Are You Using the ‘Phant?

Most folks have heard about “The Cloud,” and how it can make your business amazing.  But have you heard about The ‘Phant?  The Cloud has a lot of hype to live up to: speeding up business processes, making data secure, and lowering costs, but The ‘Phant is a guaranteed solution: it never loses data.* Of course, storing all of your data in an elephant is a joke, but it does make you wonder about The Cloud: is there a hidden joke there too?  Maybe joke is too strong a word, because there are some wonderful success stories.  But those success stories came with a price tag: planning and strategy. I was watching TV a while back and heard the slogan, “To the cloud!” in a commercial.  The implication was that in the new business wonderland called The Cloud, technical problems disappear.  In truth, technical problems never ever go away, they just get moved around.  When you “move to the cloud,” are you moving problems out of your life, or into it? The Cloud is a new enough term that no one can really define it universally.  As an IT professional, I have a technical understanding of cloud-based computing that is basically meaningless to a CFO or marketing exec, while a network administrator might have an understanding that is worthless to me.  So rather than define what the cloud is, or what it can do for you, define your problems and your goals.  Then ask, “Is the cloud good at X?  Better than my current solution?” By identifying your problems first, you might identify a solution that is cheaper and faster than something a...

#ATO Wrap-Up

I attended the All Things Open conference in Raleigh this last week.  I was impressed by the size of the conference, as well as the quality of the presentations.  As we know, content is king, and I saw some great content. For me, the most memorable spot was by Scott Hanselman.  He is a great speaker, and very knowledgeable.  He talked a bit about JavaScript and its role in the future of application development.  He covered a lot of history, even the un-flattering parts, and talked about what the future looks like.  Not only at Microsoft, where he works, but in the JavaScript world in general.  It was a vision that is far enough out to be inspiring, but grounded enough to be useful. The other stand-out presentation was Pamela Vickers on company culture.  We in the tech industry are in the midst of a grand experiment in “getting it right.”  Why is “culture” on so many job posts, and what does it mean anyway?  Do you motivate people to be productive, or do you give them inspiration and get out of their way?  She talked a bit about women in tech, which was a prevailing theme at the conference, and of course the ubiquitous ping-pong table in job postings.  I know I didn’t choose my workplace based on the presence of a game table, but a quick search seems to indicate that “ping pong” is an important thing in the minds of some tech recruiters.  It’s a great thought-starter. Like I mentioned, the topic of women in the tech workforce was a theme of the conference, and several panels and presentations...