Never Give Up

My 5 year old grandson Findlay came home with a certificate from school the other day. Now when your grandson gets any sort of recognition it’s a real proud moment for Grandad. For this hardened businessman this was a bit special though. It was a certificate for ‘never giving up’. Wow, I was so proud I got in touch straight away to tell him exactly how proud I was of him. Well done also to the school for recognising achievements from personal qualities as well as academic ones. Sure as hell beats the scores out of 10 or the colour of stars we used to get back in my primary school time.

I have a long career, working in, leading, creating and sometimes rebuilding teams and this particular quality was always the first one I would like to have amongst my team mates every time. There is a huge body of knowledge on Teams to guide you through the characteristics of what makes up your high performing team, but sprinkle a little bit of the ‘never give up’ magic dust on them all and your team  will go a long way to achieving its goals.

It got me musing over the truisms you pick up over the years. Now I confess to being the first one to roll my eyes at the many quotes and truisms available on social media.  I am not too sure sometimes if its insight or the third age that brings out the sceptic in me. I really do get it that someone reads something that ‘resonates’ at a particular moment. I don’t always get it that someone can feel so impacted by it that they feel the need to pass it on to all and sundry as though it’s some great new discovery. Still if it makes you happy then it’s important and a happy worker helps create a better workforce climate and gets better results etc….

That all said, I found a few quotes about never giving up that I kind of like (thanks here to the team at INC. Life ). If any of them make your day and give you or your team that extra get up and go you need today then this blog has been double worth it other than giving my grandson a big call-out. Here you go:-

“Don’t be discouraged – it’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock” – Unknown

“When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, ‘til it seems as though you could never hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up” – Babe Ruth

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated” – Maya Angelou

“Tough time’s never last but tough people do” – Robert Schuller

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. – Dale Carnegie

And finally

“Remember that guy who gave up. Neither does anyone else” – Unknown

Have a great day and no matter how it goes – try hard not to give up.

Cloud supply chain risk

Cloud buying decisions are multi-dimensional. Cost and capability rank high, but there are also the concerns about lock-in and that very broad category called Risk. For sure a reliance on IaaS / SaaS brings many benefits, but it also increases risk. Despite having availability rates and security controls orders of magnitude greater than nearly any corporate datacentre, cloud platforms do fail, and they will be breached. The fewer there are, the greater the potential impact due to consolidations of a large customer numbers. Be in no doubt –any firm or organisation that run’s the bulk of IT in the cloud is going to experience downtime, no matter how highly automated and resilient the cloud provider’s infrastructure.

Consolidation risk manifests itself in other ways. As the major suppliers grow and consolidate they become more entwined with each other. In consequence so do their supply chains and intrinsically those of all their clients. I wonder just how many C suite executives can be confident that they have done everything to examine their supply chain risk to examine the effect of a major failure at one of the large cloud service providers.  Even if you are not with a cloud provider an outage at any of the big 4 giants could have tsunami like spiralling impact on your business.

There is lots of evidence of limited supply chain failure but there would have to be a significant spiral for it to get catastrophic. How bad could it really get then? There is some evidence around.

Lloyds of London has some experience of supply chain / trading spirals. In the 1980’s this global reinsurance market faced systemic collapse due to losses spiralling around primary and reinsurance in cycles of contracts.  Having faced up to and survived an existential event once, it is better positioned than most to assess the risk and cost of supply chain catastrophic risk to firms.  In association with AIR worldwide Lloyds of London conducted a study of the likely impact of a major outage at one of the US Cloud providers. Though the studies focus was to propose an alternative approach to help insurers model the risk’s to develop better cyber security risk products, the major findings are sobering.

Key findings from the report included:

  • An extreme cyber incident that takes a top cloud provider offline in the US for 3 to 6 days would result in economic losses of $15bn and up to $3bn in insured losses.
  • Businesses outside the Fortune 1000 would carry 63% share of economic losses and 57% of insured losses – indicating that they are at the highest risk.
  • Fortune 1000 companies would carry 37% of economic losses and 43% of insured losses.
  • If a top cloud provider went down:
    – Manufacturing would see direct economic losses of $8.6 billion;
    – Wholesale and retail trade sectors would see economic losses of $3.6 billion;
    – Information sectors would see economic losses of $847 million;
    – Finance and insurance sectors would see economic losses of $447 million;
    – Transportation and warehousing sectors would see economic losses of $439 million.

Financial Services firms are particularly vulnerable. Any Cloud service outage can have an immediate effect on clients, leading to customer churn, loss of competitive advantage and loss of revenue. for me, the risk is not wholly with Cloud buying decisions, but with making sure that firms fully understand the risks that they are taking on when taking critical IT services from any major supplier or trading partner. That said, when you move to Cloud, it’s much harder to assess this. Cloud providers have a duty of confidentiality to clients and cannot divulge all the details you might need so willingly. For sure it’s not easy for firms to perform a supply chain risk analysis, but it’s a task that is probably overdue at most

Please feel free to browse our gallery where you will see our full white paper on this topic Cloud IT supply chain risk

Curse of knowledge

Just been reading an article  which sums up one of the problems in explaining complex things….

… seems those who know rely on their own deep short hand understanding of a topic rather than explaining simply with description and examples. A good lesson to be learnt .  The article refers to Steven Pinker’s  book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Here are two passages from the article:

Example 1

“How can we lift the curse of knowledge?” asks Pinker. “A considerate writer will…cultivate the habit of adding a few words of explanation to common technical terms, as in ‘Arabidopsis, a flowering mustard plant,’ rather than the bare ‘Arabidopsis.’ It’s not just an act of magnanimity: A writer who explains technical terms can multiply her readership a thousandfold at the cost of a handful of characters, the literary equivalent of picking up hundred-dollar bills on the sidewalk.”

Example 2

“Readers will also thank a writer for the copious use of for example, as in, and such as, because an explanation without an example is little better than no explanation at all.”

We need to all get better at writing for readers rather than for ourselves.


PropTech a Real Estate Revolution

Here is an article by one of our experts, Pete Thirlby who specialises in technology within the Real Estate sector.  He covers the massive changes in Real Estate tech, from mainframes to Big Data, AI, Internet of Things, Data Analytics as a Service and Business Intelligence.

“Back in the 1980’s I was co-founder of a software company, which specialised in creating systems for the (then) new generation of PC’s. Myself and my colleagues had learned our programming skills whilst studying for PhDs using massive mainframe computer systems with clunky user interfaces and torturously slow software development cycles. We seized upon the new generation of “Micro Computers” that had emerged in the 1980s and new software tools that let us develop systems far quicker. Continue reading “PropTech a Real Estate Revolution”

‘It’s Cloud illusions I recall – I really don’t know Clouds at all.’

A great song, around a totally different subject matter of course.  Joni Mitchell sure did not have Cloud technology in mind when she wrote it. Whilst GDPR has recently held attention of the masses, Cloud and the many variants thereof have moved temporarily off the front page – in the UK at least. It’s probably a balanced statement that Cloud headlines have over the last few years been more to do with the advantages and benefits of adoption. In IT circles the innovation is probably in early critical mass stage of adoption with business users generally having a good awareness of what the technology is about.

The benefits and ease of use are many, that’s very true. Where else can a business spin up an IT environment on demand and in minutes with just a few mouse clicks? For small to medium enterprises like our own, the technology is a massive boon. We are able to control, manage and govern our expenditure and data very easily. It’s a different experience though for the large corporates where, though the benefits still hold well, it’s an illusion to suggest that managing Cloud services is easy. It’s just not true. Continue reading “‘It’s Cloud illusions I recall – I really don’t know Clouds at all.’”