Dealing with IT outsourcers can be difficult under the best of circumstances, like when the scope of the project is relatively small, and only one or two key suppliers are involved. But when you’re thrust into a multisourcing situation where multiple suppliers are contracted to handle various parts of a large-scale project, it can be a nightmare of “not my job” buck-passing and finger-pointing when something goes wrong. Multisourcing can be a mega-headache.
The pain is likely to get worse before it gets better. According to Information Services Group (ISG), a Stamford, Conn.-based technology services consulting firm, the multisourcing model is becoming increasingly common, and we’re on the cusp of seeing a surge of these contracts being negotiated. A record 901 outsourcing contracts valued at $25 billion expired in 2012, ISG says, and another 886 contracts valued at $21.2 billion will expire this year.
I discussed all of this in a recent interview with Lois Coatney, an ISG director who has been in the trenches and has seen the challenges inherent in the multisourcing model. She has said that one of the biggest challenges lies in the fact that “providers are financially motivated to get the highest possible fee for the least amount of work,” and that “you often see individual providers conclude that it's in their best interest to protect their turf and to find ways to show that fixing whatever problem arises is the responsibility of another team.” Before joining ISG, Coatney worked at HP Enterprise Services, so I asked her if she could share any tips based on HP’s strategy in a multisourcing environment that would have been very helpful for the customers if only they’d known. She responded that she couldn’t speak on HP’s strategy, but she could speak from a supplier’s perspective:
If the Old Farmers Almanac is to be believed, we're heading for a seriously cold and snowy winter. In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast an active hurricane season.
You can't do much about the weather except be ready for it. That's why the American Red Cross designates September as National Preparedness Month.
Not that preparedness is just about weather: The Red Cross urges being ready for floods, fire, earthquake and other dangerous situations.
How prepared are you? If you lost power and/or water for three days, would you be able to stay warm, fed, hydrated and reasonably clean?
The good news is that preparedness doesn't have to cost a fortune. The bad news? Plenty of us don't seem to bother, at least when it comes to natural disasters. Experts say that people view those differently than they do dangers created by humans (e.g., radiation or terrorist attacks).
Reacting to Friday's elementary school shootings in Connecticut, Gov. Rick Perry wrote Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams, “asking that you direct all school districts to review their emergency operation plans.”
Every Texas district has such a plan, and educators in San Antonio said they take as many precautions as feasible.
But they can't prevent all violent incidents, they said.
“It's a harsh reality of working in a public school you face every day, that something like this could happen,” said Herlinda Longoria, principal at Harlandale Independent School District's Gilbert Elementary.
Recalling an attack by one parent against another outside San Antonio Independent School District's Bonham Academy in August, she said schools, especially urban schools, must be ready to respond.
“We live in an area where crime happens and several students have witnessed violence in their homes and neighborhoods; so it crosses our mind often that we have to be alert and protect our students,” Longoria said.
Staying plugged in after a power outage can be the difference between comfort and chaos.
Whether the power loss is caused by a hurricane, blizzard, tornado, or another sudden natural disaster, communication and access to up-to-date information is critical for families during an emergency. Fortunately, with a little planning, there are ways to stay plugged in when the power goes out.
September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). All month long, GE Generator Systems — a coalition member of FEMA’s Ready campaign — is educating the public about the importance of home emergency preparedness.
Perhaps the easiest way to stay connected during an extended power outage is by supplying power to your home with a home generator system, which turns on automatically when a home’s utility power is interrupted.
“A standby generator system keeps a household powered, even if the neighborhood is left in the dark,” said Amanda Grandy, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton® (BGG) Standby Power, exclusive licensee of GE Generator Systems. “This means you can power computers, TVs and radios, and charge cell phones or cordless phones — everything you need to stay connected during an emergency.”
Backup generators provide power to a household’s large appliances when the main power source is down. Common home appliances operated by a standby generator include air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, electric stoves, clothes washers/dryers and lights.
“A standby generator offers a backup power source for a home, but what it really gives a family is the peace of mind that their household will be prepared when disaster strikes,” Grandy said. “However, it’s important to remember that standby generators must be professionally installed, so planning ahead is important.”
Even without an automatic standby generator system, families can take steps to stay connected when the lights go dark. Online mobile devices and mobile smart phones with Internet access allow information to continue to flow into the home.
First, make sure you have a power source for these devices if the power goes out, such as an inverter, solar charger or car charger. Then, investigate local and national information sources, such as these:
- Local city, utility and public safety departments. Oftentimes, these departments allow citizens to sign up for mobile alerts via text messaging or email to notify them of impending emergencies and clean-up efforts.
- Local news stations routinely offer mobile alerts that can be sent directly to your phone for free.
- Sites such as Nixle.com allow you to sign up for a free emergency alert service and, after entering your zip code, receive tailored notifications and advisories via text message or email from local government and safety agencies.
- Several apps available for iPhones or Android smart phones including The Weather Channel and Storm Spotter have free mobile weather alerts offering local weather radar and forecasts — a big benefit if you’re stuck without power in the middle of a storm. The Pacific Disaster Center’s Disaster Alert app allows users to track impending natural disasters world wide — a great tool for those in hurricane-threatened states.
- Websites keep you informed, too. Visit ready.gov for a variety of additional emergency preparedness tips to get ready for the unexpected and keep your family safe.
To learn more about how a standby generator can prepare a home for an emergency power outage, visit www.gegenerators.com.
About Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Briggs & Stratton Corporation (BGG), headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include North America’s number one marketer of portable generators and pressure washers, and it is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lawn and garden and turf care through its Simplicity®, Snapper®, Ferris®, Murray®, Branco® and Victa® brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents.
GE (GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.
This article was reprinted with permission from Michael Volkov’s Corruption Crime & Compliance.
When you get older, you realize that the so-called “mysteries of life” or institutions which you viewed with admiration from afar are really not as complex as you think. I would never call this cynicism. With age, you recognize that a lot of things that occur in life are the result of nothing more than just good old-fashioned people skills.
How does this apply to the Chief Compliance Officer’s work and position? In most forward-thinking organizations, the CCO reports to the CEO on day-to-day issues and the Board on a quarterly basis and, as needed, if an emergency occurs.
CIO — The story's as old as system administration: Some parts of the job are straightforward and risk-free, but other tasks are fraught with high error rates and nasty consequences.
Think back to the infamous rm —rf * command that erased most of Toy Story 2 before it ever made it out of Pixar. Or go further in time to the Bell Labs study of UNIX users' made mistakes with shell scripts. The vast majority of the mistakes involved the IF statement.
Think things have changed that much with today's all-GUI, all-the-time model of system management?
President Obama Makes Federal Assistance Available to Individuals Residents Urged to Follow Instructions from Local Officials
WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to support state and local response efforts to the flooding in Colorado through its National Response Coordination Center in Washington and its Regional Response Coordination Response Center in Denver, Colo.
On Saturday, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster declaration for Boulder County, Colorado. The President’s declaration makes federal assistance available to individuals for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners in their recovery.
"As response efforts continue, FEMA encourages residents in affected areas to stay informed about changing flood conditions and follow the direction of local officials," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Let your friends and family know that you’re safe. Impacted residents in Boulder County can start registering for federal assistance today."
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in Boulder County, Colo. can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Those in the affected area with access to the internet may register by Web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
The President’s major disaster declaration also makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain non-profit organizations to support emergency work in Boulder County to save lives, protect property and remove debris.
When natural disasters such as flooding occurs, the first responders are state and local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.
FEMA's priority is to support local efforts to keep residents and communities safe. FEMA has two Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) and a liaison officer on site at the Colorado emergency operations center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response. Three federal urban search and rescue teams, Colorado Task Force 1, activated by the state, Utah Task Force 1 and Nebraska Task Force 1, are on the ground to support search and rescue operations in hard hit areas. Two additional federal urban search and rescue teams, Nevada Task Force 1 and Missouri Task Force 1, are en route to Colorado.
FEMA proactively staged commodities closer to the hardest hit areas and areas potentially affected by the severe weather and flooding. More than 65,000 liters of water, 50,000 meals and other supplies have been delivered to Incident Support Bases established by FEMA. These resources are being provided to the state as needed and requested. A FEMA Incident Response Vehicle is in Colorado providing communications support to the emergency operations center for the town of Lyons. FEMA has identified additional teams and personnel to support the state should they be needed and requested.
On Thursday, September 12, President Barack Obama declared an emergency for three counties in Colorado, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts. The declaration made direct federal assistance support immediately available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in areas of Colorado, including Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, affected by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.
We urge residents to continue to monitor weather conditions, and those in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials and take recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property while response efforts continue. According to the National Weather Service, the official source for severe weather watches and warnings, flooding advisories remain in effect for several areas in Colorado, and severe weather remains in the forecast through the weekend in some areas.
Here are a few safety tips to help keep you safe during flooding:
- Turn Around, Don't Drown. Avoid flooded areas.
- Give first responders space to do their work by following local public safety instructions.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or flooded road, turn around, don’t drown. Go another way.
Those in areas with the potential to be affected by flooding should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard and discuss what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued:
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA at www.ready.gov/alerts.
PHILADELPHIA – When most people prepare for an emergency, they assume they won’t be able to use technology as a resource; the power will probably be out, so technology won’t be able to help. With effective planning, it’s possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones, manage your financial affairs, and get important information.
“Information and communication are two of the most important aspects of successfully getting through an emergency,” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “they can get you in touch with loved ones, alert you to where resources are, and let you know when it’s safe to be outside. By using technology as a resource, you can improve your ability to communicate and receive information.”
Getting tech ready means not only preparing your devices to be easy access resources for you and your family, but also planning for ways to keep your devices powered. Get a solar-powered or hand crank charger and a car charger for your phone to keep it powered throughout the emergency.
Follow important officials and organizations on social media channels, doing so will help you receive important information if you can’t access television or radio. By identifying these accounts now, you won’t have to search for them in the middle of an emergency or drain your battery during the search. Key accounts include emergency management agencies, Governors, local officials, and local media. Another good way to keep in touch with officials is to see if they offer text message updates; FEMA has a text message program which includes preparedness tips and other resources, get more information by texting INFO to 43362 (4FEMA) or visiting fema.gov/text-messages.
Synchronize your contacts across all your devices and all your channels so that way you have many ways to get ahold of people. By having access phone numbers, social media accounts, and email addresses, you can get in touch with your loved ones even if one system or channel is down. Often when phone calls are difficult to make, you can send text messages, social media messages, or emails to pass along important information.
Make sure you program "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you’re unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they’re programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have. If something should happen to you, that action will help you receive the care you need and let your loved ones know where you are.
Download resource apps for your smartphone, they often have important information like phone numbers, first aid tips, and other resources. The FEMA App contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). There may be other apps available from your state or local emergency management agency, ask them to see what resources you can access.
While these are just a few examples of how you can turn technology into a valuable resource during an emergency, visit ready.gov/get-tech-ready to get more tips.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.
The enterprise is under the gun to quickly ramp up its efforts to implement a working cloud infrastructure, if only to bring some semblance of control over what has been so far a user-driven phenomenon.
But while efforts to convert legacy infrastructure into cloud architectures are ongoing, the need to tap into public cloud resources is growing. And this leads to a problem, because not all cloud services are the same and the drive to develop adequate standards, benchmarks and other means of comparing cloud is still nascent.
Fortunately, the federal government is on the case, or at least it thinks it should be. At a recent Amazon Web Services conference in Washington, top Health and human services IT honcho Frank Baitman, while praising the work the Amazon has done for the agency, expressed a need for common standards among cloud providers so the government can properly assess the services of each before buying. Such a scheme would do wonders to allow the government to support multiple vendors as it strives to offload as much data and infrastructure as possible onto the cloud.