Archive for the ‘Jenrick IT’ Category

Be careful what you post online – it might just lose you that job

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

More than half of employers say they have rejected an applicant because of what they have seen on social media posts, according to a survey.Facebook

Research by CareerBuilder.co.uk found that 55% of employers said that 48% of employers use social networking sites as one way of researching background on job candidates.

Additionally, 12% of employers that don’t currently research candidates on social media plan to start.

But they aren’t restricting themselves to just social networks.

Half of employers use search engines such as Google to research potential job candidates, while 21% saying they do so frequently or always.

The most common reasons why candidates were rejected included:

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What sort of Project Manager do you want to be? – by Gary Lloyd (Programme and Project Management Specialist)

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

There is a long-running discussion on LinkedIn that started with the question:image002

Should a project manager’s responsibility go beyond that of delivering to “time, cost and quality”?

Time, cost and quality is what is known as the “iron triangle”. In this context, “quality” means conformance to the specification.

My own response was that it depends where one draws the project boundary.

When I have been in the role of project sponsor or programme manager (and sometimes both) I have always chosen to draw the project boundary so that it includes delivery of business value.

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Should I Register for VAT?

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

We commonly get asked the question ‘Should I register for VAT’ and unfortunately there isn’t always a straight forward answer. There are many factors to consider, such as your VATturnover and who you are selling to.

Do I have to register for VAT?

If your turnover in the previous 12 months exceeds the compulsory registration threshold (currently £81,000), then you are legally obliged to register for VAT. Failure to do so can result in penalties so it’s important to continually review your turnover on a rolling 12 month basis (i.e. the last 12 months from any given point), not based on turnover in your accounting year.

If you haven’t exceeded the threshold for compulsory registration you can still register voluntarily if it makes sense for you to do so.

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Big Data: Dead By Definition, Alive In Practice

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

‘Big Data’ is a term straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster and has been one of the most trended terms on Twitter and LinkedIn for the last 18 months.big-data

However, has it run its course? Was it merely a fad? Or has the term merely been hijacked by seemingly well meaning people who simply did not understand what the term referred to and the benefits of ‘Big Data’?

Alternatively, is Big Data the greatest demonstration of under utilisation in IT history, with endless possibilities for greatness?

The question that is appearing more and more on IT leadership forums is:

“What is your Big Data strategy?”

There’s a gap between what big data means on paper and what it really means to a business.

Big data is at a crossroads. On one hand, big data is dead, the term having been used so often that it’s been stripped of tangible value.

On the other hand, big data has never been so alive, as more companies than ever are trying to improve so-called big data analytics. How can such a dichotomy exist? The answer can be found in the enormous gap between what big data means by definition and what it really means in the important practice of data management.

Big data by definition

The term big data — by the most commonly-used definition — refers to data sets that are too large and complex to manage within traditional systems. This data is generally unstructured or semi-structured and requires investment in new tools, technologies, skillsets, and team members to manage it.

This is big data as it exists on paper, the end product of a meteoric hype cycle. This is not big data as it exists in practice, however. Analyst research and customer experiences suggest that in practice, what organizations and IT personnel refer to as big data is actually just data.

Big data in practice

In a recent TDWI research report, 88% of organizations cited structured, relational data as their primary big data type. This is traditional transactional and analytical data living in relational databases. Additional recent research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) shows that nearly half of organizations’ big data projects are based on Oracle and/or SQL Server — the traditional systems supposedly incapable of managing big data.

“The same research shows that only 28% of organizations are concerned that their current systems cannot scale to meet the demands of their big data projects.”

My own experience in working with customers tells a similar story. Traditional relational databases and the data volumes housed in them serve as the bedrock of a surprisingly large number of big data projects. So despite the hype, in practice, many projects tagged with the big data label (and therefore supposedly too large and too complex for traditional systems) are actually built around data that is most often neither bigger nor more complex than what we’ve been working with for years, and that can most often be managed within the same systems we’ve been using for years.

Pitfalls of the hype

That’s not to say the continued hype surrounding big data is all bad. It’s certainly a bad thing for those companies that get too caught up in it. The pitfall of any hype cycle is that it drives companies to do things that don’t actually solve their fundamental business problems. For example, I often hear from customers who invest in Hadoop, load their data, and then say “now what?” They’ve invested in a new technology — because the hype led them to believe that’s what they’re supposed to do — without knowing if it can actually help them.

EMA’s recent survey found that stakeholder support and business strategy issues are the top two barriers preventing organizations from succeeding with their big data projects. Technology and infrastructure concerns were significantly smaller issues, according to the survey. This suggests that big data projects often start from the bottom up tied to a desire for IT innovation, rather than from the top down, tied to a desire to tackle significant business challenges.

When big data projects run into roadblocks, it’s usually because business objectives aren’t clear or the right people haven’t been granted access to the right data. In other words, projects are not derailed because IT doesn’t have the right technology, they’re derailed because the company isn’t aligned on what it’s trying to accomplish in the first place, and that can only be rectified from the top down.

In reality, big data is generally not a technical challenge. Maybe Yahoo and Google needed to reinvent their infrastructure well beyond traditional capabilities, but most companies do not. Not yet, anyway.

Refocusing on a fundamental need

For companies that don’t get misdirected by big data, however, the hype is a great thing. The big data trend has reawakened many organizations to the longstanding and fundamental need to become more data-driven.

When the end goals are to solve a business problem and make better use of data inside and outside the organization, companies can often do so without investing in expensive new platforms or costly data scientists. Make no mistake: Many things have to happen for organizations to get the most out of their data. You must outline clear business objectives, IT and business leaders must be committed to collaborating, and the right people need to be granted access to the right data. It’s just that most of those things have little or nothing to do with the mainstream definition of big data.

“Awakened by the hype, but not caught up in it, smart companies are making sure data is in the right place at the right time, is shared by systems, and is available in reports that can be analyzed in ad-hoc fashion by business teams.”

The hyped-up definition of big data is dead, but the pursuit of making data the lifeblood of a business is more alive than ever.

ARTICLE AND IMAGE SOURCE: Courtesy of informationweek.com and emergingedtech.com

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Pro-Big Data:

  • IT as a business outsider: ‘undervalued, underinvested and underutilized’fiercebigdata.com

The end of Big Data?

CONNECTING AND CONTRIBUTING

Jenrick IT invite you to participate in further discussions on these topics:

  • If you wish to contribute as a guest (or ghost) writer for our Digest newsletter, please email us

Jenrick IT was proud to sponsor the ‘Future Fourteen’ CIO/CEO event at the RSA on Tuesday 1st July 2014 – a brief synopsis

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

On Tuesday 1st July 2014, Jenrick IT was proud to sponsor ‘Future Fourteen’ – an exclusive all-day CIO/CRob2EO event by Richard Chase Events at the RSA in London.

This one day event brought together a panel of Global Technology Leaders including the Head of Google Enterprise Cloud Platform, Former CEO of Zurich Insurance, the UK Head of Technology at ThoughtWorks, the Head of Cyber Defence at Airbus Defence and Space and many more, all sharing their thoughts and insights on the key events that will shape the Technology sector from now until 2020.

In addition to the keynote addresses, there was the opportunity to attend a series of networking sessions, best practice discussions and leadership workshops.

The event was designed to provide IT Leaders the chance to network with business peers and to discuss any future challenges that may arise within their organisations.

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5 disciplines of high performance teams – by Peter Hawkins

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Organisations are most effective when their teams are performing to the best of their abilities. When the relationships within the team work well, and all members of the team have a clear focus, the team has a significant impact on achieving goals and building business.

In this short video, Peter Hawkins, Professor at Henley Business School, describes the 5 disciplines of high performance teams.

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you need advice on hiring the best talent within your organisation to create effective, high performance teams, please contact Jenrick IT, Award winning IT Recruitment consultancy on 01932 245 500.

Social Engineering – The greatest security threat to your business!, by Gavin Watson (Senior Security Engineer at Random Storm)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Jenrick IT are specialists at providing cyber security professionals for organisations throughout the UK. Gavin hackerWatson, Senior Security Engineer at ‘Random Storm‘ has kindly contributed the following article about social engineering attacks and how companies can best protect themselves against such threats…

When looking at the security of businesses today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that social engineering attacks are the latest cutting edge approach. Despite social engineering techniques pre-dating all forms of technical attack, the vast majority of businesses are still hopelessly ill-equipped to detect and prevent attacks against human nature. The reason for this, rather unsurprisingly, is also related to human nature itself.

We find it much easier to manage ‘tangible’ security controls such as firewalls, passwords, locks and cameras than ‘intangible’ security issues, such as employees’ susceptibility to flattery, impersonation, or bullying.

The vulnerable human nature that attackers target so effectively is also impeding our ability to devise effective defence measures.

The typical approach by security conscious businesses is to roll out awareness and training material. Such material is designed to provide employees with the knowledge to spot an attack in progress and the skills to respond appropriately. Sadly, this approach will only detect the most clichéd of social engineering techniques. Additionally, if the business has weak procedures, vague security policies and broadcasts too much information publicly, the ‘aware’ employees will remain dangerously susceptible to attack.

It is all too easy to denounce employees as the weakest link in the business’s security, and not consider that elements of the business itself may be contributing far more to the problem. As an example, consider the common password reset procedure of a help desk assistant requiring an authorisation email from management. This is a seriously weak form of caller identification and therefore aids the attacker. A social engineer could easily impersonate a management employee and send a spoofed authorisation email to the assistant. The compromised email account can then be used to launch convincing spear phishing emails.

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We are all ‘the business’, by Cliff Moyce – Independent Management Consultant

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

In this article Cliff Moyce, Independent Management Consultant, addresses the unhelpful beliefs, attitudes and behaviours behind the phrase ‘the business’ – a term imagesthat he has heard people in IT departments use for many years…

I’ve been listening to people in IT departments use the phrase ‘the business’ for many years. Though I can understand why people use it, I confess it is a pet hate of mine. At a couple of recent business technology conferences, I heard it so often (and never in a positive context) that I felt compelled to write this article. What I will do (briefly!) is describe what I have done in the past to address the unhelpful beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that I have found to be hiding behind the phrase. Hopefully some of my experiences will give you food for thought.

Whenever I hear ‘the business’ as a starter, I know I have to brace myself for some blaming and buck-passing as the main course, and should expect dessert to comprise evidence that the person speaking has little belief in taking joint and several responsibility for business outcomes.

Such behaviours and beliefs are a risk to any organisation in any industry or sector. For this reason I strongly discourage the use of the term in those with whom I work, while recognising that it is merely a symptom of a bigger problem.

To say ‘the business’ is to suggest that IT has made a unilateral declaration of independence from other parts of the organisation. And actually that is exactly the scenario I have found on occasion – if only intellectually rather than physically. People who use the phrase often hold a belief (perhaps based on painful experience) that they and their colleagues are the victim of the actions of others over whom they have no control. But that belief is self-fulfilling and self-defeating, and suggests learned helplessness and a victim mentality.

The good news is that I have been able to help change the mindset on several occasions. If I can do it, you can definitely do it. I find that once people are made aware of what they are doing, they often embrace the change. Let’s face it, none of us were born with a passive-aggressive attitude. Sometimes the attitude arises as a defence mechanism from having worked in a blame culture. Sometimes it comes from working for a line manager who espouses the ‘IT versus the business’ mentality (bad role models being as influential as good ones). Sometimes it stems from poor self confidence.

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Jenrick Charity Photo Competition: The winning theme is – ‘A moment of calm…’

Monday, June 16th, 2014

We recently sent out a poll containing a selection of themes for our next charity photo competition, allowing everyone to vote for their favourite.

This year the results were really close but one theme just managed to win it and that theme is… (drum roll please)…

‘A moment of calm…’

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to vote!

So it’s time to dust off your camera and start snapping away! Send your photos to photo@jenrick.co.uk

Not entered before? This is how it works…

Every year, Jenrick runs a charity photo competition that allows members of the public to enter photos based on a theme, as voted by the public themselves! (more…)

Keith Ferrazzi on Relationship Development for Growth and Success

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

For those of you who attended the Jenrick IT ‘IT Leadership’ event on Thursday June 5th, will remember that during Gary Sage’s keynote speech, he referenced a motivating video by Keith Ferrazzi (The author of the runawayspeaker-keith bestseller ‘Never Eat Alone’), on relationship development for growth success.

Ferrazzi has spoken to companies around the globe about achieving success in work and life by building collaborative and supportive relationships.

FURTHER INFORMATION

  • Click here to visit the Keith Ferrazzi website
  • Click here to purchase Keith Ferrazzi’s book ‘Never Eat Alone’ on Amazon