Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Week In Review : Dec 12 – Dec 18, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on December 19, 2010

The Origin of Leaders #4: Self-discipline. Cultivating the habit of completion

by Conor Neill, Dec 13, 2010

The only people who can change the world are those that want to. Many don’t want to. Some want to, but don’t accept the discipline of hard work. Anything you want will never be as hard as you imagine it will be! So, get started and push on through. Do it “just because.” Even if it is a failure as a product, it will teach you. You will come out stronger. more…

Chaos and Complexity #14: What makes Complexity complex?

by Gary Monti, Dec 14, 2010

The hallmark of complex systems is emergent behavior. The components of this behavior are Adaptability, Connectedness, Interdependency and Diversity. It is the responsibility of the leader to maintain a balance among all four variables and each of these attributes must be at the “in-between” setting to create positive tension. more…

Social Media and Tribes #24: Getting better with Social Media – Christmas Wishlist

by Deepika Bajaj, Dec 15, 2010

Social media was a boon for Deepika while she was confined to bed rest after undergoing surgery. She could stay in touch with friends, help others, blog, shop and more. If only Social Media could make you Starbucks and chicken soup:) more…

Flexible Focus #32: Folding the Square

by William Reed, Dec 16, 2010

Origami and general the art of folding is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. This is an essential aspect of Japanese sense of creativity and aesthetics. The reason is that, not only does it result in a host of useful and practical solutions to problems and products, but it also illustrates how many possibilities open up when we work within a certain set of limitations. The Mandala Chart can facilitate the process of connecting discipline and spontaneity through flexible focus. more…

Leader driven Harmony #3: How to make your writing Crisp, Flavorful and Satisfying (Part I)

by Mack McKinney, Dec 17, 2010

Clear, sharp writing is almost a lost art.  And it is sad because to get along in life you must be able to explain yourself clearly. In business if you cannot craft a grammatically correct, well-written document that people find pleasing to read, you will always be working for someone else who can. There are five key considerations in writing: Purpose, Audience, Content, Style and Mechanics. This post is about Purpose. more…

Data Backup: Ignore at your own Peril

by Marc Watley on December 6, 2010

About a year ago, I was the unfortunate victim of a robbery.  At gunpoint.  Right…no fun at all.  Anyhow, in addition to my wallet, the idiot-with-gun also got my laptop. In an instant, I’d acutely learned the importance of backing up one’s data.

Now truth be told, it could have been much worse insofar as losing laptop data. I’ve used a BlackBerry for years, and so what I’d argue was the most important data on my laptop – contacts, notes (to this day I take all meeting notes via BlackBerry), email, and calendar – was still intact locally on my BlackBerry (which I thankfully kept) and also remotely on my corporate Exchange server.  What was lost however, were scores of other notes, business plans, presentation decks, whitepaper drafts, spreadsheet exercises, some music (sigh) – gone forever in the flash of a second.  I will say that I have benefited from the misfortune – I’ve since used an online backup service – Dropbox – to ensure safe, recoverable storage of everything on my laptop. (This has been a life saver and a service which I can’t recommend enough.)  Also, it was a good excuse to finally make the switch from PC to Mac.  Happiness.

Anyhow, two Captain Obvious lessons learned from this experience:

  1. Backup is CRITICAL
  2. Anything can happen at any time

These axioms ring even truer for businesses – of all types and sizes – who are increasingly more connected to their customers and suppliers through a plethora of systems and applications. Whether your shop is a five-location dentist practice or a multibillion-dollar technology firm, efficient backup (along with a well-planned recovery strategy) is absolutely key to staying in business.  If you’re reading this thinking, ‘yeah but nothing will happen to me/my business’, I gently refer you to my opening paragraph and also to #2 above.  Several options exist – for personal use, Small/Medium Businesses, and enterprise alike.

A few suggestions:

  • Dropbox.  Services such as Dropbox are highly recommended for personal files (good if you need to occasionally share files with others as well).  Simple to use (auto-synchronizes your files between local and online) and runs $9.99 per month (or $99 per year) for 50GB of storage space.  Learn more at http://www.dropbox.com/features.
  • Servosity. Servosity provides an agentless, on-demand backup solution suited particularly well for SMB and mid-market enterprise shops. Tape libraries are still in widespread use within datacenters today, and Servosity  provides an efficient alternative to this.  Data is compressed and encrypted before being mirrored to Servosity’s Data Vault.  Backups can be managed by OS or application, scheduled, and restored (downloaded) via secure web browser.  (Disclosure: The company I work for, Datacenter Trust, currently includes Servosity in their services portfolio.)  Learn more at http://www.servosity.com.
  • nScaled.  For enterprise shops, nScaled provides a unique approach to backup and recovery: continuous on-premise data protection, offsite backup, and remote failover. Data is continually stored both within your datacenter as well as at a remote highly-available facility.  Using a secure web interface, data can be recovered and restored either on-premise or from the remote location within 15 minutes or less.  Supported server platforms include Windows, Linux, and IBM AIX.  (Disclosure: The company I work for, Datacenter Trust, currently includes nScaled in their services portfolio.)  Learn more at http://www.nscaled.com.

Other solutions to check out include Carbonite, CommVault’s Simpana, and the recently-launched Whitewater appliance by Riverbed Technology. Whether your need is personal or business, there are many options available for synchronizing, retaining, and restoring your data. This is a must-do, as continuous access to personal and work data becomes increasingly important.  As Foghorn Leghorn would say, pay attention when I’m talkin’ to ya!  Don’t let some nutball with a gun or, say, mother nature with an earthquake, teach you a lesson the hard way about keeping ALL of your data continuously backed up and quickly recoverable!

Cloud: A truly nebulous term

by Marc Watley on October 29, 2010

Yes, yes I know…ol’ Marc has subjected you to yet another bad pun. You’ve got to admit though that it fits the bill here. The term “cloud” is, in my book, one of the most over-used technology terms in recent memory, and it’s high time for change.

(Ridiculous sidebar: Anyone else watch Science Bob conjure that “cloud” on Jimmy Kimmel Live the other night? Hilarious!)

The thing is, almost all of what we use on the web today exists ‘in the cloud’ at some level or another. Think about it – your mail isn’t fed from a server sitting in your basement is it? No, it’s typically one of a cluster of mail servers in the “cloud” – perhaps located within your company’s datacenter or provided by Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, or the like.  What about shopping? Our profiles, containing our shipping addresses, purchase preferences, and credit card numbers, likewise exist in the “cloud”.  The social utilities we’ve come to depend on for business and fun – LinkedIn, Facebook, Salesforce, Twitter, Foursquare, etcetera, are also services used almost entirely in the “cloud”.  The technology that powers the various “cloud” solutions continues to advance rapidly.  This, along with increased availability and reduced costs worldwide for high-speed Internet access, has allowed the service offerings to evolve as well.

The fact that both individuals and growing businesses can tailor solutions from the breadth of available “cloud” services is fantastic.  The issue at hand is the term “cloud” itself: an umbrella term most often used to describe and present ‘hosted’ or remote services – services which have expanded rapidly during the last two years. The term “cloud” has simply reached a point of causing confusion.  For example, though commonly referred to as “cloud computing”, it’s not always actually computing, is it?  We can now select from solutions allowing us to compute, store/archive/recover data, manage content, send/receive mail, place calls, conference, and network with colleagues, friends, and prospects – all with a moniker of “cloud” attached. “Cloud” is descriptive in this sense, sure, but only mildly so. My $0.02 is that the term “on demand infrastructure” – or simply “on-demand”- is more reflective of available solutions and less confusing than the term “cloud”.  Adopting the “on demand” term virtually eliminates the need for wonder, fretting, or quarrel over the best flavor of the solution – public/multi-tenant (Amazon EC2), private (your own VMware or Terremark Enterprise Cloud instance), Platform (Salesforce), or hybrid form. Whatever the end solution, simply think of it as on-demand infrastructure; the level of access, control, and security needed upon deployment are completely up to – and configurable by – the user.

I’ve noticed in the past several months that several technology companies including Oracle, F5, Servosity, and Rackspace have begun to use “on demand” (seemingly in place of “cloud”) to describe their services, features, and benefits. I think it’s a smart move, but who knows where this will end up; the term “on demand” might work best for everyone. Might not.

Anyhow, Cloud: you’ve served us pretty well…thanks. Now it’s time to bid adieu and bon voyage.  Oh, and when you reach wherever it is that you Internet buzzwords fade away to, please do say hello to our old friend “Web 2.0”, will you?

Week In Review: Oct 10 – Oct 16, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 17, 2010

Developing your financial management talent

by Brian Superczynski, Oct 11, 2010

IT financial management has not evolved into a discipline with its own academic programs and certifications. In addition to learning on the job and tailoring programs for your organization, ITIL and PMI courses/certifications will help. But the first step is to recognize this as a  unique area that needs to be developed in your organization. more…

Chaos and Complexity #5: Chaos vs. Complexity

by Gary Monti, Oct 12, 2010

When patterns emerge in chaotic environment, adaptation happens. This is called complex adaptive behavior. This is driven by self organization. The hallmark of emergent, complex adaptive behavior is it brings about a change from the starting point that is not just different in degree by in kind. more…

Social Media and Tribes #16: LinkedIn gets a local makeover in India!

by Deepika Bajaj, Oct 13, 2010

India’s economy is growing by leaps and bounds and it’s professional class is utilizing social media to keep up. Brijj is the local equivalent of LinkedIn, but it has some local twists. more…

Flexible Focus #23: Manners make the man

by William Reed, Oct 14, 2010

Some of the Japanese traditions from the Edo period are still relevant. It shows how to live with respect, culture and style. In this article William has a short list of some key aspects of the Edo manners. You can also download the EDO SHIGUSA MANDALA to start integrating Edo Manners in your life. more…

Worry and Anxiety – Can we really overcome them?

by Vijay Peduru, Oct 15, 2010

We worry about a lot of things. But if you carefully analyze those worries, you will realize that more than 90% of them are needless. Worries only lead to bad situations like relationship problems are health issues. Overcome your worries by understanding that worries are stories we invent about a future situation. These stories will more than likely never happen. On a positive note, invent a good future situation and deliberately think about the good things that will happen in the future. more…

Week In Review: Oct 3 – Oct 9, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 10, 2010

Project Leadership #1: 7 Ways to have a kickass kickoff!

by Himanshu Jhamb, Oct 4, 2010

A project manager’s real purpose is to provide CLARITY to a project. That happens when all the stakeholders are on sync regarding the purpose and outcome of the project. Project kickoff is a golden opportunity to provide this CLARITY to the team. If you follow Himanshu’s tips in this article, you can make your project kickoff purposeful and it will lay the foundation for a successful project. more…

Chaos and Complexity #4: Push on or Regroup?

by Gary Monti, Oct 5, 2010

A hallmark of a complex situation is unpredictability. One doesn’t know where things are leading. That’s why the situation is “complex” or worse yet “chaotic”. A good project manager (PM) should enable the team to identify possible solutions that will help eliminate the complexity. That’s just the first step. Coming up with the right schedule, dealing with the politics, etc can put the project at risk. Ideally the PM should avoid these situations by staying with reality. more…

Social Media and Tribes #25: A tribe of foodies – Connecting food to life

by Deepika Bajaj, Oct 6, 2010

Still in India, Deepika has been exploring the various tribes. Food is an integral part of the culture, but the tribe works differently. Food is not a standalone interest, but it is tied with other local flavors like Bollywood and roadside stalls. more…

Flexible Focus #22: New degrees of freedom with a digital mandala chart

by William Reed, Oct 7, 2010

Owning a car does not preclude you from using your feet. Similarly, you can print out a Mandala Chart and use it. Or, you can access an online program to create, save and share them. http://www.mandalachart.net is an eMandala Chart website that you can leverage. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #4: Ways to keep a healthy sales relationship (Part-2)

by Tina Burke, Oct 8, 2010

When the head of Sales in an organization changes, there will be radical changes. The new person will shake things up. This may lead to loss of revenue for agents. So, it’s very important to have good contracts and have them reviewed by attorneys. It may not be cheap, but in the long run it will help save tens of thousands of dollars. more…

Week In Review: Sep 26 – Oct 2, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 3, 2010

Doing what is Right Vs. Being the Best

by Brian Beedle, Sep 27, 2010

Is it good enough to do the right thing? Certainly not. We as individuals and companies should constantly strive to be the best in our fields. This is necessary to survive in the highly competitive times we live in. For individuals it takes patient parenting from a young age and mentoring as adults to gain this ability. Companies achieve this via Six-Sigma, ITIL, etc.  more…

Chaos and Complexity #3: Managing Expectations

by Gary Monti, Sep 28, 2010

Project managers out there… this article is for you. When a project encounters a rough spot, the project manager is held accountable. Anybody expecting projects to be smooth and trouble free is living in utopia. But there are certain things which if you do consistently, you can manage such situations gracefully. more…

Social Media and Tribes # 14: Taking Dinosaurs Online

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 29, 2010

Deepika is not irreverent when she uses dinosaurs as an analogy for our older generation. In fact the opposite is true and it is out of fondness for them. The past few decades has seen tremendous progress in technology and it has been especially tough for the older generation to keep pace with. But still they are a hardy bunch excited to adapt with the times and open up to social media albeit slowly and cautiously. more…

Flexible Focus #21: The 8 frames of life: Finances

by William Reed, Sep 30, 2010

Peter Drucker observed that people who chased money were all utterly miserable, without exception. Money should be part of the plan, a means to an end, not an end in itself. So pick a career in something you love and have some talent in. Then understand how economics is tied to everything else. You can do it if you view it with a flexible focus perspective. William’s Mandala chart can help you do it easier and better. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #3: The Sales Contract

by Tina Burke, Oct 1, 2010

Direct sales teams are expensive to maintain. Alternate sales teams do not cost any money up front. But there are challenges with either one. It may be an effective strategy to employ both channels, but there are thing you need to be aware of when you choose this path. more…

Week In Review – Aug 29 – Sep 4, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on September 5, 2010

The Tale of two budgets

by Brian Superczynski, Aug 30, 2010

Creating and presenting the annual IT budget is a real challenge that can sometimes be compared to a dark Charles Dickens novel. How the budget is presented is the key to bypassing the “worst of times” but IT and finance organizations are not known for their marketing or communication skills; it’s just not in the DNA of either group. The solution is providing clarity and transparency, translating the ongoing costs of previously approved investments and providing options. more…

Character and Personality #9: Negotiator

by Gary Monti, Aug 31, 2010

It is a challenge to create a common bond between different people wanting different things. Some want to work on a bleeding-edge project, others want money, still others want as much personal time as possible, etc. Humility, courage and competency are “must-haves” for leaders to successfully negotiate between the desires of key stakeholders. more…

Social Media and Tribes #10: Facebook and low self-esteem?

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 1, 2010

Any new technology has its detractors and naysayers. When it comes to social media, there is more than a fair share of them. But don’t let them determine your practices. Using Facebook effectively benefits you and your community and it is not a sign of low self-esteem. more…

Flexible Focus #17: Determine your destiny

by William Reed, Sep 2, 2010

The biggest thing that stands between you and your destiny is not something outside of you, but the fear, uncertainty and doubt in your own mind which saps your energy. Energy is the great multiplier, and the real measure of your strength. In this article, William has listed some practices to increase your energy level, which will enable you determine you destiny. more…

A simple strategy for a good life

by Vijay Peduru, Sep 3, 2010

Our life is completely governed by the stories we deeply believe in. Most of the times we never know that these stories dictate our life i.e. they are hidden to us like a blind spot while driving. If we try to change our behaviors without understanding them (the root cause), we will not be successful. So, how do we recognize our stories? more…

Week In Review – Aug 22 – Aug 28, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on August 29, 2010

4 steps to effective Disaster Recovery planning

by Marc Watley, Aug 23, 2010

IT executives today are, in fact, increasingly faced with the threat of disasters – whether natural or man-made. As organizations – and their customers – increasingly rely on database, server, and IP-connected applications and data sources, the importance and responsibility of maintaining continuity of the business infrastructure and limiting costly downtime in the event of a disaster, is paramount. Read this article to get a high-level, best-practices overview of the DR planning process. more…

Character and Personality #8: Competency

by Gary Monti, Aug 24, 2010

A good leader is also a good politician, one who finds a way to thread through a situation to reveal a path that, when followed, benefits the common good. Competence pulls technology and sophistication together so that one person can meet another person’s needs, i.e., a connection comprising the humanity of the stakeholders who need and commit to finding a solution that works. more…

Social Media and Tribes #9: The fear factor

by Deepika Bajaj, Aug 25, 2010

Even professionals who have gone through many technological innovations in the past don’t find the idea of being transparent and authentic over social media too appealing. They were worried about identity theft, making a wrong impression on a potential employer and above all were overwhelmed by the friend requests on Facebook. These are valid concerns, but not an excuse to avoid social media.  more…

Flexible Focus #16: The decision trap

by William Reed, Aug 26, 2010

Ambiguity causes anxiety in those who are inflexible, and creates possibilities in the minds of the people who have flexible focus. Tolerance for ambiguity drops when you have to make a decision. Urgency adds pressure, and when the decision affects the core areas of your life, you can feel as if you are lost in a labyrinth of choices. Your decision sets the wheels in motion, whereas with indecision the wheel turns without you. Read about the Six Criteria for Decision Making to stay in motion and steer the wheel. more…

Investment Value

by Steve Popell, Aug 27, 2010

In a previous post, Business Valuation in Divorce is Different, Steve discussed why Investment Value is more appropriate in the context of family law.  But, this method is not just for divorcing couples.  In any situation in which the party acquiring an interest (or a greater interest) in a company will become (or continue to be) part of the management team, Investment Value is often the most appropriate method.  Read this article to find out why. more…

Character and Personality #8: Competency

by Gary Monti on August 24, 2010

Delivering the goods is the final judgment for leaders. This means in addition to charisma there needs to be character strength and competency. Competency means, “to be fit for (Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology).” This can be challenging because of the number of boundaries present, which can be fluid and not always precise. In general, though, the boundaries can be looked at as those between technology and sophistication.

Technology

“Technology” comes from the Greek “techne” and refers to a craft or skill for getting things done such as farming or carpentry. So, technology has to do with the rules for getting things done, for implementing. This is why tools are also called implements. There is no reflection of greater truths. It’s just about what it takes to get something done, e.g., the creation of a circuit board. A competent leader is keenly aware of the need to pay close attention to the technology and its implementation since the devil is in the details. Does the leader need to be technically competent? No. The leader can be surrounded by those possessing technology and a willingness to work together to bring about the product (more on that later). Does this mean that technology is trivial – far from it. The technology can exist outside of the leader.

Sophistication

“Sophistication” comes from the Greek “sophia” and means “wisdom”. A leader needs to be sophisticated which has a great deal of humility associated with it (see blog on humility). In other words, a competent leader is aware of the limits present in a situation, including his or her own.

Wisdom has a depth to it that goes beyond technical competency. A competent leader understands that in a complicated situation there is more than one truth system at play. In fact, there is at least one truth system for every belief system present.

Competent Leadership

A competent leader finds a balance among the technologies and truth systems present. An earlier blog on change management references Henry Kaiser and his ability to lead in bringing Liberty ships to life in World War II. Aristotle referred to this type of person as a good politician, one who finds a way to thread through a situation to reveal a path that, when followed, benefits the common good.

There is a fluidity to a leadership situation. To be competent means to be grounded in the right set of principles with the right priorities and be able to flex with the situation. There are no rules for that. There is no technology.

Maybe you can see why it is so important to be able to answer the question, “Who are you?” discussed in the blog on Panic and Self-Doubt. Unlike technology, sophistication must be within the leader.

The importance of technology then is a reflection of sophistication. A reflection of the balance within and among the leader and stakeholders involved, including the team. Competence pulls all of the above together so that one person can meet another person’s needs, i.e., a connection comprising the humanity of the stakeholders who need and commit to finding a solution that works.

Week In Review – Aug 15 – Aug 21, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on August 22, 2010

4 tips for selecting the right consultant

by Brian Beedle, Aug 16, 2010

Vendor selection process can be an arduous, time consuming, and stressful task.  Receiving quotes that run the gambit of the budgetary spectrum, deciding which product will give your company the biggest bang for the buck and wondering if saving a dollar or two is really worth the frustration of finding the “right partner”.  Every Project Manager has dealt with these issues. In this article, Brian lists some key points may provide some clarity and assist with narrowing the decision-making process when seeking a value-added business partner. more…

Character and Personality #7: Courage

by Gary Monti, Aug 17, 2010

Tiger Woods’ difficulties with his swing and Mark Hurd’s (HP’s CEO) inability to fill out expense reports correctly can be traced back to complexes. In a very public way they both show how trying to succeed simply by ego has limits and the desire to be complete as Self will, when denied, erupt and wreak havoc without any regard to the consequences. more…

Working Hard – Still no progress?

by Vijay Peduru, Aug 18, 2010

According to most economic historians, the Industrial age ended about 20Yrs ago in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down and the internet came up. In the industrial age, working hard meant, using our body and working long hours i.e physical labor. The easiest way to do hard work in the post industrial age, is to love change, train ourselves to love challenges and question the status quo all by using and exerting our mind. more…

Flexible Focus #15: Karma and Connections

by William Reed, Aug 19, 2010

You reap as you sow. Therefore if we want to achieve positive results, you need to think, speak, and act positively. There is also collective Karma, which is often thought of as collective fate, but more constructively can be interpreted as collective action. Things are connected in ways that are not always obvious. Even when the connections are not obvious, it is possible to take small actions which use the butterfly effect to create good Karma. more…

A diverse workforce: The smart thing to do

by Robert Driscoll, Aug 20, 2010

Diversity in the workplace should not be limited to race, gender and age, but differences of views and personalities as well. If this diverse workforce is guided properly, they will share their unique knowledge and discuss their differences rather than what’s common between them. This will lead to generating innovative ideas that could potentially change the marketplace you are in. more…