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One of the biggest challenges faced by senior IT professionals in organizations is the choice of the right software vendor. In the highly competitive enterprise software industry, there are lot of vendors who claim to offer the best software for the problem and it can be really daunting to narrow down the best choice. Additionally, enterprise software costs can often run into millions of dollars thereby leaving very little margin of error. The real cost of choosing a wrong software can often result into losses much more than the cost of the software itself as highlighted by software disasters experienced by leading companies like HP, Nike etc. In such a scenario, senior IT professionals despite years of expertise can find it very difficult to choose the right business software vendor for their organization.

Here are some of the proven ways of short-listing and selecting the right business software vendor for your organization,

·         Understand and Define The Exact Need First: Before embarking on a journey to select the software vendor, it is critical to understand and define the exact problem you want the software to solve. The paramount question to be asked is what business objective does the software need to solve. Is the software required to “reduce costs” or is it to “improve productivity”? Extracting and defining this fundamental question is the bare minimum but necessary step to go searching for the right vendor. It will then form the basis of comparing multiple vendors on this very need that your organization has and will help drive the selection process going forward. The detailed approach involves creating a set of parameters that the software needs to meet in order to be considered. In fact, consider categorizing these parameters further in “must-haves”, “good to have” etc. which will help you assign relevant weights to these parameter and how the software’s fare on each of these parameters

·         Building The List of Vendors Who Meet The Need: Once you have defined your need and distilled that need into various parameters, it’s time to built the list of vendors who you think will meet the need. This is akin to a lead generation model wherein you want to identify a large enough pool and then filters your list down to the best ones. There are multiple ways of building a list of vendors and more often than not, you must use a combination of these methods to build a good enough list.

o   Use Industry Reports: We discussed the IT intelligence offered by leading industry firms Gartner and Forrester in How To Keep On Top Of Latest Trends In Information Technology. These firms based on their access to leading software vendors and CIO network publish vendor comparison research reports across specific verticals as well as specific technologies. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and Forrester’s Wave are a very good starting point to get an insight into the best software vendors. For example, if you were looking for a CRM solution, you could look for Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CRM and look at the vendors that make the list. These reports can be pricey but well worth the money if you are going to invest hundreds of thousands in the software. Having said that, you don’t have to trust these report blindly because how these firms define the best software may not match how you define the best software for your organization

o   Competitive Intelligence: If you are a smart professional, you are already keeping tabs of your competition. Chances are that if you are a big organization, you might see a Press Release either from your competitor or their vendor announcing the implementation of new software. Extrapolate that across 5-10 key competitors of yours and you might discover the vendors that your competitors are choosing. This gives you a good indicator that the vendors used by your competitors must be offering something right.

Is it possible for anyone to give Microsoft a fair trial? The first half of 2012 is in the history books. Yet the firm still cannot seem to shake the public opinion as The Evil Empire that produces crap code.

I am in a unique position. I joined the orbit of Microsoft in 1973 after the Army decided it didn't need photographers flying around in helicopters in Vietnam anymore. I was sent to Fort Lewis and assigned to 9th Finance because I had a smattering of knowledge about computers. And the Army was going to a computerized payroll system.

Bill and Paul used the University of Washington's VAX PDP computer to create BASIC for the Altair computer. Certainly laughable by today's standards, it is the very roots of the home computer.

Microsoft became successful because it delivered what people wanted.

The name placard in your cube might not say anything about sales, but the truth is that everyone, employed as such or not, is a salesperson at some point every single day. In the traditional sense, this could mean something like pitching your company’s solutions to a client. In the less-traditional sense, it could mean convincing your child to eat their vegetables. Yet for those two drastically different examples and everything in between, there is a constant for successful sellers: unveiling the “Why.”

Spending time and energy making prospects understand why you do what you do instead of exactly what it is you do or how you do it is not a new concept. But I’m a firm believer that proven concepts, no matter how old and frequently referenced they are, can’t be repeated enough. This idea has recently and fervently been popularized by marketer, author, and thinker extraordinaire Simon Sinek via his 2009 book, Start With Why. You can learn about him here on Wikipedia or here on his site. To begin, let me suggest that you watch Sinek’s TED talk on Starting With Why here on YouTube before reading any further. I’ll let him take care of the bulk of explaining the basics, and then will offer some ideas of my own to back this up in the real world and explore the best ways to start thinking this way and apply it to your business.

First, a little on me. After all, if I were to practice what Sinek preaches, it would follow that I explain why it is I’m writing this piece so that you, the reader, not only have a good reason to pay attention but also understand what drives me on a deeper level. So, who am I? I’m an entrepreneur in the music space. I do freelance work in the realms of copywriting, business development, and marketing for artists and industry / music-tech folks, but my main project is doing all of the above for a project I’ve been on the team for since day one called Presskit.to. In short, Presskit.to builds digital portfolios that artists of all kinds can use to represent themselves professionally when pitching their projects to gatekeepers like label reps, casting directors, managers, the press, etc. This core technology is also applicable to larger entertainment industry businesses and fine arts education institutions in enterprise formats, and solves a variety of the problems they’re facing.

Not interesting? I don’t blame you for thinking so, if you did. That’s because I just gave you a bland overview of what we do, instead of why we do it. What if, instead, I told you that myself and everyone I work with is an artist of some sort and believes that the most important thing you can do in life is create; that our technology exists to make creators’ careers more easily sustainable. Or, another approach, that we think the world is a better place when artists can make more art, and that because our technology was built to help artists win more business, we’re trying our best to do our part. Only you can be the judge, but I think that sort of pitch is more compelling. It touches on the emotions responsible for decision making that Sinek outlines in his Ted Talk, rather than the practical language-based reasons like pricing, technicalities, how everything works to accomplish given goals, etc. These things are on the outside of the golden circle Sinek shows us for a reason – they only really matter if you’ve aligned your beliefs with a client’s first. Otherwise these kind of tidbits are gobbledygook, and mind-numbingly boring gobbledygook at that.

One of the most anticipated features that came on the iPhone 4S was a new thing called: Siri. Zooming out before concentrating on Siri, mobile assistants were the new rage. Beforehand, people were fascinated by the cloud, and how you could store your files in the Internet and retrieve it from anywhere. You could store your file at home, and get it at your workplace to make a presentation. However, next came virtual assistants. When you’re in the car, it’s hard to send text messages. It’s hard to call people. It’s hard to set reminders that just popped into your head onto your phone. Thus, came the virtual assistant: a new way to be able to talk to your phone to be able to do what you want it to do, and in this case, text message, or call people, and many other features. Apple jumped onto the bandwagon with the iPhone 4S and came out with the new feature: Siri, a virtual assistant that is tailored to assist you in your endeavours by your diction.

 

Getting started with Siri

To get Siri in the first place, you need an iPhone 4S; although you may have the latest updates on your iPhone 4 or earlier, having an iPhone 4S means you have the hardware that is required to run Siri on your phone. Therefore, if you are interested in using Siri, check into getting an iPhone 4S, as they are getting cheaper every single day.

 

Tech Life in Virginia

Virginia is known as "the birthplace of a nation,? is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and has had 3 capital cities, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Richmond. The state motto is "Sic Semper Tyrannis"??Thus always to tyrants? More people work for the U.S. government than any other industry in this region. Virginia's largest private employer is also the world's largest ship building yard. Because the state hosts some major Net firms such as AOL, Network Solutions, and MCI WorldCom it has dubbed itself the "Internet Capital of the world".
Life is a traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken. David Herbert Lawrence
other Learning Options
Software developers near Roanoke have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in Virginia that offer opportunities for IBM developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Brink's Inc. Richmond Business Services Security Services
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) Mc Lean Financial Services Lending and Mortgage
General Dynamics Corporation Falls Church Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
CarMax, Inc. Henrico Retail Automobile Dealers
NVR, Inc. Reston Real Estate and Construction Construction and Remodeling
Gannett Co., Inc. Mc Lean Media and Entertainment Newspapers, Books and Periodicals
Smithfield Foods, Inc. Smithfield Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
ManTech International Corporation Fairfax Computers and Electronics IT and Network Services and Support
DynCorp International Falls Church Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Genworth Financial, Inc. Richmond Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
MeadWestvaco Corporation Richmond Manufacturing Paper and Paper Products
Dollar Tree, Inc. Chesapeake Retail Department Stores
Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. Abingdon Agriculture and Mining Mining and Quarrying
SRA International, Inc. Fairfax Business Services Business Services Other
NII Holdings, Inc. Reston Telecommunications Wireless and Mobile
Dominion Resources, Inc. Richmond Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Norfolk Southern Corporation Norfolk Transportation and Storage Freight Hauling (Rail and Truck)
CACI International Inc. Arlington Software and Internet Data Analytics, Management and Storage
Amerigroup Corporation Virginia Beach Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Owens and Minor, Inc. Mechanicsville Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Personal Health Care Products
Advance Auto Parts, Inc Roanoke Retail Automobile Parts Stores
SAIC Mc Lean Software and Internet Software
AES Corporation Arlington Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Capital One Financial Corporation Mc Lean Financial Services Credit Cards and Related Services
Sunrise Senior Living, Inc. Mc Lean Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Residential and Long-Term Care Facilities
Computer Sciences Corporation Falls Church Software and Internet Software
Altria Group, Inc. Richmond Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Northrop Grumman Corporation Falls Church Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Alliant Techsystems Inc. Arlington Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Markel Corporation Glen Allen Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Virginia since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about IBM programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized IBM experts
  • Get up to speed with vital IBM programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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