Facts Matter: “The Cube”

A fundamental part of our framework is that it is critical to get, and then always maintain, a clear and common understanding of the Current State as the foundation of running IT, transforming IT and business, and leading through times of big change or crisis. A good Current State:

  • Explains the history and the physics of what got US here TOGETHER “one good decision at a time”.
  • Unemotionally articulates “what is”, for better or worse, in a way that is supportable.
  • Provides some new insights for executives and key leaders about how all aspects of business/IT are connected and impact each other.
  • Establishes a common foundation of understanding from which to build a Future Vision, identify the Gap between Current State and Future Vision, and inform a Gap Closing Plan for how to get there.
The Cube
“The Cube”

Across decades of experiences and dozens of transformations in all industries, we’ve always insisted that this Current State foundation should include FACTS and DATA across all aspects of the IT landscape.  It’s critical to have detailed data on your business capabilities, applications, data, technology, people, spending, projects, vendors, and assets – and be able to correlate, crosstab, drill-down, and analyze that (usually disparate) data together as one whole interconnected set of insights. We call this correlated data, and the related ability to gain insights through visualization, “The Cube”. This is Business Intelligence for IT – every other function has it and knows the value of data for making smart decisions. IT should be no different.

Most of the uses of this kind of data have been to help drive transformation or simply use a fact-based approach to decision making, solutioning, solving problems, driving efficiencies, and other basic leadership actions. As we all face this COVID-19 crisis, there’s certainly a need for these kinds of facts – and they’re needed now, and they’re needed more than ever.

During the crisis, over the last few weeks and ongoing, Charlie has been writing a blog series on THRIVING IN DYNAMIC TIMES: TURNING HEADWINDS INTO TAILWINDS. And, we’ve been facilitating weekly conference calls with our community of IT and business leaders from many companies to discuss these topics.  Time and again, the thought processes, decisions, and actions that leaders must undertake in these times all require facts and a data-driven approach.

In the series, so far, Charlie writes about facts and data as critical for:

In the next posts in the series – one on Architectural Reuse & Leverage and another on Portfolio Modernization – Dealing with Complexity & Risk – “the Cube” or BI for IT will become even more necessary.

I’ll invoke Charlie’s mantra of “Go Short”(-Term) and “Go Long”(-Term) again in this context.  In the short-term, if you have “The Cube” already, that’s great – use it in all of these contexts to get smarter, be objective, and quickly make the business cases you need to make in order to provide the best leadership possible.  If you don’t have the data pulled together and correlated yet, you can and must catch up. Use whatever’s needed – spreadsheets, (virtual!) whiteboards, data extracts from multiple systems, working sessions to get Managers and Architects and Developers in the (virtual!) room together – to get and correlate the basics on applications, people, technology, vendors, projects, and financials.  For the long game of transformation that we’ll all ultimately get back to, make sure this data and analytical capability evolves to become robust, detailed, fully correlated, implemented in a tool, and maintained with discipline. It will pay off in all kinds of ways going forward.

To learn and think about this more, please read this excellent LinkedIn article written by Russell Villemez.  Russell is an Affiliate of The Feld Group Institute and a Senior Partner at Dialexa.  He’s had a passion for this idea of “The Cube” for decades through his own career, before and then with, The Feld Group and The Feld Group Institute.  So, it was a natural, back in February when he originally wrote this post, for him to lead the way in elaborating on the topic. Now, we are really fortunate in the timing, as we all emphasize this idea that FACTS MATTER.

Author: Jon Feld, COO, Principal
Connect with Jon Feld on LinkedIn

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

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Russell Villemez

Affiliate, The Feld Group Institute

Head of Technology Strategy, Dialexa – a Feld Group Institute partner

Highly regarded CTO and change agent with IT strategy and enterprise architecture expertise.

Russell Villemez is an Affiliate with the Feld Group Institute and the head of Technology Strategy at Dialexa, a Technology Research, Design and Creation firm that works with organizations on initiatives such as Operational Transformation, Business Growth, and New Venture Creation.

During 17 years in operational roles and 15 years in consulting roles, Russell has worked across a variety of industries in both executive leadership positions and as a subject matter expert. Russell thrives on the scale and complexity of leading major change agendas in large corporate environments.

Recent consulting clients include AmerisourceBergen, the American Automobile Association, Brinker International, Cubic, Equifax, and Cox Automotive. A common thread is the client’s need for strong leadership during a period of change—whether motivated by acquisitions, spin-offs, competitive pressures, or other factors. Clients also benefit from Russell’s expertise in enterprise architecture, agile development, application portfolio rationalization, technology and architecture strategy, as well as business strategy and commercial software product development.

Recognized as a versatile IT executive, adept at solving complex problems with innovative solutions, Russell’s capabilities and achievements span a continuum from business-strategy formation to hands-on IT solution development. His extensive career achievements include pioneering the first use of relational databases in high-volume transaction systems in the ‘80s, applying voice recognition DSPs in public intelligent network services for consumer markets in the ‘90s, and leading large-scale adoptions of open systems, object technology, and middleware frameworks in complex business environments, often in advance of commercially available software products.

Prior to joining Dialexa, Russell served at HP as Enterprise Services Chief Technology Officer for the Americas, leading a global capability for embedded Account CTOs in large enterprises. Russell began his career at Accenture, where he first crafted his consultative problem-solving approach, later honed at A.T. Kearny and the Feld Group. Russell’s deep telecom experience is built upon numerous director and enterprise architect positions at AT&T, Bell Atlantic, Telstra, US West, Pacific Bell, and Sprint, and as V.P. and CIO for WebLink Wireless.

Russell has a BS in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. In his spare time, Russell participates in amateur auto racing, and is a driving instructor with the Porsche Club of America.