mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

Join us in exploring the world of modern development, evolving technologies, and the art of future-proof software

Month: September 2013

Pre-registration is now open for a new consulting program

AnnouncementI’m happy to say that we’ve just opened up pre-registration for a brand new consultant program! This new program gives consultants access to a low-cost, cloud-based version of our enterprise web application development platform, m-Power.

If you’re a consultant, you’re familiar with the struggle of finding new projects. Completing the project is the fun part. It’s the lull between projects that makes consulting difficult.

Small, and one-man consulting operations have an especially difficult job. After all, they can’t afford to hire a marketing and sales to team to bring in business for them. They handle all aspects of their business themselves. The majority of their time is spent either working on projects or looking for new projects.

The problem with this arrangement: In between working on projects and finding new projects, there’s little time to keep your skills current. How can you keep up with the ever-changing technology trends if you spend all of your time working on, or looking for, projects? Why is this such a problem? Because consultants who fall behind the rapidly changing technology curve risk losing out on valuable new business in the future.

Now, larger consultant shops often address these problems with development platforms (like m-Power). This offers a number of benefits, such as:

Weekly Recap: Hot IT skills for 2014, Blackberry’s demise, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on hot IT skills for 2014, the demise of Blackberry, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Blackberry agrees to sell itself for a measly $5 billion
In a bit of sad news this week, Blackberry agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion (at press time, though there’s rumblings the deal might fall through), ending the company’s rapid decline over the past few years. If $4.7 billion sounds like a lot of money (which it is), consider that the company was worth $77 billion just 5 years ago.

7 deadly sins of web application development

EducationWhat percentage of IT projects fail? It’s hard to say. I’ve seen surveys that put the number at 25%. Others surveys push it closer to 70%. While that’s quite a range, the point is this: those numbers are far too high. Even if it is “just” 25%, that’s still 1 out of every 4 projects. That’s too many.

How can we bring those numbers down? Today, let’s focus on ways to reduce failure for one common project type: web application development projects. In this article, we’ll take a look at mistakes that hurt web application development projects. These are chronic bad habits that turn web application development projects into disasters.

What deadly sins do even the most experienced web application developers make? What common web app development mistakes crop up over and over again? We posed those questions to a few experienced developers and have compiled these answers below. Without further ado, here are 7 deadly sins of web application development:

What killed the big companies?

EducationWhy do 70% of the companies listed on the Fortune 1,000 list ten years ago no longer exist today? Inflexibility. They couldn’t adapt to change. In the past, big companies ate small ones. Now, fast eats big.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that CIOs list legacy modernization as one of their top priorities. Legacy applications aren’t flexible. They don’t quickly adapt to change. As such, companies that rely on these applications lack flexibility, which…kills companies.

Hence, the growing push towards modernization. Application modernization promises flexibility. It frees these companies from the shackles of their legacy software.

The problem: Modernization isn’t exactly straightforward. There’s more than one way to modernize. By my count, there’s five. How do you know which way is best?

Weekly recap: Survival strategies for IT chaos, why your development process is broken, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on survival strategies for IT chaos, why your software development process is broken, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Why your software development process is broken
As businesses push for increased flexibility, many discover that one of the biggest problems lies in their development process. Despite their best efforts, they just can’t turn development projects around in time. What’s the answer?

6 keys to a high-performing IT department

ProductivityDo you want to hear a shocking statistic? According to Forrester Research, 70% of the companies listed on the Fortune 1,000 list ten years ago have now vanished. The reason: an inability to adapt to change.

As modern technology evolves, we’re seeing a shift in the business world. In the age of the web, business agility trumps size. More and more, the ability to adapt to change is critical to a company’s success.

From a technology perspective, this means that IT departments must evolve. Keeping the lights on is no longer good enough. These days, IT must innovate. They must move quickly. They must drive business forward.

However, this is impossible with slow or inefficient IT departments. The question is…how can IT departments become more efficient? What’s needed to create a high-performance IT department that actually pushes the business forward?

We posed those questions to a few successful IT leaders, who delivered some great advice that you can find below. If you want to create a high-performing IT department, you must:

5 Reasons for Non-Adoption or Circumvention of a BI Solution

Education** This guest post was written by Estelle Nicholson. Learn more about Estelle in the author bio at the end of this post. **

After an initial burst of enthusiasm, we’ve discovered that BI projects, like many other IT projects, get derailed or circumvented for a host of reasons. People who approach BI projects come from environments outside of traditional IT, so it’s important to understand reasons why your project isn’t getting off the ground (or why it’s crashing) and some of the potential consequences.

Weekly recap: 20 great ideas to steal, the growing importance of business agility, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on great tech ideas, the growing importance of business agility, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Make Business Agility A Key Corporate Attribute – It Could Be What Saves You
Here’s an amazing stat: 70% of the companies on the fortune 1,000 list a decade ago have now vanished. Why? They couldn’t adapt to change. Agility is quickly becoming a critical aspect of business, and one that you can’t ignore (if you want to survive).

7 things experienced CIOs and IT leaders wish they knew earlier

EducationA couple of weeks back, I put together an article entitled, “7 things experienced web developers wish they knew earlier.” It was filled with great advice from long-time developers, who shared some of the most important lessons they learned over the years.

That got me thinking. What about other professions? In any job, you’re bound to know more today than you knew starting out. There must be at least one important lesson that you wish you knew earlier.

Today, I’d like to approach this topic from a CIO and IT leader perspective. If you’re an experienced CIO or IT leader, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you started your career? If you were to have a conversation with a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give?

We asked those questions to experienced CIOs and IT leaders, and received some great input. I’ve compiled their advice below, but–as always–feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments. Here are 7 things experienced CIOs and IT leaders wish they knew earlier:

Is the CIO position dying or becoming more important?

EducationOver the last few years, I’ve seen countless articles predicting the “death of the CIO.” Frankly, I’m tired of it.

Sure, the CIO position is evolving. It’s becoming more challenging. But, it isn’t dying. Far from it. As data expands and technology becomes an increasingly important part of business, the CIO’s role becomes even more critical.

These days, the modern CIO is pulled in all directions. They must keep the business current with rapidly evolving technology. They must address the ever-growing number of consumer devices and consumer applications in the workplace. They must keep the business’ current technology running smoothly while preparing for the future.

I could go on. The point is…CIOs and IT leaders have become even more important than ever before. The responsibilities and duties placed on these positions is only growing.

The question isn’t, “Is the CIO position dying?” Rather, the question should be, “How can modern CIOs address their rapidly growing challenges and responsibilities?”

Here’s one option to consider: Use a web application development platform. How does that help? More than you might think. We’ve put together a short paper that explains how web application development platforms (like m-Power) can help modern CIOs solve many of the issues they face today. You can find it right here.