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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Recycling, science and social responsibility

Credit: Jay Lopez

Credit: Jay Lopez

Today is Thursday, which is recycling day in our neighborhood. Once a week we place an approved recycling container filled with discarded paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal by the garage. A white garbage truck labeled “recycling only” comes by to collect it, usually before the regular garbage truck arrives. We feel good about saving these recyclables from the landfill.

If you recycle household materials, do you recycle because

  • you feel a social responsibility,
  • you want to be kind to the environment,
  • it makes sense from a scientific perspective,
  • it makes good economic sense, or
  • for other reasons?

In his October 3 opinion piece in The New York Times, John Tierney discusses The Reign of Recycling. He says that children are “greenwashed” and told that recycling is a virtue:

Recycling has been relentlessly promoted as a goal in and of itself: an unalloyed public good and private virtue that is indoctrinated in students from kindergarten through college. As a result, otherwise well-informed and educated people have no idea of the relative costs and benefits.

Tierney says that we should look at the overall costs and benefits of recycling, before blindly accepting that recycling is the right thing to do.

  • in general, it is more expensive to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill.
  • It makes sense to recycle certain materials, but not others.
  • recycling operations have their own environmental costs.
  • the environmental benefits of recycling come chiefly from reducing the need to manufacture new products.
  • there is plenty of land available for landfills.

Check out the full article for an interesting read. I am interested in what you think after you read it!

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New CIO.com blog post | 10 things enterprise software developers can learn from game designers

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Restaurant Story 2 by Storm8

My latest article received a front-page promo on CIO.com. Look for the colorful screen shot on the upper right with the IDG Contributor Network banner.

Most of us use enterprise software day-to-day at work, and use an iPad or Android tablet for work or pleasure. Here are 10 things that enterprise software companies should take to heart when developing business applications.

Read the full post here.


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New CIO.com blog post | 6 criteria for selecting a software implementation consultant

Just posted this morning… 6 criteria for selecting a software implementation consultant.

Enterprise software implementation is a big deal, and the right consultant can make your life easier. Here are six essential criteria to consider when selecting a consultant.

Today’s post will help you to adopt Tip No. 2 in last week’s post, 6 tips for finding a great software implementation consultant — “Establish objective selection criteria and stick to them.”


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New CIO.com blog post | 6 Tips for finding a great software implementation consultant

business-meeting-in-cartoon-styleHot off the (virtual) presses: 6 Tips for finding a great software implementation consultant

Enterprise software implementations can take many months to several years, and usually require a team effort with internal and external resources. If you need to hire a systems integrator or software implementation firm, here are six tips to help you find a great one.

Read the post by Jill Barson Gilbert @JillBGilbert on the Strategies for Software Lifecycle Management blog at CIO.com.

Next week’s companion post provides 6 systems integrator/ implementation consultant selection criteria.


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What golf teaches us about evaluating legacy systems

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Credit: Thinkstock

A decade ago, a 72-hole score of 10 under par could win the PGA championship. Today, it’s a new game, where 20 under par clinches the trophy. As in golf, the right software and information technologies – when used strategically by skilled pros – can make a business more competitive. Here are some pro tips for evaluating legacy systems.

Last weekend, I watched the PGA Championship on TV. Several 20-something golf pros made the tournament exciting, setting new distance and scoring records. I asked an avid golfer friend how the young players could score 20 under par for the four-day event, when a decade ago, 10 or 11 under par would have won the trophy. My friend said that it’s the equipment – high-tech golf clubs make the high-tech balls go farther. Yet the average golfer would be thrilled to score par, which has remained the same forever.

Business performance and agility depend on IT equipment – hardware and software – and how well you use it. If your organization has a variety of legacy systems that are not integrated, do not communicate with each other, are built with outdated technology, or do not perform the way you would like, then it’s time for an evaluation.

Take lessons from a pro

Few great golfers are self-taught; nearly all use teaching professionals with specific methods and drills.

If your organization does not possess the skills to evaluate legacy systems, then enlist a pro. Your pro should employ a proven methodology and should be conversant in business, subject matter, and IT.

Assess your game

Pro golfers periodically assess their game and make adjustments to stay in the game.

Take the time to properly assess your IT systems to keep your organization in the competition.

  • Does your short game (immediate needs) or your long game (mid-range and long-term needs) need improvement? What are the most critical unmet needs?
  • Are your legacy systems agile, flexible, and scalable to meet your needs?
  • How well do your legacy systems align with your current IT strategy? For example, have you transitioned from on premises to Cloud deployment? Do you have a lean IT staff and outsource maintenance and support? Is mobile technology a must for new systems?

Look in your bag

It is good practice to empty your golf bag every now and then. You never know what you will find – unused gadgets and old golf balls just make the bag more cumbersome.

You should do the same with legacy systems. Put everything on the table. Identify all of the software and tools assigned to the task at hand. This includes “shadow IT” systems and small tools that are not approved software applications. Also, you may find that some software is not used as intended. These complicate, rather than enable, your business.

Engage lines of business and power users to help triage legacy systems. Document which systems and tools you should keep, eliminate, or replace.

Rank your legacy systems in order of importance. At the same time, consider what you can consolidate to lighten your load.

Get a grip

If you’re still using small wooden drivers with steel shafts (e.g., Excel spreadsheets and homegrown databases) and everyone else is using oversized titanium drivers with carbon fiber shafts (e.g., integrated, holistic software apps), then it may be time to replace your legacy systems with newer technology.

Sometimes all you need is a new set of grips on your golf clubs. This is a low cost, effective, solution that can provide additional years of play. The same goes for software. You may be able to extend the life of your system by

  • expanding the user community,
  • extending the systems to additional facilities, or
  • enabling new features and functionality.

If legacy systems are holding you back, then enlist a pro to help you sharpen your game. Conduct a proper legacy systems evaluation, triage your IT tools and apps, and determine if extending their life makes sense.

Up-to-date tools and equipment, coupled with a good strategy, skills and training, can make both golf pros and organizations more agile and competitive.


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A great user experience can promote software adoption

“If you build it, they will come” may work in a baseball movie, but it’s an unreliable strategy for deploying enterprise software. A better approach is to provide a great user experience, coupled with feature-filled software, to promote user adoption.

Credit: freepik.com

Credit: freepik.com

Read the post by Jill Barson Gilbert @JillBGilbert on the Strategies for Software Lifecycle Management blog at CIO.com.