Archive for the ‘Cloud Computing’ Category

Critical Thinking and IT   Leave a comment

Having been involved in IT for quite a number of years I have been personally across an extensive list of faults, projects and to-do lists. Where the faults have ranged all the way from printing problems on a PC to Active Directory synchronization errors across multiple global domains. Where the projects have included things like office relocations, SAN upgrades and WiFi rollouts. And where to-do lists (IT strategies) have revolved around understanding the needs of multiple stakeholders, the timing of investment decisions and the availability of resources.

And one of the critical abilities that is common to all of these is the ability to think critically.

Not in the sense of being critical about others, but the process of thought and reasoning.

I’ve seen fellow IT professionals simply content to hit refresh buttons and just go for the software re-install.

I’ve seen projects fall over because some first and second order impacts weren’t considered.

And I’ve seen action items added to strategies for no other reason than it just felt right to the sponsor.

Sigh!

So, while the following list can apply to other areas of endeavor that requires fault analysis, project management or strategic approaches, all of these aspects of critical thinking do apply to the full gamut of activities associated with information technology.

Eight principles of critical thinking:

  1. define the purpose
  2. what is the question you are wanting to answer
  3. collect information
  4. consider your inferences
  5. check your assumptions
  6. be clear about the concepts in use
  7. what exactly is your perspective
  8. what are the implications

Regarding purpose. What is the objective of that project? What is it that is really trying to be achieved?

Regarding question. How clear are you about the fault you are trying to fix? What are its symptons and underlying causes?

Regarding information. Do you have all the facts and evidence with respect to that fault? How long has it been going on, under what conditions is it triggered, and so on.

Regarding inferences. Looking at that set of strategic objectives, what interpretations and conclusions can you draw out from that body of proposed work?

Regarding assumptions. What beliefs and biases do you hold, and what beliefs and biases do you believe that others hold?

Regarding assumptions. With respect to that project, what are you taking for granted? With respect to that strategy, what are you assuming about the business?

Regarding concepts. What exactly is that idea you have about the cause of that fault? What is the theory you have about the use of that particular technology for that project?

Regarding perspective. Can you step back and see your point of view dispassionately? In the project management discussions, is your point of view valid?

Regarding implications. When you take that step to fix up the fault, what will happen? What is likely to occur as you execute that strategy?

The ability to think critically is increasingly important. Do you take the time and effort to apply any or all of these eight aspects of thought and reasoning to the tasks at hand?

 
For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my strategy and futures-centric blog.

What do we do with all of this data?   Leave a comment

At the recent CES, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) was all the rage. With internet connected sensors, miniature computers, appliances, and more being touted as the best thing to get a hold of. It seems that we will be flooded with data.

And what about our personal tech? Think wearables and biometric data. From a third party perspective, think about the mass of heart rate, step, cadence and calorie data that is now available.

And then there is all that data available from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Data concerning our preferences, our connections, our habits.

Where will this lead?

What is the point of having this surfeit of data?

Where will this abundance take us to.

Well, one view is that all this data is but the foundation of the DIKW pyramid.

  1. Data
  2. Information
  3. Knowledge
  4. Wisdom

We have all of this data. But from data we derive information. That is, we can describe sets of data using terms and language with which we are familiar. For example, the data we read from a mass of temperature sensors leads us to describing how hot or cold the day feels. Then from this information, we derive knowledge. Knowledge, in the case of information derived from temperature sensors, about what we should wear. That is, how we should react to the information we receive.

And then finally wisdom. Knowledge in action. Judgement about choosing between courses of action.

So, the question is, will we use this abundance of data for making right decisions? Will the data collected from say these “Internet of Things” devices lead to providing ethical solutions to intractable problems? Will the data collected from personal tech lead to an improvement in, for example, mortality rates? Will the use of data that social media platforms collect lead to better societies and communities around the globe?

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my strategy and futures-centric blog.

A Mobile-first & Cloud-first era   Leave a comment

As a long time tech company watcher – say Google, IBM, Microsoft, and so on – its interesting to observe the changes in their emphases. With what they see as their competitive advantage in the years ahead.

Take Microsoft’s recent shift from “a devices and services company” to “a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first & cloud-first world”.

That implies that they see an inexorable shift to mobile computing. They see the end of the traditional server room.

But what are the implications for those that use computing and those that supply computing?

  1. location independent interaction with organisations will be assumed
  2. convenience and responsiveness will be the only acceptable customer service experience
  3. unlimited computing power will be available to organisations
  4. the ability to use information will be critical
  5. the security of the organization’s information will be critical
  6. internal ICT users will expect the same mobile-first & cloud-first experience as customers do
  7. the ICT portfolio will be skewed toward SaaS
  8. a reduction in the headcount of internal ICT support staff

The world is changing, and technology leaders like Microsoft are changing in order to keep up with the times. In order to survive and thrive.

Are you?

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

More mobility coming?   Leave a comment

Given that global tablet sales will be larger than PC sales next year, what are considerations should be weighed.

What are the trends already underway? What is likely to happen?

From an internal corporate perspective, among other areas there are impacts upon information security policies and systems supporting those policies.

From a customer interaction perspective, perhaps a greater emphasis upon customer experience with different computing device form factors.

From an IT perspective, there may well be a greater shift to services based in a public cloud.

And with this increasing trend to mobility, perhaps the most pervasive is the desire of all to have information available fast. For movement implies flow, which is not a cousin of patience and waiting.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, see my organisational strategy blog Strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Does your ICT Strategy support “two heads are better than one”?   Leave a comment

Let’s draw a thread here. To deductively, if you will, draw a conclusion.

Firstly, it is a given that compared with businesses that don’t, those that do engage in strategic planning perform much better in a wide range of statistics. Whether sales growth, profitability, return on investments, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, or even survival, a business that lifts its eyes toward the horizon and navigates a path toward it will do well.

Second, the milieu that we are entering is one based on collaboration. Is one based on partnering to produce innovation, to create new. It is where the economy, in broad terms, is dynamic and changing fast. Where two heads will always be better than one.

Third, a growing trend in business application are those geared toward enhancing “virtual” collaboration. Its moving away from email and physical meetings toward categories such as cloud-based file sharing & other enterprise apps. Toward a greater use of social media.

And so, how easy is it for “the business” to collaborate using the tools that IT provide? How quickly can users respond to changes in their business environment?

To continue realising the real gains from strategic planning, are those plans including IT that will facilitate the “two heads are better than one” approach?

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, see my organisational strategy blog Strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Posted June 10, 2014 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, ICT Strategy, Innovation

Mix it up – consider a hybrid cloud approach   Leave a comment

Is it all or nothing? That is should you have an IaaS-only approach, or go all-in on a complete suite of SaaS?

Or should you use the hybrid-cloud approach?

Are you listening to vendors who are saying, “well, we’ve got the best solution for all your IT needs” or are you stepping back and considering what works best for your situation?

Should you consider mixing it up? I dare say you already do. Disparate databases, different standards and technology across your range of applications. So, there’ll be nothing new for you by having a hybrid cloud approach.

And what is a hybrid cloud approach? Its a mix of private and public cloud technology. You might have your archives on a public cloud platform (ie. Amazon AWS’s “Data Archival Solution”), but run the finance application from your data centre. Others may choose to have their payment gateway hosted externally, but the related corporate data held internally.

With the decisions you make there are 6 factors to consider. Ultimately, will there be improvements in IT’s:
– governance
– measurement
– organisational structure
– processes
– service portfolio
– sourcing

It’s not just the lowest cost, or what seems easy and straightforward. There are many factors in considering a hybrid cloud approach.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn

How complex does your IT need to be? Try SaaS   Leave a comment

Exactly what business are you in?

Do you have an army of HR professionals, an array of people looking after accounts payed and received?

No? Well, why do you have an extensive group of IT professionals?

If you don’t and your IT isn’t working properly – that may be the reason. But that’s a topic for another day.

Asking from a different perspective, how may applications do you have? How complex is your business model?

Could your back-office functions be all done in one package and that package hosted on the internet?

You see, SaaS – software as a service – is just that. It’s a package, an application that is hosted by a vendor you trust that does the work you need it to do. Instead of that application being hosted internally, with all the attendant support and upgrade needs, all of the “lights-on” activity is taken care by that third party.

But, as with everything in IT, its just not that simple. There is the security of your data to consider. There are the linkages to other applications. There are some considerations around how close that data is in that potentially hosted application to your key intellectual property, how critical it is to your continued operation.

SaaS, that top layer, may be for you.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Got great computing ideas? Need IT infrastructure cost reduction? Well, try PaaS!   Leave a comment

Here’s some questions to ponder:

How much are you spending on IT infrastructure?
How do you currently develop applications?
How do you improve what you have?
What platforms do you have for those great ideas?

Well, PaaS – Platform as a Service – might be right for you.

With PaaS you don’t need to worry about the servers, the network, the storage and all of the trouble associated with these three. The provider takes care of that for you.

With PaaS you get a suite of tools and an application hosting environment.

So, how does this apply to you? Well, if you are in a standard IT shop – it may be that a lot of the infrastructure support costs could be done away with by reframing your cloud computing model search away from looking at the whole IT stack (applications, data & technology) to just the application and data layers.

That 70-80% of your IT budget which is spent on just keeping the lights going, could well drop significantly if you choose the right cloud computing model.

And what of your application developing, testing and deployment environment? Is it just on that Office PC or do you have to “fight” for resources on the virtual server farm. By considering PaaS a bit more robustness may be achieved for your work.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn

Cloud Computing for your organisation? Well, try IaaS   Leave a comment

IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service.

Here’s some questions:
1. Do you have your own datacenter, or are you sharing a facility?
2. What is the age of the infrastructure? That is, the servers and the network switches?
3. How extensive is virtualisation? 100% of your servers? 50% of your servers?
4. And what is in the pipeline for application upgrades and/or replacements or even new applications over the next year or two?

Recently I performed a simple calculation. Given the life of a SAN is say 5 years, it was cheaper to transfer all of its workload to an IaaS provider. That pricing comparison didn’t include the environment (airconditioning, power, etc) and didn’t factor in the reductions in IaaS rates.

Moving to an IaaS provider could be viewed as moving to a remote datacenter?

Think it through. Think through the cost implications, the security implications & what it would mean for your users?

Is this a trend just like server virtualisation was several years ago? Where at first we try virtualising just a few non-critical servers to “test the waters”, and then push through and virtualize the rest.

Perhaps, IaaS makes sense for your situation.

For more, see Dellium Advisory.

The Commoditisation of the Cloud?   Leave a comment

What are they thinking? And is this what the cloud has come to?

With the recent announcement that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is going to add IaaS as a tradeable commodity just as it has space on its exchange for trading other commodities like bananas, oil and copper raises an interesting question.

Is the market for cloud services so mature that there really is little to distinguish between the providers?

And what is IaaS?

To put it into perspective, there are three levels to cloud the computing structure:
1. IaaS: Infastructure as a Service. The virtual machines, the networking and the storage
2. PaaS: Platform as a Service. The database servers, the web servers, etc
3. SaaS: Software as a Service. The applications that we use

And what CME is saying is that the bottom layer is a commodity. That there is no real difference between the offerings from Amazon, Google & Microsoft. That computing power is tradable in the same way that energy is. That price becomes the key determinant of between the market players at this layer & that differentiation at the PaaS & SaaS layers will be the increasing focus of the game in the time ahead.

For more see Dellium Advisory

Posted April 22, 2014 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, ICT Strategy, Innovation