Stories by Michael Hugos

An agile IT architecture in three easy steps

Business agility isn't just a good idea, it's the new normal. And the role of IT is to enable agility. Business happens in real time these days, driven by global e-commerce, social media networks and consumer IT. Companies have to be agile to keep up with what's going on, and that requires developing IT architectures that allow them to respond quickly as situations change.

Big failures teach big lessons

Failures frequently teach us more than do successful projects. When I succeed, it just confirms what I already know -- I'm a genius. When I fail, I have an opportunity to learn, if I can bring myself to take an objective look at what happened. This is hard, but then making the same mistakes again and again is even harder. So failure can be a great opportunity to learn.

Looking for the Next Great Thing

Part of every job is to have that job disappear. It happens for all sorts of reasons, some under our control, some not. We use words like fired, resigned, laid off, outsourced and downsized. While those words may describe what happened, they miss a key point: Whatever happened, losing or leaving a job is always the start of an experience we call "in transition."

On the receiving end of ERP grief

When I was asked to speak at the annual convention of a well-known professional association of management accountants, I accepted with some trepidation. I don't hold being an accountant against anyone, but with the advent of ERP systems, it seems that we IT folks have been on the receiving end of a lot of accountant-caused grief.

The 'define, design, build' approach

One of the most important and complex things an IT professional is called on to do is implement new systems. This runs the gamut from rolling out packaged applications to creating custom systems.

Here to help

My company has a hard time maintaining its profit margins. Customers can buy what we sell (stuff like paper cups, plastic spoons, paper towels, mops and floor wax) from lots of other companies. The prices we can charge are always being driven down.

Opinion: The systems builder

I got into the IT business because I love to design and build systems. After doing a lot of designing and building and watching others do a lot of designing and building, one of the most important things I've learned is that successful projects are always run by a certain kind of person. This person can speak both the language of technology and the language of business. This person understands the specific business issues that a new system is supposed to address and is always looking for simple and effective ways to use technology to get things done. I call this person the systems builder.

We're ready for what comes next

We are emerging from the three lean years that followed the five crazy years. It was a wild ride, and I think we are actually better off for it.

Making IT a profit centre

It's great to use IT to cut costs, but people expect that. How can IT be used to increase your company's revenue? How can IT be used to differentiate your company from similar ones? How can IT be used to better please the people your organization serves?