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Showing posts from October, 2008

Service Level Agreements With Cloud Computing; Google Ups The Ante

An interesting post from Google today talks about how they measure up time for GMail and how they are oodles better (both in performance and cost) that three main competitors (Groupwise, Lotus and Microsoft Exchange): Compared to the costs of Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus or Novell GroupWise — including software licensing, server expenses and the labor associated with deploying, maintaining and upgrading them on a regular basis — Google Apps leaves companies with much more time and money to focus on their real business. All quite interesting but then again I have worked for a software vendor and always remember the line given to me by their head of sales: You are always number one - just make sure you the size the pool to make that so! Granted, Google is playing in a very big pool but they chose the attributes used to describe that pool. Annnywho, it's not that part of the post that interested me, it was this : Today, we're announcing that we will extend the 99.9 percent

Steve Balmer (Microsoft CEO) Talks Past Me And Directly To Many Many Millions

After the "cloud computing" announcement of Azure from Microsoft yesterday I received an email from Mr Balmer himself (I signed up so it's not spam). In it he describes to the recipients of the email the "brave new world" What's missing is the ability to connect these components [ ... massive datacenters, social networking sites, cell phones that double as digital cameras, large flat-screen PC monitors and HD TV screens, hands-free digital car entertainment ... ] in a seamless continuum of information, communication, and computing that isn't bounded by device or location. Today, some things that our intuition says should be simple still remain difficult, if not impossible. Why can't we easily access the documents we create at work on our home PCs? Why isn't all of the information that customers share with us available instantly in a single application? Why can't we create calendars that automatically merge our schedules at work and home?

Wondering Why You Should Care About "Web 2.0"/"Cloud Computing"?

If you're like a lot of people I know both working with IT and those purporting to support those using IT) and are wondering what the big deal is about using a damned browser to do some fancy dancy things then I urge you to read Tim O'Reilly's Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing Key phrase (out of a couple, I must admit): This top level of cloud [ Cloud-based end-user applications] computing definitely has network effects. If I had to place a bet, it would be that the application-level developer ecosystems eventually work their way back down the stack towards the infrastructure level, and the two meet in the middle. In fact, you can argue that that's what force.com has already done, and thus represents the shape of things. It's a platform I have a strong feeling I (and anyone else interested in the evolution of the cloud platform) ought to be paying more attention to. Ah yes, but the web, it's still a playground for those that have the time, inclination and not enoug

FREE: Building Successful Online Communities Event

I am such a shocker, Mauricio sent this through a week or so ago and it's only now that Ben has posted it, Building Successful Online Communities , that I remember, doh! All the details at Diversity but here's the nuggets: How to create, develop and evolve a social media presence to increase collaboration, drive awareness and improve customer loyalty ... Intergen has invited Andreas Stjernström from Swedish enterprise software company EPiServer to New Zealand. He will highlight the reasons why developing a community is important, and give real world examples of organisations that have successfully created and maximised the benefits of online communities. Intended as an introduction to online community development, these free events are targeted at: Organisations that are currently creating or are looking to create or sponsor an online community. Agencies who want to offer your customers options for taking advantage of social media. Marketers and communicators who are look

Which Laptop Should I Buy?

MiramarMike.co.nz is very nearly wired up with equipment and needs one last thing - the laptop. And for those that have given advice, thanks and please bear with me just a little longer :-) Everyone tells me to get an Apple MacBook Pro but it's a darned expensive beastie. Having said that I am willing to pay a little premium for the ease of use over and above Windows Vista and Ubuntu. Also I have a mate currently traveling the US who's willing to pick up a laptop over there but I'm sure how much cheaper they actually are. And so, three questions I'd love some help with: Should I go for an Apple MacBook Pro no matter what (and why?) Should I get my mate to buy the laptop (any make) in the US? If not buy in US where in NZ/Wellington would you recommend? What do you think - leave a comment My calcs. You can edit this spreadsheet with more options at: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pmxKow-YfvkpQWjvBfAcpVw

"saving time on your intranet is a bad metric" - YES!!!

I have no more to add to James' fantastic post, 25 reasons why saving time on your intranet is a bad metric , over Column Two apart from - YES! To start with, here’s my “big five” problems with this metric: We’re not measuring end-to-end task completion. Can we realise the value? Time saving and productivity is complex. We are multiplying a lot of assumptions. Many financial people won’t accept it. (of course James outlines his thinking behind each one, I've snipped it out - go read the original ) And if James argues the case against "we'll save time" what does he replace it with - useful . An Intranet (or any site) must be useful and, as I have said previously , the only way you can measure usefulness is to get off your Intranet designing butts and go and ask those that will be using the product day in and day out. Further reading on this: Useful - The Only Criteria Software Should Be Measured Against Increasing The Impact Of Your

Microsoft Looks Down At Google And Google Reacts

Was it timing that merely 2 days after Steve Balmer (Microsoft CEO) says (of Google Docs)*: ... you can’t even put a footnote in a document! ... that Google releases footnotes into Google Docs? Or was it to show that the on-line world moves at a different speed to the "traditional" PC software environment and that Google has more ability/agility than most realise. This isn't to say that Google Docs is more or less useful than Microsoft Office - that's for each business/individual to decide - but it does highlight how a product can become more useful before your very eyes and as you ask. As to who will "win" - maybe the tortoise, maybe the hare - I don't care as long as we get software than is useful! Further reading on this: Google Docs ... so what - the ONE reason why you should care Constant Beta Is A Bit Like Hair Growing - No-One Notices Useful - The Only Criteria Software Should Be Measured Against Agile, if it can work for millions of user

Who Wants To Be In My P.I.S.S.U.P. Gang? [Updated]

[Updated] We have a full winning team and therefore the offer is closed :-) Go Julia, Sue, Chan, Rowan, Sandy and myself - team name coming And I know that putting it out there may result in zero results but what the heck! "Gang for what Mike???" - this: Webstock has been asked by leading scientists to conduct some research. They’re concerned about how people act under pressure, and in particular, how certain types of people act under pressure. Let’s be frank - people who attend Webstock events are smart. (They’re also charming and sexy, but that’s another story for another time.) But how do smart people react under pressure? Do they crumble? Do they lift their game a notch and shine? That’s what we’ve been asked to research. We’re calling it our P rimary I nvestigation into S erious S martness U nder P ressure. You can find out all about it here . Salient details: Where: Upstairs at The Brewery Bar (On the Wellington waterfront, corner of Cable and Taranaki Streets

Agile + Business Analysts, A Marriage Made In Heaven Or Head Straight To The Divorce Courts?

A while ago I posted up Chicken and Pig Make Breakfast - A Scrum Team Story which gives the background to describing a useful and effective Scrum team members as either "pigs" (a team member that is committed to the success of the project) or "chickens" (a team member that makes contributions to the success of the project). Amongst chickens I included Business Analysts "(mostly)". Yesterday I had a coffee with a top BA to discuss her agile wedding project (the whole thing came together successfully in 6 weeks - all without a Gantt chart :-) and flicked her the above link. She had a view on what I wrote and this is it: I must admit I've often been called a headless chicken - that's because I'm running around trying to juggle the needs of the pigs (what do we do now) and the chickens (we want this now)! However, as you can understand, I don't really agree with your inclusion of "Business Analysts (mostly)" being lumped in with

Increasing The Impact Of Your Intranet: Have A Clear Vision And Do Your Planning

Every Intranet project starts somewhere and the best ones never end Tim Horgan, CIO Magazine webmaster and vice president of technology Start by clarifying your objectives. Your objectives should focus on creating value: selling more, saving costs, developing new products/services, attracting and retaining employees, etc. You may need to carry out some research or conduct focus groups to understand the value that different departments hope to derive from an improved Intranet. Next, put together your team. Having an effective, company-wide cross-functional team is really important. It is a good idea to get a balance between representatives from IT, Comms and HR. Consult with your Intranet team and key stakeholders to define why you are establishing or revamping your Intranet. Ensure your objectives and strategies align with the business goals. Use a template for your planning and write down your plan. This will help you clarify your thoughts. It will also ensure you include al

NZ Government Discussing Its "Cloud Computing" Guidelines

A document (set of pages) that I will be reading and commenting upon v soon - and if you're in the SaaS/"cloud computing" business in any way shape or form I'd suggest you do the same. Government Use of Offshore Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Service Providers Interim Guidance The State Services Commission has released draft guidance for government agencies looking at using offshore ICT providers. The guidance is intended to help agencies take a professional approach to considering offshore as an option to improve service delivery. The documents here are draft guidance and we welcome any feedback or suggestions for improvement. Thanks to the SSC blog, In Development , for the link

Tough Times Call For Easy Decisions

When the times get tough and the debt clock pops there are two ways companies can go: Clamp down and micro-manage Call upon the staff to stay responsible, be innovative and creative With micro-management the mirage generated is that whilst the world is going to hell in a handbag the senior members of the organisation are in control and have detailed plans that guarantee the company's ongoing success. The underlying message this sends is that the majority of staff are children and in these trying times the "parents" are in charge and only they know what's best. A classic example of this behaviour is for expense authorisation to migrate up the organisation hierarchy where you suddenly have the CFO micro-managing how much paper staff are allowed to use in their printers. If, on the other hand, you have an organisation that understands that they are "in this together" and everyone needs to watch the pennies without someone from above telling you the company

Win A 'Cloud Computer' With Ben

Leave a comment on Diversity Competition - Experience Life at the Edge and win: a Nova Navigator ‘hybrid’ cloud computer along with a 6 month subscription to TechNovus’ cloud based applications. Actually don't enter as I want to win it ... lean forward, look into this light and forget everything you've just read.

Constant Beta Is A Bit Like Hair Growing - No-One Notices

I'm sure you've had the comment, " Oooh , nice haircut" after a trim. The visit to the hairdressers has stopped people in their tracks, made them think about your hair as it was and compare it to how it is. This, in IT terms, is the "big bang" approach and is used to put out new pieces of functionality/design in one hit. It generally requires a lot of project management, change management and communications and is inherently risky - all or nothing. Of course sometimes the big bang approach can't be avoided: corporate re-brand, e.g. BNZ as of today introduction of new legislation, e.g. new NZ personal tax bands as of today introduction of brand new functionality, e.g. Google Moderator as of a few days ago ( learn more ) However, many (most?) pieces of software do not need a complete visit to the hairdressers with such a dramatic change. They are like the everyday combing, curling and general coiffuring that we all do to make it a bit better. And, l