running and stealing a march on the market, while you are still worrying about whether to wait for the next budget cycle, or whose organisational toes are being trodden on.
Will the business old guard really accept that all businesses are becoming data and software businesses needing completely different client engagement models to those that have been successful in previous years?
Cloud has removed the financial and physical barriers to super computing in a digital world. I can remember when super computing was only available to governments and the grandest of global companies, now it’s available to next generation of employees and they are using it with a freedom and invention that is incompatible with current business thinking.
Right now, somewhere, there are people using these technological capabilities to reinvent your business and offer your company’s products and services in a completely different way, at a fraction of your current cost/price.
Cloud is changing business as radically as it is changing society. The way society changes will in turn further change the way our businesses operate. Different markets and geographies may be impacted at different times and are at different stages of adoption today, but they will all be impacted in the coming years.
I have been working with a vendor on a ‘lab for hire’ concept. Essentially using the cloud model of on demand shared resources, available in a self-service model with elastic capacity paid for on an as used basis and applying it to knowledge based services, in this case data analytics.
This type of business engagement model in areas such as consultancy, is a radical departure from past business models around consulting/knowledge style engagements. The vendor has a large organisation of skilled workers in various analytics software tools and use cases and these are available in the same way as Amazon Web Services are. I think we will see this model being adopted by more and more service based companies as they are forced to align to a completely new way of thinking about models of engagement with clients who are being driven by the impacts of the cloud technology model.
So, we can see that cloud technology is leading not just to changes in IT functions, but also in the reinvention of the business in the widest sense. Both the way businesses are developing their go to market products and services, and in the way businesses think about their overall organisation structure and commercial arrangements; cloud is fundamentally changing business models.
About the author
Matt Graham-Hyde, is the CIO of Kantar and has over 15 years’ experience as a CIO in major international businesses. Matt is the author of “The Essential CIO” (£14.99 Panoma Press) which is available from Amazon now!
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.