Sunday, March 26, 2017

Catching Up

It has been some time since I have publicly communicated. Let me try to catch up from that lapse.

First, the profession – what is happening?
I have, as many of you know, been arguing for decades that IT professionals need to be in deep and interactive conversation with business leaders, talking about strategies, goals and alternative means of realizing goals. The question has finally evolved from, “Here are my specs – can you build it for me – when and at what cost?” to, “Here are our business strategies and business goals. Do you have any other thoughts to add to these? And what can you do to help us achieve them? Let’s talk about alternatives and different roads to success.”

This is long overdue – and a large part of the credit goes to app developers who have led the way in showing what can be achieved and how they can solve big problems. I am not dismissing the profound impact of enlightened leadership – but their leadership impact has been materially enhanced by the legions of bright developers who have shown us alternative paths to success – at a business level, not just at a bits and bytes level.

Second, the cloud
I have been lambasted by some of my associates for, early on, suggesting that cloud technology is a new, modern, improved follow on to time sharing. How can I say that? The cloud allows resources of all kinds – applications, storage, network, data and more – to be shared seamlessly and economically. That sharing occurs across platforms, providers and technologies. Cloud technologies have grown to be reliable and cost effective replacements and supplements to internal platforms. Security has grown significantly and in general can be relied on, to the point where several authorities have suggested that cloud security is often more robust that individual platform security, even at our largest enterprises. This is a significant achievement, and one to consider leveraging in all implementation decisions.

Third – work style.
The general availability of easy-to-deploy tools allow collaborative, interconnected and highly interactive work to be conducted without regard to physical boundaries. The ability to connect clients in New York with business managers in London with project managers in Macedonia with developers – who knows where – is a reality. It is easy to do and highly effective. Relationships can be established and maintained across time zones and country/culture boundaries. Add to that agile methodologies that significantly add to the effectiveness and democratization of advancements and you have a change that is profound, and that accelerates growth driven by the application of technology to real and compelling business opportunities.

There is much more to say, but these three vectors – the profession, the cloud and work style – capture a large swath of the positive and empowering change that we have been participating in.

As to my own activities, there are several things to report.

First, in my traditional consulting business, SIM Associates, we have had the privilege of doing some highly impactful work for several fantastic clients. That is a continuation of the trajectory of the past 21 years that SIM has been in existence. We have consistently focused on our goal of enhancing the value created at the interface of business and technology. I am proud of that record.

But there are some new ingredients as well. About three years ago, with a partner, we formed North Salem Partners (NSP). NSP focuses on helping startups and early stage growth companies gain traction as they seek to grow, interest investors and achieve value for their owners. At NSP, we offer support for a full range of business disciplines, such as marketing, sourcing,  technology, operations, and more. Check us out –

More recently, with two partners, we are just about to launch an exciting streaming service. Initially powered by a library of audio files that contain the sounds, news and events of specific years (most of 1938 thru 1970), we are launching a streaming service to enable subscription to those files. This has applicability for example to nostalgia buffs, as well as for gifts to associates or parents, friends and others who have parts of their life closely related to a specific year in our library. Over time the library will be expanded based on customer and prospect input. Additionally, we are actively planning expansion into several other areas – e.g. baby related content, exercise content, music content and more. For more information, check out

That is an overview. I am interested in hearing what you are doing and how you are improving life on the planet as we know it. Please let me know –

There is more to say – and it will follow periodically. Until then, to quote Steve Jobs in his oft quoted June 2005 commencement speech at Stamford, my advice to you is to “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” And keep pushing the edges of the envelope!
My best,