Offshoring: The Promise and the Peril

4 minute read

Offshoring. The word fills finance people with hope and technical people with trepidation. It can be a CFO-CIO battleground.


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Making the Case for a Strategic Technology Plan

4 minute read

Would a general go into battle without a defined plan? Never. Neither would he consider each operation individually. Rather, he would pursue tactics that link all of the battles together to meet a strategically defined goal of winning the war. It would be a plan against which he could measure success and clearly define return on manpower and capital investments.

Similarly, a CEO would not make an isolated decision to resolve a technology problem without looking at the organization as a whole. Much like an enemy attack, however, IT problems can strike without overt warning, crippling operations or revealing an exposed flank and forcing a quick response.  What should we do when security systems are breached?

Or outdated CRM systems no longer keep up? Or the “battle” shifts to new ground like social media?  Tactically, fixing…

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You know it’s time to hire a technology partner when…

3 minute read

The Tell-Tale Signs — a Top 10

See anything familiar?

You see market opportunity and need technology that will help you take advantage.

    1. You have a bunch of data.  And no idea what to do with it.
    2. You’re doing work-arounds and instituted manual processes to compensate for legacy IT systems that simply can’t do the job.
    3. You’ve found yourself saying, “If only we could…” more than once in the last three months.
    4. Your company/product/organization has hit a roadblock — you’re suffering from stunted growth and stagnant thinking, or you’re at a competitive disadvantage.
    5. Pain, need and an appetite for a new technology solution have all converged.  It’s simply the right time.
    6. Your customers are struggling.
    7. Your company is working in silos with little communication, likely redundancies and missing out on opportunities.
    8. You’re…

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Mind Over Machines

3 minute read

A Tutorial

Technology folks are used to blank stares when they talk about their work. But we’ve had a number of friends confess they’re not quite sure just what Mind Over Machines does.

The short version: We develop game-changing technology systems.

A more in depth primer.

  • We’re a consulting and technology services firm. (Yeah…yaaaawn)
  • We work with businesses, government and other entities to help them do what they do better with technology — sometimes creating enterprise-wide systems, sometimes with single applications. (Getting closer?)
  • And down to the practical — the three central tenets of our approach and expertise (w/3-ring diagram):

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The Fundamental Techie

4 minute reader

It’s a seller’s market when it comes to top IT talent. As enterprise technology has quickly occupied a larger and larger piece of the organizational asset pie, the technology recruiting scene has become more and more competitive. The Society for Human Resource Management released survey results last year that confirmed what we already know: the high tech sector is finding it significantly harder to find the qualified workers they need.

Busting the IT Personality Myth

The stereotype of the typical techie might include a presumed agelessness beyond 25, basement domiciles, skateboards and bicycles as preferred transportation, and an anti-establishment attitude – all tolerated because of the quiet genius operating within the big brain.

In reality, however, the most successful technology professionals actually compare much more consistently with mature, sophisticated and sometimes even extroverted professions!

Are you a musician or…

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Delivering Technology Projects

ThomasNet News Tech Trends Journal writer Faye Rivkin interviewed Mind Over Machines IT solutions expert Michael Askin for best practices on delivering high value manufacturing-related technology projects. The following article is reprinted here with permission from ThomasNet News Tech Trends Journal and with gratitude from Mind Over Machines.

Upgrading capabilities and re-engineering to align capabilities to user needs are the top reasons manufacturers give for considering an information technology upgrade or implementing new IT, according to an Aberdeen Group research report earlier this year.

Table 1:  Project Considerations (Source:  Aberdeen Group, March 2013)

Information technology is a central key to successful business transformation; however, a McKinsey & Company study of 5,400 large-scale IT projects (initial budgets greater than $15 million) found that IT project management keeps many an executive up at night….

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Dot Your “I”s and Cross Your “T”s

How can you ensure control over your software development project? Selecting a qualified IT vendor is only the first of many critical steps to take to protect your substantial investment and ensure a successful project.

The High Price of Selecting the Wrong IT Partner discusses the costly mistakes an inexperienced or unqualified vendor can make during the course of a large scale IT project, and details a typical chain of events that can lead to an IT project fail. Relying wholly on an IT vendor from the outset, to manage your technology project and protect your investment is the first critical mistake.

Beyond avoiding mistakes, taking charge of your project and proactively creating a checklist of items will keep you fully engaged in your IT project’s progress, keep your budget in check, and…

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Reminder: Your Technology Assessment is Overdue

9 minute read

How do you keep up with changes in your market? In lean times, you’ll likely pore over your budgets, evaluate your most important assets, and trim the fat here and there. And then when the big picture gets a little brighter, you’ll fatten up again. But is that preparation or is that just a response? A technology assessment is a perfect opportunity to step back, in preparation for your next big step forward.

You’ll get a chance to:

    1. Analyze your business operations as a whole
    2. Create strategies to adapt to changing markets and external environment
    3. Identify opportunities for work flow efficiencies and eliminate deficiencies
    4. Build a practical business case for adoption of new technologies
    5. Enroll your employees in enterprise decision-making

Why would you need a technology assessment?

Hardware wears out. Servers overload. Software becomes obsolete….

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The High Price of Selecting the Wrong IT Partner

7 minute read

Every big IT project is intimidating. Organizations outsource these to an IT partner because they don’t have (or necessarily need) in-house expertise in specialty areas such as user experience design, enterprise information systems, software development, legacy systems management, cloud computing, and/or anything big data!

You count on your IT partner to create added value for your organization. There’s an unspoken trust that your IT partner will protect your interests when you are admittedly not sufficiently knowledgeable to know what to ask for.

All too often, however, a complex IT project in the hands of an inexperienced or ill-qualified vendor (read lowest bidder) will swallow up budgets, spin wheels, and ultimately require a stop, reset, and restart. A typical chain of events might go something like this:

  • A customer is not sophisticated in the area of enterprise software…

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Nightmares in Technology Projects

6 minute read

It’s a scary notion, beginning a new technology project. You know it’s going to hurt your budget; you think you know what you need, but then those techie people tell you something completely different; and what if something better comes along while you’re halfway through your project? Your fears are legitimate, and you’re not alone.

Common concerns we hear include:

  • Hidden costs – The project will undoubtedly cost more than the initial estimate.  “It always does.”
  • Scope creep – Our last project (or several) got so far off track that we ended up having to bring another company in to clean up the mess.
  • The bait & switch – they bring in the senior guns (or sales creeps) to sell the job, and then we get stuck with the rookie they just hired to develop our critical…

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