Monday, January 19, 2015

The King, Ziggy Stardust & Information Management

By Brian Kopack

Thursday January 8th was a big day.

It was the shared birthday of Elvis Presley and David Bowie.  No doubt you caught some of the coverage throughout the day.  As I listened to some of the reports on my drive home, it dawned on me – how much IOS has in common with them in terms of affecting our respective audiences.

Enduring Legacy
Elvis was a larger-than-life personality until he passed away in 1977.  In the almost 40 years since, he still has an enormous following.  If you’ve ever been to Graceland, you get it.

David Bowie is still creating and performing after almost 50 years.  I remember seeing him in concert when I was in high school.  I thought he was cool, but old.  He is still cool.  What’s weird is he was as old then as I am writing this now.  Everyone would be lucky to age as gracefully as he has.

IOS has been a thought leader in information management since the early 70’s – eight Presidents ago.  A lot has changed in business in those 40+ years, but IOS’ commitment to leading the evolution of technology in information management has been a reassuring constant.

International Appeal
Both Elvis and Bowie toured the world throughout their careers and have millions of fans around the globe.

“World-famous” might be a stretch, but IOS’ influence and expertise have spread from our headquarters in Indiana across the US to Europe and as far away as Australia. Great ideas expertly delivered definitely travel.  In an industry with as much competition and disruption as information management, IOS’ expertise translates nicely.

Transformational Originality
Elvis – check. Bowie – double check.  Unquestionably, two of the most influential entertainers the planet will ever know.  Often imitated, never duplicated.

At IOS, we like to think of ourselves the same way.  Great ideas from great people you can’t get anywhere else to help you be more than you ever thought possible.

We’ve built our reputation on the very idea that our experience and creativity make us uniquely able to develop solutions that deliver lasting value - that the work we do for our customers becomes inherent in who they are as an organization.

The same way your favorite songs become the soundtrack of your life.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Warning: Truth Hurts

By Brian Kopack

This won’t be a New Year’s rah-rah post – more of a “don’t make it to this time next year and still be thinking about thinking about it” reflection.

I hadn’t been at Price Waterhouse very long when a manager told me two things that have stuck with me for 20+ years: (1) read 30 minutes each day, and (2) don’t ever complain about being busy.

She told me, “It doesn’t matter what you read, just read something.  Find the time.”  She was right.  

The 2nd point was a no-brainer.  In public accounting, everyone works hard.  Everyone is busy pretty much all the time.  No one wants to hear about it.   Complaining doesn’t make it better.

Last Monday was a déjà vu moment.

I read a piece by Dina Kaplan.  I don’t know anything about her.  I’ve never read anything else she’s written.  I can’t even tell you how I found the post.  What I can tell you is – it was really great.

She started simply enough – a friend told her he was too busy to read.  Then, it got interesting.

It’s now 5 days later and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Busy and lazy are linked.

Think about that.  An uncomfortable truth – personally and professionally.

Not exactly breaking news - it’s easy to complain and make excuses and settle for being less than your best.  It’s hard to do something about it – to make a change.

Leave the personal life-coaching to Oprah.

Examine the business angle.

The “too busy” feeling is unfortunately all too familiar.  Too busy to think, plan, change, dream, improve….  Kaplan wrote, “…being busy has become a refrain and rationale for the things we don’t do, an acceptable and even glamorous excuse.”

There you have it.

Kaplan continued, “If you are in charge of a company or division, it is lazy not to think about processes to make work less busy.”

There you have it, again.

If there is a better way and you don’t try it, or if you can’t do it by yourself, but you don’t try and find a partner to help, what’s the excuse?   Stop with the “I work better when I have a lot going on.”  How much better would you work if you were in control of your time and your effort?  What if you could focus on your highest value work?

The key is being in control of how to process information.

I doubt Kaplan intended her post to be about information management, but it’s a nice parallel because life is about information management.  Your whole life is password protected.  Your level of personal and professional engagement is directly related to your comfort level managing the technology that manages information.  The less confidently you feel you can use technology, the more likely you are to feel disconnected - like technology is something holding you back instead of propelling you forward.

At IOS, we would tell you that we understand the technology, we have the people and most importantly, we have ideas to help make you great at managing your information.  That’s the polite way of telling you that we are great and making you greater. Combine technological expertise with agility and creativity and guess what?  Less busy, more effective at controlling your day and better positioned to do the work you should be doing – what’s important instead of what’s the most urgent.

What a concept.

Thanks for reading.  Do something good to start the New Year – pass it on.