Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog

Article

How to Sabotage Your Digital Initiative

We’re not trying to help you sabotage your organization. We’re here to help you identify sabotage and deal with the saboteurs

"Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions."

"When possible, refer all matters to committees.... Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five."

"Advocate ‘caution.' Be ‘reasonable' ... and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on."

"Apply all regulations to the last letter."

Advice for being a successful member of a large organization? Section 3.4.7 of your company's employee orientation manual perhaps? Not on your life - these instructions come directly from the CIA's World War II-era Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

Sabotaging the efforts of a large organization is easier than you might think, if simply advocating caution might fall into the category of sabotage. It's no wonder, then, that sabotaging your digital effort is dead simple.

Four Questions of Digital Sabotage
In spite of its admittedly clickbaitish title, this Cortex isn't an update of the CIA Manual for the digital age. We're not trying to help you sabotage your organization, after all. On the contrary: we're here to help you identify such sabotage and deal with the saboteurs.

As a result, there are actually four questions you must answer: Why would someone want to sabotage your digital initiative? Who would do such a thing? How would they do it? And most importantly, what can you to do stop them?

The first two questions - why and who - go hand in hand. Digital initiatives are by their very nature transformative, and such comprehensive change is necessarily threatening to many individuals in your organization.

Look, therefore, for people who have placed large bets on maintaining the status quo. Change is difficult for everyone, but it's especially threatening for certain individuals in certain roles. Here are some examples:

The ‘post-learning' professional. Most techies enjoy the fact that technology is always in flux, and thus there is always more to learn. As a result, they dedicate much of their time to learning new things that result from ongoing change.

However, some people - many in technical areas, but some not - do not feel that way. They're paid well because they're experts in a typically legacy technology, and the last thing they want to do is have to learn something new before they retire.

If an employee's career depends upon your organization keeping some old asset up and running, they may be especially threatened by an initiative that might rock their boat.

The middle manager. As traditional hierarchical organizations grow, they add layer upon layer of management in order to scale. Digital transformation, in contrast, breaks down organizational silos, thus flattening organizations as they seek to address customer needs end-to-end.

On the short end of the stick: the layers of middle management in between the contributors at the bottom and the executives at the top. The more digital an enterprise becomes, the fewer middle managers it'll need.

Empire builders. Since the big-picture goal of digital transformation is to improve the organization's focus on its customers and thus its competitiveness overall, you'd think that the executives in charge of running said organization would be on board. Generally speaking, most are - but there are notable exceptions.

In some organizations, executives measure their relative power and worth compared to their colleagues by how many people report to them - a common affliction of hierarchical organizations we call empire building.

The empire builders in your enterprise are particularly likely to sabotage your digital efforts, for the same reason middle managers are, in spite of the fact that executives should be focused on strategic priorities.

Common Sabotage Techniques
Any of our likely saboteurs might try one or more of the CIA's favored techniques, to be sure. However, it may be difficult to discern whether that time-destroying committee meeting or those rigid governance policies are intentional acts of sabotage. For many organizations, after all, such occurrences are business as usual.

The common theme across the techniques of our digital saboteurs is some kind of ‘play it safe' action or opinion. Every organization is risk adverse to some extent, so the saboteur will take this routine and important risk aversion and use it as a club to dissuade colleagues from moving forward with any effort that threatens the saboteur.

And yet, the world has changed. Digital transformation is now an imperative for so many enterprises because the risks inherent in not transforming are greater than the risks of transforming. Saboteurs will do anything they can to keep decision makers in their midst from realizing this fundamental truth.

One of the most common of these sabotage techniques is following Gartner's advice on bimodal IT. Gartner recommends separating slow, ‘traditional' IT from faster moving digital efforts - a recipe for digital failure.

Saboteurs realize, however, that Gartner's advice appears to favor the lower risk option, as it's relatively easy to convince people that transforming traditional IT is the high-risk alternative.

As a result, saboteurs are only too happy to leverage the ‘argument from authority' fallacy (aka ‘Gartner says it, so it must be right') to sabotage their organization's digital initiatives.

The Intellyx Take: How to Stop the Digital Saboteur
The CIA was only too aware that the Gestapo would shoot saboteurs on sight. Fortunately, we don't have to go quite so far today - but in some situations, you must be willing to remove saboteurs from your organization. Whether you fire them or simply encourage them to depart is up to you, but organizational change as fundamental as digital transformation always requires some changing of the guard.

In the more general situation, fortunately, empowering the saboteur - or potential saboteur - is the most effective solution. This counterintuitive approach wouldn't work with someone acting out of malice, of course. But in most cases, the individual feels helpless to deal with the changes coming their way, but will rise to the occasion given the ability to take some control and make a positive change.

For example, solving the bimodal IT problem requires a carefully thought out plan for transforming traditional IT, which is neither a simplistic rip-and-replace nor a Gartneresque let-slow-go-slow.

To craft such a plan, solicit the cooperation of your ‘post-learning' professionals as well as your middle managers by inviting them to organize themselves into task forces that must come up with appropriate transformation strategies.

This self-organization, in fact, is the key to success with digital transformation generally - not simply at the individual team level, but more broadly across the enterprise as it seeks to break down the organizational silos that impede its ability to serve its customers.

Some individuals will resist getting with the program. A few will actually seek to sabotage the organization's attempts to move to a self-organizational model. But as today's enterprises figure out the best ways to empower their employees within the context of their digital initiatives, employee satisfaction and productivity are bound to improve - thus leading to better business outcomes overall.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

@ThingsExpo Stories
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...