The Year of Respite

According to Google’s definition (which I am sure comes from a dictionary – but not even my kid knows what those are anymore) respite is an ancient word that comes from a latin root meaning refuge or consideration.

The proper definition is below – you can read it, but I’ll save you the trouble – it’s about taking a moment to rest, or to get relief, from something hard or difficult.

((definition of respite))

As John Oliver said in the November 13 show when talking about the election results (and I won’t even talk about that) – 2016 has been a “difficult” year (he used other words that Siri would’ve translated to Ducking Shorty) — and that applies to our jobs as well.  We are at the end of a 6-to-8 years stretch overflowing with hype and “new things”.

The year 2010 shall forever live in infamy: the demise of global economies peaked and the hard job of rebuilding began.  Investments in Enterprise Software were nil or as close as possible to that.  The pace of innovation skyrocketed.  The technologies and tools we discovered since the turn of the century were put to the test in “credit card” or skunkworks-style projects that virtually all organizations had under way for social, collaboration, and data use.

As social began to slow down “Big Data” began to boom – and virtually anything that could be hyped was.  We hyped Big Data, Analytics, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Platforms, Mobile (remember BYOD?), and just about anything else.  We saw the rise of concepts like Citizen Programmers (or Employee Programmers if you prefer), Digital Transformation, Self Service and full-on Business Automation, Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics, and Collaborative Enterprises with Communities.

In other words, we fully dedicated ourselves to anything that may have an impact on the organization going forward as we knew that the lull in investing was temporary and we would go back to doing something — just didn’t know what and wanted to be prepared; we continuously sped up until this year.

And it was exhausting.

My clients are realizing that they cannot implement everything we hyped over the last few years; none of these projects are 6-month to one-year projects.  These are long initiatives (cloud migration can take up to a decade, no digital transformation initiative at a corporate level will be done under five-to-seven years, artificial intelligence? try 20+ years) that may yield some results in the short-term – but only to whet your appetite for more.

Just learning what data you need, where it comes from, and how it can be used can take a couple of years of trial-and-error – and then you still need to implement your findings and use the data for something useful.

And this is where we are today.  2017.  The year of respite.

This is the year when everyone is asking the same questions – not merely “what is that?” or “how do you use it?” but more like “show me the value it can bring to my organization and my customers in the short-, near-, mid-, and long-term” or “tell me what are the implementation strategies that have worked and how I can adapt them to my organization”.  There is also “help me understand the necessary elements and changes I need to undertake to take advantage of that technology or tool”.

And my favorite – “where do I start?”  Or rather, “where did Acme start to succeed at technology X?”.

This is not the year where I am going to become famous (infamous?) by concocting a new “vision” or “business model”(like my lemniscate back in 2010) or writing about “thought leadership” that describes where we are going to be in the next 10-20 years.  We realized that where we are going to be in a decade’s time will be very different for each and every one of us.

I don’t want to sound the alarm – we are not doomed; we reached the year of respite: the time when we stop looking at what’s possible and how hard it would be to change it and instead we focus on how we are going to get these things done.  The focus is in doing, not in talking.

Are you ready?

( this is part one of a two-part series – the next one will tell you what I am doing in the next few months/years to help you get ready)

disclaimer: Acme has never been, is not, and likely will never be a client.  It should go without saying, but these are my experiences and thoughts and they may differ from yours.  In which case, we both know you are wrong and should embrace mine.  If you don’t, I cannot be held liable for your failures – capisce?

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