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Stalled SharePoint Deployments Do Not Deter Adoption

April 23, 2015

Despite SharePoint’s broad adoption, it suffers from a perceived lack of user commitment. So it becomes a paradox that it is one of the fastest growing software options ever, and shows no signs of slowing down. CMS Wire tells us more in their article, “Businesses Committed to SharePoint, Despite Stalled Deployments.”

The article begins:

“It is little surprise then, that in a recent AIIM survey of 422 organizations respondents described their SharePoint projects as stalled (26 percent) or just not meeting expectations (37 percent). Inadequate user training and a general lack of planning, investment and expertise were the main reason given for this malaise. And the recent talk about how Office365 and cloud fit in with SharePoint has further muddied the waters. And yet support for SharePoint remains strong.”

In recent news, Microsoft has pushed the general availability of SharePoint Server 2016 back. Combine these release delays with the local delays organizations face regarding customization, investment, and expertise, and most deployments face an uphill battle. For most users and managers, staying in touch with the latest news is essential. Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT.com offers an efficient newsfeed regarding all things search. His SharePoint feed is an efficient way to keep an eye on news, tips, tricks, and workarounds that impact all aspects of SharePoint use.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 23, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Yahoo News Off the Rails

April 21, 2015

The article titled Purple Reign on The Baffler tells the story of the derailment of Yahoo News. The author, Chris Lehmann, exerts all of his rhetorical powers to convey his own autobiography of having served as a Yahoo News editor after being downsized from a more reputable publication, along with any number of journalists and editors. The main draw was that Yahoo News was one of the few news organizations that were not bankrupt. In spite of being able to produce some high-caliber news, writers and editors at Yahoo were up against a massive bureaucracy that at its best didn’t understand the news and at its worst didn’t trust the news. For example, the author relays the story of one piece he posted on militia tactics of ambushing police by breaking the law,

“Before the post went live, I fielded an anxious phone call from a senior manager in Santa Monica. He was alarmed… for a simple reason: “I haven’t heard of this before.” I struggled to find a diplomatic way to explain that publishing things that readers hadn’t heard before was something that a news organization should be doing a whole lot more of: it was, in fact, the definition of “news.”

One of the saddest aspects of the corporate-controlled news outreach was the attempt to harness the power of the traffic on Yahoo’s site by making all internet users reporters. Obvious to anyone who has ever read a comment section online, web users range from the rational to the bizarrely enraged to the racist/sexist/horrifying. Not long after this Ask America initiative tanked, Lehmann’s job description was “overhauled” and he resigned.
Chelsea Kerwin, April 21, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

SharePoint Server Release Delayed by a Year

April 21, 2015

For users anxious to start working with SharePoint Server 2016, the wait just got a little longer. Microsoft just announced that the next version would not be available until the second quarter of 2016, a delay of full year from initial projections. ZD Net covers the latest news in their article, “Microsoft Pushes Back Next SharePoint Server Release to Q2 2016.”

The article breaks the news:

“When Microsoft announced the name of the next version of SharePoint Server — SharePoint Server 2016 — company officials said the product would debut in the second half of calendar 2015. But on April 16, Microsoft execs said that there’s a new delivery plan, and SharePoint Server 2016 won’t be generally available until the second calendar quarter of 2016.”

The delay doesn’t seem to be related to Windows Server, although it has also been pushed back to calendar year 2016. The new version is still very much anticipated as it promises updates to content management, team connectivity, and hybrid functionality. For users who are closely following all the news, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com, specifically the SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold maintains his site with a focus on search and all the expertise of a lifelong career.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 21, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Oracle is Rocking COLLABORATE

April 15, 2015

News is already sprouting about the COLLABORATE 15: Technology and Applications Forum for the Oracle Community, Oracle’s biggest conference of the year.  BusinessWire tells us that Oracle CEO Mark Hurd and Chief Information Officer and Senior VP Mark Sunday will be keynote speakers, says “Oracle Applications Users Group Announces Oracle’s Key Role at COLLABORATE 15.”

Hurd and Sunday will be delivering key insights into Oracle and the industry at their scheduled talks:

“On Tuesday, Sunday discusses the need to keep a leadership edge in digital transformation, with a special focus on IT leadership in the cloud. Sunday will build upon his keynote from two years ago, giving attendees better insight into adopting a sound cloud strategy in order to ensure greater success.  On Wednesday, Hurd shares his insights on how Oracle continues to drive innovation and protect customer investments with applications and technology. Oracle remains the leading organization in the cloud, and Hurd’s discussion focuses on how to modernize businesses in order to thrive in this space.”

Oracle is really amping up the offerings at this year’s conference.  They will host the Oracle User Experience Usability Lab, Oracle Proactive Support Sessions, Oracle Product Roadmap Session, and more to give attendees the chance to have direct talks with Oracle experts to learn about strategies, functionality, products, and new resources to improve their experience and usage.  Attendees will also be able to take accreditation tests for key product areas.

COLLABORATE, like many conferences, offers attendees the chance to network with Oracle experts, get professional feedback, and meet others in their field.  Oracle is very involved in this conference and is dedicated to putting its staff and products at the service of its users.

Whitney Grace, April 15, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Visual Data Mapper Quid Raises $39M

April 14, 2015

The article on TechCrunch titled Quid Raises $39M More to Visualize Complex Ideas explains the current direction of Quid. Quid, the business analytics company interested in the work of processing vast amounts of data to build visual maps as well as branding and search, has been developing new paths to funding. The article states,

“When we wrote about the company back in 2010, it was focused on tracking emerging technologies, but it seems to have broadened its scope since then. Quid now says it has signed up 80 clients since launching the current platform at the beginning of last year.The new funding was led by Liberty Interactive Corporation, with participation from ARTIS Ventures, Buchanan Investments, Subtraction Capital, Tiger Partners, Thomas H. Lee Limited Family Partnership II, Quid board member Michael Patsalos-Fox…”

Quid also works with such brands as Hyundai, Samsung and Microsoft, and is considered to be unique in its approach to the big picture of tech trends. The article does not provide much information as to what the money is to be used for, unless it is to do with the changes to the website, which was once called the most pretentious of startup websites for its detailed explanation of its primary and secondary typefaces and array of titular allusions.

Chelsea Kerwin, April 14, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Google and Metapersonnel Insights

April 6, 2015

Forget Xooglers. The ranks of the former Googlers continue to swell. Focus on the new Googlers. These are the folks eager to join the online advertising, Loon balloon, and Glass is not dead parade. In this article I am going to reference two allegedly factual incidents involving Googlers in the last year or so. You may want to read:

  1. Google Executive’s Heroin Death
  2. O.K., Glass: Make Google Eyes

I read “How to Get Ahead at Work: 10 Tips from Google’s Head of HR.” The write up lays out a checklist to help me advance in my career. Spoiler alert: There was not a word about legal hassles, senior management liaisons, or projects that get killed, shelved, or forgotten.

The write up is a happy thing, and it contains some advice I suppose I would follow if I were a precocious 21 year old again. Ah, those were the days. I was impressionable, and I thought that pronouncements from well paid professionals wearing blue jeans were the pinnacle of sartorial savvy.

Let’s look at these “tips.”

The first tip is that I as the callow 21 year old have to give my work meaning. Now I suppose that works like a champ when one is employed at Google. But my first job as a 21 year old was dealing with the Byzantine bureaucracy of the US nuclear establishment. I am into meaning, but what “meaning” is there when smashing atoms and avoiding contamination are daily fare? Oh, a quick question: What is “meaning”? I am baffled still, even at age 70.

The second tip is to trust people. I find this interesting. I recall that a certain senior manager at Google left his wife to interact with a more youthful Googler. Then there was the Googler who died of a controlled substance event in the presence of a person who allegedly rented herself to those with free cash. I wonder how that “trust” thing is working with the wives affected by the alleged behaviors of Googlers?

The third tip is to hire people who are better than I. Okay. I am not sure if I do that. I have a yard crew, assorted failed middle school teachers, a couple of addled 60 year olds, and the odd 20 something wizard. I am just not very good, so I am not sure how to judge if someone on the yard crew is better than I when it comes to analyzing Google’s human resource tips. Does “good” mean smarter, stronger, healthier, better sighted, or more comely? I am not sure what the angle is. In terms of work, there is a task, and I assumed one should hire an individual who can perform that task. The “better” fools me. For example, if I do not cavort with a 20 something while wearing a Google product, does that make me less “better”? I am puzzled.

The fourth tip is also confusing to me: “Don’t confuse development with managing performance?” I assume this is on the job performance, not the extra curricular stuff like the drugs on the yacht or the marketer seeking medical attention. The write up explains:

Even the most successful people fail to learn. And if they can’t learn, what hope is there for the rest of us? It’s not pleasant to confront your own weaknesses. If you marry criticism with consequence, if people feel that a miss means that they will be hurt professionally or economically, they will argue instead of being open to learning and growing. Make developmental conversations safe and productive by having them all the time. Always start with an attitude of “How can I help you be more successful?”

The assumption is that the person “guiding” me is someone who has a character and interpersonal integrity to which I can relate. When that is absent, I am sorry. I do not learn. I am an old fashioned sort tangled in notions of ethical behavior. Again, the tip is falling on my imagined 21 year old deaf ears.

The fifth tip is pretty amazing. The idea is to pay attention to the best employees and the worst employees. That works out in a normal curve to a small percentage of the total employee count. So if a manager has two employees, the tip wants me to pay attention to the two people. Okay, that makes sense. But if I have 150 employees reporting to me as I did when I was at Halliburton Nuclear, that means I ignore that majority of my employees. Hmm. I suppose that is practical, but what if one of the ignored employees has a good idea or decides to photocopy confidential documents and high tail it to another company. As a manager of people, what do I say: “Well, that person was on I ignored”? Sorry. Doesn’t make sense to my job seeking imaginary 21 year old self.

The sixth tip is one of those odd ball catch phrases that don’t make any sense to me: “Be frugal and generous.” Okay, so I don’t want to throw away a sheet of paper with writing on one side. I can use the other side for notes, assuming paper is still in use in the Google HR office. But the notion of penny pinching and being generous is the stuff of Dickens, not my life. The point is to know how to think about a financial issue and make a decision that makes sense. I suppose the largesse of the US Congress buying the Department of Defense tanks the DoD does not want is part of the frugal-generous truism. Perhaps it is the money Google spends on lobbyists in Washington? I am baffled in the way I am when someone tells me, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

The seventh tip is fascinating: “Pay unfairly.” Let’s see. I have a small company. I have to keep the lights on, pay taxes, and pay people. The money has to be allocated in a manner which the employees perceive as fair; otherwise, the employee is likely to complain or quit. No good. So the Google HR outfit wants to further the wage gap. In my warped sense of appropriate behavior, I find the idea somewhat disconcerting. I am okay with paying an individual for contributions to the firm. I am not okay with overt discriminatory compensation. But, hey, I am not likely to be the type of candidate who wants his virtual 21 year old self involved with womanizers or drug takers and search results that are neither objective nor particularly relevant to anyone but an advertiser. Bummer.

The eighth tip is nudge. Okay, okay, finally something I understand. One can nudge a pixel in Photoshop and one can nudge a co worker to behave in a manner appropriate to the company, the customer, and the context. But the Google HR view of a nudge is interesting:

Look around you right now and discover how your environment is nudging you and those around you already. Is it easy to see other people and connect? Are the least healthy snacks in your refrigerator at eye level? When you email or text your colleagues and friends, is it to share good news or snark? We are all constantly nudged by our environment and nudging those around us. Use that fact to make yourself and your teams happier and more productive.

If we go back to the womanizing executive and the alleged drug taker with compensated companion examples, I can see how nudges work. I am unfortunately non on board with nudges that become ego satisfying and lead to what I perceive as deleterious behavior. No future for me at the GOOG I suppose.

The ninth tip is an MBAism: “Manage rising expectations.” Now if I pay attention to the losers and the winners, members of each group will perceive themselves as special. The losers will assume I care and won’t fire them. The winners will assume that I will promote them or give them my job. No so fast. I try to avoid what I call the “cliff phenomenon.” The idea is that expectations get built up, like “Starved Rock in Illinois. Then one can either leave the people to die of starvation figuratively or literally or push them off the cliff. I don’t see much support for the notion of keeping folks from getting into a dangerous spot. I am, therefore, ill equipped to manipulate employees in the manner of turning a dial on an old Hewlett Packard wave measurement device.

The last tip is just plain brilliant or incredibly stupid. I am supposed to go back to square one and begin again. I much prefer non circular activities, but, hey, why listen to me. I am not as a virtual 21 year old going to cut it with Google personnel.

Thank heavens for small favors. Did I once cash checks from Google? Nah, must have been an imaginary quirk of time. I would search for more information but I have Google information access syndrome right now.

Stephen E Arnold, April 5, 2015

SharePoint Problems Chocked Up to Management

March 10, 2015

A large percentage of SharePoint installations are reported to have stalled or not lived up to expectations. Despite those numbers, approximately 75% of organizations report that they will stay with SharePoint, regardless. They are committed to making it work and looking for solutions. CMS Wire gives more details in their article, “Blame the C-Suite for Your Failed SharePoint Project.”

The article begins:

“About two out of three organizations complain their SharePoint projects have stalled (26 percent) or failed to live up to their expectations (37 percent). And it gets worse, according to new AIIM research. A majority of respondents blame those SharePoint failures on lack of support from senior management.”

For those organizations and users who feel stuck in an ineffective or stalled installation, outside resources are invaluable. Stephen E. Arnold offers a helpful collection of resources on his Web site ArnoldIT.com. His dedicated SharePoint feed features the latest tips, tricks, and news regarding Office 365 and SharePoint specifically.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 10, 2015

Hewlett Packard: The Dodge Em Method

February 27, 2015

I read an interesting article called “Hewlett Packard Tries to Duck Investors with Virtual Meeting.” I thought it was hip to do meetings via Skype and the plug in on my Xenky.com Web site. Guess not.

The write up makes a point that I don’t consider when firing up the tele-meeting software. Here’s the passage I noted:

Hewlett Packard’s recent decision to ditch its annual shareholder meeting in favor of a virtual one is just bad corporate governance. The forum gives ordinary shareholders their one chance each year to directly question and even confront the CEO and board of directors. And when it comes to HP, investors should be asking plenty of questions.

Ah, corporate governance. I thought this was an area reserved for Wharton business school instructors. You know, Wharton, one of the fonts of management perspicuity for eager consultants and CEOs to be. (I wonder what “governance” means: Good decision making, prudent use of financial resources, innovating, generating sustainable revenue?)

The article points out the MBA type reasoning that HP management seems to be using. There’s a reference to the Autonomy flap, cost savings, and, of course, the somewhat lackluster financial performance.

I don’t agree with this statement:

Under Whitman, a former eBay CEO, HP has stabilized.

Like IBM, these large “information technology” companies are a bit like a whale stuck in a small bay. Everyone arrives to help, but in most cases, there is not much to be done. A confused whale is pretty much a challenge for everyone involved. When a whale thrashes before its death, I want to be standing well away from the creature.

I suppose that’s why I am confused about what HP is doing with the Autonomy technology. Some of the zeros and ones date from the mid 1990s. I don’t drive a 25 year old automobile. HP apparently plans to sell some.

Stephen E Arnold, February 27, 2015

Google and Decision Making

February 27, 2015

Well, guess what? I read an allegedly true story. Google has changed its management mind about the type of images permissible on Blogger. Navigate to “Google Won’t Ban Adult Content on Blogger after All.” Here’s the passage I noted:

“This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities,” says Jessica Pelegio, Social Product Support Manager at Google. “Blog owners should continue to mark any blogs containing sexually explicit content as “adult” so that they can be placed behind an ‘adult content’ warning page.”

Google is free to do what it wants unless a nation state does some saber rattling and discriminatory legislative actions.

For me, the important point is the speed with which a decision is made and then reversed. I assume this type of fluid problem solving is one of the reasons that Google is a shape shifter when it comes to Google Plus, which seems to be undergoing disaggregation. Note Google Plus is the future of Google, but disaggregation is the way to handle the alleged Facebook-type service.

Agile is as agile does.

Stephen E Arnold, February 27, 2015

Google: Circling the Semi Virtual Wagons

February 26, 2015

Google has an interesting track record with nation states, supra national agencies, and regulators.

Google has a new Euro boss, Matt Brittin. According to “Here’s Everything We Know about Google’s new European Boss Matt Brittin,” he is tall and:

Born in 1968 in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, England, he was educated at Hampton School and Robinson College before leaving home to study at Cambridge University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Land Economy and Geography.

Also, according to “Google Shakes Up European Units in Face of Tougher Rules,” the GOOG is following in Yahoo’s footsteps  by trying to get organized in Europe. You may have to pay to access the Financial Times’ article.

Net net: After 15 or so years in business, the lads in Mountain View are circling their virtual wagons in EC land.

Will the shift be enough to satisfy the regulators presiding over a somewhat shaky financial and political tie up? My hunch is that regulators will regulate. Perhaps some juicy penalties or taxation fast dancing will be announced.

Exciting for Google which is facing push back about its real estate dreams in Mountain View, annoyances in China, and the on going European saber rattling.

Google will have to stand tall. The new GOOG Euro boss should be able to see over the well coiffed heads of the regulators.

Stephen E Arnold, February 26, 2015

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