Is the iphone driving mobile content?

The Smell of Good Business on iphoneFeedburner post from The Smell of Good Business on iphone

The ipod has really changed the way we use music – we’ve got 3 in our household (4 if you count my original 40 gig hard drive version that died). But the potential for the iphone to change the way we get and consume web based information is vast.

So, you’ve gotta get mobile. Thankfully, it is easier than you might think thanks to MoFuse.com

As I blog on WordPress, less than 2 minutes later I have m.justindavies.com.au as well as http://justindavies.mofuse.mobi and an iphone specific URL at http://justindavies.mofuse.mobi/iphone

As a tip, if you create your own address off your domain as I have done (m.justindavies.com.au), remember to add the cname record at your domain so it will work.

Importantly with any web presence, you have got to track it – and this is where mofuse excels providing great stats tracking. I suspect we will see lots of growth in iphone related traffic. For more on the topics of tracking users, please see my Feedburner post.

So, comments please. Where do you think the growth in online traffic for the iphone will come from? And how will it drive the way we use mobile phones in the future?

Great timesheet tool

88 Miles

I’ve been looking around at some online timesheet tools and Miles Burke at Bam Creative suggested 88 Miles from Mad Pilot

Having looked at a heap of timesheet tools, this looks like a really good tool – and by good fortune developed in Perth.

Some of the features I was looking for included:

  1. Web based (a given really)
  2. Allow multiple clients
  3. Allow multiple projects
  4. Allow multiple consultants to work on any mix of the above
  5. Provide individual timesheets
  6. Provide team reporting
  7. Be easy to use
  8. Fairly priced

Some new features coming are likely to include additional reporting and adding your own logo to timesheets.

So far I’m impressed and have started using it, worth giving a try….

People, process and technology – enter Enterprise 2.0

I’ve got to say I have an interesting concern – but a sense of delight at the possibilities – about the speed and capacity of change of Enterprise 2.0. Let me explain…

In the world of application development, there is a serious and mounting argument from the rapid development / iterative prototyping camp versus the waterfall (requirements, design, build, test, deploy, support) purists. When it comes to applications that affect corporations – that is, across the enterprise – I am a firm believer in the latter.

Iterative development is great when there are only a few people involved – or a small point solution that only affects a few people. When you start getting more people involved, the challenges go up.

The challenges include:

  • People – commitment to using a new process and a new underpinning system – and a common way of doing so
  • Process – is the process we are using common to all? Do we all do our own thing?)
  • Technology – solid analysis of the problems and a clear view of how to resolve them with technology

Now with Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0, the beauty is that these applications are breaking new ground in making the process neatly tied up in the applications and making it really simple for people to follow the process without having to think too much about it – or having to refer to training manuals or help guides. However, the ease of picking one up, configuring them differently according to different needs – but at the same time missing the opportunity to apply them consistently is the challenge.

The takeaway points to consider:

  • If you are going to go for a Web 2.0 application, do document your processes and make sure people apply it consistently within the organisation
  • Software developers can learn from the myriad of Web 2.0 projects smart ways of developing inviting interfaces and very simple and fast sign up and use approaches
  • The next raft of successful enterprise scale applications from the Web 2.0 environment will make a dent on traditional software only when sold, implemented and supported like enterprise software

All comments welcome!

Service – I’m not getting any – the dangers of implementing CRM software without understanding the need first

I was speaking with a friend today who was feeling pretty frustrated. You see, he had purchased a CRM software product for his business, but it wasn’t doing what he wanted. The vendor had considered that he had done his part – sell the product, install it on site, provide the user documentation, all thumbs up….

What the client actually needed was:

1. Assistance to clearly understand how to implement CRM as a strategy

2. Get the people on the bus committed to the approach

3. Define the new processes, and define these into an agreed requirements document

4. The vendor to configure the application to meet the defined requirements

5. The vendor to train the users and the administrator in exactly how to make CRM technology deliver on the CRM strategy

6. The vendor to come back and check / realign things after staff have been using it for awhile

My recommendation to you – if you have a complex business environment, or quite a number of people using the platform, be very, very wary of buying any software that runs across your business without buying implementation services (not just technical ones, but solid business analysis). See my post on people, process and technology for more on getting software implementation right.

SAAS CRM software products have been changing the landscape. There are plenty to choose from and I’ve looked at quite a number of CRM Software options including Sugar CRM and Salesforce. For my business I use and recommend Capsule CRM and have implemented it for many of my clients. In some cases for smaller companies and consultants, they have used the product for 12 months or longer without hitting a purchase threshold. It is low cost, from $12 per user per month.

What I like about Capsule CRM is that it is lightweight – it has what you need and no more. Integration with Google Apps is a winner as well, allowing me to get more done and churn through email from Gmail.

 

Capsule CRM
Capsule CRM

 

People, process, technology – still the 3 keys to successful application development projects

If you have found yourself in a situation where the process seems to change, accountabilities are uncertain and deadlines are missing, then perhaps you have a people, process and technology problem. Getting all 3 aligned is absolutely essential to ensuring a change process will work.

And they have to be resolved in that order.

1. People – what are the key issues: who owns the process, who is involved, what are their roles, are they committed to improving it and working together and importantly are they prepared to do the work to fix the problem

2. Process – a process can be defined as starting with a trigger event that creates a chain of actions that results in something being prepared for a customer of that process. Starting at high level and identifying the key big steps is important to see the process from end to end. Then moving into more detail to capture the various layers involved and various exceptions. Focussing on the high frequency (Pareto principle) transactions can have significant benefit to standardising the process. But also remember that it can be the non-standard transactions where service is slipping most or the potential for significant failure in the process may exist.

3. Technology – Now that people are aligned, and the process developed and clarified, technology can be applied to ensure consistently in application of the process and to provide the thin guiding rails to keep the process on track – to make it easier to follow the process than not do so.

Of course there is much more to getting a technology project right – but get the above 3 sorted out and you will be a long way down the path to project success.

Got any experiences or tips you’d like to share? I am keen to hear from you, so please add a comment….

 

The Two Most Important Tools in Change Management

In a meeting today I was talking with a client who has a particularly dry sense of humour, and a great philosophical perspective on ensuring successful delivery of projects. We were talking about change management.

His simple and insightful comment was this:

“You have two tools you can use for change management – they are a carrot and a stick. You can dress it up any way you like, call it anything you like, and do as many Powerpoint presentations as you like – but at the end of the day, every change management process is about a combination of a carrot and a stick”.

I’ve got to agree…..

Branding You – Part 2

Having discovered your strengths, it is time to think about what your point of difference. In advertising parlance, this is the unique selling proposition – and the difficulty is trying to refine the many things you offer into a simple phrase of about 4 words.

A good place to start is thinking about your friends and colleagues, and the positive things they bring to your business and personal relationship. Once you start doing that, you can get a good sense of how you would like people to talk about you.

Let’s take an example: we had a really great bunch of project managers in our team at the Consulting Division of Ross Human Directions, but each brings a difference nuance and skill to this particularly difficult role. One absolutely prides himself on delivering projects on time and on budget. He has never delivered a project that wasn’t delivered on time and on budget. He also particularly delights in his ability to be able to project manage, team lead, undertake business analysis and cut code – basically every role in a team. We have another that is particularly good at really, really difficult projects – those with complex requirements, tricky stakeholders that can be a bit vague with their requirements. He is particularly good at nailing these requirements down and ensuring nothing is vague prior to build.

We had another that is great at delivering projects – but also particularly strong at mentoring staff. Another was particularly good at bringing parties together, being flexible and meeting all parties needs.

As you can see, all sorts of different skills sets, and what we work on is matching our clients and project managers for best result.

Have a think about the people around you in the same way and pretty soon – at least in a business context – you will have a great idea how you would like people to think of you.

Jan’ry Feb’ry…

I once had a meeting with a guy that was supposedly a leader in the whole ebusiness area.

He opened the meeting by saying, “I don’t subscribe to that pay the vendor for work model…”. He didn’t particularly articulate how we should get remunerated for what we were doing, but we held our breath and kept listening assuming it would come.

The meeting got more interesting when we got to the specification of what he wanted.

“We are gonna deliver something… in Jan’ry.” (Bear in mind this was late November and nothing had been started..)
“Yeah, we are gonna deliver somethin.. in Jan’ry, Feb’ry, sometime, and its gonna be gooood….”

Jan’ry Feb’ry became part of the kmp venacular – whenever there was a crap specification – or no specification – or someone that clearly didn’t have a clue. “Jan’ry Feb’ry, it’s gunna be gooooood…” said it all.