Jerry Luftman’s career includes strategic positions in management (Information Technology and consulting), management consulting, Information Systems, and education. Dr. Luftman’s experience combines the strengths of practitioner, consultant and academic. His proficiency in business-IT alignment, eighteen books, published research, consulting, mentoring and teaching/speaking engagements further exemplify Dr. Luftman’s expertise and leadership in his field.
After a notable twenty-two year career with IBM, he had an exemplary career for almost twenty years as Distinguished Professor, and Founder and Executive Director of the Stevens Institute Information Systems Programs; one of the largest in the world. Driven by the strong demand for a global executive education program focusing on managing information technology, Dr. Luftman has leveraged his experiences as a CIO, IT management consultant and leading academic, with his strong network of IT management associations and prominent IT practitioners, to provide a valuable and unique offering via Global Institute for IT Management.
Dr. Luftman’s project experience ranges from senior management issues through tactical implementation. Dr. Luftman most recently pioneered the vehicle for assessing the maturity of IT-business alignment; where he has a repository of over one-third of the Global 1,000 companies. He also serves on the Executive Board of several companies, associations, and publications.
Dr. Luftman’s last responsibility at IBM was a key speaker at their Customer Executive Conference Center in Palisades, N.Y. While responsible for management research, he played a significant role in defining and introducing the IT Strategy and Planning and Business Process Re-engineering practice methods for the IBM Management Consulting Group. His framework for applying the strategic alignment model is fundamental in helping clients understand, define and scope the appropriate strategic planning approach to pursue. Dr. Luftman’s annual international IT trends survey sponsored by SIM, CIOnet, and other CIO associations is recognized internationally as an industry barometer.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
To drive effective strategic management, what are your specific investment recommendations?
“….The key is IT and business collaboration at all levels: strategic, tactical and operational….It’s having the IT folks have an equal partnership and relationship with all the key stakeholders of the organization….”
It’s fascinating that you have this process for improving IT/business alignment. Do you have a sense of what percentage of companies still have a problem with this?
“….It’s really not that black or white, and it’s not you do have a problem or you don’t have a problem. The real important point to recognize is that we all have opportunities to improve and the model provides a really good vehicle to identify those opportunities to improve….”
What are your recommendations for IT-Business Alignment at the: Board Level, Executive Officer Level and Operational Level?
“….It’s not just having IT align with the business, it’s IT and the business being aligned with each other….It’s a fundamental recognition that we need to be equal partners in this opportunity to leverage IT to attain more value across the organization….We have to recognize how we improve the relationship between IT and business is fundamental….It’s not just communication, analytics to demonstrate the value of IT, governance, partnership, the technology or the HR and skills consideration – it’s all of those things….It’s the degree of appropriateness and identifying specific opportunities for improving the relationship; having a tool that does more than just describe the situation that exists between IT and business, but having a tool that also prescribes and provides a roadmap to identify some specific things to do to improve that relationship….”
Do you make use or recommend use of tools (Enterprise Architecture or frameworks like Kobut 5 or the IT Capability Maturity Framework or ITIL and others)?
“….Those are fundamentals to running the IT organization and they certainly provide valuable tools to help identify the kinds of things that IT needs to do, but we need to go outside just the IT domain and see how, in fact, IT and the business can work better together to leverage the technology and services that IT could provide…..”
What are the top ICT challenges for government, industry, academia and media?
“….With all of the things and changes going on today as compared to five or six years ago, I don’t think any of us has seen such significant changes happening all at once….That’s why I call it the perfect storm; we’ve never had all of this going on at the same time, which makes the need for IT and business to work closer together even more important….”
We’ve talked about the top challenges — now what do you see as the top ICT opportunities for government, industry, academia and media?
“….Things like: big data, business intelligence, analytics, cloud computing, enterprise resource planning tools, leveraging mobile and wireless applications and social networking applications and customer relationship management applications; these are the opportunities that exist….You need to know the business, the industry and be able to communicate effectively with your business partners to see how to best to leverage these opportunities and to recognize that the value doesn’t come from the technologies themselves, the value really comes from how the business changes and what they do to take advantage of these technologies….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for the ICT education systems (K-12 and university) out there?
“….The overarching message is going to be ‘it’s not just the technology’ (and I’m not suggesting that technology itself is not important)….What really is required (that are typically not being met today in the education models around the globe), are those other skills: the business, industry, management, interpersonal and communications skills, and writing, presenting and negotiating effectively. These skills are often not addressed in some of our programs that we are offering to our young students as well as to some of our business professionals going back to university for graduate degrees….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for ICT parks and economic zones?
“….It’s collaboration and alignment (not just with IT and business), but basically collaboration between research groups, business groups, the users of the technology, academics and government in addressing the bigger IT opportunities that exist….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for ICT innovation programs and ICT infrastructure?
“….I can have the best infrastructure in the world, I can have the best applications and technology in the world, but if I don’t get the business to change what they do to take advantage of the applications that run on the infrastructure, it’s not going to matter….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for R&D Laboratories (e.g. partnering Universities with Government and Industry)?
“….Often people build technology and believe that if they build it they will come, as opposed to working with business to understand how the technology can be leveraged….Addressing the integration requirement and integrating across different suppliers of technology is really what’s necessary and something that’s not often done….”
What about best models for [public] institutes for supporting ICT companies?
“….I am clearly one who is in favor of competition and in favor of making mistakes and learning and not being driven by any government because government isn’t always going to be right. I’d rather have it more open to the people who will be consuming the technology than driven by a government….”
There’s this idea of accelerators and incubators which will help in supporting ICT innovation. Do you see anything out there that you would recommend as a model for that incubation and acceleration?
“….The ideas need to come from innovative individuals and organizations and investors who could then get people who would be using the technology to engage at a relatively early stage. Governments in some places are more effective than others in trying to invest in these incubators. I also see that with several large corporations as well as some large university who can facilitate that. I don’t know that much more could be done especially in light of the problems we are having with the economy, especially from a government point of view….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for supplier companies/customers member associations?
“….The big R & D companies are doing the better job of it and often they don’t talk much about it….Any of the big companies are doing what they can because they recognize it’s the only way to succeed in the future. Having the small new startups — some companies are also leveraging their resources to help those new startups as are some venture capitalists trying to do that….The name brand universities are all doing pretty good jobs in this area….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for seed funding programs (joint private and public) for start-ups, venture funding programs (joint private and public), entrepreneurship programs?
“….So there are pockets of these things, but the different geographies are fraught with different problems. From a process point of view I think I see India and China have the processes in place trying to address these things, but the good news/bad news is their size. I see Latin America doing the best job in my experience and travels but their problem is again their size….”
What are your recommendations and the best models for e-government infrastructure, e-finance infrastructure, e-health infrastructure, e-business and the internet infrastructure?
“….There’s nothing hotter than e-health….Not that IT and financial services or pharmaceuticals or manufacturing or retail etc. is not a great place to be, but there’s nothing like IT and healthcare….”
What are the hottest technology topics in ICT for 2012 and 2015 and why?
“….Business intelligence, big data, business analytics….Cloud computing….Enterprise resource planning systems….Consumerization of IT….Customer relationship management….”
What are the most controversial ICT topics today and why?
“….The most controversial is most likely outsourcing, which is not a technology of course, but a vehicle for delivering technology….”
We talked about the hottest technology topics and also the areas of controversy, how about things like cyber-security or sustainability or green IT, gamification, social media, etc.; where do you see all of those things fit?
“….I think we recognize that change is something that has always existed and that the amount and complexity will change. We’ve got to really understand that this is going to be a basic part of our jobs, but it’s going to be getting continuously more complex as we recognize the impact of these individual technologies and the need to integrate across the different technologies….”
Let’s mine some of your amazing background. Can you discuss your major past roles and some good lessons from each role that will provide value to our audience?
“….If you don’t feel like you are contributing to the organization that you’re working for or with, and you don’t believe that you’re learning something (something new and exciting) every single day and you are not having fun – it’s time for a change….I urge people to try and get opportunities when they can, to take those different career paths to get different perspectives and recognize what it takes to do these different roles….”
What are the top resources that you use? What specific resources and links perhaps do you use in your work that the audience would find useful?
“….The top three are: having my networks of leading CIOs, leading academics and companies. The last two are friends, people you can really rely on and they can rely on you to have counsel. I believe that there is nothing more important than your networks and your friends and you can argue which should go first….”
Let’s not restrict it just to technology. What do you see as the major innovations coming up that we as an audience should be watching for in the next five years?
“….I think the biggest one is one that I already mentioned and it’s the implications of what cloud computing is going to bring. Again, going beyond the technological change. It’s a fundamental change in management and how organizations are structured and how managers literally have to give up control to these autonomous global teams of wikigroups is going to be really exciting and interesting to watch evolve over time….”
What are your thoughts on computing as a recognized profession with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, and recognized non-licensing based credentials?
[See www.ipthree.org and the Global Industry Council, http://www.ipthree.org/about-ip3/global-advisory-council]
“….The need to harmonize academia, vendors, service providers, consultants, executives and government is just not there anyplace….While there are some pockets in some places doing some of the things better than others, overall we’re not doing a good job here. I don’t know how to make it happen more expediently in getting all these constituencies to work more effectively together….”
From your extensive speaking, travels, and work, please share some stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).
“….People are more similar than any of us would probably recognize and it doesn’t matter which geography, culture, background or religion….”
If you were conducting this interview, what questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?
“….What’s needed in IT education around the world?….If I had magic wand what would I do?….What is the future of IT as a profession?….”
Music by Sunny Smith Productions and Shaun O’Leary