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. 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.

     

     

  5. 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.

     

     

     

  6. 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..

     

     

     

  7. 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?