Jun 23

Strategic Sourcing – an Essential BTM Competency

By Mathias Tölken | Operational IT Leadership , Relevant IT

Good service provider selection not only frees up expensive internal resources or complements non-existent internal skills, but can also significantly contribute towards achieving business goals. This is especially true for small and medium businesses that do not have sufficient funds to appoint people in all the required roles.

But how to approach this topic and how to decide when to insource and when to outsource? And are we not sometimes able to just buy the cheapest option versus developing and investing in a strategic partnership?

Strategic Sourcing is the fourth of 15 BTM Competencies Every IT Leader has to Master, but it keeps popping up as a topic in our Mastermind Groups and thus I feel that it warrants a blog article of its own.

In this article I will introduce the concept of linking outsourcing to your business strategy and assist with identifying some initial leverage opportunities in your business.

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Jun 10

Digital Transformation for Dummies

By Mark Geschke | Digital Transformation , Operational IT Leadership , Strategic IT Leadership

Not a day goes by that leaders of mid-sized businesses are not bombarded in one way or another by the increasingly urgent need to embark on a digital transformation.

But sometimes it seems there are as many approaches to digital transformation as there are IT consulting organisations on the planet.

The confusion this creates makes it incredibly hard for leaders to agree on a course of action for their organisation and to move forward with confidence.

My goal with this article is to not only clarify what digital transformation is, but to also outline the 3 essential steps for becoming a digital company.

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Jun 02

7 Essential Attributes of a Successful Mastermind Group

By Mathias Tölken | Mastermind Group , Operational IT Leadership

(article updated 25/01/2017)

I have previously answered the question, What is a Mastermind Group? and shared my excitement in the 27 Life-Changing Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group.

But is this all hot air?  And what makes a Mastermind Group actually succeed?

The good news is that it has been proven time and again that the benefits can be replicated... if some rules are observed.

The popularity of Mastermind groups over the past especially 20-odd years has led to quite a few best practices and standard structures emerging, both for the agenda of a Mastermind session as well as the roles and rules needed to run a group successfully. 

Make sure that you do your homework and confirm that the Mastermind Group you plan to join is run accordingly to maximise your outcomes!

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May 19

27 Life-Changing Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group

By Mathias Tölken | Mastermind Group , Operational IT Leadership

Putting several minds together to discuss a problem often yields solutions that far outweigh what any one could have come up with on their own. This is the proverbial “one plus one is greater than two” effect and one of the major reasons why people decide to join a Mastermind group.

But did you know that this is but one in a very long list of possible benefits bestowed on participants who join a well-run Mastermind group?

In fact, we have uncovered a whopping 27 life-changing benefits that could be yours if you decide to join a Mastermind group.

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May 15

Career Development Options for IT Managers in South Africa

By Mathias Tölken | Operational IT Leadership

Up to here it was easy… the professional development options and career paths for a technical IT person are well mapped out by many of the vendors and training institutions. You have excelled in this, have been noticed and have been promoted to IT Manager.  But now it becomes murkier, especially if you work for a small or mid-sized organisation where you likely are the only IT leader around and have a small team reporting to you. You are still expected to crawl under the desk and plug in the cables where needed, but on the other hand everyone now also expects you to provide strategic input, lead the IT team and generally produce more business value from the use of IT. You are in constant firefighting mode and are being pulled from all sides. And if you want to talk about strategy, you find that you rarely have access to higher-level management.

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May 13

What Is a Mastermind Group?

By Mathias Tölken | Mastermind Group , Operational IT Leadership

Picture credit: flickr

Imagine you had your own personal advisory team on call... Imagine you were part of a group of people that are in the same position and just "get you" when you discuss your challenges and celebrate with you when you share your successes... A group where each member wants you to excel... Together you brainstorm and your shared ideas are much more than any of you could have come up with individually... But this group also holds you accountable for delivering on your commitments and helps you stay on course to reach your goals.

This is what a Mastermind group is about and if you are lucky enough to be invited to one you will most likely see a marked change in yourself, your career and your company's success.

But what is such a group exactly and how does it work?

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Apr 22

Use a Facebook Chatbot to Transform Customer Experience

By Mark Geschke | Digital Transformation , Strategic IT Leadership

First published on Bizcommunity

At their F8 Developers Conference this year, Facebook revealed an ambitious 10-year vision which sees them connecting the world, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in a major way and building a huge ecosystem around virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).

While it is always exciting to hear from companies who have a bold vision for the future, especially when they spew so many acronyms, what had business leaders most in awe was the announcement of the Messenger Platform and its integrated chatbot functionality. Over the last few years Facebook has done a lot to become increasingly relevant to businesses and this is just their latest salvo to woo them.

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Apr 14

How to Best Prepare for Your Next IT Budget

By Mark Geschke | Operational IT Leadership , Relevant IT

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At Space Age Technologies I learned how important the IT budgeting period is for SMEs. Together with the client IT leader we would often scramble like mad to prepare a list of projects and other initiatives, only for many of these items to be shot down due to "cost savings" and general misunderstanding of their benefits.

We were not happy.  Business leaders just didn't get IT!

Or so we thought.

We have since learned how short-sighted we were and have developed a rigorous process for continuously improving the outcomes of the IT budgeting process.

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Apr 07

15 Essential Business Technology Management Competencies Every IT Leader Has to Master

By Mark Geschke | Operational IT Leadership , Relevant IT

Almost every SME IT leader I know wants to learn how to better provide business value through IT .... and there is plenty of advice going around. The problem is that there is so much information that it has become very difficult to know what is applicable and what should be focused on when.

Fortunately, we have worked on this since 2010 and accumulated quite a lot of knowledge on the way.

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