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

Plain Language Exercises

Material adapted from the PLAIN language training website at http://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/for_trainers/PLAIN.cfm.

Nouns and Pronouns

Rewrite the following passages to speak more directly to the reader.

1. Copies of tax returns must be provided.

You must provide a copy of your tax return.

2. Loan applications will be reviewed to ensure that procedures have been followed.

Your loan application will be reviewed to ensure that all procedures have been followed.

3. Dietary patterns consistent with recommended dietary guidance are associated with a lower risk of mortality among individuals age 45 years and older in the United States.

Individuals 45 years and older in the US who’s dietary patterns are consistent with recommended dietary guidance have a lower risk of mortality. 

4. The applicant will be the primary source of information regarding his or her circumstances for the purposes of determining eligibility and need.

For the purposes of determining eligibility and need, you will be the primary source of information regarding your circumstances.

5. To establish eligibility for a voucher, an applicant must show that the applicant has a low income and that the present housing of the applicant is substandard and inadequate.

In order to be eligible for a voucher, you must show that you have a low and income and that your present housing is substandard and inadequate.

6. Easy access to information and resources concerning long-term care issues for seniors and the disabled has been made available on a new website developed by the County Department of Community and Senior Services

The County Department of Community and Senior Services’ new website provides easy access to information and resources concerning long-term care issues for seniors and the disabled.

Pronouns and Active Voice

Use pronouns, active voice, and any other technique to improve these passages. You may have to invent a subject for some of the sentences.

1. The scientific report was used to develop the Dietary Guidelines jointly between the two Departments and forms the basis of recommendations that will be used by USDA and HHS for program and policy development.

The USDA and HHS used the scientific report to jointly develop the Dietary Guidelines and inform program and policy development. 

2. Consumer messages have been developed to educate the public about the Key Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and will be used in materials targeted for consumers separate from this publication.

The departments developed targeted consumer messages separate from this publication to educate the public about Key Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines. 

3. Recently, it was reported that dietary patterns consistent with recommended dietary guidance were associated with a lower risk of mortality among individuals age 45 years and older in the United States.

The USDA and HHS recently reported that individuals 45 years and older in the US who’s dietary patterns were consistent with the dietary guidance recommendations had a lower risk of mortality.

4. These two similar eating patterns are designed to integrate dietary recommendations into a healthy way to eat and are used in the Dietary Guidelines to provide examples of how nutrient-focused recommendations can be expressed in terms of food choices.

The Dietary Guidelines use these two similar eating patterns to integrate dietary recommendations with a healthy way of eating and to provide examples of how nutrient-focused recommendations can be expressed in terms of food choices. 

Sentences and Paragraphs Exercise

Rewrite the following sentences to improve them. Break them into multiple sentences if that’s the best solution.

1. Applicants may be granted a permit to prospect for geothermal resources on any federal lands except lands in the National Park System, unless the applicant holds valid existing rights to the geothermal resources on the National Park System lands listed in the application.

You must be granted a permit in order to prospect for geothermal resources on any federal lands except those in the National Park System.  You may prospect for geothermal resources on lands in the National Park System, if and only if, you hold valid existing rights to the geothermal resources on those lands and this is annotated in your application. 

2. The initiative works to educate specific underserved communities to recognize and report intolerance and hate crimes, to assist victims in accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and to advocate on behalf of victims for institutional changes that can reduce hate crimes.

This initiative works to reduce hate crimes by educating specific underserved communities to recognize and report intolerance and hate crimes, assist victims in accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and advocate on behalf of victims for institutional change. 

3. In most cases, your California Small Business certification or Non-Profit registration will be completed online in one business day or less when you have at hand the necessary information from your tax returns and business documents to enter into the online system.

If you have all the necessary information from you tax returns and business documents you can complete the online registration for your California Small Business or Non-Profit Certification in one business day or less. 

4. No approval of any noise compatibility program, or any portion of a program, may be implied in the absence of the agency’s express approval.

The agency must formally approve any noise compatibility program. 

Paragraph Rewrite

Rewrite the following using the provided guidelines.

 

(3) Travel restrictions. The operation of a motor vehicle on oversand routes is subject to all applicable provisions of this chapter, including part 4 as well as the specific provisions of this section.

Oversand Vehicle Guidelines.  The operation of a motor vehicle on oversand routes is subject to all applicable provisions in this chapter.

(i)             Route limits.

What is a route?

(a) On the beach, a vehicle operator will drive in a corridor extending from a point 10 feet seaward of the spring high tide drift line to the berm crest. An operator may drive below the berm crest only to pass a temporary cut in the beach, but will regain the crest immediately following the cut. Delineator posts mark the landward side of the corridor in critical areas.

On the beach, you can only drive in a corridor extending10 feet seaward from the spring high tide drift line to the berm crest.  You can drive below the berm crest only to pass a temporary cut in the beach and must regain the crest immediately after the cut.  Posts mark the landward side of the corridor in critical areas.

(b) On an inland oversand route, a vehicle operator will drive only in a lane designated by pairs of delineator posts showing the sides of the route.

On an inland oversand route, you may only drive in a lane designated by the posts.

(ii) An oversand route is closed at any time that tides, nesting birds or surface configuration prevent vehicle travel within the designated corridor.

Oversand routes will be closed any time that tides, nesting birds, or surface configuration are present in the corridor.

(iii) When two vehicles meet on the beach, the operator of the vehicle with the water on the left will yield.

When two vehicles meet, the vehicle with the water on their left must yield.

(iv) When two vehicles meet on a single-lane oversand route, the operator of the vehicle in the best position to yield will pull out of the track only so far as necessary to allow the other vehicle to pass safely, and then will move back into the established track before resuming the original direction of travel.

When two vehicles meet on a single-lane oversand route, the vehicle in the best position to yield will do so only enough to allow the other vehicle to pass safely.  Once the other vehicle has passed, the vehicle that yielded can move back into the track and continue its course.

(v) When the process of freeing a vehicle that has been stuck results in ruts or holes, the operator will fill the ruts or holes created by such activity before removing the vehicle from the immediate area.

Vehicle operators must fill any holes or ruts created by their vehicle before leaving the immediate area.

(vi) The Following are Prohibited

Prohibitions

(a) Driving off a designated oversand route.

You may not drive off a designated oversand route.

(b) Exceeding a speed of 15 miles per hour unless posted otherwise.

You may not exceed 15 miles per hour unless posted otherwise.

(c) Parking a vehicle in an oversand route so as to obstruct traffic.

You may not park a vehicle on an oversand route if it obstructs traffic.

(d) Riding on a fender, tailgate, roof, door or any other location on the outside of a vehicle.

You must ride sitting completely inside of your vehicle.

(e) Driving a vehicle across a designated swimming beach at any time when it is posted with a sign prohibiting vehicles.

You may not drive a vehicle across a designated swimming beach.

(f) Operating a motorcycle on an oversand route.

You may never operate a motorcycle on an oversand route.

(vii) Boat trailering and launching by permitted ORVs in designated open route corridors is permitted.

You may only trailer and launch boats with permitted ORVs in designated areas.

Speech Critique: Averting the Climate Crisis, Al Gore

Speech Critique: Averting the Climate Crisis, Al Gore

TED Talk 2006 – Averting the Climate Crisis, Al Gore

 

In 2006, Al Gore gave a TED Talk entitled “Averting the Climate Crisis.”  In this talk he outlines 15 things that the individual person can do to mitigate and hopefully avert the climate crisis.  He opened with a humorous anecdotal story.  Although funny, I think he spent too much time on this story and I didn’t really see the direct relevance of the anecdote to the thesis of his speech.  He also made a few slight errors, which I noticed, including: putting his hand in his pocket, a few inconsistent statements, and a few mixed messages about the political nature of this issue.

 

He lists 15 things that you can do to help us fight climate change.  Some of the things he mentioned were the following: reducing emissions in your home, reducing car emissions by buying a hybrid, using trains, and carpooling.  He talked about the importance of living a “carbon-neutral life” essentially by making a concerted effort to reduce your personal CO2 emissions.  He referenced the climate calculator to quantify your personal impact on carbon emissions and climate change.  He also urged his audience to consider making their businesses carbon-neutral by investing sustainably.  He inspires his audience to become a catalyst of change by becoming educated on the topic, talking about it, and spreading the message about climate change and what can be done to prevent it further.  He encourages his audience to make this a political issue and vote sustainably.  However, he ends the speech by asserting that climate change and CO2 emissions are not really a political issue but fundamentally a moral issue.  He ends the speech with the quote, “We are one.”  By this he is asserting that climate change is fundamentally a moral issue and that we should respect and preserve our planet and our environment for the well-being of our posterity. 

 

I liked several things about his talk.  First, I liked that he admits that the presentation is a true work in progress.  He says that he learns something new every time he gives the talk and he is constantly refreshing its content and images.  His strategy for this talk goes far beyond himself as well.  He teaches this presentation to many young people and trains them to deliver this talk and spread the message to as many people as possible.  I thought his use of visual aids, pictures, and hard data was very compelling and gave great strength to the arguments he was making.  I liked his ability to ask purposeful questions of the audience.  You can clearly see that this strategy allows him to better engage with the audience and help them to identify with his cause.  I also liked how repetitious he was and this strategy really drives home his main argument.  I would like to emulate these things for my next presentation. 

 

This talk definitely aligns with our feedback on presentations.  He is obviously a very talented and inspiring speaker.  He started with something engaging like a humorous story.  His arguments are straightforward and accessible.  His eye contact was superb.  Above all, his use of images and visual aids was very good.  He knew the topic inside and out and didn’t need any text to convey his thoughts.  Instead, he used the pictures and data as visual aids in talking about the topic and arguing his point of view. 

 

For the next presentation I am really going to be focusing on minimizing the text in my powerpoint and relying on visual aids to speak about my topic and argue my thesis.  I also want to work on eye contact.  Gore was very good at conveying emotion and using ‘ethos’ to argue his point of view.  I’d like to exhibit this kind of zeal, excitement, and passion for my topic as well so that my audience understands its importance. 

 

Presentation #2: Business Strategies for Outsourcing to the Cloud

Presentation #2: Business Strategies for Outsourcing to the Cloud

Outsourcing & the Future of the Journey to the Cloud

Jack McAlpin

Woodbury University

WMBA 509 – Management of Information Technology

Dr. Nathan Garrett

4/22/13

We know that the Cloud is here and here to stay.  It has made an indelible mark on the realms of IT and business.  But like all technologies, Cloud is constantly evolving.  Cloud has evolved from a marketing buzz word to a primitive business model to a rudimentary process of off-site computing and is now a highly developed on-demand commercial product that businesses can leverage to lower costs, increase efficiency, and create greater business and customer value.  But, as a fluxing phenomenon, where is the cloud going?  What is the future of the enterprises’ journey to the cloud?

The hotness and popularity of cloud is evident in the manifold number of cloud providers that keep emerging.  We find everyone from start-up software companies that are backed by VC all the way to established fortune 500 technology companies jumping on the cloud bandwagon.  There is no doubt that cloud is the future of IT and those that do not accept this will be left behind and outperformed by competitors that understand and capitalize on this business opportunity. 

              Cloud in the enterprise is all about outsourcing.  What aspects of the ‘traditional’ IT department should the enterprise outsource to the cloud and what aspects should they not outsource to the cloud?  This is the key business problem with regard to the future of cloud computing.  According to Dr. Nathan Garrett, an organization should outsource whatever is not related to its core mission so that it can allocate the maximum amount of internal resources solely towards realizing that mission.  Organizations should outsource on the basis of cost and expertise.  The theory of outsourcing is intertwined with the theory of competitive advantage because an organization should focus solely on its mission and core competency while reducing costs by outsourcing areas of IT that it does not have an expertise in.  This means that what gets outsourced to the cloud is dependent upon the unique mission and core competency of the specific organization.  What to outsource or not is dependent upon the unique nature of the organization (Garrett, Nathan).

              It is the opinion of this writer that 2 main aspects of IT will not be outsourced to the cloud in 10 years: ‘Big Data’/HPC and Compliant data.  ‘Big Data’ and HPC applications are too large and complex to be hosted, secured, and retrieved from the cloud with the current technology (internet infrastructure, processing power, and data management).  Because of regulatory compliance and governance, some aspects of IT such as compliant data(banks, hospitals, R&D) will not be outsourced to the cloud because legally they cannot be.  Just because a cloud provider like AWS says that their system is secure, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it satisfies the unique compliance and governance requirements mandated for specific industries.  Just because AWS says they’ve never been breached doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth or that they could even know for sure if and when their system has been compromised. 

              When asked what he thought about cloud in 2009, Larry Ellison replied, “Cloud is water vapor” (youtube.com).  Ellison, the Founder & CEO of Oracle, the 2nd largest software company in the world, has a point.  Cloud is everything and nothing at the same time.  Cloud is whatever you want it to be.  Cloud means so many things to different people in different contexts.  Cloud is about the relationship that people and business either directly or indirectly have with IT and computing.  In 10 years, there’s no telling where the cloud will be, what will be in it, and who the dominant players will be.  That’s the exciting thing about cloud and about technology in general.   

 

 

References

 

Garrett, Nathan.  (4/1/2013).  Outsourcing.  Woodbury University WMBA 509.  Lecture

              conducted from Burbank, CA.

 

Churchill Club.  (9/21/09).  Larry Ellison & Ed Zander.  Retrieved from

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmrxN3GWHpM&t=44m45s