Romi Mahajan

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

Register Now!

A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

Register Now!

More Events »

Subscribe to Newsletter

  • Keep up with all of the latest news and analysis on the fast-moving IT industry with Network Computing newsletters.
Sign Up

See more from this blogger

IT And Innovation: A Natural Combination

Innovation has become the top watchword in corporate America, with companies trying to outdo each other by creating the “next, best” product or service. Hardly an organization exists that does not tout its ability to innovate. Even individual business professionals are marketing themselves as innovative: A quick glance on LinkedIn and other professional networks reveals the remarkable increase in the use of the words innovation or innovative in professionals’ descriptions of themselves.

Certainly, the emphasis on innovation is for the most part welcome. What confuses the issue, however, is the constant invocation of the term because it dilutes the power of real cutting-edge work. If indeed every company and every individual is innovative, then what does the word mean? And how can one separate the wheat from the chaff?

More Insights


More >>

White Papers

More >>


More >>

In order to get to a sensible place, it’s worth exploring what makes something innovative and what simply doesn’t allow for that claim. Let’s dispense with the easier subject, namely what innovation is not. Simply put, “doing your job” is not innovation.

Companies that release products and services that mimic the ones they have already had in market or that have fixed processes are, despite their rhetoric, not on the bleeding edge. Also, innovation and money-making should not be considered synonymous. Organizations that find new ways to make “ordinary” things or ones that always raise the quality bar can don the innovative mantle, but in my experience, they make up a small percentage.

So what is innovation? Dictionary definition aside, innovation is about the simultaneity of quality, speed, and originality as they manifest themselves in some usable set of artifacts. The combination of intellectual capital -- technical depth plus the constant application of newly acquired knowledge -- and process improvement is crucial here. Crucial too is the scientific method, relentless process of hypothesis, testing, correction, and improvement. All of this needs to be underpinned by a sense of urgency -- a relentless speed of trial, error, and production.

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me all of this sounds like the fundamental basis of a great IT department -- the part of the organization I have always thought of as the most innovative despite the common perception of IT as a static, reaction-bound organization that forces the organization into inertia.

[IT pros also are often seen by other departments as power mongers. Read why it's time to squash this stereotype for good in "Debunking The IT Control Freak Myth."]

In the best of cases, I see quite the opposite: IT is one of the few organizations that proactively works with customers (internal and external) every day and has a clear focus on empowering end users. From this focus comes a need to embrace change and reduce “time to value,” both necessary factors in the creation of a milieu of innovation. IT goes further- it puts its money where its mouth is by enshrining this customer-commitment with a set of SLAs by which it binds itself to real outcomes in clearly measurable time frames and doses.

This proactivity and speed, buttressed by a clear view of quality is the sine qua non of a culture of innovation: a relentless process of doing, testing, assessing, and improving. The IT department is one of a few of the organization that has incorporated this process into its very being.

Some examples of an IT-led innovative approach include many organizations’ commitment to continuous efficiency improvements through the application of bleeding-edge technology, the clear and open access many employees have to corporate data for decision-support, the speed of wireless and mobile-enabled work, and the deployment of lightweight cloud-based applications for all manner of productivity improvements.

As a non-IT person, I feel lucky to be the beneficiary of what I call “good IT.” For those people that work in organizations in which IT isn’t at its best, I urge you to make your voice heard so that IT is enabled to help you.

From what I've seen, when companies can leverage this IT culture and model in the service of their product and services development arms, they are innovative. When they don’t, they typically languish.

So, as against the grain as it might sound, IT and innovation are facets of the same gem. If you believe it, then make your voice heard by exporting IT’s innovative practices to the rest of the organization and by inculcating in your colleagues the culture of constant testing, questioning, tinkering, and improving. IT has a lot to teach the rest of the organization.

Romi Mahajan is the founder of KKM Group, a boutique marketing and strategy advisory firm. He is also an Interop track chair for the "Business of IT" track. He spent nine years at Microsoft and was the first CMO of Ascentium, an award-winning digital agency. Romi has also authored two books on marketing. The latest, "To Thine Own Self: Honest In Marketing" is available at Amazon.

Related Reading

Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
Vendor Comparisons
Network Computing’s Vendor Comparisons provide extensive details on products and services, including downloadable feature matrices. Our categories include:

Research and Reports

Network Computing: April 2013

TechWeb Careers