John Perez’s Top 25 OSS alternatives to enterprise apps

2009 Budgets are in and for many who oversee the Operations and IT Budget, you are probably challenged to reduce your capital budget by at least 40% lower than what you originally put in. As the pressure to cut continues, you may want to rethink about the software vendors you have selected to introduce into the Enterprise, or even think about replacing your legacy Enterprise applications with more cost effective open source alternatives.

Out of his 25 apps, I must say that we’re using about 5… 😉 Despite being an OSS believer, be aware that these solutions just shift costs from the cost center “license” to “payroll” and that every integration creates a “lockin”… Do OSS because you believe in the “Open” aspect or where you don’t want to go for enterprise grade support!

Neurological Levels : Understanding the root for change

In short
The neurological levels are very useful for understanding change from an individual, social or organization point of view. They were proposed by anthropologist Gregory Bateson (1972, 1979). He defined a hierarchy of abstraction including beliefs, values and identity. He perceived relationships as having a higher abstraction than identity, and therefore influencing lower levels in the hierarchy, such as beliefs and behavior.

Six Logical Levels

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Welcome to Enterprise 2.0, embrace it!

Let’s talk about “Enterprise 2.0“.

The way we work is changing rapidly, offering an enormous competitive advantage to those who embrace the new tools that enable contextual, agile and simplified information exchange and collaboration to distributed workforces and networks of partners and customers.

Enterprise 2.0 is the term for the technologies and business practices that liberate the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools like email. It provides business managers with access to the right information at the right time through a web of inter-connected applications, services and devices. Enterprise 2.0 makes accessible the collective intelligence of many, translating to a huge competitive advantage in the form of increased innovation, productivity and agility.

Enterprise 2.0 Cartoon

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IT Strategy : Following -> Enabling -> Leading

Let’s talk a bit about IT strategy. Most IT departments still have the idea that they live isolated from the business. If that would be so, how would all those IT people get paid ad the end of the month? Indeed, by the business they are supporting! IT has a supporting function within the business.

ChessThe roles of IT
There are three roles IT should (try to) position itself:

  • Following : Reacting but delivering consistently
  • Enabling : Predicting, resourcing priorities, delivering
  • Leading : Aligned, experienced, leading thinking and planning

Which role does your departement currently furfil? Before you answer, note that probably 85% of the IT departments don’t even manage to be “Following”.

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Why should you introduce blogging within your company?

I started blogging about eight months ago. Time has flown by, and I’ve learned a few things about writing and publishing. But the reason I started the blog, was to keep track of the things I solved and to publish those findings so that other may benefit from this wisdom. The saying “no need to invent the wheel twice comes into place here.

As the end of the year is closing towards us, and so are the deadlines for the cases we were giving during my courses. One of those tasks is to do the project management of a (dummy) project. This involves -a lot- of email conversions to get the (internally) distributed tasks aligned. These email threads often contain tasks and questions which need to be reviewed and replied to. The combination of several of causes it to be easily overseen or become to complicated.


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What we often forget when implementing virtualization solutions

“The beginning is the half of every action”
Someone once told me “There is nothing more permanent than temporarily.” (roughly translated), and it’s something you often see in the IT world. A server goes down, let’s do the quick fix now and do the in depth analysis/coding later. The last step is often moved the the refrigerator called “on hold”-, “TODO” or “when we have time” boxes.

The following situation might ring some bells:

X : How de we save on infrastructure costs?
Y : Maybe by virtualizing our infrastructure?
X : Sounds good, how do we do this?
Y : Let’s first try our lab/development/staging environment?
X : And if that works move all servers to it!

Help!!! My virtual servers are breeding like rabbits
Most companies who’ve started with virtualizations, like for example VmWare of Xen, have found themselves rushing (or stumbling) way too fast in this new enviroment. The virtual infrastructure needs the same amount of thought as your physical infrastructure. It’s not because a virtual server is created at a fraction of the time it would take a physical one, that one shouldn’t follow the same steps.

Perhaps the sexiest aspect of virtualization is its speed: You can create VMs in minutes, move them around easily, and deliver new computing power to the business side in a day instead of weeks. It’s fun to drive fast. But slow down long enough to think about making virtualization part of your existing IT processes

It’s not because it’s virtual that it doesn’t need to be managed
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IT Departments, dare to innovate!

Wich companies come to mind if you would be presented with the following question:

What’s the difference between the new companies that stand out, and those who just populate the economic landscape as scenery?

Let’s take the “almighty google”. It started out as an idea of two Stanford University students. Its corporate philosophy includes statements such as “Don’t be evil”, and “Work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun”. I guess that isn’t something you see in every company. The competition for competence is fiercely high in Silicon Valley, and yet they win a lot of brainpower due to their company mentality. Note that I don’t want to sell google as heaven on earth, but I just want to sketch a certain starting point.

The human factor Continue reading “IT Departments, dare to innovate!”

Realizing the position of an IT department within the company

The Landscape
Imagine the structure of a somewhat reasonably sized company. You’ve got the purchasing, sales, accountancy, production,… the IT department. All departments depend on each other to get the global job done. It’s the job of IT, to make sure that the other departments can do their job efficiently, according to the information technology/resources available.

Strangely enough, not all IT departments realize that they are actually working FOR their company. They are aware that they work within a company. It’s not merely about maintaining the infrastructure, and doing end-user support. It’s about providing the service of increasing efficiency for every department!

The “end-user”
Everyone’s read them, the jokes about the everlasting moron end-users who don’t have a clue what the hell they are doing. I have to admit, I like to read those as well. But if you look past the fun-factor of them, and to the company impact of the situation, what do you see? You should see a part of the company engine, that’s malfunctioning! So why is this person malfunctioning? Did we provide the means for this person to do his/her job without any hassle? Continue reading “Realizing the position of an IT department within the company”