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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Should the enterprise upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8?

Organizations currently running Microsoft Windows XP need to do something, as support for this operating system (OS) ends in about 18 months.

“…enterprises using Windows XP …are entering a danger zone as all support for the OS will end in April 2014. Moving to a new OS for a large organization takes up resources, money and time, and according to Gartner, XP users will run out of time if they don’t act now.”

Source: Microsoft

Should they wait for Windows 8 to be released, or upgrade to Windows 7? A new Gartner report says that enterprises currently running Windows XP should upgrade to Windows 7, not Windows 8 (scheduled for release this month). Windows 8 has a total user interface redesign that will make user adoption a challenge for those who resist change.

When Microsoft releases Windows 8 to market, it will not be mature–many organizations wait until the first or second service pack is available–which could take a year. Gartner advises organizations to start upgrading to Windows 7 as soon as possible. Read more at shar.es/5HXRw.

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Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum 2012 attracted a crowd

I spent the better part of this week at an environment, health & safety (EHS) software user group meeting in Chicago. The Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel drew a crowd of approximately 400 executives, EHS and sustainability professionals and service providers.

The plenary sessions were top-notch, with a keynote panel of executives from a national environmental association, a leading accounting firm, a Global Reporting Initiative non-profit and two global environmental consulting firms. Breakout sessions each day focused on four to five topics, also with pertinent talks, case studies and software demos.

SPF 2012 provided a great opportunity for networking and knowledge transfer, in the perfect setting—a LEED-certified “green” building.


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Must technology be so disruptive?

Disruptive technology describes a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology. In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen separates technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to an already established technology. Disruptive technology lacks refinement, often has performance problems because it is new, appeals to a limited audience, and may not yet have a proven practical application.

Photo: Apple

When it comes to software, most businesses adapt better to the incremental changes of sustainable technology. They understand that change happens—software upgrades and patches occur fairly frequently and, in most cases, work goes on with no training and little disruption. However, major software changes can disrupt work, resulting in lost productivity until users are trained on and adopt the new technology.

Two examples of disruptive technology come from Apple and Microsoft. Apple announced its new iPhone last week, sporting a new dock connector. Those who wish to use their old iPhone and iPad chargers and cables need an expensive adapter. Microsoft radically changed its user interface in Windows 8. The Start button is gone. Some PC users I know are hardly adjusted to the big change in interface from Windows XP to Windows Vista and Windows 7.

I understand that disruptive technology—like microwave ovens and cell phones—can be both revolutionary and good. But must it be so disruptive?


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Software build vs. buy

Whether you have legacy software systems or are starting with a clean slate, should you build custom software to meet your needs, or buy commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software? In Legacy EHS Software: (Re)Build or Buy? Jill Barson Gilbert examines the pros and cons of the build vs. buy options. To determine if build, buy or a hybrid solution is best, conduct an objective assessment. “Build” and “buy” are appropriate for different reasons for different organizations.


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Information overload is a way of life… do social technologies increase productivity?

Most knowledge workers spend way too much time on email. I know I do. Now, with social networking tools, I find myself reading blog posts at least one hour a day to keep up with IT and business issues. With me, it’s not so much an obsession as the need to have information as near “real time” as possible. Business was not like this fifteen years ago when the fastest technologies were the fax machine and overnight mail. Email and text messaging have put us into information overdrive.

In a June 2012 report on social networking tools and productivity, The McKinsey Global Institute found that knowledge workers spend 28 hours a week on emails, searching for information and collaborating internally. Many businesses are just starting to leverage social technologies for internal and external collaboration and to market and sell products and services. McKinsey also found that unlocking social technologies has the potential to improve knowledge worker productivity by 20-25 percent.


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Google turns 14

Happy 14th birthday, Google! Where would we be without Google? The company name that is synonymous with its search engine even has its own verb, “to Google.” Google is the perfect example of disruptive technology—a new technology that comes along that we cannot live without.

Every day people conduct 1 billion or more Google searches. And the search engine is just the tip of the iceberg. Consumers and businesses alike use Google Maps and Google Earth and gmail. Let’s not forget the Google Chrome Web browser (4 years old today), YouTube, Google Docs, Google Wallet and more. What an impact this company has had in its short life!