SlideShark Solves The Present PowerPoint-On-iPad Problem

I spend a lot of time delivering PowerPoint presentations, pitching ideas and data and hopefully some pizzazz and inspiration. And that means I'm lugging my 7-pound laptop and 1-pound charger around, projecting via a dodgy VGA cable with doubtful video qualities, and mouseclicking my way through the story. It's all good because it's all I've ever known. And it beats swapping foils on an overhead projectors. (Why do they call those transparencies foils??)

But, sometimes it would be so much more convenient for me to toss my 1.3-pound iPad2 sans charger into a small bag, hop on the US Airways Shuttle to New York, and pitch the deck while leaving the laptop and charger at home. And if it's true for me, then it has to be true for your iPad-totin' sales teams.

Until now, I've not found a decent PowerPoint solution on iPad. As much as I believe that Microsoft will eventually offer PowerPoint on iPad, I need an answer now. Apple's Keynote requires a big adjustment for me (and for the rest of my ecosystem), and PDF rendering kills the thrill of PowerPoint builds and messes up my storytelling punchlines.

Then along comes SlideShark from online presentation vendor Brainshark. It's animation-complete, hassle-free, PowerPoint-on-iPad (PoiP). So far it works like a champ.

Brainshark is known for its ability to host presentations with voiceover and other stuff as a way to train sales folks and others online and on mobile devices. The company has been around since 1999 and has won over many enterprise customers. Their favorite factoid is, and I quote, "A Brainshark is created every 3 minutes and viewed every 2.5 seconds, with over 1 million views/month."

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Isn't It Time To Move Beyond Alignment?

It's strange, but some things about the CIO role change very little from year to year -- and one of the most consistent priorities for CIOs has always been achieving better "alignment" with “the business.” But should this really be a top priority?

I can’t help it, I really dislike the term “alignment” -- it suggests to me that CIOs are trying to bring together two separate and distinct things: “the business” and “IT.” But the really successful CIOs already know this specific language sets everyone up to perceive IT as something apart from the business. And we all know that every business has technology woven intricately throughout -- to suggest technology is not a vital part of business success is simply wrong. So instead of talking about aligning IT with the rest of the business, we need to focus on ensuring the business is using technology to achieve defined goals and deliver business results.

Unfortunately, for many companies, IT appears to be in the software development business -- responding to “orders” from “internal customers” and busily delivering applications. CIOs need to ask: “what business are we in?” For most CIOs, the answer will undoubtedly NOT be the technology business. For these CIOs, the most precious skill IT can bring to the organization is business knowledge and process understanding coupled with technology know-how. By helping identify how technology can change the business dynamics and move the organization more efficiently toward its objectives, IT becomes the foundation for competitive advantage. In other words, IT needs to be in the business of helping shape business strategy.  

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Protecting The Extended Enterprise

“To succeed, Security & Risk leaders need to be part of the business strategy.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone give some variation on that piece of advice, I’d be rich. As you all know, that’s an easy thing to say but a difficult thing to do. And that’s particularly true now, because our business leaders today are prioritizing growth – they’re entering new markets and releasing new products and services to grow revenue. Your business will unleash the creativity of its entire extended enterprise ecosystem – employees, partners, suppliers, and current customers – to find new ways to win and serve new customers. And your extended enterprise will connect via mobile and social applications and use cloud services. 

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How To Stop Your Customers From "Cheating" On You

About five months ago, I “broke up” with T-Mobile in favor of AT&T. I was a T-Mobile customer for six years on a very competitive service plan. But none of that mattered; I wanted an iPhone, and T-Mobile couldn’t give it to me. It was a clean but cruel breakup: AT&T cancelled my T-Mobile contract on my behalf, the equivalent of getting dumped by your girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

I bring this up because it reminds me of the saying: “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.” This is particularly important to remember in “The Age Of The Customer” where technology-led disruption is eroding traditional competitive barriers across all industries. Empowered buyers have information at their fingertips to check a price, read a product review, or ask for advice from a friend right from the screen of their smartphone.

This is affecting your IT just as much as your business: As an indicator, Forrester finds that 48% of information workers already buy whatever smartphone they want and use it for work purposes. In the new era, it is easier than ever for empowered employees and App Developers to circumvent traditional IT procurement and provisioning to take advantage of new desktop, mobile, and tablet devices as well as cloud-based software and infrastructure you don’t support. They’re “cheating” on you to get their jobs done better, faster, and cheaper.

To become more desirable to your customer – be it your Application Developers, workforce, or end buyers – IT Infrastructure and Operations leaders must become more customer-obsessed, which I talk about in this video:

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Five Steps To Improve Your IT Financial Management Maturity

Help mummy, that horrible man is talking about finance again. 

I jest, but I very nearly titled this blog “Warning: This Blog Is About IT Financial Management And ITIL.” Sorry, but this is how I feel sometimes when I talk about the financial side of IT management, IT service management, and ITIL adoption.

But remember, accountants are supposedly boring not scary. The really scary thing is that IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations have survived for so long without really appreciating what it costs to deliver their IT services.

There is no denying that I&O organizations have always “done finance” in some shape or form. There is not a single business function, IT or otherwise, in any organization that can escape the need for some semblance of financial management and the scrutiny from the formal finance department. So my question to I&O execs is not “Are you doing IT financial management?” but rather “How mature is your IT financial management?”

The changing business and IT landscapes are bringing an end to a somewhat slapdash approach to managing I&O’s finances and investment and usher in the need to extend IT financial management to encapsulate the concept of value. Read on, Macduff.

Why haven’t I&O execs focused on maturing their IT financial management practices?

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HP And Cisco Bury The Hatchet To Accommodate Customers – Everyone Wins?

In a surprising move, HP and Cisco announced that HP will be reselling a custom-developed Cisco Nexus switch, the “Cisco Nexus B22 Fabric Extender for HP,” commonly called a FEX in Cisco speak. What is surprising about this is that the FEX is a key component of Cisco’s Nexus switch technology as well as an integral component of Cisco’s UCS server product, the introduction of which has pitted the two companies in direct and bitter competition in the heart of HP’s previously sacrosanct server segment. Combined with HP’s increasing focus on networking, the companies have not been the best of buds for the past couple of years. Accordingly, this announcement really makes us sit up and take notice.

So what drove this seeming rapprochement? The coined word “coopetition” lacks the flavor of the German “Realpolitik,” but the essence is the same – both sides profit from accommodating a real demand from customers for Cisco network technology in HP BladeSystem servers. And like the best of deals, both sides walk away thinking that they got the best of the other. HP answers the demands of what is probably a sizable fraction of their customer base for better interoperability with Cisco Nexus-based networks, and in doing so expects to head off customer defections to Cisco UCS servers. Cisco gets both money (the B22 starts at around $10,000 per module and most HP BladeSystem customers who use it will probably buy at least two per enclosure, so making a rough guess at OEM pricing, Cisco is going to make as much as $8,000 to $10,000 per chassis from HP BladeSystems that use the B22) from the sale of the Cisco-branded modules as well as exposure of Cisco technology to HP customers, with the hope that they will consider UCS for future requirements.

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On The Road To Diverse Parts Of The World - AKA Alternative Offshore Locations

I completed my Global Entry application earlier this week (www.globalentry.gov). They appeal to international travelers by promising the ability "to get on their way quickly and easily by using automated kiosks." The idea of an expedited process is very appealing. I've found that it's very hard for those customs officials to believe that you've been in a country or set of countries for 5 days and you didn't buy anything. Obviously they don't know the life of an analyst. I barely had time to eat and sleep; when would I have gone shopping?!? I get tired of having to explain that to these guys.

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Vendor Management And Procurement - A Marriage Made In Heaven Or Somewhere Further Down South?

I'm a Forrester analyst, but lately I've been feeling more like a marriage counselor.  Not that I mind that role; you get to hear all sorts of juicy gossip and sordid tales of woe. But I didn't anticipate it in my job at Forrester. I've spent many 30-minute counseling sessions (inquiries) listening to Vendor Management dudes (professionals) complaining about their Procurement spouses (colleagues) and vice versa. It appears that both parties are approaching married life (work) from two different sides of the bed. It feels like this arranged marriage is doomed to fail. But enough with the marriage analogy; this is a serious issue that seems to be pretty prevalent in the corporate world today. 

So what are the major areas of disconnect? 

  1. Procurement is goaled to save the company money and mitigate contractual risk. They can best do that by dissecting contracts that are coming up for renewal. They look for opportunities to reduce billable and fixed rates, maintenance costs, and license fees. They also review potential new vendor relationships and ensure that the lowest-cost provider is strongly considered. They act as the fiduciary agents of the company to ensure that the best price is negotiated for services or products the company wants to purchase. In partnership with general council, they also ensure that the T&Cs (terms and conditions) in the contract are appropriate and protect the interests of the company.
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Interested In Open Source Integration Tools Or Cloud-Based Integration? Take Our Survey.

All indications are that the use of open source integration tools and cloud-based integration are hot topics in many organizations. We are in the process of capturing current interest statistics and invite you to take our short survey that covers these issues.

Here's the link: http://deploy.ztelligence.com/start/index.jsp?PIN=164GHK2QZYYKN

Thanks in advance for your participation!

Ken Vollmer

IT Service Management Metrics: Advice And 10 Top Tips

Earlier this week, I attended the Hornbill User Group (or "HUG" as it is affectionately known) to listen to Malcolm Fry, IT service management (ITSM) legend and author of "ITIL Lite," talk about ITSM metrics in the context of ITIL 2011.

There is no doubt that metrics have long been a topic of interest, concern, and debate for ITSM practitioners (I wrote a piece a few years ago that is still the most popular item on my old blog site by a huge margin), and IMO I&O organizations struggle with the area due to a number of reasons:

  • I&O is not entirely sure what it is doing (in terms of metrics) and why.
  • We often measure what is easy to measure rather than what we should measure.
  • I&O can easily fall into the trap of focusing on IT metrics rather than business-focused metrics.
  • I&O organizations often have too many metrics as opposed to a select few (often led by the abundance of reports and metrics provided by the ITSM tool or tools of choice).
  • There is no structure or context between metrics (these can be stuck in silos rather than being “end-to-end”).
  • Metrics are commonly viewed as an output in their own right rather than as an input into business conversations about services or improvement activity.
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