Top 25 Programming Errors

February 27, 2009

SANS Insitute

Mke sure your development team has read them.

‘Nuff Said

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Production vs Interactions

February 26, 2009

This article by Bill Ives on the fastforward blog.

They say that traditionally the focus of business and IT investments has been on production rather than interactions. They added that in today’s post-knowledge economy it is interactions that count for the most.

I have alluded to it before.

It may be hard to determine an advance ROI on what we call the Web 2.0, or social media.

Or can we simply hope to provide those interactions – and work at just attempting to earn value from them?

I don’t have the answer.

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What critical data are you backing up every day?

But more important; When are you backing it up?

Just overnight? Or does last person out the door hit ‘start’?

What is that data worth to you?

Is that A lot of questions?

Yes it is, and you should have the answers.

Because as important as backing up your data is. It is important to look at how much data you are willing to lose.

Why do I want to lose anything at all!

If something critical dies and you have to resort to going to your backup tapes to get it back. Well, by definition you will only have your data up to the time that backup was made.

If you accidentally delete that plan you were working on for the last few days, getting it back from last night’s backup tape may not be critical, it may mean some frustrated rewriting of what you did today.

But what if it was your point of sale data? Sure, you can restore it from last nights backup tape, but every sales transaction you made today is gone!

Can you redo all of that?

What is that data worth to you if you no longer have it?

Can it be recreated manually some way?

So, what is that data worth?

If it is not worth much, less frequent backup is perfect.

If it is worth the business. Maybe a little more often!

As Managers in the SME space, we may think we are covered by our current backup strategy – but ask your self truly – are you?

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Photo Credit zizzybaloobah

Business of all sizes ond types are looking at reducing costs.

For small / medium business managers, Reducing the cost of IT can, and should be part of this.

Operational Vs. Strategic

But in reducing IT spending, determine if the cut is an operational issue that can be deferred, or a strategic issue that should be maintained.

Put simply – if it is money that affects generating revenue, it is strategic and should be left alone. If it is something that could *improve* revenue generation, go for it.

Upgrading technology can be defferred

Look at investing in retiring that little used application – the cost may be more than the benefit it provides.

Don’t Forget the Basics

February 25, 2009

The Basics

I had a tech support issue that made me think of this – more on that shortly.

Lets imagine something!

In the developed world, we are all familiar with the automobile. Even if you do not have a driving licence, you know what a car is, and some of its basics. 

So when we teach a new driver, we impart knowledge of the rules of the road, and the physical skills necessary to move 2 tons of glass and steel safely down that road.

But if we imagine that we were parachuted into a country where the only vehicles ever seen are UN relief convoys and military vehicles?

Can we still teach someone to drive using our familiar methods?

Maybe someone who does not even know that you have to unlock the door to get into the car?

Perhaps they have never seen any key – let alone an ignition key?

I think not.

You have to back up, and go back to the basics.

My Support Issue

A business that we purchase a hosted online service from did a significant upgrade, or rewrite, of the web based administrative tool used to manage the service.

With the new interface I could not find the procedure to do a particular administrative task.

So I sent an email to their support.

The response?

It was 1 line with 2 three letter acronyms and an obtuse phrase. My reponse was basically ‘what the hell does that mean?

It turned out that the 3 letter acronyms were the first three letters of the particular web pages I had to use.

The SMB takeaway?

This is not just a tech issue, perhaps your sales staff considers parts A, B,& C of your offering so obvious that it does not get mentioned.

But it may not be that obvious to your customer.

Communication does not happen until the receiving party understands what you are saying.

I think that if you took a hard look at what you are saying, you may find that forgetting something basic leaves room for error and mis-understanding.

Have you ever come across one?

Photocredit mtlin

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Change Needs You, Or It Fails

February 24, 2009

Change is hard.

And I think it is doubly hard when there is a technology aspect to it.

As Michael Fillios writes here, Change is the heart more than the head.

It may be that sales rep keeping a shoebox full of contact information, or a software coder who refuses to document, it is a people issue, it is an emotional issue.

I don’t claim to have the answers.

Because it is something that I still have to work a on a daily basis.

The SMB Takeaway

As hard as change can be, it will be harder if you as the leader don’t embrace change.

If you do not support change clearly, the message to the people in your organization will be that change does not matter.

That the way we always do it around here will live on.

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NOTE: It was a snowy Sunday a few weeks ago when I cobbled this together, I was sitting watching feathery creatures flit around the yard (image), since then, a few other blogs have articulated the challenge with change, so for some linky goodness;

Olivier Blanchard with Dealing with agents of un-change  and Abandon Yesterday

And Vaughan Merlyn’s series of posts; Marketing and Leading Organizational Change

Real SMB IT: On Being Found

February 24, 2009

 

Can You Be Found?

Can You Be Found?

 

 

I was looking for a particular service in my area.

I hit the search engines and and tried to  find a local business doing the job I was looking for.

But I could not find them. There wasn’t even one.

It Was Only Chance

A couple of days later I got a flyer in my mail box from a small business that does perform the service I was looking for. In fact they were about 5 blocks away.

But via the Web, I could not find them.

Period.

Once I had called them, we discussed it. In this case this business owner is at least aware of it – and is working on fixing it. So he is ahead of the game.

Are you?

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