By Ross Pettit - 28 August 2008
As summer winds down in the northern hemisphere and people sneak in a few final days away from work, we’ll take a break at alphaITjournal.com to reflect on our first two months of publication.
Any doubts we may have had that alphaITjournal.com would be a consistent source of quality content have been put to rest.
The first indicator of this is relevancy. John Kehoe wrote about end-to-end versus silo-by-silo performance monitoring of an underperforming airline check-in system that had scored the trifecta: high operating costs, long queues and angry customers. Five days before his piece ran in alphaITjournal.com, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a UK based air carrier that had initiated an urgent and high-profile ad campaign to make clear to its customers that lengthy check-in times (amongst other things) were now a thing of the past. Michael Martin wrote about IT innovation being threatened by misguided decision making during a period of economic uncertainty. His piece ran two weeks before Nassim Taleb (of Black Swan fame) wrote about the same threats to R&D in the healthcare industry in the Financial Times. By tapping into the problems, challenges and opportunities facing businesses today, the content in alphaITjournal.com is proving to be highly relevant, even prescient.
The second indicator is variety. Ten different people have contributed articles covering a wide swath of high-performance IT.Mark Rickmeier, Jane Robarts and John Kehoe raised questions about panaceas in sourcing and infrastructure. Kent Spillner pointed out a key anti-pattern in project execution: the false optimism created by time between deliverables. Miško Hevery and Carl Ververs both address people aspects of IT, specifically patterns of behaviour change critical to continuous improvement and contending with a generation gap in the IT workforce. Brad Cross and I make clear that IT investments must be framed, managed and executed explicitly as use of a firm's capital.
The third indicator is sustainability. alphaITjournal.com has featured at least one article each week since its inception, meaning we've sourced, composed, edited and published at a sustainable rate for two months. As a community we've overcome the challenges we face as practitioners - client and project deadlines, open source obligations, conference and writing demands, as well as personal commitments - to consistently meet our goal.
Readers have raised a number of questions, and in time we do intend to address them all. We're going to improve the user interface so that visited links aren’t next to impossible to see (and no doubt very difficult to read on this link-heavy page). We're going to add reader comments to each article. We’re going to include e-mail addresses so you can contact our writers directly. And we're going to enable registration so that we’re better able to stay in touch with our community. Getting them done is subject to those same deadlines, obligations, demands and commitments that we have to overcome to produce content. I appreciate your patience while we work through the fit-and-finish.
Looking forward, we have reason to be optimistic. Our statistics indicate a growing community of repeat readers. Our current roster of writers have a full backlog of topics and ideas, and we continue to attract new writers. We have some exciting opportunities to further distribute our content. And above all else, we have some great pieces in the pipeline: as I write this, our writers are composing some great series and upcoming pieces.
As Editor of alphaITjournal.com, and on behalf of the people who make this publication possible, I thank you, our readers, for being part of the alphaITjournal.com community. I hope you share in our excitement and enthusiasm for what lies ahead.