My connected office…

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The connected office –

I have been playing around with the concept of mobility and connectivity for the past few years. But recently there was a new wrinkle for me (having an office outside the home).

The concept of a connected office is not new. Companies have been wiring offices for years. The baseline service provided by the office you have is pretty clear. Your telephone, network and if you have a laptop your docking station are components of the connected office.

What does the connected office of the future look like? are there things we don’t have/do today that will become commonplace? For example I bought a projector for my home office/home theatre 5 years ago that was nearly 2000 dollars. The same quality projector can now be had for less than 600 bucks. Better quality projectors with higher ansi ratings and HD quality outputs can be had for 800 dollars now. Will in fact the office of the future have a built in projector? Or will that simply be built into the laptop of the future?

What about interactive whiteboards? (IWB) I have been using the ebeam system in my office – frankly it is a great value add. It captures everything on the whiteboard and even after the meeting you can take the drawings and edit them.

Or perhaps the concept of the connected pen?

What promise does the office of tomorrow hold? (imagine virtual file cabinets instead of lurking large wooden ones).


Mergers and IT Sprawl –

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What does it mean to assess the functional capabilities of an organization? The first thing to dismiss is that this is a skills assessment of the actual humans.

I worked with a company many years ago that played the MAD game like it was, well, a game. (Merger, acquisition and divesture). There were limits as to what percentage of the market they could own in their industry so they skirted around that by buying and selling assets. It made for a very complicated IT infrastructure.

The merger of two organizations results in a metamorphic growth of IT Sprawl. In some cases the reality of the merger generates a rapid IT Portfolio assessment, but you always have to wonder if that will take. There is an enthusiasm of the initial merger, but frankly most mergers are as much about saving money over time and increasing market share as they are about anything. Additionally few organizations in an industry that may merge, consult with each other about their overall IT Portfolio.

So, we are left with a couple of initial questions:

  • What types of mergers fail?
  • What type of IT Sprawl is generated from a merger?

Mergers don’t in fact produce a unique type, the tend to fit into one of the three. You’ll see in highly similar organizational mergers a blending of two sedimentary IT Sprawl issues into one over time. Companies that are “traditional” and “innovative” merging will result in a more metamorphic IT Sprawl issues. Companies that are market leaders merging or growing into a new market will experience more volcanic IT Sprawl during the merger process.

Now the real interesting thing is the answer to the first question. We see failed mergers all the time, where the two companies end up separating and going back to their separate business’. What we don’t see is mergers that fail because the resulting IT Sprawl is so unmanaged the merged company loses its way and fades from the market. The sad thing is, there are a  number of those…


My CIO can beat up your CIO ;-)

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The finite balancing act of two much weight on one side of the titer-totter. Or if you wish to be more graphic a rock flung into the air due to too much pressure on one end of a fulcrum.

IT Sprawl represents the solution to a problem. It is the reaction of IT to the business with a goal of building solutions that solve specific core business problems/needs.

However, due to the nature of IT Sprawl (volcanic, metamorphic or sedimentary) it is conceivable that the solution deployed may in fact impact the reality of the IT portfolio.

That portfolio is the functionality and capabilities of the organization and should be guarded like the gold at Fort Knox Kentucky. It is however, often left on the desk and vendors are allowed to come into the offices of IT, rifle that portfolio and insert their solution “here.” Or worse they sit next to the CIO on the airplane and do something with their device that your CIO wished he could do, and whammo Volcanic change is coming.

Now, the honest truth. I have seen IT portfolio protection programs that I thought were very impressive. However in the cases where the EA group had through through the various functionalities of the business they were seldom allowed to implement the changes required to be successful. It is the reality of building a bridge to no where – in effect the perfect bridge as it will never suffer the wear and tear of cars driving over it.

The line is “with power comes great responsibility. Without power do you have any responsibility? Its why we have IT Sprawl today – no power and no responsibility.


The four parts of new solutions…or why I learned to love IT Sprawl…

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My title today is a tribute to Dr. Strangelove. A movie that has great personal meaning.

This week – a new Safegov blog posted, a new IASA blog posted and 7 new blogs on my other two blogs. I do rewrite the ones for safegov considerably as those tend to be more polished thoughts than the ones held here.

I have been thinking about my transition away form the Macintosh computer and then back. I suspect I am not the prime apple customer – although I do tend to look for options and devices that support what I need to do.

Which brings me to the question who is the ideal technology customer? Do the companies want people who are going to string together 3400 USB devices or are they looking for the user that has 1 USB device connected at t a time.

Who is the ideal consumer?

First, (and you probably already guess where this is going) you have those users who ask for net new solutions and therefore contribute to the broader IT Sprawl problem. Then you have users who master a program to the point where when the organization moves on from that solution, they can’t go with the org as easily. Finally you have the people who try and discard technology at a rapid rate. Each of them contributing in their way to the problems of IT Sprawl.

But when we consider them as consumers we now begin to see the pattern. You must upgrade to the latest and greatest version or you are missing out.

The ideal consumer – a play in four parts.

Part 1: someone with money or need for a solution

Part 2: someone willing to part with the money to fill the need

Part 3: someone who can set-up or find someone to set-up the new solution for them.

Part 4: someone willing to buy into the endless upgrades offered by the vendors.


I wonder where the problem really is?


Speeding up file transfers on the home network…

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Moving files around your network shouldn’t be such a pain and yet it is. Windows Home group was supposed to fix some of that problem but frankly it is still there. As much the network itself as it is anything else. For the most part as we head into the modern “cloud” age we don’t think as much about file transfers as we used to.

Once upon a time a file transfer was limited to about 12 meg – or just less than the maximum capacity of a 1.44 meg floppy disk (although by then the disk was no longer floppy).

With the advent of networks we began moving larger files. But you still have limits and reality. Now we move larger and larger files in more and more places and it seems to me that the reality has slipped away.

This weekend I started consolidating a bunch of family videos and began moving them into my family pictures and family video achieves. The reality of the transfer is that it takes forever.

I am also consolidating several document libraries into a single store for future sharing purposes. The reality is that I have to move more than 120 gig of data across my home network. When you consider that most of the traffic is in fact over a wired network not a wi-fi network the total net new transfer shouldn’t take more than 4 hours. Of course it does because of the nature of file transfers.

My new thought pattern is the overall concept of how do we make file transfers better. Bit level replication has been a dream for a number of years. There are several WAN acceleration companies that offer WAN compression but not copying duplicate bits over the WAN.

But the home network remains saturated when you move files around.



A question of friends…

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The ethics of facebook. It is a question that has rolled around in my head (there is a lot of room up there) for a couple of months. What is the ethics of having or adding a friend on facebook. I am a member of a couple of groups that basically ask that if someone else is a group member you don’t refuse their friend request. It has driven my facebook friend total fairly high.

So is the ethics of a friend on facebook? When do you unfriend someone?

This is a negative launch into unfriending everyone you don’t like anymore tirade. It is an ethical question. When do you approach someone on-line and friend them?

My linkedin profile is something I watch closely and don’t accept friend requests “just because” but again on facebook I am more likely to accept a friend request due to the two groups and frankly because its always fun to expand and see who is out there.

What is the set of rules we should operate under here? Some professions, many companies and government agencies block access to faebook and linkedin. So there is a level right there.

What are the ethics of adding a new friend?



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Its time for a rant!

First let me explain that while a Microsoft phenomena (Redmonditis) it is in fact a problem many companies have.

Redmonditis defined:

Initially (this was early in my MS career) I felt this disease was simply a “locked in a rainy never go-outdoors-climate” problem. I later realized that it is something many product companies have an issue with around being unable to hear what customers are saying. And by customer’s I mean everyone outside of whatever locale the corporate headquarters or primary development location is.

Interesting note: I have met a couple of ex-softies who have Redmonditis really bad. Also a couple of folks who never worked for Microsoft who have it really really bad.

So what are the symptoms?

  • Hearing what they want to hear. They have the answer, regardless of your question. The problem is? The answer is to the question they hear not the question or statement you made.
  • You know the person has it when they start questions with “I don’t know what you experienced but, what you said is wrong.” Then they go off and talk about something you didn’t even talk about. You can’t stop them, because they are always right. So let them run on as long as they want, then pull them aside and correct them.
  • A new symptom I’ve noticed to this disease that I thought was MS only is they don’t share. Sure they will give you information if asked, but it will always be in a PDF or some other unusable format.
  • They don’t take guidance well

For many years I thought this was an MS only problem. I guess I should have known it was a communications problem.

Oh well…





What of change….

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What of change?

As an architect I often proposed change to organizations.I never really thought about it I just did it. The reality of change is that it can be painful.

What is the impact of change for an organization? Does change have an impact that isn’t seen?

Is change like the duck (placid on the surface but working like mad under the water)? Or is change like a wrecking ball (destroying only things in its path but destroying everything in its path).

Given those two choices which one is change? Or is change both, simply becoming one or the other once it is instantiated? Does change have a spectrum?

If there is a spectrum then where are the end points. Are they the scenario’s I listed above? Or are they different?

It is a question that is floating around my head, what of change?


A new feature and some new blogs…

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I am expanding my blogs adding two more professional blogs. I post “edited” versions of the blogs here on the IASA blog and for the most part completely rewritten blogs from here on the SafeGov site. It has to do with the fact that some of the ideas here are rough (consider them carbon bits – not yet diamonds) and over time I can refine them. Some of them are well not carbon (consider them whatever pre-carbon would be.)

I find that I really enjoy blogging.

New/interesting product alert

An interesting thought occurred to me last night. I have a device in my office that makes my whiteboard interactive. I can write on the board and share it with others as a static file (like taking a picture) or I can post it live via WebEx or LiveMeeting (I am sure the others as well). The ebeam product is one that interests me a lot.

Another product that I am curious about is a new product from Elgato that allows you capture output from a video gaming system and then edit/share the video anyway you wish to. I suspect with the Kinect system you can get some pretty outrageous video of people interacting with video game systems.

This is a new feature on my blog I am trying out to see if people are interested. As I find/consider new technologies I will post them in the new/interesting product alerts.



The always on lifestyle…

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Does it impact or even matter?

What is the cost of goods sold for your organization? What do you factor into the overall costs (cost of sales, cost of infrastructure to support the business etc). Is there a “cost of business” that we should baseline rather than include in the cost of net new sales?

There are economic models that support both. I wonder what those will look like as we go forward into the 100% connected generation.

Three things that are going to change:

  • Resumes – today they are less then interactive in the future what will your resume be? LinkedIn? I wonder if there won’t be a greater online integration with your resume becoming your LinkedIn profile page. Speaking of that I should go update mine.
  • Application intelligence – they are going to get smarter and more integrated across platforms. I see the Facebook mobile application of the future actually being three applications. A scrolling wall that will let you have that as the screen saver on your desktop and your cell phone always know what is going on. An integrated offline messaging system that lets you log in or not to both Facebook email and chat when you want and interact for as long as you want.
  • The sense of connection. People have for thousands of years sought to connect with other people. does the modern digital age increase or decrease that? It is that debate that will be answered over the next ten years – are we more or less connected being always on?