Automation and Change Control

With System Center Configuration Manager 2012 and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 to be released in the coming months, the deployment of software applications and operating systems will become even more automated. For companies who plan to implement and support these systems, automation improvements will provide for cost reductions, increased productivity and greater control of the environment. End users will also benefit, having greater control over the software that is installed on their machines and choosing when they would like it to be installed. This is all good news – the ability of companies to deploy an application automatically to every machine in the enterprise quickly is of great benefit, especially for critical application updates (e.g. Adobe Flash Player / Reader). One thing that I often see overlooked with this increase in automation is the need for tighter change control. In the past few months (and years for that matter) I’ve seen companies accidently deploy applications intended to one person to over 2000 machines and had to troubleshoot operating system deployments built incorrectly throughout the country, which were discovered months after the event. These are not uncommon events and are usually caused by support staff that have been provided a greater level of access than required, or by a lack of knowledge or care for the tools they are using. System Center Configuration Manager 2012 goes some way to assist companies limit these occurrences by improving role based access rights – support staff will now only see areas of the console they need to perform their role. All you need now is to ensure any existing change control processes complement the increased functionality of the software deployment tools in use.

How much power does your IT use?

It’s the 1st of August and the day after the first episode of the new series of Dragons Den. Did anyone see how interested all of the Dragons were in the solar panels!! I’ve recently been examining the power output of applications and sat there agog at home when the family were using CafeWorld on Facebook – it continuously uses 20Watts of power whilst the application is open!  As a result of this, I have instigated an immediate ban on hair straighteners and Café World in the household.  Of course no such restriction applies to the microwave or kettle…. But when you consider this in its larger context, thousands of applications and they all use power. Corporates have sustainability objectives and even get fined for non-compliance.  Your businesses are run by people running applications.  Underpin your ethical, building, datacentre and IT strategy with a foundation of what your IT uses and actually needs to use.

‘Tailored’ Solutions

I have been at Camwood for over 8 months and I cannot help but draw comparisons with Saville Row gentlemen’s outfitters. The comparisons seem clear cut: Bespoke Tailoring: It is very apparent from the three engagements that I have been involved in, just how incredibly well ‘tailored’ Camwood’s solutions are. Migration requirements are greatly varied and Camwood provide solutions that fit all shapes and sizes. Although the trimmings and the cut vary, the finished article always has a tangible edge. Highest Quality: There is a real ethos of quality of service here, backed up by technical talent and a wealth of experience in managing and migrating applications. This ensures that whatever output you request, you have the assurance of superb quality. Smartness: What distinguishes Camwood from the competition is the company wide ethos of thinking smarter, looking before leaping. Well considered planning and preparation is absolute key to a successful Project. Accept no less than Excellence: The entire team are always striving for excellence and know that in today’s marketplace, good is no longer good enough. In such troubling financial times, so many companies seem to be struggling as the competition tightens the measuring tape around their proverbial necks, but Camwood remain a cut above.

What does fitness look like?

This is a question that came up in a recent training day I attended.  It wasn’t actually about fitness; it was a Consultants Education day.  Even Consultants have things to learn you know… It got me thinking though, because knowing what your target looks like makes it a lot easier to aim for, train for, work towards and then achieve. For me, fitness looks like a Half Marathon run in less than 2 hours.  Not something I have yet managed although I have been close enough to it to consider it a possibility. For someone else being able to run a mile without walking would be the definition and that in itself is something worth remembering.  Not everyone’s definition of success is the same but everyone can benefit from having an aim, a plan, effort/work and then you are in the best position to be successful. • MY AIM        o Keep Fit • MY WHY        o Motivation to consistently train and maintain fitness levels • MY WHAT        o Half Marathon in Less Than 2 hours • MY WHEN        o Before I turn the big 40 • MY WHERE        o Reading, Berkshire. • MY WHO       o Me….. • MY HOW (and this is the most important bit) o Run three times a week, various distances, working up to 12 miles two weeks before the race Now, I have run a half marathon before so I have a view of what the how should look like for me.  However, when I first started running, I took views from various people that had done similar, I did quite a lot of research on the internet on the best ways to go forward and created a training plan, I then started running, So Far so Good… Two Half Marathons later however, having not quite managed to achieve what I wanted to (twice) I have joined a running club.  The club is full of experts on running, injury, the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of training and the most critical thing, people that want to help me achieve my aim. Next March, I am going for the Half Marathon for the third time, I will be much better prepared because I am not trying to do it alone. This time, I will have had all the help I need to get the start line A Training Plan A Helping hand when things don’t go to plan Decent advice from an expert Motivation and someone to get me back on track when I fall off And when I get to the start line I will continue to work with someone that can help me succeed. A running partner that will help me mange my pace, encourage me during the race and will share the credit and the success of me achieving my goal.  I will be FIT because I will be able to run a Half Marathon in under 2 hours. This simplistic view of anything you want to achieve can be broken down exactly like the above.  It simplifies the reasons for and the how to of any aim, from running a Half Marathon to making a decision about what your IT Strategy should be. Let’s Talk about Application Migration: Think about it, what do you want to achieve, why, what does that look like, when does it need to be done, where does it need to be done, who needs to do it and how are they going to do it. And most important of all, find yourselves someone to work with, someone that understands the issue, can help decide what the plan should be, can help guide when required and finally that will stay with you right up to the point you have achieved your aim. In regards to Application Migration, Camwood is just what you need.  We are the experts, we know what needs to be done, we can plan it for you, undertake most of it for you and then we will stay with you throughput the process and help you succeed.  It’s about getting the right help at the right time, now is the right time, we are the right help. (Although if you need advice on running a Half Marathon, don’t come to me, I’m still learning)