Does IT matters?

May 20, 2006

Excellent interview with N. C. garr (the author of the famous essay IT doesn’t matter at HBR) at enterpriseleadership.org. Agree or not with his ideas about the “IT’s world” it is an very instructive podcast because it address most of the hot topics:

  • Commodisation of IT
  • Comparative advantage & Innovation
  • The end of the corporate IT (almost as we knew it)
  • Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies
  • Open Source

After all, a decent analysis of the state-of-art of paradigm’s shift ( or maybe switch) we are witnessing.

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Hasta la vista…. Vista.

April 2, 2006

vistaIt was the industry’s news of the month, Microsoft announced a delay in the release of the new Windows Vista again. And two days later, we have a new man in charge, Steve Snofsky. One may think that these events aren’t related, but it’s hard to believe. The fact is that Microsoft is actually having problems with their brand new OS. Nevertheless, the pending question (Why?) remains unanswered although we’ve some leads. I’d bet that the main problem is related with complexity. Humans do have limits and although there are means to deal with them (such organization, budgeting, planning and project management) they aren’t magic solutions, they are only tools attached to some extend to the same limitations than the acting men using them.

From a economics perspective: It’s true that when a company grows certain scale economies arise, but carrying other diseconomies as well. On the first is greater than the second, it takes place an efficiency gain. I think in this case the Microsoft’s monster has got out of control of their inventors – Monsters have these customs. The should better be rid of this complexity and sacrifice something. Backward compatibility could be abandoned as Apple did with X OS, do not suport old hardware, simplify the product line are options. But they may be unaffordable for Microsoft, because the liabilities attached to their scale diseconomies.

X OS and Linux supporters should be happy they use the newest technology in their computers… for the moment.

Funny stuff: April fool’s jokes… but a joke shows always hidden side of the truth.

StrategIT Tip: Complexity is overlooked topic in many projects. So, try to keep it simply, some times we must give up something but we save the project. We all have limits, even Microsoft.


SUN grid under DoS attack

March 25, 2006

Bad news for those who saw SUN’s Grid project as a first global step toward IT comodisation. It show the intrinsic vulnerabilities of Internet based services, furthermore, it shows how weak are infrastructures we depend of. But I’m optimistic with this kind of projects and solutions because the sound economic logic they are founded.

Will keep an eye on this new born service.


ISACA announces global governance Report 2006

March 14, 2006

The Information systems audit and control association (ISACA) has released they 2nd (the first was in 2003) of IT governance. The report contains interesting information about the current “state of art” of IT governance. I’ve just take a look into it and it looks like pretty good (its for free 🙂 ). I’ll dig more deeper in the graphs but in my first cross-reading I have found this curious data:

IsacaGraph

CEOs consider IT more important for overall strategy of the organization than IT management! That is not what common sense tell us every day. But of course it’s a survey…. It stands for what it’s said not what it’s done.


Brazilian IT Metrics

March 12, 2006

There are not many information (public and free) about specific IT metrics for Brazilian markets. The Getulio Vargas Foundation provides one survey with a sound historical data and methodology. I’ve summarized some interesting information in the report into the following table:

Index 1998 2005 past 16 years past 8 years 1 year
Computer yearly Sales (Millions) 0,4 5 18% 18% 9%
Computers (Millions) 1 23 20% 23% 18%
Std. Computer price(US$ 1.000) 5 0,4 -15% -16% -10%
Annual cost per user (US$ 1.000) 9 8,9 0% -5% -2%
IT Spending / operating profit 1,30% 5,10% 9% 7% 4%
Number of employees/Keyboards 20 1,8 -14% -10% -4%

They are no great metrics but show a spectacular growth of installed computers (18% in a 180Mill population market) and of course a decrease of the cost per user ratio. Other interesting data is that in spite of the increase of computers (keyboards) the ratio of employees / Keyboards the is decreasing but slower than past references. That could mean that the growth of Brazilian economy and employment is taking place in areas that do not require computers (commodities for example).


Google Desktop Risk

March 1, 2006

GDesktopGoogle has announced the latest version of Google Desktop. I tested the previous versions of the product with satisfaction. The searches were fast, the documents, e-mails and files showed were also good and relevant for the search keys used and the indexing process was well designed acting only when the computer had idle times. The “missing” feature was the limitation of searching only in the local file space. This limitation has been removed in this new version and, in addition, Google stores a copy of the index on the company’s servers. The company argues that the index will be retained only for 30 days and it will be protected and encrypted and Google will not compromise the information on the indexes. What will be use of this information? Actually , I don’t know; but it wouldn’t be a surprise that it could be used within other services like Gmail, Google maps or Orkut or for other unspecified data mining purposes. As the matter of fact we must trust Google and trust that this information will be well protected within their complex network.

From my point of view, with this issue arise two important risks:

  • Although the information will be encrypted before it is transmitted to google’s servers it does not . Somehow the information could be intercepted by strangers.
  • When the information is stored in the servers it could be viewed by other (inside or outside Google) specially if it’s integrated with other services.

These risks are quite high not because the control in place are weak but because the information stored in our desktop. Individuals and organizations have the more sensitive information stored in personal folders and mail inboxes. That is the impact of an eventual data theft will affect this very information.

Recommendation: Asses if it worth it and consider the use of enterprise search solutions.

StrategIT Tip: Information and meta information should be controlled. Some desktop applications could undermine our protections. To monitor the security and privacy impact of this applications should be an intelligent habit of managers.


OS X Malware born

February 19, 2006

XOS WORMSooner or later markets reach equilibrium. Computer virus markets, like others, are not different indeed. Some users of Mac environments thought they were safe from viruses but it is now part of a myth. The past 16th November was discovered the 1st worm for Apple’s OSX. It is not much aggressive; it is just a proof of concept that malware is not only possible but a real menace on this platform.

Apple’s strategy of migrating their platform from Power PC to Intel could be a signal that OS X could become a much more popular OS in the future. If Apple’s countermeasures against copy and deployment of OS X on standard PC ( Today it’s possible but illegal) fails, the population of OSX-suited (or hybrid) malware will increase soon. Malware it’s not about technology it’s a market phenomenon.