Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.

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BYOD is here to stay

At a software user group meeting, several attendees took notes on iPads. At the grocery store, one of the staff had an iPad, showing shoppers how to sign up for a paperless coupon program. More and more executives are using tablets at work. And workers in a range of other job functions bring personal smartphones and tablets to work. All of these parties would like the IT department to support their mobile devices.

Bring Your Own Device is the new modus operandi. IT executives should ask not about whether to allow such consumer devices into the organization, but how to implement a BYOD policy, and what that policy should address.

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Windows 8 debuts in October

The Windows Experience Blog earlier this year said,

“With Windows 8, the whole experience of Windows has been reimagined. It’s designed to work on a wide range of devices, from touch-enabled tablets, to laptops, to desktops and all-in-ones. We’ve designed Windows 8 to give you instant access to your apps, your files, and the information you care about most so you can spend less time navigating and more time doing what you actually want to do. You can move between Windows 8 PCs easily and access your files and settings from virtually anywhere. We’ve made touch a first-class experience and navigating with a mouse and keyboard fast and fluid. And just like Windows 7, reliability and security features are built in. It’s the best of Windows 7, made even better.”

Don’t spend too much time looking for the familiar “Start” button, because it’s gone. The new interface displays boldly colored tiles that you can customize to put the information you need at your fingertips—literally, as Windows 8 works on touch screen devices as well as PCs with keyboards.

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Spreadsheets have their place

At 30 years old, spreadsheets are ubiquitous in businesses around the world. Many organizations use spreadsheets in situations where they should enter data in a secure, centralized database. Why?

  • Knowledge workers, managers and executives are comfortable with spreadsheets
  • Most people have a copy of Excel on their computer, or access to a Web spreadsheet application
  • Spreadsheets may fill the gap when enterprise software applications do not have needed charting and analytical features.

The proliferation of spreadsheets creates operational risk due to intended or unintended data entry or calculation errors, the lack of version control, the potential for eDiscovery, the difficulty in comparing versions, the difficulty in sharing information with people who need it, and other issues.

Spreadsheets have their place. They are a good tool for “what if” analysis, viewing trends, creating pivot tables and more. I know that it’s tempting—and awfully easy—to click on the Excel icon for a quick spreadsheet “fix.” But think about the associated risks, and whether they are worth it!

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Data at your fingertips v2.0

A number of years ago, I was an early adopter of the first color Palm OS device—the Handspring Visor. This device replaced two pounds of paper in a junior desk size Covey planner, and did more—it allowed me to keep my calendar and contacts electronically, where the planner only organized my calendar. Eventually my Visor became unreliable and I replaced it with a much faster, slimmer, cheaper, multi-featured Sony Palm OS device.

Fast forward to the 21st century… smartphones with more computing power than my first few laptop computers are ubiquitous. People want data at their fingertips and they want it “to go.” Mobile devices provide information, convenience and social networking across a variety of screen sizes and types, and market analysts predict that tablet sales will surpass PC sales in a couple of years.

Devices like the iPad did not even exist three years ago, and they have changed the way we live and work. With excitement, I look forward to being part of this revolution.

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Companies often overlook organizational change management in enterprise software initiatives

Whether you are considering a brand new enterprise EHS software application, or replacing or updating legacy systems, change happens. Change is unsettling, and people’s past experiences and emotions affect the way that they perceive it. Change management is a “people” issue that companies often overlook or do not give sufficient attention when taking on an enterprise software initiative.

Organizational change management is a structured approach to get people from the current state to the desired state. It is a process that involves preparing for change, managing change and reinforcing change. This process involves much more than training, and parallels the software/systems life cycle.

How you handle the change and prepare your people can make or break your IT initiative. Read IT Insight column, Change Happens… Embrace It! to learn how to create an atmosphere that enables software-related changes to work in your organization.

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IHS adds EHS regulatory content provider to its portfolio of companies

IHS acquired CyberRegs from Citation Technologies. This strategic acquisition fills a previous regulatory content gap in its environment, health & safety (EHS) and sustainability solutions offerings. CyberRegs helps organizations to keep up to date on regulatory changes that affect their assets. In the past 3-4 years IHS has acquired a series of EHS software companies.