Articles about ICT

Making Communities of Practice Work in the Real World

Posted 3 November 2017 by David Spratt

This is the third and final article on Communities of Practice (COPs), a model designed to help align business strategy with the evolving knowledge and experience of your people, while still taking advantage of the efficiencies that can be gained through more formal organisational structures and processes. I can now safely say, after many years of practice -- complete with a few painful cock-ups along the way -- that the workplace model, Communities of Practice (COPs), does work. Making Communities of Practice work doesn't happen on its own, but with the right groundwork in place and...
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Ongoing Insights with Cloud Analytics: Zespri Case Study

Posted 31 October 2017 by David Spratt

In 2013, Zespri, one of the world’s leading horticultural companies, and the recognised category leader in kiwifruit, was facing many significant challenges. The Psa virus which attacked their main gold kiwifruit crop, had the potential to devastate the company and its grower shareholders. In addition, they were facing significant capital outlays associated with their existing ICT systems and the need to upgrade their computer hardware. Zespri had to ask questions like, "Could the new variety of crop, Sun Gold, be more robust and become another bestseller?", or, "Would our outputs...
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Communities of Practice: The Three Essential Elements

Posted 26 October 2017 by David Spratt

Last month I introduced Communities of Practice, a model designed to help align business strategy with the evolving knowledge and experience of its people, while still taking advantage of the efficiencies that can be gained through more formal organisations and processes. There are three elements that make up a Community of Practice. These are Domain, Community and Practice. Domain The common ground that inspires members to join, drives their learning activities and gives purpose and meaning to their activities. Let’s take a simple example. Yours is a plumbing and gas fitting...
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Forming Communities of Practice to Reinvigorate Business

Posted 13 September 2017 by David Spratt

A colleague from one of New Zealand’s emerging winners in the software development market tells me that, despite its success, he is concerned about whether he is utilising the very expensive specialists in his business to best effect. He bemoaned: “It seems the bigger we get, the more time wastage we create. “Our best people are already frustrated at the inefficiencies and are headed to the door. “It’s hard enough finding top people without losing the best of the best to our competitors. We pay well. We have a great environment in our offices and our customers are blue...
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Is New Zealand business ready for Artificial Intelligence?

Posted 1 July 2017 by David Spratt

A decade or more ago I used to defeat chess playing computers for a small wager. It was simple stuff really – just find a weakness and ruthlessly exploit it – in my mind computers were basically binary and thus “stupid”. Today chess masters are fair game for computers. My party trick is ancient history and I am frankly a little scared about what happens when computers can outsmart humankind.  Terminator anyone? Some would argue that we have nothing to fear. Others feel exactly the opposite. Stephen Hawking recently wrote “The full development of AI could spell the end for...
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New Branding and New Services

Posted 25 May 2017 by Richard Gardiner

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. Drawing is the honesty of the art. Salvador Dali Today Total Utilities announces its new branding. Over the last 18 years we have worked hard to assist companies in controlling consumption and cost. It's an exciting day for us and we are proud to share this with you. From today you'll see a change in the way we look, including our new ribbon logo. The spherical shape represents the whole as we take a 360 degree approach to understanding our clients and their utility requirements, whether it be Energy, Waste and ICT or Insights,...
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Production Management and the Industrial IoT

Posted 5 May 2017 by David Spratt

In the first two parts of this series I looked at what the internet of things (IoT) actually is and then at the Energy Management possibilities for businesses competing on the world stage. In this, part three, of the series we get down to the nitty gritty of Manufacturing Production Management and how measuring energy flows and consumption can inform critical decisions. I could make this complicated but if we really get down to the basics there are three main categories that require constant attention in a production environment: People, Processes and Technology. People –...
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How the Internet of Things is transforming Business

Posted 27 February 2017 by David Spratt

Over Christmas 2015 I spent a lot of my beach time getting sun burnt and considering the threat of global warming to my kids and to their kids. I eventually decided that, to save the planet, I could start by measuring the energy consumption of every electrical device in the world. This would help people understand how to use these devices more efficiently, they would use less energy and “voila” world saved! The only problem is – how the heck do I talk to every electrical device in the world? More importantly – how do I get them to talk back to me? Welcome to the emerging...
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Winners, losers and unrequited computer love…a satirical review of 2016

Posted 13 December 2016 by David Spratt

After a busy year trying to make sense of the changing ICT landscape I’m winding down for Christmas by attending as many customer and supplier events as possible. The prospect of free wine and food, stimulating conversations and standard speeches by sales managers delivers a mix of pleasure and pain. I’ve also delighted in compiling my 2016 awards list of companies and individuals that have taken on the IT challenge and made a difference, one way or another. The IT challenge awards go to: The 1980’s Post Office in Disguise Award: Chorus. Given the task of delivering fibre...
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How to manage costs and consumption in a cloud services environment

Posted 1 August 2016 by David Spratt

We talk to dozens of small and large companies around the country to help them modernise and streamline their ICT needs. We frequently hear about an issue that’s important to managers everywhere: a supposed lack of control over the growth of these as-needed costs. In many cases, the concern isn't a technical issue, it's a management one. It is also one that can be modelled and controlled. You can always spend more money on cloud services, but you shouldn't be surprised by your monthly bill. In an ICT/cloud infrastructure model there are three basic levers that need to be managed in order...
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