Bill Gates (Chairman Microsoft) management style and CIOs

Bill Gates selling windows

Image by niallkennedy via Flickr

“There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity.”

Douglas MacArthur(1880 -1964) American General

Bill Gates (1955 – ) Microsoft Chairman and philanthropist

Today’s article is the fourth in a series of articles (1stSteve Jobs, 2nd Michael Dell, and 3rd was written on  Warren Buffet, analysing current and past leaders to ascertain how Chief Information Officer’s (CIOs) can learn better management by applying the management practices of leadership, practiced by these leaders.

Gates has led Microsoft from start-up to‘software giant’ with quite an unorthodox style of management. On Microsoft’s website, he measures Microsoft’s success as, “We’ve really achieved the ideal of what I wanted Microsoft to become.”

PS: CIO is a generic term and other analogous titles are Head of IT, IT Director, Director of IT etc.

The Management Style

What can CIOs learn from Gate’s management style? Let’s investigate while allowing you to decide.  (In no particular order and a few other sources utilised):

1. Create and nurture ‘the correct culture.’ – ‘John Battelle co-founded Wired Magazine. He says Microsoft was the pioneer of the new-agey workplace, making work as comfortable, inspiring and fun as possible so workers would spend lots of time there.

John Battelle: And as a matter of fact, at Wired we adopted that stuff. We had a chef and a masseuse, all sorts of services, because we wanted our employees to stick around. I believe Microsoft gets a lot of credit for that.

Bill Gates didn’t even finish college, but the office culture he created at Microsoft is now being taught at the country’s top business schools.’ – Courtesy of Marketplace

2. Develop a Clear Vision–and Stick to It. – From the beginning, he dreamed of developing Microsoft into a corporate giant. For CIOs this is one of the most important traits that MUST be part of the toolbox.

CIOs need to clearly identify to themselves and communicate to the environment that they work in ‘the vision’ that they have set out to achieve. They then need to have the confidence to deliver that vision.

3. Hire ‘Action’ oriented employees. – CIOs usually have exposure to many different environments and come across many employees. Some will be better than others, while some will be outstanding. Gates has always hired the smartest people who can ‘get the job done.’

Hire your friends and past colleagues, as they will have loyalty to you and you personally know whether they have what it takes to realise your ‘vision.’

4. Relax and feel at home – According to Matt Richey, ‘Microsoft has a simple way of maximizing its employees’ productivity: It allows each individual’s office to be as individualized as one desires.

That means making the office more like home. Everything from real offices (not cubicles) to windows in most offices, from free soft drinks to no dress code, from an open supply room to anything-goes work hours. Quite simply, these policies improve employee morale, and thus increase overall productivity.’

5. ‘Image’ is everything. – Gates has successfully changed his image over the years from a geek to corporate leader and philanthropist.

CIOs need to change their image from just being technology leader to leaders who understand business and can apply their strategic IT and business skills to the wider business.

6. Successful innovation and success in general may be built on failure: Yep, Gate’s has constantly had Microsoft innovating along. Currently though, as many large IT businesses employ smarter and smarter employees, time will judge who can innovate the most and bring to market technologies that have ‘stickiness.’

The question these companies have to ask themselves is that can employing ‘smarter’ employees stop the next Google , or Microsoft from raising its head?

For those who have been following my blog, I mentioned this ‘war’ state in Google Apps – The myth, hype and reality , Weather bulletin – Google Cloud and icy Microsoft downpour & Search wars – Past, Present and future – Bing, Google or new entrant?

Microsoft has proved that failure can lead to success and continues to innovate by investing in many technologies. Some will inevitably fail while others maybe huge successes. Many businesses lack of innovation is due to their fear of failures.

7. Be ‘shrewd’ and keep the team on its ‘toes.’ – Gate’s, is known for his sharp cross examination of employees who present new ideas, innovations etc.

He analyses information quite quickly and gets to the bottom of the matter at a rapid pace. Employees have criticised this approach and associated quick, sharp, snappy analysis that at times is uncomfortable (in employee’s views). These qualities of Gate’s have enabled Microsoft to dominate personal computers (PCs). CIOs need to understand employee perspectives and ‘effectively quiz’ their teams on solutions being proposed.

8. Ruthlessly protect your ‘budget.’ – According to Matt Richey, ‘Even with its billions upon billions in cash, Microsoft is as frugal as Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s a company that buys canned weenies for food, not shrimp. Until last year (1999), even Bill Gates and his second-in-command Steve Ballmer flew coach. (For scheduling reasons, the company purchased its first corporate jet.)

Bucking the trend of most large, wealthy corporations, Microsoft remains in start-up mode where tight budgets are the rule. When you sit back and think about it, this frugality is less surprising and even explain how a company can come to accumulate such great hoards of cash.’

9. ‘Stop’ the ‘mad bureaucracy’ – I have mentioned this before in a post (can’t think of which one though) and it gets reiterated again by Microsoft. As Matt said, ‘The plague of most big companies is bureaucracy and stupid rules. Thielen gives the example of an un-named high-tech company that sent a four-page memo to all of its employees on proper security badge procedure, including infinitesimal details on how and where to wear the badge.

To that, Thielen states, “Does Microsoft manage to avoid this type of inane garbage? By and large, yes.” Unlike most companies, Microsoft actually assumes its employees are smart. Rules at Microsoft are few and far between, and the ones that exist tend to make sense. Having only a few important, logical rules means that employees actually remember and follow them.

Some Sources of Information and further reading:

How to be the next Bill Gates

Former MS employee recalls Bill Gates’ management style

The 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management

Fiedler Model and Level 4 leadership

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Choosing technology over customers

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

Warren Buffet (1930 – ) World’s most successful investor

I recently received a blog post from Software Advice on – Why the Technology Matters – An Analysis of Consona’s Acquisition of Compiere. That blog post made me think about my recent posts over the last few months on Cloud Computing and Google Apps etc in May, June, my blog post last year on ERP and this year’s – Leveraging IT for Competitive Advantage – Myth or Reality? The ERP blog post covered the recent acquisitions that had happened within the competitive ERP arena and Leveraging IT for Competitive Advantage – Myth or Reality? attempted to address whether competitive advantage could be realised through effective use of IT.

Now, as we all know from the blog post, Warren Buffet’s (World’s most successful investor) management style and CIOs, the technology business is not considered a viable investment by him as he admits that he doesn’t understand technology and considers technology too volatile.  So, when Don Fornes wrote that he thought Consona had acquisitioned Compiere ‘because the Compiere product is built on a very modern technology stack and is designed to run in a cloud computing environment’ it made sense.

This was also confirmed by a quote by Consona’s CTO, Steve Bailey, ‘Compiere is the world’s leading open-source ERP solution and the products are brilliantly architected. They run on a fully open-source stack (e.g., Java, Linux, JBOSS, Postgres), utilize a browser-based AJAX UI based on the Google Web Toolkit, and are fully operational either on premise or on a utility cloud platform like Amazon…’

Don went on to say, ‘While Consona has acquired a number of software companies based on this model, that doesn’t seem to be the strategy behind the Compiere deal. Compiere brings only 130 customers to Consona and I doubt Compiere’s open-source business model was generating big profits. Instead of buying customers and profits, Consona seems to be thinking ahead about how they can lead the market in the next generation of technology. The acquisition is more about growing organically – selling more Compiere systems – than it is about harvesting customer support contracts.’

‘Why is this all relevant to software buyers? Because there is a big shift underway from client/server systems installed “on premise” to cloud-based or software-as-a-service systems that are hosted in a secure data center and accessed through a web browser. Moreover, the open source movement is producing underlying technology that is not only free, but increasingly really good stuff. Software vendors that don’t make the transition will wither on the vine.’

‘To highlight the significance of this model, consider that a bunch of brilliant Google engineers built some cutting edge user interface technology (Google Web Toolkit) and open sourced it. Compiere turned around and used it in their products. Google did a big part of Compiere’s engineering for free…and will continue to do so. Now that’s efficient development.’

‘Compare that to an application software company that has to pay ongoing royalties to an infrastructure software company for the privilege of developing on its outdated database or development tools. The smart engineers long since left both companies so they could work on cooler projects at more modern software companies. The mediocre engineers that remain are having a hard time developing new features on old code. Sales are declining and customers are defecting (albeit slowly because it’s hard to switch).’

‘You don’t want to be that customer that is trying to defect but fears the switching costs. You want to be the delighted customer that loves their software because it works today and will work tomorrow, regardless of what new requirements emerge.’

As we are constantly bombarded by marketers and pushed towards cloud computing models, please remember that (as Marcela Cueli said in his article),

‘For a start, cloud computing is not a technology but a model of provision and marketing IT services that meet certain characteristics. Cloud is all about computer services, not products:

* The infrastructure is shared. Multiple clients share a common technology platform and even a single application instance.

* The services are accessed on demand in units that vary by service. Units can be, for example, user, capacity, transaction or any combination thereof.

* Services are scalable. From the user’s point of view, services are flexible; there are no limits to growth.

* The pricing model is by consumption. Instead of paying the fixed costs of a service sized to handle peak usage, you pay a variable cost per unit consumption (users, transactions, capacity, etc.) that is measured in time periods that can vary, such as hour or month.

* Services can be accessed from anywhere in the world by multiple devices. The cloud model leads to basically two different kinds of clouds: private and public. The public clouds are those that offer IT services to any customer over the Internet. Private clouds offer IT services to a predefined group of customers, with access through Internet or private networks. You might have also heard about internal and external clouds. The former are a subgroup of the private clouds, and provide services within the same company or corporate group. The latter may be public or private and provide services to other companies.’

To conclude, this is exactly what I have been discussing in my blog posts over the last year or so. Don’s thoughts are increasingly reflective of the technology blogosphere as technology writers’ such as Don and I understand the repercussions of the effects of cloud computing on traditional client/server models and associated revenue streams, licensing etc.

There are many facets that I have covered over the last year or so that lead companies to be in this vulnerable position where they have to resort to acquisitions to remain contenders within their marketplace. My blog posts mentioned earlier have considered these, so apart from the above posts, I will leave you with some other posts that should help companies and their management become successful.

What is Cloud Computing? Its Pros/Cons and making it work

Lawmakers question the security of cloud computing

Can IT Management failure be caused by a deadly disease? Part I

Can IT Management failure be caused by a deadly disease? Part II

I listened, you spoke but did we communicate?

IT benchmarking

The CIOs agenda and memberships

Challenges facing CIOs at the UK’s leading companies

 

IT security demystified

Updated 10.12.11

IT as a profession when compared to other professions is relatively new. As such even 10-15 years ago, many ‘control measures’ used within the profession currently either did not exist or were not used by many organisations. I will use the word ‘control measures’ to describe all the standards, laws, frameworks and best practice guidelines as a collective for the purpose of this blog post. As the profession has matured, a plethora of ‘control measures’ have continued to emerge and organisations have adopted these ‘control measures’ as their IT has matured. The purpose of today’s blog post is to clarify these ‘control measures’ to aid further adoption where required. All these ‘control measures’ arrive with a caveat however. Organisations need to find an acceptable level of ‘control measures’ that ensure that the organisation is adept at dealing with security threats and any prevailing laws that affect it, locally or globally. If organisations are not careful, they could spend unnecessary amounts of time implementing different but complementary ‘control measures.’ The best is to find happy mediums that will allow the organisation to meet its business objectives without spending too much time on ‘control measures.’

This is a topic for another day but I have seen many organisations’ spend enormous amounts of time on preparing the ‘perfect’ business case consisting of 100’s of pages and not enough time on planning to ‘fit business requirements’ or actually actioning the project (too much planning, not enough action). The same is true for ‘control measures’, even with ‘control measures’ such as Sarbanes Oxley and Basel II, the banks still managed to crash the world economy (averted only by global governments leading ‘control measures’). Let’s also not forget that no system is completely 100% secure either! I will cover as much as I can today and hope that if I miss anything, my readers can engage as usual and assist in not only filling in the blanks but making it a truly interactive discussion.

According to the Symantec 2010 state of enterprise security study (Click here for 2011 study)  You Tube 2010 (Click here for You Tube 2011), 75 % of organisations are losing on average $2 million annually ($2.8 million for the largest ones).The study found that 42 percent of organisations rate security their top issue. This isn’t a surprise, considering that 75 percent of organisations experienced cyber attacks in the past 12 months. These attacks cost enterprise businesses an average of $2 million per year. Organisations reported that enterprise security is becoming more difficult due to understaffing, new IT initiatives that intensify security issues and IT compliance issues. The study is based on surveys of 2,100 enterprise CIOs, CISOs and IT managers from 27 countries in January 2010.’ Symantec’s study found that organisations are exploring approximately 19 different standards or frameworks and are using 8 of them. I am predominantly covering these 8 and a few others.

Firstly, let me quickly define the four ‘control measures’ that I will be using (Courtesy of Dictionary.com):

1. Standards:

Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model.

2. Frameworks or Best practice guidelines:

I. Frameworks – A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitute a way of viewing reality.

II. Best Practice – A technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has reliably led to a desired or optimum      result. For example, a manual documenting best practices in the industry.

My research shows that these two terms are used inter changeably, so to avoid further confusion, I will be bundling them together.

3. Law:

Any written or positive rule or collection of rules prescribed under the authority of the state or nation, as by the people in its constitution. For example, statute law.

There is a good article in this week’s Computing regarding IT security that mentions a book by Alan Calder ‘IT Governance: a manager’s guide to information security and BS7799/ISO17799.’ The book is on my ‘to read’ list now and is the selected text for Open University’s Information Security Management Course, according to the reviews.

1. Standards:

I. ISO 27001 consists of two parts. ISO/IEC 27001:2005 (formerly BS 7799-2:2002) that specifies Information Security Management  and ISO/IEC 27002:2005 (previously named ISO/IEC 17799:2005) that specifies the code of practice for Information Security Management. An important aspect to remember regarding this standard is that it replaces and incorporates the old BS 7799 standard. In my opinion, this standard should be adopted by most organisations, especially global players.

II. ISO/IEC 20000 defines the requirements for a service provider to deliver managed services. ITIL provides good practice guidelines, advice and options that can be selectively adopted and adapted. ISO/IEC 20000 is a standard in two parts. Part 1, ISO/IEC 20000-1 is the distillation of the “must do” practices of service management. Part 2, ISO/IEC 20000-2 is a code of practice giving advice. Achieving ISO/IEC 20000 is undertaken when organisations want to test and prove they have adopted ITIL advice.

III. Basel II is the second of the Basel Accords that are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BIS). The purpose of Basel II, is to create an international standard that banking regulators can use when creating regulations about how much capital banks need to put aside to guard against the types of financial and operational risks banks face. Basel II holds financial institutions accountable for the economic consequences of high operational risk (e.g., the neglect of data security) and helps reap the economic rewards of lowering operational risk (e.g., the deployment of data security measures). Within its three “pillars” of thought—(1) Minimum Capital Requirements; (2) Supervisory Review; and (3) Market Discipline—Basel II addresses several key security requirements.

IV. PCI DSS – The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard . The Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security framework was created by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa International. Prior to 2004, each of the associations had a proprietary set of information security requirements which were often burdensome and repetitive for participants in multiple brand networks. The associations subsequently created a uniform set of information security requirements for all national card brands. These requirements became known as the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), governing all the payment channels: Retail, mail orders, telephone orders and e-commerce. The PCI DSS framework is divided into 12 security requirements.

V. The Standard of Good Practice for Information Security is compiled by the Information security forum with 300 member organisations globally. According to its website:

‘Included in the Standard are topics that are extremely important to many organisations including:

  • Controls aimed at complying with legal and regulatory requirements, such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, Basel II 1998, and the EU Directive on Data Protection.
  • Coverage of all the main security controls in other major information security-related standards, such as ISO/IEC 27002 (17799) and COBIT.
  • ‘hot topics’ in information security, such as Threat Horizon, Digital Rights Management, Eurosox and Virtualisation (e.g. reflecting the output from ISF Briefings and ‘Future Watch’ projects).’

2. Frameworks or Best practice guidelines

I. ITIL (UK) – The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and practices for managing Information Technology (IT) services (ITSM) that includes security management. It describes the organisation of IT resources to deliver business value, documents processes, functions and roles in IT Service Management (ITSM). ITIL introduced the concept of service desks intended to provide a Single Point of Contact and a common database to meet the communication needs between the users and IT providers. The original version of ITIL was developed at the same time as, and in alignment with BS 15000, the former UK standard for IT Service Management. BS15000 was fast-tracked in 2005 to become ISO/IEC 20000, the first international standard in ITSM.

II. COBIT (USA) – The Control Objectives for Information and related Technology is a set of best practices (framework) for information technology (IT) management and is complementary to ITIL. It is an open standard published by the IT Governance Institute and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. To read how ITIL, COBIT and ISO 17799 can be aligned, Click here. ISACA have recently made available mapping ITIL V3 to CoBit 4.1, click here for more details.

III. CIS – (The centre for Internet security) provides benchmarks for best practice standards for security configurations. When the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) published its requirements it cited CIS Benchmarks.

3. Law (for more information, please refer to my previous blog post International and UK Law and how it relates to IT and Computers):

I. HIPAA (USA)The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 (enacted by US congress in 1996).  It protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. The Security Rule is a key part of HIPAA. The primary objective of the Security Rule is to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of EPHI when it is stored, maintained, or transmitted.

II. Sarbanes Oxley (USA)The bill was enacted as a result of major corporate accounting scandals including Enron and WorldCom. According to Mark Rasch, ‘IT security is important under SOX only to the extent that it enhances the reliability and integrity of that reporting. Because of SOX’s reliance on controls, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (headed by former SEC member James Treadway) developed a series of controls for financial processes which are now known as the COSO guidelines. COSO was originally formed in 1985 to sponsor the National Commission on Fraudulent Financial Reporting. For IT auditors, the relevant guidelines are COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies) which is an open standard published by the IT Governance Institute and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. (In the UK, there is the IT Infrastructure Library, published by the Office of Government Commerce in Great Britain which compliments COBIT.) These are a series of IT controls which should be in place in order to make such a SOX certification with respect to IT.’

III. Data Protection Act (UK) 1998 – Defines UK law on the processing of data on identifiable living people (extended the scope of data protection beyond automatically processed data). It was enacted to bring UK law into line with the European Directive of 1995 that required Member States to protect people’s fundamental rights and freedom, in particular their right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data. In practice it provides a way for individuals to control information about themselves. In terms of IT security the data needs to be Secured against accidental loss, destruction or damage and against unauthorised or unlawful processing – this applies even if the business uses a third party to process personal information.

In summary, Symantec’s study found that organisations are exploring approximately 19 different standards or frameworks and are using 8 of them. This is without taking into account specific areas and industries. Any organisation’s IT security strategy should take into account these three areas of standards, Frameworks or Best practice guidelines and law and ensure that it selects appropriately from within these three areas. On going developments such as the recent health care reform bill (USA) will continue to have their own implications on IT security.

The Social Networking dilemma and the CIO

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It is no surprise that approx only 50% of businesses said they had policies against unauthorised access to Web 2.0 sites, and only 28% had included Web 2.0 in their risk management process. A lot has been said and written about social networking. There are not many sites though that provide advice to the CIO on what should be done. This article should provide food for thought for CIOs considering on what to do next in the field of Social Networking.

The one element that most CIOs seem to be hung up on is how to go about controlling it or simply not allowing access to most social media. That is not a productive idea. That is as bad as stopping access to the Internet once was.

Instead, CIOs need to ask themselves, how can I use social networking for creating competitive advantage? In my opinion, an appropriate social networking policy needs to be created that addresses, a few key areas:

  1. Employees identify within social networking sites that the views that they air are their own (unless sanctioned by the public relations department) and should understand that any personal information passed through such sites that goes into the public domain could be linked to the business’s name (including employees own time/out of hours). This is very important as these views could potentially be challenged in the courts as being that of the business.
  2. Computer usage policies prevail and time spent on such sites while at work should be limited as per the computer usage policy, including access during breaks/out of hours.
  3. Some sites, allow “recommendations” for employees, (both former and current). This should not be allowed either as the business could be held liable for such recommendations (e.g. former employee recommendation was flawed or not appropriate). Such recommendations should be made only by Human Resources.

These sites should be thoroughly researched by in house innovation departments and recommendations made by them should be followed up to ascertain ways of engaging the public through these sites. For example, creating mini business sites or groups on these sites that allow interaction with the public or customers can pay dividends.

Challenges facing CIOs at the UK’s leading companies

If you enjoy my blog, please recommend my blog for the Computerweekly IT Blog Awards 2009 in the CIO/IT Director category at:

http://www.computerweekly.com/nominate

Recently, Jeremy Oates, – Managing Director for Accenture systems integration & technology did an interview for Computing magazine – 10/8/09 and was asked about the challenges facing CIOs at the UK’s leading companies.

I enjoyed that interview and have responded by providing additional answers to Jeremy’s thoughts, as below:

What is the biggest problem for FTSE 100 CIOs?

I just wanted to discuss the Green IT issue in a bit more depth. CIOs need to recognise that the Green issue will be climbing higher and higher up the CIOs agenda. Addressing this is not just good business but a necessity. We are increasingly living in a world that faces an energy crisis and a pollution bombshell. Anything that we do that can lower our carbon footprint will be good PR, good business, provide a good ROI (For example, reducing travel expenses by video conferencing) and value for money. It is the duty of any corporate citizen to ensure that we leave a sustainable world for future generations.

How can these problems be solved?

In addition to your thoughts, there are once again, at a corporate level many initiatives that can be introduced that can address the problems that we now face. Every CIO should have a team looking after innovation and ensuring that it is horizon scanning to ascertain the technology that could be the next killer application or IT, ‘must have’.

Businesses’ need to ensure that they actively promote IT graduate placements (Discussed in my blog – The future graduate and the IT and computing skills shortage –http://tinyurl.com/skillshortage) and women are encouraged to not only become IT graduates but to work within the IT arena.

Businesses also need to look at mobile workforces and how best to equip them (Phones vs Smartphones), how best to use social networking (bearing in mind the next generation knows no other way to communicate) and how to leverage Cloud Computing. In addition, ERP systems need to be utilised more efficiently as well.

The above will generate new ideas and solutions for new world problems.

What are the challenges for enterprises considering cloud-based services?

As outlined before, innovation and horizon scanning should mean that businesses start to research cloud computing and what it can do for businesses (Discussed in my blog – What is Cloud Computing? Its Pros/Cons and making it work – http://tiny.cc/mXOJA). The challenge will be whether businesses are prepared to take the same applications into a ‘test cloud environment’. The issue of security and enterprise data can then be tested. The risk here is that this is a double edged sword, whether to operate in the cloud or not!

£70 billion dollars is being pumped into global broadband infrastructures, so the question is not if but when!

What is the biggest compliance issue facing FTSE 100 firms and how to prevent data loss and security breaches?

I agree it is Security and in my view the one single reason for data loss is human error. Technology, for example can encrypt data but cannot stop an employee from leaving a physical paper file on the train or stop onlookers looking at sensitive data on the screen of a laptop. Business cultures need to change through education and understanding. Businesses should take the UK government’s view  – http://www.nationalschool.gov.uk/news_events/stories/PI.asp and ensure all employees handling information undertake appropriate exams/certifications.

What is Accenture’s view on Digital Britain, particularly the next-generation optical-fibre rollout? Is 2Mbit/s as a universal service commitment (USC) good enough?

To enable the UK to be a market leader for the next generation of product/services that will enter the market as a result of universal broadband coverage, we must be at the forefront of this technology. For example, Australia is spending $33 billion for broadband speeds of 100Mbit/s and the UK is enabling only 2Mbit/s. The statistics prove that the UK is equipped with better connectivity, or we risk being outperformed by countries that are investing  heavily in the telecoms infrastructure now rather than tomorrow.