Seventhman Blog

  1. Why Do IT Projects Fail Big Time?

    "IT project failure"In the world of IT, projects do crash and burn.. a lot of times lately.  When things go wrong, who’s to blame?  Before you go on a witch hunt for the next responsible person, you ought to dig deeper for you to come up with a permanent solution.  It’s never an easy job though, but doable nonetheless.  While it’s better to talk about why IT projects succeed, to know why they fail can help improve the chances for many of us who are missing goals terribly.  According to a recent study featured by Cio.com, 50 percent of companies had experienced IT project failure in the last 12 months.  You start to wonder if there’s a shortage of project managers or skilled IT workers (or both).

    Don’t Blame It on IT

    Let’s set aside for a moment this tech fiasco where Obamacare is concerned.  While working as a software developer helped me acquire logical and problem-solving skills, I just feel it’s totally unfair to blame it all on IT when things go wrong.  Did you know that most IT project fail because of poor management?  It’s very rare that failure is due to major technical hurdles.  Key to the success of any undertaking is assigning the right tasks to the right people, plus, defining clear goals and responsibilities.  Just because developers are working in tech doesn’t mean expecting them to behave like computers too.  When leadership is lacking, programmers can get lost in a maze of confusion (not to mention, frustration).

    The Constantly-Evolving Role of Project Managers

    Gone are the days when managers send out orders to be followed by their minions.  The role has evolved into something so dynamic that it involves human relations.  It’s not only making sure that deadlines are met and everyone adhere to best practices, but project managers should also communicate and motivate their team to be their best.  Still, we see many who are stuck in the old mindset that they’re not ready to implement change management, no matter how Agile they think they are.  One of the biggest failure that a project manager can commit is not aligning goals between team players and stakeholders.  They’re supposed to bridge the gap and create trust; instead, they are putting everyone on gridlock until everyone decides to quit and call it a long day.

    Looking at the Real Problem

    Because it’s easy, when IT projects fail – people will simply look at the IT department to blame.  It’s not really the case.  Most of the time, it’s lack of resources that contributed to the failure.  As enterprises move to the cloud, we see demands in adopting more application, adding to the backlogs of the IT team.  Nobody really cares how people work on it so long as it’s delivered in lightning speed.  Soon, your team feels overworked and confused on what to prioritize first.  While you can argue that this can be easily fixed by project managers, most often, they add to the burden by simply not admitting that there’s a problem in the first place.  You can’t blame them though when they’re expected to run things to spotless perfection.  Should the founders be blamed then for such unrealistic expectations?  Accountability should run from top to bottom, no exceptions!

    No matter, if you embrace failure as a testing ground instead of your final destination, you might just win the race to the next disruptive technology around.

     

    **Something new is coming.  Stay Tuned!

     

     

  2. Do You Really Need an API?

    "API economy"In a world where software transforms the way we do business, one starts to wonder if small to large-scale enterprises really need an API.. and a real good strategy to make it work.  As we do business in the cloud and use lots of Software-as-a-Service models, APIs aren’t strictly tied up to mobility alone.  If you take a closer look at Amazon, you’ll see how they have built their business by extending its functionality to outsiders.  Then, there’s the OpenStack project.  Perhaps, APIs these days are the Sun of the software galaxy where everyone’s revolving around.  Yet, the challenge of management, distribution and monetization of API still abound for many API-driven tech companies out there.

    The Problem With API

    While I was surfing the Web to get my weekly dose of all things tech, I’ve encountered a post that caught my attention: A Company Without APIs is Like a Computer Without InternetSpot on!  I have to applaud Brian though for mentioning tips on how to engage developers to participate in building all those awesome software – this can be a tough job to accomplish, but doable nonetheless. I believe that you have to set out with a clear objective and define your target market well if you want to launch a successful API strategy.  It’s not just about making money or encouraging innovation.  The very idea of opening up your data must outweigh the risk and cost.  Finding motivated developers with the right technical and social skills is a major hurdle too.  How can you find tech-savvy evangelists who will add value to your business?

    Let’s presume that you will encounter these challenges:

    1. Exposing proprietary data to your competitors – much to their advantage
    2. Opening your API to the public can mean added cost in developing your platform from scratch
    3. Building APIs that developers hate
    4. Delays and backlogs in transition, especially with documentation
    5. Not coming up with a strategy that will make your business stay competitive

    Creating an API Tactic vs. Strategy

    You may argue that the two words are one and the same.  The thing is that in a developer’s lingo, API Strategy is becoming cliché, together with buzzwords like big data and disruptive innovation.  While you may have a strong case for building a strategy in today’s API economy, you don’t need a big plan to move forward.  Instead, what you need is a specific tactic on measuring things. Got it?  There are situations when building a strategy works, like those who want to build a developer community to help with their software initiatives.  In this case, strategy is fundamental to the business.  But, if you only need to focus on supporting your business goals, you simply need a tactic to help drive revenue streams to your business.

    Bottomline: To gain traction where APIs are involved, you need a strong developer support working with the best marketing team who will help get the word out.  The key to your program’s success is knowing who your audience is so you can come up with the right opportunities.  Are you ready to build that rockstar team, open communication channels and share the credit?

    APIs should be empowered both by business leaders and technology.

     

     

  3. Are You Ready to Embrace Enterprise Mobility?

    "enterprise mobility"Change is coming… to enterprise mobility and the shift is happening in a blink of an eye.  You might say that it’s an over-statement on my part.  The reality is not really far-fetch, thanks to the BYOD movement.  Mobile is the new IT, no doubt.  Back in the 80’s, big companies invested millions on desktop computers because they believed that this will make their employees productive.  Today, everything changed with mobile apps running on smartphones, tablets and somewhere in between.  Going mobile used to be a business cost and now, a means to transform the way people work.  With these said, one can wonder who owns mobility in the enterprise.

    From Cloud Exploration to Cloud Business

    The adoption of cloud within the enterprise is becoming less experimental, evolving into a vital production tool in the workplace.  IT departments are starting to take cloud computing and security more seriously.  From the CIO to marketing departments and business managers, the power-shift is happening.  Almost everyone can now work with mobile applications, thanks to vendors who have listened well and designed something simple and useful for their end-users.  According to a research done by Forrester, business leaders who are making lots of renegade tech purchases are 50% more likely to increase spending.  No matter, we’re seeing a rise in the number of tech-savvy business executives who can now interact more effectively with IT.

    Taking the Management Out of Enterprise Mobility

    There is an emerging discipline within enterprise where people, processes and technology are managed based on the increasing use of mobile devices, computing and wireless networks in the workplace.  While mobility may free business units from the iron grip of IT, there must be balance where managing this revolution is concerned.  While you can play the paranoia game, thanks to the revelations made by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, people should be empowered to go mobile without putting corporate data at risk.  One way to do this is to implement a unified network infrastructure that delivers a secured virtual network for its user.  This means having reliable connectivity too.  Also, having a unified architecture approach helps – from routers, servers, wireless access points, security to business apps.  The last thing you want is for your people opting out simply because the company-provided tools didn’t perform well on their devices.

    Should You Mobilize Everything?

    What can empower your team more is through giving them access to their work and personal data – anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices.  The challenge?  Not everyone feels ready for this transformation simply because they think they are wasting money on this investment. Can you really bring in mobility, data security and self-service come to work without risking data control?  This is everyone’s dream.  The solutions available right now in the market may be far from perfect,  but I’m optimistic that we’re finally getting there.  For now, I’d say spend more time researching on how you can create your own work apps, train your people to efficiently use mobility in their jobs, and make sure that everyone knows the value of going mobile.

    Technology has the power to transform or deform your brand.  The choice is totally up to you…

  4. Can IT and Business Bury the Hatchet?

    "IT Friction"Can we all just get along?  Sometimes, you can’t help asking this question where it concerns the IT department and the rest of the business.  Whether it’s an issue of mistrust, communication or mindboggling bugs – business owners are simply lost as to how to deal with the issue.  This gap is a major money drain that adds to loss in productivity in the workplace.  When things get awry, end users of technology used in the company hate calling their help desk.  In fact, that’s the last thing they want to do.  Does it have something to do with the IT stereotype, of introverted technophiles working in secret?  Is it a culture clash that makes charismatic business leaders steer clear of IT?  Whatever the answer is, there’s only one truth here: There is a huge gap.

    Going Back to Where It All Started

    Last May, I shared with you my insights on the three inconvenient truths about IT and business. Let’s dig in deeper this time.  No matter how modern a company’s business is, how well-supported it is with new technologies and trends like the  BYOD (bring-your-own-device) movement, the expectations between IT and business is a major mismatch contributing to the friction that’s getting bigger each day. According to a study made by Forrester (commissioned by BMC) in December 2012 – there are significant gaps in customer experience.  Business users of all types are  solving things on their own or getting it elsewhere, even when they reached out to IT for help.  We all know that user satisfaction is important in business.  The thing is that even when IT asks for ways to improve with their surveys, little to no action is done to make things work.

    Inspiring a Culture of Change

    Do you think that the old system is to blame?  In the beginning, businesses were totally dependent on IT no matter how limited the technology is.  Then came the internet and tools on how to make things faster at a lower cost.  Business leaders are simply taking things on their own because their needs weren’t met when they started working with IT.  Not all users have the same demands and expectations so understanding the culture of each user is a must.  Gone were the days when the service desk is just a point of contact.  They have to be trained to excel in customer service.  If the IT management will be more accountable on each solution they provide, they may even automate certain processes within the business to help regain loss in productivity.  Everybody wins then…

    IT Problems Don’t Have to Cost Your Business Big Bucks

    The real trouble kicks in when you’re dealing with numbers.  Let’s say company X employs thousands.  Majority of their requests go to the help desk – whether they are working at the office, semi-mobile or 100% mobile.  When users can’t work because of IT issues, they lose valuable time.  Frustrations can pile up.  While automation has helped counter this,  together with implementing user-friendly support (tutorials, remote help, live chats, blogs, forums) – only through proactive and timely communication will the gap heal in time.  Having a Plan B when things go wrong can help too, so long as there is a real commitment to continuously improve existing technologies and system with one end in mind: Positive Impact to Business.

    How can you innovate IT? Start with common sense, like keeping things simple.  It can go a long way, would you agree?

     

     

     

  5. What Does the Future Hold for Enterprise Software?

    "enterprise software"You probably have had enough of these talks about the cloud.  For the uninitiated, the tech world is one giant fog threatening to keep them lost in an unfamiliar place.  For those who have an idea, another question comes to mind:  Are we ever going to see enterprise technology transition to the cloud?  If you happen to talk to those who run large companies with complicated systems, you’d be surprised how they would want to join those who are already reaping the benefits of cloud applications… that is, if only they can have it in a form that fits their interest.  Thanks to consumer technology, traditional enterprise software is shifting slowly into something that works well within the organization.

    Old Concept, New Models

    Does infrastructure matter anymore?  Many may have asked this question amidst the proliferation of virtual environments.  Come to think of it, at some point, all those data collected will occupy a physical space.  For this reason, we have data centers who have been criticized for their carbon footprint ( and that’s another issue I won’t elaborate on this post ).  The issue with enterprise software is this misconception that what worked for consumers will work for businesses.  It’s not really that simple.  There is the matter of security, compliance and management that one needs to consider.  If the risks can be lessened for those who are using software for business, we may see the perfect mix of flexibility and customization that many have been searching for throughout these years.

    The Future of Enterprise Software

    In the age of data virtualization and mobility, you need to know that what’s working for consumers may not really work well for the enterprise.  With the radical changes we see in how consumers are using mobile and social, it certainly affected their expectations of enterprise software.  The future looks promising if…

    1.  User experience is top priority — because no one really uses complex features that are too complicated to use.  Simplicity is Key!  There must be a balance between making employees work easier and giving businesses control over certain functions.

    2.  There’s dedication to continuous improvement — gone were the days when it takes months to years for products to respond quickly to market demands.  Users expect constant improvement that won’t disrupt their productivity.

    3.  The price is right — Enterprise software had been synonymous with hidden costs, vague pricing models and complex contracts.  Buyers will choose those who are into subscription pricing and those who offer perpetual licenses.

    4. One size doesn’t fit all — while building for scale has been a challenge, enterprise software must be tailored to the business using it.  How to customize solutions.. to make it readily and safely available for users on the go?

    5.  Customer engagement is C-Level Priority — business is run by people who will need to collaborate.  You don’t simply put a ‘Like’ button; you add functions that will add value to the team using it.

    The ugly truth:  Many vendors are still in denial and the pressure is on.  But, like many other things, change is coming and businesses have awaken from a deep slumber.