"Cycle to Accelerate" book bundle synopsis
Van Bommel and Van Engelen published four books in exactly four years in the Netherlands, on IT and management. Now these books are also available in English. In this new era of everyone being connected to everyone else, with ever greater ease of access to information, with new technology businesses overthrowing the old company hierarchies as if it were child's play, information technology turns out to be the driving force behind sustainable societal growth. Many of the old organisations seem stuck in old structures, old methods and outdated IT systems. Digital transformation is urgently needed and requires a new management style that leaves no room for plans set in stone. Innovation is done by cycling, step by step (one pedal push at a time) while learning from small mistakes and adjusting whenever necessary.
Part 1 The Art of Making IT Work for You
This book offers solutions to IT problems. It is written for people who deal with IT on a daily basis: CEOs in the process of computerizing their organisations, government policy makers exploring the possibilities, IT professionals who want to specialise in solutions, and IT students who want to get to know the world in which they will seek employment.
In recent decades, a lot has gone wrong in many IT projects. In governmental as well as in the non-governmental sector on a global scale, many (tens of) billions of dollars have been thrown around without achieving any worthwhile results, but also in business projects, things quite often go wrong. What is the cause of it? And, above all: how can we find a solution to overcome it?
Using 21 problem areas as starting points, the authors take stock of potential improvements in IT and IT policy. They also offer solutions to all 21 issues, giving readers a clear impression of what they should focus on over the next few years.
Part 2 Why Managers Should Learn to Cycle
In this book, the authors compare the practice of making detailed plans for organisations to billiards and cycling. All the information the planners have is hidden in one thrust of their cue, even though the laws of physics dictate that the exact result of three rolling, bumping balls will be different every time. In physics this is called the three-particle problem.
In the business world we can be faced with maybe a hundred different particles that affect each other. No wonder then that managerial plans hardly ever work out as intended. The analogy of the physics of billiards and cycling teaches us why we manage our organisations too rigidly. For a lot of managers, IT is a tough issue that they'd love to avoid.
Many an administrator meets his Waterloo in IT when it comes to keeping control of the organisation. But there's no need for that. All they have to do is read this book. We can achieve much more by loosening the reins, not by frantically trying to gain control and stay in control.
Part 3 IT as a Raw Material for a Sustainable Economy and Society
This book is about the growing importance of information, and access to information, in a sustainable society. Sustainability is a hot theme in management, and it's there to stay. But we should all be careful not to follow a theme that we barely understand.
In this book we define sustainability in a practical way, through modern capital theories. And we show the crucial role played by information in becoming, and staying, sustainable. IT plays an important role there.
IT makes an intrinsically sustainable contribution and helps us do a lot more with the available capital. The re-use of business logic and IT logic adds to this. An automation process does not necessarily mean you have to reinvent the wheel. That wheel already exists.
Part 4 Moving Towards a Sustainable Digital Transformation
This book offers a number of attractive examples to demonstrate how people in the boardroom can influence complicated managerial processes around IT in a goal-oriented manner. Everybody talks about digital transformation, but what is it, how do you do it, and has it been done before?
We offer some insights into what a (project) organization should be able to do for such a transformation, and together with you come to the conclusion that none of the old-school giants have been entirely successful. But we also demonstrate that some projects have indeed been hugely successful, so we are confident that digital transformation is possible.
Many hands make light work. Let's all get started, share our experiences, and get better fast.
About the authors
The authors of this book, both physicists originally, are widely experienced in management, business processes and IT. They are regularly consulted in board meetings as well as behind the scenes, offering smart solutions for laborious business processes. Van Bommel maps out vital business processes and is an IT expert. Van Engelen is a boardroom member and scientist. From 2014 to 2017 they published four books in the Netherlands on IT and governing of IT, which were well received. Cycle to Accelerate (part 1) The Art of Making IT Work for You, is an adaptation of one of those books.
Hans van Bommel
Van Bommel is founder and co-owner of IT company Cycle to Accelerate, SpronQ, OrinoQo and technology company fluQel. He worked for the last 20 years on recent major IT projects and also designed and built privately held IT SAAS solutions like PrivacyPerfect.com. Reference customers include: UWV (social health care), CIZ (healthcare services), PGGM (pension service provider), MN (pension service provider), NCIA of NATO, Ministry of Finance, Rabobank, ING and the Depart- ment of Defence in The Netherlands. Van Bommel studied electronics and technical physics and then worked at the Institute of Atomic and Nuclear Physics Nikhef in Amsterdam. Following this he found himself in IT working for UL (former Collis) before he became an entrepreneur at the age of 26. Van Bommel's opinion articles are regularly published, he is also a columnist for Computable magazine and appears in the Dutch media often.
Jo van Engelen
On numerous occasions as a board member, Van Engelen dealt with IT in business processes through IT implementations. He has been a mem- ber of the executive board of directors of companies including APG (pension service provider) and ANWB (a travellers' association with roadside assistance). Throughout his career, he has served on near to twenty supervisory boards. In addition to his managerial experience Van Engelen is also a chaired professor at the universities of Groningen and Delft (business development and sustainability) and (co-)author of over a hundred scientific publications. He also (co)wrote ten books.
Preface by David Arkless
When Hans asked me to introduce "Cycle to Accelerate" to a wider audience, I immediately thought of my experience when I first read the books for myself. I thought the title seemed a little strange at first! Why "Cycle"? Was this some strange allusion or salute to the many environ- mental initiatives currently impacting the way we live and work on a Global basis?
The answer is no, but kind of yes, in a very non-traditional way! Right from the first pages I was fascinated with the clarity of the basic premise and with the simple way the authors had taken their experiences and then codified them. Very clever!
I consumed all four parts within a matter of days and the content had a huge impact on my thinking. Of course, there are various ways of interpreting what is happening in infotech and what needs to be done to bring us to the right track. There are also various ways of translating the base validity of the interplaying elements on this path. Sometimes language does not suit digital interpretations and algorithms, but the authors have made a "good fist" of doing so. They have managed to, in my opinion, steer through the labyrinth of mystifying digital buzzwords and the latest marketing speak. They introduce a pleasant and catchy common-sense view on IT and the digital world. Their way of dealing with the subject matter is enlightening and hands-on. The main purpose of these books is to make everyone realize that we can actually do some- thing to resolve the problems companies and indeed our societies have. You want to work out how to use the digital world to solve/progress some of our biggest problems? Then read on.
Let's start "Cycling" in boardrooms and in society to accelerate progress.
Founder and Chairman - The ArkLight Group
Former Global President - ManpowerGroup
Former International President - CDI Corporation Founder - Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking Founder - The Future Work Consortium
Advisory Board - UNHCR
Advisory Board - Durham University Business School Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts