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Nov e m b e r 20 15


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Contents Part I: The four hallmarks of an effective CIO p.6 My Great Uncle was a Farmer so I am a Mainframer p.14 The DB2 Performance Advisor: What is Performance? p.24 It’s all about me: The evolution of Big Data and how it has forever changed the face of marketing p.34 The Complex Life of a CIO: The Modern Challenge to Run, Grow and Transform Business p.42


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Letter from the Editor

Though technology and the world around us may rapidly shift and move in new and sometimes unknown directions, one theme in business has always remained constant throughout my career: Evolution. Regardless of business type, regardless of business location, business must always evolve. The adaptation to new environments, new paradigms, and new ways of thinking is paramount for a business to survive. Furthermore, evolution is essential for business growth and success as it embodies the knowledge, realization, and willingness to change with the times—to push the proverbial envelope beyond one’s own comfort zone, and to ensure you leave your own positive mark on the world. It is for this reason that I am pleased to introduce our new quarterly publication: DirectionIT Magazine. This new venture is a direct result of our own evolution, one that marks a year of tremendous hard work by our entire team. From the growing pains of building and establishing our new global brand and identity, to the acquisition of a company to expand our global footprint, to the launch of a brand new company to service yet another industry—everything we have done has been an integral part of DataKinetics’ evolution. Thus, we launch a new magazine that is focused on guiding your evolution. We designed the publication to add insight into a multitude of business roles, industries, and the lives that shape the world that we live in. In this first issue we focus on the CIO, a role that is now at the forefront of business evolution. A role that joins what would otherwise be disparate silos within companies—joining for the first time all departments not just through business process, but also through business focus. CIOs are now responsible for making corporate vision a holistic ecosystem by which all entities have their own important part to play in the growth and success of the business and, ultimately, the customer experience. I hope you enjoy DirectionIT Magazine as much as we have enjoyed producing it. Here at DataKinetics, we look forward to DirectionIT undergoing its own evolution, making its mark on the world of business and your world as a whole.

Allan Zander Editor-in-ChiefPublisher


Par Part I: Self-driving cars; thermostats that learn your habits; expert systems that help diagnose and treat cancer; smartphones replacing credit cards…and on and on! Technology is becoming more and more important to organizations, no matter what they make or do. Which means an ever-increasing push to invest more in IT. As a CEO or Board member, you’re responsible for ensuring that your organization’s IT investment is appropriate: spending enough—but not too much—and spending on the right things. Every organization is different, so there’s no magic formula a consultant can hand you that will tell you if you’re on the right path.


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rt I: The four hallmarks of an effective By Wayne Sadin – CIO Advisor



Part But as a CIO myself, and a Director and advisor to CEOs and Boards, it’s clear to me that having an effective CIO is vital for properly managing your IT investment. CIOs come in many shapes and sizes, and their mandates are quite different depending on the role of IT in your organization. But no matter their style, here’s what I’ve learned over 25 years: effective CIOs must excel in four areas:

1. Alignment

2. Architecture

In Part I of our 2-part series, we’ll examine the first two. In our next Issue of DirectionIT Magazine we’ll examine Agility and Ability.


Alignment means that IT understands and serves the needs of the organization. This sounds so obvious you may wonder why I even mention it: every corporate function exists to serve the needs of the organization. Sales only sells what you make, and finance reports the way the Board (and GAAP) dictates…doesn’t this mean IT does the same? Perhaps alone among major corporate functions, IT is often poorly aligned with the strategic needs of the organization and thus doesn’t provide the leverage it might. Why is IT poorly aligned with the business? Mostly because you, the CEO and the Board, have left the CIO out of the loop. Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz said it best: “If you want me in on the landing, include me in the takeoff.” CIOs need to be in on whatever landing the Board/CEO have planned.

The #1 reason a CIO is out of the loop is reporting relationship. If you want effective IT, the CIO needs to report to the CEO (or perhaps the COO or President if they operate the organization). Period. There is a symbolic reason for this: it says “IT matters.” I’ve known CEOs who said “Oh, come on—what difference does it make as long as you’re on the team?” When you’re the top dog, you can say things like that. But the rest of the organization can’t really see “who is on the team” except by looking at the org chart. Even more important than the symbolism is the access.

As a CIO, the most important thing for me to know is what keeps the CEO up at night because THAT’S what I should be focusing on. During my CIO career, I’ve reported to CEOs/Presidents/COOs, CFOs, CAOs, and even a CMO. Some of them have been truly great bosses and been very supportive of IT. But there’s a qualitative difference between reporting to the top person and to a “functional executive”: every functional executive is charged with


3. Agility

4. Ability

ensuring their function delivers stellar results, so every functional executive is subtly—or overtly, depending on your incentive scheme—biased towards using IT resources to improve their function. Only the CEO (President/COO) has responsibility for the organization as a whole and can truly balance the competing needs of the various functions.

Another benefit from the right reporting relationship is participation in the organization’s “Executive Committee (ExCo),” or whatever the decision-making group is called. Hearing executive discussion and deliberation is so much more valuable for a CIO than just being told “it was decided that we’re doing ‘x’.” If the choice was between ‘x’ and ‘y,’ perhaps the CIO can do both by approaching the problem differently. And if the choice was do ‘x,’ THEN ‘y,’ and the CIO just gets told “do ‘x,’” there’s a lot of architecture work that might have to be redone unnecessarily. The statement “perspective is worth 20 IQ points” applies very strongly to this sort of decision-making. There’s a value that comes from a CIO just listening to the business discussion, but that’s not the only one. Don’t forget that the CIO has insight into technology developments the rest of the ExCo might not have, as well as a unique view across every business process from one end of the organization to the other. This insight can help shape decisions that don’t appear IT-related as well as those that do—but only if the CIO is in the room. There’s another, often overlooked, IT Alignment issue that needs discussion: Board participation. Early in my career as a CIO I was lucky enough to have a CEO boss who arranged for me to attend every Board meeting (as well as Board dinners, etc.). Some CIOs never meet the Board; some get to present an annual “state of IT” show; and others provide regular updates (usually on cybersecurity these days). But the opportunity to be an observer of the Board’s deliberation and decision-making process gave me an insight into issues I NEVER would have gotten any other way. For the first few meetings I was afraid to speak up, and just answered questions while trying not to embarrass myself. But as our mutual

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t I: comfort grew I became more of a business participant as well as the “resident techie.” It was a wonderful experience and provided me, through me the entire IT team, with the insight to make rapid progress on an aggressive IT investment plan.

In addition to CIO Alignment, effective IT should have middlemanagement Alignment. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that there are but two defined channels between IT and the rest of the organization. The CIO works with senior executives, and the IT “Help Desk” works with frontline team members. But the folks who run the organization day-to-day, the business middle managers, have no forum for collaborating with IT middle managers. This means requests for service have to work up the business chain of command, get “thrown over the fence” to the CIO by a senior business executive, then work their way down the IT chain of command for discussion and action. Or the Help Desk incident reporting mechanism gets used as a way of requesting changes, and change requests get pushed down the business chain of command, reported as bugs to the Help Desk, then pushed up the IT chain of command for discussion and action. How dysfunctional! I’ve seen two things work to empower middle managers and improve alignment: IT “Account Management” and business/ IT Process Committees.

Account Management is something your sales teams do with existing customers: listen to their issues, communicate with them, make them feel loved. Sometimes I’ve assigned my senior IT executives the dual role of account managers for various business functions, and other times I’ve created dedicated roles to handle this. It works like this: when the IT rep is with the “client,” they speak for IT; when they’re with IT, they speak for the client. If you charge senior IT executives with this responsibility it has other benefits: the “techies” get comfortable selling and listening to business issues and they learn the business. To make this work, it’s important that the organization’s C-level functional executives are onboard, since the IT Account Manager should participate in staff meetings, team building, planning sessions, etc.

A Process Committee is a group of middle managers that collectively oversees a business process. If you look at most business processes, they tend to cut across departmental/functional boundaries. For example “Billing” may start in sales, move across several operations functions, and end in accounting. Forming teams of business and IT middle managers to talk about the process breaks down barriers—between IT and business as well as among business departments—and speeds up innovation. You’d be surprised to discover that such a group of business managers rarely, if ever, gets together to talk (unless there’s a crisis and they’re 100% focused on fixing something NOW)…and never includes the appropriate IT managers.


There’s an IT organizational nuance embodied in this as well. Most often, IT thinks of itself as responsible for a piece of technology rather than the success of a technology-enabled business process. In the Billing example mentioned previously, IT had a “Manager of [billing system software package].” I asked him what responsibility he had to see that bills went out correctly and on time. His answer “None! That’s not my job.” It’s common, but always a bit surprising, that IT managers rarely see themselves as “connected” to business outcomes. I changed the title to “Manager of Billing Technology” and told him that he was the IT owner of the process, along with several “clients” in the business, and that they were jointly accountable for billing overall. The difference was incredible! Problems that had plagued the business managers for years were fixed in days or weeks, and the overall process improvement was spectacular. Alignment works! Some poorly-aligned organizations use an “IT Steering Committee” as a way to pay lip-service to solving structural alignment problems. Such committees are usually composed of senior executives who hear presentations on proposed IT projects and somehow vote on what should be done by IT. While I’m a big fan of IT project portfolio management, Steering Committees are often slow-moving, bureaucratic, politicized time wasters (I’ll address this in more detail in a future column). Even if they had a place in the slow-moving, “systems of record” world of old mainframe IT, Steering Committees mostly slow things down without adding commensurate value in today’s fast-moving world. So, what happens when an organization lacks IT Alignment? In the old days, when IT was the province of white-coated “scientists” and mainframes were the only game in town, the organization just suffered—sometimes in silence, and other times by complaining to the CEO and getting the “VP of IT” replaced. Since IT has been opened up and democratized, the organization has a “rational” response to poor IT Alignment. Business functions that aren’t getting appropriate IT service go it alone. They hire their own IT folks (using vague titles to hide the fact from HR and IT), engage outside IT resources (consultants), or sign contracts for “cloud” or SaaS systems specifically intended to circumvent IT. This has the cute name “Shadow IT,” but I think the term “Rogue IT” better describes the “outlaw” nature of the process. A great deal of IT’s job—security, backup/disaster recovery, documentation, change management, regulatory compliance, audits, data quality, interoperability—occurs behind the scenes the client sees. That doesn’t mean these things lack value, just that IT doesn’t always make a big deal about them. Rogue IT is often oblivious to these processes/controls, and systems implemented without IT involvement are usually done, at best, in a slapdash manner—and at worst can expose the entire organization to dire SOX, security and compliance failures. It’s much better for the organization as a whole to add the business unit money earmarked to be spent on Rogue IT to the “official” IT budget and use it to prioritize that business unit’s work. Of course, this assumes that IT is capable of delivering quality work in a timely manner. That is, assuming the IT team has proper Architecture, Agility and Ability.

Architecture Architecture in IT refers to a coherent, consistent set of highlevel, slowly changing design principles that guide the design and construction of IT solutions. An IT Architecture should be—but often isn’t—a set of written documents, analogous to the blueprints used when designing a skyscraper. While written plans are good, it’s even more important that a set of overarching, widely understood, design principles are followed when designing and building IT Infrastructure and Applications. Along with coordinated Infrastructure and Application Architectures, IT should have an “Operational Architecture” that defines how the infrastructure and applications are operated, maintained, monitored and modified. And there should also be an “IT Governance Architecture” that defines how things get done in IT: budgets, project approvals, change requests, etc. It’s not my purpose to bore business executives with the details of these architectures, which can get quite complex and arcane. Rather, I’ll explain the benefits of architectures and provide insight into the signs of good architectures. To quote the late Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Without guiding principles, one must stop at every fork and carefully consider the implications of each possible choice. An Architecture helps speed routine decisions by providing guidance. For example, ‘We’re a Microsoft Windows Server shop’ means IT has chosen the suite of Microsoft products to be the default choice when adding a server. How IT arrived at that guiding decision varies: perhaps a consultant was engaged; perhaps someone realized most of our servers were Windows servers; perhaps we bought a company that successfully used Microsoft Windows servers. I contend that the primary value derives less from WHAT was chosen, and more from the fact that a choice was made and documented/communicated. (This assumes that the choice was made rationally. I once worked for an Asian multinational whose architecture was made up of hardware that wasn’t sold or serviced in the US. I actually had to fight for a US standard rather than accept that my spare parts AND trained technicians would be in London). Why is an IT Architecture important? Several reasons: •

So let’s see what those aspects of effective IT look like.


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Reduced complexity – A typical IT solution is composed of many pieces of hardware and software. Every component has to work with its neighbors (e.g., running the Macintosh operating system on a PC designed for Windows might be possible but it won’t be pretty). Establishing standard pieces of hardware and software, and standard models/versions of each, means we can pre-test and often pre-assemble parts into a smoothlyworking whole. Another, and not insignificant complexity comes from working with multiple vendors. Having the vendors in place and having good working relationships with each vendor simplifies problem diagnosis and release (version) upgrade management.

Reduced cost – Unless your organization spends a large fortune on IT, having a scattershot approach to IT purchasing reduces procurement leverage and thus increases cost. Having a standard set of approved components means you stock fewer spares, send techs to fewer classes, and write fewer user manuals.

Reduced training – User training is a huge—often overlooked—part of every technology deployment budget. The more standardization, the fewer different training classes users need to take.

It is important to note that having an Architecture DOES NOT mean absolute conformity no matter how foolish. It just means that absent a compelling reason for deviation, the standard parts will be used. The best definition of “compelling” I’ve found is cost-based: if a business unit wants to violate the architecture, are they willing to bear the fully-loaded increased cost of that violation? If Marketing wants Macs instead of PCs (and they often do), let Marketing pay the increased cost of buying, configuring and supporting Macs. Note the phrase “fully loaded”: if a business unit wants to use a different G/L than everyone else, it’s not just writing a check for different software. It’s paying for the increased accounting cost, data warehouse integrations, internal and external audit costs, and so on. If the architecture violation makes business sense on that basis, why not allow it (and report “violation surcharges” clearly, so the ongoing cost can be reviewed periodically). Architectures aren’t an exercise that’s done once and left to gather dust on a shelf. A useful architecture needs to evolve (according to an architected process, of course) as technology advances and as vendors come and go. An architecture also evolves with the organization: if we buy a company that has something different, its architecture must be integrated within our own. If there’s good reason for supporting two different “allowed” architectures for a while, that’s acceptable (but the architectural evolution process should allow for a “go-forward” architecture that provides clarity for changes as old hardware and software is replaced). Architecture is good, because it frees you up from many routine decisions. But organizations too focused on architecture for its own sake can become bureaucratic and slow-moving. Which is why the counterbalancing force to Architecture is Agility, which we’ll examine in our next issue of DirectionIT Magazine.


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My Great Uncle was a Farmer

so I am a Mainframer

By Allan Zander, CEO of DataKinetics

Why am I a Mainframer? It all started when my great uncle bought a Combine‌

When I was growing up, my family and I made frequent trips to a remote location where farming was difficult and few made it big. It was an awesome place. My two great uncles owned farms side by side, and were successful while others weren’t. They were chicken, dairy and beef farmers; they also farmed beans and corn for profit, and hay for the cattle.



hen I was about 13 or 14, they completely transformed their way of farming: they bought a Combine with a massive tractor and wagon. As a teenage boy, this Combine was of great interest to me—I mean, who doesn’t love big machines like that? I still have fond memories of that great big Combine, but until recently I didn’t realize how my early experiences with farming helped shape my views of the IT world. Curious about their brand new behemoth-like machines, I asked one of my uncles why they needed them now when they didn’t before. My uncle explained that the heavy lifting of farm work—the planting and harvesting—used to be accomplished with the help of neighbors. Neighboring farmers would help with plowing and planting. It was the same in the fall, where everyone pitched in to help with the harvest, the heaviest of the heavy lifting. Before, they had a small fleet of aging farm equipment—small tractors, single row corn pickers, corn shellers, and more—but with a growing farm, they needed to get serious. It was no longer practical for them to continue operating their farms the way they were doing it back then. Although the crop production side made money, I later came to learn that the dairy side of their business was actually the most profitable. The money from crop production was largely used to fund the dairy operation. While the dairy side of the business had largely fixed costs, there was opportunity to become a lot more efficient on the crop production side. My uncles could have replaced all of their old farm equipment with newer versions of the same type for less than it cost to buy the Combine, but Combines are extraordinary pieces of equipment; they are extremely efficient. Buying this one powerful machine was a brilliant move because it eliminated the need for a lot of smaller machines, and allowed my uncles to do the same amount of work with a lot less help in a fraction of the time. The Combine allowed them to actually grow the crop production part of the business, while leaving them with more time to devote to the dairy side of the business. I was fascinated by the idea that one machine could help them do so much more, and asked my uncle if there was a way for the Combine to do even more of the work on the farm—he smiled and told me that it does plenty already.


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So what is my point here? Well, I’ve come to realize that a Mainframe system does for an IT organization what the Combine did for my uncles’ farms. Most people who have looked at the numbers know that the Mainframe is the most operationally-efficient platform to run, and is actually more cost effective than other computing solutions. Like the Combine on the farm, the Mainframe in the datacenter does the work of many smaller machines, gets the hard work done faster, and is cheaper to run. But more than that, Mainframe systems allow IT organizations to maximize revenue by very efficiently handling the tough IT jobs (like transaction processing), and by making sure that the work happens reliably, 100% of the time. The farm’s combine isn’t suitable for driving to the feed store or pulling a truck from the ditch—you could use it for those tasks, you just wouldn’t; but it is perfect for the hard, heavy-lifting work. You could probably use many smaller vehicles to do the hard work on the farm, but you just wouldn’t. Similarly, the Mainframe isn’t suitable for doing some of the smaller things in a datacenter—like inventory control or CRM—but it is the best machine available to do the hard work for large IT organizations, work such as high-intensity transaction processing and growing business workloads. And it doesn’t make sense to use racked commodity servers for that type of work. The Combine changed my uncles’ farming business. By saving time and money on crop production, they were able to invest more time and money into their dairy business, which ultimately allowed them to transform their farm operation into one of the larger dairy farms in their part of the world. Without Combines to do the heavy lifting, they couldn’t have grown their business to that extent. Mainframe systems make it possible for businesses to run their most intense business operations quickly and cost effectively, allowing the saved time and money to be invested in new IT assets (some of which will run on those same Mainframe systems) that in turn help transform a business to something more. Without the power and efficiency of the Mainframe, growing businesses might not be able to fund vital transformations. And that, in part, is what has driven me in my role as CEO of DataKinetics. Back then, I asked my uncle if there was a way for the Combine to do more, and now we’re focused on providing ways to help IT organizations to do more with their Mainframe systems. Today, the Mainframe accounts for $10.55 of revenue for every dollar spent on it; compare that to $8.22 for distributed computing systems—and we help to significantly increase that Mainframe revenue figure. Now, to be honest, I would be one of the first in the room to admit that not every company needs a Mainframe, just as not every farm needs a Combine. But they are both critically important for growth: large growing farms need Combines, and large growing businesses need Mainframes.


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The DB2 Performance Advisor What is Performance? By Craig S. Mullins


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optimal application and system performance is one of the most important goals of IT professionals. And for DB2 developers and DBAs, tuning and monitoring are often daily tasks. But there are many factors involved in DB2 optimization and performance monitoring and tuning … too many to do justice to in a single article. And that is why we are introducing this regular column: The DB2 Performance Advisor. This column will appear in each issue of DirectionIT Magazine and will cover all facets of performance management regarding DB2 for z/OS.

Even in today’s modern IT environment, performance management is often performed reactively instead of proactively. You know the drill. A user calls with a response time problem. A table space maxes out on extents. A program is running without taking commits causing all kinds of locking problems. Somebody rebound an application package without checking on the new access paths and transactions are piling up. And then somebody submitted that “query from hell” again that just won’t stop running. Sound familiar? All too often DBAs are being asked to respond reactively to problems that could have been prevented, if only we implemented more proactive performance management steps. So we must routinely and reactively put out the performance fires. Yet management and consultants continue to promote the benefits of proactive management. And, of course, they are correct. Being proactive can reduce, or even eliminate many of the problems that DBAs deal with on a daily basis. However, many of the supposedly proactive steps taken against completed applications in production are mostly reactive. Let’s face it, DBAs are often too busy taking care of the day-to-day tactical database administration tasks to proactively monitor and tune their systems to the degree they wish they could. Setting up a proactive performance infrastructure takes time and effort, and time is not something that DBAs have in abundance as they tackle the reactive tasks that are required to keep things up and running. Of course, performance tools and monitors are available that can make performance management easier by automatically taking predefined actions when specified alerts are triggered. Additional tools exist that can analyze problems and suggest solutions. But before you tackle performance problems you’d be wise to set up service level agreements (SLAs) that define agreed-upon performance criteria. To be effective, a service level agreement must specify what is being serviced, the response time or availability required, who the service is being delivered to, who is responsible for assuring the service level, and the budget being allocated to enable the service. All too often, SLAs are either incomplete or worse, not created at all.


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Defining DB2 Performance

Before we can talk about assuring performance we first need a good definition of the term. Think, for a moment, of DB2 performance using the familiar concepts of supply and demand. End users demand information from DB2. DB2 supplies information to those requesting it. The rate at which DB2 supplies the demand for information can be termed DB2 performance. Five factors influence DB2’s performance: workload, throughput, resources, optimization, and contention.


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1. The workload that is requested of DB2 defines the demand. It is a combination of online transactions, web requests, batch jobs, ad hoc queries, data warehousing analysis, utility jobs, and DB2 commands directed through the system at any given time. Workload can fluctuate drastically from day to day, hour to hour, and even minute to minute. Sometimes workload is predictable such as heavy monthend processing of payroll, or very light access after 5:30 p.m. and before the nightly batch cycle when most users have left for the day, but at other times it can be unpredictable. And for web-based applications it can fluctuate based on any number of factors. When applications rely on dynamic SQL, as most modern DB2 applications do, the access path can change each time the SQL is run. This too, impacts predictability. So keep in mind that the overall workload has a major impact on DB2 performance. 2. Throughput defines the overall capability of the computer to process data. It is a composite of the mainframe model, CPU speed, I/O speed, specialty processor involvement, any additional coprocessors involved, parallel capabilities of the hardware and software, and the efficiency of the operating system and system software. 3. The hardware and software tools at the disposal of the system are known as the resources of the system. Examples include memory such as that allocated to buffer pools, sorting or address spaces, disk subsystems, cache controllers, microcode, and so on. 4. The fourth defining element of DB2 performance is optimization. All types of systems can be optimized, but relational database systems such as DB2 are unique in that query optimization is primarily accomplished internal to the DBMS. Nevertheless, there are many other factors that need to be optimized that can include: • • • • • • • • •

The formulation of your SQL statements Host language application code (e.g. Java, COBOL, etc.) DDL parameters for your database objects System parameters (DSNZPARMs) JCL parameters Storage subsystem configuration and setup Network settings and traffic Other system software parameters/integration (CICS, IMS, DFSMS, MQ, etc.) DB2 optimizer hints

5. When the demand (workload) for a particular resource is high, contention can result. Contention is the condition in which two or more components of the workload are attempting to use a single resource in a conflicting way; for example, dual updates to the same piece of data. DB2’s lock manager ensures that data is not modified inappropriately, but contention will cause portions of the workload to be paused until the competing workload components have completed. Simply stated, as contention increases, throughput decreases. So, with all of that in mind, let’s put the pieces together and define what we mean by the term “DB2 performance.” Definition: DB2 performance can be defined as the optimization of resource use to increase throughput and minimize contention, enabling the largest possible workload to be processed. Even so, we must always remember that DB2 applications regularly communicate with other System z subsystems, which must also be factored into performance planning. An inefficient z/OS setting, increased network traffic, or even an out-of-date CICS parameter can influence DB2 performance. Of course, we cannot all become experts in every facet of mainframe administration and operations. Nevertheless, it is a wise course of action to work towards increasing your understanding of any resource that is used by, or works with, DB2. So, at times, we will examine how other mainframe components can impact DB2 performance in this column.

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Now that we have a definition of DB2 performance, we will introduce a few general themes that will permeate your career as you work to improve and manage the performance of your DB2 systems and applications. These themes will not be in-depth technical tuning tips, but rather guiding principles to keep in mind as you work with DB2. 1. The first basic guideline is to understand the 80/20 rule, sometimes known as the Pareto Principle. The 80/20 rule can be stated in several different ways. Perhaps the most common one is that 80% of your performance tuning results will come from 20% of your effort. Or stated another way, 20% of your DB2 applications will cause 80% of your problems. The general idea here is that you should focus your tuning efforts on the applications and processes that will provide the biggest return on investment. 2. The second basic guideline is that you should approach tuning as an iterative process. In other words, tune one thing at a time, not several. And after each tuning step measure the success or failure of the attempt. If you do not approach tuning in this manner then you may be introducing sub-optimal settings and code because you failed to measure each change. So always change only one thing at a time and gauge the results before doing anything else. 3. Thirdly, you should try to avoid using the words “always” and “never.” There are rarely any rules that always apply. And likewise, it is just as rare that there is something that can be done, that should never be done. Keep an open mind. Finally, it is better to design performance into your application programs and system from the start, instead of trying to retrofit performance tweaks later. The further into the development process you are, the more painful it becomes to makes changes.


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It’s all about me

The evolution of Big Data and how it has forever changed the face of marketing By Scott Williams, President and CEO of EyeVero Marketing Communications Group

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Marketing, much like any other profession, is not without its buzz words—those that permeate our social fabric and come to represent an ideal that is far larger than the sum of its parts. Today, Big Data is by far one of the most famous of these popculture terms—but for many, vastly misunderstood, misguided and, most likely, misused. Marketing as an ecosystem has changed greatly over the past 50 years—and most of that change has come in the past decade. Traditional marketing—which continually plagues most companies—is something I like to refer to as “The Nike Syndrome,” meaning companies continue to believe that through slogan-based advertising and traditional marketing vehicles, results will be the same as they were in previous decades…that, though, is not the case. With the birth of the new generation of global powerhouse brands—Google, Facebook & Instagram, Twitter, and other social media players—paired with omni-channel capabilities throughout the retail world that connect buying information from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal and more, with instant gratification giants such as eBay, Amazon, Apple, and the global network of online retail shopping—the marketing world no longer has the luxury of a slogan- and advertising-based focus. Now, Big Data is an integral part of the marketing ecosystem, one that has evolved more quickly than anyone could have imagined. For instance, we all know that the instant gratification push of the early millennium marked a new era in marketing. People who had access to the internet and all that it offered, suddenly began the inward journey to online shopping, making the outside world largely irrelevant. The death of the traditional music industry, moving from physical media to digital download, was the first strike at the heart of what we once knew. Then came social media paired with what many now truly consider mobile devices—the ability to surf, connect, text, and manage an online presence from virtually anywhere at anytime. The Big Data play was now upon us. The arrival of mobility convinced the world to take part in the largest global deception in history: for people to willingly give all their information to Facebook, the largest customer / prospect database in the world.

years of the second decade of the millennium, people wanted advertising directed to them—pushed based on their likes, their friends’ likes, and so on. Persona-based advertising now went far beyond what anyone thought possible: the persona was based on each and every individual person—not just a social archetype. This brings us to where we sit today within the realm of Big Data. Moving far beyond targeted Facebook ads, Google Adwords, and Amazon’s suggested complementary items, people now connect their lives in the largest data ecosystem ever imagined. From every purchase, to every social media post, to every online search, to every trip taken, Big Data gives us an unprecedented look into every aspect of people’s lives—lives that demand that marketing be “All About Me.” We as a society no longer hide from Big Data, we thrive on it. The level of self-attention that this new world has spawned knows no bounds.

The future is now

With the evolution of technology, its inherent business dependency paired with continually increasing societal engagement, it is no surprise that Big Data services and the associated supporting technology market  represent  an astounding multibilliondollar worldwide opportunity. To illustrate where the market is heading, a recent study by International Data Corporation (IDC)—a global provider of market intelligence—forecasted that the Big Data technology and services market will grow at a 26.4% compound annual growth rate to $41.5 billion through 2018. To put this into practical business terms, that is approximately six times the growth rate of the overall information technology market. Furthermore, the same study showed that by 2020 the concept and usage of traditional analytics will far surpass its current use as it pertains to relational performance management, evolving into double-digit growth rates of realtime intelligence and exploration and discovery of the unstructured worlds.

It is this social phenomenon that spawned the idea that sharing all one’s personal information was not only okay, but also was expected if one was going to be a valuable member of society— after all, it is the “Like” button that defines our self worth…right? Now, pair that influx of data with the outward ego of all those people who partake in modern social media. The evolution that began only a few years ago, has now changed people’s expectations of marketing. In the past, they would find their interests through magazines, television, radio, events, etc. Then people could search the internet for what they liked. By the early


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Where does marketing go from here?

Evolution is an ever-present challenge for marketing. The concept of the traditional marketing department is no longer viable as the roles within a world-class marketing organization have now exploded, bringing about an era of highly skilled professionals who represent a multitude of new job descriptions. Beyond the usual players such as public relations and communications professionals, graphic designers, and logistics personnel, marketing now goes even further than a website, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and analytics specialists. Today, companies need a full complement of professionals who can understand and intertwine the above mentioned roles and responsibilities, while continuing to evolve their IT infrastructure to support the needs of marketing and thus the business itself. This means that businesses as a whole must invest in and support marketing as the new world of business dictates that, regardless of product or service, all companies must become marketing companies to succeed. By transforming the business infrastructure into a marketing-centric organization, companies will be able to focus on critical factors that will be highly measurable and highly manageable. For instance, here are three critical categories that Big Data enables within a marketing infrastructure:

1. The Customer

Big Data enables companies to not only gain better insight into their target demographics, but it also gives them the ability to manipulate those demographics based on behavioral, attitudinal and transactional metrics from such sources as marketing campaigns, points of sale, websites, customer surveys, social media, online communities, loyalty programs, and more.

2. Business Operations

Though metrics within business operations can sometimes be categorized as “objective,” marketing initiatives can still be measured through established marketing processes that will deliver insight into marketing management and operations, resource allocation, asset management, budgetary controls, etc.

3. Finance

Big Data—to the joy of most CFOs—can represent imperial data from the management of overall business management, projections, etc. Simply put, an organization’s  financial  infrastructure can easily capture sales metrics, revenue, and profits that lead to better management overall.

Managing and embracing these categories also leads to better marketing management overall. Combining Big Data metrics within an enterprise environment immediately translates to increased customer engagement, customer retention, and overall marketing performance. That said, embracing Big Data is not for the faint of heart, nor is it feasible to simply ask one’s marketing department to implement and manage such a change on its own. Companies need to seek out and partner with reputable organizations that specialize in Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Solutions to fully connect, manage, and understand the associated data and implications. Once achieved, however, companies can enjoy customer engagement and insight never before imagined.

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Spring Drive



The Complex Life of a CIO The Modern Challenge to Run, Grow and Transform Business By Neale D’Rozario – CIO Advisor


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As the role relates to business, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a fairly modern position—adding to the growing stable of C-level executive job titles—that has been created through necessity as IT operations continue to permeate every aspect of business. And this new millennium title comes with a highly complex job description to back it up. The CIO’s new mission and mantra—“Run, Grow and Transform the Business”—is a task that sits squarely on the shoulders of an individual who must connect everything from IT, to Finance, to Marketing and Sales, Operations, and beyond. As it applies to modernity, the Run > Grow > Transform concept is an approach that is literally only a few years old. Originating from Gartner in 2008, it has subsequently become just one of the latest business buzz terms and ideology. The question remains, however, “Is Run, Grow and Transform” still relevant as business continues to evolve at a never before seen rate? The answer is simply, “Yes.”


That said, the concept of Run, Grow and Transform isn’t necessarily a new one, even if Gartner claims the buzz word for itself. Over the past 15 years, many CIOs historically split their operating and capital budgets into Run, Grow and Transform categories, with a lion’s share of the operating budget reflecting the Run, and a significant portion of the capital budget reflecting the Grow and the Transform. Hence, many executives remain consistent when viewing their spending within those categories: a way that easily and simplistically illustrates how much budget is associated with keeping the lights on, versus actually moving the business forward. But, like any evolution, there is a transformation happening within the Run, Grow and Transform ideology. As both the complexity and reliance on data continues to steer business, the concept of specifically asking how much time and effort is being spent on analytics is becoming paramount. It is the investment that now must be associated with analyzing Big Data activities—the mandate to create a direct correlation of business units to the driving of customer improvement, customer experience, pricing anomalies in the market, and market share acquisition. It is this change that now places the demand on CIOs to deliver more than simple budgetary silos—it now demands that CIOs account for spending as it relates to Big Data, Business Intelligence, and driving the business forward.

The new world and its orders

The quest for analytics and business intelligence truly has evolved in the past decade. As stated earlier, all business units have begun a mass convergence, no longer sheltered by historical silos within the business arena. Through data connectivity and relevance, it truly has become a paradigm by which the rule “For every action an equal and opposite reaction” occurs. Whether in finance, marketing, or human resources—everything is equally connected, accountable and runs, grows, or drives business. So, as it concerns running the business, the question will be posed as to what percentage of the IT budget is spent—being anywhere from as low as 60% to as high as 75% or 80%. But what is the appropriate number for running a business? In all honesty, it differs by everything from industry type, to business culture, and beyond. It also differs by the maturity of the business and where it is in its life cycle. If it is referring to an early stage company on the cusp of launching a new product or service—perhaps a SAS-based platform seeking market acquisition—the percentage of budget spent on running the business is going to be very small. Why? Because the operational infrastructure to support hundreds of clients or millions or billions of clients is an entirely different kettle of fish. Additionally, when larger enterprise organizations are spending money—and are large enough to have an actual Project Management Office (PMO)—the company will often look at the portfolio of projects that are currently in motion, and what percentage of those projects are categorized by Run, Grow and Transform. Thus, if the company is embarking on project maps that encompass all three categories of Run, Grow and Transform, there are various mechanisms with which they can monitor and subsequently balance appropriate spending. So when we speak of enterprise-sized companies, we now must also consider that business-critical infrastructure runs on mainframe systems. And as we all know, the mainframe is a big player, and probably one of the biggest cost line items in running the business. That said, the mainframe plays a significant part as a major contributor to running the business. In this day and age, we see many seeking ways to optimize and leverage it to accelerate growth and transformation. So what does this mean? It means that the mainframe will play a critical part in the growth and transformation phases within enterprise companies. With the influx and need for Big Data, the lion’s share of data still resides near or on DASD that are connected to mainframes. It also means that we will continue to see a shift where computing comes to the mainframe, where the data resides, as opposed to trying continually to shift the data to where the computing is, which is a high-performing computing platform, like AWS or Azure.


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In February 2015, Cisco released the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2014 to 2019. Global highlights from the updated study include the following projections: By 2019: • There will be 5.2 billion global mobile users, up from 4.3 billion in 2014 • There will be 11.5 billion mobile-ready devices and connections, more than 4 billion more than there were in 2014 • The average mobile connection speed will increase 2.4-fold, from 1.7 Mbps in 2014 to 4.0 Mbps by 2019 • Global mobile IP traffic will reach an annual run rate of 292 exabytes, up from 30 exabytes in 2014


Businesses continue to create larger connectors and bandwidth between AWS and where their storage environments are located; furthermore, they are creating a private cloud of compute-on-demand, connecting that to the mainframe in a more seamless way, as opposed to doing the traditional ETL and getting that off into the distributed world. This, of course, also adds to the mix for CIOs and their highly complex lives. Businesses will continue to face challenges as they relate to reducing revenue, mature products, delayed development, and so on. It then begs the question, “Should they be backing off the transformation efforts, and going back to focusing on just running the business?”. The answer? That depends. Product or service always plays a crucial role in business trajectory. Therefore, is the technology an integral part of delivering the product or service, or developing it? If it comes down to delivering the product or service, businesses may be inclined to double down on the transformation side. Especially if they are going through platform transformation, programming language transformation, or even a a data center transformation. Often if they are in a struggling financial scenario, there may be greater investment going on in the transformation side so they can get through that technology shift and come out the other side more efficient and more cost effective and more agile. However, unfortunately, the natural tendency is to hunker down and to try and ride through the revenue shortfall by cutting costs. So, for the newest of CIOs—my condolences in advance (insert maniacal laughter here)—there are a few nuggets of advice that I can impart. Firstly, seek out and implement a few “quick wins” in terms of run the business. Ones where you can look at some reduction in costs that will help provide additional funds that could be invested in transforming the business. Secondly, make sure that when you invest in transforming the business, you are really tying that to solid, qualifiable and quantifiable goals of an executive, that is a 12-month to 18-month goal, so you can prove you have self-funded by way of reducing costs in the “run the business.” This surplus can be transformed to fund other projects related to transforming the business that has a win in the near-term goal. If you can do that in the first 12 months of being a CIO, your life won’t be so complex.


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DirectionIT Magazine Issue 1  

Though technology and the world around us may rapidly shift and move in new and sometimes unknown directions, one theme in business has alwa...

DirectionIT Magazine Issue 1  

Though technology and the world around us may rapidly shift and move in new and sometimes unknown directions, one theme in business has alwa...