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The new phone books are here (or, I’m on the list) September 21, 2009

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Random, Technology, Uncategorized.
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Midsize Enterprise Summit LogoLast week I attended the Midsize Enterprise Summit (MES) conference for CIO’s. This year it took place in Los Angeles, California. At that conference, which is made up of CIO’s from many different industries all across the United States, the organizers picked what they called the top 50 CIO’s. Well, today I found out the list was published on the Internet by Reuters news agency.

If you know me, you’ll see my name in the list. If you don’t know me, then you probably don’t care. I am really just posting this link so extended family, friends, and colleagues can know about it. I e-mailed a couple of people already but I don’t intend to e-mail anyone else about it. Obviously, this kind of thing would never happen if it were not for my staff. It is because of their hard work and dedication that we were included in the list. So, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank them for making this possible.

The title of this post? Yup, I took the inspiration from Steve Martin and his movie, The Jerk. Do you remember that funny scene when the new phone books arrive and he discovered his name is included? Well, that’s a little how I felt when I discovered the list was out and I was included.

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Fuel shortage drives increase in telework October 3, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, Education, Information Technology, Management, Technology, Uncategorized, Web.
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Working at home

Working at home

Teleworking, the term used to describe working from home through the use of technology, is on the rise in the hardest hit areas of the country. The recent severe gas shortages in Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte has caused employers and employees to take a long hard look at ways to avoid the daily commute while maintaining or even increasing productivity.

An article in Network World talks about this workplace phenomenon, including the benefits and pitfalls of adopting telecommuting or teleworking policies. Before you jump in and start providing your employees with the option of working from home you might want to think through the problems and create some clear policies to address potential problems before they arise. To get you started, you should read this TAI article listing the Pros and Cons of teleworking.

If you are serious about starting a teleworking policy for your employees, then you might want to read this post that gives advice on the things that OSHA says you must address before you launch that new work-from-home program. It also includes a boiler-plate agreement that will help you get started on building your own policy.

Also, as you consider the affect that teleworking may have on those who stay home (and their productivity) don’t forget about those workers who still go to the office… here’s an article about that problem.

To Dallas and back – lessons for a CIO September 18, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Open Source, Technology, Uncategorized.
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Texas - The Lone Star State

This week I attended a conference in Dallas, Texas (USA) for CIO’s — also known as Chief Information Officers. As corny as this may sound, it has changed me, professionally.

Many of the sessions were led by Gartner research analysts. They gave me a lot of “food for thought.” In fact, I filled an entire legal pad of paper with my notes from just the Gartner sessions.

I have begun to see my role as CIO and my job where I work as far more strategic. I almost never have time (or take time) to conduct strategic planning — yet, that is my job. I must rethink what I do and how I do it in order to do what’s important — my job.

In one of the opening keynote addresses the speaker quoted Charles Darwin. I haven’t looked this up and verified it, but I will do that before too many days pass. Anyway, here is the quote:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

There certainly seems to be a lot of truth to that when it comes to technology and IT projects and support.

On a positive note, I took the Gartner CIO leadership survey and scored very high, compared with my peers (other CIO’s across all industries who took the survey). Of course, I have areas where I am weak and all areas could use work and improvement, but I was pleasantly surprised that my overall results were significantly better than the norm. To quote my friend, Stuart, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.”

I guess I’m at least going in the right direction.

Hey, if it’s Friday then it’s time for DONUTS! April 18, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Humor, Management, News and politics, Random.
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Donut Time!What time is it? Donut time!

Today is donut (doughnut?) day where I work. Well, every Friday is donut day where I work. We always start our day with a demartmental meeting where the main food group is donut — of course we are very inclusive — we eat all types of donuts.

Well, this article in Wired was e-mailed to me yesterday and it really amused me since donuts are such a standard part of the life of I.T. people in my department. How can you argue with free donuts? My answer… you can’t!

Management lessons from the soccer field March 16, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, Management, Soccer.
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I recently took my teen aged son to a baseball practice at an indoor arena. At the same location and time there was a soccer game taking place. As I watched the soccer game I was reminded of many of the characteristics of a good team, both in athletics and in business.

The soccer players each had specific roles or positions they played. While they had clearly defined roles, they also worked fluidly and occassionally helped each other out and covered other player’s positions when needed. At one point the goalie moved way out of the goal and another player automatically move in front of the goal. THAT’S the way a department should work! I didn’t hear anyone say, “that’s not my job” or “who do you think you are doing my job” and they all worked together to accomplish a common purpose.

They also talked all of the time. They were constantly calling out to teammates and communicating either warnings (or opposing team members’ presence) or opportunities to pass or score. They anticipated things and then talked to their teammates to make sure everyone knew the situation and had a heads up on what could happen. It was easy to apply that kind of communication to a healthy work environment.

There was an expectation that each person would pull their weight and perform their very best. And, when the ball was passed from person to person there was a trust between players. Skills were needed at both the individual level and they had to rely on each other and work together to score.

We’ve all heard that a well run organization takes teamwork, but watching a skilled and high performing soccer team really drove home to me the importance of each person doing their part and understanding their role but being flexible enough to fluidly help out in other roles as needed and then go back to their primary role when they were done. To do that there must be a high level of trust and respect between team members.

The final thing I noticed, which is very true of a workplace team, is that players were changed out from time to time. Right now, I’ve got two team members that I need to hire and so it’s important that I find the people with the right skills and ability to be a true team player in order to have a well run department.

Educause 2007 Conference October 26, 2007

Posted by Matsu in Education, Information Technology, Management, Technology.
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educause-2007-seattle.jpegAs some (or most) of my readers already know, I work as a technology director at a private college. Working in the higher education market has unique challenges and opportunities for technology professionals. And, there are some really great professional organizations for I.T. folk who work at colleges and universities. One organization is Educause.

If you work in higher education (anywhere in the world) and you don’t know about Educause then take some time to visit their website and review all of the free materials available to anyone. I have benefited greatly from my association with and membership in the Educause organization. This week I am attending the annual Educause conference, which is being held in Seattle, Washington (USA).

So far the conference has been great. Today is the last day. This afternoon I will be visiting two colleges/universities in the area. I always enjoy visiting other campuses to see how they deal with I.T. issues and how they have implemented technology. In this case, I know the I.T. directors and will enjoy learning more about their workplace as they have told me many stories about their campuses.

Before I sign off, I must give a shout-out to Judy and her class at Whitworth College (oh, okay I’ll acknowledge you are now Whitworth UNIVERSITY). I hope you are learning a lot about technology.