Seventhman Blog

  1. Hybrids are Coming!

    "hybrid IT"‘No man is an island..’ and what better place can this apply but in an organization’s IT department.  This time, they’re no longer isolated in some secret room as they run servers and develop software.  Thanks to technology that has been rapidly shaping the IT landscape for the last few years, 2014 gives rise to a new breed of indispensable talents we call: The Hybrids.  They are the new breed that come across various disciplines – from Business, People Management, Accounting, Finance to IT all blended into one. The walls of the structured roles are being demolished with new job titles that bring value to the business, plain and simple… and only those who master the craft become true winners in a world demanding for specialized excellence.

    Working in a Multi-Dimensional Zone

    If finding the right IT skills for the job was that easy, we wouldn’t have headaches right now.  It is not new to us that many tech professionals are still stuck with traditional roles, and they may not have the business and people skills needed to become A-players in the enterprise.  How many developers out there are social-media savvy, cloud-smart and an e-commerce maverick?  A very gifted few, I’d say.  How many more in the IT care about understanding their business goals and its customers?  One may argue that this is like becoming a Jack-of-all-trades which may devalue their worth in the jobs market. On the contrary, it’s all about making yourself more valuable in the eyes of the employer with a few expertise that will help their business stay competitive – even if there are cheaper alternatives.  It’s about custom-fit skills made for specific needs.

    Hybrid IT Roles Will Become Mainstream

    IT has morphed beyond recognition and with new technology comes new shoes to fill in.  We may see a growth in demand for enterprise architects who know how to integrate cloud computing with existing systems too.  Sustainability and scalability are crucial when companies are adopting cloud models in their business. There is also a demand for business analysts who have a few data scientist skills so s/he can look deeper into all those numbers and come up with an intelligence that will drive more sales.  Then, large organizations may be looking for those IT folks with social skills to help make security and compliance policies easily understood from bottom-up.  Of course, software developers shouldn’t just code, but they should understand customer experience when someone navigates a website… and many more, I guess.  Everything’s integrated.

    Connecting in a Hybrid World of Hybrid Skills

    It sounds funny if we say that IT skills are mutating and we may just label ourselves as mutants in the job marketplace.  Turns out that technology is also undergoing some supercharged metamorphosis – from open hybrid cloud models to enterprise computing.  There’s just this need to have a centralized approach where IT governance is concerned. Everyone wants to control big data with cost-effective cloud components and there’s a gold mine of opportunity here.  While many are debating who owns the cloud in the Amazon developer’s jungle, take note that in order to succeed these days – you may just have to create a demand.  Manipulative?  Maybe.  For the same reason that I’ve asked you from my last post if you can create value through innovation, this time, let’s make a swap and ask ourselves on how we can create innovation through solutions that provide real value to the business.

    Did you know that 90 percent of data online is unstructured? Now, that’s a cue for you to come up with ways of filtering the signal from all these noise.  Good Luck!

     

     

  2. 2014 Insights: Can Technology Save the World?

    "social impact"A means to an end… or an end to a mean?  I’ve been thinking about this whenever I read the news about the latest innovation in the tech world.  The point of creating something new is to solve problems in the real world.  I just can’t think of any other reason than that and those who did so passionately have turned out to be a huge success in their field.  I believe that the question is not about coming up with any solution you can think of – but solving the right problem.  Think of it this way:  If you’re given 24 hours to save the world, what will you plan to resolve?  Sounds simple than you think, right?

    The Problem With Breakthrough

    Many businesses are still in the dark when it comes to creating new products, processes and services.  Try as they might to attempt solving issues which they think are important, there will still be missed opportunities in the pursuit of the next big thing.  How many times have we seen IT projects fail to deliver?  How often do we see new products failing to hit profit simply because it didn’t tackle the right problems?  We are living in a world where innovation is driven by challenges in a business, technical, political and social level.  No matter how many talented experts we have in the marketplace, success rates rise and fall dramatically.  Months to years of elaborate research and development have gone down the drain, with thousands to millions of dollars vanishing into thin air.

    Through the Lens of Effective Leadership

    Sometimes, when things go wrong, you wonder which is lacking: Leadership or problem-solving skills?  Leaders missed the opportunity to understand the depths and dimension of a problem.  This may have contributed in failure to implement things correctly.  Many fear that they spend too much time defining what the real issue is so they speed towards a solution like some crash-test dummy.  If one really wants to change the way things are right now, existing practices and protocols must be improved and problems must be viewed as a door to making things better; not as a distraction.  In my experience, transparent communication works.  When people are empowered to speak up, you can clearly map-out a road towards a viable, long-term solution. Your open-mindedness will break down communication silos, hands down.

    Making a Big Difference in the Real World

    To all tech startups, enthusiasts and fellow entrepreneurs, I have one question for you this coming new year: Are you ready to solve serious problems and make a difference in people’s lives?  You may have prioritized monetization, social capital, or influence when you spread the word about your creation.  How about social impact?  When I saw Jason Pontin’s Ted talk, Can Technology Solve our Big Problems, it made me think how social media and countless apps have enriched our lives.. from the Arab Spring uprising to inspiring memes.  But then again, how about coming up with something that addresses real issues like poverty, climate change and so on?  It’s nice to see the likes of crowdfunding, open online courses, and open source projects bridging the gap.  I just think that we can do more, especially in this age of interconnectivity.

    Are you up to the challenge then?

     

     

  3. 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!

     

     

  4. What’s the Next Big Thing in Technology?

    "next big thing"We’re just a few days away before 2013 finally closes its chapter and we hear of talks about the ‘next big thing’ in technology.  I bet that tech giants out there are feeling tremendous pressure as people are expecting them to come up with a product that makes you say ‘Wow!’ – from internet, software, smartphones, tablets and so much more.  Who will be the next biggest disruptor?  This is the question I’ve been asking lately when I wrote a post about disruptive innovation.  Many of these big things morphed into big hype not because they didn’t stand up to people’s expectations, but these trends became part of an overused phrase that makes the next big.. meme.

    Getting High in the High Tech Lane

    Like many out there, I’m starting to have doubts.  Will there be a next big thing in technology?  We’ve read countless posts about wearable computing and Google glass will soon launch a new line of prescription lenses.  Perhaps, a new social network that can put Facebook out of it’s No.1 spot?  A new way of adopting cloud models?  The possibilities are endless and expectations run high each year that puts big brands on the hot seat of product research and development, like some game show on primetime TV.  Haven’t we seen Apple suffering from this?  While some may argue that tech companies can’t innovate from the ground level, it might surprise you how small businesses are coming up with new and interesting stuff.

    Technologies We Love to Hate…and Love

    In the fast lane where tech products crash and burn, there will always be those that over-promised and under-delivered.  Who do we blame: The media or ourselves?  It doesn’t matter much what the answer is.  I believe you’re all too familiar with these overhyped words: Big Data, Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, Cloud, NFC, Mobile Wallet, Wearable Tech (only to name a few).  In fact, Gartner can summarize these catch phrases into one: Hype Cycle.  What started as a useful technology has reached the height of its peak that it’s getting out of sync with reality.  The disillusionment keeps businesses floating in the cloud of great ideas that they lose their capacities to execute smart decisions well.  Instead of efficiency, lower costs, greater profits and better processes – we see the opposite.

    Continuing the Search for the Next Big Thing

    I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I think that it’s only human to hope for bigger and better things.  There will always be this danger with anything new and the trouble is that you can’t simply know which bubble is about to burst.  Sometimes, you only have to look back to the basics and address the struggles your clients are facing, to come up with something new and useful.  Who wouldn’t want an easier integration where their accounting, inventory and customer relationships are concerned?  Who would like to have something that’s both fast and secured?  Who would like to have the best of speed, simplicity, flexibility, security and quality at a fraction of a cost?  In my opinion, addressing those who would say s/he wants all these is the starting point of coming up with the next big thing.. for real.

     

     

     

  5. A Nightmare on IT Security Street

    "IT Security Flaws"Just in time for the Halloween, I’m writing this post to share with you security horror stories that give you the creeps, 365 days in a year.  IT executives are constantly battling these monsters that threaten the very safety of where their businesses are built.  As mobility reshapes the way we live, work and play – one can only wonder how protected your data really is on the cloud.  IT security will always feel like some slippery slope and with newer applications created each day come tremendous battles against privacy issues and data breach.  Can IT experts truly catch up in keeping both devices and data secured?

    IT Security Nightmares that Keep Tech Executives Up All Night

    In a digital age where information is power and data is commodity, people and businesses’ valuable data are like apples ready for the picking.  There are those who earn millions from buying and selling personal information in the black market.  In fact, we hear stories of data breach from time to time that it sounds like the new normal these days.  Just take for example this latest story affecting Experian and its users.  Like many of us in the tech world, we’re constantly fighting against:

    1. Human Error – It might surprise you that the biggest contributor to security risks is the human factor, of educating and training employees to keep their data and devices safe.  Even with company data policies, complacency and misuse runs like a plague.

    2. Theft – From mobile device theft where confidential data are stored to online identity theft, it poses greater risks to both individuals and businesses alike.

    3. Application Monster – Thanks to the BYOD movement, people simply love downloading free apps to their smart phones without carefully reading the set of permissions they’re granting.  That seemingly-harmless flashlight app may open a huge door to privacy violations if you’re not careful enough.

    4. The Ghost Database – Those running multiple retail locations may feel overconfident about their database security that they might miss vulnerabilities on their servers.  The last thing you want is a database of your customers’ unencrypted credit card numbers waiting to be exposed to unscrupulous hackers.

    5.  Backup Fail – Just because you can store and run almost anything on the cloud doesn’t mean you have to put your guard down.  Keeping a backup of your data will always come in handy, just in case you accidentally lose them.

    As they say, prevention is better than a cure.  Make sure that your business is well-equipped with the right technology and quality IT security team to help you overcome these challenges.  Better safe than sorry..

     

     

     

  6. IT, Project Management and The Impossible Dream

    "project management"Is there such a thing as a perfect project management method?  As businesses are struggling to implement Agile with all the rapid iteration in the hope of coming up with something innovative, the pressure is on.  We’re currently in the last quarter of the year and one can only look back to January to see if you’ve got more items ticked on your wish list.  From status reporting, budgeting, managing teams to numerous technology that allows you to do all these in a breeze, surely, there’s one (or more) things you would like to wish for this coming 2014?

    An IT Project Manager’s Wish List

    You might wonder why I’m writing about this too early when we are a few months’ away from the coming of the new year.  The thing is, there’s never such a thing as ‘too early’ or ‘too late’ if you want to implement real change, right now.  I believe that most of you can relate to one or more of the items here:

    Wish #1 Managing the Right Team

    While every project manager wishes for the best team, it is only the best project managers who can bring out the best in each person (no matter how hopeless).  Would you agree?

    Wish #2 Getting More Involved

    For those of you who are working with big organizations, being included in key management decisions is an ultimate dream.  It would feel so much better when the right expectations are set because IT is not some magic pill that will solve every issue in the business.

    Wish #3 Clarity

    In line with the item above, if there’s strong leadership support, it’s easier to manage stakeholders.  Having a clear objective and clearly communicating it can help avoid delays, slipups and all the ugly situations in between.

    Wish #4 User-Friendly Project Management and Collaboration Tools

    While the internet is rich with tools to get things done, finding something simple for everyone on the team to use is just a minor challenge; getting everyone to accept the idea of using it is another.

    Wish #5  Earning Trust and Respect

    Project management is about respecting, empowering and entrusting your team.  It’s seldom that project managers get to earn their team’s respect especially in running a diverse team of skills, personalities and dreams.  Only a few has conquered the unimaginable..

    And wouldn’t any IT project manager want issues to be resolved by themselves, that resources can be put on auto-mode to keep everyone productive, and that clients won’t make any request for changes?  Now, these are wishful thinking.

    In reality, project management is not for project managers alone and there will always be unique challenges to face.  One thing’s for sure though: Technology speeds up the way we work and communicate, helping us make better and informed decisions.

    Is there a wish you have right now where managing your IT project is concerned?  I am no genie, but my experience allows me to guide you in the right direction.  How Can I Help?

     

     

     

  7. Are You Ready for the Big Data Transition?

    "big data challenge"Much has been said about big data that it feels like a giant black hole pulling you into a world of confusion.  If there’s one thing that business owners and network managers could agree on, it’s this: They’re not ready yet… in facing these big transformations in technology, namely: big data, cloud, security, mobility and data management.  The biggest challenge now is how can you prepare for the future of big data – today?  The government may know everything about people using the internet, but they may also face the same challenges.  How can you really adopt big data solutions to enhance the way you do business?  That’s the bottom line.

    When Talent Scarcity Meets Big Data Hype

    It might surprise you that many are feeling overwhelmed with the surge of unstructured data in their organization and they are struggling to understand how all these petabyte of data can add value to the business.  While many are looking at Hadoop as the core of all the big data efforts, data grows faster in a blink of an eye and dashboards are becoming too complicated for the common user.  Keeping these data is already a huge challenge for data managers and finding someone who can filter the clutter gets more frustrating each day.  Coupled with mixed messages about the big data hype and a small supply of talented data scientists, you begin to wonder if you can still find that ‘sweet spot’ where knowledge and productivity merges.

    The Growing Demand for Big Data Workers Continues

    The next big thing for data professionals is big data – of interpreting data analytics into actionable insights to help improve customer relationships, products, services and eventually, drive new opportunities.  There is a real demand for this talented workforce, but the supply cannot meet it.  Big organizations often look for talents in-house or train their people to learn on-the-job skills by collaborating with those who are offering training courses.  Nurturing your team with the right toolsets and knowledge is just one solution to getting things done.  There’s also the question of what type of cloud technologies should be used to get the most out of these big data initiatives –  whether to go private or public.  Then, there’s the quality of these services and the security of data gathered.  As you can see, everything’s interconnected.. and a failure of one means a failure of all.

    Big Data Challenges: Addressing the Real Issue

    The problem that many businesses are struggling with is not just understanding big data – but how to make it work.  They may even be halfway through their big data plans right now.. and are simply clueless on what and why they’re doing it.  A great data analysis doesn’t equate to great execution.  Still, there’s a huge potential on integrating information of any scale, from any source.  This will call for effective management, from top to bottom.  It’s all about integration – of business and IT, of unstructured and traditional enterprise data.  Problem is, when big data experts are called in to help, managers are often left out of the process.  You can’t expect these data scientists to add value without collaborating with those who make front-line decisions.  The two must work hand-in-hand.  There’s no other way.

    It is only when business and data experts work together that they will come up with a clear strategy that yields results.  Would you agree?