Article Library

Digital Knowledge - Captured! For over 15 years, Jim MacLennan has been writing about business, technology, and the intersection between the two. This page presents the complete collection of over 400 articles,  presented in several ways. If you want to jump to the "good stuff," check out this group of the most popular articles over the last ten years. Are you just looking to browse around? You can also browse by Category, or check out the Tag Cloud for a…

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Design Thinking and Process – Practical Examples (2 of 2)

So, design thinking can have a positive impact on how you do what you do, and it may very well be hidden inside, waiting to get out. Ok, you are intrigued, you might even believe you can release the designer in you. Where to next? How to get started? Practical Expressions of "Good Design" Like most tech folks, you will need something a bit more concrete that just seeing something effective on the screen; some guiding principles and "rules of…

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Design and Change Management

Over my career, I have developed a few strongly-held design beliefs, and one came up in conversation recently, during a spirited discussion on minimal quality requirements for a[ny] data mart. I hold that the data copied from source to destination must be provably correct and complete with little effort. When agile-ly rolling staged deliverables into production, I may not have all the attributes in place for full flexibility of drill down, but if you have [say] 1248 records in the…

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Quantifying Business Benefit of Collaboration Tools (or, What Is This Meeting Costing Me?)

This post started off as an excuse to experiment with Google Docs, and this really neat feature I discovered - embedding a spreadsheet in a web page as a sharing method. However, it struck me as a potential way to cost justify the time, effort, and expense of implementing collaboration systems with the Most Cynical Among Us. We've all been in large meetings, with tens of people from the project team, along with the expensive consultants, sitting around a table…

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IT Budget Hacking (w$$t)

Some block-and-tackle IT management stuff for today - taking a long, hard look at the IT budget, a task that is less-than-pleasant for many. Most of my peers have already cut any and all low hanging fruit - it's time to start thinking aggressively. Software Maintenance for the Small Stuff Most have concentrated on their ERP and other large, strategic vendors - but what about all of those little invoices that come every year? I'm talking about development tools, management…

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Bootstrap Market Research: Master Data Management (Results)

As previously noted, I've been doing a lot of discussion and data crunching around "Master Data Management" lately - so I've "bootstrapped" a little market research project. It's still a work in process - responses are trickling in - but I thought I might take some time to summarize what I am hearing to date. A document is available for download here ... the super summary follows below. Survey Methodology Please note: I am obviously not a professional market research…

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Bootstrap Market Research: Master Data Management (What, Who, How)

I've been asked a lot of questions about "Master Data Management" over the past few weeks - what does it mean, who does it, and what are some tools and metrics that organizations are using to reign in this important aspect of ERP and analytics systems. I started reaching out to the folks in my professional network with some results, but I thought I might be able to leverage LinkedIn and Twitter to get input from far and wide. This…

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Who owns Master Data in your company?

I've had to respond to this question, inside and outside of the company, in a number of different conversations over the past few days. It's interesting, because this is one of those conversations where semantics mean a lot - what people say is just as important as what people don't say. I only mean that people assume their listeners have precisely the same understanding of the concepts - which is often a mistake. Case in point - who owns the…

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Notes from SAPPHIRE 09

Yesterday at work was "catch-up day" from a week at SAPPHIRE 2009, the annual user conference for SAP. As with the JDA/Manugistics conference earlier this year, there were concerns that attendance was going to be low, because so many companies are limiting travel expense. At the conference, I did hear that attendance was only was 60% lower than last year. Conferences like this are great opportunities for IT to do a ton of learning - about the specific technology, of…

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Practical Applications of Twitter in Manufacturing?

Over the past few weeks I've had a couple of interesting discussions about the introduction of Twitter to Manufacturing. When someone poses a question like this to me, it throws me for a minor loop, because for very basic, practical reasons, it just doesn't seem to apply. More keyboards & data entry on the floor? Not likely. However, a few months ago I wrote this rather breathless item, expounding on a brainstorm regarding the use of YouTube and Twitter in…

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