Archive for December, 2008

The Best Is Yet To Come?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

The Best Is Yet To Come?

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2008, many of us are wondering what the New Year will bring.  If we are to use 2008 as an example of what is to come we could all be in trouble.  This year can be summed up with the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Gloom, yes that is an appropriate word to describe this past year. We have had an economic meltdown and come incredibly close to a complete shutdown.  However, there is hope and this newfound belief must be approached with determination, ingenuity, intelligence, and caution.  No matter how dreary the forecast, no matter how long they tell us it will take to recuperate from our economic woes – business will go on, and even prosper.

So, what do some of the tech-savvy writers have to say about 2009 and the technological industry, let us take a look.  According to Deloitte, “Technology companies may be able to offset some of the growth challenges they face in 2009, by identifying revenue opportunities in niche markets which might not have been as interesting when revenue was more robust.”  This may lead many of us to believe expansion into un-chartered territories will be a trend for technology companies, in the upcoming year.

Yet, according to Wall Street & Technology, “In 2009 CIO’s will be working with smaller budgets, and will face many of the same challenges they did in years past.  At the top of the priority list will be – “improving risk management technology, providing technology support for compliance with new regulations, and improving collateral management technology.”  This quote from Wall Street & Technology leads us all to believe caution, maintenance, and regulatory compliance will be the focus of the New Year.

What does this tell us?  This tells us the experts are just as confused as we are and weathering this economic storm will be a matter of personal determination and not trends and statistics.  According to CIOL-Developer Channel, “The majority of the predictions will be proven wrong – as in any other year; the majority of the technologies will not live up to the expectations and most of the predictions will be proven wrong – and there lies the beauty of technology!”

Technology is evolving and morphing into something new even as you read this article, there is no constant.  The only thing that we know for sure is we do not know what the future holds for technology and for some reason, we are okay with this uncertainty and even inspired by it.

*Did You Know:  E-mail marketing is set to become a standard mobile option in 2009?

Is Your Project Manager Your Weakest Link?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

By now, we are all familiar with the term OUTSOURCING, but let us take a moment to recap.  What are the benefits of outsourcing?  Well, for one thing, when a company decides to outsource non-core duties to an outside service provider, they are relieving personnel to perform tasks which are essential for company success and economic growth.  What other benefits does outsourcing offer?  Outsourcing can provide meaningful opportunities for promotion and restructuring.  For example, an employee who was once busy answering telephones is suddenly discovered to be an excellent conflict manager.  Had it not been for outsourcing, would you have discovered this?  Outsourcing can be a wonderful time for INTROSPECTION and subsequently – MEANINGFUL ACTION!

But, let us move past defining outsourcing and take a closer look at what it takes to do it successfully.  First, let us define the term project; a project is a scheme, idea, or planned undertaking.  A project is different from everyday tasks, in that it requires concentrated effort to bring about expected results.  When a project is initiated, the expectation is that it will thrive and be an improvement on previous ideas.  With that said, a project requires a leader or a PROJECT MANAGER.

According to “10 Rules of Highly Successful Project Management” an online article, a successful project manager is someone who can envision the entire project from start-to- finish and have the prowess to realize this vision.”   The article goes on to explain that a project manager should be someone who can visualize and communicate all project deliverables and activities, as well as anticipate any unforeseen problems with project completion.  The project manager also should be someone that can maintain an open dialog and always have in mind – TIME, BUDGET, and QUALITY.   How many of you feel this can be handled via e-mail, i-m-ing, telephone calls, and faxes?  I did not think so!

The benefits of maintaining project management close to home go far beyond money and control.  Project management from across the table rather than across the country is synonymous with: accountability, flexibility, and responsibility.  Simply put opting to manage a project close to home allows a company to make last minute changes, hold someone accountable immediately, and resolve issues in the moment rather than hours later.  Often times, it is not the big issues which arise that can bring down a project, but rather the small unexpected issues that determine the success or failure of a project.

*Did You Know – the forefather of project management is Henry Gantt, who is famously known for his use of the Gantt chart as a project management tool.

Outsourcing: Only a Matter of Time?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

In past years, a company could save 40%-50%+ (PLUS) by outsourcing IT work to India.  Today it is quite different; the savings is 10%-to-20%.

According to Duke University professor, Ariel Lewis, “the benefit of doing business, from a labor-cost point-of-view, in such locales as Bangalore, India, will disappear for some companies in three-to-four years.”

In order to have a full grasp of the situation, one must understand that outsourcing contracts are generally written in U.S. dollars, but much of the cost of Indian service providers is incurred in rupees.  What does this mean?  It means that the cost incurred by service providers is exceeding the payment given by U. S. companies.

Back in 2007, CIO, a technology publication offered its top 10 predictions for outsourcing in 2008.  On the list of top ten predictions for the upcoming year was “flight from big cities.”  What did this mean?  Simply put, it meant that more and more companies would begin to look for service providers outside of the mainstream (India, China, etc.). The new wave of outsourcing would begin with a massive exodus from popular outsourcing destinations and a new found settlement in places such as Brazil and Argentina would occur.  This prediction was more than accurate.

Outsourcing, the transfer of a company’s non-core, day-to-day activities to an outside service provider is something many companies will have to reconsider.  Companies who once chose to outsource customer support and call center functions such as telemarketing, CAD drafting, customer service, market research, designing, web development, and content writing will begin to look at other alternative, maybe even not outsourcing at all.

Necessity is the mother of invention – this saying has never been truer than now. Many companies are beginning to think of new ways to get the job done and save money while they are at it. Surprisingly enough, the answer to their search may be a lot closer to home than they anticipated. In addition to outsourcing work to places such as Brazil and Argentina, many companies are now considering: interns, consultants, part time workers and internal employee promotions which in some cases will still lead to substantial savings in the long run.

In theory, outsourcing has always appeared to be a logical alternative to a companies need to concentrate on core duties. However, in practice, outsourcing has never been a practical or easy solution. The problems with outsourcing are not simply a matter of money, language barriers, time delays, or contractual obligations.

In my own humble opinion, the problem with outsourcing has never been about location, language barriers, or time delays – it will always be about accountability, dependability, and the human touch that every client deserves.

*Did You Know – President elect Obama has suggested that he will readjust the tax code to offer more tax incentives to companies that do not outsource?