The Symbio Blog

Thoughts and commentary on business and technology

Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.

– Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Ricardo Semler: Radical wisdom for a company, a school, a life

What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). It’s a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?

From StateScoop, Favoring flexibility, more states pursue multi-sourced IT models, Virginia has adopted a multisourcing model as they exit a 13-year sole source relationship with Northrop Grumman. Symbio applauds Virginia as the market continues to adopt shorter contracts (or even subscription services) as the Everything-as-a-Service model takes root.

“Monolithic IT outsourcing deals are no longer in demand after a stint of experimentation in Virginia and elsewhere showed that while states should no longer provide all IT services themselves, simply handing over the entire operation to a single company to be managed externally isn’t an effective model either.

Our experiences in Strategic Sourcing would align with this sentiment, although in our opinion the bigger issue is not the number of service providers or even the contractual framework but rather the operating model design and technical solution that enables true agility and the ability to broker services from best-of-breed providers. As described in our white paper, Enable Digital Transformation with Service Integration and Management (SIAM), a digital service integration platform reduces the dependency on people and manual processes that often inhibit true plug-and-play capability:

“The Digital SIAM operating model leverages cloud-based platforms to seamlessly connect the enterprise consumer of IT goods and services with the entire supply chain ecosystem. The platform serves as a shopping marketplace and fulfillment engine as well as a service automation system underpinning service management, business management, and operations management. The SIAM operating model enables shared services organizations to serve their customers with more insights and agility and equip their sourcing management and governance teams with actionable information.”

When trust is extended, it breeds responsibility in return. Emulation and peer pressure regulates the system better than hierarchy ever could.

― Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness

Symbio is proud to have supported the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) in the design and sourcing of the next-generation, Digital Government Portal and Payment Services. View/download our Symbio Digital Government Case Study. From the Government Technology article, Texas Taps Deloitte as New Caretaker for, Aiming for a One-Stop-Shop Portal:

“Our goal is to provide a platform for government agencies to offer digital services to their constituents,” wrote Texas CIO Todd Kimbriel in an email, “and enabling new technologies like cognitive computing.”

Indeed, cognitive computing and the use of AI is an emerging trend in the gov tech market. For Texas, foremost among the plans to use that technology is the development and launch of a new personalized digital assistant that state officials said they are currently referring to as “My Government My Way.” The first iteration of this digital assistant may be available to users as soon as this fall.”

Any company designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st.

― Salim Ismail, Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours

From an Investor Opinion piece titled Cost Efficiency and Value Enhancement Offered by Service Integration and Management Market is Key Growth Driver:

“Europe has been the largest SIAM market; however, by 2022, North America is expected to surpass it. Large corporations in North America have strongly woven IT into their business processes. Since these large organizations have complex business structures, they are increasingly considering outsourcing their multivendor management to external parties, to attain high scale efficiency across all stages of the IT service chain. This has been augmenting the growth of SIAM market in the region.

Being able to take needless work out of the system is more important than being able to put more work into the system.

– Gene Kim, The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Symbio is proud to have supported the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) in the design and sourcing of the next-generation, Digital MSI for DIR and their customers. From the recent press release:

“Capgemini will implement automated and digital platforms, allowing DIR customers to select from an ecosystem of service providers for IT services that are managed by Capgemini. This modern and digital shopping experience meets the business needs of both DIR and its customers by focusing on customer experience, analytics, automation, growth, security, tools and integration, service quality and cloud.

Capgemini’s MSI platforms are designed to digitize service delivery and enhance customer experience by streamlining the process of finding and engaging an IT service provider. Capgemini plans to deploy automation, predictive analytics and custom dashboards, leveraging its own expertise in these areas and tapping into its diverse ecosystem of partners that include Salesforce, ServiceNow Inc., Navvia, UiPath, Docebo and Splunk.”

Ultimately the decline of client-server technologies is leading to the rise of computing built on top of distributed systems. Boundaries, alliances, and categories will increasingly disappear as this new system rises. The new leadership will come from those players who know how to work the graph and not just work up and down the stack. Control points will shift to how new vendors integrate and partner around the stack as much as strategic control points.

Alan Cohen challenges IT leaders to consider What if the New Stack is Not a Stack at All?

Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.

– Milton Friedman

Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

Leaders in the coming decades will be ‘trisector athletes,’ capable of engaging, collaborating, and driving outcomes across all realms, and (to use management guru’s Peter Senge term) ‘system leaders’ who can catalyze change across networks where they lack formal control.

– Eamonn Kelly, Deloitte University Press

Symbio is proud to have supported the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) in the design and co-creation of Hybrid Cloud Services within the state’s Data Center Services program. From the StateTech article Texas Leads the Nation in Cloud Innovation:

“The cloud services marketplace essentially allows state agencies in Texas to purchase and deploy public cloud resources from the state. They do so at their leisure and have a choice of platforms.

“We’re gonna allow agencies to choose: Do I want fully managed services in the consolidated data center? Or do I want semi-managed services in the consolidated data center? Do I want fully managed services in the public cloud? Or do I want semi-managed services in the public cloud?,” says Sally Ward, director of data center services for Texas DIR.

The choice is embedded into the purchasing process, and there are solution architects on hand to vet and follow up in the event that the question asked becomes more complex.

“When an agency wants to deploy a server, we ask the question: Tell us your operating system. And when they tell us the operating system, we pop back to them three different options with cost,” says Ward. “They can get to the very bottom and they can look from a cost basis to see which one is the cheapest option for them. It also asks them about the type of data they’re trying to put in the cloud.”