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CIOs Must Streamline IT to Focus on Agility

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CIOs Must Streamline IT to Focus on Agility

Speed and agility are key components of two central business challenges organizations face today: change and innovation.

Meanwhile, there is an intensifying need to deliver continuous value, which has led to more and more pressure for overhauling IT for speed and agility. By responding quickly to these changes, chief information officers will be better able to adapt, with technology serving as a core element of the adaptation process.

Ultimately, streamlining has the potential to improve employee performance by removing barriers and allowing teams to self-serve both within and outside IT with focus on outcomes. This means CIOs need to embrace Agile methodologies and bring everyone on board as a first step, which requires upscaling IT teams and engaging the business.

Once the formal and informal mechanisms supporting those Agile practices are deployed, CIOs can start thinking about additional elements to streamline the delivery process.

Deploying Agile Methodologies

“Today, traditional IT project delivery is not fit for purpose,” says Antonio Vázquez, CIO at Bizagi. “These delivery models are far from new, Agile methodologies deployed through product-based delivery models.”

He explains that these new delivery models are based on the minimum viable product (MVP) concept, which changes the whole concept of software development and relationships with business stakeholders.

Vázquez adds that business requirements are gathered in a completely different way, initial deliverables are soon released, and the final product can be improved overtime. “That brings massive speed and agility to IT and the business through smaller functional pieces, faster testing and correction cycles and shorter deployments, among other benefits,” he says.

For example, the cloud is one of the key enablers for fast and scalable deployments as is the use of low-code platforms and citizen developer programs which can improve communication with stakeholders and delivery speed.

Moreover, automation can replace manual processes and free up resources, the use of DevSecOps allows infrastructure and security to be included in the product delivery by design, and open innovation platforms can facilitate the innovation process.

Pressure to Streamline Building Externally, and Internally

“Streamlining IT for agility is critical to business, and there’s not only external pressure to do so, but also internal pressure,” says Stanley Huang, co-founder and CTO at Moxo. “This is because streamlining IT plays a strategic role in the overall business operations from C-level executives to every employee’s daily efforts.”

He says that the streamlining of business processes is the best and most efficient way to reflect business status and driving power for each departmental planning.

From an external standpoint, there is pressure to streamline IT because it also impacts the customer experience. “A connected and fully aligned cross-team interface is essential to serve the customer and make a consistent end user experience,” he adds.

For business opportunities pertaining to task allocation and tracking, streamlining IT can help align internal departments into one overall business picture and enable employees to perform their jobs at a higher level.

“When the IT system owns the source of data for business opportunities and every team’s involvement, cross team alignment can be streamlined and made without back-and-forth communications,” Huang says. “This creates full transparency on progress, overdue items, customer status, etc. so that teams can adjust resources and plan in real time.”

Steve Watt, CIO at Hyland, says that for a CIO to streamline IT they first need to ensure their business stakeholders are up to speed on how their execution in that framework will function and where they will fit into that process.

“This way, CIOs can have more accurate budget planning to have a full understanding of the costs involved in the situation and avoid wasted time and effort ensuring alignment with leaders,” he says.

He explains that in the past, IT was often seen as the beginning and the end of digital initiatives, responsible for the selection, implementation, and ongoing support of all technology platforms. “That won’t scale today and stifles business; increasingly, a large population of employees that are technologists are embedded in the business,” he says.

In turn, shifting to product-based delivery will help guide and coach the business in their use of technology and empower them to be able to drive their own processes without IT being the bottleneck to the speed at which they need to do business.

Multiple Challenges to Streamlining IT

From Huang’s perspective, there are two main challenges experienced as they relate to streamlining IT for agility. One is understanding every aspect of the business lifecycle in-depth from analyzing patterns to identifying bottlenecks. “From there, it’s necessary to choose a vendor and services, which can be overwhelming due to the vast number of technologies available in the market,” Huang says.

Another challenge is defining the business’s own IT strategy based on target goals. “It’s necessary to be creative and foresee how your business can be digitized and transformed, as well as planning ahead accordingly and understanding the impact of streamlining IT operations on your business,” he says.

Vázquez notes that additional challenges include the funding of traditional projects, which needs to be adapted to Agile delivery, while timing, schedules and resource allocation need to be adjusted and communicated across the organization

“The concept of success is different in a traditional project and an Agile project with an MVP,” he says. “Project teams need to be resized and upscaled, and priorities must be addressed in a different way, as well as business requirements mapping, which requires a large amount of transparency.”

Vázquez called these all “deep changes” that must be addressed, refined, communicated, and rewarded across the organization.

Trying New Vendors, Maintaining Engagement Levels

Huang advises that a deep analysis of the business’ current situation from multiple perspectives, including how streamlining IT efforts will impact the service model, team structure, execution capabilities and customer retention situation.

From there, it’s critical to analyze which strategy for streamlining IT is best suited for business needs.

“Be open to some new vendors, which may just recently be available in the market,” he suggests.

He notes that the past several years has been the most active time for IT vendors to evolve, and many revolutionary solutions are just recently available to fit the latest business environment. “Being open to newer players in the space can present your business the chance to find some new ideas from them,” he says.

Hyland’s Watt notes that it’s important that all parties are on the same page of what needs to be done to create a better process for everyone.

In product-aligned, Agile teams in IT, the product manager or owner roles can and should come from knowledgeable SMEs in the business units that align and support the “product” of each team. He says this level of engagement might come naturally to some departments within and organization and for others they may need extra coaching.

“Ensuring this level of engagement provides clarity to the business and the product team on what is most important,” he says. “This way, IT teams can focus their efforts on high-value outcomes and waste less time prioritizing or rationalizing the work that needs to be done.”

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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