I’m quoted in this article sponsored by Intel on cio.com.
That sounded familiar to technology writer Will Kelly (@willkelly), who said that “CIOs need a workload-centric model that takes into account business priorities, budget, application performance requirements, vendor lock-in concerns, available cloud expertise, and of course security and compliance.”
I regularly discuss with a colleague the state of the cloud and how to make cloud messages resonate with readers He’s a solutions architect. I’m a technical writer. We work in allied professions, but he sees things I don’t see. What I came to see after a few discussions with him is how corporate cloud issues have an even more direct effect on content than other topics I’ve written about during my career.
Here are three ways cloud issues can hurt content development:
1. Lack of cloud subject matter expertise
The cloud is such a fast-moving and evolving topic. I’m just not talking the latest Amazon Web Services (AWS). Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure. That news is only a part. There’s a plain lack of cloud expertise in organizations to support content development.
The cloud has its share of people who don’t belong. It happens with every major technology trend that hits the market. These are people grasping at the cloud to preserve their political stature. They can hijack the cloud message you need to communicate with your users/readers. Don’t fall for the PowerPoint slides go with people who have the right subject matter expertise in cloud topics.
My preferred subject matter experts for cloud content call themselves lifelong learners. If somebody doesn’t know something. That’s OK. We can figure it out together. There’s nothing worse than somebody BSing me they know something they don’t.
2. Constant cloud services and market evolution
The release velocity of AWS, GCP, and Azure blows past any other technology topics I’ve written about in the past ten years. It’s hard to keep up with the matter. I used to consider myself good at keeping up with technology. Now I find the cloud lapping me with the speed of new feature releases the startup ecosystem that’s sprouting up around the cloud contributes to the pace.
I’ve had the fortune to work with brilliant cloud people. By extension, I have contact with others through IDG TechTalk chats who range from the senior architect to the CxO level. They are people far smarter than me, and they each have challenges keeping up with new releases.
3. Business prevention disguised as change management
It’s no secret I’m no fan of organizational change management (OCM). Too many times I’ve seen OCM become business prevention. OCM should give business users the content and message they need to transition themselves into a cloud-first enterprise but unfortunately, they can bog users down in surveys and other feel-good strategies.
A better cloud change management strategy means:
Creating a direct channel with business users by elevating their representation in cloud content development decisions
Listening to the cloud pain points from the users themselves not through the filter of a change management team
Thinking in terms of frameworks, jumpstart guides, and other content that can enable your business users to start small in the cloud while feeling self-sufficient
Writers developing technical content about the cloud have to drink from a firehose with or without the challenges I outline in this post. My advice to counter such challenges is to include your writer in early on your cloud projects.
My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content strategist based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve written for corporations and technology publications about such topics as the cloud, DevOps, and enterprise mobility. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly
Project management is longer about a lone project manager printing out a Gantt chart in a project management office (PMO) war room. It’s about data. Project managers, teams, stakeholders, and even clients can benefit from the data that today’s cloud-based project management platforms generate. This new breed of project management platform means an application programming interface (API) that will play a growing role in the future of project management and ultimately become the ultimate project management application feature in the future.
Part of the frustration about desktop project management applications outside of uneven user experience (UX) is that they were and(mostly) still are a data silo. Now project management data needs to be understood and consumed at all stages of the project delivery process. Here are some example integrations:
Customer relationship management (CRM) integration enabling better management of technical staff during the sales cycle
Financial/accounting systems integration enabling better management of staff billable hours and expenses versus the project budget
Partner management platform integration enabling better coordination of partner and channel support of project delivery
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration
Learning management system (LMS) to manage better certifications and training amongst project teams
Project management APIs in action
Professional services organizations are natural customers for project management APIs because professional services automation (PSA) can offer them a competitive advantage regardless of their industry because they can manage projects from customer on-boarding through closeout.
My favorite example of project management APIs in action is project management platform integration with a CRM platform. It enables you to pull in prospective customer data over from Salesforce or another CRM to start managing the prospective client project. When the sales team is ready to close the project, it’s easy to kick off the project because key customer data is already in place.
Once management creates the project, they can assign resources and schedule the project as if the project is going to happen including booking the time of the necessary technical staff. You can assign resources and scheduling as if the project is going to happen. If the deal falls through, it’s easy to delete the project data thus restoring resource allocations to their correct level.
Project management platform APIs and analytics
While writing about project management platforms I came to see the future of them being more analytics and reporting driven. A project management platform API can help integrate with a cloud analytics platform to enable project managers to move from tactical to strategic decision making because the API is opening up data that would otherwise be trapped in a desktop project management silo.
APIs are the future of project management platforms
As project management continues to evolve into a more data-driven field, the project management platform API is going to rise on the list of platform requirements for a prospective buyer. Open standards add to the possibilities because enterprises can do the integrations themselves without the need of an expensive and time-consuming professional services engagement.
How are you integrating your project management platform with other corporate backend systems?
Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.