Friday, February 25, 2011

Love/Hate Relationship with SAAS

I’m already residing primarily in the cloud, and for the most part, it’s delivered its promises. And this is from a guy that spent some considerable time in the dim, dark past as a bean counter, concerned with proprietary data and endless backups. But the lure of working from any device and letting someone else worry about software updates is strong. It’s a hard enough decision to cloud-base your documents and other files in Google Docs or Dropbox. But choosing a business Human Resources Information System (HRIS) or Learning Management System  (LMS) that you don’t host is much more gut wrenching. And the bigger and more strategic the database is that your trusting to someone else, the bigger the wrench.

We’ve got two different Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) models currently here in the hospital. Our Ceridian HRIS is a hybrid. The production database is on remote servers, but we host a “replica” that’s refreshed every 30 minutes. This model gives up the major advantage of not requiring our Information Systems department to dedicate hardware and maintenance. On the plus side, we’ve got access to an exact, full, and fairly current copy of the database, so that as long as we’ve got some SQL programming firepower, we can report anything we like. Contrast that with our ResultsOnDemand LMS from SumTotal. It’s completely remote (no replica). Our IS guys don’t have to do anything except keep our internal PC browsers updated and compatible. The downside is in access to the data. SumTotal gives us a complicated, SRSS soution. The SQL report writer (BIDS) lets us mine our data from a nightly refreshed remote database they call a reporting schema. This contains all the data SumTotal THINKS someone might want. With patience, and an adventurous spirit, we have found most of what we need. But the fact is, the visibility in this part of the cloud is limited, and you’re forced to feel your way at times.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grabbing Attention With Xtranormal

Even within a fairly closed organizational communication system (email, department newsletters, internal hompage, meetings), it’s a challenge to get a message to stand out in the flood. Most of us are pretty numb to email. We have autonomic reflexes for deleting or moving things into “never to be checked again” folders. My most recent tool to capture eyeballs within the organization is an video. I’d heard a story on NPR about it and then spent a couple of hours playing. My first effort was just to announce a project and do a little rumor control. It’s nothing fancy, but “The Resource Center” got some laughs and conveyed the message at the same time. You can play around on the site for free; but, you’ll have to forkout $10 for some “xtranormal points” to complete one and publish it to you-tube.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

After The Fold

For those that may found their way here from my older, possibly more fun, but less practical site, Kokobelly Korner,  this blog is the collecting place of that other creative fruit, harvested during the 9 to 5. This is part solution catalog, part discussion of the ever-changing landscape, part process insight. It’s about moving forward, not with beta, but with what’s on the practical cutting edge. And it’s about how the heck to bring the rest of the organization comfortably along.