Musings on personal and enterprise technology (of potential interest to professional technoids and others)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who owns your "IT projects"? [Hint: That is a Misnomer] - The Content Economy

Nice grain of salt to keep in mind when planning the next perceived "IT-only" project, e.g. anything related to the unavoidable Upgrade Treadmill that appears not to be a Business Project:

The Content Economy: Who owns your "IT projects"?: "...there are no IT projects, only business projects involving more or less IT. Every IT initiative should be owned and driven by the business. Some might object to this way of seeing things. I would expect IT people that want to keep their influence and power and business people not interested in IT to belong to this category. Upgrading the mail server software to the latest version since the current version will no longer be supported by the vendor might be used as examples of a 'pure' IT project that should be owned by the IT department. But it should not. It would only be a pure IT project if the mail server was not used in the business at all, which then would question its existence and cause it to be terminated. The main point is that someone in the business should always have the ownership of initiatives involving IT, even those needs and initiatives that have been identified and requested by the IT department (such as upgrading a mail server software due to that the current version will no longer be supported by the vendor)...."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

5 Steps to Measuring COE Value -

some nice graphs, and good review of the basics of service management best practices, not really limited to the context of that specific ERP product (ps - for the acronym-challenged: "COE" means Center of Excellence):

5 Steps to Measuring COE Value: "...The most common metrics have already been defined in the form of KPIs and by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of best practices for IT service delivery. Be sure to make use of ITIL practices to define incident and change management processes, as necessary. Once you have selected the metrics and established the benchmarks, create an operational dashboard to track your progress. One of the global support metrics my organization tracks is incident resolution. “Sample Dashboard Graphics,” below, illustrates two ways to measure the support burden: incident by business unit and by time-to-resolution. These examples aren’t particularly granular. Typically, I drill down to get answers; my business partners only want to see results and progress. Any businessperson can understand these charts, the trends they represent, and what they mean...."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Managed Backup Strategy: "Cotton Companies Walks the Walk", eWeek 8oct2007

An interesting approach to centralized backup strategy (apparently no mention however, of required network bandwidth required for those distributed sites)- for a company specializing in disaster-recovery -:)

Cotton Companies Walks the Walk: "...Asigra's Televaulting is the first agentless solution to deliver bare-metal restoration capabilities across distributed or multisite networks, said Colesante. Agentless means there is no need to install client software on target machines, while bare metal means the software restores servers without the need to load applications or files. Televaulting has two main components—a client, which resides at a customer site, and a server, which resides at a WAN-connected data center. Televaulting's technology performs a full backup followed by incremental, minor backups..."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

SharePoint 2007: Pointedly unskinnable ~ Authentic Boredom

some valuable grains of salt to keep in mind with SharePoint:

SharePoint 2007: Pointedly unskinnable ~ Authentic Boredom: "...There is a fundamental distinction that must be understood when implementing SharePoint: SharePoint can be used primarily as a CMS or primarily as a collaboration tool. However, try to use it as both in a single implementation and you’ll entangle yourself in a strenuous skinning effort. Let me attempt to explain why..."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why Google Turned Into a Social Butterfly - New York Times

This article in the NYTimes is ancient history in web time (almost 2 whole weeks ago ;-), yet it still seems worth a quick peek-
Clearly, Google has demonstrated again that it is not at all afraid to aim high, and contemplate a game-changing approach. This idea seems like the Open Source approach on steroids. An enjoyable and informative summary of the recent drama among Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, in this article:

Why Google Turned Into a Social Butterfly - New York Times: "...In a bravura switch of strategy, Google left its own island to embrace open standards that belong to no one company. Its initiative, which it calls OpenSocial, is an appeal to software developers and Web sites to cooperate in adopting a single set of software standards for the little software widgets that can add a social-networking layer to all Web sites. Agreement on a standard would save users from the aggravation of joining multiple networks and save developers from the aggravation of writing code that works only with specific sites. Unlike Facebook’s programming requirements, Google’s use nonproprietary programming languages...."

PS - A fellow blogger has written about the interesting business question of how facebook can help with marketing campaigns . For the time being facebook may be the best tool for that. In the future, depending how the Google OpenSocial initiative turns out, any number of alternatives may present themselves as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

CA Introduces End-User Self Service BlackBerry Administration | RIMarkable

An interesting concept... however ROI appears unclear unless this would obviate lots of ongoing blackberry support (i.e. why bother with Yet Another System to manage, unless it is beyond the initial setup on BES etc...)

CA Introduces End-User Self Service BlackBerry Administration | RIMarkable | The official, unofficial BlackBerry Weblog: "...The key point here for BlackBerry end-users is that they can go buy a new device, go to a web page, and hook their BlackBerry up to their work email without having to call the helpdesk."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

PhoneFactor rings up two-factor authentication

An interesting alternative to the common RSA SecurID key fobs (that generate new keys every 60 seconds for secure remote login):

PhoneFactor rings up two-factor authentication: "...Using the phone as the second part of a two-factor authentication system isn't a novel concept, but it's one that's being implemented more and more as of late. Some banks, such as ASB and Bank Direct in New Zealand, have implemented a phone-based authentication system called Netcode for their Internet banking users in recent years. The phone-based authentication system's low overhead is an attractive way to offer another layer of security on top of what's already available for banking customers. If implemented widely, such a system could provide a much-needed layer of security for banks to combat those that customers are apparently ignoring. PhoneFactor is compatible with all servers that use Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS), according to Positive Networks CTO and former Ars Technica contributor Steve Dispensa. This includes Microsoft's IIS servers and Linux servers that support Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM). The service is being offered for free in single-server form from Positive Networks, with multiserver support, enterprise modules, and Active Directory integration expected within the coming months."