Blog

integration and implementation of technology-focused business solutions

May 2017

How we can help you with a broken project

May 16th, 2017

It’s not unusual for us to get called in to fix a broken project. We’re always happy to help.

And after years of helping businesses with this issue, we’ve learned a few things about broken projects.

These can be on a large or small scale. In most cases, our client has spent money with the intent of reaching a preset goal, but for a multitude of reasons that goal was not achieved.

We are then called in to get the project back on track, and help our client reach their goal.

We’ve found that there are a few important things to keep in mind in order for us to help our clients pick up broken projects quickly and efficiently.

What happened

To fix a problem, we need to know in detail what happened from the beginning. This can be difficult, since people previously involved on the project may be hesitant to divulge information for fear of finger-pointing or receiving blame.

However, this is not the time for accusations. This is the time to lay out a road map of what happened, so we can identify the barriers and work to overcome them.

An easy way to focus the team on the problem at hand, and not on specific people, is to have each person discuss the tasks they performed, what went well, and what could have been done better.

To get people talking openly, it’s often helpful to have the project manager or lead start the discussion listing what they did, what went well, and what they could have done better.

What needs to be done

Often, our clients have a clear vision of their end goal. However, sometimes on a large IT project, the vision becomes blurry. This can be due to unforeseen impacts of the project, or differing expectations from various stakeholders.

Whatever the reason, we meet with the team and all stakeholders to ensure that everyone understands the project finish line.

To stay on task as the project starts moving forward, teams can adopt the stoplight description for tasks. When the team meets for project updates, each stakeholder can list the status of their task as a green, yellow, or red light. A green light means that the task is completed or being completed. A yellow light indicates that there are some gaps or challenges with a specific task. A red light means that a task is at a full stop.

When these updates are given, the team can compile a list of all the tasks with a yellow or red light status. Then, using all the resources available to the team, they can begin working through that list to mitigate those challenges.

Keys to reaching the end goal

We have found some key points are especially helpful to remember when completing a project that has faced some challenges in the past:

  • Start and finish something before adding on to it.
  • Appoint someone on staff as the project manager.
  • Have a secondary project manager for oversight and accountability.
  • Communicate often.
  • Agree on a system for approvals to give checks and balances for the project.
  • Set expectations with both developers and end users.
  • Avoid best case and worst case scenarios. Reality is usually somewhere in between.

Rest assured that, with patience, broken projects can certainly be fixed.

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Oracle software audits: What you need to know

May 2nd, 2017

Recently, a company in Oklahoma told us about their experience being audited by Oracle. They were long-time Oracle users, and had never previously been audited.

Over the course of many years, their company’s IT personnel installed and ran various Oracle programs, but never performed a self-audit to check for appropriate licensing.

For this client, years of installing new features without referring back to their licensing agreement with Oracle ended up costing them a lot of money. $200,000 to be exact.

This is a common problem we see. Often, businesses install Oracle software, and as their IT needs change, install more software. However, during the installation process, there are specific boxes that get checked, allowing for greater functionality that is over and above what’s provided in the business’ original software license with Oracle.

This cycle gets repeated. Over time, this leads to major (and expensive) problems during an audit.

Here’s what you need to know in order to prevent an expensive penalty from an Oracle software audit.

Oracle’s honor system

Unlike Microsoft systems, Oracle’s software can be installed based on an honor system. Oracle does not require a key code to install their product.

While this allows for ease of use at install, it can also allow users to inadvertently install features they may or may not need, and which may or may not be included in their licensing agreement.

Oracle does perform random audits of users. If a user (business) is found to be using software or features without the proper licensing, Oracle charges a penalty based on what the user would have paid if they bought the appropriate license in the first place.

Be the skeptic

Any time your team is installing new software, be the skeptic. Teach your IT people that it’s okay to question whether a new feature is included in the license.

Always refer back to the licensing agreement for comparison. If something isn’t clear, be proactive and reach out to Oracle or an approved Oracle vendor, like LSG Solutions, with any questions.

Self-audit

Get your IT staff in the routine of preforming self-audits. Compare the current software running with your licensing agreement to see if there are any gaps.

If gaps are discovered, ask questions such as:

  • Is this feature being used?
  • Why was this feature turned on or installed?
  • Should we purchase the appropriate license or uninstall the item?

As always, LSG Solutions is ready to help your organization with any needs related to Oracle software licensing. Some of our clients will self-audit and then ask us to assist in verifying the information, which we’re happy to do.

Though we are an Oracle Value-added Reseller in Oklahoma, our relationship with our customers is paramount. We’re not the Oracle police. We don’t report customer information back to Oracle. But we will help you get back in compliance, so you won’t face a huge penalty if Oracle audits your company.

Please contact us at 405-285-2500 or our contact form for questions and other assistance.

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CONTACT

501 E. 15th St., Suite 200B
Edmond, OK 73013
(405)285-2500
info@lsgsolutions.com