Tag Archive for management

Business Intangibles

By Tom Fedro
 

When you’ve spent a great deal of your life attempting to create value in the technology world, you tend to get an interesting perspective on life. Over the last forty years or so, the computer revolution has moved from “wouldn’t it be cool if…” to “developing solutions for integrated operational support.” The industry has matured from scattered groups of tech-savvy dreamers to operations-savvy businesspersons. This marriage of technology and management would have been useful in the late nineties when it seemed like labeling a company with the word “tech” brought visions of multi-millionaire investors and soaring stocks. Innovation without business perspective, though, is ultimately a recipe for failure, and success or failure in technology falls squarely on the business fundamentals side of the equation.

This isn’t to say that the technology lacks importance. I’ve made a career out of constant attention to development and innovation. You’re not going to find a more committed advocate for technology advancement than me. The problem is that those of us who focus on technology tend to do so at the exclusion of all else. How many times have you seen a techie rush into your office singing the praises of some new feature or functionality that really has no business impact at all? Excitement exists for the technological advancement rather than the value of the enhancement. A feature that isn’t used is wasted code, but how often does the real business implication of our work get lost in the challenge. We’re so busy trying to find out if we can do something that we forget to determine why we should do it in the first place.

You see it in more than the technology sector. Automotive elements, as seen on TV’s latest fix, and even the food industry flavors of the month all come and go. Technology, though, seems uniquely geared toward activity rather than action, toward busy-ness rather than business. Strangely, we can interview stakeholders to pull together a deep needs analysis. We can create elaborate and extensive flow charts and mind maps to drive software development. We can be remarkably organized while focusing on our immediate objectives. Why then do technology companies tend to dismiss the business issues we claim we’re here to enhance?

Ultimately, it’s too easy to fall into the failed thinking that suggests a product is the goal in and of itself. If you believe that your technology is the end and not the means to an end, you’re on dangerous ground. I’ve seen start-up after start-up that didn’t get past that initial stage. For the most part, the technology involved was interesting, even conceptually brilliant. However, the relationship of the technology to the business was lacking. It’s not surprising really. Too many companies create products for the IT Department instead of for the whole enterprise, and some don’t even do that well. If you’re in the technology world, are you minding your business?

Paragon Software’s Disaster Recovery Tool, HDM, Launched into Space and Orbiting Earth

By Tom Fedro

Paragon Software made history last month as its backup and recovery software rode aboard the last flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.  I can remember when the first space shuttle mission took flight in 1981; Columbia landed in nearby Edwards Air Force base here in Southern California…the sonic boom was impressive.

With such an amazing history surrounding the space shuttle program, it was a humbling experience to have Paragon’s disaster recovery tool be a part of the last historic flight. Operating under NASA’s Bioastronautics contract, Wyle and its subcontractor, Lockheed Martin selected Paragon’s backup and recovery software: Hard Disk Manager (HDM) 11 Professional.

Certification of the next generation ultrasound technology required being able to successfully restore the new ultrasound system to its launch configuration.  As is often the case with space-related operations, a customized software solution was needed. The ease of performing a backup and restore process with the selected disaster recovery tool for the astronauts was also a major priority.

Bioastronautics personnel evaluated several backup and recovery software solutions. Of the tools available, Paragon’s HDM 11 came closest to meeting the project’s needs. Our staff stepped in to close the gap by providing a customized solution designed to minimize user interaction, developing a restore script that automated the system restore process to the click of a button via a USB-bootable flash drive.

It was important to industry leaders Wyle and Lockheed Martin to ensure that the astronauts operating on the Space Station could quickly and easily restore their systems back to an operable state — with the customized version of Paragon’s backup and recovery software, Hard Disk Manager, they can recover in a matter of minutes without any additional disaster recovery tools.

Hopefully, there will come a time soon when NASA will again be empowered to explore the heavens with human flight missions.