Seeking Business Intelligence

I had breakfast this morning with Gartner’s Lisa Gross and we were able to talk about her continuing work in support of my old haunts – the agencies of the Intelligence Community. She’s first-rate at understanding the IT needs of large-scale government enterprises, and has always been known as a trusted adviser for CIOs, CTOs, and senior IT executives across many federal agencies.

I was recounting to her that when I first started at Microsoft (oh these many weeks), I was ecstatic at finding on our corporate intranet seemingly total unfettered access to Gartner research reports and white papers (along with similar access to Forrester research and reports).  The mother lode! 

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Another Microsoft key hire

Fact: In 2007, Walt Disney shot up the ranks in two separate “Most Innovative Companies” lists. On Business Week’s annual list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies,” Disney zoomed from #43 in 2006, to #8.  Similarly, “The WIRED 40,” WIRED Magazine’s “tenth annual list of the most innovative companies in the world,” saw Disney come from nowhere – not even on the list in 2006 – to rank at #29.  

Analysis: Microsoft again made both lists, including a stellar #5 in Business Week, but rivals Apple and Google held down the top two spots on each list (trading positions).  Not to rest on its laurels, and to gain leverage against such innovative engines, Microsoft today announced it has lured away Disney’s CIO Tony Scott to come to Redmond and bring some of the Mouse’s magic way of supporting innovative spark with a robust and cutting-edge internal IT environment.

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Moving money to the left

Fact: “[Microsoft’s internal] IT organization now spends almost 45% of its budget on new product development, as opposed to maintenance and ongoing support, a notable improvement from 30% in the past.” [source]

Analysis: An increasing challenge for our enterprise IT organization at DIA has been optimizing our performance to the point where we can take money out of operations & maintenance (O&M), and invest it instead in innovation. Why? The intelligence business demands change, reformation, and dramatically improved capabilities. Intelligence isn’t alone; at Gartner’s annual Symposium last December, “driving Innovation” was promoted as an absolute business imperative, and infrastructure consolidation and optimization was billed as a primary enabler to disinvest in tired old-school technology, allowing re-prioritization in innovative approaches.

It all comes down to moving money to the left, earlier in the enterprise IT life-cycle.

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