About WMBA 509 – Management of Information Technology

MBA Mission Statement

The Woodbury University’s Master of Business Administration degree is designed to prepare future leaders of organizations who communicate effectively, act ethically, and think globally in a strategic manner.

Alignment with MBA Program Goals

This course is designed to support the following program learning goals:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Ethical perspectives in professional decision-making
  3. Global awareness
  4. Leadership skills
  5. Integration of strategies
  6. Domain-specific knowledge and skills

In particular, we focus on the development of your communication and domain-specific skills.

Catalog Description

The role of information as a corporate resource, and its use in providing strategic advantage. Problems of aligning corporate IT and corporate goals, creating IT architectures and using IT to enable change in organization. The case study method is used. This course is appropriate for both users of systems and providers of system support

Course Learning Outcomes

This course examines IT in a managerial context.  We have the following outcomes.

  1. Be better at using managerial IT
    1. PowerPoint presentations
    2. Writing

i.     Plain Language

ii.     Plagiarism

iii.     Email

iv.     Websites

  1. Projects & Change

i.     Lewin Cycle

  1. Understand how to work with operational IT
    1. ERP

i.     Databases & SQL

ii.     Case (Cisco)

  1. CRM
  2. Internet

i.     Definition

ii.     Push marketing

iii.     Internet usability

  1. Appreciate the impact of strategic IT
    1. Open source
    2. Social content / pull marketing
    3. Freemium & Long Tail
    4. Scalable v. non-scalable businesses
    5. Digital pricing strategies
    6. Disruption of traditional businesses by IT

i.     3d Fabrication

ii.     Disintermediation

iii.     Craigslist & newspapers

  1. Platform businesses
  2. Know some of the recent IT business

i.     Venture Capital

ii.     Independent Game Development

iii.     Wikipedia

iv.     Piracy

v.     Hackers

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Something Interesting/What I’d like to learn more about

Something Interesting/What I’d like to learn more about

1.)       

            At the NAB Show, the global tech conference that I attended in Vegas last week, one of my manufacturing partners, an up and coming switching vendor, Arista Networks, was talking a lot about an emerging concept in IT networking called Software-Defined Networking (SDN).  This got me thinking a lot about recent shifts in the storage and networking industry specifically cloud storage platforms like AWS.  Because SDN was a very hot topic at the conference it intrigued me to do some further research on it.  This morning I came across a press release about SDN from a Networking company called Enterasys.

 

            Essentially SDN is a new methodology of building computer networks and provisioning IT resources where different elements of the network can now be separated via software application to create a more efficient and cost-effective network.  SDN simplifies networking by allowing the administrator to abstract the control plane from the data plane by making these elements software based instead of hardware based.  Tech giants like Facebook and Google are both already using this new technology to optimize the efficiency of their networks and reduce costly hardware purchases.  Essentially, SDN shifts the focus of network building and administration away from costly and complicated hardware such as switches and gives these capabilities to a piece of software.  SDN allows for the separation of network elements, enabling network administrators to “provision network connections on the fly” instead of manually configuring network access policies on physical hardware like switches.

 

            SDN is the logical extension of other emerging IT concepts such as cloud computing/storage and virtualization to the network whereby the focus is shifting away from local physical systems to a more efficient, distributed, remote, virtual, and software based methodology of provisioning and controlling IT assets and delivering data and applications across the network.  Like cloud and virtualization, SDN allows the network admin to have programmable central control of network traffic without having physical access to the network’s hardware devices.  This allows for remote configuration and monitoring of networks.

 

            This new technology bridges “the gap between business, technology, and individual needs by understanding the relationship between these areas and mapping technology resources to each person, securely and in real-time, based on their role in the company.”  This brings about the idea of ‘user personalized networks’ whereby more efficient and cost effective allocation of IT resources can be realized especially in networks that are large, dynamic, cloud-based, and virtualized.  This facilitates greater flexibility and scalability of networks, which, in turn, creates immense business value for IT organizations.  SDN maximizes the value of networks “through centralized visibility and control” of networking devices and traffic.  The features of SDN “improve application delivery for dynamic environments leveraging cloud, virtualization, and server/storage consolidation.”  Enterasys posits that models like these, where IT resources are commoditized, or the consumerism of IT is an emerging industry that could be worth $3.7B by 2016.  In essence, SDM is the new direction of computer networking.  SDN is like virtualization for networks whereby administrators can logically abstract network resources and policies from the physical devices on the network using a software-based solution. 

 

http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63229:Maximising-value-the-role-of-software-defined-networking&catid=279            

 

2.)  

So far we have learned a lot about software systems and applications that help businesses operate.  Now I’d like to talk more about the physical hardware infrastructure that supports software.  All software programs must “live on” a piece of physical or virtual hardware and I’d like to explore this relationship further.  Because my company is focused on hardware systems I’d like to learn more about this area of IT. 

 

Specifically I’d like to learn more about data storage(SAN vs. NAS), File Systems, and virtualization technologies, why they’re important in enterprise IT, and how they work.  I’d also love to talk more about the business application of storage and networks as they relate to things like disaster recovery(DR), Business Continuity, and data analytics.   Another hot topic in IT that I’d like to learn more about is HADOOP open source software and its application in processing vast quantities of data.  It is my understanding that HADOOP is a very useful platform to create business value out of massive quantities of data such as analyzing marketing and advertising data to inform solid business decisions about budget allocation and marketing strategies. 

Questions Week 3

Explain something interesting from the Colbert Chris Anderson video

As digital technologies advance, digital content and goods are becoming cheaper and cheaper every year.  Digital goods are “deflationary.”  Advances in internet technologies, telecom, and digital distribution are driving down the operational costs of digital goods and digital distribution models.

Describe something interesting from your assigned reading from the crowdsourcing example.  

Although Kickstarter seems like a straightforward, simple, and honest way to help organizations and creators gain funding for ‘noble or worthy’ projects through the support of the online community, it can have some unfortunate consequences.  Because Kickstarter takes a 5% cut, it may unnecessarily be taking money out of the hands of the charities and non-profits themselves and becomes a way for creative people and entertainers to exploit their followers.  These readings bring to light several conflicts in the way we understand art, artists, the creative process, funding, intermediaries, and charity.  In a way, Kickstarter can now be seen to be blurring the line between art/charity and for-profit business.  

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/could-kickstarter-be-evil/Content?oid=7876570

Describe how a packet moves across the Internet

A packet moves across the internet through a complex system of telecommunications infrastructure including a mixture of underground copper wire, fiber-optic cable, and a series of Internet Hubs.  The packet or virtual envelope requesting information is sent as an electronic signal from a single computer via regional networks of underground copper wire to a centralized Internet Hub(Datacenter/CDN) where the packet or electronic signal is read, converted to a pulse of light, and then redirected to the web server that has the information it needs via high-speed fiber-optic cable.  Essentially, as a packet travels across the internet, it travels long-distances(thousands of miles) through a series of regional telecom networks(copper & fiber-optic runs) and hubs.  When a packet is travelling via underground copper wire it is an electronic signal.  When a packet is travelling via fiber-optic-cable, for example across continents (deep under the ocean) it is converted to a pulse of light traveling through a glass fiber as thick as a silver dollar.  Packets travel across the internet within a second or less.  When the packet or request for information is received by the web server, the information requested is broken up into smaller packets and then sent back through the same channel of underground regional copper wire, hubs, and/or fiber-optic cable back to the individual computer requesting the specific information over the internet.

Describe the difference between Internet Explorer and Firefox

Internet Explorer is an internet browser developed by Microsoft and included as part of the package of every Windows Operating System sold. It is the most widely used browser because it has been around the longest and is already included and doesn’t require the user to go out and find another browser.  Firefox is a free internet browser developed by Mozilla and can be downloaded from the internet.  It is the biggest threat to Internet Explorer and holds the next largest market share after IE.  Firefox is easier to use, faster, and more stable than IE.  Firefox was also the first browser to use multi-tabbed browsing, where previously in order to have multiple web-sites opened, say in IE, would require the user to open an entirely new window for each webpage, thus cluttering up the task bar.  Another advantage of Firefox over IE is that it has a community of users that create add-ons or extensions that add functionality and capabilities to the browser.  This allows users to customize Firefox to fit their unique needs in a way that is not allowed with IE because its closed-source software and controlled by Microsoft.  It may be easier to create and publish a website in IE as opposed to Firefox because Firefox does not translate Content Management System(CMS) code correctly.  Firefox is considered a safer browser because it has a built-in pop-up blocker where you must manually give specific sites permission to allow pop-ups.  Because IE has more users, it is inherently more vulnerable to attack as well.

http://techtips.salon.com/differences-between-windows-internet-explorer-firefox-10015.html 

 

Questions Week 2

Describe the Lewin Cycle?  Why is it useful?

The Lewin Cycle is a psychological theory invented by Kurt Lewin.  It is a 3-step proccess that seeks to explain the psychological and social underpinnings of organizational change.  The first step is to “unfreeze” from the comfort and safety of the old way of operating so that you can open your mind to new and beneficial alternatives of operating.  The second step is “transition” which can be a lengthy and complex proccess of many steps and requires leadership and coaching.  The third step is to “refreeze” in the new way of operating and establish the change or new state as a new place of stability.  This theory can be very useful to managers who want to implement and manage organizational change by allowing them to understand the psychological drivers and impediments to change and giving them strategies and tactics for effective change management.  

Give a reason the implementation succeeded (don’t repeat)

A huge reason why the implementation succeeded was because Cisco built the right implementation team.  They selected the best members for the team and structured the team itself in a way that would maximize collaboration.  Cisco pulled their best and brightest off of other business-impacting projects to focus solely on the ERP implementation.  The implementation team was structured to include members from Cisco business units(managers, business leads, IT leads, & end-users), Cisco executive leadership, consultants and executives from the software vendor Oracle, members from the hardware vendor, and members from the integration company KPMG.  The implementation team was divided into functional teams or “tracks” that were overseen by two layers of management: the Executive Steering Team(Cisco Executives) and the Project Management Office.  The implementation was successfull largely due to the talents of the individual team memebers, the overall structure and cooperation of the team, and the very savvy and collaborative leadership styles of Cisco’s CEO, John Morgridge and CIO, Pete Slovik.

Define the GPL License

GPL stands for “General Public License” and was originally created for the GNU project.  GPL legally guarantees end-users the freedom to use, share, study, copy, and modify what can be referred to as “free software”.  GPL is used as a licensing methodolgy in open-source software development where the use and development of software is free and collaborative.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU

Define Fair Use Law

Fair Use Law refers to the legal doctrine in Intellectual Property Law that legally allows for the limited use of copyrighted material without gaining permission from the copyright holder.  Examples include the use of public records such as commentary, criticisms, search engines, research, news reporting, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.  It permits the legal, unlicensed citation or use of copyrighted material from another author’s work.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use