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Clinton Jones

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Top Stories by Clinton Jones

One of my professors used to always tell his students a story about a company that he performed a work study at and discovered an elderly gentleman, let's call him "Thomas Bean",  who produced colorful graphs every month on the performance of a business-related resource or asset. I don't recall the specifics of the work, but I do remember that these graphs were meticulously produced every month, manually, and that they involved bar charts, pie charts and tables of data. The gentleman was relegated to some back office in the planning department. During the study, Mr. Bean was interviewed and he proudly demonstrated the workmanship and effort involved in producing his reporting deck.  From here, the story becomes the classic stuff of urban legends like the million dollar Fisher Space Pen. Apparently, when asked what he did with the charts, Mr. Bean said that he took... (more)

Getting a Bathroom Makeover Is a Bit Like an IT Project

I am writing this as one of my bathrooms at home goes through a face lift. This is one of those projects that I have pretty much put off for years over fear of what might be found under those loose shower tiles and creaking flooring around the bathtub. As anyone who has gone through any home improvement project will tell you, the experience can be relatively energizing, frustrating, soul destroying or all of these. Bathroom refurbishments in particular seem to be extraordinarily stressful due to the uniquely intimate nature of this being the place of ablution. Over the past twen... (more)

Establishing Enterprise Monitoring Baselines

Enterprise monitoring gets a great deal more air time these days than it ever did in the past. Perhaps it's because our technology dependent lives have become some so reliant on the availability of systems and infrastructural services. Have things improved? How would you know? In reality, monitoring systems themselves are nothing particularly new. Consider the pressure valve on a steam boiler. At the most rudimentary level, the object of the valve is to release pressure. The way you decide whether or not to release pressure is to observe the gauge that indicates the boiler's pre... (more)

Don't Blame Batch Processing for Your Business Process Failures

The recent train wreck that was the CA batch process failure at RBS should probably be ringing alarm bells for some folks running batch processes into their systems; however, more importantly it should remind us of a couple of different things: Batch processing is real and present in many facets of IT data processing and systems at large Never take short cuts on adequate testing of changes and test planning A call I participated on a couple of months back with some students from an esteemed college in North America resulted in a conclusion that what I was talking about and showi... (more)

Business Process Outsourcing and the Shared Services Center

Business process outsourcing (BPO) of shared services centers (SSC) is not really something new, but lately BPOs and SSCs have become particularly popular as discussion topics in large organizations with complex and simple business processes. In reality, the BPO function is nothing more than the contracting of specific business tasks, typically back office business tasks, to a 3rd party service provider. Companies like a payroll bureau and recruitment agencies have been effectively performing these kinds of services for decades. In the late 1990's improvements in computing techn... (more)