Recently in Collaboration Category

Business Intelligence - Corporate Oxymoron or Capability

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BI has been around as a term since 1958  -  an output of an IBM researcher and further brought into the public domain by Howard Dresner (the aforementioned facts come from my favourite on-line reference source) but the question is - have businesses become more intelligent from the legions of technology thrown at Business Analytics, Data Warehousing and related  data churning approaches.

You may ask why am I concerning myself about this? Well I find myself intimately concerned with how large amounts of data are consumed by non-IT people and the tools we (at MS) offer them.

Within both our EPM and business data graphic offerings (alright MS Project Server and Visio) the amount of BI that we are using or facilitating has moved to a new, more sophisticated level. Now I demo this capability on a regular basis and I love it, but I do get asked in various situation can we do 'this' or can we get at 'that'. Most of these questions arise from a fundamental lack of understanding of the importance of (a) having, (b) understanding and (c) using your data model consistently and thus ensuring the on-going quality of that data.

I dined with a friend last week who works for a large UK bank currently seeking to integrate 'bought in' operations; they are faced with the fact that they both really don't understand their own data (which goes back decades) and certainly have little knowledge of the data they have recently acquired. Yet more data silo's being created.

I showed him the full capabilities of my beloved Visio and he was stunned at the lack of internal understanding of this type of tool.   

If you have the quality data the industry has the solutions, to paraphrase colleagues of mine, 'Advance Business Intelligence made simple' is deliverable every day to every user, so don't be Oxymoronic just be Capable.

View from the bottom

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I've sort of fallen off the wagon. Once you stop blogging its sort of hard to start again but here goes:

For the last two and a half years I have been working at Microsoft, almost entirely outside of the UK. For an old Lotus Notes guy this may seem a bit heretical but in fact our technology today, to my mind, is more aligned to the vision of collaboration that Notes and Domino promised but on the whole failed to deliver to a broad market.

I am not blogging here to promote MS or the products I care about (Microsoft Enterprise Project Management and Visio for the record) we do that very effectively elsewhere but I do spend a large part of most working days talking to customers and partners and funnily enough we often end up often focussing on Collaboration, Process Management, Resource Management and Dashboards.

Whether in Finland, Belgium or Portugal (or nine other countries), talking to public sector or commercial organisations getting a grip on the above structural issues often form part of my daily discussions.

'Where do we start?' I am frequently asked. Frankly I am no longer surprised at the question because the answer to me is self-evident: 'From where you are now'

This might seem a little unhelpful but the fact is, most organisations are doing projects on a stand-alone basis or creating (on some file share or storage area) process diagrams or such like and need to bring current practise into a controlled, collaborative environment.

In my view the progression is often best characterised as 'how do we easily accommodate todays bad practise and evolve it into best of breed' as often introducing grand new systems fails. Managing massive business change however well planned is incredibly hard to deliver.

I am lucky, the tool-set we offer today at MS really supports evolutionary change (if you want a revolution go ahead but I for one am not joining) and therefore we can today deliver on the promise. Proving and delivering the technological promise is frankly only the beginning. Its these issues I face daily that I am going to focus on in future posts.

Over the coming weeks and into the future I will examine the differences between Project Management, Managing of Project, Enterprise Project Management and Business Data-driven graphics.

Yes, it will be through the prism of the MS eyes I wear now but it will also be my views and not those of MS. I am not a blog regurgitation machine.

As ever I am interested in your views and if we can enter some dialogue it would be great.

It may be called EPM, to me it's collaboration

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As promised here are some thoughts on Project 2010 and Project Server 2010. 

Firstly what makes them special: 
a) consistent, logical and configurable UI. - an order of magnitude better that 2007 
b) scaleable, better admin as it is a true SharePoint 2010 application 
c) richer, smarter client with better off line sync, reporting and most importantly, resource management 
d) great, funcional web ui with no ActiveX 

More thoughts later

 --posted from my mobile device please excuse any thumbing mistakez


Did you know that..?

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Advised by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt and others, government are opening up data for reuse. The www.data.gov.uk site seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data and is under constant development.

Designed for people outside of government who have the skills and abilities to make wonderful things out of public data. The site is a first step in building a collaborative relationship with the private sector

For example, Under Accidental Fires, did you know that....

The United Kingdom Fire and Rescue Services attended 722,000 fire and false alarm incidents in 2008/09 - a 10 per cent decrease on 2007/08. In England, 562,000 incidents were attended (also a 10 per cent decrease).

Don't be a swine - enable your crew

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With Swine Flu in the up it's time to dust of your working from home policy and make sure it covers staying away from work if there's infection about your domain. Make sure that HR are comfortable with it and communicate it to your staff. Make sure that you've enabled technology such as call forwarding and videoconferencing to make remote work feasible and effective. Working from home isn't without it's challenges so pay attention to building working relationships, establishing trust, and encouraging collaboration.

There is a business continuity platform worth looking at called Wamey and Imjack. It is useful as a contingency tool with regards to any potential pandemic, adverse weather or acts of terrorism. The platform has a number of tools that allows a business/education institution to carry on seamlessly. Take a look at the demo links below.
http://www.wamey.com/demo/index2.html
http://www.imjack.com/demo/index2.html

Swine flu and business continuity

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Organisations should ensure that remote working and collaboration tools are ready to scale to meet higher rates of absenteeism in the event of an outbreak of Swine flu. The unfolding situation is an "indicator to pay attention" to business continuity plans.

Handling Swine flu from an IT perspective is about enabling people to continue to work together or collaborate with reduced levels of face-to-face interaction. It is imperative to have work-from-home capabilities ready for staff. Executives need to think about how they would do business if the level of face-to-face contact with customers and staff drops dramatically.

However, it is almost too late for companies without remote working tools to put them in place in time unless you appoint someone to stay on top of the issue. If anyone is looking for advice on this matter no better place to start than with Ian White and myself, Michael Pincher. We've been here before and can help implement business continuity strategies pretty quick - call me on 07923691849 anytime if you need any help.

You're ordered to Huddle

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I've been looking at the collaboration tool Huddle and have just seen an anouncement that it's being picked up by Martha Lane Fox , recently appointed as HMGs Digital Inclusion Czarina, to help 'enforce' the Digital Britain Report on the digitally excluded - strange time we live in.

Collaborate to Intimidate

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An ex-colleague just set up a Facebook group in order to get his partner to complete her Tax-Return. Pals were asked to join and send motivating messages to get her to complete an otherwise onerous task -- it worked.

Anyone else got any examples of such 'motivation' techniques?

Family 2.5

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My offspring is travelling the far east right now and will be for almost three months. Apart from the amazing reduction in food bills it rather quiet around here. An interesting side effect is that when (a) she is able to and (b) can be bothered we see / speak fairly regularly on Skype.

So from Bangkok, River Kwai, Phnom Pen and most recently Ho Chi Min City (Saigon to my generation) we have had long detailed conversations with her. So far so good. When this is coupled with Facebook entries, her STA travel blog and picture gallery the result is we are communicating in more detail than when she is living at home!

So the plan is come September when I want to know what she is up to or been doing I will Skype here from my home office to her bedroom. You never know I may get more that a 'whatever' !

Progress, eh

Working the Web

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While Gordon Brown's "Digital Britain Report" came and went with little fanfare, I discovered an interesting US statistic relevant to how important the web is to the US economy.

"The Internet employs 1.2 million people directly to conduct advertising and commerce, build and maintain the infrastructure, and facilitate its use. Each Internet job supports approximately 1.54 additional jobs elsewhere in the economy, for a total of 3.05 million, or roughly 2%, of employed Americans. The dollar value of their wages is about $300 billion or around 2% of U.S. GDP.

I am trying to discover the UK's stats

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the authors and do not represent either of our employer's views in any way. All postings and code samples are provided 'AS IS' with no warranties, and confer no rights.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ian White published on October 22, 2008 11:45 PM.

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