Monthly Archive for April, 2009

Aneesh Chopra Named Federal CTO

Aneesh Chopra, Federal CTO

Aneesh Chopra, Federal CTO

After high expectations, much anticipation and speculation, on April 18, 2009, President Obama named Aneesh Paul Chopra the first-ever Federal Chief Technology Officer.

I’m sure many of us are thinking, “Déjà vu? Didn’t President Obama already appoint an IT chief in March?” Yes, Vivek Kundra is the nation’s CIO whereas Aneesh Chorpa will serve as the nation’s CTO. Here’s what the White House said:

As Chief Technology Officer, Chopra will promote technological innovation to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland. Together with Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, they will help give all Americans a government that is effective, efficient, and transparent.

Tim O’Reilly, in his excellent article Why Aneesh Chopra is a Great Choice for Federal CTO, dug a little deeper to learn from the White House that:

The responsibilities of the CIO are to use information technology to transform the ways in which the government does business. The CTO will develop national strategies for using advanced technologies to transform our economy and our society, such as fostering private sector innovation, reducing administrative costs and medical errors using health IT, and using technology to change the way teachers teach and students learn.

Continue reading ‘Aneesh Chopra Named Federal CTO’

Google Apps Achilles’ Heel – ‘on behalf of’ messaging

Google Apps for Business - software-as-a-service for business email, information sharing and securityHaving architected, deployed, and managed enterprise Microsoft Exchange environments, I know Microsoft Exchange Server is a solid, scalable, and feature-rich product which leverages Microsoft’s LDAP directory services, Active Directory. However, the caveats to implementing this system include a commitment to the Microsoft platform and in-house expertise to manage the infrastructure. What if your business needs to reduce costs yesterday, or is seeking alternatives to Microsoft?

Google has a brilliant, Cloud-based answer to Microsoft: Google Apps. The solution includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs (documents, spreadsheets and presentations), Google Sites, Google Talk–all using your own domain name–for FREE. Yes, for businesses or groups of up to 50 users, the advertising-supported Google Apps Standard Edition is free. Here’s what Google got right:

  • Significantly reduced the cost of messaging/collaboration for small businesses
  • Designed an easy-to-manage, functional, intuitive interface
  • Generously allocated storage–7GB/user!
  • Provided secure, encrypted access using SSL
  • Tightly integrated the Apps Suite, including Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, and browser-based Chat

‘Google Messaging’ is simply Gmail branded @your-company.com. It is robust, feature-rich, and fast, including great features such as “plus addressing”.

The Achilles’ heel: email aliases

Email aliases, or ‘Nicknames’ as Google refers to them, are a key component for most business email systems. For instance, email aliases such as customer.service@your-company.com or support@your-company.com, typically forward to email distribution groups or individual mailboxes. The benefits of email aliases/forwarders include:

  • providing a standardized, professional method for customer communications,
  • addresses which are independent of employees,
  • protecting the domain username from disclosure, and
  • protecting individual email accounts from spam.

Google allows you to add nicknames relatively easily. See the video overview:

The problem arises when using a desktop email client (read: Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, et cetera) configured to send from your email alias. The result is the disclosure of your primary email address, your account username, and the presentation of the email message in a less-than-professional manner to the recipient. Continue reading ‘Google Apps Achilles’ Heel – ‘on behalf of’ messaging’

Leadership & The Workplace: What Do We Expect?

BarCampBuffalo_logoOn March 31, I attended the second BarCampBuffalo. Like the first-ever event, this event was a success with a very good turnout. This time around, I chose to lead a discussion on Leadership & Management.

In one way or another, the topic of workplace leadership/management affects us all, yet we rarely discuss it in an open forum. My objectives for this open discussion were to:

  • differentiate leadership from management,
  • highlight characteristics shared by great leaders,
  • highlight responsibilities of great managers,
  • allow for an honest organizational- and self-assessment of workplace engagement.

The presentation I delivered:

Leadership & The Workplace BarCampBuffalo Open Discussion

View my SlideShare.net presentations.

Continue reading ‘Leadership & The Workplace: What Do We Expect?’