Thoughts from a business technology advocate. Not necessarily coherent.


Now on

Just so you know, and are kept up to speed on these things, all my posts about technology will now be on It’s not like you and I have fallen out or anything, but realistically, more people will read it there and clearly I need to feed the narcissism :)  Be grateful: there are a whole heap of other authors on there giving our their opinions.

This site will, in due course, be about me and giving you info about how you can reach me or see what I’m up to.

Thanks for reading to date – and keep checking in here for bits and pieces.


Stop, Yammer Time

I recently blogged for TSG’s CTO blog, (the puns get even better!)

New applications technology has often struggled to find its real use (particularly business technology).  Usually, there has to be a need/benefit combination to justify the purchase of a licence or subscription so that someone in the IT team can go and make the necessary purchase.

However in business, apps, like so many of their consumer counterparts, are starting to find their way into organisations via the back door.

Take Yammer, recently acquired by Microsoft and who placed it within the Office department.  Yammer now features in the latest service release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365.

But what is it?  And more importantly how do businesses use it to their benefit?

To continue reading, click here.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

BYOD – Post by Microsoft

I was pointed to this post by Microsoft’s TechNet on the BYOD ‘trend’ as they put it.  It gives some stats on how organisations feel about it.

Happy Birthday Dear Blog

Ah, how sweet.  It’s been a year since I started blogging.  What have I learnt in that time?

  1. Blogging needs to be fun, not a bind.  I don’t want to blog every day and it’s not a competition to see who blogs the most.  Why bother blogging stuff that’s totally irrelevant? (Apologies if this post ironically falls into this category)
  2. Always link to as many previous posts, blogs or websites as possible – this increases traffic
  3. But it’s not all about how many readers you have – I do this blog for me.
  4. Make your blog look personal and different.  Whilst you probably will use a theme, don’t use the theme that everyone else uses.
  5. Publicise your blog using multiple media networks: Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
  6. Make sure you’re grammar and spelilng is correct – no one likes to read bad English.

As someone who has two small children, it seems that even at weekends, I am forbidden a lie in.  That’s great when BBC Click is on at 7.45am.  This week, I discovered that was finally available.

I love infographics.  I wish I was more arty to be able to produce them in a business related setting (that’s probably why we have a graphic designer at work) so this site is a great concept.  It takes your details from LinkedIn, allows you to add further details and then displays them graphically.

To give you an idea of what this is like, take a look at my profile here.

There is still more work to be done on this site, in my opinion, but the idea is great, and certainly helps anyone’s CV/profile stand out from the rest of the black and white dross one receives when advertising a job.

CRM Mobility – Update

So, in our testing, CWR Mobility comes out pretty well.  Fast, easy to install and administer.  We’re waiting to put this in a customer’s site which, in reality, it will be used far more intensively than in our system.

Definitely more information to follow.

CRM Mobility Options


It seems everyone in the office (alright, not everyone) is talking about mobility options for CRM.  Why?  To me it seems the latest craze in the ever changing CRM world and I don’t think it’s completely founded on need.

Having worked in the CRM world for ten years now, I’ve seen fads come and go, and the need for mobile solutions for CRM has also come and gone.  I remember, particularly, how much people wanted CRM on PDAs, as they were then referred to.  It failed because the screens were too small, the connection wasn’t available and the core CRM products just tried to push the same desktop experience to the mobile device.

Is this any different now?

The screens are no longer small.  Tablets are all the rage but they do genuinely allow you to at least look at information in a readable font size.  Net connection on the device is also much better, although 3G coverage required to get a truly mobile experience is dicey in the UK at best.  Because memory is so cheap (and small), storage capabilities have allowed offline capabilities.  And you can now create a unique mobile experience cutting the unwanted view/screens/fields etc. to minimise data transfer.

There are several products we’ve been looking at at Concentrix TSG lately: CWR Mobility, Resco, TenDigits, SageCRM iPhone Client to name a few.  Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll write a quick review of each as I get to use them.

I accept that mobile CRM is more likely than ever to come to a useful fruition; I use my iPad all the time, albeit not for business.  What is most interesting to me is whether the usability of the individual products dictate the device on which they should be used, or whether the opposite is true; that an MD’s insistence on using his iPad ensures total exclusivity.

Focus on what’s important

A really quick post here.  You may have seen this video already, but it’s a great example of how organisations (in this case the authorities in New York City) can completely lose perspective.


Technology’s moved on, but the principles are the same

Well, what a Saturday night I had.  On a rare break from the never-ending treadmill that is parenthood, I was permitted (by wife) to visit a good friend of mine whom I used to DJ with many years ago.  I should state, at this point, that although we were destined to ‘make it’ (obviously), for some reason, events were to plot against us and we, er, didn’t.  However, we were actually quite good and managed to make somewhat of a decent name for ourselves locally, and had the privilege of meeting a number of legendary people on the scene, as was.

The principle motivation for actually meeting up was that my friend had recently invested in some more up to date technology and wanted us both to relive the magic of our heyday.  When we played before, it was on Technic 1210 turntables, with a reasonably straightforward mixing desk (various), using vinyl.  I could go on and on about the various skills required to master vinyl – deft touch, the need to judge the BPM etc. – but I shan’t bore you.  Suffice to say, it required a certain level of skill that we definitely had.

We used to spend many an hour in record shops, scowering the racks, building relationships with owners who would try and flog the stuff they couldn’t sell before letting you listen to the decent tunes they knew they could.  The record boxes were inevitably heavy (although this was a great benefit if you had a lacky to carry them for you, thus emphasising your importance).  All this has completely disappeared.  The record store is replaced by online purchases of individual tracks at a fraction of the cost.  BeatPort is a fantastic site that shows how music is resourced.  As you download the tracks, you now get to decide which devices you want them on and, how to transport them.  A simple memory stick is sufficient.

The hundred-weight 1210s have been suplemented (because, let’s face it, vinyl will always be cool) by CDJs – we used Pioneer (don’t know the model).  They play MP3 files or read CDs.  With Vinyl mode, you spin the ‘turntable'; the touch is different, and this was the biggest challenge.  But, you can also play in reverse, perfectly cue, compare BPM (cheating) and add many effects.  To be honest, in the four hours I had with the equipment, I only scratched the surface of what could be done.  In addition to the different turntables, we hooked up two laptops and an iPad loaded with effects.

Apart from showing off about my great weekend, what’s the point I’m trying to get across?  Well, it’s about technological progress.  I’ve not had to learn any new core skills, but the technology has enabled me to be more creative, add more dimensions, frankly, do things I could not have done before, and at a lesser cost (to my friend at least).  And that’s what technological progress is all about.  Now all I have to deal with is the lure of this magnificent technology when I don’t have the time to perfect it!


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