May 23, 2013
One of my team pointed me at a recent Forrester report on how businesses need to ensure that Gamifcation meets its objectives and it reminded me that Gamification has been around in many forms for many years.
Take the grading and reward structure in large companies; are you a grade 12, 13b or 13c; what car did you get – the GT or the GTi, or only the basic LX; and did you ever get that key to the executive toilet ?
Technology, firstly the PC, then console and now interconnectivity and truly mobile platforms have accelerated the social aspect of gaming in the last few years. Accepting or even desiring a level of ‘play’ will be a growing trend as the generation who are native gamers have grown into the ones we need to attract to buy from us, or work for us.
But in the same way there are 100’s of game apps available and only a few get played compulsively, there must be a hook in any corporate application making them fun, simple and able to reward players immediately, to lure them to the next attempt. There must be some element of enjoying the ‘game’ element, immediate feedback and not just the reward at the end. That’s where the steady corporate approach, the work ethic and the long term plan will fail you.
Smart421 has developed a few applications with Gamification at their heart and my #1 rule would be to give the specification and development of these to your youngest team, you know – the ones with no discipline, who come in late and who you can’t understand what they are saying. (!)
And don’t forget Gamers make better decision makers (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11295257) so you might want to encourage those guys to contribute to your business strategy too.
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April 30, 2013
Posted by Martin Brazill under AWS
, Cloud Computing
, Company News
, Service Management
, Technical Architecture
| Tags: Amazon
, Amazon Web Services
, Application Architecture
, Cloud Computing
, European Outsourcing Association
, industry awards
, National Rail Enquires
, Service Integration and Management
, Service Management
| Leave a Comment
It was great to see National Rail Enquiries (NRE) win an award at the European Outsourcing Association Awards in Amsterdam last Friday (26 April).
In recognition of their SIAM outsourcing strategy (Service Integration and Management), NRE won the award for Best Multi-sourcing Project of the Year , beating strong category finalists 60k and Centrica (Centrica won this category in 2012).
Smart421 is pleased to be a large part of that initiative, performing the Managed Services element on top of an AWS Cloud platform for several key NRE applications.
As customers struggle with the chains of traditional SI relationships, Smart421 is providing agile delivery and innovation methods in the IaaS world.
Many analysts see this as “third generation outsourcing” and a change for good – and so do I.
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March 1, 2013
Posted by Martin Brazill under Cloud Computing
, Identity and Access Management
, Open Source
| Tags: IAM
, Open Identity
, Open Infrastructure
, Open Integration
, Service Factory
| Leave a Comment
As my conference season is fast approaching I have been looking at what will I be wearing this year. Well, Open Identity, Open Infrastructure and Open Integration are the themes of my Spring collection.
First up is Open Identity with the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit ( #GartnerIAM ). I’m heading straight for the ForgeRock stand which I think will be buzzing this year as we’re seeing interest taking off in their products – and our partnership is really starting to get into its stride too.
Next up will be Open Infrastructure at the AWS Summit in London. This will be especially interesting following Smart421 winning two major AWS contracts recently and starting to operate in the SIAM role for National Rail Enquiries. My expectation is that this time around many more enterprises be declaring their AWS credentials – which is closer to my personal experience.
Last but not least, it’s Open Integration, back at Gartner for the Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit ( #GartnerAADI ) in London on 16-17 May. This time we’re showcasing how Smart421 is turning the Service Factory concept “inside-out” to create the Open Enterprise. If you want to see more then come along and meet us there.
All three themes all tie back to how we see the Future of Architecture developing and that’s getting quite exciting too.
October 30, 2012
Photo: Frank Baron for The Guardian
I was reading some spam about how IT is really changing the business world today and it got me thinking. When I started work in 1981 everything was already run on a mainframe, so in my opinion the next 30 years of computing was not been about delivering change at all – it was just about moving things backwards and forwards.
In the first 15 years the only demonstrable changes for users was the location of their printer and their applications. Printing went from a computer centre, to a print room in their building and then on to their desk. Day to day applications moved from the computer centre to their desktop PC and then to a computer room in their building.
The following 15 years moved things about again. Moving the printer back to the end of the corridor and printing into colour; applications moved from the computer room back to a computer centre; printed documents moved from the filing cabinet to the recycling bin; the development team moved 5000 miles away; and finally our private experiences started to move from a close circle of friends to being publically available on the internet.
What next ? Every application is moving to a mobile device; data is moving to ‘somewhere in space’; and we’re even being encouraged to ‘bring our own device’ to work – moving the workstation to the home and back each day.
The future of work is rapidly changing and perhaps now, at last, we will have the next phase of true automation.
But I’m yet to be convinced.
October 4, 2012
Just fresh back from CIO Connect ( @CIOConnect ) 2nd & 3rd October in London – and wondering how the topics raised effect our customers today ?
The best session for me was by Glenn Morgan of BA, where two key points stood out.
Firstly, that IT departments should see their “customer” being the same revenue generating customer as the business do – and not just focus on the “internal” customer.
Secondly, that IT should be part of the team developing a business strategy and not a follower – a follower that then has to catch up. That is just too late.
My recent experience is pointing to the fact that our most successful customers have already made the leap and see IT as a true enabler. They are encouraging IT to reach into the business to ensure initiatives are quickly translated into deliverables and there is a true ‘line of sight’ from the business objective to the application that hits the screens – be those screens 3½ or 100 inch wide.
That strategy obviously calls for more rounded people who can think more broadly than a raw requirements specification and are not frightened to contribute ideas directly to the business.
And that is really encouraging to me – as it describes the Smart421 team exactly.
July 19, 2012
“outages with online banking apps, mobile networks and broadband point to why more resilience is now needed” Martin Brazill
I’m beginning to feel like I’ve had a glimpse of the Stone Age. My personal BT Broadband was down for eight days which left a surprising large gap in my life.
Why ? Well, I needed to pay my credit card bill which I always do on-line in the evening – very convenient. So without broadband I decided to fall back to my O2 smart phone and my Nat West Banking app. Ah – only to hit problems with the bank, which was off line due to the widely publicised RBS problems. So I decided to phone up my branch – ah [again] no mobile network was available.
OK, so I survived a few hours “off the grid” but it did make me think that with our dependency on technology and communications we need stronger resilience. Up until now the pace of change has been so great that it’s been [comparatively] uneconomic to build resilience.
Now with the maturity of the Cloud solutions there are fewer costs barriers and no excuses not to build that resilience. Smart421 is already helping our customers with this – so if you want us to help you please form an orderly queue here.
And yes, I managed to get my credit card paid off too – eventually. Phew.
February 22, 2012
Great news for Smart421 – we have been awarded a Framework Agreement on the new UK Government G-Cloud. This adds to our stock of real-world Cloud credentials – - but I was pondering what this means for us ?
Am I confident that the G-Cloud is going to change minds about the security of Cloud deployments – so opening the flood gates of opportunities? No, of course not, but it’s certainly another step closer to making Cloud mainstream for public sector as well as private sector.
We’re probably not going to see adverts for the G-Cloud “CloudStore” on the TV for a while either.
But watch this space.
January 19, 2012
Think back to the late 1980′s – the PC is pervading offices and I am running the Information Centre in Mobil Oil, developing small PC applications and running a Help Desk.
Every day a business user would come to me with a well thumbed copy of PC Magazine to show us some whiz-bang PC they had seen or some software they wanted.
My job was to ‘hold the line’ and stick to the strategy – 3 year refresh cycles. More often than not they had greater desktop processing power at home than at work – I certainly did. What we had not grasped was that the PC had become consumer technology – the IT department had to catch up.
Fast forward to late 2011 and we have the Cloud. How many IT managers are still ‘holding the line’ ? Now they face users with well thumbed iPads accessing their holiday photographs from their Cloud storage saying it’s going to revolutionise the way they work.
This time it is the 5 year outsourcing deal that stops them embracing the change.
So has Cloud become consumer technology now ?
My view is that it’s well on the way – with iCloud here and G-Cloud on the way we will be using it as consumers and citizens before we know it.
Should I be worried ? Only if I was back running my old IT Department.