December 18, 2014

Death To Fillable PDFs And MS Word Forms
Sorry, Adobe. You had a chance with PDF forms, and you blew it. And the world needs to move on. ... The cloud options are easy and inexpensive. SurveyMonkey will work in some cases. Google Forms is flexible and free. Wufoo has more features, as does FormSite, and both are inexpensive. One caveat: For employees who are more comfortable mulling over a form before filling it out, it's courteous to provide the option of viewing the entirety of the form before data entry. Two wins: First, the collector gets the form data back… as data. (PDFs and Word documents can, but usually don't, come back as tabular data.) Second, employees are less frustrated.

Why HP is Investing a Lot in the OpenStack Project
Composability is the main theme. HP wants to have a pure OpenStack platform that can be augmented with as many different plug-ins as possible. “The enterprise needs that flexibility,” Hilf said. Ability to plug in different kinds of software defined network controllers, hypervisors, or storage systems is very important. “We can’t only have the HP storage solution as the answer. It can’t only be that HP SDN controller is the answer.” For this model to work in the long run, OpenStack, the core platform, has to be solid, which is why HP has been investing so much in the open source project.

Find the Right Expert for Any Problem
The basic idea is that you identify people who might have some knowledge of or interest in a given topic area, and you ask them who else might know even more than they do — or who else might know of others with greater knowledge. Then you contact those people and repeat the process until you’ve gotten to the top of that particular topic area, or pyramid, and found individuals with the highest levels of expertise and passion. Once you’re at a peak of a pyramid, you’re more likely to get a referral to someone in a distant but analogous topic area (when we say “distant,” we’re not referring to geography but to contextual differences between subjects). That’s because the highly curious, knowledgeable, well-connected people at the top of pyramids tend to reach out to people outside their domains.

Is Your Brain Trying To Sabotage Your CIO Career?
Possibly more than any other C-suite executive, the CIO runs the gauntlet between dealing with the task- or detail-focused and building the relationships needed to influence effectively. Although a growing number of CIOs come from business rather than engineering backgrounds, the style needed to lead staff working on IT projects is much more likely to be in your brain’s Task-Positive than Default Mode network. Research has shown that the more time your brain spends operating in one network, the more difficult it is to switch between the two. If you've managed to make it into the C-suite, chances are you're already doing a pretty decent job of moving between one and the other but there are things you can do to make that transition even easier for you.

Human error root cause of November Microsoft Azure outage
The outage stemmed from a change in the configuration of the storage service, one that was made to improve the performance of the service. Typically, Microsoft, like most other cloud providers, will test a proposed change to its cloud services on a handful of servers. This way, if there is a problem with the configuration change, engineers can spot it early before a large number of customers are impacted. If the change works as expected, the company will then roll the change out to larger numbers of servers in successive waves, until the entire system is updated.

Wearables In 2015: 4 Predictions
In a Forrester Research survey of 3,000 global technology and business decision-makers, 68% said that wearables are a priority for their company, with 51% calling it a moderate, high, or critical priority. Consumers haven't been as eager. Yet Forrester analysts say that in the coming year more consumers will turn their lonely eyes (and wrists) to wearables, spurred by the arrival of Apple Watch. Forrester predicts the Apple Watch will pull in 10 million users next year.

Indian IT services firms focus on innovation like never before
"Companies are making heavy investments in training the workforce. For instance, Infosys is training its engineers in design thinking, it is training sales teams to sell non-linear services. Companies are investing in building out infrastructure such as digital labs," said Sundararaman Viswanathan, associate director at consulting firm, Zinnov. Infosys' rival Wipro, also Bangalore-based, has invested in a state-of-the-art Technovation Center, a hub of emerging technology solutions that leverages the intersection of technologies to deliver business innovation.

Fears over the IT security of new banks are overblown
According to a study of more than 6,000 people, 72% said they trust their bank with card details. In contrast, three-quarters of online shoppers don’t trust even large retailers with their card information. The study by Bizrate Insights said while PayPal – trusted by 48.9% of respondents – could form strong competition for banking services, tech giants such as Apple and Google were only trusted to protect personal details by 21.4% and 12.9% of people respectively. In the face of competition from a new breed of finance firms that boast state-of-the-art technology, traditional banks' secure IT systems could be their biggest advantage.

The Three C’s of Self-Service BI
The three C’s of Self-Service BI offer a simplified explanation of what, in essence, is hard work. It’s the type of hard work that brings value in terms of efficiency, better decision-making, and empowered users who are all aligned to your organization’s vision. The next time Self-Service is discussed in your organization, keep in mind the three C’s—Connection, Context and Control—and you’ll achieve the necessary framework for a high-performing business intelligence program and an extremely successful Self-Service BI initiative.

Should Your Company Get Cybersecurity Insurance?
Companies feel the need to take out a cyber-insurance policy because the financial cost of an attack can be devastating. Target's data breach cost the company $146 million and counting. Just the act of notifying customers of a breach affecting their credit card data starts at $500,000, Roberta D. Anderson, a partner at K&L Gates in the law firm's cybersecurity practice, tells the Washington Post. While a cyber insurance policy can provide some peace of mind, one expert stresses that it's no substitute for having an in-house cybersecurity expert and following the best practices and protocols.

Quote for the day:

"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection." -- Mark Twain