Archive for ‘March, 2010’

How Rising Petrol Prices will affect IT

According to the AA UK petrol prices are rising to record levels and could soon average £1.20 a litre. How willl this affect IT?

Inflation
The most likely affect will be on inflation as road haulage prices will almost certainly rise in line with what has been a 17% increase on fuel costs in the past month.  Therefore IT procurement costs will potentially rise with the greatest exposure being on delivery costs.  Delivery lead times may also be affected if haulage firms commence retrenching activities.

Remote Working
As inflation begins to bite, commuters will certainly start to consider their options. Managers may need to offer flexible working arrangements meaning a greater burden on IT departments to offer remote working solutions.  Mobile telephony, secure connectivity and virtual environments offer practical solutions to allow workers access to all their usual IT resources from practically anywhere.
 
Web Conferencing
Already there is a trend to reduce the cost of business travel.  Several large organisations have an unofficial “No Travel Friday” policy.  As the cost of travel increases these informal arrangements will become more widely adopted.  Emphasis will shift to IT departments to provide practical alternatives to travel.  VOIP technologies are already widely used in business and desktop communication tools like Skype and desktop telephony will become more and more significant.  The use of web conferencing software will also increase.  Subscription services like WebExand GotoMeeting are already popular, but there is more and more choice with Open Source and free solutions now available such as Dimdim and WebHuddle.

Cloud Computing
Traditional client-server based applications are already in decline in favour of internet based software.  As more and more workers operate remotely the requirement for online collaboration will increase even more.  Software as a Service (SaaS) and virtualised resources offer reduced IT capital expenditure and promote remote connectivity, so these emerging technology trends will only strengthen in the current climate.

Contact us for more information on any of the technologies described here.

Pro Bono Service Announced

Conduce Group announces new Pro Bono Service for Registered Charities & Not for Profit/3rd Sector Organisations

From today Registered Charities could benefit from a new Pro Bono Service from The Conduce Group.

The offer encompasses all of the Groups’ areas of business: IT services, consultancy, software development, web design, print and online marketing.

The Nuneaton based Conduce Group provide IT and consulting services, software development, web design, print services and online marketing solutions to a wide range of businesses both nationally and internationally. They work with a number of charities and through this work identified the need for a Pro Bono service.  

Pro Bono” is a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good,” and refers to work done by professionals for no fee or for a greatly reduced fee. Specifically Conduce Group are offering a total of 20 free days of work per annum, with a maximum of two days for any one organisation.

The service is open to Registered Charities & 3rd Sector Not for Profit organisations and is available immediately.

Steve Russell, CEO of Conduce Group
, said: “We already work with several charities and came to realise that many charitable organisations are in crisis, due in part to changes in Local Authority funding and exacerbated by the current recession. We wanted to do something to help.  Often organisations in this sector can benefit from being simply pointed in the right ICT direction, potentially bringing costs down & efficiency gains”.

Wayne Enis, Conduce Group’s CIO
added “We can provide advice and support across our areas of business, so if you think that your charity might be able to benefit, get in touch with us to discuss your needs”.

Could your charity benefit from some free professional support around ICT services, consultancy, software development, web design, print services or online marketing? Then visit http://probono.conduce.net for more information.

Click here to read our Pro Bono Newsletter

Info Graphics

The other day I was sent a CV in the form of an Info-Graphic.  How cool is that? Instead of a career history I got a series of stacked area charts and pie charts (or “Camembert” as I recently learned that they call them in France) showing skill sets and achievements. I do think the ambitious approach was slightly bottled by sending me a standard CV as well (I can excuse that though as there are a few luddites out there in the field of IT recruitment)… but that aside it was an audacious and effective attempt to gain an audience with an employer and something I’d not seen before.  The CV in question definitely found its way to the top of my pile and secured a meeting later this week.  Superb job!!

I’m pretty sure the author of that CV may have been aware of the human ability to recall information when represented graphically which is discussed in this video.  Equally the video discusses how misleading and inefficient visualised data can be.  It is aimed at political representation of data for an American audience, but I think it’s relevant so bear with it.



At Conduce Consulting we help organisations make the most of their data by converting raw data into compelling and meaningful business intelligence tools.  Oh yes, we can also help with IT recruitment as well. Find out more here: http://www.conduce.net/Consulting/

Google: The Proper Noun that became a Verb

Not since William H Hoover bought the patent for Murray Spangler’s invention of a vacuum cleaner has a company had their name converted to a verb in the English language.  Google is a monster in business terms.  They are processing over a billion searches a day and they have their finger in just about every technology pie.  They are continually in the news with new product launches with their Apps Marketplace and Reader Play both going live over the past few days.
 
But with their tentacles spreading so widely and rapidly their company motto of “Don’t be evil” is becoming more and more difficult to maintain as this Australian video suggests.

In my experience it is very hard for a growing company to maintain the ethos and morals that made the company a success in the first place.  The core team of managers and innovators get progressively thinned out by expansion and the maintenance of the moral pursuit is consumed by the pursuit of business.  I hope Google succeed in their aim to avoid the evils of big business.  They are a dynamic, innovative company with some great business models and ideas who have some of the more traditional big players seriously worried.  The world needs business disruptors….

Conduce IT Services commence large IT Infrastructure Development Project

Our client, a large support charity, commissioned us to undertake an IT Infrastructure Development Project, aimed predominantly at improving the performance of their IT network and applications across the organisation. The project takes into account the current scale and size of the organisation as well as future expansion and developments aimed at improving the organisations operations and its internal support functions.

This investment in hardware and telecoms is now of great importance in order to sustain the growth and demands of most organisations. Companies are already dependent on their IT infrastructure and as updated IS strategies get deployed this dependency will increase.

We have currently started deploying a new resilient platform with improved performance to replace the current weakening IT network and allow the client to benefit from the adoption of new technologies.

The new network will provide them with the technical capability, as well as a stable platform to host business critical applications such as their SharePoint intranet , integrated HR, Payroll and Finance system.  

Our project plan encompasses the upgrade of the site communications circuits across the entire WAN as well as adopting a more effective data recovery and redundancy structure.   The upgrade in communications will also facilitate high speed access to Cloud based services.

This project will enable our customer to have a resilient network infrastructure that will create a more stable platform for the organisation’s applications. The structure of the new network will enable them to extend its network with ease and with less of a financial demand.

Pro Bono Publico (Part 1)

It’s Latin – look it up
Last week rock’n’roll internet heroes OK GO debuted a new video for “This Too Shall Pass” on YouTube.  “Big deal” I hear you say…. OK GO regularly get 7 digit viewing numbers for their videos, the most widely recognised and mimicked being the famous Treadmill Video for Here it Goes Again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA

The new video is a bit of a watershed for performing rights, internet revenue streams and so on…. EMI, the band’s record label and other record producers put a block on allowing videos for their bands to be embedded.  It’s a very long story, but the band posted an open letter on their website explaining the situation… it’s definitely worth a read if you are remotely interested in social media, performing rights or the music industry in general.

http://okgo.forumsunlimited.com/index.php?showtopic=4169

Damien Kulash, the band’s front man also wrote a piece on the saga for the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/opinion/20kulash.html?ref=opinion

Anyway, to cut a long story short EMI relented and the video is now available in full embeddable glory and I’ve embedded it here just because I can.

So what does all this mean? If nothing else, it’s something of a minor victory for the little guy, but in my opinion this is a major step forward for the democratisation of the internet and potentially technology in general.  Socially oriented technologies such as Open Source and Web 2.0 have in the past not been fully embraced by big business largely I think because the ethoses behind those platforms are so contrasting to their own. But could this be the falling pebble that eventually causes an avalanche?

So getting to the point of this blog post: Conduce Group is getting ready to launch a Pro Bono (free) service to Registered Charities starting in April 2010.  The intention being that those who do work for the public good should get something back from the likes of us with a view to helping them get the most out of technology.  Watch this space for more details or contact us on probono@conduce.net

Whiteboards | the Essential Business Application

I want to share with you an essential Management Information System that those of you who know me will be able to testify that I have been a firm advocate for many years now. In my last job I even had three instances of the application on (or at least in close proximity of) my desktop.

The utilisation of “Whiteboards” is almost limitless and I always insist on using it for all projects that I am involved in. The User Interface is so basic even a 5 year old can use it, but can be as sophisticated as required when in the hands of a skilled user. Uses I have found for the product include:

Project Management – tracking tasks & resources
CRM – activity tracking, contact and sales lead management
Software Development – prototyping, wireframes, code analysis, bug tracking
ERP – progress chasing, task prioritisation, resource planning, KPI tracking
Content / Document Management – content planning, drafting
HR & Business Admin – Organisation Charts, Process Flow Diagrams…

to name but a few…. there are a couple of limitations that I found.  There is no built in spell checker and I haven’t been able to integrate with my email (yet).  It is a very mature product meaning there are no bugs and therefore no need for updates, patches or maintenance contracts.  I have even found recently that the application is fully Windows compatible as the following image shows.

Here are some essential Add-ins for your Whiteboard Application:
www.theglasswipeboardcompany.com – an innovative new User Interface
www.ideapaint.com – for super massive display size potential

If you are looking for the perfect Management Information System solution for your organsition, check out our Solution Selection page.