Archive for the ‘Technologies’ Category

IT Spend – cost reduction or profit growth?   1 comment

Through a recent research mini-thesis I began to understand the view of management toward IT within a business. That management had the choice of viewing IT as either a cost centre or a profit centre. As a necessary evil, or as profoundly important to the future of the business.

If IT is a cost centre, well – just focus on efficiencies. Just make sure that you get the best value for money. That each of those computing clock cycles is used optimally and that none is wasted.

IT from this perspective is just a back-office operation. Things just need to run smoothly, efficiently and cheaply.

However, if IT is a profit centre – then focus on growth, on opportunities, on exploiting new ways of doing things. The effort is investment for bigger payoff. Its about using IT to improve, even create, intellectual property. That each of those computing clock cycles goes toward multiplying the effect of the investment.

IT from this perspective is for front-of-house. Its aligned to who you are as a business.

How, may I ask, is IT viewed in your business?

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

Posted May 28, 2014 by terop in ICT Strategy, Innovation, Leadership, Technologies

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.

IT Alignment – what do the users do?   Leave a comment

Do you know what the users of IT in your organisation are doing? What type of work are they handling on a daily basis?

And importantly, is the information technology that they are provided with supporting this activity efficiently?

One way to think about this is through their types of communication. Are they coordinating, collaborating, or being an information conduit?
– Coordinating: ensuring others are getting things done, booking resources, dealing with timelines
– Collaborating: working with others toward a common goal, sharing ideas, sharing resources
– Conduit: sending and receiving information and instructions, creating work, being that knowledge resource

From here, what tool do they use to get these tasks done? Are all 3 types of users lumped with the same technology, and thus being potentially inefficient, or is the IT they use tailored for their primary type of communication.

By getting this right, measurable improvements in productivity can be realized.

For more, see Dellium Advisory

Where is IT headed?   Leave a comment

Think about it.

A steady flow of new, and derived, apps for smartphones. The push from the majors to move to our IT to the cloud. The pervasiveness of social technology in all the we do or are likely to do. Our fondness for computing on the go (tablets, smartphones). The delivery of Big Data’s promise.

Is there an underlying meme, a driver, a way of looking at all of this for it to all make sense.

Well, I believe there is.

One is through the lens of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” theory. The theory that says once our basic needs (physiological & safety) then we advance to the needs of belonging & esteem. With those catered for, we progress onto the last – self-actualization (creativity, problem solving, etc).

Viewed this way, computing makes sense. We have our basic needs met, we have found our sense of belonging & esteem. And now its onto creativity & problem solving. Thus the rise of social computing platforms. Thus the rise of enablers like computing on the go.

The second lens is Ken Wilbur’s “Integral Theory”. Like Maslow’s hierarchy, Integral Theory is about going through levels. Each level has a colour: Beige for archaic (dawning self-awareness), red for tribal (ego-centric), blue for traditional (order, values), orange for modern (rationality, democracy) and green for post-modern (equality, world-centric).

And, like Maslow, Wilbur sees people progress through the layers.

Thus we can see computing from the personal usage & commercial usage go through these layers. We can see how technology is both an enabler of these levels & an artifact of the level it finds itself in.

So, where is IT headed? Toward more self-actualization, toward more post-modern. People & businesses getting more creative & solving problems in new ways. People & business seeing greater symbiosis as the natural order of things.

There is no going back to how it was.

Posted March 11, 2014 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, Innovation, Technologies

Are the Products you rely upon near end of life?   Leave a comment

What is the impact of the roadmaps of your IT vendors on your organisation’s strategy?

An obvious example is the discontinuation of support for Windows XP from April 2014. If your firm focuses on price leadership, then the costs of upgrades, hardware refreshes, operating system choices, staff training are balanced against improvements in productivity, lower computer fleet running costs, and so on.

If your business focuses on product/service differentiation, then if key applications are only capable of running on Windows XP some serious choices would need to be made. Do we build new, do we keep the current app and so on.

The same would go for technologies such as storage, wireless, email, and so on. Are those products nearing end of life? Have you got 6 months, 12 months are just a few weeks left? What is it going to cost you to upgrade (can you?), replace (what’ll be the impact?), or doing something new (what is your business strategy)?

Technology is all the way through the value chain. You need to keep an eye on the life cycle of the technology.