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  • Didac Lee 9:43 am on October 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    The role of a CIO from a 2.0 executive’s perspective 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Note from the editor:  This article is an interview carried out by the CUVIV team with Didac Lee during the month of September, a special edition dedicated to CIOs.  It has a technical outlook but we but we believe including it in ZyncroBlog a good opportunity for due to the quality of content.

    From all of the Zyncro team, congratulations to the CUVIV team on the newsletter!

    P: From a work perspective, do you think that the IT manager / CIO is one of the most important and key roles in the development of the business, whether this is developing new projects or giving daily support?

    R: Without a doubt.  IT is a key support area in any organisation; not only as a tool and for improving productivity but also as a lever toward organisational growth contributing a distinct value.

    When is works well it is undervalued but when it does not work, organisations are burdened and lose competitivity.

    All functional areas and departments are being transformed and are reinventing their work daily.  We find ourselves in a globalised, changing and highly competitive environment where it has never been more important to do more with less.

    In this way, IT plays a key role due to the clear advantages offered by technology itself as well as its fit within the business.

    P: From your working experiences in the different companies you have developed your career in and from the viewpoint of your functional area at work, do you think that the CIO has the sensitivity needed to understand your department’s problems?

    R: If they don’t have this sensitivity, they are not a CIO.  A CIO should understand the organisation perfectly whilst adding value to it through the different technologies that support the different activities and processes within the organisation.

    The CIO has a great opportunity to lead in the role of the “facilitator” / “transformer” of the business and persuade the CEO and the rest of the functional areas (finance, sales, marketing, operations…) to join in the new innovative orientation, change and reinvention of the company on a daily basis.

    P: On many occasions we see the IT department as a cost rather than a business investment in order to maintain competitivity and keep up to date with the new technologies we are surrounded by.  What is your opinion in your case?

    R: That vision is right in many cases where there have been investments in technology just for the sake of it.  The members of IT clearly like technology a lot but the perspective of a CIO is to ensure that the business has the appropriate technologies available to it at the least possible cost.

    The IT department needs to manage business criteria and those contributions should be measurable on the balance sheet.

    P: In many companies the CIO has implemented a catalogue of services centralised by the IT department whereby requests received are classified and resolved based on their importance and impact on the business.  In many cases, this can allow the IT department to invoice their services to other company departments internally whilst strengthening the internal IT consultancy concept.  What advantages and disadvantages can you  point out to these models?

    Best practices such as ITIL, COBIT, etc. and standards such as ISO2000 that have been implemented in many organsations are not only helping the organisation of the IT department internally but especially in the establishment of a comprehensive language for communication between IT and the internal clients that use it.  Having a service catalogue known to users with agreed service levels relating to business areas, using established processes improves the perception of IT departments without a doubt and overall, the users can be clear on the services given by the IT department as well as the communication channels with it.

    P: It is very important for us that the IT manager understands the business and can align it with new technologies.  Do you think the IT department members can work as pure technologists?  Or should they have a certain level of sensitivity and business knowledge as to the different areas that the business is made of?

    R: As I said before, a CIO is not a CIO if he or she doesn’t have a knowledge of the business.  Without this knowledge, it would be impossible for IT within my organisation to add any value at all.

    The role of CIO goes from taking initiative and suggesting innovations that allow the company to improve its balance sheet, increase income, reduce costs and shorten the time to market up until the launch of the product or service.

    In order to make a contribution to the company, it is key to have a knowledge of the business and manage IT with business criteria.

    P: What do you think is key for the CIO’s work to be even more important and play an important role within the company?

    R: They need to be a proactive person and be close to the business.  The company should also involve them in the management committee.

    A process orientation and the technological component of any business project makes it vital that the CEO as well as the functional directors understand the current IT infrastructure that makes up the company.  In the same way it is key for the CIO to manage Information and Communication Technology using business criteria and be able to anticipate business needs.  All of this occurs when the CIO is involved in the decision making from the beginning: The Board Commitee.  From this angle, they will be able to anticipate business needs and generate IT advantages in line with the business.

     

     
  • Didac Lee 10:30 am on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Comfort (or whatever is implied by leaving the “comfort zone” and facing new challenges) 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    When talking about the culture of effort, I wouldn’t know whether to define myself as great worker or a great lazybones.  When you work on something you like, perhaps its not that commendable to spend so many hours of your life on it. There’s a natural tendency to do what we know well because it provides us with a sense of security in our day to day.  We could even disguise this sense of wellbeing by thinking we add value because we focus in on what we are good at.

    In fact, doing what we always do means were not learning.  We only grow and improve by taking part in activities we find uncomfortable and challenging, when we take the bull by its horns or when we overcome a phobia that was standing in our way.  This applies not only to personal growth but also to our professional development.  Staying within our comfort zone limits us, while venturing into unknown territory allows us to learn, progess and leads us away from mediocrity.

    There are times when leaving our comfort zone requires effort (like learning a new language).  But there are more complicated situations in which we need to directly confront our fears (of the unknown,  isolation, ridicule or not meeting people’s expectations).

    In my case, I could provide many examples of how I have left my comfort zone to face uncomfortable situations throughout my life as an entrepreneur.  I feel comfortable working in a new startup and developing innovative technological products. It is not that complicated for me.

    On the other hand, talking in public or handing the finances of my company frightened the life out of me, so I would always get out of doing these tasks with or without making excuses.  Doing what is outside our comfort zone can often cause us a lot of anxiety and so it goes without saying that the tendency leans towards avoiding these stressful or uncomfortable situations.

    There is a myth that leaving the comfort zone means working longer hours.  Its not about working more, but about facing new challenges and doing what we find requires a special effort.  It’s like when a sportsperson makes progress when faced with those that are better than them, we grow when we give the best of ourselves and fight against our flaws.

    An entrepreneur should almost always live outside their comfort zone, as they must face daily issues in different aspects of their lives.  This also has a lot to do with courage, being spontaneous and tackling things head on.

    As my friend Sampi says, do something challenging everyday (it should be something new), something extraordinary every week (it should stretch you to the limit) and something memorable every month (that can be sustained over time).

    Column published in Spanish in El Periódico on 19th July 2011

     

     
  • Didac Lee 10:26 am on June 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    The journey across the desert 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    When reflecting upon success and failure factors of innovative startups, I noticed that there is a common denominator in which they all have been successful: their ability to survive their journey across the desert, a process that begins with the launch and ends once the right commercial channel has been found. I think it’s a mistake to think that a turning a good idea into a tangible product will suffice.  It is just the first step.  What guarantees success is mass commercialization and this is complicated to attain. If our proposal is innovative, it means no previous point of reference exists.  The main problem is that we face running a marathon not knowing when it will end.  We know we must double our efforts, but as Indiana Jones would say, X does not mark the spot where the treasure lies.

     

    The entrepreneur and their team begin to search for the path to the market with high hopes and limited resources, but the market is a heartless judge who doesn’t care if you fulfill your dreams.  Probably it won’t work out the first time… Dyson needed 15 years and 5127 prototypes before inventing the bagless hoover.

    Following so many failed attempts, the mind is disheartened and looks to give up, while the heart pushes on with hope, trying to fulfill the dream. When I look back, you cannot imagine the number of times I have asked myself why I didn’t throw in the towel and take up crab-farming instead of launching unusual projects.

    I have found myself on journeys on which I asked myself if somebody in their sane mind would continue.  I think this ties in with who you are and is inevitable. I cheer myself on thinking it doesn’t matter how often I may fail, because just one success would be enough. Surrounding myself with people in an exciting and innovative environment that promotes creativity and provides a source of critical opinion are the main factors that helps keep that hope alive.

    In order to accomplish this journey, in addition to having a pair as the Nike advert says, the entrepreneur needs to the ability to maintain the team’s enthusiasm and that of the atmosphere, especially following a failed attempt, as there will be many more obsessive single-subject weekends during which the entrepreneur will repeat to themselves, why doesn’t the market accept my offer?

    My last journey has lasted 3 years and after various failed launch attempts, Zyncro now has 100,000 users and has opened offices in Japan and Brazil, and we have won the BDigital award.  Thank you all for making this possible!

    Article published in El Periodico on June 21, 2011

     

     
  • Didac Lee 12:30 pm on March 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Customize your Zyncro with ZyncroApps 

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Zyncro V2.3 launches a first phase which stands out due to integration. This means that you will be able to enrich Zyncro with the best software on the market in line with your company requirements.

    One of the new elements in this integration phase is ZyncroApps, applications made in JavaScript and HTML that you can encrust within your Zyncro account.  Another new attribute (which we will delve into further on another occassion) is the Zyncro API.

    ZyncroApps are based on one simple mechanism for the publication of mini programs integrated directly within Zyncro.

    ZyncroApps will allow you to:

    • Modify the user interface.
    • Integrate external application data.
    • Obtain information about your Zyncro user account and send it to the corporate systems within your organization while always ensuring data integrity and confidentiality.

    Therefore, from Zyncro and by means of SSL (in a totally secure way), you will be able to:

    • Get external application APIs that use the same public domain (like SalesForceZenDeskGoogleAppsBaseCampSurveyMonkey, etc) and incrust them within your Zyncro.  From then on and if you are a Zyncro “Account Administrator“, you will be able to configure the ZyncroApp SurveyMonkey Beta in order to carry out questionnaires amongst users within your organisation by going to the “Administration panel” / “ZyncroApps” / “Activate” / “Configure” and copy the questionnaire URL that you will have designed previously in SurveyMonkey.

    • It is also possible to include custom-made applications developed by your company (travel management and expense policy, ERPsCRMs, attendance register, etc) and integrate this information with the Zyncro interface.

    In order to speed up the development of ZyncroApps, we have created the Zyncro Development Partner Programme.  If you are a developer or if you like being in contact with software, this programme could be of interest to you.

    As from now, Zyncro becomes a Custom Software as a Service.  This means it is an application integration platform that is useful for the organisation. Surveymonkey is one of the first ZyncroApps amoung many to come.  If you would like to be first to know about forthcoming ZyncroApps… you will have to pay very close attention to our blog!

     
  • Didac Lee 10:45 am on March 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Integration is the key 

    Can you imagine working in a synchronized manner using the applications you most use: calendar, instant messaging, CRM…?

    Would you like to discover software that that unites all of these tools with the simplicity of a social network, the ease of use of a document manager and the high functionality of a tasks manager?

    Integration is the key and Zyncro has prepared a great package of surprises for the next few days.

    To be continued…

     
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