Boots on the Ground, Head in the Cloud

I’ve been talking to you for the last couple of weeks, mostly about the cloud. Let’s face it: it’s been a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo about infrastructure-as-a-service, five-nines of availability, and unplanned downtime. The cloud can’t possibly be yet another IT field consisting of nothing but buzzwords and acronyms, can it?…

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IT Bridges To Nowhere

In 2005, Congress approved funding for a bridge to Gravina Island (later known as “nowhere”), Alaska. At that time, the island had a population of 50 people and was served by a regular ferry service. There is little doubt that this bridge could have been successfully completed. Similar bridges had been constructed before, and there was never any concern about the difficulty of engineering the...

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Are you Down with the Cloud?

In a previous post I discussed how an excellent IT enterprise is available 99.999% of the time – also called “5 nines.” In that piece I wrote about how an organization can incorporate cloud technologies while trying to achieve this ideal level of service. While this is certainly an admirable goal, I would be misleading you if I was implying that the cloud is the absolute most...

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Striving for Cloud Nines

The mark of IT excellence for an enterprise has historically been the delivery of services at a “five-nine” level of availability, or 99.999%. At a high level, this equates to delivering services with only 5 minutes of downtime in a given year. Those who do not operate their IT services at five-nine availability are typically aspiring toward that level of service.…

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Driving Value to the Business with the Cloud

The cloud. I’m going to be up front with you: I have a fairly strong dislike for the term. Everywhere you go its seems “To the cloud!” is shouted at you.  From television to airport billboards, advertisements are strategically placed to pique your interest on what the private cloud can do for you.…

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Reporting from Disparate Data

A small team of us at West Monroe Partners recently completed a project for one of the world’s largest insurance brokers and third party claims administrators. The client desperately needed new revenue and claim metrics, but disparate data from disjoint systems prevented them from getting those metrics. The three main types of data that were needed for the metrics were: Revenue Data: From...

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Solvency II: Have you considered the impact?

Solvency II brings new regulatory requirements for insurance firms operating in the European Union.  Solvency II introduces economic risk-based solvency requirements which are more sophisticated and enable more customized ways of estimating capital requirements. These updated requirements will force insurers to revisit their current technology stacks and general approaches for maintaining an...

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What is “Big Data”

The term Big Data is getting a lot of attention in technology circles lately, but there is still a lack of clarity over what Big Data really means.  Whenever I hear groups of people discuss the topic they are often talking about vastly different scales of problems.  Often one person’s notion of big data is completely different and even incompatible with someone else’s. …

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The Whole Is More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

In the information technology industry, it is oftentimes a challenge to not get excited about every new shiny new toy that hits the market, want to learn all there is about it and then install it whenever the opportunity presents itself.  More often than not, a mentality of always needing the newest technology (in a corporate environment) becomes a detriment to everyone. …

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Change is All Around

A few of us had the privilege of attending Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto last month.  Themes of the conference? Cloud, Windows 8, and a full refresh of every product line within one 12-month period.  It’s quite a huge undertaking, and with the correct execution, it will be a very exciting year.…

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The Green Button provides value to Energy Customers in a standard and secure way, and presents several challenges for Utilities.

In September 2011, the U.S. CTO challenged utilities to adopt and drive the Green Button initiative, which provides Customers with a way to receive and use their Energy Usage Information (EUI).  By now, several utilities and third party product vendors have adopted and implemented Green Button support and capabilities to address this challenge. …

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Chicago, IL 60606
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