Friday, September 17, 2010

Why can't we all just get along?

My response to:

Clouderati vs. ITILista. My response to Skep

Why is it in America everything has to be at one extreme or the other?

You are either a Democrat or Republican.
You are either a Terrorist or a Patriot.
You are either a Clouderati or an ITILista.

I have to agree with Skep, partially because he is on a different continent, but mostly because he's right!

Rodrigo, you experienced the worst part of ITIL. This idea that one must hit every step and dot every i before moving on to the next step. People who create process for sake of producing process and making themselves seem indispensable while doing so. These people will always exist and they use ITIL as a blueprint and excuse for doing so. This isn't unique to ITIL either. CMMi, COBIT, ISO xxxx, none of them are bad on their own. It's the damage you can inflict in their name that makes people run screaming when they hear another four letter acronym attached to the word process.

Skep summed it up in his first statement: "we aren't anti-automation, or dismissive of automation. Process-geeks understand that you have to fix the process before you automate it, else you'll be accelerating backwards. Automation makes bad process faster. Automation is one of the later stages of refinement once you have something worth automating."

Why does it take longer? One can assume that the process in place now about to be automated, outsourced, or both, has room for improvement. Automation does not improve a process, it only makes it faster. Outsourcing a process does not improve a process, it only makes it cheaper. So, a cloud implementation of a process without reviewing its' merits or benefits will allow you to do it cheaper and faster, but the customer will see no improvement. Cheaper and faster benefits the IT department, not the user. It should not take 12-18 months to improve a process. If it takes longer than 3 months (1 financial quarter). You are doing it wrong.

Rodrigo, your original article had a comparison chart of ITIL and Cloud. You categorized, ITIL as being focused on customers and Cloud being focused on infrastructure. I think this clearly makes ITIL the winner, as infrastructure is meaningless if does not meet the needs of the customer.

ITIL results in cloud implementation. Cloud is a natural outcome of ITIL. The two need one another and are not mutually exclusive.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change is [NOT] Good

I saw a sign today at work that said, "Change is Good".
What a load of BS!

I love to change things. I have a personality type that insists that there is an improvement for everything. This leads me to change them. I am not against change. The Facetious CIO's business card reads "Agent of Change". I am a facilitator of change, but I cannot agree with the happy little sign that reads, "Change is Good"

Change is the process of letting go of the familiar. Change is often likened to the five stage grieving process:

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Do any of these things sound good to you? I think not. Change is often a painful process but once it's completed, we are better people and the change is hopefully one for the better.

I weight too much. I need to change this. Since there is no magic pill that will make my waistline smaller, I need to change my behavior to reach my goal. This means increasing the amount of activity and decreasing my food intake. Will this be good? The pain felt in my legs after a run on the treadmill and the decrease in the amount of my favorite foods will not be good. At least, it wouldn't be good that night as I try to fall asleep with a pain in my knees and a grumbling stomach. I would argue that this is not good. However, as a result of my change in behavior, I will have more energy and better fitting clothes. So, in this example, change is not good, but the result of change is fantastic.

How about another example, smokers. Quit cold turkey? That's a good change right? Not at all, it will be terrible, painful ordeal. No longer smoking after 1 year is awesome. The result is good. The change was not.

In IT, I find a lot of people with similar personality types to mine, the improvers. Yet, they don't realize that 95% of the population are not improvers. They dislike the change process and with good reason. My role as an agent of change is to act as a counselor to help people through the difficult change process.

Please consider these thoughts the next time a project comes along and someone suggests that staff will just have to "deal" with the change.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Service and evolution keep commoditization at bay

Lincoln Murphy is one of the guys in Cloud Computing consulting that "gets it". He has a clear understanding of the business "dos and don'ts" of producing, marketing, and selling SaaS. Here's a great insight from him:
“Lincoln Murphy pointed out that within servitized products, it is the service that keeps commoditization at bay. A successful vendor becomes more directly involved and responsible to the end-user both as the service provider and the subject matter expert in the field they represent. As Lincoln pointed out – we can go to our personal computer and start “Word 2003″ and it will work just fine – just as it did in 2003. But if Word was online, we would expect it to seamlessly evolve and be something more that it was six years ago – just as iGoogle is a clear line of evolution from the iconic single search box we all came to love when it first began.”
Here's the whole article:

Monday, May 10, 2010

4 things Microsoft needs to do to catch up with the cloud

Phil Wainewright from ZDNet wrote an article called " redefines the PaaS landscape". Boy was he ever right. The VMForce announcement sets a new bar for PaaS providers. In case you missed the announcement, VMWare and announced they will let java developers work in SpringSource IDE and publish their native java applications on the platform instead of's proprietary APEX language. In a single stroke, VMforce has increased their developer count by about 4 million, eliminated a major risk in using their platform (proprietary), and solidified a standard IDE for java.
Now Microsoft needs to play catch-up. It's Azure platform has been lagging behind and with this announcement from VMForce, it has a lot of ground to make up. One advantage Microsoft has always held is it's IDE and it's ability to deploy to all it's platforms (mobile, desktop, etc...). The IDE doesn't allow for deployment to it's cloud with a simple push. So, that's the first thing MS has to do:

1) Allow for deployment at the push of a button of .net applications from Visual Studio into Azure environment.
2) Use real C# code and not a reduced subset on Azure
3) Release MS Office and CRM on Azure
4) Everything on Azure automatically works on mobile devices (including the iPad)

Although VMForce is not yet available, Microsoft must be able to offer these four things to combat it when it does. This time, the vaporware promises that Microsoft will someday have it are not gonna cut it. and VMWare have too much momentum already.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who is Nicholas Carr?

It has come to the attention of The Facetious CIO that there are those amongst us that do not know who Nicholas Carr is. It can be said that a man is defined by his work, and since I do not know Nicholas Carr personally, I can only define him by his work. So here goes:

"Does IT matter?" - written in 2004, this book was already answered in Mr. Carr's "IT doesn't matter" article in the Harvard Business Review the prior year. In both works Mr. Carr argues that the strategic advantage of IT has diminished to a point that it is no longer a differentiator when comparing businesses. In other words, there is no strategic advantage to the way you deploy your CRM system on a PC server that is any different from your competition. The result: CEOs begin to reign in on growing IT budgets and CIOs begin to question their worth

"The Big Switch" - written in 2008, this book draws similarities between the power utility market just after the industrial revolution, but before the information age and current IT services. Mr. Carr envisions a future where IT services are commoditized to a point where they can be purchased like a utility. Just as most manufacturers used to make the power they consumed to build things and now they just get it from the grid, so too would companies shed their IT departments and just buy services from the cloud. The result: CEOs begin to distribute IT budgets out to individual departments to go get their own services from the cloud and CIOs start looking for new jobs.

"The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains" - This one comes out sometime in 2010 and is supposed to answer the question, "Is google making us stupid?"

You may follow Nick's musing on a more regular basis by following his blog.

So, to those of us in the Cloud Computing and SaaS industry, "The Big Switch" is the book of Genesis in our bible. I believe that makes Marc Benioff, Moses.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Things are looking up

Recently the Facetious CIO updated his status on various social networking sites with the title of this blog entry, "Things are looking up". A simple and vague message that prompted many responses inquiring the specifics around why I was "down" and congratulations on the fact that things were turning in a positive direction. Going upwards (in my case) really only indicates that I am not where I want to be and intend on climbing further up. Who amongst us has no plans for moving upwards? The other reason for my message was a general trend that I have witnessed. 2009 sucked. I have yet to hear anyone tell me that 2009 was a great year for them. Most were happy to close the book on it and leave it behind. I have already (only 2 months in) started to see turnaround and see that 2010 will be a better year than 2009. The Facetious CIO would like to know from you, are things looking up for you as well?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Five Reasons SaaS doesn't suck

Sending your company's critical applications into the cloud is not for the faint of heart. The risk and rewards used to choose on premises software in the past are greatly exaggerated when choosing a SaaS application. As with any business decision, if you understand the risks and can take advantage of the rewards then cloud computing is for you. The article below addresses the concerns of consumers of cloud applications who did not understand the risks.

Here's the Facetious CIO's response to each of the Five Reasons SaaS sucks:

1. "My Internet connection sucks!" Not understanding that your connection to the Internet becomes a critical extension of your core network is dangerous. When entering into cloud computing your environment changes. Analyze what it takes to deliver that application and secure the underlying technologies (some you still own even in a SaaS world) to match or exceed your applications' SLAs.

2. "I don't trust the Internet..." And rightly so.
Given recent high profile security breeches you should be wary of the information placed on the Internet, who has access to it, and most importantly what you are using to authorize access to it. Security breeches so far have been due to poor password management. Your application and data are now available on the Internet instead of behind your firewall. Please use something more restrictive than a username and password.

3. "I always forget to hit the 'save' button."
I fail to see how this is any different from on premises solutions. Sorry, but if your users couldn't figure this out with local applications than it won't be any easier with an application hosted elsewhere.

4. "I don't understand why (insert SaaS app here) can't just (insert desirable feature here)" Again, this does not change between the on premises and cloud worlds. If you do not correctly set expectations up front your implementation will fail. This holds true if you buy a product off the shelf, develop it in house, or rent it from the cloud.

5. "What do you mean ten years from now I'll still be paying for this thing?" Yup, it's true. Unless you plan on keeping your current on premises system at its current version for the next ten years, it's less expensive and hassle free to just rent it. Software, even mission critical software, can barely be considered an asset to your company. Buy a building and add it to your company assets, rent the software.