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53 Reasons Why Cloud Computing Projects Can Fail

53 Reasons Why Cloud Computing Projects Can Fail

There is some great information out there on why cloud computing projects may fail in any project - today we've collected 53 reasons and provided links to the original presentations and articles.

1. Jumping in head first without defining the real business requirements and outcomes

2. "Managing by magazine" - chasing the latest hype without asking clear questions

3. Thinking technology first - rather than business first

4. Lack of architecture and planning - agile interpretations of 'no planning'

5. Lack of talent to commence the project

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6. Relying heavily on reference architecture

7. Viewing it as in-house datacentre infrastructure or traditional IT

8. Moving cloud to production without going through the SLAs again and again. And again.

9. Hasty adoption

10. Badly written apps

11. Being obsessed with cost savings on the cloud

12. Biased towards one type of cloud

13. Early adoption of cloud services... Or leaving it too late


14. Vendor is not really selling Cloud service or is immature

15. SLA’s not Cloud ready from vendor

16. ICT organisation not ready

17. Going Public if you are big (not sure we fully agree with this one considering the growing maturity of public cloud)

18. Going private if you are small

19. Not engaging with the business users

20. Forgetting security and data sovereignty

21. Integration

22. Poor Project Management and Sponsor Engagement

23. Insufficient Testing


24. Pricing - specifically in aligning vendor pricing carefully against business needs

25. 'Noisy neighbour' syndrome - due to varying architecture and impact on performance sensitive solutions


26. Failure to ask cloud service provider probing and focused questions

27. No service contract in effect detailing service agreement

28. Failure to understand business processes and service provider’s true capabilities

29. No consideration for evaluating existing network infrastructure capacity


30. Focusing on low visibility operational improvements

31. Lack of user-centered project design


32. Failing to update computing concepts

33. Failing to hold service providers accountable

34. Failing to hold yourself accountable

35. Failing to understand the service supply chain

36. Failing to understand the legal complexities of the cloud (my favourite)


37. Migrating applications to the cloud solely to drive down costs

38. Having inflated expectations of suddenly becoming a digital enterprise

39. Failing to plan for outages and out-of-business scenarios

40. Underestimating the impacts of organizational change

41. Not preparing for unexpected costs


42. Focusing on the wrong benefits (internal operations Vs business agility)

43. Defending existing infrastructure and operations — and doing too much (at the peril of areas such as integration)

44. Failure to change the operational model - Gartner say culture, politics, concerns over job security and lack of buy-in among their staff are major obstacles to successful private cloud projects

45. Failure to change the funding model - time to market reduction of IT services and self service impact on both funding and potential uncontrolled 'sprawl' costs


46. The solution cannot be developed due to the difficulty of integrating the cloud services involved

47. The solution does not comply with its legal, contractual, and moral obligations

48. An external cloud service used by the solution is inadequate

49. The system quality of the solution is inadequate, so that it does not meet its users’ needs


50. Lack of setting user expectations

51. Lack of encouragement and motivation to use cloud services by users

52. Not divorcing yourself from old vendor alliances

53. The apps you have won't work in the cloud!


Photo Credit: "A light bulb but no (good) ideas... (17/365)", © 2011 John Liu, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

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3 Quick Tips On How Not To Make Your Next Software Selection Project A Massive Fail

3 Quick Tips On How Not To Make Your Next Software Selection Project A Massive Fail

Companies lose millions of dollars as a consequence of software project failures. Although there is often more than one reason for failure of projects, software selection is usually a big factor. So how do you make sure that your next software selection project won't be a massive fail? Read on for some tips.

1. Needs vs wants?

Determine your use of the software. Write down a list of what you need the software to do. These are the basic features that you need the software to have. Also write a list of features that you want. These are the ones that are not necessary but would be good to have.

When we analyse business requirements, we typically do so through a range of methods (workshops, interviews, documentation review etc).  As we document each of the business and technical requirements we assign a priority to each individual requirement using one of two methods:

  • Method One: MoSCoW - MoSCoW stands for Must have, Should have, Could have, Won't have...
    • Must have: the requirement is mandatory
    • Could have: I tend to classify 'Could have' as 'something that translates from a requirement to a feature that you would like to have (its not mandatory) as long as it won't majorly affect the cost of the project'.
  • Method Two: High/Medium/Low - you assign the relevant priority. This method is a bit more vague as interpretations of High/Medium/Low can easily differ unless you clearly define what they mean in the project context.

It's important to note that once a requirement is defined, we take definition of it a step further and usually 'translate it' into a technical solution feature in the subsequent RFP - for example:

Background: We recently worked with a group of specialist colleges that effectively wanted a case management solution with workflow features.  The case management solution would have customisable forms for each college.
Customer requirement: "When a user is filling out a form, I want them to be stopped if they answer in particular way to a question"
Technical requirement:
  • Form engine including customisable forms per college instance and form templating
  • Global workflow engine
  • Global email notification service
  • Distinct notification configurations per college instance
Translated requirement (written in RFP): "It is a Must Have requirement to be able to stop the form workflow based on the answer to particular form questions. For example, an applicant answers ‘No’ to a particular question and at that point they are shown a message advising them they haven’t met the minimum requirements for the solution (with customisable text). If they choose a different option from the available fields, they can continue with their application."

2. Know your budget and work within it.

This will mean you will likely need to undertake some form of business case / business analysis before you actually go out to market so you know the business and technical requirements and therefore know the estimated costs of such a solution. An RFI before an RFP is always a good option as you can gather 'reality' views on pricing and what you get for the budget you're thinking of.

The business case should include not just the software cost, but also the implementation, and the support cost.  Be careful with cloud (software as a service - SAAS) software that specifies 'feature restriction based pricing' - for example, for a SAAS CRM solution, the vendor might specify a few different pricing plans:

  • $159 per month for 10,000 records
  • $279 per month for 40,000 records
  • $499 per month for 100,000 records
  • $799 per month for 250,000 records

In this case, I'd be asking questions like 'what constitutes a record - a person, a company, a sales lead etc'?  If you think you only have 40,000 company records but have a 220,000 person records you might get an unpleasant suprise when you find out it is actually $799 per month as opposed to $279 per month!

Hidden fees can also come in terms of training, maintenance, and/or product support. In Cloud based software the idea is 'buy Vs build' and you are usually buying a standard but customisable (to a limit) solution that doesn't include 'highly customised' things like onsite training (if they even offer that!).

Read the contract thoroughly if there are any provisions in it that would allow the software provider to increase the fee throughout the course of the contract. Also find out the minimum contract term in case you are not satisfied with their service and want to cancel.

3. Make sure you will still have possession of your data in case of software contract termination.

I've banged on about this before - but I'll say it again: regardless of how good the software is (cloud or otherwise), there will come a time when you need to switch software provider and cancel your current contract. Read the contract thoroughly for provisions that would let you to not only keep ownership of the data for the period it is on their solution/after the contract finishes but that you also have the facility to easily extract the data at regular intervals throughout the contract - NOT just when you want to switch - because cloud providers can technically be 'easily setup and easily disappear - at anytime!'.

Note that there are also companies who will require you to pay a substantial fee in order for them to release your own data to you.

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How to Break into Project Management

How to Break into Project Management

Scope, time, quality, and budget are just some of the primary challenges that you will have to overcome to be successful in project management. Here are some tips on how you could transition into project management and become a leader.

Find your job

Getting a CAPM certification from PMI is recommended. It shows that you are serious about your chosen career. Expanding your network and getting a large pool of connections help a lot especially when you are in the process of looking for a job. Your connections might help you with finding out about hidden jobs. Offer your help even with small projects in your company or community. This will help you get your experience and will help you build your portfolio. No matter how big or small of a project you are involved in, make sure to do your best and set yourself apart. It sometimes helps to research who might be the hiring manager for the organization and reach out to them instead for an informational interview. And when you finally get an opportunity for a job interview, emphasize more on a concrete example of what you have done rather than on your abstract ideas. Give instances of how you were able to put your training to use. And lastly, do not accept a job just for money. Do it because it's what you love.

Find your project

Practice PM methodology even if you're still on an entry level job. This will help you make the case on why you should be promoted to a project manager. Worry not if you don't succeed in this strategy, you can use the projects you did to update your resume to apply to other companies. Adapt your project management practices on your logistics to overcome cultural problems. It is normal to get overwhelmed in starting a project so take the initiative to learn. Do your homework and come ready for the project. Do not be afraid to speak up if you have any questions or if you feel like the time for the scope is too short. When working on a project and a business advice isn't working for you, do not be afraid change tactics. Different things work for different people. Communication is the key. Make sure everyone involved knows what is going on.

Find your skills

Learn your industry's frameworks, and do not stop learning. Make a true connection with the stakeholders. Having people skills is also very important in project management. Help your team help themselves. Never underestimate the power of documentation. Always ask a client for written specification. This will save you time and money in the long run. Lastly, be realistic. Over enthusiasm can get the best of you. Learn how to execute your ideas effectively.

Find yourself

Look for international opportunities. This will help you become more flexible, and you will have a better understanding of individual differences. Put your heart into what you do to keep you motivated. Base your goals on your expectations. Unrealistic goals, in the long run, will make you demotivated. Lastly, treat your career as a project that you need to manage. Devise a strategy and plan, and look at alternatives is anything fails. People learn more from mistakes, so use these mistakes to leverage your skills and learnings.

There are heaps more tips available for project management graduates in '52 Tips To Break Into Project Management', compiled by the fabulous Geoff Crane...take a look at page 18 for our Director, Bianca's, tips for people wanting to get into project management.


Photo Credit: "Fortune Cookie - Job", © 2014 Flazingo Photos, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

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Cloudifying your project - tools and techninques for using the cloud to your project's advantage

The past few months have been extremely busy in the Wirth Consulting business - we've employed three new team members (two project managers and a project coordinator), started new projects with some fantastic customers including Macquarie Group and Parks Consulting, and moved our head office (we're now at Level 1, 432 Kent St, Sydney). 

We've also joined the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner program as a Consulting Partner (specialising in cloud program & project management services) and we're currently going through the steps to increase our membership level with them and develop a project management program for AWS customers we work with.

I've also been a guest presenter for the Macquarie Univerisity MBA program (Project Management subject) and the Australian Institute of Project Management's (AIPM) annual conference in Brisbane. For both presentations, I presented on project management software, based on a book I've started writing called 'Project Management is Like...Stripping Wallpaper - The Essential Guide to Selecting and Implementing Enterprise Project Management Software", due out in late 2014 (or maybe 2015 at this rate!).

Wow - am I a bit exhausted? Yeah a bit - but this is all very exciting and I know around Christmas we'll get a little break where we can refresh and get ready to lock horns with an even bigger 2015.

I thought it might be nice to share the slides from the AIPM conference with you (below) - this one was actually a workshop where I created a game of Bingo and each number called out resulted in a random selection of one of the slides - for online clarity I removed the bingo slide and some of the generic ones (like 'ask a question') but otherwise the slides are 'as presented'.


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Top 3 Cloud Computing factors for Project Managers - Public Vs Private Clouds


Stakeholder: We will definitely not accept a solution in "the cloud".

Me: What about a private cloud?

Stakeholder: What's the difference? There is no difference...

Me: The difference comes down to factors like ownership, legalities and support model. Can you help me understand which parts of 'being in the cloud' your company's policies don't allow so I know what the restrictions on the solution might be?


After reading an article called Cloud Concepts and the Impact on Business Analysts today, the above excerpt of a conversation I had with a stakeholder in a recent project came back to me. 

For background: In this project I was performing a combined business analysis and project management role for the scoping and development of a Request for Proposal (RFP) - this project in particular was really interesting and challenging because it involved fifteen different companies and facilitating the agreement of a unified solution approach for a middleware platform. And I love interesting and challenging!

In this scenario certain decisions had to be made and agreed upon by all before the RFP could be released - an objection by even a single company could essentially place the entire RFP project at a standstill.  One of these decisions was 'where' the data would be hosted - in the cloud, at a T1 level hosting provider or across all fifteen sites' existing data centres (eeek!!!).

During requirements gathering I sat down with various technical stakeholders to better understand any corporate policies around cloud computing and/or hosting requirements that might be show-stoppers.

The conversation excerpt above was with one of the stakeholders that had very strict policies on where data and infrastructure would reside.  It struck me that the Stakeholder (a person well-versed in technical aspects) didn't understand the difference between a public and a private cloud and I thought it might help other project managers or business people, who are just delving into a cloud based project, to understand the key differences so they can help faciliate a decision on using one cloud deployment model over another.

What is a Private Cloud and what is a Public Cloud?

First up a quick summary of what private and public clouds are for the purposes of this post:

  • Private Clouds are technology solutions owned by and services provided by your own organisation (or parts thereof), that may be hosted internally i.e. in your own data centre, or externally i.e. hosted by a third party but you retain all rights to its use, except those governed by the third party's own terms of service for the infrastructure/services they provide as part of the solution.
  • Public Clouds are technology solutions and services owned and provided by a third party. Usually within this service provision you only have ownership rights to the data that you submit to the service.

Note that these statements are fairly generic and may not apply across all solutions, but we'll use those concepts as the baseline for this blog post.

Cloud Selection Factor # 1 - Legal

If there is anything that can stop a project faster than the speed of light its the legal team.  In a public cloud scenario you are generally signing up to a generic terms of service that is legally binding - to you and to the provider (but usually more in favour of the provider than you!). Now I am not a lawyer in any sense but for most RFP projects I have to keep a keen eye out for, and identify, anything that may cause the project to fail before the draft RFP even gets to the legal department for review.

One great recent example of legal terms skewed towards the cloud service provider was the change of Terms of Service (ToS) by Dropbox in February 2014 - (Dropbox is a cloud based file sharing service). They changed their terms of service to include a binding arbitration rule that you could only exit out of if you submitted a separate form within the first 30 days of accepting the terms.  Essentially they say that by agreeing to the ToS (i.e. using their service) there are no class actions allowed and you agree to abitrate using the American Arbitration Association (where does that leave international customers?) in a small claims court. There is a good non-legalese summary of this issue on Legal Geneaologist site if you're interested.

Obviously if you setup a similar file sharing service for your company in a 'private' cloud then this issue is a non-issue. But it will generally cost more on a per-user basis than the efficiencies created by hundreds of thousands of people using the same service in a public cloud scenario.

They may usually be super-boring and pages upon pages long but reviewing the terms of use/service of any cloud based solution well prior to selection is essential - if you are a PM then you either need to make it a priority or delegate to someone who has a good understanding of the business policies or can work through written policies/work with the lawyer to catch any potential conflicts with your company's 'legal acceptable baseline'.

Cloud Selection Factor # 2 - Ownership

Ownership is a big one in this world of IP, trademarks and lawsuits to boot!

Below is a diagram developed by the US National Institute of and Technology (NIST) which demonstrates their proposed typical cloud architecture model (download the full PDF document "NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture"):

NIST cloud architecture

In a private cloud there are different ways ownership could be sliced and diced. For example:

  • Cloud Consumer - these are your staff, contractors and any other authorised personnel that use the solution so the 'owner' would usually be your company
  • Cloud Audit - your company or maybe an independent third party that you employ to audit the solution regularly
  • Cloud Provider - you might outsource Cloud Service Management or your IT team manages it. You might split responsibilities depending on your IT operations model e.g. Cloud Service Management to the outsourcer and security/privacy to your architecture team.
  • Cloud Carrier - this could be a private network link between sites and the data centre where the solution is hosted, or a public link to the solution accessible from any internet connection for example.
  • Cloud Broker - like the provider you can slice this to internal or third parties as you like, for performance and cloud delivery.

In drastic contrast, in a public cloud everything except Cloud Consumer would be more likely under the ownership and control of the third party service provider (or multiple third party services providers - some of whom you have no idea who they are).

For example, cloud providers almost always have a clause in their T&Cs that says they can terminate your access at their discretion or for breaking rules 1,2,3. Does anyone ask what happens to your data when this happens? Can you extract all those emails or financial records and export it into a reasonable, accessible format for legal accounting purposes?

The interesting part here is data ownership - typically in any cloud deployment model you send/upload/import/create data within the Cloud Provider's environment.  In a public cloud you usually retain ownership of that data but often have little to no control over where they store it - remembering that data can 'exist' in mutliple forms including in-use data, backup data and replica data for example.

Add to this different laws for different jurisdictions - for example in the EU, formal requests for data access must be made by law enforcement agencies. In the US they hark back to the days of cowboys where law enforcement can essentially stroll on in and then trot on out with the servers your data is stored on.

The control over where the data is stored is often a sticking point for government agencies and larger enterprises with strict policies around their IP. 

However, contrary to popular opinion in government, it isn't expressly forbidden (at least at a federal level) for government agencies to use cloud services. It depends on numerous factors though - there is a great document called Privacy and Cloud Computing for Australian Government Agencies (.doc) that summarises the key boundaries and issues to overcome.

Likewise in a corporate environment, the first answer you get might be 'no way, no cloud' but when you dig further and identify the specific blockers you can develop a case around the most appropriate cloud model, not just the solution 'we've always stuck to because someone said no cloud'.

Cloud Selection Factor # 3 - Support Model

On the surface this one is pretty simple - who owns support of the solution, who provides support and what types, and under what service level agreement does it sit.

Support is a bit like Jaws though...dah-dum, dah-dum, creeps up on you when you least expect it ;)

In a private cloud you can essentially, within the limits of cost, staff and corporate service level standards, set your own support model. 

In the public cloud you are usually at the mercy of a generic support model based under set scopes unless you pay for premium support or a higher monthly/user cost. For a simple 'service availability' example:

  • Telstra's Office 365 service - has three service levels (Gold, Silver, Bronze). At the Bronze level they allow for approx 8.76 hours of downtime per year (99.9% service availability) versus 52.56 minutes at the Gold level (99.99% service availability).
  • Amazon EC2 - has one level of service availability they use "commercially reasonable efforts" to stick to - 99.95% (approx 4.38 hours).
  • Google Apps - similar to Amazon with a single service availability level of 99.9%.

But the Jaws part comes in when dealing with support - what documentation is available, how responsive is the service centre, can you escalate issues (for free or for a fee) to get priority attention - and so forth.

What do you think - are there are other key differences you have encountered in a private Vs public cloud project decision?

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Creating a simple Project Management Dashboard with Cyfe


When I have spare time I go hunting. Not big game hunting - software hunting!  Stalking new software is one of my favourite pasttimes (I can hear the screams of "geek, geek!" from here) and this week I've been having a good old play with Cyfe. Cyfe is a cloud based dashboard tool - when I saw it initially I thought 'Excellent, something to keep reminding me about blogging and online marketing statistics for my own business' but then I thought - why not as a project management dashboard too?

One of the nice things about Cyfe is that you could use the dashboards for any project or project management framework really. You can configure the dashboards in any way you like - for example you might go for an 'executive' view which shows a high level summary of items such as budget to actual, milestone achievements and key risks/issues, then have more detailed 'task-based' dashboards for the project management office (PMO) and team members.

Sample Dashboard

The first step was to map out what I would typically want to monitor or show data on when I first start a project - I didn't want to get too complex otherwise I could be scripting and dashboarding for weeks!  So, I figured the following items would be enough to get started and show you how it can work as a project management dashboard:

Project item
Cyfe Widget Type Notes
Project Mandate Text A good reminder of why we're doing this project - keep it front and centre to keep the project team on track
Team Members contact summary & roles Google Spreadsheets For this one I wanted to do something a bit more interactive so I connected to a Google spreadsheet I created which lists the 'pretend' project team members and their contact details. You could of course integrate with the Push API instead and (if your project management software supports it) pull team members details direct from there
Project Completion date Countdown timer I thought having the key project date displayed might be a good example - but in reality you would probably configure multiple milestone countdown timers - and place those on your team's dashboards too as 'subtle' reminders ;)
Budget Tracker Google Spreadsheets A really simple example of data from Google spreadsheets as a table.
Timezones Time Two simple timezone clocks to show teams what time it is in our pretend geographically dispersed project teams.

Want to take a look at the live dashboard? Check out the example dashboard I built with Cyfe here:

View Live Dashboard Example

My Verdict

Overall I really enjoyed using Cyfe - it has a simple interface and plenty of pre-developed widgets available; however, it compliments these with more advanced widgets for custom data views which will be more applicable in the medium-size company space.

With the Free version of Cyfe you can only add 5 widgets - the Premium version is very reasonable at only $168 per annum and that includes unlimited widgets, unlimited users, TV mode, custom URL & branding etc.

I quite liked the idea of TV mode - being in a PMO and putting the dashboards on a big screen or TV on an automatic rotating basis is a great idea to keep the team focused and up to date if you are all co-located. In TV mode you can configure which dashboards are shown (as we all know - not all of them are for 'everyone' in a project team or even for random people walking past the office to see). You can also configure how often they rotate e.g. 30 seconds, 1 minute etc right up to 1 hour.

I also like that you can share dashboards publicly - and secure them via a password. Or add users and they can login and edit as well as view the shared dashboards. Great if you are a 'project manager for hire' like me, where I might manage a project but not have access or budget to get the internal IT team to setup custom internal dashboards for me - project execs still get their status reporting in a simple easy to use interface or via email (see email note below) with not a whole lot of effort.

I do have some suggested improvements for the application though...

  • Sub-dashboarding - When you are managing a number of projects at once and you have created lots of dashboards it gets difficult to scroll through the list and identify the dashboard you actually want. So the ability to group dashboards and create sub-dashboards or linked dashboards would be good for ease of management.
  • Formatting - I found for things like Google spreadsheets where there was particular formatting in a table it didn't get pulled through e.g. currency decimal places if they were 0, italics/bold text etc. Not generally a biggie but would be better for emphasis of data in some cases.
  • Data funkiness - using Google Spreadsheets for the budget data and selecting a bar or column chart, it wouldn't populate the values. Tried with uploading a CSV from the desktop and cut down the data as well and still no luck as shown in the screenshot below - I'll ask the Cyfe team whats going on and post back here with the solution.

cyfe csvimport

  • Data selection capabilities - if you have a spreadsheet/CSV with lots of data you can't unfortunately select just the cells you want for data display when you choose the file - this would mean creating duplicate sheets just to show select data which doesn't sit well with me as I'm all about efficiency!
  • Documentation - OK I looove great documentation and it is a little bit limited at the moment on the Cyfe website and in-app. For example, I noticed on another blog post someone had commented saying their CEO loves the email report function - what the? Now where is that? I searched for how to email reports on Google and the Cyfe blog - nope - couldn't find it. So next step was to explore the most likely buttons available within the app and see if they had functionality - yep found it under Export Dashboard icon. Export Dashboard doesn't really indicate 'email reports' unfortunately so some users might miss that functionality initially. As a side note, the Help button takes you to a contact form - which probably isn't great for Cyfe business scalability! A searchable, tagged wiki or support knowledgebase would be a great addition and really take it up a level to increase overall application use.
  • Enterprise use - if I was looking at this type of tool in an Enterprise environment they'd probably like an on-premise version with integrated authentication mechanisms. Small-medium businesses probably not so much (but you can never really assume!).

I highly recommend getting a free account and at least having a go with that to see if it works for your next project. What do you think - have you had success using Cyfe for a project? 


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Cloud solutions for project management

big data ahead

The lovely Nina Hendy has quoted me on an article (Does your business need to think about a cloud solution?) she wrote for StartupSmart this week, where I talk about the benefit of cloud based solutions for my business and contracts with customers.

Coming from hands on technlogy roles in the past, new software and ways of 'doing things' is always of great interest to me. I love it when I take off the wrapping to reveal the shiny new software underneath and then I attack it - I immediately start thinking about what works, what doesn't work, how it could work better and endless customer scenarios where it might work in one instance, but not in another. I think its a disease! ;)

Anyhoo - as Nina mentions I use lots of cloud solutions in my business. And I am particularly interested in project management software.  I seriously think this is an under-utilised area - so many project managers are still using time-consuming, manual spreadsheets or project software without collaboration functionality. 

As a result I thought it would be fun to do a series of blog posts on cloud based project management software and how they compare to each other.  Stay tuned for the first post next week!

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A real life conference call - Life as a Project Manager

A cracker of a video - demonstrating the serious business of any conference call - a typical project management tool...

...and great marketing by the maker!

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We are now a NSW Government Registered Supplier for ICT Services

nswgovToday we received confirmation from NSW Government that we have been accepted onto their Registered Suppliers list (Prequalification Scheme: ICT Services - SCM0020) to provide the following services:


  • solution architecture
  • benchmarking
  • server management
  • ICT strategy
  • business analysis
  • custom application development
  • web design & content management services
  • software support & maintenance services
  • testing services

Very excited! :)

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What is Big Data?

big data ahead

Each day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data proliferate on the internet. The data comes from every device you can think of. It can come from anywhere and be generated by anyone. However, the important thing about big data is what you are doing about your piece of it.

Data comes from your customers on Facebook, your employees in the office and your suppliers as they fulfill your orders. Smart companies understand that they have to manage this data, get all they can from it and use it to improve their decision making process. All of this to ultimately make their bottom line better.

Transactional Data

Many firms are developing a big data strategy for transactional data designed to turn it into actionable items. One way to do this is to develop queries that will extract what you need from the information collected on your servers. For example, who are your most profitable customers; where are your customers coming from; or what is your inventory situation.

Non-Transactional Data

Big data can also be non-transactional data like Yelp reviews or Facebook conversations. This type of information is more focused on the degree of customer engagement and the reputation of your brand.

Mining this data can also help improve your company. For example, a data exploration of "My Starbucks Idea" submissions generated 100,000 ideas for the company to mull over.

Integrating transactional and non-transactional data analytics is also a good strategy.


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