Upcoming webinar: maximize video in the enterprise

David Lozzi

David Lozzi

Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful solution that can manage content across organizations in a variety of ways. Recently, I had the opportunity, as part of a Slalom Consulting team, to work with RAMP and help create its enterprise product MediaCloud for SharePoint. We integrated RAMP’s impressive media solutions with SharePoint to provide a rich video experience inside SharePoint itself.

MediaCloud for Sharepoint enables team members to upload a video directly into SharePoint, which then handles processing, querying, etc., using RAMP’s secure cloud-based storage and delivery. Once the video is ready, the user is notified and video playback is accessible through RAMP’s custom player. The video is searchable through SharePoint, including spoken words—meaning users can stay in SharePoint from start to finish. As a result, organizations can get the most from their video content through the SharePoint solution they already have in place. Read more of this post

Building a Strategy That Sticks

Daniel Maycock is one of Slalom’s acknowledged thought leaders in the realm of new and emerging technology.

What I’ve found more often then not, is that mobile strategy is more about how companies adopt to change and adapt their existing business to something disruptive, then it is about devices or the software running on them. Read more of this post

The Goal of Collaboration is Not Necessarily Collaboration

Slalom Consultant Carl Manello

Carl Manello is a Solution Lead for Program & Project Management based in Chicago who enjoys exploring how to tightly couple the art and science of project delivery with business operations.

Co-written with Jack Walser

“The purpose in life is to collaborate for a common cause; the problem is nobody seems to know what it is.”
–Gerhard Gschwandtner, international sales and marketing guru and CEO of Personal Selling, Inc.

Recently, Professor Morten Hansen of UC Berkley gave a fantastic snapshot of corporate collaboration in a Harvard Business Review IdeaCast in which he stated that it is very hard for an organization to succeed in the business world today–with its highly fluid, informal, and often non-traditional relationships–without collaborative leadership. In Slalom’s experience, we have found this to be very true, especially as it relates to the pharmaceutical industry and Pharma 3.0. Read more of this post

Better Vendor Management

Co-written with Beverly Lieblang

Slalom Consultant Carl Manello

Carl Manello is a Solution Lead for Program & Project Management based in Chicago who enjoys exploring how to tightly couple the art and science of project delivery with business operations.

“Let’s work together in partnership to ensure that we can have the best way forward.”
–John Pistole, former Deputy Director of the FBI

In today’s dynamic and highly leveraged economy, companies continue to increase their reliance on outsourcing as a means to remain competitive. Ideally, outsourcing fills internal resource gaps and missing skill sets with the intent of saving money. In order to take advantage of vendors’ specialized capabilities, many corporations engage in a multi-vendor sourcing approach. It is also critical that corporations institute an appropriate level of governance and vendor management. Read more of this post

Enterprise Content Management & SP2010 – Ready for the Big Time

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a bit of a fan of SharePoint. I’ve practically built my career on the platform and truly enjoy the breadth and depth of solutions that the product offers to enterprises of all sizes. SharePoint has come a VERY long way since its humble beginnings back when it was a mix of an acquisition technologies (VTI) and bits and pieces of Exchange 5.5. With the qualification of my love of the product, I submit that after a modest beginning in the ECM space, SP2010 is not only ready for the big time, but in many MANY ways, easily unseats the big players in this space.

ECM can be classified a few different ways. I like to think of it as the large scale creation, storage, finding and consumption of information. It is much more than just a file repository. It is about the ability to gain value from data and turn those data into information. It is about the ability to quickly take action on the ever growing and changing landscape of knowledge in the enterprise. Storing documents and data is only about 25% of ECM. Sure, it must do it efficiently and securely. The rest of the story comes in what the system can do with data after it is created. That whole document lifecycle stuff. What does SP2010 offer here? I’m so glad you asked.

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Portfolio Management – Its the Process!

 

Slalom Consultant Carl Manello

Carl Manello is a Solution Lead for Program & Project Management based in Chicago who enjoys exploring how to tightly couple the art and science of project delivery with business operations.

“Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all….” Oliver Wendell Holmes.

I have developed a reputation within Slalom as a “tool bigot.”  My skepticism is well known across the gamut of portfolio management tools, program/project management tools or any other garden variety of project management panacea.  For those of you who don’t know me, let me explain.  Over the last twenty years I have seen too many corporations make the same mistake: investing heavily in a software tool they believe will auto-magically solve all problems.  And, much like Mr. Holmes, I recognize that project management has many tools, but a bad process fits them all.

I advocate a strong process–not a strong tool–as the indispensable prerequisite for managing project portfolios. Typically our clients don’t need to invest in expensive and sophisticated tools to develop a strong portfolio management process.  They absolutely need to develop a process that allows the right initiatives to be nurtured, developed, executed or shut down. Then, as the process matures, tools can be added to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The odds for success increase significantly when well thought out process precedes tool selection and implementation.

One of the keys to a strong portfolio management process is the development of detailed business cases.  Pro’s and Con’s of projects must be weighed in a standardized, repeatable, scalable fashion.  Costs and benefits must be assessed (and “hard” benefits separated from “soft” ones).  Timelines, resource capacity, priorities…all must be brought into the mix. And while some of the best tools on the market (e.g., Microsoft’s SharePoint) can make a contribution to information gathering, the tools themselves are less effective without a strong process.

Another key to a mature portfolio management practice is the ability of the governance process to initiate the shut-down of a project.  This enables the team to get past sunk costs, strategic drift compensation and overly optimistic project teams who are trying their best to succeed (but who cannot).  According to Sarah Fister Gale, in the February PMI Network magazine, “In today’s economy, it’s even more imperative that poorly aligned projects not be allowed to move forward.”

So as you look around your company, be like that other Mr. Holmes (yes, Sherlock!) and ask: Are your teams over reliant on a sophisticated tool that is barely useful as a time tracking application?  Is there a lack of process to enable good decision making?  Is there even a decision making framework for standardized, repeatable and scalable decision making in support of the portfolio?  Or, are there just the sunk costs, annual licensing and on-going support fees for a big tool?  While we won’t be able to vanquish all of the tool-dominated project management processes (a.k.a. “sins), we can equip our clients with a better way to “handle” their project portfolios through improved processes.

Exchange 2010 and SIS

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

I’ve been a fan of the Single Instance Storage groveler since I figured out what the heck it was way back in Windows 2003 land.  It is used in quite a few systems, not the least of which is Windows itself in the file server role (if enabled as a feature in 08 and R2).  Recently, I learned that Exchange 2010 was removing SIS from the product.  There is a great discussion that from the MS Exchange Team on their blog which can be found here that ALMOST convinces me that it was a good idea.

First a quick recap on what SIS does:  Just that – pretty simple – single instance storage of objects.  If you have two files on the hard drive and they are identical in every way, the file server stores only one copy and you get something that resembles a pointer (but it isn’t a pointer) on the FS to save space.  In Exchange, it makes even more sense because every dummy with a forward button finds it necessary for whatever reason to forward that 5 meg Excel spreadsheet to the entire company instead of putting the file in SharePoint, but I digressed. (I tend to do that a lot)

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