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Making IT Better For Customers Wed 27 Oct 10

Three things to keep in mind when designing applications.

IT spends a lot of time trying to improve our system and the user interface, especially when they will be used by our external customers. Most of the time, we're pretty good at delivering easy-to-use applications. However, I recently came across two examples of how our systems can impact customer perception even when the customer doesn't use them, or when it is a minor utility application.

Headache powders crunchcandy

The first example was when I renewed two prescriptions. The pharmacy I use is a large national chain. It has online prescription renewal, and everything went smoothly. Shortly before I picked them up, I received an automated phone message that one of the prescriptions was delayed. This was a little off-putting since the pharmacy didn't say which one was delayed. It also struck me as strange that it ran out, as both were very common prescriptions.

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"Bring Your Own Technology" Is In Your Future Wed 13 Oct 10

IT leaders need to start thinking in terms of users making their own technology choices.

Consider the concept of BYOT, or Bring Your Own Technology.  The premise is that instead of IT dictating the supported computing platforms and cellphones, users will make their own selection based on what best meets their needs or preferences.

As a result you may have PCs, Macs, iPads and their coming slate competitors, iPhones, Droids and Blackberrys within your environment, and you'll be expected to support all of them.  Add to the myriad various models of each device and it becomes a mind boggling array of technology.

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SIMposium2010 Sun 10 Oct 10

Simposium2010 I'm not a big fan of IT conferences.  For the most part you're just paying for the privilege of attending a vendor sales pitch.  I don't like the free ones and certainly see no need to pay for one.

The one thing that is nice about the conference is the opportunity to meet other practitioners and discuss topics of interests openly and to learn from each other.  When I have gone to conferences this is the factor that draws me in.

I've been a member of SIM (Society for Information Management) for about 10 years but have never bothered to attend their annual conference for the reasons mentioned above.  However, as I became the president of the Houston Chapter of SIM I thought I should attend to see what it was all about - so last week I was in Atlanta for SIMposium2010.

 All I can say is - boy, was I wrong about judging this one.  SIMposium2010 was fantastic!  Although there are vendors there it is not just one big sales pitch.  The vendors are limited in number and there is no hard selling.

As I mentioned the one thing I do like is being able to meet other practitioners.  SIMposium was great for this as it is designed by and for senior IT leaders.  Because of this you have a great opportunity to discuss issues with people that are in similar situations as you and they understand the problems and opportunities you meet on a daily basis.  The panel discussions in particular were very good as they had a lot of open and frank discussion among both panel members and the audience.

My only regret about SIMposium is that I waited so long to attend.  I met a lot of great people and made some good friends.  I'm looking forward to next year's conference in Orlando.  I hope to see you there.

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