The four zones of mobile success (or failure): Part 1, enterprise zone

“updated slightly from original publication in IBM Mobile Insights, December 2013, content still holds true”

The IT Managers nightmare !

It’s 2am, the phone by your bed wakes you. It’s only 11pm in “Next to Nowhere by the Trees”, Oregon.  The CEO is just getting back to his hotel from the big meeting and dinner with a client. He needs to stay another day, wants to rearrange his schedule and see if the inventory update came in and His device hasn’t updated in 3 hours; Where O Where can the problem be?

This series will discuss four “zones” of success or failure in an end-to-end mobile enterprise infrastructure.  The diagram below represents the typical end-to-end mobile enterprise network containing four zones: enterprise, security, Internet, and user zones.

2017 Note: for the purpose of illustration I’m using “mail” as the end to end application.  In reality, this directly relates to other B2B, B2Eor B2C business critical applications, website, storefront, claim processing, etc.  

All of these zones must be working properly for the successful daily use of mobile devices in the enterprise. However, they are not all under the control of the enterprise, and a failure of any one of the elements in a zone can cause an inability to perform daily enterprise activities on mobile devices.

We have all heard the help desk cries:

  • I can’t activate my BlackBerry! iPhone or new S7…
  • I stopped getting mail to my iPad!
  • My calendar won’t sync to my device!

Mobile infrastructure administrators and help desks hear these statements day in and day out. But they never hear:

  • My new iPhone 7 has been running fine for weeks!
  • I never have any trouble getting to my applications on the iPad!
  • I can work just as well with my tablet on the road as I can in the office!

—even if they are outside the control of mobile IT—mobile IT gets the blame because the user perceives that the servers or applications are not working. The chart above is sometimes called the mobile IT “black eye chart” because no matter the failure mobile IT gets the black eye for the trouble.

Only one thing has to go wrong in the enterprise network in order to get messages of frustration from users, like those in my first list.  But a lot has to go right in order to hear the other positive message “silence”.

The enterprise zone

For my first blog post in this series I will discuss the enterprise zone. The enterprise zone consists of the enterprise infrastructure servers—those boxes in the server farm or room.

The back-end infrastructure that exists in the enterprise zone (but not in the diagram) is the server farm itself: the racks, servers, storage, switches, cables, network, cooling, power and so on that the mobility application infrastructure runs on. Each is a possible point of failure that can potentially be immobilizing.

For the purposes of a mobility discussion it is assumed that the enterprise back-end application to be accessed by mobile devices is the typical mail, calendar and contacts. Therefore the enterprise zone for mobility would typically be the following servers: mail, mobile messaging, mobile messaging control, active directory or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) services for authentication and an SQL database to contain all the data about the mobile users, and in some cases a monitoring server.

The scenario also assumes that the enterprise zone is connected to the Internet for data flow to from the mail servers to devices through the Internet. This brings up the very first element of success or failure of the mobile infrastructure: the mail server.

The mail server, typically Lotus Domino or MS Exchange, is the heart of this and most scenarios. It is where all device-destined data originates. Again we make an assumption that everything is working in the infrastructure to ensure that data can flow into an individual’s mailbox on the server. When the mail server is down, is unavailable, has lost connectivity or is having other functional issues, the mobility infrastructure cannot begin to deliver data to devices. If it’s down long enough, it will begin to result in calls for help desk tickets indicating that the user is having trouble getting mail on a BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Windows phone or Android device. Quite simply, any issue with the mail server will be perceived by the user as a problem with the mobile technology.

The mobile messaging server (Lotus Traveler, BlackBerry, Good, MobileIron, Airwatch and so on) polls the mail server to determine if anything needs to be sent to the user device and forwards items created on the device to the mail server.

Mobile control server is a component of the mobile messaging solution. It manages the messaging servers and handles device enrollment. Device policy management in some cases provides the virtual private network (VPN) for the messaging service.

The Active Directory (AD) or LDAP server is an essential element of an infrastructure that is essentially the enterprise address book of all users. It is an essential part of enterprise security, managing the enterprise ID’s passwords, permissions and so forth. Any issues related to directory services will result in request failures in the mobility critical path and again simply be perceived by the user as a problem with the mobile technology.

Issues with the mail, messaging, control or AD/LDAP servers will result in issues for users. However, there are numerous times when these servers are fully functional and another component of the end-to-end infrastructure causes the user’s activity to fail.

The reality is, the average user will not even know a control or AD component exists and will blame mobility (more often than mail) as the issue, since they don’t understand which link in the chain is currently broken. Mobility apps by Traveler, BlackBerry, Good Technology, MobileIron or AirWatch are the most blamed and maligned element of the mobile infrastructure. This is simply because it’s the element the user is attempting to use and therefore must be the problem.

It is critical to an enterprise to have tools in place for monitoring, such as mobile device management (MDM) to identify, isolate and assist in resolving issues in the above components that are within the enterprise control.

More Importantly for 2017 and beyond as some monitoring tools have gone by the wayside the role of active and passive Analytics will be drivers in determining points of failure and success.

The next area discussed is the enterprise security zone.  share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more in my “Four zones of mobile success (or failure)” series.

Technologies I didn’t expect to learn from a Heart Attack

Mobile Patient Monitoring, Electronic Records and Other Healthcare Technologies.
Gadgets, Electronic Records lead to Smarter and Mobile Medical Care.  
“updated from original publication in IBM Mobile Insights, Jan 2013”

Never saw it coming! I didn’t know how much I would learn about technologies along my way to recovery from a Heart Attack.   I have long since recovered.  While I was/am a little overweight, I had no previous issues with high blood pressure, no real cholesterol issues, a negative Cardiac Stress Test the year before,  Even the Emergency Room staff in the thought it would be something else until the blood test results came back.

Personal Advice, if your over 40 and especially over 50 and haven’t , get a full Cardiac Workup, including a Cardiac CT Scan.   Just a few months back in 2016 a friends son died without warning, he was in his mid 40’s.  If you think you are possibly having an attack, Assume you are! And Act Immediately!!

So, I was “OK”, AND it happened any way!  A blocked LAD the “Widow-Maker” artery.  Fortunately for me the Attack was discovered and resolved quickly with 2 Stents, few days in the hospital and I was good to go.  I’m understating it for the blog, but I was Very lucky and blessed with good Doctors and Nurses!!

I certainly researched my surprise heart condition and issues before checking into the Mobile technology that let my doctors follow my case while they were away from the Hospital.

Had A Glitch: A month after the attack I was having an issue with an irregular heart beat. I returned to the Bethesda Heart Hospital, Boynton Beach, FL Emergency Room.  And, of course it was the weekend “my” Cardiologist was off and I saw someone covering.  Irregular heart beat due to low magnesium, I got some medications, given electrolytes, started feeling much better right away.  But, I was still concerned I wasn’t seeing my regular Cardiologist.

Mobility, When I’m not here…I’m here!!:   I was feeling much better by the time my cardiologist arrived Monday morning.  I wanted to fill him in and as I started, he said, “I know all about it”, when I’m not here…I’m here!!  I followed your treatment from my iPhone.  In discussions then and those that followed since, I learned everything that was available “was” available from workstations in the hospital.  Similarly, from a remote workstation at the physicians home or office, it changes if they log in directly the web access portal or use a tablet or Smartphone.

At the time, the Hospital’s remote access was somewhat less is available to IOS Devices, but was told by the cardiologist iPad capability would be available soon.    He said remote access via Mobile devices has vastly improved his productivity, awareness of conditions and allows him the ability to provide a greater quality of care with faster responsiveness, in an area of medicine where time is critical.  My current Cardiologist is savvy with Iphone/Ipad, uses them all the time, can see test results and place new orders in my chart.

My Primary Care Physician also remotely accesses my data.  She uses workstations more than her Ipad and Iphone.  On a  visit near the time, she mentioned she needed to take the device back to the IT guy at the hospital, to get it working again.

 A Mobile Enabler, Electronic Health Care Records, (EHCR/EHR)
It’s more than mobile gadgetry in the healthcare revolution.  When I got to the technology research what I discovered was that the Hospital Implemented an EHCR System.  Where  Physicians can follow a patients progress, ensure proper tests are taken based on Protocols for symptoms and or possible diagnosis, Enter orders, prescriptions, (No more paper charts, hieroglyphics for the pharmacy to interpret!).  In addition they can see test results, not just reports but images from CT Scans, MRI’s, Etc. How many of the hospital systems have been integrated, I’m not sure, as hospital staff, and execs were unavailable.   Unlike a few other institutions records are not available to patients. (update “meaningful use” of electronic records was mandated for use by all physicians and hospitals by Jan 2014.  This catapulted demand for systems and better technologies such as those created by “Modernizing Medicine.inc”

In researching, I found the following video somewhat similar to my experience, Electronic Health Records interconnected healthcare systems, where “Computers on Wheels” or “COW’s” are used.  In my case and I believe more the “COW’s have gone home.  in my room were wall mounted terminals with optical scanners and the data has been extended to my physicians via the system.

My Primary Care Physician values the EHR systems for what they can provide, but has concerns about Government programs to adopt a “single” unified patient record system and security of the information.  My words, this is more than just credit card data and if corrupted lives are at stake.  At the same time my Primary understands that there are several solutions out there in the marketplace and many don’t talk to each other.  What’s important it that the data about a patient be available to their health care providers to make quality care decisions.   in 2017, I believe it is still true.  I have more to learn.  However I believe the Hospital has records in one format, Primary care and specialists use different systems, competing technologies, creating islands of health information.

For me, I’m, just glad it was there and in use.  I know it having my recent history and medications got me through the ER and see a doctor more quickly  and believe the EHS aided my diagnosis and recovery (See my other post). The ER, Nurses, Cardiologist, Electro-physioligist, and Primary Care doctor all had Mobile access to my testing, medications and progress.  Physicians tracked my progress, entered my orders remotely, instead of nurses trying to chase them down.

Mobility in Healthcare Future:  Healthcare technology has always been an interest. For over 38 years my wife has told me, “don’t touch the equipment!”   . In preparing this Blog, I discovered the tip of the iceberg in IBM’s involvement in Healthcare Watson is now everywhere.  Reading MRI’s providing diagnosis’; Holter (Heart) monitors were Bricks you wore for a day and took a week to get results, evolving to a device with a cell phone attached, the last one I used a few years back for a new baseline was a small device Bluetooth connected

LifeMD, Wireless Body Network

to a phone with an app for real time monitoring.    The future, (actually today at LifeMD)  is an integrated series of implanted monitors using a “Wireless Body Area Network” to monitor your health real time and automatically engage emergency services.

Technology and Healthcare are inextricably linked forever with constant innovation.  If your interested, don’t wait for a heart attack to start researching.

Best of health to all

 

 

Do you know a Business Technologist?

A Business Technologist is a bridge between technical and business/management teams in an organization. The Business Technologist facilitates and fosters the flow of business/technical information and understanding by translating between management, enterprise technology teams and clients, enabling more efficient productive projects and moving the business forward at reduced costs.

Looking back now, my first glimpse of the role was in college. At Florida Atlantic University, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering students needed to take a business or non-technology elective “to round off their pointy heads” and provide a broader educational experience.  Likewise, Business and Finance students needed to take a Technology course as technology is an essential tool in modern business.

A required course in common was “Technology and Society”. The gap between Tech and Business couldn’t have been more obvious than in this class. A history of how technology, inventions and innovations influenced society and culture over time.  Including the creation of new industries while destroying an existing industry and displacing workers. How this activity changed business and human behavior while creating Moguls, Millionaires and Philanthropists.

In the 1000ft view:

What’s old is new again. Cars replaced the horse and buggy and all that went with it. Digital Cameras replaced film, its manufacturing, processing, photo paper/chemical production including the jobs family income and or lifestyles (children’s education) that went with them. Walkman’s replaced radios. Today cellphones/smartphones have replaced pagers, the Walkman and in many cases cameras. Impacts on Society: we have seen the introduction and pervasiveness of Instant Messaging, Snapchat, and the infamous “Selfie” phenomenon.  Consequently, we see less verbal communication, increases in Carpal Tunnel, thumb and hand other health issues.  The “selfie” alone is causing accidents and deaths from careless or distracted users.  There are many old examples as well as ones we see in headlines today. All as a result of what otherwise would be benign innovation.

Business and Finance students understood business management actions, motivations but didn’t get why it would create tension with workers, community or influence behavior.

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering students totally got and loved, change, innovation and invention that obsoleted old ways, but could not grasp or understand its impact on society and how it affected behavior those workers displaced. Progress for the sake of progress if you will.

The disparity was reflected in early class exam scores, hard core Business and hard core technology folks each got about half right. Then there was a group that excelled getting high marks. They were the Business Technologists.

The Business Technologists understood the automobile meant independence,

more travel, need for roads and increased hotel/motel accommodations. To drive local revenues, locations now thought of themselves as “attractions” in an effort become “destinations”, creating travel and tourism. More destinations increased auto demand, creating a cycle.

Business growth needed more and larger trucks. Congestion of cars and trucks required safer highways and the Interstate Highway System. Which in turn decimated small towns and local business as state and local roads were bypassed.

People’s habits changed in the late 60’s and 70’s from shopping at stores down town on main street to Malls, putting many small shops out of business. Today we see it again, how the rise of computers, mobile devices, apps created mobile internet shopping and are turning some malls into Ghost Towns.

Is another revolution beginning to take place? Reports are, Amazon is constructing a large Grocery store in the Northwest. But there are no Aisles for shopping. Shop and pay on line. Drive up and pick up. Can you shop in store, sure, enter the “retail room”? use a tablet and wait for your groceries to be brought to you. A tremendous amount of innovation, automation, elimination of cashiers, shelf stockers….  It’s not a completely new concept In the US there were catalog stores “Service Merchandise and “Best Products”, you looked at their catalog in the store or a single display item on the shelf. Then fill in your order with pencil and paper paid at a register and picked up in the back by a delivery shoot. In the UK home appliance retailer “Argos” was similar.  Today, Service Merchandise and Best are gone and Argos appears to exist as order on-line and pick-up at store or home delivery.

But will society accept an “Amazon” Grocery store?  Are you willing to buy fresh Steak, hamburger, vegetables or seafood “sight unseen”, or do you need to go elsewhere which defeats the purpose?  Will another new shopping revolution occur? Only time will tell.    These factors and many others are what a modern Business Technologist considers in their respective industry roles, disciplines or specific positions.

The Business Technologist understands the technology, business climate, impact on the enterprises and customers. The BT bridges understanding gaps and translates concepts into the language of the audience, management, R&D or Customer.

I saw this first hand in my career at IBM in leading-edge R&D, hardware, software and development teams. The successful Business Technologist helps management understand Development’s issues with why a new feature won’t work or has to be delayed until a future release. While also counseling development the need for urgency, cost of delays, need to meet a market window impact on sales, market leadership and reputation.

In new product and service development the Business Technologist attempts to ensure management and marketing don’t over promise or oversell product features or service commitments, (they don’t always win) as they try to cram every requested feature into plans or products when they may not be technically feasible.

While even the modern Business Technologist might not predict the “Selfie”.  But once the “Selfie” exists and someone has an idea to take strategic commercial advantage of it, the Business Technologist understands a business’ strategic imperative’s, the products underlying technologies and the market to help make that idea a success. The BT can relate to the needs and can discuss fluently at all levels: Investors, Management, Finance, Clients, Development, Engineering, Architecture, Support, Planning, Project Management.

Internal and external forces business and technical teams face at times conflict. The modern Business Technologist positively bridges the knowledge gap between institutional teams to produce more positive outcomes. Attributes of a Business Technologist may come naturally or cultivated over time and seen in the more astute Developer, Engineer or Manager.

The modern Business Technologist may also be the byproduct of experience combined with that of formal education in “Business Technology” the “Management of Technology” (MOT) offered at major universities and within the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT) communities.

Can a Spreadsheet Save Your Life?

Spreadsheet with the power to save lives, your life!
“Time is Muscle”, “Time is Brain”

Cardiologists say,  “Time is Muscle”.  The more time it takes to address a Cardiac issue results in long term heart tissue damage and yes, maybe death.

Neurologists say, “Time is Brain”. Similarly, The longer to a stroke results in increased brain damage and yes, maybe death.

It has to do with one of the first questions asked by Doctors Offices, Emergency Room staff, and First Responders.
The all-important question…What Medications are you taking?

I just witnessed this, this past weekend when my elderly neighbors dog was barking oddly.  The Neighbor had fallen on hard surface and I called 911.  Responders spent almost as much prepping patient for the trip as they did gathering medication information from several slips of paper and taking her weekly Med dispensers. However, they asked Questions on the phone and on arrival to rule out Stroke or Hear as the cause of the fall

When your health is in crisis, you may not be able to

respond. Your loved one may be too stressed to remember and it’s also the wrong time to gather the pill bottles from the medicine cabinet.  For all emergencies, including heart and strokes, precious minutes can mean the difference between Death, Survival and full or near full recovery.  Having a medication list and significant history available or not, can save those minutes or cost a loved one’s life.

So, what does this have to do with a spreadsheet?  Creating a medication list in a spreadsheet and having it with you can save time in those critical moments.  Doctors need to know what you’re taking to ensure you don’t end up with too much of a drug, give you a drug known to have adverse reactions to what you take, or if your allergic to medication to name a few.

Ever since my first experience, my mother in-law spent far too much time with the ER nurse before seeing a doctor because we were trying to figure out her medications.  Since then,  I have prompted all my, friends, loved ones and

“Mended Hearts” patients I visit to create, maintain and have ready somewhere a “Medlist”.

Other than the first long and stressful wait and my neighbor (fractured hip, got a pin and doing well) , I don’t have a personal horror story to share where having the list made the difference between life and death.  All I can say is, too often we needed to use the list and fortunately we sailed through the ER Triage, saw a doctor and got quick treatment.

Someday soon your prescription drugs will be available automatically. For example,  in an office environment Modernizing Medicine’s medical office software products can download your medication list directly from most pharmacies.  I don’t know if such technologies are available at hospitals yet but even still they are unlikely to have your history, a list allergies, supplements, or Over the Counter medications you take.

Be your own best healthcare advocate:

  • Be your own Medical Records Manager!
  • Create and maintain the list (for yourself, spouse, parents….)
  • Keep a copy near the front door to take to the ER or give to responders
  • Travelling keep a copy on you, In your luggage, brief case (if you still carry one), I also saved a copy as a .pdf file and emailed it to myself and wife.
  • Have a hard copy available for doctor visits. Many, if not most, have your list in their Electronic Medical Records and you can use the PDF on the phone to review and confirm.

What about the Spreadsheet? There are several ways to do it. Use any available spreadsheet tool to create the list.  From my experience the format shown below has worked great for going to a new doctor, existing doctor and at the ER.

The medlist should contain:

  • Your name and date updated (to help make sure your using the current copy)
  • Your Pharmacy, Name, address, phone. (when you need something called in….its in your chart.
  • List of drugs your allergic to or have had bad reactions to (preferably in RED)
  • Lust of medications you take, who prescribed, strength, how often you take them and for what condition
  • Any OTC medications, Vitamins and/or Supplements
  • Immunizations, important for children and adults, date of last Tetanus, Flu, Pneumonia, Shingles…..
  • Your Doctors, Name, Specialty, Phone and fax numbers
  • Finally, Important and/or recent or past diagnosis, tests, hospitalizations

Yes,  a Spreadsheet can reduce the time to get critical care to a loved one or your self and hopefully help prevent the worst possible outcome and Save a Life?  Start a Spreadsheet med-list for someone today