CAT | IT Department

Modernization of IT: Solving a Legacy of Business Problems & Applications

Are we building applications or supporting the business?

I talk to a lot of CIOs. I met with one in early May who oversees the IT operation of a $6 billion yearly entertainment-related company with about 7,000 employees. This top-notch exec was all about transforming a huge investment in existing IT infrastructure into a new dynamic, extensible and agile platform that would propel the business forward – not hold it back. This guy is busy figuring out how to keep a Boeing 777 up in the air while simultaneously re-fitting aircraft to make it best-in-class.

That’s what IT should be all about.

But in some organizations, it’s not. Either the message from the top gets lost as it percolates down through the IT organization, or the message from the top isn’t the right one to begin with. Either way, for those unfortunate IT organizations, IT is a ball-and-chain that holds the enterprise back, rather than gives it the capability to move forward.

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IT News March/April 2012

April 9th, 2012

Creating culture of IT innovation includes rewarding failure – Computerworld lnkd.in/mfGKif

In IT Projects, More Needs to Be Less Too – Information Management Blogs Article lnkd.in/rFZ3CK

Personal and Enterprise IT Gains – Information Management Blogs Article lnkd.in/fu9VKq

Attention tech sales people: Don’t go around the CIO :: Editor’s Blog at WRAL Tech Wire lnkd.in/SbT5YF

IT Must Provide Enterprise Collaboration Tools Employees Will Use lnkd.in/nf6qa9

When Will the Offshore Flow of IT and Finance Jobs End? CIO.com lnkd.in/YcF2vP

Bring your own tech: IT’s missed opportunity | Byod – InfoWorld lnkd.in/sHUXmm

Offshoring Shrinks Number of IT Jobs, Study Says CIO.com lnkd.in/553iN6

CIOs Overcome Shortage of Business Analytics Talent lnkd.in/ukwwzv

India’s IT Firms Hire U.S. Workers As They Fight for Visas CIO.com lnkd.in/fDhir8

Small Business Data Backup Plans Found Lacking – Small and Medium Business IT – News & Reviews – Baseline.com lnkd.in/yHWPaZ

Execs to IT: Take these cloud services and manage them | Cloud storage – InfoWorld lnkd.in/t6AMGu

How to Get a Hot Job in Big Data CIO.com lnkd.in/DWHzEX

Getting A Recommendation From A Past Employer lnkd.in/AnAXJE

Offshoring Shrinks Number of IT Jobs, Study Says CIO.com lnkd.in/8RnBUz

Why the ‘personal cloud’ is no PC killer | Cloud computing – InfoWorld lnkd.in/7byGYH

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ASP.Net web services

January 12th, 2011

ASP.Net web services

ASP.Net Programming is the fastest growing web development platform in the world today. Asp.net web applications are faster and provide better performance to your web applications. The .net developers make usage of advanced compilation and caching techniques to thereby making server applications faster in .NET Framework. Asp.net web development services also helps in increasing developer’s productivity. The .NET developers reap huge productivity gains by using .net class libraries helping in over all memory management. Asp.net web services helps in integration with Existing Systems to build dynamic web applications and also facilitates easy deployment. Asp.net web applications ensure mobility support and integration of over 20 programming languages to choose the best among them. Asp.net technology allows us to carry on the WEB almost all software solutions. You will be able to share any services and resources with users and customers. ASP.Net Programming, an advanced technology similar to the ASP Programming will automatically detect any changes, and then it will dynamically compile the files if needed, and stores the compiled results to reuse for subsequent requests. The dynamic compilation ensures that your application is always up to date, and this compiled execution makes it fast. The simplicity and speed of ASP.Net applications meets the highest modern standards. ASP.NET takes care of detecting the type of browser and browser compatibility issues when it generates code for a server control. The benefits of asp.net web services are it facilitates high speed of development, availability of cross-platform migration, increased productivity, reliability, security, access to the opportunities of .NET Framework Library, relatively short learning curve for developers, easy configurations of applications and security. ASP.Net technology helps in displaying data, validating user input, and uploading files in an easy way. The best feature of this is that it works in all browsers including Netscape, Opera, AOL, and Internet Explorer.

If you are looking to HIRE ASP .NET developer or Hire ASP.NET Programmer with very good experience in full life-cycle of Asp.net projects, then you are at the right place. Why Hire an ASP.NET programmer from Us? We give a lot of importance to customer satisfaction. ProVisionTech has been able to draw a profound line of quality work in ASP.NET development across the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

If you would like to hire asp.net developers or asp.net programmers, please Contact Us to work out the specific details for your asp.net requirements or call us at 972-200-7171. We will be glad to share our expertise with you.

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The story “Dice: US IT hiring set to rise in 2011,” has been clarified to indicate that results cited were from two separate surveys. It was not clear from information provided by the company that the results were from two surveys. The first, second, fourth, seventh and 11th paragraphs have been clarified to indicate which results were cited. The paragraphs now read, in order:

IDG News Service — The story “Dice: US IT hiring set to rise in 2011,” has been clarified to indicate that results cited were from two separate surveys. It was not clear from information provided by the company that the results were from two surveys. The first, second, fourth, seventh and 11th paragraphs have been clarified to indicate which results were cited. The paragraphs now read, in order:

First:

Six in 10 hiring managers and technology recruiters expect to do more hiring in the first half of 2011 than in the previous six months, according to the latest Dice.com report on IT hiring plans.

Second:

Dice surveys human resource managers and recruiters of technology professionals across the U.S. every six months, and its parent company Dice Holdings also conducts surveys, the most recent of which indicates “slow gradual recovery in the labor market,” said Scot Melland, chairman, president and CEO of Dice Holdings, which operates the Dice.com IT and engineering jobs and recruiting services website. Nearly half of the almost 850 respondents in the most recent Dice.com survey say they expect to increase hiring by at least 10 percent in the first half of 2011, with another third expecting increases of 11 percent to 20 percent, and 15 percent forecasting hiring 21 percent to 30 percent more technology workers.

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As the economy slowly shows signs of improvement, an IT Job Rotation Program can help you retain your top performers.

As the economy slowly shows signs of improvement, your IT staff members will inevitably question whether they should explore new opportunities. The management challenge that we face is that IT professionals possess skills that are relatively transferrable from one industry to another, so if you’re in a hard hit industry, you have more risk in retaining your top talent as other industries improve faster. So, how do you retain your IT staff in today’s unpredictable economy?

Build a Job Rotation Program

Job rotation programs are designed to move employees from job to job within a company as a vehicle to attract, retain and motivate staff. Rotation programs give employees an opportunity to explore other careers, prevent job boredom, develop competencies, foster career growth, and improve talent in an organization. A well designed job rotation program can have a very favorable impact on job satisfaction, productivity and retention. Rotations are different from normal job openings because the job opening is created by two employees interested in moving into each other’s jobs.

Where Do You Start?

First, assemble a small, cross-functional team of individual contributors and managers to define the program. The team can help you study the topic, define specific objectives, establish the process, and make sure that whatever you eventually put in place will be an effective program. There is a lot of free information available on the internet and even consultants that specialize in the topic.

Defining Objectives

While the name of the program clearly implies its intention, it does not convey the reasons why such a program is necessary for your company. It is important that you clearly emphasize why the program is needed. Organizations put rotation programs in place to solve different objectives. The team that you assemble to build the program can help you identify and communicate the objectives of the program. Merely saying that the program will be designed to help retain employees is not sufficient because no one will understand how such a program will help retain employees. And retaining employees is a goal or an outcome, not an objective. An example of an objective of a job rotation program may be to broaden an individual’s knowledge of other functions in the IT department, which in turn will help become more valuable to the organization. In this age of doing more with less, this is a worthy objective.

Establishing a Process

After you have sufficiently studied rotation programs and are ready to design your own, carefully consider the type of process that you will need. Some companies have very informal rotation programs. In these companies, the culture itself encourages employees to move from one job to another. There may be enough natural movement that a highly structured program is not necessary – too much structure may even be viewed as an impediment in this type culture. Although, it is arguable that some amount of structure is necessary in any type of culture so that employees understand how to make a move into a different role that is right for them – and for the company.

When designing a job rotation program, consider steps such as the request process, eligibility, matching participants to opportunities, terms of rotation, timing, transition plan, and monitoring the rotation. It is best to have the program clearly documented and made available on the company’s intranet.

Measuring the Success of the Program

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IT Job Satisfaction in a Rut

August 17th, 2010

It’s getting tough out there for IT employees facing long workdays, short tempers and limited career options.

Computerworld — The Jet Blue flight attendant’s dramatic de-planing last week says a lot about workplace frustration, a problem that may be increasing in IT.

A few days before flight attendant Steven Slater released a rear chute and exited his career with a couple of cans of beer in hand, an organization of IBM users meeting at the Share conference in Boston held an informal discussion entitled “The Mythical 40-Hour Week.”

It wasn’t a gripe session as much as a chance to share notes about what’s going in IT workplaces since the Great Recession. What emerged was an insider’s view of the frustrations building among tech workers as work days lengthen, pay remains stagnant and career growth appears thwarted.

Those taking part in the discussion asked that their names not be used so they could speak frankly.

“You don’t know how many hours you work – it’s all about getting the job done,” said one IT worker. “There are lots, lots of people in IT who are expected to work far more than a 40-hour week,” said another. Sixty hour weeks are common.

Yet another worker described bosses who expect their employees to work late into the night if need be to fix problems and then be on the job the next day at the usual time. Even vacation time is no longer sacrosanct: one person said he expects to be contacted “more than a half dozen times” during his time off.

Even if companies are getting more unpaid hours from their workers in today’s climate, the companies themselves may be getting hurt in other ways, according to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in Washington, D.C. The CEB conducts ongoing behavioral surveys of employee attitudes, and many of its clients are Fortune 500 firms.

The willingness of employees to “exert high levels of discretionary effort” — or put in the extra effort to get a job done — remains at low levels, the CEB found in its most recent survey, completed in the second quarter.

This willingness to put in extra effort fell from about 12% of workers in 2007 to about 4% last year. It was the lowest level in 10 years. The latest CEB survey of nearly 20,000 IT workers said that percentage had changed little and is now at 4.6%.

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Mike Hanes
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IT Job Satisfaction in a Rut


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Older generations learned tech. The younger generation lives it. Organizations that want to succeed need the skills of both.

InfoWorld — IT pros who grew up in the Baby Boom are dinosaurs who just don’t get it. Generation Y is full of Facebook-happy slackers with an exaggerated sense of entitlement. But beyond these broad generalizations lie some real differences between the generations of geeks who do tech for a living, from Boomers to Generations X, Y, and the Millennials.

“Today’s generation was born into a world where technology is about interaction, whether it’s playing video games or using social media,” says Larry Johnson, age 62, co-author with daughter Meagan (age 40) of “Generations, Inc.: From Boomers to Linksters — Managing the Friction Between Generations at Work” (Amacom, 2010). “They spent hours at it, the way I spent hours watching ‘Rin Tin Tin.’ So their brains are structured to interact with technology in an entirely different way.”

[ Looking to get the most out of your IT investments, see InfoWorld’s “20 more IT mistakes to avoid” and “16 ways IT can do less with less” | Find out which of InfoWorld’s IT personality types best fits your tech temperament. ]

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In the US, there is no universally-recognized, formal certification process required to be a programmer. Some programmers are graduates of CIS (Computer and Information Science) programs, some are engineers and many are neither.Novell and Microsoft have tried to create proprietary certification with their CNE (Certified Network Engineer) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) training.

Many states have made using such titles illegal because they mislead the public on who is really an engineer.  Graduates of CNE & MCSE training are not required to have an ABET-accredited engineering degree or a PE (Professional Engineer) license so they cannot be called engineers.

This effort is in the public interest because software impacts public safety. By way of information, Ohio has rendered the MCSE and CNE titles unusable unless you are an actual engineer. Nevada also has strict engineer title laws.

The “science” of computer science has a long way to go. Few truly useful software development paradigms exist and the graduates are not adequately trained in their use or are even aware of their existence.

The professors themselves are ignorant of current software development practices and have little to offer their students in the way of helpful suggestions.

Having been a Computer Engineering professor at a large university, I can personally attest to the appalling lack of understanding of software engineering issues on the part of a few of my former colleagues.  Scary, really.

Some organizations, such as Carnegie-Mellon’s SEI (Software Engineering Institute) are combating this widespread ignorance. Local SPIN groups (Software Process Improvement Network), an outgrowth of CMU’s SEI, are also assisting in this effort.

However, as long as time-to-market issues dominate software development (rather than safety or correctness), there will be little incentive to change.

Software engineers, on the other hand, have a lot more science and technology background than do programmers or computer science majors. Because they are degreed engineers, they have the ABET-approved engineering core which includes physics, chemistry, math, thermodynamics, material science, engineering design, etc. Software engineers, at the graduate level, also learn project management and other business aspects of the software design and production process.

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Some CIOs always seem to be plush with funds and have great IT Budgets. This article looks at some critical factors which influence IT Budgets.

Year on year most CIOs are facing a downward pressure on their IT spends. IT surveys in last year and year before have shown that IT spends either remained the same or increased only marginally. Even the marginal increase mainly is attributed to increasing man power costs and costs of maintenance. However some CIOs always seem to be plush with funds and have great IT Budgets. Most others who do not fall in this category attribute it to organisation’s culture (IT savy), or great boards, amazing sponsors and many other things – other than the CIOs ability to obtain the budgets. However obtaining Great IT Budgets is a skill. This article presents a few principles on how to get approvals for great budgets. (Here we take into consideration only budgets approved during normal operations of the company. In special cases such during Fund Raising, IPO, M&A – getting budgets is a different ball game).

I do not like to oversimplify things. However two important principles which lead to great IT budgets are great projects and great selling.
Great Projects

Ask any CIO and he would have at least 3 to 4 large IT projects running in parallel (and possibly on miserably low budgets). The primary reason for the low budgets is that most projects which are selected and presented to the board (or committee etc.) don’t fit the requirements of strategic projects. If you look at the IT project classification grid – where does most of your IT Budget go? Most CIOs spenGrid2d maximum amount of budgets on “support” projects (mainly because these are critical for sustaining present operations), and on “factory” projects – projects which improve efficiencies. While these two types of projects are important – these will continually face a downward pressure on budgets as these are seen as ‘necessary evil’ rather than value adding activities. Great projects are the ones which fall in the category of “Turn around” and “Strategic”. These projects hold a promise of improvement in revenue – top line and bottom lines and becoming a great differentiator spiralling companies growth.

Indentifying Strategic Projects involves number of techniques – including innovation techniques such as Systematic Inventive Thinking (which I am great admirer of), brain storming, Deep Diving, strategic workshops, etc. I will dwell into some of these topics in some of my other posts. However one thing is sure that strategic projects can rarely be identified by looking at what competition is doing.

For any CIO, it is essential to first assess where his projects lie in the above strategic grid. Once he is sure that he has a great new project which is a strategic or a turnaround project, it’s time to move on to the next step – selling the project.
Great Selling
Most CIOs / CTOs require the approval of some committee, board, or sometimes a person for their IT Budgets. It is not enough to have a great project (or line up of projects) to obtain budgets. Many times the most promising projects are shelved because lack of budgets. What the CIOs generally ignore is that however great the idea – it needs to be sold. Here I give four simple rules by which you can sell your project effectively to your board.

1. TALK BUSINESS: Start with how the project is going to improve revenues and efficiencies. Present NUMBERS. Do not go through the usual rant of business requirements, approach, specifications approach etc. No one is interested in these. Talk MONEY, talk about CUSTOMER, talk DIFFERNTIATION. Do not talk specifications.

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If you were looking for some ammo to get your budget increased for the coming fiscal year, Forrester has got your back with arguments why CEOs should stop limiting their IT budget allocations.

The gist of the argument is that putting CIOs under budget pressure forces them to spend on maintaining current operations rather than helping to grow the business. This isn’t a particularly universal argument; there are a lot of shops where IT really doesn’t have any clear or positive ROI avenues to contribute to business growth. The idea that new initiatives can contribute to efficiency and stability, though, can be easily substituted.

But the real problem with the Forrester argument is that they are probably advancing ideas that CEOs are already familiar with, and have rejected. More than once I have come across CEOs that squeeze IT budgets explicitly to prevent growth… growth in IT, at least. That is, after all, what they most frequently get for their invested IT dollars… new systems, more ongoing maintenance costs. There is no faster way to exist the CEO’s office than to come to him presenting as a positive something he has already mentally adjusted to as a negative.

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Mike Hanes
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