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Archive for April, 2010

IT Team Culture and Branding (Branding IT Organization Part II)

Branding IT Organization Part I talked about branding in general and how IT branding is linked to the Process Culture maturity of an IT organization. This time, I will further define the concept of IT branding and how it relates to team culture. Jose Rivas, a colleague of mine, posted this as a comment in my last article:

 

“Branding is something that everyone in IT does every day– it is how the user community perceives you. I believe that branding is a reflection of the culture that drives the IT organization, or any other group for that matter. Purposely branding IT takes a lot of thought and effort. It requires a clear vision, effective communications within as well as outside IT, strong executive sponsorship and a well-motivated organization.” 

I couldn’t agree more with this opinion of Jose Rivas on IT branding as a reflection of the team’s culture. Branding has a lot to do with human perspective and the forces that are created in social and organizational interactions. It has a lot to do with your group’s identity and culture.

IT Brand Identity and IT Branding

IT Brand Identity marks the tangible representation of your IT brand. This representation can be in different forms – your mission and vision, your service offers, culture and style. It is what you stand for. IT brand identify is the set of values that exists in your customers and employees’ mind as a result of interaction and associations with your IT organization.

IT Branding is the process of building and improving IT brand identity.  This identity or culture is shared by employees and groups that control the way you interact with each other and with stakeholders outside of t he company. It is the value you create that gets reinforced every time your internal customers interact with anyone in your team and any facet of your service.

Improving your IT brand: Why bother?

Below are just some of the rewards IT organizations can derive directly or indirectly from having a strong IT brand.

  • IT will run more efficient operations because they align all decisions with the mission, vision and values that underpin their promise.
  • Internal customers (business) are willing to invest more in IT because they believe it will deliver outstanding benefits.
  • Quality of IT services concretes internal customer loyalty.
  • Business supports IT projects because they know that IT creates value in the company.  
  • It is easier for IT to communicate new service offers.
  • IT will find it easier to attract and retain good employees because applicants believe in the quality of the workplace based on the advance knowledge of the caliber of the brand.
  • IT will increase its value and management support

The bottom line for IT managers and employees is that if they do not become conscious of the team culture in which they are embedded – those cultures will control them. This process is complex and multifaceted. Every IT team must learn how to become a team. They have to find their identity and use it to their advantage. 

Photo courtesy of advanceweb.com.

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Will iPad Change How We Use Computers Tomorrow?

When I posted a link to an article about Apple’s new iPad on my Facebook page, the first comment I got was from my Mexican friend, Armando Rangel. He commented, “Esta bonito el ipodtote.” When a Mexican adds “-ote” or “tote” to a word it usually means the superlative or a bigger version of the root word. What Armando meant was that the new iPad is a bigger version of the iPod/iPhone. I think, in essence, that my friend is right.

The iPad is ready to run nearly all the 150,000 applications (or apps, for short) that have been created for the iPhone over the past two years. I am sure thousands more apps have been developed now for iPad. Isn’t it great? I mean if you love your iPhone, surely you’ll love this iPad too!

“(The) iPad will change the way you use computers, read books and watch TV- as long as you’re willing to do it the Steve Jobs way.”  – Daniel Lyons, Newsweek April 2010 Issue

Apple’s new iPad

So what’s the buzz about the recently released iPad?  

  • Keyboard – iPad is a type of portable device without the external keyboard.  For example, laptops have external keyboards.  Similar to the iPhone, it has a touch screen.  So imagine having a keyboard on the screen but you can’t feel the keys.
  • Price – The price of an iPad depends on the memory storage capacity. It ranges from $499 to $829.
  • Media – Most of what you will do with the iPad is what you are already doing with your iPhone. If you are reading books using your iPhone, don’t you get eye strain? iPad is designed for common media – books, websites and videos, etc.
  • Versus Kindle – iPad so much better than Kindle with it comes to look and feel and sleek page-flicking animations. If you like reading in the beach and poolside, you might consider keeping your Kindle. The black and white e-ink stands out nicely when you are reading in the sun.
  • Office – As I mentioned earlier, the iPad will support the same apps you currently use with your iPhone. Apple has also developed apps for Office that can create presentations, documents and spreadsheets.
  • Simplicity – If you know someone who is not ready to use a complicated computer (probably because they are beginners in using computers), maybe an iPad is a good start. The iPad is easier to use.
  • Versus your computer – For most people, the question is: will the iPad replace laptop and personal computers?  It depends on what you use your computer for. If you use your computer for work – such as creating things (for example, documents and designs) and run enterprise applications, then forget it.

I am sure that just like me, you have seen all the reviews and commercials about the iPad. However, there are some things you need to know about this new product before you decide to buy it. Check out this article from CNN if you want to learn more about Apple’s iPad: “Before you buy: 12 things to know about the iPad”.

Apple’s Innovation

Shortly after Steve Job’s first presentation about the new iPad last January, Roberto Verganti wrote about Apple’s innovation process in his article, “Apple’s Secret? It Tells Us What We Should Love”. He wrote, “The iPad Apple has not provided an answer to market needs. It has made a proposal about what could fit us and what we could love. It’s now up to us to answer whether we agree.”

Steve Jobs is a master of creating a signature customer experience. He steered Apple to deliver products that create new “meaning” to customers. This is the reason why Apple is not afraid to propose radical innovations. They are convinced that the product they create is the one that we should love. This is not like user-centered innovation where what you carry out mostly is what the consumers or market demand. This is perfect for incremental innovation, not for Apple. Steve Jobs is persistently creating innovative products that have changed our ideas about how things should work. Will the iPad change how we use computers tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine.

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

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