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Stories by Brad Howarth

Big data analytics: The new black magic of marketing?

In the realm of marketing, data is definitely the new black. But to hear it spoken of at conferences, you might also assume it is the new black magic, capable of doing everything from enabling accountability of every marketing dollar spent through to predicting customer behaviour. Either concept would be considered fantastical, were they also not increasingly becoming true.

Written by Brad Howarth24 Oct. 13 12:43

Breaking down barriers

The desire to see information technology align with the goals of the business it serves seems as old as the IT industry itself. The fact that this is still talked about indicates how little progress has been made.
The importance of aligning IT with the business is even more vital when implementing service-oriented architectures. The idea of breaking up the deployment of technology into discreet interoperable services based around business processes requires an in-depth understanding of what those processes are, how they are used, and their interdependencies with other processes within the business.

Written by Brad Howarth10 Feb. 09 22:00

Copy that

Hitting the green button on the office copier is such an everyday
occurrence that few of us would give much thought to the environmental

Written by Brad Howarth09 Dec. 08 22:00

Silver lining

Scott McNealy, chairman of Sun Microsystems, may have been a visionary, or he may have just been lucky. But when he declared that "the network is the computer" in the late 1990s, he outlined a model that today is looking more and more like reality.
Taking processing power out of the hands of corporate IT and distributing it around the world is discussed at length in the 2008 book, The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr (author of the controversial tome Does IT Matter?). He traces the evolution of Sun's old marketing slogan into what he calls the "World Wide Computer" - a programmable, highly scalable computing environment available to anyone.

Written by Brad Howarth21 Sept. 08 22:00

Take control

To quote Joni Mitchell's lyrics to Big Yellow Taxi, sometimes you really don't know what you've got till it's gone. This sentiment could well apply to many organisations that followed the move to client-server architecture in the 1990s.
Although client-server computing provided greater flexibility to end users, the terminal era that preceded it had one significant advantage - centralised control. By distributing computing resources out to the end user, IT managers also distributed their problems.

Written by Brad Howarth04 Sept. 08 22:00

Third time lucky

The birth of SPARQ Solutions in July 2004 saw the drawing together of two very different IT support groups. As the newly created shared IT services provider for Queensland-based power companies Energex and Ergon Energy, SPARQ required the merging of differing processes and cultures.
SPARQ's service delivery manager, Paul Cockburn, could tell early on that a shared framework with a common set of descriptions and procedures was necessary. So in August 2005, the company began developing processes that would serve both clients, based on the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

Written by Brad Howarth08 Dec. 07 22:00

The speed merchants

Managing the information technology needs of a fast-growing business can feel like standing on a knife edge. On one side lies the understanding that future demands are best met with robust and scalable systems that can tolerate the workloads the business will one day throw at them.
On the other is the knowledge that cash is rarely readily available. Hence, the business needs to keep its investments modest. Overinvesting may create excess capacity that is never eventually filled, or even send the business bankrupt.

Written by Brad Howarth06 Nov. 07 22:00

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