CIO Symmetry

A SearchCIO Small Business blog


September 10, 2009  6:49 PM

ERP implementations: In search of ERP best practices



Posted by: Christina Torode
Enterprise resource planning

Besides the obvious blockades to an ERP implementation — the cost and the potential long-term disruptions to the business — midmarket companies are still moving forward with ERP projects.

I’ve been getting some interesting questions about how to move an ERP project forward since sharing Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s ERP implementation story. One email was from a person who has never done an ERP implementation before and is hitting a wall at the stage of choosing an ERP vendor.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you that a series we ran called ERP Journey chronicled a CIO’s 20 months spent choosing and installing an ERP system. One big point was how he chose a system after identifying and reviewing some very vertical-specific packages, contacting some user groups and even asking other companies in his same field what they used and why. Continued »

September 4, 2009  2:43 PM

Swine flu and business continuity planning resources



Posted by: EditorAnne
business continuity planning

It’s barely September, yet warnings about flu season — swine flu season, that is — are circulating fast and furious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a press conference this week, and swine flu is top of mind for many who do disaster recovery or business continuity for a living. As Linda Tucci’s story this week (“Tips for business continuity and contingency planning for swine flu”) notes, the pandemic is a risk less because of the H1N1 virus’ severity and more because of the volume of people who could potentially get it. Some workplaces could suffer absenteeism of 30% to 50% for some period of time, according to some scenarios. Continued »


August 27, 2009  9:08 PM

Multitasking in IT: Sought-after skill or burnout bedlam?



Posted by: Kristen Caretta
Midmarket CIO, Strategy for CIOs

In a world of information overload, many of us have turned multitasking into a way of life (I have done so with the help of RedBull). But are our efforts actually making us more efficient?

The desk of a multitasker

Earlier this week I spoke to the CIO and vice president of New Hanover Healthcare Network, Avery Cloud, about integrating project and portfolio management and IT service management to provide a better view of the resources, projects and service requests within IT. Cloud said that without a single view into what his staff members were working on, some employees were being stretched too thin across multiple tasks — without his knowledge. Continued »


August 27, 2009  8:31 PM

Are SaaS and server virtualization helping you turn the budget corner?



Posted by: Christina Torode

I’ve been asking IT execs what’s on their agenda for next year and the good news is that it’s not all about further delaying projects. Rather, budgets are opening up a bit, due, in part, to ROI realized from investments in a SaaS platform and server virtualization.

One midmarket financial services firm has been focused on staying afloat and only making must-have IT investments such as a new CRM system. Critical projects — such as an application development initiative to build new tools for its financial advisors — were put on hold. Continued »


August 21, 2009  3:24 PM

Beware of rising server room temperatures



Posted by: Karen Guglielmo
data center cooling, server management

When you’re cranking the A/C during these final hot days of summer, don’t forget about data center cooling as well. The consequences for not monitoring server room temperatures could burn you well beyond the summer months.

Experts suggest the optimal server room temperature should not go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above 82 degrees. But in general, it’s best to keep your servers in a room with temperatures between 68-71 degrees. Continued »


August 14, 2009  3:25 PM

Employee retention troubles? Try IT e-learning courses



Posted by: Karen Guglielmo
IT training and certifications

Signs are that the economic recession is receding and the recovery is slowly beginning. Great news, right? But with recovery comes new job opportunities, and potential attrition on your staff. Particularly if IT at your company has been hard-hit and travel and training budgets cut, people could be waiting for their first chance to jump ship. That means now is the time to invest in your people — and even if you don’t have the budget you once did, you can probably afford some IT e-learning courses.

E-learning courses are available for training in many areas including networking, project management, security, ITIL and application development. They also offer certification for Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and others. Some of the major providers for e-learning training include New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, ITCareerPro, Pultorak & Associates, SkillSoft and eLearningDepot.com. Costs of e-learning courses range from $50 to $275 per user for a three- to six-month usage.

For people whose learning style really requires an instructor, there are e-learning classes that include virtual trainers. This allows the students to ask questions and get the answers they need in real-time. Continued »


August 6, 2009  1:50 PM

Sought-after IT jobs — lawsuit-filing not among them



Posted by: Kristen Caretta
Certified Information Systems Security Professional, CIO, CIO Jobs, Employment, Job Development, Microsoft, Microsoft Certified Professional, Midmarket CIO, Project Management Professional

IT jobs are down this year. Mix that lack of employment opportunity with an exceptionally tough job market (the average national unemployment rate is up to 9.4% as of July 2009), and you get some pretty frustrated individuals. One such individual is taking her frustrations to the next level and suing her alma mater.

Trina Thompson graduated from New York’s Monroe College in April with a bachelor’s degree of business administration in information technology. As of July 24, the still-unemployed Thompson filed a lawsuit against the office of career advancement for not helping her find a job.

On top of full tuition reimbursement, Thompson is also suing for an additional $2,000, “for the stress I have been going through looking for a full-time job on my own,” she wrote in her lawsuit.

There are a lot of well-qualified professionals struggling to find a job, and if the IT business admin IT positions are few and far between (as in Thompson’s case) what are the positions IT managers are looking to fill? Continued »


July 31, 2009  2:44 PM

IT project failures not the only reason CIOs get fired



Posted by: EditorAnne
Chief information officer, CIO, Midmarket CIO, Project Management

What’s going to get you fired from your CIO job? I was reminded this week of all the ways CIOs risk termination, from failed IT projects to jobs that outgrow them, during a “town meeting” (aka moderated conference call) on IT project failures. Featured speaker Chris Curran, a consultant and chief technology officer at DiamondConsultants, told the story of one CIO who was fired because he couldn’t get his arms around the Web 2.0 technologies and vendors that represented the organization’s next big technology initiative. “It doesn’t mean that CIO isn’t a good CIO,” Curran explained. “It just means they weren’t a good CIO in that situation.” Continued »


July 24, 2009  3:30 PM

Microsoft releases code to the Linux community — and?



Posted by: Kristen Caretta
CIO, Linux, Microsoft, Midmarket CIO, Open source

When Microsoft (historically not a fan of the GPL) announced this week that it would release 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community (meant to enhance the performance of Linux when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V), there were some raised eyebrows.

The code donation was certainly “a break from the ordinary,” according to the official Microsoft press release, in which a Microsoft official said the move was due in part to the current economic climate, to help companies consolidate their hardware and software. Continued »


July 17, 2009  2:48 PM

With PPM software, don’t always throw in the kitchen sink



Posted by: Kristen Caretta
cloud computing, Midmarket CIO, Project Management, Strategy for CIOs

Project and portfolio management (PPM) software is definitely not overlooked in the midmarket. According to a recent SearchCIO-Midmarket.com survey, 17% use some form of PPM software. But how many of those organizations are actually using all of what they paid for?

Time and time again, I hear the stories of the initial implementation process: Company purchases software, company implements relevant parts of the software in stages, company stops the process once it has implemented what it needs.

I once bought a 160-piece kitchen set. Out of the 160 “useful” kitchen tools, I use about 10 of them — the rest sit in my cabinets, waiting for the day I decide to make eight individual servings of crème brûlée or require a tool for removing my strawberry stem. At the time, I had big plans for my cooking skills and thought the new tools would inspire me to learn a bit more in the kitchen — maybe I really will try my hand at beef Wellington, I thought.

Nope.
Continued »


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