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Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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01/31/2011

My thoughts about the opening general session for Lotusphere 2011

Category LS11
At Lotusphere, the tone for the week is usually set by the Opening General Session, also known as the OGS.  That's where we all find out who the surprise guest speaker will be, get pumped up about how well Lotus is doing in the marketplace, and what really cool things are being announced.  Let me preface whatever I say by acknowledging that everyone's view of the OGS will be flavored by whatever their particular situation or focus is within the Lotus marketplace.  For my perspective as a longtime Notes/Domino developer and overall technology watcher, my general thought was... meh.

I really didn't expect this to be a year of blockbuster product announcements or major demos of new clients and such.  It seems like that happens every other year, and whatever Notes Next is going to be is still something in the 2012 timeframe as far as I can tell.  If all follows according to general form, next year should be full of "and we're announcing..." statements with killer demos.  Having said that, there were a couple of things of interest.  The LotusLive Domino offering is very cool.  We wanted to be able to put our apps in the cloud along with our mail, and now we'll apparently be able to.  There will also flexibility in licensing that will hopefully make Domino in the Cloud something that can be cost effective to run in small numbers, but can also scale should the app continue to grow.  In addition to that announcement, LotusLive Symphony (basically Project Concord) has made its appearance, and the real-time group editing and access of documents and files is very nice.  I think IBM now has a solid cloud offering that's compelling on all fronts.  Now they just need to win over decision makers and keep the accounts they already have.

The buzzword of the day was "social."  Everything has to be social.  Building apps that are social is the way to go.  Social, social, social...  If I think back to the Gartner Hype Cycle, I think we're near (or at) the top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations.  Social will do everything for a business, if you believe the hype.  Of course, we've gone through Knowledge Management, network devices, mashups, and a dozen other "game-changing" technologies that either fizzled out or made their way to the Plateau of Productivity.  My feeling is that social everything will be headed for the Trough of Disillusionment within the next year or so, and then we'll end up with some of the concepts and implementations folded into "the way we do business."  Then we'll make room for the next best thing since sliced bread... Rinse and repeat.  IBM is definitely doing some interesting things in this area, but I have a hard time believing that social will mean the same thing as it does now in two years.  

One element I saw that was missing in this year's OGS was any sort of stance about market share/revenue losses.  Yes, I know that IBM/Lotus does not break out their numbers that way... Yes, I know they can't comment on statements like these due to "legal constraints."  But I don't think there's many people who have been working in the Lotus field for any length of time who aren't concerned (or resigned) to how Microsoft (and Google) have continued to win major accounts from Notes.  Things go both ways, and IBM has had wins too.  But the press and the customer stories I hear blogged and related don't paint a rosy picture.  Prior Lotuspheres have had a "the gloves are off" theme... an attitude that said we are going to take the fight to the competition.  This year, very little if any.  In fact, the only thing I can point directly to would be that the Social Toolkit will integrate with Microsoft offerings.  Ok, but that's not exactly a call to action in my book.  And of course, this wouldn't be complete without saying that nothing (at least so far) has been said about Lotus marketing.  The week's just starting, and I don't have a clue as to whether there are additional guns to be fired.  But the lack of talk about the competition was telling in my opinion.

For the OGS session itself... Kevin Spacey was excellent.  I'm not a movie buff, and I wouldn't have been able to tell you much of anything about Spacey except for "he's an actor, right?"  But he actually gave a talk that was relevant to what we do.  I get extremely irritated when someone gives the canned corporate speech and just inserts the name of the company sponsoring it (which is sort of what we got the last few years).  This was one of the best guest speakers we've had in terms of being on topic.  The opening band?  Stellar.

My biggest disappointment/gripe was the panels.  Yeah, I'm a geek and I want to see demos.  Yes, I know the OGS has to speak to management that are there.  But with only a minor exception, all the examples of "social" solutions the companies talked about were devoid of any mention of IBM or Lotus technology.  They could have had that same panel on stage at a Microsoft conference, used the same words on the teleprompter, and it would have also worked there.  If I didn't know I was at LOTUSphere, I wouldn't have been able to tell if their solutions were even based on IBM technology.  Actually, I still couldn't, but I'm assuming they were.  Those panels need to be much more specific in what software was used to create the solutions.  Otherwise, why even waste the time?

Later tonight after I finish with all my "social-ness", I'll glean the press stuff and update my Lotusphere Press page for Monday.  Hopefully, the industry analysts saw stuff to excite them.  I'll be interested in hearing what they say (and what IBM says) and compare it to my impressions...

01/28/2011

Back in October, I blogged about our government having an "internet kill switch"...

Category Everything Else
... in a post titled: Should an Internet "kill switch" worry you if you've moved your company to the "cloud"?

With the recent events in Egypt, we have a real-life example of what could and has happened.  Imagine what could/would happen if dissent broke out in China and their government took the same actions?  IBM's touted massive cloud data center that they're building could be nothing more than a large parking space for information going nowhere at that point...

Another risk to consider...

01/24/2011

So everyone *doesn't* intuitively understand Outlook...

Category IBM/Lotus Microsoft
From NetworkWorld: New CIO cleans up outsourced IT at Clorox

Interesting article about how Ralph Loura came in as the new CIO at Clorox last April and came face-to-face with an extremely aged and out-of-date IT department.  They were still running Windows 2000 on the desktop, and their Notes environment was several versions behind.  In order to get a quick win, he went after some technologies that he felt could be quickly replaced, and one of them was moving from Notes to the hosted Microsoft Exchange offering:

R: With the advent of more cloud-based offerings in the marketplace, we were also able to quickly migrate e-mail to a Microsoft hosted Exchange environment. Instead of doing a 12 to 18 month internal migration project, building exchange servers and migrating the user base and so on, we were able to do several months of testing followed by literally four weeks of cut-over to move the entire company to the hosted Exchange environment, what Microsoft is now calling Office 365.

Part of their problem is that they had outsourced much of their IT to HP, and the general attitude was "if it isn't broke, don't fix it."  Hence, it doesn't sound like there was anyone to advise them on what they might have been able to do much more quickly by upgrading Notes rather than migrating off entirely.  But such is life these days...

One part I found amusing was this:

NW: How many desktops are you talking about anyway?

R: We've got about 4,800 inside the company.

NW: Speaking of cloud, what did you learn about migrating e-mail to that hosted Exchange offering?

R: The most surprising thing was we presumed we would have to do minimal training on Outlook because it is the most popular e-mail client on the planet. What we found was a surprising number of people needed some basic Outlook training because they had either been at Clorox for a decade or more or hadn't worked at other companies that used it and certainly weren't using Outlook at home. We actually had to delay our original deployment plan by about three weeks while we went and developed a richer set of training materials.

NW: How are you liking the hosted version?

R: So far we have been quite pleased with the service, the performance. Users rave about some of the features and functions we unlocked, like being able to sync from pretty much any smartphone.

So it comes back to what most of us probably already know... Rarely is anything completely intuitive because it's "the most popular" or "everyone uses it at home."  With decent training, you can get much more mileage out of what you already have, instead of switching to something else that still has a training component built in.

01/24/2011

The Lotusphere 2011 Press Coverage page is now set up on my blog...

Category LS11
As I've done the last few years, I'm creating a single page to capture a number of the Lotusphere press stories over the course of Lotusphere 2011.  The link is located in the upper left corner of the blog, and I reversed the date order (it's now descending) so that the new stories are at the top.  I'm also going to take the same approach I use on my job postings.  I'll grab the stories from Google News Alerts and paste the entire abstract and link on the page.  The past couple of years I tried to format and filter, and it meant that I spent a bit more time on it than I really wanted.  This year, I'll post what I see, and I won't make too much effort to try and filter the flow (unless it's an obvious duplicate story from the same site).

I have the first story out there already, and I'm sure more and more information will start popping up over the next few days.

P.S. - By "news", I mean stories on the conference or on IBM/Lotus's software.  I won't be posting press releases of new vendor offerings related to Lotus, which is the same approach I've taken in prior years.  So if your software now works with Lotus Notes, I really *am* happy.  I just won't be posting it here.

01/23/2011

Book Review - Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun by Bart King

Category Book Review Bart King Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun
A picture named M2

Local author Bart King is out with his latest book that appeals to kids (or the kid in all of us)... Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun.  With his tongue-in-cheek style of writing, readers will either laugh at his joke, his ideas, or just his off-beat view of fun and games.  If you have kids (or are really brave with other adults), there's a lot of material here to keep everyone entertained.

Contents:
Introduction; Awesome Activities; Mischievous Fun; Incredible Inventions & Creative Costumes; Wild Words; Photo Magic; Deep Thoughts; Laughter Rules; Hilarious Holidays; Fun With Food; Amazing Mazes; Playing Games; Pirate Attack!; Unexpected Fun; The Marvels of Exploration; Fun - An Endangered Species? Acknowledgments; Select Bibliography

While many of the ideas are meant to be used around kids, King puts in plenty of actual factoids and informative bits to appeal to adults along the way.  For instance, I know that Esperanto was originally created to be an international language that everyone could use to communicate without regard to nationality or borders.  What I *didn't* know is that the League of Nations actually approved of this idea with one lone holdout... France.  At the time, French was the international language, and they didn't want to give up that standing.  Therefore, Esperanto never took off.  But it's not all seriousness all the time.  You'll find ways to turn bananas and hotdogs into eight-legged octopi, cook meatloaf in the shape of a hand (complete with onions as fingernails), and make a punch bowl with a floating hand in it (a rubber glove filled and frozen with colored fruit juice).  Yeah, it may sound stupid, but these are the things that kids love and remember for a long, long time.

The Book of Fun isn't for everyone, and you'll laugh at some parts and think others are not quite as funny.  But if you've got a bored kid on your hands and you're desperate for ideas, this'll do it.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Author
Payment: Free

01/23/2011

Book Review - Electric Barracuda by Tim Dorsey

Category Book Review Tim Dorsey Electric Barracuda
A picture named M2

It's always a good time when I get a new Tim Dorsey novel featuring the exploits of Serge Storms and his trusty (but wasted) sidekick Coleman.  A friend of mine loaned me his copy of Dorsey's latest.... Electric Barracuda.  As usual, Serge and Coleman are racing around Florida for one of Serge's "projects", reliving the history of the Sunshine state and dispensing justice in rather unique and gruesome ways.  Throw in a number of rather large surprises (more so than the normal weirdness that happens) and a major twist at the end, and Electric Barracuda is a wonderful addition to the Storms bibliography.

In this adventure, Serge is launching a new website and "tour" that promises to be like none other ever offered.  He's starting the Fugitive Tour, racing around the state evading the law and learning about the less savory sides of Florida history.  Given his encyclopedic knowledge of trivia, Serge has unique views of locations that haven't been afforded the importance that he attaches to them.  For instance, if you didn't know that Capone had a residence in Florida, you'll know a lot more by the time Serge gets done.  What adds to the surreal nature of the action is that while Serge and Coleman are staging escapes and evasions for the tour, they really *do* have a number of people hot on their trail to capture them.  As Serge and Coleman go from place to place, they comment on the parade of law enforcement that seems to be after someone, but it doesn't dawn on them until the end that perhaps *they* are the primary target.  And what's a Storms novel if there aren't a couple of unsavory types that violate his sense of fair play and decency?  Serge dispenses his own form of retribution, usually involving death in strange ways.  For instance, have you ever wondered what would happen to someone if they swallowed those little pills that dissolve in water and expand into animal shapes?  LOTS and lots of those pills?  It's... interesting.

As a fan of Dorsey, I loved the book.  This one seemed to have even more Florida trivia and history than normal, and I found it fascinating.  Someone new to the Storms experience would enjoy it, but they may lose a bit of the "nuance" of the characters. :)  Still, Storms and Coleman never seem to disappoint when it comes to fun, and Electric Barracuda delivered on all counts for me.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Friend
Payment: Loaned

01/22/2011

Book Review - The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success by Carmine Gallo

Category Book Review Carmine Gallo The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success
A picture named M2

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Carmine Gallo's book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.  Based on how much I learned from that book, I jumped at the opportunity to review his latest book... The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success.  I wasn't disappointed, either.  I found a number of interesting insights on innovation here, and I had more than a few strips of paper marking pages of particular interest.  I came away with a greater appreciation for what Jobs has accomplished, as well as some mindsets that are good takeaways for my own areas of interest.

Contents:
Introduction: What the World Needs Now Is More Jobs - Steve Jobs
Principle 1 - Do What You Love
Chapter 2 - Follow Your Heart
Chapter 3 - Think Differently About Your Career
Principle 2 - Put a Dent in the Universe
Chapter 4 - Inspire Evangelists
Chapter 5 - Think Differently About Your Vision
Principle 3 - Kick-Start Your Brain
Chapter 6 - Seek Out New Experiences
Chapter 7 - Think Differently About How You Think
Principle 4 - Sell Dreams, Not Products
Chapter 8 - See Genius in Their Craziness
Chapter 9 - Think Differently About Your Customers
Principle 5 - Say No to 1,000 Things
Chapter 10 - Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication
Chapter 11 - Think Differently About Design
Principle 6 - Create Insanely Great Experiences
Chapter 12 - We're Here to Help You Grow
Chapter 13 - Think Differently About Your Brand Experience
Principle 7 - Master the Message
Chapter 14 - The World's Greatest Corporate Storyteller
Chapter 15 - Think Differently About Your Story
One More Thing... Don't Let the Bozos Get You Down
Notes; Index

Gallo has taken an in-depth look at the life and career of Steve Jobs, and from that he distilled seven main principles that appear at the core of much of the innovation that Jobs has driven.  For each principle, he takes two chapters to flesh out the details.  The first chapter of the pair focuses primarily on Jobs and how the principle plays out in how Jobs works and what he's accomplished.  The second chapter then moves on to others who have displayed the same principle, as well as how you can instill that attitude and character in your own life.  Given that Gallo is basing his principles on observation of actions, they are not some ethereal pie-in-the-sky platitudes that don't play out in real life.  The principles are solid and down-to-earth, and they are things that you can distill and apply in your own life.

I mentioned that I bookmarked a number of pages.  These pages had statements and thoughts that resonated with me, and that I wanted to make sure to revisit.  For instance, in the chapter on following your heart, Gallo pointed out that you don't always know where you will end up when you do that.  "Dots do not connect looking forward, Jobs would say. Dots only connect when you look backward. You must trust that, by following your curiosity, the pieces will ultimately fit."  How very true.  The future is unknowable, and often it only makes sense looking back.  But you can't live your life looking backward.  Another instance is in the chapter on thinking differently about design.  All too often we want to do everything and include everything in our products and life.  But that doesn't lead to a productive and disciplined life...  it just leads to a busy life.  He suggests that you follow the example of Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, and think through a "stop doing" list.  Focus on the things that produce value in your product (and your life) and eliminate the chaff that distracts from that.  Once done, you stand a much greater chance of truly making a difference.

You could probably spend time looking at the life of Steve Jobs and come up with a different list of "secrets" based on your own observations and viewpoints.  But Gallo's material is excellent, and I can't argue with any of his conclusions.  While not a perfect person by any means (and nobody is, anyway), Jobs has arguably made a significant different in our lives, and we could do well to incorporate some of his "secrets" in our own lives.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Borrowed

01/18/2011

A point of clarification... yes, I *still* believe in the value of Notes/Domino, contrary to what you might think...

Category IBM/Lotus
Yes, I've been more harsh of late, but that's not because I am now anti-Lotus and pro-SharePoint.  Even after twenty years, there is still nothing that can equal the power of Domino for rapid application development and flexibility.  Many of the hot buzzwords these days (like NoSQL databases) consist of things that Domino has been doing for its entire life, yet those who talk about things like NoSQL have no clue that Domino exists and was the pioneer in that area.

I believe in the community that is Lotus.  Yes, we have our differences, but I have never experienced anything like what I've been part of for the last 15 years. Nearly all (actually, *all*) of my close friends come from this community, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I don't go through the hard work of preparing sessions for conferences like Lotusphere, IamLUG, ILUG, UKLUG, etc., just because it's fun to put slides together.  I don't spend a significant amount of my own personal funds (because work certainly won't be sending me any more) to attend these events just to get a vacation.  I don't post open Notes/Domino jobs I find in order to run my own recruiting firm.  I don't have a monthly deadline for newsletter articles because I have too much free time I don't know what to do with.  I don't spend a year of my life (and now starting year #2) co-authoring books to benefit the Lotus community and user base just because it's a checkmark on my bucket list.  

I believe in Lotus.

I care a lot about friends who are having to spend a lot of time away from their families because their long-time employer decided to migrate from Notes to Exchange, and they are contracting across the country as that's the only option they could find.  I am sad that friends who are working for consulting firms have seen their revenues drop drastically due to the economy and long-time customers deciding to move away from Lotus.  These are the personal connections that bother me.  Yes, things change, technologies come and go, but Domino is going in many places long before its time.

There are passionate people inside of IBM/Lotus that are busting their butts because they believe in what they do and the value that Lotus can deliver.  Thank you for the hard (and sometimes thankless) jobs that you do.  Without you, the community would be a shell of itself.  

But don't be surprised if I'm not as excited about someone moving their entire mail infrastructure to LotusLive, putting more admins on the potential chopping block.  Don't be surprised when I have problems reconciling the stories from various business partners with the positive official news from Lotus (you can thank Enron for that cynicism).  Don't be surprised if I have problems accepting various arguments about how Microsoft manipulates SharePoint and Exchange seat counts because of the way they report, when I can't get that level of clarity from Lotus because the numbers aren't broken out that way.  And don't be surprised if I'm highly frustrated and upset that academic and government organizations that were once solidly in the Lotus fold are now abandoning Lotus for Microsoft and Google cloud offerings, and that seems to be just fine (academics because there's no money to be made, and government because federal security certification doesn't seem to be a priority).  Once I was forced out of my safe little bubble of Lotus-y stuff at work, I started to realize that neither IBM or Microsoft is on the side of the angels.  Both companies do good and bad things, and for every bad story you can find the equivalent or opposite story to match it.

I will continue to do what I can to explain and talk about what's good in the world of Lotus software, and help whoever I can in whatever situation they might find themselves in.  But I won't be wearing rose-colored glasses, and if I have to ask a hard question or two, so be it.

01/18/2011

Another banner quarter for IBM, another disappointing quarter for Lotus

Category IBM/Lotus
IBM's quarterly earnings were announced today, and they announced record numbers which doesn't surprise me:

Fourth-Quarter 2010:

    * Diluted earnings per share of $4.18, up 16 percent;
    * Record revenue of $29.0 billion, up 7 percent as reported and adjusting for currency;
    * Record net income of $5.3 billion, up 9 percent;
    * Pre-tax income of $7 billion, up 9 percent;
    * Gross profit margin of 49 percent, up 0.8 points;
    * Software revenue excluding divested PLM operations up 11 percent, 12 percent adjusting for currency; 7 percent including PLM;
    * Systems and Technology revenue up 21 percent, 22 percent adjusting for currency;
    * System z mainframe revenue up 69 percent; MIPS up 58 percent;
    * Services revenue up 2 percent as reported and adjusting for currency;
    * Services backlog of $142 billion, up $5 billion year over year and up $8 billion quarter to quarter;
    * Growth markets revenue up 15 percent, 13 percent adjusting for currency;
    * Business analytics revenue up 19 percent;
    * Free cash flow of $8.7 billion, up $1.5 billion.

Full-Year 2010:

    * Diluted earnings per share of $11.52, up 15 percent and $0.52 ahead of high end of 2010 roadmap; 8th consecutive year of double-digit EPS growth;
    * Revenue of $99.9 billion, up 4 percent, up 3 percent adjusting for currency; up 5 percent, 4 percent adjusting for currency, excluding PLM operations;
    * Record net income of $14.8 billion, up 10 percent;
    * Record free cash flow of $16.3 billion, up $1.2 billion;
    * Gross profit margin of 46.1 percent, 7th consecutive year of increase.

Rah, rah... go team go...

"We completed an outstanding year, with record profit and free cash flow, and exceeded the high end of our 2010 earnings per share roadmap objective," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We also capped a decade in which our shift to high-value businesses, our global integration of IBM, our investment in research and development of almost $60 billion and our acquisition of 116 companies have helped us to nearly triple our EPS and return more than $100 billion to shareholders.

“As IBM enters its second century, we will continue to focus on our long-term strategic initiatives -- growth markets, Smarter Planet Solutions, cloud and business analytics -- as we drive to achieve our new roadmap target of operating earnings per share of at least $20 in 2015."

And as we Notes/Domino people are want to do, we head further down into the numbers to see how Lotus did...

Revenues from IBM’s key middleware products, which include WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products, were $4.7 billion, an increase of 13 percent (15 percent, adjusting for currency) versus the fourth quarter of 2009. Operating systems revenues of $690 million increased 11 percent (12 percent, adjusting for currency) compared with the prior-year quarter.

Whoo-hoo!  Double-digit growth for the group that includes Lotus!  That's great news, right?

Revenues from the WebSphere family of software products increased 32 percent year over year. Information Management software revenues increased 10 percent. Revenues from Tivoli software increased 12 percent. Revenues from Lotus software decreased 3 percent, and Rational software increased 10 percent.

Oh...

Not so much, I see...

I'm looking forward to seeing how this spins in two weeks.  We have big competitive wins that don't want to be referral cases? Lotus Connections is going gangbusters? LotusLive is climbing at an exponential rate?  All the people we hear in our community who are claiming that Notes/Domino for email and apps is getting killed by SharePoint and Exchange don't really have the whole picture?

Yes, I'm extremely cynical right now about the message coming out of IBM about Lotus.  The numbers continue to slide, yet we're supposed to be excited about where Lotus is headed.  I'm sure where it's headed will be cool... I just don't know that there will be anyone left to appreciate it.

01/18/2011

Can we get the following idea branded onto a few IBM/Lotus executives?

Category IBM/Lotus
I'm currently reading The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo, and it's a very good book.  I'm not ready to do the review, but the following excerpt stood out when I was reading last night.  It'd be nice if a few select executives at IBM/Lotus "got" this concept...

The essence of evangelism, in (Guy) Kawasaki's view, is to passionately show people how you're going to make history together. It has little to do with cash flow, profits, or marketing. You are selling a dream, not an object. "When you sell your product, people use it. When you evangelize people, they get infected, carry the torch for you, share your heartbeat, and defend you against your enemies. When you look in their eyes you see your logo."

Imagine what could be different if Lotus actively supported evangelists for Notes/Domino...

01/17/2011

When you tie your public blogging personna so closely to your employer and professional life, choose your words carefully...

Category Everything else
Taking someone to task for a perceived fault, and doing so with a "satirical" slur that is offensive to many these days, doesn't do yourself OR your employer any favors.  It may have felt good for you to "score points", but Google doesn't forget and blog entries generally reappear without context at the worst possible times.

01/11/2011

Russian Hospitals Digitize Medical Information, Improve Access to Patient Data With IBM Technology

Category IBM/Lotus
Russian Hospitals Digitize Medical Information, Improve Access to Patient Data With IBM Technology


Moscow, RUSSIA  - 11 January 2011: IBM announced today that multiple hospitals throughout Russia have switched from paper-based medical systems to a new solution from IBM and Complex Medical Information Systems (C-MIS) to provide fast electronic medical record exchange and unified access to many types of healthcare data, allowing doctors and medical staff to share information and access tests and lab results instantly to improve decision making.

Designed to help hospitals use all their information more effectively and provide patients higher quality care, the system was first used at the Municipal S.Z. Fisher Hospital No. 1 in Volzhsky in the Volgograd region of Russia. Similar projects are now underway at other public hospitals throughout Russia including Leningrad, Kirov, Pskov and Vladimir regions, Republics of Khakassia and Udmurtia, Perm Territory and Moscow.  

The need for new health information technology throughout Russia was driven by stricter medical information requirements, the need for more secure access to patient information, and growing paperwork that takes doctors away from caring for patients. In addition, concerns about data reliability and the need to consistently share information throughout hospitals has made the new hospital automation system built on the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino platform an important requirement for these hospitals.

"The solution developed by IBM and C-MIS helps solve numerous problems," said Roman Novitsky, CEO of Complex Medical Information Systems. "First, it provides a single electronic tool for control, accounting and planning, which leads to improved operation and higher quality of service. Second, the solution consolidates all medical, administrative and financial processes, thus creating a unified information space at the hospital."

In addition to digitizing and providing access to electronic patient records, it also helps automate many business processes throughout the hospital such as work scheduling for doctors, nurses and staff, scheduling medical exams and house calls, as well as automating temporary disability registrations. Document exchange automation enables performance monitoring and helps prevent submission of inaccurate information about healthcare institutions to the Healthcare Committee. It also ensures secure data exchange and enhances interaction among medical workers to help improve quality and effectiveness of medical service.

"To develop this medical record exchange system we considered IBM, Oracle and Microsoft platforms and chose IBM Lotus Domino," said Roman Nowitskiy, CEO of Complex Medical Information Systems. " We selected Lotus and Domino because it is a multi-platform solution and it can be implemented with various operating systems to ensure flexibility in addressing the IT challenges faced by medical institutions."

"Advantages of this software include fast and low-cost electronic document exchange implementation," said Alexandre Kotov, IBM Russia healthcare industry. "In addition, it helps improve communication among hospital staff and external users such as pharmacists, additional nursing staff or hospital contractors while providing mobile access to the information system via IBM Lotus and Domino software applications."

The IBM Health Integration Framework (HIF) helps clients build an integrated platform for all of their healthcare operations based on industry standards.  This framework utilizes elements of IBM's entire software portfolio including WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus and Information Management products while leveraging the full range of IBM Systems and Storage technologies and the industry-specific offerings and consulting expertise of IBM Global Business Services.

For more information about the Health Integration Industry Framework certification model, visit http://www-01.ibm.com/software/industry/healthcare/framework.html.  

About Fisher Hospital
Municipal S.Z. Fisher Hospital No. 1 (Volzhsky, Volgograd region)

Chief of staff: Nikolay Vershkov
Tel. +7 (8443) 27-81-61 +7 (8443) 27-81-61
Head of Automatic Control Systems Department: Elena Sigutina
e-mail: gb1-asy@yandex.ru
Website: http://www.gb1.ru/

About IBM
For more information about IBM and its products, visit http://www.ibm.com/ru.

About C-MIS
Complex Medical Information Systems is a specialized IT company offering a full range of software and hardware solutions and automation systems development and implementation services to healthcare institutions. The company performs a wide range of automation-related tasks of any complexity and scale in the healthcare industry, from preliminary evaluations to custom software development or standard software implementation to turnkey solutions.

Contact details
Website: http://www.kmis.ru/
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01/08/2011

Book Review - The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

Category Book Review Tim Wu The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
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If the past is an indicator of how the future might play out, the openness and freedom of the Internet could well be at risk.  Tim Wu does an excellent job in mapping the move from open to closed information technologies in his book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.  We are used to a few major players controlling things like radio and television, but each of those started in a far more open way that you might imagine.

Content:
Part 1 - The Rise: The Disruptive Founder; Mr. Vail is a Big Man; The Time Is Not Ripe for Feature Films; Centralize All Radio Activities; The Paramount Ideal
Part 2 - Beneath the All-Seeing Eye: The Foreign Attachment; The Legion of Decency; FM Radio; We Now Add Sight to Sound
Part 3 - The Rebel, the Challengers, and the Fall: The Right Kind of Breakup; The Radicalism of the Internet Revolution; Nixon's Cable; Broken Bell; Esperanto for Machines
Part 4 - Reborn Without a Soul: Turner Does Television; Mass Production of the Spirit; The Return of AT&T
Part 5 - The Internet Against Everyone: A Surprising Wreck; Father and Son; The Separations Principle
Acknowledgments; Notes; Index

In the early days of radio, television, and telephony, there were few restrictions on what could and couldn't be done, as well as who could participate.  Granted, it may be clunky, but you could start your own radio station or build your own telephone network.  Your ability to use the technology as you saw fit was unrestricted, and there was no telling how things might advance with everyone trying to innovate.  But in all those cases, a few large companies (or even a single person with a company like AT&T) started to monopolize the landscape and prevent uncontrolled access and experimentation.  In the case of AT&T, they could make the case that their monopoly was beneficial because they could cover the entire country and offer a standard level of service.  But for that promise, everyone else was locked out and prevented from innovating new solutions or reducing the cost of service.  The group holding power, the so-called "Master Switch", could and did do everything they could to block out everyone else, using both ethical and unethical methods to maintain their monopoly.  Thus, a single entity held absolute sway over how society communicated and accessed each other.

Wu uses these history lessons to bring us to the current technology that dominates our lives... the Internet.  We're all used to a high degree of freedom and access when it comes to our internet usage, and it's hard to imagine that any single group could control that.  But the battle lines are starting to form... carriers are looking to filter and charge extra for certain types of traffic under the guise of having people pay for different types of content.  The government looks to be able to tap into any and all communications, whether encrypted or not.  Vendor and content providers are looking to provide "walled gardens" where they control all aspects of a user's content and experience.  Will these efforts turn the Internet into yet another victim of the cycle, with a few entities holding the master switch?  Or is the Internet radically different, and not at risk for these issues?  The next few years and the decisions made during that time will determine the outcome.

Wu does an excellent job in his research, and his ability to weave the information into an interesting story makes The Master Switch a joy to read.  He opened my eyes to a side of technology that I never knew about, and I'll never think of television, radio, telephones, or movie studios in quite the same way again.  This is an interesting read on many levels, but it's very important if you're concerned about today's fight over net neutrality.  You might well see the future of the Internet in these pages depending on how current battles play out.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Amazon Vine Review Program
Payment: Free

01/08/2011

Book Review - Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky

Category Book Review Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
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I tend to take things like Wikipedia for granted, assuming that someone has already put information out there that I need.  But what drives and motivates someone to do that, and where do they find the time to participate in that fashion?  Clay Shirky covers this information (and more) in his book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.  I found myself starting to understand how and why the shift from consumer to producer occurred, and what it means to me and to society.

Contents:
Gin, Television, and Cognitive Surplus; Means; Motive; Opportunity; Culture; Personal, Communal, Public, Civic; Looking for the Mouse; Acknowledgments; Notes; Index

The term "cognitive surplus" is what Shirky uses to describe the advances that our society has made since the end of World War II.  People are more educated and spend less time on manual chores due to technology.  All this free time and additional mental capabilities largely went untapped, as the growth of the TV broadcast market meant that many used that free time to be entertained, to be a consumer of content pushed out over the airwaves.  That's fine for awhile, but it doesn't really move society forward.  The internet has started to change that, as people can now easily produce content and actively participate instead.  Those spare mental cycles and hours in the day can be harnessed to inform others and create a lasting change.  For instance, Shirky uses the example of Wikipedia, a voluntary encyclopedia of information open to be updated by all.  He estimates that the time spent building Wikipedia into what it is today is equivalent to 1 percent of the man-hours spent watching TV.  People cut back one mindless sitcom, and look what happens?  Information abounds...

The question usually crops up on these types of efforts, however.  "What do *I* get out of this contribution?"  There are many paybacks that Shirky covers.  Some do it because they enjoy it.  It's a hobby, much like collecting stamps or growing flowers.  But there are also tangible rewards, such as when you choose to contribute to a site like CouchSurfing.net.  You invite others into your home for short stays, knowing that you will be able to do the same if and when you need it.  To make that work, you need people who both give AND take, and thus participation lets you become part of the overall group that benefits.

I too participate in many of these cognitive surplus activities (such as writing reviews of what I read for Amazon and other sites).  It's something I enjoy doing (writing), and I get a personal reward when I get feedback for doing so, as well as helping people make choices.  Shirky's book helped me put these things into a better context in my overall life.  Looking at the book, I think I could have gotten much of the same information from a shorter book (or series of longer articles).  But overall, Cognitive Surplus is a good read if you're at all interested as to what motivates people to be active online participants and content creators.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed

01/07/2011

Need help... does anyone have links/papers on social media interactions ties to revenue value?

Category Everything Else
I believe it does, but would like to get some industry references in addition to my hunches...

01/03/2011

SharePoint Tip: Triggering a SharePoint workflow once a document has been approved

Category Microsoft SharePoint
I had a requirement in one of my SharePoint apps to update a Reviewed Date once a document had been marked Approved through a standard SharePoint Approval workflow.  In SP2007, there’s no good way to add on to the standard workflow processes, so I thought I’d just create a second custom workflow that watched for the List item to change to an Approved status.  Given that I’m still new at this, I seemingly tried dozens of combinations to get the matches to work properly on blank date fields, status fields, etc., but to no avail.  I just couldn’t get the agent to trigger correctly.

 After a few hours of puzzlement, I decided to take another direction… what if I triggered the agent from the Task list item that’s created in the Approval workflow?  Is there a way to match the Task item to the Document list item that created it?  Why, yes there is!

 Here is my custom agent I set up in SharePoint Designer to trigger from the Task item whenever it changes:

A picture named M2

The Outcome field has “Approved by <approver name>” as a value once the approval has happened.  So I check to see if that field contains those words.  If so, I match the Workflow Item ID of the Task with the Item ID of the document that was being approved.  That’s the field that the Task uses to link back to the main document.  Going this route, I got the agent to fire perfectly, and the Date Reviewed field in the document gets automatically updated whenever the approval happens.

 A picture named M3

I’ll be very glad when I get to the point where I know this stuff intuitively.

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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