Information-Driven Business

The pandemic-driven business shifts
Published: 29 May 2020 by Robert Hillard
The short-term impact of COVID-19 is undisputed, what is not yet clear is the long-term changes that the pandemic will have wrought on the world of business. I started 2020 writing about three themes for the decade and I am … Continue reading

Contact tracing is a digital vaccine for COVID-19
Published: 26 Apr 2020 by Robert Hillard
A vaccine could be the knock-out punch in our war with COVID-19 and let us move beyond the lockdown nightmare that has so suddenly and unexpectedly been visited upon us. But we can neither afford to wait nor even assume … Continue reading

It’s not lonely being a robot anymore
Published: 29 Mar 2020 by Robert Hillard
Two years ago, I wrote about the loneliness of being the only virtual participant in many international meetings. For years I’ve fought against the constant tyranny of travel and used every collaboration technology available as often as possible. Even so, … Continue reading

Ideology versus insight
Published: 27 Feb 2020 by Robert Hillard
The overwhelming geopolitical narrative of the twentieth century was the collision of ideologies. Entire nations operated for the better part of one hundred years as laboratories for ideas, often based on models originating in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In … Continue reading

Bridging themes for the 2020s
Published: 30 Jan 2020 by Robert Hillard
Although it is tempting to look at the new decade through lens of technology predictions, it is much more interesting to think about the future in terms of what we all need to do to successfully navigate the 2020s. Each … Continue reading

The Australian Information Industry Association
Published: 20 Dec 2019 by Robert Hillard
As the year comes to a close, I’m very proud to share that I have been selected to be the new chair of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). I am even more excited by the calibre of the incoming … Continue reading

Career wellness
Published: 29 Nov 2019 by Robert Hillard
One of the most positive developments in the workplace over the last decade is the recognition that employee wellbeing goes beyond health and safety and should include a holistic view of wellness. It has become common to see work colleagues … Continue reading

Maturing the information economy
Published: 29 Oct 2019 by Robert Hillard
Today it costs a fraction of a fraction of a cent per megabyte to store data, but it is less than 30 years since the cost of data storage dropped below one US dollar per megabyte. It seems that one … Continue reading

Common sense has never been more important
Published: 28 Sep 2019 by Robert Hillard
The administration of day-to-day life seems like it has never been more complicated. We all seem to be constantly navigating new services, products, registrations, cards, identification and so much more. New requirements are being layered over the top of basic … Continue reading

Exponential answers or fake news
Published: 28 Aug 2019 by Robert Hillard
“Exponential” is one of those great words loved by the start-up community and technology investors alike. Exponential technology growth curves allow you to hide any number of early mistakes while also reaching massive audiences quickly. Exponential solutions can be the … Continue reading

Today’s flying through tomorrow’s eyes
Published: 28 Jul 2019 by Robert Hillard
Sir David Attenborough gave powerful testimony to a UK parliamentary committee recently, arguing that we need to reduce the amount of global air travel to cut our carbon footprint. The irony that he has spent his career flying the world … Continue reading

The future of work beyond the headlines
Published: 29 Jun 2019 by Robert Hillard
This month I had the privilege of being part of the team that launched Deloitte Australia’s major thought leadership piece, under the banner of “Building the Lucky Country”, investigating the future of work. Although thousands of words have been written … Continue reading

The metaphor-driven strategy trap
Published: 28 May 2019 by Robert Hillard
The problem with strategy is that it implies predictions about the future. Urban strategies at the turn of the twentieth century were dominated by horses and yet just 30 years later many of the same organisations were seriously expecting flying … Continue reading

Innovation is a collision of learning
Published: 26 Apr 2019 by Robert Hillard
There are as many definitions of innovation as there are new ideas themselves. At its core, innovation means finding a new idea or approach to doing something. Rather than adding yet more to the Pantheon of definitions that already exist, … Continue reading

Leveraging ecosystems rather than buying services
Published: 29 Mar 2019 by Robert Hillard
We are a tribal species, operating best in groups and groups of groups. Whether it was the Romans who organised their armies in cohorts or early insurers like Lloyds of London who used syndicates to offset risk, there has always … Continue reading

Need plus nudge equals sustained change
Published: 24 Feb 2019 by Robert Hillard
Everyone loves a nudge! That’s because we’re addicted to stories of trivial (and cheap) business hacks which have caused major changes to the way staff or customers behave. New processes and technology sometimes seem easy in comparison to even small … Continue reading

Don’t underestimate your IP
Published: 29 Jan 2019 by Robert Hillard
Business is changing as a result of technology, new economic pressures and changes in society. That makes some form of transformation non-negotiable and it often requires new software, leading to build or buy decisions. Off-the-shelf or packaged software has grown … Continue reading

Purpose-driven business needs the right data
Published: 22 Dec 2018 by Robert Hillard
It seems like almost every organisation is thinking about its purpose statement. This comes at the same time as trust in business and institutions is hitting new lows. While for many, the impetus to redefine purpose is a response to … Continue reading

From a space industry to micro-robotics
Published: 26 Nov 2018 by Robert Hillard
I recently had the opportunity to speak at the first Space Development Summit held by the United Nations Association of Australia. I see the space sector as an enabler of many of our other industry, social and technical goals. In … Continue reading

What is a consultant?
Published: 26 Oct 2018 by Robert Hillard
I’ve been a consultant for twenty years and have heard every variation of the joke about borrowing a client’s watch to tell the time. Like many, I didn’t start out intending to be a professional consultant and yet it has … Continue reading

Deliberate design
Published: 29 Sep 2018 by Robert Hillard
Organisations evolve and, with so many people spending less and less time in any one job, managing that evolution is more important than ever. At the same time the huge changes being wrought by technology combined with new global dynamics … Continue reading

Published: 26 Aug 2018 by Robert Hillard
I often get asked whether I support or oppose the intrusion of technology into every nook and cranny of our working and personal lives. The best way I can express how I feel is by drawing an analogy with the … Continue reading

Reversing cynicism with data and transparency
Published: 29 Jul 2018 by Robert Hillard
Trust in business is at an all-time low and cynicism is at an all-time high. At every turn there is an apparent breach of trust by business which confirms the worst in the minds of the general public. This is … Continue reading

Fashioning the future
Published: 30 Jun 2018 by Robert Hillard
We know that the future is coming, but it is sometimes hard to imagine what it will look like. The very clothes we wear are a good place to start, after all the industrial revolution was arguably fashioned by the … Continue reading

Navigating the future with lifelong learning
Published: 27 May 2018 by Robert Hillard
Flourishing in the future of work requires all of us to embrace lifelong learning. But you can’t train for jobs of the future when you don’t know what you don’t know. While most discussions on education concentrate on funding, it … Continue reading

Sometimes it’s lonely being a robot
Published: 27 Apr 2018 by Robert Hillard
I’m committed to be a global citizen but, living in Australia, I simply can’t get to as many meetings around the world as my role would ideally involve. To deal with this, I find other ways to participate. The myriad … Continue reading

Information-driven work
Published: 30 Mar 2018 by Robert Hillard
I’ve recently spoken to several executives who have more than two thousand unread emails. They all said roughly the same thing: “If someone really wants me they’ll keep trying”. Others have said the opposite, they are keen to be easy … Continue reading

White collar productivity
Published: 24 Feb 2018 by Robert Hillard
Have you ever faced transposing a row in a spreadsheet to a column, or perhaps tried to make a repeated change to values and wondered how to do it through menu options or functions? After wasting what feels like an … Continue reading

Balance of power
Published: 27 Jan 2018 by Robert Hillard
The digital economy is transforming every corner of our lives. The changes in the businesses we interact with and the way many of us are employed mean subtle but important shifts in power. Patronage, social license and convention that have … Continue reading

Trust in the digital economy
Published: 22 Dec 2017 by Robert Hillard
As the year wraps-up, it is the season when we feel good will towards all. I am reminded that our economy works because of the trust that we each have in each other. The information economy has enabled us to … Continue reading

Rethinking failure
Published: 27 Nov 2017 by Robert Hillard
Imagine an organisation with ten job levels (ranked from entry to CEO). In the first year, there are 512 people at the lowest level who are all assigned to projects, half of which succeed and the other half fail in … Continue reading

Leaders need the technical detail
Published: 28 Oct 2017 by Robert Hillard
I recently heard a financial services executive on the radio talking about Bitcoin. When a listener asked him to explain what it was, he couldn’t. I’m constantly amazed by the number of leaders who aren’t across the detail of important … Continue reading

Three things every project needs
Published: 26 Sep 2017 by Robert Hillard
It’s wrong to think that all a project needs is a scope, budget and timeframe. The three things that separate the best projects from the rest are: insight (into the future), simplification (of the business today) and inspiration (through new … Continue reading

Your desk is a guide to the future of work
Published: 27 Aug 2017 by Robert Hillard
The future of work is the topic on everyone’s lips. The talk of automation and artificial intelligence can seem really abstract and alien, making the future seem scarier than really needs to be the case. A good way for white … Continue reading

Defence as the best form of attack
Published: 30 Jul 2017 by Robert Hillard
The global economy is powered by business innovation with small and large organisations alike inventing the future for us all. The rapid rate of change brings both opportunities and threats with recent cyber events acting as a wake-up call. Far … Continue reading

More but not better jobs
Published: 24 Jun 2017 by Robert Hillard
The future of work is the topic on everyone’s lips. We’ve gone from worrying about whether our children will have jobs to worrying about our own place in the workforce. The rise of artificial intelligence and robotics has been at … Continue reading

Information age delivers new space race
Published: 27 May 2017 by Robert Hillard
At the height of the race for the moon, everyone imagined that by now we would be living in a space age. Instead we got the information age which has given us access to unparalleled global connections and almost the … Continue reading

Machine rights
Published: 23 Apr 2017 by Robert Hillard
When an employee leaves one organisation and moves to another, they are not allowed to take the property of their first employer with them. That includes lists of customers, algorithms or other intellectual property. It doesn’t, however, stop employees from … Continue reading

Post-truth surprises
Published: 28 Mar 2017 by Robert Hillard
Unexpected election results around the world have given the media the chance to talk about their favourite topic: themselves! With their experience running polls, the media are very good at predicting the winner out of two established parties or candidates … Continue reading

Published: 24 Feb 2017 by Robert Hillard
In business, we tend to focus on the incremental changes we are dealing with every day. The big opportunities always seem too far away to build into our monthly, quarterly or even annual plans. These opportunities, though, are the “moonshots” … Continue reading

Measuring transformation
Published: 28 Jan 2017 by Robert Hillard
We live in times of rapid change when businesses that assume they have a secure market are suddenly having their world turned upside down. With the most substantive impact coming from technology, many have assumed that large investments in IT … Continue reading

Who do you love?
Published: 23 Dec 2016 by Robert Hillard
An alien relying on TV for their knowledge of humanity might watch a few ads and assume our closest emotional relationships are with banks, utilities and retailers. After all, they all claim to be your best friend, look how many … Continue reading

Published: 26 Nov 2016 by Robert Hillard
Information overload is as much an overwhelming feeling as it is a measurable reality. We often feel an impossible obligation to be across everything, which leaves us wanting to give up and absorb nothing that hits our various screens. Despite … Continue reading

Framing new ideas
Published: 29 Oct 2016 by Robert Hillard
It often feels like every idea has its time. Be it workplace trends, new technologies or social changes. With the benefit of hindsight, we can’t imagine why these things took so long. Yet, when a good idea’s time hasn’t yet … Continue reading

Robots will make better negotiators
Published: 26 Sep 2016 by Robert Hillard
Negotiation is one of the oldest human activities and is an important part of our economy.  It is essential for sharing resources between people and groups.  However, as our organisations have become more complex, the outcomes that we are achieving … Continue reading

Playful business
Published: 28 Aug 2016 by Robert Hillard
Business is both complicated and structured. Our education, training and professional lives all teach us to think inside the box. Before rampant automation, and when problems sat inside the same box, this was ideal. The business world we are dealing … Continue reading

Where is the digital-fuelled growth?
Published: 23 Jul 2016 by Robert Hillard
We’ve had about 50 years of computing in business and about 20 years of the digital revolution. How are we faring on the question of digital fuelled growth and productivity? Many economists are coming to the surprising conclusion that technology … Continue reading

Is the crowd dumbing us down and killing democracy?
Published: 18 Jun 2016 by Robert Hillard
One of the most exciting features of the Internet is the ability to get the voice of the crowd almost instantly. Polling of our organisations and society that would have taken weeks in the past can be done in hours … Continue reading

The singularity and the future of intelligence
Published: 29 May 2016 by Robert Hillard
Everywhere you turn there is a discussion about the impact of technology on our future, whether it be how we work or how we live. Of particular concern is the encroachment of automation into virtually every part of our world. … Continue reading

The downside of blockchain
Published: 29 Apr 2016 by Robert Hillard
Imagine an invention that deliberately wasted resources. Maybe a car that burns oil just to create smoke that is easy to see or an electric light that uses twice as much energy to avoid burning out. That’s exactly what blockchain … Continue reading

Opportunities beyond startups
Published: 28 Mar 2016 by Robert Hillard
Is it just me or has the world gone mad for startups and writing software? Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of startups and all that they bring to the economy. However, if you read the business … Continue reading

New ideas aren’t always brilliant
Published: 26 Feb 2016 by Robert Hillard
Change is the lifeblood of organisations. It is essential in our products, technology, organisational models and every aspect of how we work and produce for the benefit of our stakeholders and ourselves. Everyone can think of organisations that failed to … Continue reading

My digital foundations #2
Published: 23 Jan 2016 by Robert Hillard
It’s time to set some principles to support the choices you are making for your personal digital architecture. This second instalment of digital foundations will help you extend your architecture to protect your digital content and assets. In the first … Continue reading

Business transformation creates long-term value
Published: 20 Dec 2015 by Robert Hillard
Companies that do acquisitions and invest in major, enterprise-wide, business transformations are more valuable in the long term. However, in the short-term it can feel like they are destroying shareholder value. It does not take long looking at companies that … Continue reading

My digital foundations #1
Published: 22 Nov 2015 by Robert Hillard
It’s almost impossible to live these days without a plethora of digital identities that enable us to do almost everything. Whether it be our television, gaming, social media, travel or family security, we depend on all of these things to … Continue reading

Predicting which jobs will be disrupted
Published: 27 Oct 2015 by Robert Hillard
Parents everywhere are wondering about the career choices that they should encourage their children to pursue.  While some careers are already badly disrupted, others seem to be flying.  How do you tell which activities will be valued in the decades … Continue reading

Email works too well
Published: 26 Sep 2015 by Robert Hillard
Everyone who regularly feels overwhelmed by their email would agree that there is a problem.  The hundreds of articles about the issue typically make the same assumption and are wrong. Writer after writer bemoans email as inefficient and an obstacle … Continue reading

Behind the scenes
Published: 29 Aug 2015 by Robert Hillard
Before the advances of twentieth century medicines, doctors were often deliberately opaque. They were well known for proscribing remedies for patients that were for little more than placebos. To encourage a patient’s confidence, much of what they wrote was intentionally … Continue reading

Don’t seek to know everything about your customer
Published: 25 Jul 2015 by Robert Hillard
I hate customer service surveys. Hotels and retailers spend millions trying to speed our checkout or purchase by helping us avoid having to wait around. Then they undo all of that good work by pestering us with customer service surveys … Continue reading

The Internet was a mistake, now let’s fix it
Published: 20 Jun 2015 by Robert Hillard
Each generation over the last century has seen new technologies that become so embedded in their lives that its absence would be unimaginable. Early in the 20th century it was radio, which quickly become the entertainment of choice, then television, … Continue reading

Who are we leaving behind?
Published: 29 May 2015 by Robert Hillard
I was recently invited to deliver the keynote address at the University of Melbourne engineering and IT awards night. I took the opportunity to challenge today’s students to think about the people being left behind as in the move to … Continue reading

Experts make better decisions with an understudy
Published: 25 Apr 2015 by Robert Hillard
Most of us are experts at something.  An expert is someone who can reliably assess a situation and apply an appropriate advanced skill or technique.  Knowing what skill to apply and when is just as important as the technical capability … Continue reading

The change you can’t see, or what’s your horse carcass?
Published: 28 Mar 2015 by Robert Hillard
I had the pleasure this month of launching the Australian edition of Deloitte’s Tech Tends 2015 report.  For a number of years now, we’ve put our necks on the line to predict what will happen in the immediate, and slightly … Continue reading

Making the case for jargon, acronyms and clear language
Published: 22 Feb 2015 by Robert Hillard
All over the web, authors are ranting about the misuse of the English language in business.  It’s an easy article to write, picking out examples of jargon and the general torturing of sentences in the name of explaining apparently simple … Continue reading

The architecture after cloud
Published: 25 Jan 2015 by Robert Hillard
I think that Zach Nelson (Netsuite’s CEO) was wrong when he said that “cloud is the last computing architecture” but I also believe that his quote is a healthy challenge to take computing and business architectures to a new level. … Continue reading

Our machines will not outsmart us
Published: 20 Dec 2014 by Robert Hillard
Over the millennia we have been warned that the end of the world is nigh.  While it will no doubt be true one day, warnings by Stephen Hawking in a piece he co-authored on artificial intelligence don’t fill me with … Continue reading

Trading your way to IT simplicity
Published: 22 Nov 2014 by Robert Hillard
Stop reading now if your organisation is easier to navigate today than it was 3, 5 or 10 years ago.  The reality that most of us face is that the general ledger that might have cost $100,000 to implement twenty … Continue reading

Your personal cloud meets the enterprise
Published: 25 Oct 2014 by Robert Hillard
In organisations around the world employees are accidently merging their personal and professional cloud applications with dire results.  Some of the issues include the routing of sensitive text messages to family members and the replication of confidential documents onto the … Continue reading

The rule of 150 applied to data
Published: 27 Sep 2014 by Robert Hillard
Anthropologist Robin Dunbar has used his research in primates over recent decades to argue that there is a cognitive limit to the number of social relationships that an individual can maintain and hence a natural limit to the breadth of … Continue reading

Analogue business with a digital facade
Published: 23 Aug 2014 by Robert Hillard
Everyone is talking about digital disruption and the need to transform their company into a “digital business”.  However, ask most people what a digital business is and they’ll talk in terms of online shopping, mobile channels or the latest wearable … Continue reading

Your insight might protect your job
Published: 26 Jul 2014 by Robert Hillard
Technology can make us lazy.  In the 1970s and 80s we worried that the calculator would rob kids of insight into the mathematics they were learning.  There has long been evidence that writing long-hand and reading from paper are far … Continue reading

The Quantum Computer dream could be killed by Information Management
Published: 22 Jun 2014 by Robert Hillard
For years now the physics community has been taking the leap into computer science through the pursuit of the quantum computer.  As weird as the concepts underpinning the idea of such a device are, even weirder is the threat that … Continue reading

Careers in Technology
Published: 25 May 2014 by Robert Hillard
Is there a future for careers in Information Technology?  Globally, professional societies such as the British Computer Society and the Australian Computer Society have long argued that practitioners need to be professionals.  However, there is a counter-argument that technology is … Continue reading

How CIOs can discuss the contribution of IT
Published: 20 Apr 2014 by Robert Hillard
Just how productive are Chief Information Officers or the technology that they manage?  With technology portfolios becoming increasingly complex it is harder than ever to measure productivity.  Yet boards and investors want to know that the capital they have tied-up … Continue reading

Login with social media
Published: 28 Mar 2014 by Robert Hillard
With a little work, social networks have the potential to be as valuable in confirming an identity as a passport.  It is the power of the crowd that can prove the integrity of the account holder, perhaps best described as … Continue reading

The race to the internet of things is a marathon
Published: 22 Feb 2014 by Robert Hillard
The PC era is arguably over and the age of ubiquitous computing might finally be here.  Its first incarnation has been mobility through smartphones and tablets.  Many pundits, though, are looking to wearable devices and the so-called “internet of things” … Continue reading

Your data is in the cloud when…
Published: 20 Jan 2014 by Robert Hillard
It’s fashionable to be able to claim that you’ve moved everything from your email to your enterprise applications “into the cloud”.  But what about your data?  Just because information is stored over the Internet, it shouldn’t necessarily qualify as being … Continue reading

Turning decision making into a game
Published: 17 Dec 2013 by Robert Hillard
Organisations are more complex today than ever before, largely because of the ability that technology brings to support scale, centralisation and enterprise-wide integration.  One of the unpleasant side effects of this complexity is that it can take too long to … Continue reading

Living without a trace of Big Data
Published: 23 Nov 2013 by Robert Hillard
I’ve watched over a number of months as major digital providers across handsets, telecommunications, internet services and virtually every other integrated offering have one by one described how they provide information to various governments. While none of this should be … Continue reading

Universities disrupted but not displaced
Published: 26 Oct 2013 by Robert Hillard
Business and government is finally treating Digital Disruption as seriously as the topic deserves. I have written previously about the Deloitte Digital Disruption report and highlighted the fact that that in Australia two thirds of the economy will experience a … Continue reading

NFC is failing retail but drugs could come to the rescue
Published: 21 Sep 2013 by Robert Hillard
For years now the industry has confidently predicted that Near Field Communication (NFC) would be the vehicle by which we would all abandon our leather wallets and embrace our smartphones for electronic payments. It hasn’t happened and I don’t believe … Continue reading

Reinventing the economy by using and buying IT differently
Published: 24 Aug 2013 by Robert Hillard
If any modern economy wants to keep, or even add, value to their country as the digital economy grows it has to search for productivity in new ways.  That means bringing together innovations from IT that are outside today’s core … Continue reading

Will the bionic eye solve information overload?
Published: 28 Jul 2013 by Robert Hillard
Right now, researchers are working around the world to find ways of restoring sight to the blind by creating a bionic eye.  The closest analogy is the bionic ear, more properly called a cochlear implant, which works by directly stimulating … Continue reading

Challenging times for the ICT industry
Published: 24 Jun 2013 by Robert Hillard
Last month I wrote about the collection of personal information by business and government and compared the loss of privacy to George Orwell’s predictions for 1984 (see “Living as far from 1984 as Orwell”).  Barely had I written the post … Continue reading

Living as far from 1984 as Orwell
Published: 26 May 2013 by Robert Hillard
Over the last month I’ve been talking a lot about personally controlled records and the ownership of your own information.  For more background, see last month’s post and a discussion I took part in on ABC radio. The strength of … Continue reading

You should own your own data
Published: 25 Apr 2013 by Robert Hillard
In virtually every country there is a debate around privacy, driven most recently by the rise of Big Data, social networks and technology more generally.  Without doubt, the major technology companies recognise the value of the information they are collecting … Continue reading

Teleworking requires good information sharing
Published: 24 Mar 2013 by Robert Hillard
Teleworking has been in the press recently after Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer, banned the practice arguing that innovation and productivity require Yahoo! Employees to be present in the office. Many HR managers have seized on the reluctance of Yahoo! and … Continue reading

For social networks, volume is the enemy of value
Published: 23 Feb 2013 by Robert Hillard
In this blog I often talk of the value of information. Information is a valuable asset and companies increasingly place great store in identifying new sources of data about their products and customers. Individually, we are also quickly assembling a … Continue reading

Is there a silver bullet in a volatile world?
Published: 19 Jan 2013 by Robert Hillard
There is little doubt that the business environment is changing faster than at any other time in history.  The recent book from Peter Evans-Greenwood, The New Instability, argues that shift in the economy is a response to technology introduced over … Continue reading

Reclaim email as a business tool
Published: 18 Dec 2012 by Robert Hillard
As many of us prepare to go on leave over the Christmas/New Year period we’re cleaning-up our email and perhaps grumbling about the avalanche of electronic messages!  I was reminded of a post I wrote in 2010 when I defended … Continue reading

A prediction for the mobile era
Published: 25 Nov 2012 by Robert Hillard
Since the dawn of the personal computer, the hardware industry has relied on a cycle of obsolesce of just a few years.  Working with their partners in the software community, they created a symbiotic relationship where each operating system and … Continue reading

Can enterprise solutions be built from individual projects?
Published: 26 Oct 2012 by Robert Hillard
Imagine an electronics company planning a new tablet or phone and building the business case based on pre-committed orders.  Similarly, imagine a utility trying to get residents to sign-up to their electricity plan ahead of the advertising campaign.  It just … Continue reading

Digital disruption – short fuse, big bang?
Published: 21 Sep 2012 by Robert Hillard
Over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a range of my Deloitte colleagues on a report into the “digital disruption” of business. The result brings together the impacts of digital technologies, with the explosion of … Continue reading

Just 3% smarter isn’t enough
Published: 26 Aug 2012 by Robert Hillard
There is a curious phenomenon in IQ tests.  Every test is designed to have an average score across the population of 100 but for any given test the average result rises by 3% every decade.  This is called the Flynn … Continue reading

Cloud computing should be about new business models
Published: 27 Jul 2012 by Robert Hillard
Everyone is talking about cloud computing, but most of the debate misses the point.  Cloud computing isn’t really about computers at all, it is about business services which are delivered in new ways.  Much of the time it is about … Continue reading

Customers smile at the edges
Published: 26 Jun 2012 by Robert Hillard
One of the best ways of understanding your success is by measuring how happy your customers are.  To make sense of their response you obviously need to segment customers.  In this post I propose segmenting customers according to the complexity … Continue reading

The evolution of information standards
Published: 26 May 2012 by Robert Hillard
Anyone who has ever tried to negotiate a standard for data storage or communication will confirm that it is difficult to get agreement and even harder to gain adoption.  Decades of debate over both analogue and digital communications standards for … Continue reading

Bringing together digital, cloud and big data
Published: 23 Apr 2012 by Robert Hillard
History is replete with examples where ideas are launched with great fanfare and yet fail while subsequent iterations of very similar ideas are hugely successful.  The difference between a failed good idea and a success is often only a matter … Continue reading

It’s time for a new definition of big data
Published: 18 Mar 2012 by Robert Hillard
Two words seemingly on every technologist’s lips are “big data”.  The Wikipedia definition for big data is: “In information technology, big data consists of datasets that grow so large that they become awkward to work with using on-hand database management … Continue reading

Technology gardening
Published: 19 Feb 2012 by Robert Hillard
There is little that is guaranteed to soothe the stressed mind as much as a well-structured garden.  It brings together order and nature in a magic combination.  From a distance, the garden follows a clear plan that has probably been … Continue reading

The CIO of 2020
Published: 21 Jan 2012 by Robert Hillard
What will the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) look like in 2020? The CIO role is one that really appeared during the 1990s in response to the increasing profile of Information Technology (IT) in organisations.  Previously, the person in … Continue reading

Value of decommissioning legacy systems
Published: 18 Dec 2011 by Robert Hillard
Most organisations reward their project managers for achieving scope, within a given timeframe for a specified budget.  While scope is usually measured in terms of user functions most projects usually include the decommissioning of legacy systems.  Unfortunately it is the … Continue reading

Embracing the unexpected
Published: 20 Nov 2011 by Robert Hillard
The nineteen century belonged to the engineers.  Western society had been invigorated and changed beyond recognition by the industrial revolution through its early years and by its close the railroads were synonymous with the building of wealth. The nineteen century … Continue reading

The future of social networks
Published: 23 Oct 2011 by Robert Hillard
When the telephone was invented the first networks were private, typically between rich individuals and their industrial interests.  Pretty quickly, though, people wanted to be able to talk to each other without the need to worry about multiple networks and, … Continue reading

Paying for value rather than activity
Published: 25 Sep 2011 by Robert Hillard
Since the 1980s the costs associated with functions that are shared have been increasingly allocated to business units in such a way as to drive accountability. For information technology this was relatively easy in the late 1980s as the majority … Continue reading

A small idea with big implications
Published: 24 Aug 2011 by Robert Hillard
In the 1990s Philippe Kahn, a founder of Borland (a big name in programming languages), left and began a new enterprise called Starfish.  He talked in several interviews about creating small lightweight software that ran as part of the desktop … Continue reading

CIOs need to measure the right things
Published: 24 Jul 2011 by Robert Hillard
If you’re a Chief Information Officer (CIO) there are three things that your organization expects of you: 1) keep everything running; 2) add new capabilities; and 3) do it all as cheaply as possible.  The metrics that CIOs typically use … Continue reading

The “four layer” model applied to unstructured content
Published: 24 Jun 2011 by Robert Hillard
In my book, Information-Driven Business, I introduce a four layer model for information.  You can also read more about this model in the MIKE2.0 article: Four Layers of Information. The four layer model provides a way of describing information in … Continue reading

Can we make the Information Revolution better for society?
Published: 28 May 2011 by Robert Hillard
It is easy to assume that access to massive amounts of information is good for society.  Perhaps we should also look at the role the move to an Information Economy is having on the reversal of generations of movement towards … Continue reading

Is Information Management an evolution or a revolution?
Published: 14 May 2011 by Robert Hillard
I was recently asked by ABC Radio National in Australia to explain the principles behind my book, Information-Driven Business.  The following is extracted from the program or you can listen to the full broadcast online. I’ve spent more than twenty … Continue reading

Is “The New Small” the future of big business?
Published: 25 Apr 2011 by Robert Hillard
The most important thing about the evolution of cloud computing is the ability to setup a business quickly without the delays and cost associated with establishing dedicated infrastructure.  Phil Simon has written a book, The New Small, which demonstrates that … Continue reading

Why aren’t I working a four hour day?
Published: 07 Apr 2011 by Robert Hillard
In the 1970s and 1980s, many writers mused that the increasing computing capability available to business and government was going to greatly reduce the work required to run our economy and society.  We were told that in the twenty first … Continue reading

Information overload and innovation
Published: 19 Mar 2011 by Robert Hillard
I often hear people talking about the amount of data that is being created as being unprecedented.  It isn’t.  What is unprecedented is its retention.  We are all conditioned to the “growth of data”.  This is really lazy language and … Continue reading

Facebook as a way of sharing information with your customers
Published: 26 Feb 2011 by Robert Hillard
It’s been a lucrative decade for consultants in information management with new work being as easy to win as saying the word “compliance”.  Executives are more than willing to sign-up new consulting engagements based the need to meet their compliance … Continue reading

The Small Worlds data measure applied to business innovation
Published: 06 Feb 2011 by Robert Hillard
In my book, Information-Driven Business, I introduce the concept of the “Small Worlds” test on information.  In summary, this measure determines the relationship between complexity and separation in any data.  One of the best ways to apply this test is … Continue reading

Reclaim email as a business tool
Published: 12 Jan 2011 by Robert Hillard
Any serious business discussion about information must include email.  Like it or loathe it, email is a major part of every knowledge worker’s life.  Unfortunately many staff have grown to hate its intrusion into their personal time, the fragmentation of … Continue reading

Information-Driven Business
Published: 19 Dec 2010 by Robert Hillard
Adapted from Information-Driven Business: How to Manage Data and Information for Maximum Advantage, by Robert Hillard. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..  See The concept of information overload is permeating every business that I deal with.  At the same time, … Continue reading

Metadata versus Taxonomy
Published: 27 Nov 2010 by Robert Hillard
I’ve advocated for many years that Information Management should be a superset of related disciplines including data warehousing, document management, library science, enterprise search et cetera.  While this is an easy statement to make, it is really hard to execute. … Continue reading

Should Finance be the Information Czar?
Published: 14 Nov 2010 by Robert Hillard
Imagine if modern accounting was an invention of the past decade.  Given the heavy use of computer technology, it’s very likely that the entire discipline would be regarded as part of Information Technology. Now consider the amount of non-ledger information … Continue reading

Interview with MIS about Information-Driven Business
Published: 01 Nov 2010 by Robert Hillard
MIS Asia and affiliated magazines/sites around the world have published an interview with me about my book, Information-Driven Business (Wiley 2010).  The article is titled Business, know thyself and was first published in October 2010 by Divina Paredes. You can find more media coverage … Continue reading

New Master Data Management book by Berson and Dubov
Published: 27 Oct 2010 by Robert Hillard
In 2007 Alex Berson and Larry Dubov released their book “Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration for a Global Enterprise”.  It was the first comprehensive look at the field and has been an enormous success in the market.  I … Continue reading

Will the growth ever stop?
Published: 23 Oct 2010 by Robert Hillard
Some time ago I posted “To Pluto and Back” drawing on Richard Wray’s piece in The Guardian about the constant growth in the generation and storage of data.  Anyone who has ever dealt with any system knows that the amount … Continue reading

Analytics or Information Management?
Published: 11 Oct 2010 by Robert Hillard
This seems to be the year of Analytics with advertising from most of the major players and tie-ups between IBM and SPSS as well as Accenture and SAS just to name a couple of high profile examples.  Read a little … Continue reading

Is your organisation really unique?
Published: 19 Sep 2010 by Robert Hillard
While much of the discussion about information management centres on things that are new and exciting, it is easy to neglect some of the basic principles that the profession has learnt over the last decade.  Here are just five things … Continue reading

Published: 12 Sep 2010 by Robert Hillard
Thank-you very much to Steve Seeskin who has found the first official mistakes in Information-Driven Business.  The first error is in figure 4.13 and 4.14 where the crows feet between the “phone” entity and the resolution entity is the wrong … Continue reading

Data Quality doesn’t matter (much)!
Published: 21 Aug 2010 by Robert Hillard
While touring in New Zealand to talk about my new book, I had the opportunity to do an interview on TV to explain why Information Management matters.  The segment is available online.  The question that I enjoyed answering the most, … Continue reading

My new book: Information-Driven Business
Published: 09 Aug 2010 by Robert Hillard
After submitting my final draft to Wiley at the end of last year, my wait is finally over!  I have just received one of the first copies of my new book, Information-Driven Business: How to Manage Data and Information for … Continue reading

Is a data warehouse necessary for good data management?
Published: 01 Aug 2010 by Robert Hillard
Our profession is not a large one globally.  In fact, a couple of years ago I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation that there are about 50,000 to 100,000 people around the world who would regard themselves as primarily working in data … Continue reading

The evolution of the data warehouse data model
Published: 17 Jul 2010 by Robert Hillard
When Ralph Kimball wrote “The Data Warehouse Toolkit” (published 1996) it defined Dimensional Modelling in a way that immediately demanded attention by data warehouse practitioners worldwide. The book and the techniques it described were not new and were consistent with … Continue reading

The power of the crowd can improve your data quality
Published: 03 Jul 2010 by Robert Hillard
Well thought through online strategies can do so much more than deliver high quality web sites for internal and external users. They can dramatically improve some of your business fundamentals. There are few things more fundamental than the quality of … Continue reading

How humans want to find their answers
Published: 26 Jun 2010 by Robert Hillard
Having taken the time to get a handle on your enterprise information by roughly dividing it into the four layers I described in my last post, I’d like to give you an idea for a “quick win”. Humans don’t differentiate … Continue reading

Climbing to the information summit in four easy steps
Published: 19 Jun 2010 by Robert Hillard
As I described in my last post, the quantity of information being generated globally and within each of our organisations is absolutely overwhelming.  All good managers facing a large problem start by trying to break the task down into manageable … Continue reading

To Pluto and Back
Published: 12 Jun 2010 by Robert Hillard
Richard Wray, writing some time ago in The Guardian, pointed out that the volume of data held is now estimated at 487 billion GB.  To put this in perspective he explained that in printed form this would form a pile … Continue reading

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