// JSON-LD for Wordpress Home, Articles and Author Pages. Written by Pete Wailes and Richard Baxter. // See: http://builtvisible.com/implementing-json-ld-wordpress/

Archive for March, 2009

What Should Business Managers Know About Information Systems?

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

In my work I interact with many business-centric and technology-centric individuals.  In most cases I am working with teams that include subject matter experts (SME), project managers, business analysts, architects, developers, IT infrastructure administrators, quality assurance personnel and users.  Each of these roles is important, but not sufficient, to delivering a successful project.  Beyond these roles, successful projects also rely on a host of best practices including strong business sponsorship, effective scoping, and good communication.  However, one area that can influence the effectiveness of a systems-based solution is the business management’s understanding of information systems (IS).

Many business leaders have a great depth of knowledge in terms of the operation of their business.  Using Michael Porter’s Value Chain to model a business, I have found that these leaders are thoroughly versed in the details of their primary activities.  However, when providing leadership for projects involving IS, they need more.  A solid business-centric understanding of IS as a key supporting activity for their business is essential.  The question is, “what constitutes a business-centric understanding of IS?”  Here are my thoughts on that topic.

Managers need to understand: 1) the types of information systems that are available; 2) the prerequisites for effectively leveraging information systems; 3) the necessary steps to install and operate information systems; and 4) the appropriate type of user for the various information systems.  At the core of each of these is the fact that a manager must assure that the information systems being leveraged or planned are supported by an information systems strategy that is tied to the business strategy.


OotM Wraps Up for 2009

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Tiffany and the TikiAnother year of Odyssey of the Mind has wrapped up here at the Read household.  I’ll start off congratulating all three Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake teams.  They each finished in second place for their respective problems and divisions.  This is a great achievement and the teams should be proud that their hard work was recognized by the judges.

Zooming into the team with which I am most familiar, principally since both of my children are on the team and my wife is their coach, it has been a great experience for them.  Last year they were the seasoned veterans of division II.  This year they moved to division III where the competition includes teams with significantly more experience.Dylan and His Fans

Their problem, Superstitions, offered a lot of latitude to explore their creativity.  The major solution aspects formed quickly, but the details took a lot of time to gel.  There was a rewrite of the ending as recently as a couple of weeks before the competition.

The main push during the last month was finializing the set.  They had sketched aspects of the layout but as it came together they were continually inspired to push the envelope.  Dylan formed a strong attachment to the Tiki and made many engineering improvements to it.  That focus paid off and it was one of the highlights of the performance.

Ready to PerformThe team has also matured.  They all do a fine job of acting and projecting clearly.  The members also seem to have fun playing off of one another.  Timing of humor was spot-on, drawing laughter from the spectators and judges throughout the performance.

I hope that the team comes together again next year.  It is a lot of fun to see the increasing camaraderie as they become more-and-more a team rather than a group of individuals.Awards Ceremony

For now I look forward to reclaiming the house and garage as cardboard, paint, bags, duck tape, and myriad small pieces of “artistic” junk are recycled or placed in storage.  It will be nice to be able to run the Roomba without worrying about it sucking up an important part of a costume or prop!

I’ll upload the video of their performance one the World’s competition is concluded in the spring.