Information technology is an inevitable and necessary part of any successful business, but with its increasing complexity, the multitude of available technologies, the multitude of possible solutions, suppliers and different approaches to identical tasks, it is a challenge to every line of business. Especially because, although crucial, IT is ultimately not the core business of most entrepreneurs, so the challenges for them are even more severe.
Extensive experience gained in IT management, development of IT infrastructure, Business Information Systems and special systems such as fully autonomous fuel station to development of Information systems for River Navigation management and control, in a wide range of technologies and business environments, provides an exceptional foundation for successful building of state-of-the-art solutions.
Technologies: Microsoft (Windows servers, SQL databases, AD), Linux (Apache, MySQL, Postgres, VPN, Samba, PHP, Java, HTML), ERP systems, AIS - Automated Identification System
Industries: Petroleum Products, Transportation, Trade, Distribution and Logistics
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Organization and management of complete IT, Project Management, Infrastructure Management. Definition on Wikipedia - Interim Management.
At some point in the development and growth of the company, it becomes clear that Information Technology (IT) is not only a necessary evil but has an important role in the success and stability of the business. It becomes clear that this is a complex issue that no one in the company can deal with sufficiently, and the risk of major damage begins to emerge if the whole thing is not contained.
However, IT should not be contained nor curbed, but should be able to be used in the most purposeful, efficient and useful way. IT can and must be an important, and nowadays an unavoidable, factor in the sustainable progress of any business. Well-organized and well-managed IT, in addition to helping the businesses deal with mandatory tasks, helps them do business faster, more accurately, cheaper and in more secure way. It helps businesses do activities that would not be possible or would be unsustainable without IT.
Organizing of the IT in a company is a complex task in itself, regardless of whether is it already organized in some way or not. How much will it cost? How long will it take? Will it be good and applicable at the end of the story? Who will do it anyway?
In fact, of all these questions, the most difficult and most important is "Who will do it?". It’s not something you can buy in a store or order online. The simplest, perhaps even cheapest, would be to start hiring a quality IT manager. But there are not too many such people and most of them already are engaged somewhere for a good salary.
Of course, there is a good alternative, and that is "Interim manager". Interim manager is an experienced manager who works on a project basis, ie until the goal is achieved, and during that time he functions as a regular employee of the company. The duration of the engagement is usually predetermined and within that time it is expected that the pre-agreed goals will be achieved. For example, Interim manager can fully organize and establish IT based on the existing situation and management strategy and plans, create and set processes and define procedures, review supplier relationships, and ultimately assist in selecting employees to take over and continue the work. Such engagement can take from a few months to a year, depending on the requirements and goals of the Corporation.
Imagine you want to build a house and gather 5 top craftsmen, explain to them in detail what you want, agree on a price and they get to work. Ideally, everyone has understood exactly what you want, no unforeseen situation will happen and at the agreed time, for the agreed money you will get exactly what you wanted. However, this is never the case. If you are wise enough and have enough time, you will personally monitor how things develop and very quickly you will notice few interesting things. First, each of them understood your idea in their own way and imagined differently what that house should look like. Second, you will notice that each of them takes care mostly only of his own work and does not adapt to the dynamics of the others. Third, if he has not prepared enough material for the job he needs to do that day, he will stretch the time instead of procuring the missing material or do some other work instead.
If you persist in such an approach where things go somehow on their own, in the end it will happen 1. The work will take much longer than necessary, 2. All together it will cost you much more than planned 3. The result will be very different than you have expected.
A good Project Management is key to successfully accomplishing a complex task and achieving a goal. It is even much more important to manage the project well than to have top-notch resources at your disposal. Top resources alone mean little if they are not aligned and used at the right time in the right way and to the right extent.
Lately, there have been attempts to make projects less dependent on Project Manager or that Project Manager can be "produced" in a fast and cheap way, so methods like "Scrum" have been invented - something like finding those 5 craftsmen every now and then discussing where they are with the work so they could continue to build the house as efficiently as possible, but each still with their own idea in mind. Another approach is PMI where the main focus is on documentation and reporting of resources spent, activities achieved,… actually administration of the project at the best.
Both approaches are not bad by themselves and have a useful function in a particular context, but these are not Project Management in the sense that it should be.
Project Management is actively managing resources, anticipating possible problems and bottlenecks before they happen, planning activities, controlling costs in order to maximize efficiency instead of just staying within the given limits. Project Management ultimately boils down to successfully completing the task in the given time frame and the budget. In order to do this, Project Manager must first have a clear picture of the goal and fully understanding of the task and technology of "construction". He must at all times know exactly where the project is, understand what is being done and constantly anticipate possible obstacles - immediate and long-term - and have a clear idea of how to avoid or mitigate them. And he must be in close communication with the two most important people at all times, namely the immediate "client" and the "sponsor" - for example, the development manager and the director or owner.
Project Manager plans resources and activities before the project starts, but sometimes some or both of these are pre-set, which is often the case in IT projects. Simply, it is necessary to reach the goal with what’s on the plate, for example, 5 programmers of mediocre skills and three of them not standing each other… In fact, rarely does a project start with ideally chosen resources, such conditions are only available to Hollywood A producers.
IT infrastructure management is more or less complex, depending primarily on the size and complexity of the business and its dependence on the smooth operation of the system. So, for example a company with 3 computers and one printer may not have to think too much about it because what can happen? Well, it can actually happen a lot, which can result in unplanned expenses, unnecessary waste of time all the way to complete inability to continue with normal operation and loss of all important information necessary for the functioning of the business.
Even a small business would benefit from meaningfully and efficiently managed IT infrastructure no matter how simple it may be. Using the infrastructure would be more efficient, cheaper, and especially importantly safer. However, the larger the firm and the more complex the business IT infrastructure management becomes more important. Standardized equipment, user operating system configured in standard way, regulated authorization procedures for data access and use of the resources, procedures for data management and backups,… All this is necessary for safe and predictable business, but no less important, for sustainable growth.
Well-designed policies, procedures and processes make IT infrastructure management simple and secure.
Despite the immense amount of available software solutions, many of which are free, sometimes there is a need to create something completely different to solve a specific problem or to solve it in a specific way. In doing so, one of the biggest challenges is how to choose the most appropriate technology that will meet the needs and will do it in optimal way.
The choice of technology is crucial not only for the efficiency of the software solution, but also for the availability of development resources, adaptability to potentially new needs and technologies, and security in operation. For example, WordPress is a free publicly available platform that enables rapid development and implementation, because there is a large number of available resources - developer implementers and ready-made plug-ins. However, because of that, that technology is extremely exposed to various abuses and malicious attacks.
The development process itself is the most sensitive stage of the implementation of a software solution and is exposed to numerous challenges. The process should be viewed as a series of complex activities that are interconnected and interdependent so need to be constantly coordinated in order for the final result to be in line with expectations.
Analysis, design, programming, testing, implementation. A development engineer, his quality, knowledge and experience, is an important and indispensable resource, but in itself insufficient. Very rarely does a development engineer possess other skills necessary for successful realization. The most common cause of problematic implementation is at the very beginning of the project, because the Analysis did not produce quality input for later stages. Business Analysis must unambiguously decipher real needs and understand what is expected as a result. It is not the purpose of the analysis to compile a wish list of the client. In fact, it can be counterproductive, because the client usually does not have enough expertise to "design" the best solution for himself, often does not know what is possible and whether something can be done better than he imagined.
Therefore, it is crucial to correctly "capture" the picture and accordingly propose optimally designed functionalities with which the client will consent and ultimately be satisfied. Based on quality analysis and selection of technology, it is necessary to design the functionalities, way of usage - user interface, interaction with the environment and possibly other systems and the entire framework within which developers will build the application itself. The quality of the programmer determines the quality of performance and stability of the software solution, so no matter how well the analysis and the project are well set, an inexperienced and bad programmer will produce a bad program. Testing can detect most of the shortcomings, most of which can be relatively easily remedied, but sometimes larger and longer-lasting proceedings are required. Either way, testing is time consuming and the fewer programming errors, the cheaper the process.
It is not possible to detect all errors in the testing phase, but some are detected later in the implementation phase - trial operation, user training, commissioning. But better the earlier stages are performed, the more successful and smoother the implementation is in the end.
Two things need to be separated, either you are an entrepreneur or you are an accountant.
The Program for Entrepreneur should be such that it effectively and easily covers day-to-day business processes. In contrast, the program for bookkeepers should provide postings by accounts, and the production of mandatory reports. For a company with less than 30+ employees, it is smarter (and cheaper) to have an external bookkeeping that throw the numbers on accounts and creates reports, monitors regulations and takes part of the responsibility. Everything else should be in the domain of the Entrepreneur.
Control and payment of input costs, issuing invoices and billing, shipping of goods and warehouse management, cash register, travel invoices, transaction invoices, etc.
An entrepreneur must have these jobs under his own roof, whether he is a “one-man-team” or can delegate these jobs to his employees. Either way, what is important is that these jobs can be done simply, unambiguously, in a controlled way, quickly and without the need for constant outside support.
The program that enables this is RIVA mini ERP (www.ac-abakus.com). There are detailed instructions that can be downloaded directly and that give a pretty good insight into the capabilities and operation of the system. In addition, there is a DEMO version that can be downloaded without any registration so one can try out how the thing really works.
Registered users are entitled to each new version (free of charge), and can be used on a subscription basis (annually) or by purchasing a permanent license.
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