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Dale Vile

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Dale Vile is CEO and research director at Freeform Dynamics, a business he founded in 2005 to help guide IT pros on which technology to buy. During his time in IT, he has worked for large end user organisations and vendors, and has run both channel programmes and a reseller business.
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SaaS and Security

The security discussion around Software as a Service (SaaS) is pretty lively. It is common to hear IT professionals question whether service providers can be trusted to look after business data. We are trying to determine how real the risk actually is, and how it compares to risks currently associated with data storage in house …
Dale Vile, 06 Jan 2011
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Is cloud data secure?

Would your data be more secure in the hands of Google or left where it is? Your answer to that depends on where you store business information at the moment and, of course, whether you feel Google can be trusted. We’re picking on Google here because it is the “cloud” player that, rightly or wrongly, receives the most criticism …
Dale Vile, 17 Dec 2010
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A question of performance

Software as a service (SaaS) promises a lot but many are still nervous about relying on it for business use. The concerns we hear most centre on security, privacy and operational risk. The first two are the most important and we will be covering these later in our workshop. In the meantime, we will start by considering …
Dale Vile, 16 Dec 2010
The Register breaking news

Trust and risk in the cloud

Stick enough kit and multi-tenant software in one huge data centre and there is no arguing with the economies of scale that can be achieved. Megahosters like Google and Microsoft playing this game can deliver web search capability and online consumer services such as email, office and social networking tools at minimal cost per …
Dale Vile, 15 Dec 2010
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Will the cloud mean joblessness for you?

You’ve heard the rhetoric: Cloud computing changes everything. The days of the enterprise data centre and the small business computer room are numbered. At some point in the not too distant future, you’ll be switching off the last server, turning out the lights, and looking for a career change. The sad thing is that some people …
Dale Vile, 29 Oct 2010

Desktop pleasure, desktop pain

Let's face it, the desktop and laptop environment is one of the major points at which the rubber meets the road when it comes to business computing. From a user perspective, the machine they use is the gateway to IT, and its performance and reliability plays a big part in determining levels of satisfaction. But if you’re …
Dale Vile, 03 Sep 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

The pain and promise of x86 servers

Advances in x86 server technology have been relentless. Year-on-year improvements in price-performance and advances in power efficiency have driven down the costs of commodity-based infrastructure. At the other end of the spectrum, you can now pretty much build your own virtual supercomputer or mainframe with modern x86 clusters …
Dale Vile, 10 Aug 2010
channel

Should your data centre look more like Google’s?

With all the talk of cloud, some are predicting the death of the enterprise data centre. The argument is that renting capacity from a service provider reduces costs and therefore owning your own facility in the future will become an extravagant luxury that few will be able to justify. For those not buying this line of thinking …
Dale Vile, 09 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Those demanding mobile users

For years, when we asked Reg readers what worried them about mobile, "security" was top of the list. Now business mobility has become a victim of its own success in many organisations, at least when looked at from IT's point of view. The problems of managing user expectations, integrating kit or compliance are familiar if you …
Dale Vile, 09 Jul 2010
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Policing personal calls on business mobiles

Communications technology makes it easy to mix up personal and business calls. If you want to keep track of what you pay for, and minimise your mobile bills, then you should be able to monitor personal use at some level - either independently, or with the help of your service provider. Giving employees a mobile phone or handheld …
Dale Vile, 05 Jul 2010
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Apple in the workplace

Apple's success as a manufacturer of consumer electronics is beyond question. The kit has become an accepted part of many people's lives, and the brand is one of the most well respected and desired on the planet. You might think this is good or bad. You might not care. This is secondary to the fact that the Apple phenomenon is …
Dale Vile, 30 Jun 2010
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Mobile: what they need - and what they want

Many years ago an IT manager, responding to one of our research studies, said one of the saddest and most pathetic sights he had ever seen was a 100Kg salesman coming into his office telling him that his 120g mobile phone was too heavy. He needed an upgrade to something smaller and lighter. That was back in the days when mobiles …
Dale Vile, 22 Jun 2010
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Resurrecting old jargon

No one disputes the fact that there’s a lot of data kicking around in most businesses. Neither are there arguments about how hard it is to find relevant information when you need it. Sure, there are exceptions, and some very progressive businesses manage their so called ’information assets’ extremely well, but for most of the …
Dale Vile, 08 Jun 2010
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But is that really cloud computing?

Some have accused me of being a cloud computing sceptic, and it’s true that I have not been one for pulling punches in some of my previous articles on the topic (see here, here, here and here, for example). Let’s be absolutely clear, though - my criticisms have largely been around the language and messaging used by vendors, …
Dale Vile, 13 May 2010
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Dumb questions on server computing

You listen to some marketeers and it’s all so simple. Whatever form of server computing they are promoting is assumed to be the answer to everything. Back in the real world, servers are obviously used for all kinds of stuff, from running boring back office systems, through highly dynamic Web applications, to core activities …
Dale Vile, 23 Apr 2010
For Sale sign detail

But is that really cloud?

Cloud computing is one of the most talked about topics in the industry at the moment. One of the difficulties, however, is that it is sometimes hard to work out exactly what people mean by it. Different vendors and service providers use the term in relation to some quite different types of offering. Various well-meaning …
Dale Vile, 16 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

To connect or not to connect?

Following our recent discussion of the pros, cons and practicalities of hooking up your ERP system to the outside world, we thought it would be good to tap into the views of Reg readers on the topic. So we put up a poll with an open comment facility and, true to form, almost 50 readers came back with their own experiences at the …
Dale Vile, 12 Apr 2010
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Does your IT universe revolve around ERP?

There are a couple of major pivot points for activity within the IT landscape. The first is the mainframe - that beast sitting in the data centre doing all the really important grown up processing and data management - which demands respect and needs to be constantly fed with budget and attended to by the high priests of that …
Dale Vile, 09 Apr 2010
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Connecting up your ERP to the outside world

In this week's ERP workshop poll, we are looking at the practicalities of integrating with or providing access to the outside world - suppliers, distributors, resellers, customers and so on. If you have experience of ERP from this perspective, get clicking below with your feedback. READER POLL: 1. Which of the following groups …
Dale Vile, 07 Apr 2010
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ERP sans frontières

There was a time when the terms ‘ERP’ and ‘back office systems’ were almost synonymous, reflecting that the original incarnations of ERP offerings were very much concerned with processes running within the physical walls of the organisation. Over the years, though, functionality has expanded and integration capability evolved …
Dale Vile, 06 Apr 2010
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Reg reader tips for ERP success

When we asked Reg readers to tell us about the factors that impacted the success or failure of the last ERP implementation they were involved with, 50 of you came back with your insights. Of these, about a third had experience of actually managing an implementation, with most of the remainder having worked as part of an ERP …
Dale Vile, 01 Apr 2010
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How not to screw up an ERP implementation

OK, so perhaps we were a bit ambitious with the title of this article. With so many variables and dependencies involved in an ERP implementation, it would be somewhat naive to claim there is a sure-fire formula for success. Nevertheless, feedback from Register readers in our current workshop and the general experience of those …
Dale Vile, 31 Mar 2010
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Biting the bullet on ERP implementation realities?

In this week's ERP workshop poll, we get right into the specifics of what makes or breaks an implementation project in the real world. If you have experience or opinions on this, we'd appreciate your input. READER POLL: BITING THE BULLET ON IMPLEMENTATION REALITIES? 1. What is your experience of ERP implementations? Have managed …
Dale Vile, 30 Mar 2010
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Choosing an ERP implementation partner

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has been around for a long time, yet there is no de facto guide to making it work or any guarantee that you'll get what you want if you invest in it. Yet many thousands of instances of ERP from a range of software vendors are in play today. Despite the uncertainties, businesses make it work. So …
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ERP deniers their own worst enemy

As new ideas and technologies emerge and develop in IT, we typically go through a maturity curve. Lots of problems are reported in the early days as a result of unproven products and lack of market ‘know how’ which gradually disappear over time as offerings become more robust, experience is gained, and best practices are defined …
Dale Vile, 26 Mar 2010
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Selecting an ERP supplier - the pitfalls and practicalities

The selection of an ERP system is a pretty strategic decision for most companies. Software of this kind tends to operate at the core of your organisation, and can therefore have a big impact on business robustness, efficiency and flexibility. Furthermore the time, resources and disruption generally associated with ERP …
Dale Vile, 25 Mar 2010
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Customise the app or modify your business?

When implementing ERP, should you expect to tailor the product to your business or change your processes to match the product? It’s a key philosophical question that anyone who has implemented this kind of system will probably have an opinion on. This week’s poll looks at how this and other factors have an impact on supplier and …
Dale Vile, 24 Mar 2010
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Telcos to deliver VaaS

This is hilarious or sad, whichever way you look at it. Eyeing the Twitter feed last night, I saw someone had tweeted a question about whether carriers were going to be moving to VaaS – ‘Voice as a Service’. When I asked if this was a joke, the reply was that a couple of telcos in the US were already starting to use this …
Dale Vile, 23 Mar 2010
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Challenging accepted ERP wisdom

So you've been through an ERP implementation before and you know how it's all done? That’s good to hear, but if your experience was a few years ago, it might be worth taking a look at the way things have been changing. The truth is that anyone reviewing their ERP requirements today won't be doing themselves any favours if they …
Dale Vile, 22 Mar 2010
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Just how does IT spend its time looking after ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) packages providing functionality to support core business processes in an integrated manner are a prominent feature in a lot of IT environments. But what kind of burden do they place on the IT department? Some of us who have been in the business for a while can remember the days when these …
Dale Vile, 19 Mar 2010
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Do ERP projects ever end?

In some organisations, the ERP system represents the biggest single entity within the IT environment. This is particularly the case in industries such as manufacturing, distribution and others that are heavily manpower- or goods-centric. Even if ERP in itself doesn’t account for a lot of the infrastructure per se, it is one of …
Dale Vile, 18 Mar 2010
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How much of a burden is ERP on your IT department?

Following our discussions earlier in the week on the current state of ERP, we thought it would be useful to gather some structured feedback on the burden such systems place on IT departments. So, if you have a couple of minutes, let us know how things are with your ERP system in the following mini-poll: READER POLL: ERP BURDEN …
Dale Vile, 17 Mar 2010
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ERP checkpoint

A lot of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in place today were installed in the 90's as part of the consolidation of point solutions or to deal with Y2K. At the time, a lot of effort generally went into selecting the most appropriate supplier and system, and significant money and manpower was invested in implementation …
Dale Vile, 15 Mar 2010
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Another annoying cloud pitch

I just sat through another cloud consulting services pitch from a major IT vendor. Some of it was under NDA so can’t talk about specifics, but that’s not really relevant to the point that has prompted me to write this. I guess my big problem is that I have spent the last ten years as an analyst looking at different disciplines …
Dale Vile, 16 Feb 2010
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Lighting up management’s information blind spot

Consultants and analysts often trot out lines about the importance of ‘IT-business alignment’, encouraging IT departments to tune into the ‘business agenda’ and take their lead from management priorities and objectives. But what happens when management and the broader business needs help with something, only to have a blind spot …
Dale Vile, 14 Dec 2009
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Business application suppliers: What do we want?

As we near the end of another decade it is an appropriate time to look at the way in which IT supplier relationships are changing and what current and potential customers are likely to be pushing for over the coming 10 years. The fundamental impact application packages such as ERP and CRM have on a business makes this question …
Dale Vile, 10 Dec 2009
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Crap data not my problem

Getting IT professionals to tell you about how poorly the information needs of users are catered for in their organisation is easy. Time and time again, we have run surveys and workshops on The Register that confirm the issues around fragmentation, duplication, inconsistency and how application vendors don't make it easy to get …
Dale Vile, 10 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

Shifting gears with information access

In our latest mini-poll below, we are looking at the way in which demand for information is changing among business users, and the ways in which evolving needs are being met. READER POLL: SHIFTING GEARS WITH INFORMATION ACCESS 1. Do you see a growing demand for more relevant, accurate and timely information within the business? …
Dale Vile, 09 Dec 2009
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Balancing user and business expectations

Nobody wants to go back to the early days of packaged applications when green screens were the norm and users got what they were given and had to come to IT if they wanted anything different. But should we really be going to the other extreme, as some would argue, and let users take control? It has become quite trendy now to …
Dale Vile, 07 Dec 2009
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The unrealised potential of ERP and CRM

With all of that money, time and effort expended on ERP and CRM systems over the years, you would expect organisations to have paid a lot of attention to getting the most from them, but a recent poll of Reg readers (including 66 ERP users and 65 CRM users) suggests that many implementations have some way to go before they …
Dale Vile, 04 Dec 2009
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Setting application data free

The best time to sell someone pain relief is when they are hurting, and so it was back in the 90s, when the first wave of ERP software was offered to customers to ease their suffering from point solution chaos and broken automation. The next best time to sell medication, of course, is when someone is looking forward to some …
Dale Vile, 03 Dec 2009
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Squeezing more out of ERP and CRM

One of the most common complaints at board level to do with IT is the amount of money thrown at ERP and CRM application deployments over the years. Some question the perceived returns that have been delivered in terms of value to the business. With this in mind, we would be interested in whether you think packaged applications …
Dale Vile, 02 Dec 2009
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Embedded systems and telemetry checkpoint

Technology marketing people are notorious for confusing the hell out of us by trying to dress up relatively simple concepts and developments to make them appear more significant than they are. If they’re not doing this, they’re going to the other extreme and trying to sell us magic bullets that will make complex problems go away …
Dale Vile, 01 Dec 2009
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Expanding the footprint of enterprise apps

Many organisations originally invested in ERP and CRM suites to deal with specific problems they were focused on at the time. Whether it was automating or fixing certain processes, or simply replacing existing obsolete systems, the job at hand was clear, and bad things happened if the immediate objectives weren’t met. Sure, the …
Dale Vile, 30 Nov 2009
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Reg readers lay out their selection criteria for app packages

While software sales and marketing people often try to convince business people that the technical stuff doesn’t matter that much when selecting an application package, Reg readers beg to differ. Indeed, over a hundred of you participating in our recent mini-poll were clear in what matters from an IT perspective to ensure …
Dale Vile, 27 Nov 2009
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Evaluating enterprise application software

A seasoned ERP salesman coaching a junior colleague once said: “The trick, my boy, is to avoid the IT department like the plague for as long as possible, as they’ll just make your life complicated by asking lots of irrelevant geeky questions. Win the hearts and minds of the business people first by convincing them the software …
Dale Vile, 25 Nov 2009
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Your wish list for packaged applications

Following our discussions this week on the importance of evaluating application packages from a technology perspective, we're interested in gathering some more information from you on the things that really matter. So, if you have a couple of minutes, please give us your feedback in the short poll below: READER POLL: …
Dale Vile, 24 Nov 2009
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Looking back at packaged application rigidity and lock-in

When packaged applications first appeared on the scene a quarter of a century ago, it was normal for them to be very proprietary in nature. Modifications and extensions were generally implemented through toolsets and programming languages that were each specific to the application concerned. Integration between systems was …
Dale Vile, 23 Nov 2009
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The pros and cons of business application packages

Whether to build or buy, that is the question? Well, it is for many when it comes to business applications. It's a topic on which we asked for your feedback as part of our latest workshop, and over 100 of you came back with your views on it. So what did we learn? Firstly, the drivers for going down the ’buy’ rather than ‘build’ …
Dale Vile, 20 Nov 2009
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The great ‘build versus buy’ debate

Following our discussions earlier in the week on the pros and cons of packaged applications, the ‘build versus buy’ debate rolls on. Whether it’s ERP, CRM or other solutions for dealing with core business requirements, we’d be interested in gathering a bit more information on where you are today and how this is changing. So, if …
Dale Vile, 18 Nov 2009