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Martin Atherton

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Securing the remote estate

Workshop One of the challenges of managing a remote desktop estate is security. It’s not a new problem, but it has been raised higher in the collective consciousness in the last few years, thanks to the proliferation of smaller, cheaper and more portable devices. Its not enough to blame human nature - although sitting here as I type I …
Martin Atherton, 21 Oct 2009

What is it about supporting remote workers?

Mini Poll Thanks for your feedback on this week's workshop topic, which could loosely be defined as 'remote desktop support' but actually translates more into 'trying to explain how to put out a fire using a periscope, tin can and string'. As usual we're interested in bottoming out your views, particularly to gauge whether providing IT …
Martin Atherton, 20 Oct 2009

When PCs went mobile

Workshop Do you remember the first time you saw a laptop? Shiny bright LED screen, pixels individually visible, about the size of a breeze block. Portability probably didn’t concern the IT department because nobody in their right mind would try to carry one out of the office. But they did. Quite quickly, laptops became smaller and …
Martin Atherton, 19 Oct 2009
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Try these beans: Business Service Management

Workshop In recent weeks we’ve received plenty of meaty responses in roughly equal measures (positive and negative) to the questions posed in this workshop. For many, service management is seen as simply doing the job properly, regardless of the tools / politics / obtrusive management and so on. Others do what they do but really don’t …
Martin Atherton, 14 Oct 2009
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Who does the helpdesk really help?

Workshop Who does the helpdesk help - IT or the business? Many people (users) think the helpdesk is ‘what IT is for” where as in fact it may be the very thing stopping IT from being a more valuable partner to the business. Is this status quo simply the way things are destined to stay or is there more we can do with this frontline service …
Martin Atherton, 07 Oct 2009
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Service management strategies

Workshop One of the most universal findings we encounter on our research travels is that, contrary to what we may hear from elsewhere (IT vendors, subject evangelists), IT professionals generally want to deal with fewer processes, not more. Or to be precise, they want ‘just enough’ process. This idea is firmly rooted in practicality …
Martin Atherton, 02 Oct 2009
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The tools of the trade: Cutting edge or a bit embarrassing?

Workshop Do the phrases ‘cutting edge’ and ‘your IT shop’ constitute a contradiction in terms, or do you work in a sleek and streamlined vision of sci-fi IT? When we asked you about this last year we got the impression that for most organisations it was more the former than the latter. That’s not to say you told us things were falling …
Martin Atherton, 30 Sep 2009
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Automated out of existence?

Workshop If your job involves managing IT, IT services or business services it’s probably not escaped your attention that for better or worse, your job entails working with other people. Whether strong demarcations between “IT” and “The Business” exist, or whether your firm takes a more ‘progressive’ approach, there are numerous …
Martin Atherton, 25 Sep 2009

What’s important in service management?

Workshop In its broadest sense, service management goes beyond IT service management and looks to influence many of the processes which underpin the activities a business engages in. Previously, we asked how you thought service management had changed in your organisation in recent years. Let’s dig around a bit further. One of the major …
Martin Atherton, 23 Sep 2009
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Service management: A million jobs or a job with a million parts?

Workshop Not so long ago there was the stuff that IT folk did, and there was stuff that non-IT folk did. The business was run by business people, and the IT department was run by IT people. Of course it made sense for the two sides to interact. To the outsider, it may have looked like the IT folk needed some business sense to help them …
Martin Atherton, 21 Sep 2009
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The application platform’s in play. But where’s it going?

Reg Tech Panel This application platform thing looks like it has legs. A few weeks ago we asked the Reg audience at large if they ‘got’ the idea of the application platform, and, practicalities aside, most said ‘we do’. Around a quarter said they had already adopted one. Digging a bit further, we see that of those that are ‘somewhere’ with …
Martin Atherton, 22 Dec 2008
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Supporting the application platform

As our discussion around the role of the application platform continues, a quick look back shows us that the Reg reader jury is still out when it comes to deciding on the capabilities which deserve or need to be included in one. The other side of the coin to ‘what’, is perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘how’. If you are going to develop …
Martin Atherton, 18 Dec 2008
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The role of the application platform

The application platform (as described here) has become a reality for a decent proportion of the El Reg audience, but what is not so clear yet is where it’s all going, or if it’s going anywhere at all. Simply having an application platform in place is an achievement; even more so given the concept isn’t solidly ‘baked’ yet, so …
Martin Atherton, 15 Dec 2008
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Application platforms: different stuff, same story?

When it comes to IT, the build versus buy argument is part and parcel of the industry. We know from the last Barometer study that custom application software development is just as important for many of you as packaged application software. The notion of an application platform (aka ‘the bits between the app and the server’) …
Martin Atherton, 12 Dec 2008
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A last hurrah: Matching info challenges with functional capabilities

Over the last few articles, we’ve talked about the pain of getting information to the people that need it, and discovered that most of you don’t consider information or data management/delivery capabilities as a high priority when thinking about components to include in an application platform. Many of the comments to the …
Martin Atherton, 04 Dec 2008
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An information delivery pipedream

According to the findings from our recent Platform and Operations monster survey, most organisations told us they ‘get’ the notion of an application platform. Around a quarter of respondents told us they have formally adopted one, and over a third said that they had adopted one in the sense of having a natural tendency to re-use …
Martin Atherton, 02 Dec 2008
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Why is information delivery so bloody hard?

Are you frustrated with how difficult it can be to find information? What makes this more irksome is that the vendor community seems to have just woken up to the fact that there's a lot of information 'out there' to manage. Translated, this means that some of the larger vendors have recently got their act together with …
Martin Atherton, 28 Nov 2008
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Bear/woods alert: Entire world not quite virtualized yet

We asked, and you told us. Virtualization is making its presence felt, but not in a way that would make an evangelist faint with excitement. Instead, it all looks rather sensible, with just over 60% of the hardy poll-completers telling us they are pretty active across the board when it comes to virtualizing environments which …
Martin Atherton, 26 Nov 2008
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What next for virtualization after we sort our servers out?

When we asked Reg readers for their views on virtualization last year, we thought we’d found the voice of reason. We still do. As a rule, mainstream businesses were getting stuck into x86 server virtualization, often in the name of consolidation. It was nice to have side effects, like smaller electricity bills and positive …
Martin Atherton, 19 Nov 2008
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Red rag, meet bull: The software resilience gamble

New research alert You, the fine Reg readers, recently regaled us with the gory details of your application failures - and it ain't too pretty. It turns out that a large majority of you find business is disrupted by app failure way too often. Of the 1200+ readers who took part in the research, a whopping 84 per cent said their business suffered …
Martin Atherton, 19 Aug 2008
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Should the IT department be accountable for energy use?

Reg Tech Panel As the green debate rages on, one of the findings that came from our recent survey of Reg Readers revealed that despite all the talk about energy savings and IT, the majority of IT departments are not accountable for spending on electricity to run systems. The survey also told us that a lot of IT departments would have a …
Martin Atherton, 08 Feb 2008
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Relieving the systems management burden

Reg Tech Panel We owe you a report on day-to-day aspects of operational IT management. It's finally here for the downloading. Sincere thanks to all who contributed to the research. Do some downloading and tell us what you think. It's all based on what you told us, and it seems that some of you are having more joy than others when it comes to …
Martin Atherton, 29 Jan 2008

Boots, House of Fraser not renewing IT director posts

Comment Initial reaction to the fact that two sizable retailers are not renewing their outgoing IT director posts could easily be "short sighted mistake". It's easy to see why they might be doing this though. The retail refresh cycle has seen many retailers catching up on 15 years of under investment. Many may have little appetite for …
Martin Atherton, 13 Aug 2007

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