Seventhman Blog

  1. Bringing Mobile Apps to Your Enterprise

    "enterprise mobile apps"Mobile apps are on the rise and the user base is growing.  This is not just a prediction, but a reality that many businesses should consider when marketing in the Mobile Age.  Did you know that mobile devices make 55% of internet access in the U.S. this January?  Surprisingly though, 47% of this traffic came from apps and only 7% from mobile browsers.  If you’d like to know more about these figures, you can check out this post, plus this fact sheet from the Pew Research Center.  The numbers may vary slightly from one study to another, but one thing’s crystal clear: You Need a  Long Term Mobile Strategy.. Seriously.

    When Mobile Apps Meet the Enterprise

    Surely by now, you have overcome your picture of a mobile app as some techie way to kill time.  Mobile productivity apps are on the rise and these help employees become more efficient while collaborating on-the-go.  The top goal of these apps is to deliver maximum impact to your business and there’s a good reason that the market for these enterprise apps are growing.  From those apps that allow you to do basic tasks like having access to your contacts and emails, we’re seeing more complex tasks like dashboards and analytics.  We even have social business apps helping teams communicate real-time updates with their peers, wherever they are located in the world.

    What Can Exactly Go Wrong?

    While adoption of enterprise mobile apps is on the rise, your employees may be using those that are not approved by IT and you may just be exposed to security risks (malware, phishing, etc).  How can you protect yourself?  Most seasoned enterprise software developer will tell you that you should:

    1.    Spell out how the mobile app will be handled – from conception to deployment.  Guidelines must be established, a.k.a. Governance.
    2.    Iterate.  You have to develop and test your mobile apps more as this will be updated frequently by your users.  If you’re running apps on your corporate WiFi, make sure that this is capable of supporting your application’s protocols and its users.
    3.    Put security on your priority list, which is a no-brainer.  What standards and practices would you set?  Do you even have a secured VPN connection?
    4.    Educate your users.  While proactively posting updates can help your employees remember to download them, you have to document and train your team on how to use the app – from tutorials, user manuals to FAQ sheets.
    5.    Measure what you can improve.  This is why it’s important to set metrics to determine if the app is really useful and functional – and how you can make it better for everyone.

    The worst mistake you can do when adopting a mobile enterprise app is to separate it from your business process.  Rather, you would want to see it blend seamlessly with the entire organization.  For example, your mobile app allows exchange of notes on this idea map but then, you can’t update the data on your central system that it requires your users to enter details manually – adding more work than ever.  The last thing you need is a fancy mobile app that makes your team work double time.  More so, if you’re running cloud-based platforms, you may just have to build a central hub to integrate existing systems with new ones.

    It sounds simpler than it looks but overall, the point is to start building your mobile app plan that will move your business forward and make your employees happier – minus the risks.

    Just another reason… Why You Should Get Seriously Mobile This 2014

     

     

  2. 5 Smarter Ways of Managing Your Valuable Data

    "data security"In light of the recent NSA spying scandal, I’m curious if your faith in technology has dwindled – especially when it concerns storage of valuable data.  These revelations may have been an eye opener for many business owners to rethink how they treat data privacy and protect themselves from those who would like to access them without your consent.  When the future of how we do work is shifting to mobility, you begin to wonder if all those cloud storage out there are worthy of your trust.  For the same reason that we hear Google announcing that their cloud storage now encrypts all data with strict key access controls, one can only wonder if you’re better off bringing in IT talents in-house into setting up a small server room somewhere.

    Data Security: No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

    If you believe that having a backup of your files and software to a storage device or the cloud makes it totally secured, think again.  Technology impacts our daily life in terms of work productivity, safety and relationships.  If you’re one of those who can’t live a day without email, surely you’ll know how important it is to keep your messages not only private, but accessible when and where you need them.  Somehow, we are codependent on machines to keep a watch for all the information trail we leave behind.  Unfortunately, technology has some loopholes and backdoors for anyone with less than good intentions.  Protecting your data properly is a MUST!

    How Do You Create a Sound Data Storage Solution?

    Whether you opt for on-premise solutions, cloud storage or a combination of both, take time to…

    1. Understand your data – by defining the value of your data, you can clearly outline how you will go about with choosing the best way to store these (online or offline).

    2. Check Credentials – If you’re choosing a data storage provider, make sure that these are highly trusted in the industry to make sure that they give you a highly secured environment for all of your data security needs.

    3. Define Archiving – Create a policy on how data will be managed, where some important data will be retained for years and others, for days or weeks only.

    4. Optimize Solutions – When looking for storage and security solutions, it’s important that you choose the one that will fit your data needs; not the other way around.  If you run a mobile workforce, the more you should look for flexible solutions that can run across platforms – not just those running on desktops.

    5. Calculate Costs – Don’t be tempted to let upfront costs influence your decision in choosing the right provider.  You may be tempted to sign up for that great discount, which may add more cost to you in the long run.  Think of long term here.

    No matter what your choice is, make sure that you can easily retrieve data once it’s been stored.  Having a recovery plan and constantly testing your backup may be your best defense against  disasters.  Besides, what’s the point of archiving it all if you can’t access the right data when you need it?

     

     

  3. SaaS: Innovative Solution or Inevitable Trap?

    "saas"You probably have encountered the term SaaS and wondered what exactly it is.  Short for ‘Software as a Service’ – this is a model in which an application is managed by a certain provider, paid for on subscription basis and accessed by users over the internet.  In fact, you might have been using it right now without ever knowing that you’re one of the many who have driven the growth of Saas.  There’s your popular iTunes, iCloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft to start with.  There are many more notable service providers on the list.  Sometimes, these are referred to as ‘on-demand’ software that you can use for business or leisure (or both).  In the end, it’s all about convenience, customization, flexibility, collaboration and accessibility that turned SaaS applications into an integral part of how we do computing these days.

    The Pros and Cons of the SaaS Model

    For businesses, the major benefit is the cost savings of a subscription model vs. the large expense they will incur just to run and maintain an on-premise IT infrastructure.  With the cloud comes a whole new world of possibilities, especially when you need to scale bigger, implement faster and run your business 24/7.  Trouble is, along with these benefits come the risks.  There have been talks lately on data security breach and government access to your private data which may adversely affect cloud providers in the U.S.  Despite all the best packages around, system outages do happen and the last thing you want is a downtime.  With the rise of many startups in the SaaS scene, the worst case is not having an exit strategy when that provider goes out of business.

    SaaS: The Beginning of an End?

    It is quite mind-boggling to learn that something this forward is getting a nasty bite where revenue is concerned.  Just read this blog recently and the first few lines got me hooked: “Marketo filed for IPO with impressive 80 percent year-over-year growth in 2012, with almost $60m in revenue. Except, they lost $35m…”  There’s something wrong in this picture.  One reason I can think of for this major loss are serial switchers, those who will jump from one vendor to another because there are simply too many right now and most are offering freebies.  Why would you upgrade to a paid account when you can get something this good.. for free?

    When the Software Landscape Looks Greener for Small Businesses  

    Opinions are split though when it comes to the future of SaaS.  There are those who say that this model is ready to take off.  There is a push towards a single-sign up for multiple applications and more businesses are shifting from paper trail to going digital this time.  Who wouldn’t want to work on something that delivers functionality without having to do patches and updates themselves?  This may be great news for small businesses who, years ago, don’t have access to world class software.  Now, they can compete with  big brands on a fair game.

    Wouldn’t it be right to say that SaaS is the greatest equalizer of them all?  No matter who you are, you now have a cloud of opportunity waiting to be explored, thanks to powerful and affordable software solutions out there.

     

     

     

  4. NoSQL: A New Breed of Database Explored

    "nosql"There’s a lot of talk about big data these days that a novice can easily get lost amidst all that tech talk.  Are we really ready for this?  The subject is becoming a hype lately, but that doesn’t mean another fad coming our way.  The big data movement is here to stay and data scientists are finding new playgrounds to thrive in, where intelligence is gathered from all that volume, speed and variety of data traveling on the fifth plane.  With Red Hat joining the emergence of NoSQL lately, we will just see how companies will maximize their applications and lessen the need for added relational databases.  The only question we need to ask concerns standards of how this new solution can sustain the need for cheap storage that is bundled with high performance.  Gone will be the days of slow hard drives and RDBMS.. because NoSQL is the crown of the internet superhighway.

    NoSQL Seen Through the Lenses of a Business POV

    To say that relational databases like MySQL, Oracle and MS SQL Server are dead is way too early.  In time, these may fade into a memento of the past.  Countless businesses are using these right now and it has proven to be effective in storing information.  But of course, these are not perfect.  Dealing with huge amount of information presents new challenges and the bottom line is, when an unprecedented amount of data is created, what good is it if you can’t utilize these data for your business?  In an ideal world, database technology should scale horizontally – something that is fast, agile and simple no matter how large the volume of data is.  With a good data model, like an open source, that can be run anywhere (virtually) on the cloud, this can mean easy access, easy deployment and high availability in an era where people are searching by the trillions.  If you’re a business dealing with massive amount of customer data, like an ecommerce site, that would mean faster results, less downtime, less IT costs and simply, less work.  The ‘pay as you go’ model that NoSQL users get means big savings over time.  Take for example those that provide cloud service with NoSQL offerings, it takes only seconds to use without having to worry about data configuration, nodes, clusters, scaling or data recovery.  Now, this is getting too technical.  Let’s say you have a site that gets millions like that of Digg’s.  I know it’s not normal, but having noSQL means having a peace of mind, whether you’re scaling from megabyte, gigabyte, petabyte or any  size of data that you may have.  The last thing you want is for your system to crash and for you to  lose important data in the process, that is, if you’re still doing it the traditional way.

    A New Era of Transformation is Here

    The only thing relevant to these changes is your perception of big data.  NoSQL brings us a new kind of freedom from the pains of relational databases.  While some are just a few key-value data stores, others are built on XML, The truth is far more simple:  NoSQL is NOT a buzzword; it exists and it will continue to thrive because there’s a demand for it.  The size of this market may not be known right now, but as soon as companies see the light of how beneficial it will be to their business, we will see a growing acceptance for these NoSQL databases.  Because the truth is, as your data starts to grow, you will need more space to store it and a faster way of updating and accessing it, which may not be delivered by the old way of managing data systems.  The real challenge is to see brick-and-mortar companies adapt to this change and finding top caliber data scientists to play with these new tools.

    Is NoSQL the Ultimate Answer to the Big Data Problem?

    Because every day.. data grows. There are so many manuals to learn and yet, so little time.  What good is data if you will not manage and analyze it?  The real problem may lie with choosing the right database solution for your business.  While there are those who love the idea of a non-relational, non-structured SQL, there are those who are saying that the level of risks are high.  There are errors to correct and upgrades to do just to sustain a project.  Just because talks of NoSQL is hot these days doesn’t mean you have to choose this technology.  Yes, data is increasing, from structured to unstructured, and you may need a new way of managing it.  You need to evaluate thoroughly the pros and cons of running something that’s relatively new.  For all its flexibility and scalability, I’d say it’s not really a one-size-fits-all solution for all.

    In the end, it’s all about the idea of delay… which you can’t simply have when you’re running a business 24×7.

  5. Embracing the Big Data

    "big data"Big data may not be new, but the buzz about it continues to grow each day.  We have created data so big that we can no longer work with them using traditional database management tools.  Did you know that we make as much as 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day?  By the word itself, data has become this huge that curating and analyzing it is a big challenge… which can become the next ‘big’ thing for companies wanting to capitalize on it.  Big data may be the hottest IT buzzword for 2012, and to find cost effective measures in working with this massive data is something that cloud architectures are targeting.  Now, even startups can rent server time cheaper than ever.

    Big Data: A Needle in a Haystack

    When data becomes too big and too fast for your database architecture, here’s where the problem sets in.  Data comes from almost everywhere like posts in social media sites, online videos, online sales transactions, GPS signals and so on.  The challenge now is how one can control the volume, velocity and variety of data streaming in – so you can gather business intelligence that will be useful to your organization.  These new types of data can definitely help make your business more agile, leading to faster growth and eventually, success.  Data is indeed valuable for analyzing things and to help you create new products.  It can reveal customer insights from various demographics.  Thus, in the end, it helps you gain a competitive advantage.  The only problem is that with size comes clutter.  So, how can you really manage?

    Creating Big Data Initiatives for Business Success

    I have come across a post lately featuring a study on how big data fueled the predictive analytics process on tracking  college students’ retention rate ( and it’s still a work in progress ).  Think of big data as an early warning device which can stop any organization from committing a costly mistake.  Come to think of it, information is the new commodity today and those who have the right info at their hands have the power to control the fate of their business.  The real issue perhaps that we will face is not only the security of maintaining this big data, but in finding the right people who will manage it.  Those who are specially trained for this job will know the value of data when it comes to your business, helping you sift through all the ‘mess’ and gather those data that you really need.  Because only meaningful data can drive business innovation, it is crucial for you to define internally what big data really means.

    Finding New Opportunities in Convergence

    Big data is more than just a thing for the curious; you need to have an entrepreneurial outlook to make it work.  This calls for a strategy, on how you can integrate a plan at every department so everyone can take accountability.  For example, you can work with your key persons to make sure that data is used correctly so it can deliver the best impact for your business.  You need to understand the why of using this data now and in the future, for you to make the right decisions if you’re implementing change in your business.  Of course, there will be issues when it comes to data quality so you need careful planning – from data collection to analysis.

    Big data fuels the heart of continuous improvement in your business, as you learn from the process and feedback from your stakeholders.  Your end goal is to save time and money so you can reach maximum ROI for your business.  Though not every business treats big data the same, the chance of finding practical ways to harness its powers will open a door to possibilities beyond what you can only start to imagine…

    Finding patterns in your data may be the first step.  What’s next?

  6. Can Your Business Scale Globally on the Clouds?

    "Business Scale on Clouds"We have all learned that to be successful in business these days, you have to conquer the cultural divide so your business can scale globally.  But, what does it really mean for your cloud strategy?  When traditional approach is still being used in IT architecture these days, just how do you take advantage of the clouds so you can integrate multiple technologies and service providers seamlessly?  Is there really a secret to cloud computing success in your organization?  A new era of change has just begun.

    The Adoption of a Cloud Strategy

    It will all start with an agile process involving CIO’s… down to your sales, marketing, HR and other departments involved in the so-called ‘change’.  Here is where the CIO view the blueprint of this cloud strategy so the platform can integrate very well with various business functions in the organization, where cost is not only reduced, but making the transition less complex for everyone.  Sounds too easy?  Yes, it may be a drag or even a major pain – and business executives must lead the way in what you call a leadership in the clouds.  It all boils down to shared vision and collaboration so that everyone can participate in this change that will affect the business in the long run.

    It’s not really surprising that cloud computing is here to rule, no matter how people may have varying opinions about the subject.  Gartner predicts that by 2015, most organizations will have migrated to the cloud.  It’s an adapt-and-adopt game out there when it comes to a cloud strategy, where you adapt the technology and you adopt its use in your business functions.  It’s important then to have a careful planning process before making that giant leap.  Security is still a major concern for many who are having second thoughts though, and to illustrate, here’s an intriguing infographic about it.

    The Age of IT Industrialization

    There is a growing demand for private cloud services and though the pay-per-use model may not be cheaper, if you want your business to scale globally on the clouds, you must be realistic with what you’re actually getting for in return.  You need to assess which applications you can move to the cloud and which ones should be managed in-house.  With plenty of vendors to choose from, you have to scrutinize each one closely to make sure that they meet your requirements.  Yes, there will always be some risk and having a contingency plan can help along the way.

    This is just scratching the surface of migrating to the clouds.. and getting ready to make a change is not a one-off deal, but something that takes years to master and managed every day.  In the end, the goal is to have free flow of information across regional to international borders.  The question now is:  “ Are you ready to rethink your cloud strategy.. or start one, if you don’t have any yet? “

  7. What Every CEO Must Know About the Cloud

    "Cloud"Cloud computing is not rocket science, as many would have believed.  This term has been popular, yet many are still confused.  The concept is not really new; just think of it as your favorite soda in new packaging.  When your PC and mobile devices are in sync, when you access your information anywhere, when you organize these data from an online source, when you share files with your peers – you’re already doing cloud computing without even realizing it.  Your personal cloud is the hubspot of data that’s ready for you to use, whenever you like.

    Cloud Going Mainstream: The Ultimate Dream

    Last year, we’ve seen cloud computing kick off and we’ll surely see huge opportunities for web-based businesses and startups to address critical concerns like security, and come up with a custom fix.  When mobility is the future of technology, and devices are becoming more sophisticated each year, there is a need to make the cloud simpler to adapt to the new marketplace.  In fact, there are predictions on the Web on 10 cloud computing startups that will have a chance to be a blockbuster this year.

    The Cloud as an Agent of Change

    There’s no denying that cloud computing will change how organizations work, especially when workers are not sitting anymore at their desks all day.  So long as you’re connected online, you can practically work anywhere.  A shift to the clouds won’t be the major solution to your business pains, and yet, it brings with it a room for agility – where key people in your business can make critical decisions faster ( and most of the time, more efficient as well ).  It’s a slow and steady adaptation to the cloud these days, without putting a huge dent on the normal workflow process, unless there are bugs to deal with or when you’re running a large enterprise.

    When Team Collaboration Goes 2.0

    Thanks to cloud computing, virtual teams can communicate easily and become virtually productive almost anywhere in the world.  The options seem to be limitless here.  The future for private cloud space also looks bright as we will see new service offerings that are secured from cyberhacks, among many other things.  As these solutions become seamless, so will virtual collaboration be.  Geographical barriers have been crossed and this may take time getting used to, like switching from horses to high-speed cars.

    There’s no denying the fact that cloud computing saves you on cost of having a complex software infrastructure and maintenance by your in-house IT staff.  Mobile technology is real and this time… we’ll be seeing clear skies where it concerns the cloud.