Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: February 2013

Notes 9.0 search improvement

The IBM Notes 9.0 availability anouncement is not far off, so the Notes user population, current and future can prepare for improvements to come. One of my personal favorites is the improvement in search, that now allows you to search in your current mailbox as well as any of your archives in one go:
search everywhere
Next stop (?): search in multiple|all local databases. But that's a story for a custom extension.

Posted by on 27 February 2013 | Comments (1) | categories: IBM Notes

Now it's out, keep it running!

Congratulations, your new web business is up an running, your ingenious idea took flight, users are flocking in, the team is growing and they are brimming with ideas. This is the perfect time to take a step back and evaluate what it takes to run a web business that offers a global cloud based service. You need to evaluate what is your core strength and what you leave to others.
There is no hard and fast rule, just a huge set of questions. A global retail and logistics champion runs every piece of hardware in their own data centres, while a file sharing champion doesn't own a single (production) server and leaves its product to be run by a large Platform-as-a-Service provider.
So what do you need to watch out for? Here is my cheat sheet:
What you need to watch out for when running a web business
  • Platform:
    Where is your stuff running? In your office? In a hosting center? With a PaaS provider?
    • Storage:
      What type of information do you store? How is the read to write ratio? Do you need a RDBMS or is a NoSQL database smarter? How much artifacts do you need to store? Do you need to keep the same information in multiple formats (e.g. media)? Can you replicate your storage for backup and high availability?
    • Availability:
      Do you have a maintenance window? How fast does new information need to be processed. If you deal in financial derivated you need to think in micro seconds, for a job ad you might have hours.
      • Deployability: How fast and easy can you deploy a new or updated instance of your application including data?
      • Recoverability: What happens when your primay site goes down?
      • Resilience: you suddenly attract wanted and unwanted attention, how well can you fend it off?
    • Load balancing: how much of you application and data can be distributed?
    • Cache: are you easy on the network? Total carrier bandwidth is still growing slower that the number of bandwidth consuming devices
    • Latency: are you close to your customers? 100 quick Ajax calls with 2ms latency are no delay, but 100 with 500ms kill your application
    • Staging: Does your staging environment match your production, can you run staging test with similar loads?
  • People:
    They make and break your success. Are the barriers to entry as low as possible?
    • Usability: are the objectives for users clear, articulated, tested and plesant? Are the right objectives known. E.g. for my business travel I have 3 criteria to select a hotel: location, quality internet and gym facilities. However this information is scattered around and makes selection very difficult for me. I don't care about restaurants, spa, shops or conference facilities.
    • connected: is your brand the "Scotch-Tape" (Tesa for Germans) of your business? Can users access your system with credentials they have? Registration processes are such a turn-off. But do you ask enough information in time?
  • Mobile:
    Do you look good on mobile? Does your app work is badly connected environment? Is the app experience better than just using the mobile browser? Do you take advantage of device sensors (location, NFC) and capabilities (PIM integration, share function)
  • Processes:
    How Agile are your processes? Don't mix up "Agile" with "undefined". How do you handle:
    • Agility
    • Peer reviews
    • Use cases
    • Release management
    • Feature / bug management
  • Code:
    Bad code can break your business. Did you pick the right language, framework, methodology? Can your people deal with your code base? Is your code base a giant furball or a neat box of Lego blocks?
  • Security:
    Do you execute Penetration testing? How good is your test coverage? Is your service perceived as trustworthy? Do you manage your runtime security? Like: is your JVM current?
As usual YMMV

Posted by on 21 February 2013 | Comments (0) | categories: Software