Day 1 – Futurex Conference 2007 – Robin Grace on Where Business Analysis Ends

Business Analysis is a process produces something of value to the business. The elementary process is the lowest level of work that can be performed with business meaning. It must describe what is done not how. And it’s about describing the business not the technology. Documenting business information rules not entity relationships. Users will perceive it’s not an “IT thing” but a business case. When performing business analysis and use a business cases – this is the step that brings you into the systems domain.

There was no interview with Robin Grace but below you can view his presentation:


Day 1 – Futurex Conference 2007 – Roger Layton on Project Failures

Topic: Project Failures Modes: Lessons from the Field

Roger Layton is a witty and inspirational speaker. The many years he spent lecturing and training comes through in the smooth delivery of his presentation. He is by far one of the best of the entire Futurex Conference speakers. In light of the eNatis failure people outside the Langlaagte Traffic Licensing stationed threatened to burn down the building. One of the major reasons is that the different stakeholders did not agree that there was a failure in the system. In that respect one could say that not communicating in itself is a failire.

So what is the basic premiss on project failures? Failure Avoidance!

Let us learn from other’s mistakes because this will improve our understanding of failure. Analysis of Google search on “Project Failure” identifies almost exclusively IT project failures. Engineering and other areas do not come up as frequently as IT project failures.

Roger’s definition of of “Failure” is the inability of the project to deliver the intended benefits to the identified stakeholders. Failure is also relative to project’s complexity. Looking at the track record of IT project the mainstream attitude or approach seems to be: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The fear of failure of new systems overrides the need or value that can be derived from replacing old systems.

Some major failures mentioned is: MacDonald’s, IRS, National Health Service (UK) each spending hundreds of millions of dollars and in some cases billions!

Here’s my video post interview with Roger Layton:

And you can view his presentation here:

For more information contact Roger Layton and Associates via his website.


Day 1 – Futurex Conference 2007 – Lauri Elliot on Stakeholder Management

Lauri worked for several Fortune 500 companies including Xerox. She discussed the importance of stakeholder management and relationships. There is a shift in power to the masses instead of the elite. And with this there is rising power in emerging markets instead of traditional markets. And as Stephen Covey once said, interdependence instead of independence is they way you create a culture of sharing and trust. What you want is partnership instead of domination; sharing instead of selfishness.

She emphasised the importance of Relationship. If your company does not manage relationships well you will fail. This is relates to key concepts from the Strategic Coach. Stakeholder management is all about managing these relationships. Instead of going into more details here please watch the video podcast interview with Lauri Elliot and see her presentation below for further details.


Day 1 – Futurex Conference 2007 – Elmar Roberg on Project Management

Elmar Roberg, a past president of the Computer Society, and current president of the Project Management Institute discusses Project Management the State of the Art.

Here is my 2nd video podcast interview with Elmar Roberg:

Elmar quoted Tom DeMarco as saying “people under pressure don’t think twice as fast.” Bad decisions are made when technology is ignored. Project Management is a young profession. And the first body was formed in 1965 is incidentally called Internet. Currently the Project Management Institute globally has over 230,000 members. Prince2 UK certification with 80,000 practitioners.

There is so many strategies and tools available in project management so if you just started using what you got you’ll be better off.

What is a Profession – initial education – accreditation of knowledge requirements – skills development – certification – licensing – professional development – professional societies – code of ethics – organisation certification.

Competence – basic knowledge set – you need to know what you are talking about. You need to have appropriate skills with years.

Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister did series of studies and one of they key findings in teams was that the strongest person is 10 times more productive than the weakest person. The weakest person from a quality perspective will produce 25 times more bugs or mistakes in their programming.


Capable project managers must be employed but just how good is your organisation as a project incubator – reference maturity models.


Elmar is a very vocal speaker generating great enthusiasm while speaking. I can tell for sure that he is very passionate about Project Management. And I would say that project management should be a compulsory course for all Computer Science and Information Systems student from first year through to third and fourth year. The benefits will be substantial in the long term with the quality of projects improving over time. This will bring us into a world class level of competitiveness when we contrast where we are compared to North America, Europe and Asia (especially India) for software development projects.

Here’s Elmar’s presentation with some more details…


Day 1 – Futurex 2007: Anthony Fitzhenry on the Technology Trends

Anthony Fitzhenry, CEO of Axiz, and IT Personality of the Year 2006, delivered the opening address at the annual Futurex Conference. The conference is co-located with the Futurex and Equip exhibition, which is possibly the biggest ICT exhibition in Africa. This is really a stunning presentation because it is about you, the consumer and eventually leads you into the opportunities for South African entrepreneurs. The biggest one in my opinion is really creating content for mobile platforms like cellphones and also developing more sophisticated applications like MXit for business or more specifically mobile commerce – allowing consumers to pay with their phones from airtime is a huge opportunity. Just think of 2.4 billion cellphones users vs 1 billion Internet users worldwide.

Here is Anthony’s presentation which you can also download from This was one of the highlights from the Futurex Conference, where most of the presentations have been sub-par, especially given the speakers are from the technology industry. This keynote for the 2007 Futurex Conference was in fact the last one where the Futurex branding was used.

And here is a my first ever video podcast with my new Sony Ericsson w880i recorded today:


Blogging the Futurex Conference 2007

Futurex ConferenceThe Futurex Exhibition is the biggest ICT event of the year. And it coincides with World Telecomms Day on 17 May. Futurex is also the merger of the old Computer Faire and Tel.Com Exhibition run by Computer Society up until the merger. And with the exhibition there is also the Futurex Conference that takes place annually. I’ll be blogging this conference over the next two day…

Here’s some more background information:

Programme Outline

A four part conference over two days, each part a stand alone, but linked by common threads: urgency – getting it right first time, on time – understanding your business without continually looking backwards – lessons learned from other scenarios and economies.

Strategic thinking, latest technologies, a business growth environment, international drive and energy combine in this year’s conference under the theme:

ICT: Foundations of the Economy

One year nearer 2010 and the pressure is on! Amidst the power failures, Gautrain disruptions and stadium cost over-runs & delays, ICT has emerged as a crucial tool to meet the promises of the future.

This year’s Conference will focus on four main issues:

Day 1: Future and current technology and management developments.

Project management using ICTs.
Business Analysis, a critical tool for business success.

Day 2: Creating an Environment for Growth with ICT.

ICT Environmental & Regulatory issues targeting growth of the ICT sector.
The Indian ICT Success Story.
Day 1: 16th May 2007
Strategic Thinkers.

Leading international and local strategic thinkers discuss technologies and management theories to create thought channels for South African entrepreneurs and corporates.

Experts agree: two key business practices working together with Information Technology can assist you in making a success of your activities:

Project Managing our Future with ICT.

Project Management is a complex mix of inter-related actions & outcomes. Applicable from Bridge building to software stabilization, today’s sophisticated methodologies are project processes.

In partnership with the Project Management Institute PMSA and the CSSA Special Interest Group for Project Management


Keynote: Looking Forward – Anthony Fitzhenry, CEO Axiz, IT Personality of the Year 2006
Lead Speaker: Elmar Roberg, President Project Management Institute SA PMSA: Making project management work.

Panel Discussion: Project management and IT.

Business Analysis/ Systems Analysis: the keys to organizational & business success.

Is IT looking after your business processes? Is it aligned to them? Are there gaps?

Business Analysts can sort through the chaos and extract a concise description of the business. They work with business users and IT professionals as a business problem solver, acting as a liaison between the technical and business worlds. They are capable of analysing the business to identify problems and/or opportunities and to define solution characteristics, but are not intoxicated by technology.

See and hear how the analysts can keep their cool whilst all around others are losing theirs!

In partnership with the CSSA Special Interest Group for Systems Analysis/Business Analysis.


International speaker (waiting confirmation)
Lead Speaker: Mr. Robin Grace – Software Futures: Where business analysis stops and systems analysis starts

Panel Discussion: Business Analysis or system analysis: which comes first?
Day 2: 17th May 2007
World Telecoms Day.

Environment Update.

2006 saw the EC Act; Neotel started operations as the 2nd network operator; Virgin Mobile flew into the market; number portability was implemented; international calls got cheaper as call back card usage spread….but telecoms costs changed little if at all, and a reported shortage of ICT skills hampered development. What does the rest of the decade hold for us as we prepare for 2010.


A number of industry leaders will be speaking, details to be confirmed

Panel Discussion: The future of Telecoms in SA

India @ Futurex.

In partnership with the India Consulate General.

The phenomenal growth of India’s ICT industry – software development, call centres and more…will be explored by top executives from that country.

Session 1:

Opening: Speakers will include the Deputy Minister of Communications Roy Padayachie.

Session 2:

Indian Industry at work: Leaders from the Indian IT Industry will give examples of their success stories.


Cocktail, Invitations courtesy Indian Consulate General @ 7pm


John Farquhar speaks out on future of Newspapers

John FarquharI received this response from John Farquhar after I emailed him about Duncan McLeod in Financial Mail’s column Newspapers R.I.P.
Thanks for the link to Mcleods column There are two kind of people in business. Those who live in the real world and those who fantasise about tomorrow’s where the old will be replaced by the new. As a Sci-Fi fan I was always fascinated by the gadgets the writers dreamt up, and looking back many of their imaginary gadgets have become reality. While there is nothing wrong about speculating about the future one must also balance it with realism. The problem with Mcleod thinking is that he is fascinated by the technological advances of more advanced societies and sees them taking over the world. But the technological train he spots in the distance may pass our society or take a long time getting here. While I keep myself informed of technological developments abroad I am also a realist when it comes to their application in this country. Much of the technological development that is happening in the U.S. and Europe will take an awful long time for it to be replicated in South Africa to the same depth. Sure there will be niche groups that have that hankering to be seen to be up to speed with their peers in the U.S. and will sport the latest gadgets but they are few. For the majority all this technology is fantasy. To make a statement that technology with replace print is stretching the envelope somewhat. Reading long screeds on the Web is physically tiring. It is far easier and more relaxing to read a book. If you are a news nut and wanting to keep your fingers on the pulse of what is happening out there, then technology is a must because it will give you the headlines. Your cellphone for example would be ideal. But if you want the in-depth story reading it on your cellphone or the web to put it bluntly is a pain in the arse. It is more conducive to read it in the print format. But there very few information nuts out there who get withdrawal systems if they don’t get the news the minute it happens.

Ordinary folk don’t think that way. They are not instant news nuts. If you are one never judge the populace by your behaviour.
Now what is the reality of South Africa. We have a small group of people who have a complex about being on a par with their peers abroad and make a point of being up there with the latest. The majority in our population don’t think beyond their neighbourhood. They have radios and TV and listen to the news, but if their interest is to get the full story they will get it from print.

You must not judge behaviour by the youth. New gadgets fascinate them. Cellphone chatter and sms for example. But this falls away when they move into the adult world where they have to work to make a living, and their free time is limited. For the Internet to have the same impact it has in the U.S. and Europe where household penetration has passed 50% it will have to get to the same level here. Once again judging the South African population and social structure I will venture to say that it is a long long way off. Mcleod was writing for the Financial Mail’s audience which incidentally is very small. The magazine only sells 35 000 copies an issue. Technology is important to these people because they are traders when ‘Now’ information is important to their business. But for him say that paper is doomed is nonsense. The average company consumes forests of paper in the business. Why because the working class uses paper. It is only the executives who have the gadgets. One must view technology in its proper perspective and in relation to the society you are talking About. South Africa is a long way off a paperless society. For your information that latest sales figures for magazines in the U.S. show increases.


Big News Google Buys Youtube for $1.6 billion

I’ve been a user of Google Video and Youtube for several months now. Maybe I am fortunate here in South Africa because I’ve had an ADSL link for more then 2 years and I recently got a Wifi networking going. So I’m surfing the net all the time for cool things. A big distraction is video content. You don’t have to read much, and the images actually move around 😉 How entertaining is this? Well very, very, very entertaining and extremely addictive.

In a news report on The Register, a leading UK technology news website, Mark Cuban ridiculed the Google/Youtube deal. I think the concerns about copyrighted video content will soon evaporate. Google has a knack for working around this, and they are good negotiators. Can anyone see a link between Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO sitting on the Apple board with this?