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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Forward-Looking Managers
In my nearly forty years in the book writing, editing, ghostwriting and publishing business, I've read a lot of business books and technology books. A lot. Most of them rehash the same old themes without much verve or depth. Some stand out by delivering both. Faisal Hoque's "The Power of Convergence" is one of the latter.

Everyone who's worked in business...
Published on May 22, 2011 by Jack B. Rochester

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired sales job
I have never written a review before, simply because most of the time some other reviewer has done an adequate job before me and there is no reason to repeat something that has already been said. A point that the author of this book misses completely. The concept that IT and Business interests in an organization need to work together towards the same goals is, by no...
Published 18 months ago by TheDave


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Forward-Looking Managers, May 22, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
In my nearly forty years in the book writing, editing, ghostwriting and publishing business, I've read a lot of business books and technology books. A lot. Most of them rehash the same old themes without much verve or depth. Some stand out by delivering both. Faisal Hoque's "The Power of Convergence" is one of the latter.

Everyone who's worked in business recognizes that the information technology [IT] function ought to support the business goals. And everyone knows that doesn't always happen. IT, by its very nature, is often headstrong and unruly, preferring to develop systems and applications it thinks are interesting or necessary - sometimes both - for its own internal purposes, but not necessarily providing what the enterprise needs in order to become more efficient, innovative or competitive.

This schism has existed ever since computers were installed in enterprises. In the early days, the computer people worked behind a door with a sign that read, "IBM Room." In the 1970s and 80s, IT people were called "high priests" and worked inside glass-walled rooms, which only served to distance them more from the rest of the business. A consultant wrote a book referring to IT as "the embattled fortress." The unspoken reply was "Leave us alone." Myriad attempts have been made to bring IT's mission into focus with the enterprise which funds and supports it, too often without real results.

I will give you one example of this misalignment from the 1970s, when I was a college textbook editor. I asked the Data Processing department for a report on a specific book, listing the colleges that had adopted [purchased] it, broken down by state. Seven months later, I received a thick sheaf of green-and-white computer printout with rows of numbers. The first number was a zip code, beginning with 00001, followed by the college codes for schools within that zip code, followed by the number of books. In short, a relatively easy report for the computer to produce, but of no value to me, a human.

Over the last fifty or sixty years, there have been countless solutions proposed to address this problem. Needless to say, many have been adopted, and assuredly some have succeeded. Yet many companies still grapple with how to get IT fully supporting the business. And the problem is growing more acute because competitive advantage today can often be measured in slivers or seconds. We used to just throw more technology at the problem, but that can be replicated so quickly by competitors that it's usually throwing good money after bad.

Faisal Hoque's book, "The Power of Convergence," addresses this problem head-on and delivers a powerful and practical solution. It is based on the premise of convergence, a concept he has evolved from years of business experience and writing five earlier books detailing these kinds of problems. Since 1999, it's what his business, BTM Corporation, has done. BTM stands for Business Technology Management, which defines the problem and the solution in a nutshell. Hoque understands and clearly explains the stages through which a company must pass to bring its business practice and its technology practice into harmony:

* The first stage is alignment, in which IT supports the business;
* The second is synchronization, in which IT partners in planning business strategy and helps execute it as well;
* The third and ideal state is convergence, which Hoque describes as encompassing "...both alignment and synchronization, with technology and business leadership able to operate simultaneously in both spaces. Essentially, the business and technology spaces have merged in both strategic and tactical senses. A single leadership team operates across both spaces with individual leaders directly involved with orchestrating action in either space. Some activities may remain pure business and some pure technology, but most activities intertwine business and technology in such a manner that the two become indistinguishable."

The facilitating aspect of the convergence value proposition is that the company's senior management must drive convergence to make it work. I always find this the most obvious point authors and consultants make, but in reality senior managers are all too often living in a rarefied atmosphere, cushioned to avoid the daily bumps and grinds of the company by their staff. In short, they are clueless as to what's going on below and around them. No sports team ever won a game or championship without a strong coach. The same is true in any human endeavor: when The Word comes down from on high, the team gets its act together.

Hoque understands this. It's as simple as the ancient folk tale about the farmer and his wife trading jobs for a day; just as they come to understand how complicated and difficult each other's work is, so do business and technology. Hoque details a process to implement convergence called the Strategic Enterprise Architecture, or SEA. In order to bring convergence between business and technology, you must have an SEA. But in order to have an SEA, senior management must take the helm and get business management and technology management to play musical chairs with one another. Once each understands the other's problems and responsibilities, then they can sit at the boardroom table together to make the convergence happen.

"The Power of Convergence" is filled with sound advice like this. Hoque explains the problem, its roots, its implications, and then explains the solution in rigorous detail. Each chapter ends with a useful summary of action items called "The Takeaway." The book is interesting reading and has a lot of depth and breadth. For example governance, a subject I feel is most critical to modern businesses today, is explored in all its significant aspects, ranging from putting senior management in charge of BTM to tracking the multitude of government compliance reports.

In my opinion, convergence is not just another good idea. It may be the most well thought-out solution to an age-old problem that cripples enterprises. See, at root, all business problems are solved by thoughtful, proactive management, whether it's getting a warm hamburger across the counter efficiently or conducting transnational trade. I mention the latter because Faisal Hoque really gets it that we have to think beyond ourselves. IT needs to rethink about how it serves the business, because if it does not it's the scorpion riding across the river on the turtle's back. Business needs to get computer technology involved in developing and implementing its business models. Enterprise, likewise, needs to think hard about its survival in terms of its contribution to the ever growing, changing, demanding terms of doing business in these times of high risk. Actually, Hoque states it much better:

"As our knowledge economy expands and global interconnections increase, complexity grows exponentially. Business leaders and operating managers must proactively manage complexity by constructing control systems that not only function in complex environments, but also adapt and evolve along with them."

That's good advice for all of us. "The Power of Convergence" is highly recommended reading for management at all levels. And, if I were an IT manager, I'd buy two copies - one to read and the other to give to my COO.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A book that tries to sell his business, June 11, 2013
Just as the title of the review says, this is a book that tries to sell his business. This book basically pulls out some examples of what other businesses has done and create system based on these examples and call it his own. Further more he does not give adequate explanation to BTM to actually let the reader really know the BTM process just generalities. With scholastic examples available to anyone and vague generalities of BTM this book is set up to sell his BTM Firm that the author founded.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired sales job, June 5, 2013
By 
TheDave (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
I have never written a review before, simply because most of the time some other reviewer has done an adequate job before me and there is no reason to repeat something that has already been said. A point that the author of this book misses completely. The concept that IT and Business interests in an organization need to work together towards the same goals is, by no means, a new one. Mr. Hoque manages to further beat that horse over the span of 200+ pages.

Mr. Hoque tries to develop a unique approach by claiming that IT and Business need to be equally represented in the leadership of a given organization. An idea that he utterly fails to support through the rest of the book. Instead, he advocates the normal (and appropriate) "IT is subordinate to business" approach through numerous examples. Further, he goes on to say that business and technology leadership should, in a truly converged environment, be able to exchange positions. Not only is this a preposterous notion, it is one he refutes throughout the book. One quote, in particular, drives this point home, "Just as technologists are expected to speak intelligently about business, business managers must also speak at least on a foundational level about the technology they wish to use." (page 200) This single quote undermines both positions that he stakes out as unique to his work!

Finally, the BTM corporation (founded by Hoque) simply studied successful companies and assigned names to the things that those companies do. This is emulation, pure and simple. Nothing original. Further, the book goes into great detail on the difference in key business metrics of the companies that are doing well compared to those that are not doing as well and attributes their success to the cherry-picked BTM capabilities that he made up to explain the differences. The book provides a lot of very basic descriptions of what needs to happen to fully converge a company, but offers no details. My feeling is that this was done intentionally because no one will buy consulting time if they can get the information for free.

This is why I called this book an uninspired sales job. It's an old idea, and the book offers nothing but vague generalities about how to achieve "convergence."

I gave two stars rather than one because some of the VERY superficial case studies were interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why aren't all organizations already doing what this author advises?, October 10, 2011
By 
Roger S. Peterson (Rocklin, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
Hogue's major assertion is the need for convergence between corporate business strategy and the technology strategy to deliver the business strategy. You would think such a convergence is a no-brainer, an obvious necessity. But Hogue points out examples of how such convergence is lost in organizations.

One example he cites is the FBI's failed attempt to build a new virtual case file management system after several attempts because, in part, the FBI didn't know what it was asking for. Of all organizations, you would think the FBI had precise and absolute prescriptions for what it needed.

He uses an interesting analogy. Hiring an architect and a contractor to build your dream house is similar to how a business should reach convergence between business strategy and technology strategy. You wouldn't cede control of your dream house to the esoteric knowledge of the architect and contractor and allow them to run with it and then hand you the keys. That's what the FBI did.

Hogue cites cases of successful convergence. Apple managed to tie its business models and customer focus to a technology strategy and jumped its total valuation ahead of Microsoft. Eleven years prior, Apple's valuation was far, far below Microsoft's.

One important place where such convergence would benefit everyone: A national (maybe international) healthcare central database. One doctor in New Orleans during Katrina, as Hogue points out, used available technology to do what FEMA could not do. Big implication here. Imagine running out of a prescription on your visit to China. What are you going to do?

I'd say any business, large or small, could use the wisdom in this book. It surely beats starting over again. The FBI is about to start over for the third time.

Roger S. Peterson
Rocklin, California
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read for SMB Owners, September 26, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
While Faisal Hoque's new book The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success. this is quite a mouthful for a book title and subtitle, it's well worth the read. In the area of Business Technology Management (BTM), Foque is a real pro.

Busy professionals might not have or might not want to take the time to read the book cover to cover. If so, don't fear. Scan the Contents pages and read topics of interest. It's not as useful as reading the entire book, but you'll see the value, and can finish the book over time.

As the owner of a mid-sized, full-service communications agency, the chapters that leapt out at me were:
* Chapter 6, Size Doesn't Matter: How Small Enterprises Benefit from Strategic Investment Management
* Chapter 8, Creating Business Agility
* Chapter 10, Driving Operational Excellence

Hoque's writing style is direct and almost conversational, as if he's speaking directly to the reader. He summarizes key theoretical points in a very accessible way and also includes many real-world examples throughout to help readers see theories in action. Sometimes he takes the opposite approach which is equally effective. One of the funniest and most educational stories comes from the cartoon satire South Park, and the tale of the underpants gnomes. It's a great satire of poor business planning and I won't try to repeat it. Foque uses this as a launching pad to discuss the key steps in the operational excellence journey...nice.

In summary, I'd recommend picking up and reading Faisal Hoque's book. You can use it as a reference, a how-to guide, or for ways to start and stimulate business conversations inside your organization.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Power of Convergence, September 14, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
I found the BTM framework to be an elegantly simple yet comprehensive approach for leaders to successfully link and integrate their strategic business imperatives to technology investment and implementation. The Transformation Triangle methodology is another useful tool for leaders to quickly recognize required organizational changes through management behaviors and constructs such as business agility, sustained innovation, and operational excellence. In sum, I found this book to be an essential guide for leaders to realize the full impact of converging a decisive management imperative with business strategy and technology.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Business strategies linked to enabling technology, September 14, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
This is a great book!

Business Strategies need to be linked to technology to be effective today. And this is what this book is all about - with many great examples and suggestions.

Why is this so important today? Technology linked to one's strategy is key to achieve effective innovation, so necessary to be able to grow in today's turbulent world - to achieve both top-line and bottom-line results.
Innovations, driven by technology are key for being able to connect with today's leading consumers. And, this book convincingly covers how to achieve this.

Importantly, a shift in decision-making is needed - more focus on understanding what are critical technological factors to bond with the consumer - and relatively less traditional financial focus. And, how to track what would be relevant value indicators are covered in detail.

This book is what we need now - how to achieved sustained innovation by allowing relevant technology and strategy to link - in an effective symbiosis!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a repeatable approach..., August 4, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
The patterns illustrated in this book provide a logic that is so often overlooked in the corporate world it's hard to believe anything gets done. Not only do these methods and processes work, but they will lead to successful outcomes time and time again. I recommend it to anyone tired of using a one-trick pony approach.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!, August 3, 2011
By 
eleanor evangelista (scarsdale, ny United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
A colleague suggested I check out The Power of Convergence and it quickly became required reading for everyone on my team. The take-aways that closeout each chapter provide a great snapshot in support of the basic fundamentals that drive true business value from technology. The book offers a solid foundation for transformative undertakings in any industry. Well done!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight, August 3, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Convergence: Linking Business Strategies and Technology Decisions to Create Sustainable Success (Hardcover)
These days many books offer little more than a rehashing of facts and stats with a bit of "flavor of the day" talk tracks. Not so with this book. Real examples. Real insights. Real knowledge that can be used to seize the opportunity in the market and make it your own. Highly recommend to anyone who wants to be more than a one hit wonder and wants a practical guide to continued success.
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