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Training Often Gets Forgotten in the Rush to Release The New

Training Often Gets Forgotten in the Rush to Release The New

When I was early in my career, I often aggressively rolled out new systems and applications with minimal planning or rigorous testing.  Some very serious lessons were learned during those times about the importance of rolling out platforms with a plan.  Call me completely insane but I actually rolled out a new Microsoft operating system early in its life cycle (pre-SP1) on a brand-new Dell laptop line.  I am not sure a worse match had ever been made as we spent almost a year making that work right.

Now I am much more cautious in how I approach new hardware and software systems.  I expect reasonable levels of testing and quality control completed before anything ever sees the light of day.  The one area that I have probably become the most aggressive and steadfast in holding my line is around training.  If something is completely new and has never operated inside of the enterprise, there must be a training plan executed to ensure that knowledge silos are not formed.  The smaller the user base of the targeted system, the more important training becomes.

Knowledge silos originate from both inside and outside of the IT organization and are equally problematic.  If the new platform is only known by a small user base within the organization, then a serious failure point can occur.  What happens should these individuals become unavailable for any reason?  Additionally, who can be the validation point for their work if no one knows how to operate or utilize the platform in question? Oh the problems that would ensue if you had one SAN person, and he/she was out sick when the array started to experience some issues.

A little training would go a long way with other competent team members.  Could they solve the problem?  Maybe or maybe not, but they would at least have an understanding of the core components in order to work with a vendor or begin the troubleshooting steps on their own. These very basic questions have to be addressed before the rollout of any system or application.

 There must be adequate levels of training to address these primary concerns.  Once a training plan has been determined and started then the risk of knowledge silos falls dramatically, and most people would be comfortable with the release of the platform to the selected user base.

Rolling with the Updates

Rolling with the Updates

I am sure that I am like most “techie” people right now who jumped onto the iOS 6 bandwagon today. I have to give it to Apple on this iOS release. I ran into absolutely zero issues with my upgrade on my iPhone and iPad. When iOS 5 came out, we all had serious issues for the first few days with servers being overloaded and corrupt iOS download files. I did not even have to connect my devices to a computer to complete this upgrade. This was truly a nice feature that they had added to a prior iOS release. At the time, I discounted its value, but I was very wrong to dismiss it as a nice-to-have but not that important.

As of yet, I have not seen major changes or major improvements in iOS 6, the upgrade simplicity may be one of Apple’s largest triumphs and great legacies to leave the technology world. Could you even imagine a Windows upgrade as easy as it is to go from iOS 5.5 iOS 6?

Oh, I do feel for the folks over at RIM. I recently completed an update to a Blackberry for a friend of mine, and it was painful. That is the company that needs to take a couple of lessons from Apple and Google.

My Windows 8 installation was a snap and took me just a few mouse clicks to complete. I think all the tech companies have realized the paramount importance of simplistic as possible updates to their operating systems to support wide-scale deployment of new features and security enhancements that come with updating the operating system.

Now the wonderful technology industry needs to move some of the simplicity of consumer design into enterprise architecture.

No, scratch that…all of us IT folks need good jobs. Tech industry please continue to design overly complex enterprise systems.

Photo Credit: Michael Cruse
Blogging from the phone

Blogging from the phone

I am sitting in a car waiting to pick up a relative and noticed how slow time goes by while doing nothing. So I am taking the time to really look at my phone and see all that it can do.

Guess what!! The modern-day mobile phone can do a ton of things! For example, I am creating this blog post from a phone. Think about how close we are to have a full computer in our pocket! All you have to do is add a projected keyboard and screen on to flat surfaces, and you would have an awesome mini computer.

Minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but the WordPress app does not support setting a featured image.

Photo Credit: Amazon.com
Kindle moves slowly in the right direction

Kindle moves slowly in the right direction

Amazon.com announced a few days ago that Kindle users would be able to lend books to other Kindle users. I cannot say that I was surprised by this move, as its competitors are farther down the road than Amazon. What did surprise me was the allowance of Kindle applications to participate in the lending program. I feared Amazon would restrict this to device owners as a way to promote device sales. What is truly disappointing is the single lend rule. It is reasonable to restrict a book lender from reading a book that has been lent and limit the duration of a loaned book. However, I find the restriction of only lending a book once ridiculous. I really do not see why such harsh restrictions are being levied at the very users who are promoting content to other users. Maybe, I am just reading the site wrong. Maybe, it is only a limitation on the number of times you can lend the same book to the same person. Time will tell, as the posting by Amazon is rather short and does not offer any concrete details of the program.

How many times have you lent a single book that you purchased? I must say that I am not a very big lender of books and have only lent a few books in my entire life. I am protective of my books, and I like to keep them in good condition. I always fear a book will be damaged by some careless recipient of my lending generosity. Well, with the advent of e-books, I no longer have to worry about damage to a physical book, but now I am still highly restricted on what I can do with a book I purchased. The publishers have complete control in the Amazon program and can prevent their content from participating. In traditional publishing, they could never exert this kind of control. From a business model, it still seems as if the publishers are only coming to the e-book market reluctantly while kicking and screaming just as the music industry did. One day, I wish somebody would sit me down and explain why e-books and liberal lending policies are bad for the publishing business.

The other good news coming out of Amazon is the expansion of its Kindle applications to support periodicals. The lack of periodical support in the Kindle applications was a serious shortcoming that I am shocked was not addressed many months ago. The periodical publishers have been flocking to the iPad and Amazon might be seeing their subscription rates being impacted. Amazon completely owned the e-book market and could have built a complete iron fence around the industry. Unfortunately, visionaries do not always execute well. Looking back at the record of Amazon’s Kindle, we can see a lot of business that was left on the table because of bad business decisions, design challenges, and overly restricting consumer usage rights.

Why don’t we have a single e-book or digital rights standard by now? If I buy a book from (insert company name here), I cannot use it on a competitors’ device. This is still the biggest fundamental failure in digital book publishing and one that must be resolved to promote industry growth and protect consumer choice.

While I wait for this reality to enfold over time, I will just have to curl up with my Kindle and read a good book.