Informations Systems Consultant

Archive for July, 2011

JKIA Blackout


How saddening that the JKIA faced a major blackout to warrant flights being redirected to Kisumu, Eldoret & Mombasa.KAA should wake up and effect a powerback solution that can run for a couple of days when the KPLC mains fail.

 

We have power firms in Africa that have provided credible solutions. There is also the choice of outsourcing the power back facility. Could this have been stage managed or just utter ignorance on the managements part?

The importance of JKIA  in the region and to Kenya cannot be over emphasized.Definitely something should happen and never should this be allowed to happen ever again.

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Business Analytics & Business Intelligence


Attending the ICT Board breakfast meeting today at the Inter-continental Hotel Nairobi, SAS made a wonderful presentation. Their presentation was on how organizations and governments should employ the use of Business  Analytics & Business Intelligence. The stages highlighted included:

1. Data capture from trusted sources (government agencies, IMF, world bank , the UN etc)

2. Statistical data available within an organization (from suppliers, clients & staff)

3. Internal & external e-reports in the organizations information systems.

These data then has to undergo:

  • cleansing – zero down to the core
  • validation – authenticate data collected

and then thereafter using analytical software like SAS create reports using customizable graphical and easy to use, model, export & share. Using the interface variables could be re-defined and scientific projections accurately made.

With such tools then data available to us like Kenya’s Census Report, Kenya Open Data Reports, KWS figures, Ministry of Water Statistics, Ministry of Tourism Research Findings & Accumulated financial reports submitted to Treasury then data modeling about Kenya can be done. And from that accurate projections made and true business predictions modeled. This would make decision making to our leaders easier and precise. This would ensure equitable allocations made and proper budgets developed.

Organizations need such to raise above the murky water of “gut feeling” decisions that lead to chaos as the SAS team revealed. Many businesses get into crisis when management makes un-informed decisions. We have many examples on that.

For me the most important of lessons from the presentation is how as individuals we could use such tools. Since we have families to take care of, bills to pay against limited resources and small/medium investments to juggle with.

take a look at http://www.sas.com

Latest Applications:KPLC


It has been quite interesting to read the comments of people  on KPLC prepaid system. I have been monitoring my prepaid meter since it was installed three months ago. My findings are not far from the complains written all over social media.

1. There are times when the meter speeds downhill!

2. Units bought vary when bought at different times with similar amount over time. (is this the fuel vs currency fluctuations errors?)

3. The prepay online buying regime on Mpesa, Airtel etc needs a serious review. The relay delay time needs to be streamlined for faster transactions.

This is where I now believe the story also in our social media. Is it true that a leading auditing firm in Kenya found flaws in the system but KPLC never did anything about it? If that is the case where is CCK, KEBS and Federation of Consumers to watch our backs?

It is high time every billing system used in our country undergo independent reviews by these standards regulators alongside systems audit firms to ascertain the irregularities. Now that the Nairobi Water Services and others want to implement prepay systems caution and stiffer regulation checks need to be carried out to safeguard looting the public out of their already outstretched (read heavily taxed) hard earned cash.

This is also a call to KPLC’s management to address this ASAP and stand on their word in delivering “light” in all its spectrum meaning including transparency!

Beware:Just like the Soldier


Soldiers are not babies, they understand everyday is a fight, they prepare and continuously anticipate. They know the calm of day could be the ruin of the night. They have learnt the advantage of storm and know how to find peace in the blare of panic. All terrain could be treacherous so they read everything and always use their compass. Navigation is never by experience so they re-check everything. They are always alert even when relaxing or asleep. Organization need such kind of precision in all their ICT policies and Systems Management.

hackers, Competition and others are always studying loopholes to organizations ICT infrastructure. To be resilient requires consistent monitoring and counter-balance as no fix is fault proof. Thus the saying “Even the well laid plans sometimes fail”

Business Continuity Planning is a must for all organization and should be revised quarterly if not yearly as in that period lot of things could have changed. That is why fire drills are frequently scheduled.

New Technology


1. Feasibility Study

Before going on with any technology project, your organisatin needs to do a feasibility study of the viability, suitability and the adoption costs involved. Look ahead and anticipate the pros and cons of implementation. Could the technology be customized to fit into your managament polciies and ultimate mandate?

  • Do you have the right skill-set of personnel?
  • Does the budget factor the project?
  • What is the turn-around time for the benefits of the project?

2. Project Planning

Set clear-timelines. Factor relay-delay times of parallel activities as well as serial events. Benchmark what will be covered as it happens. Institute checks & controls to mitigate against time-overflows of activities. Use different project planning tools to have a true graphical feel.

3. Team Review Meetings

As you start the project have time for Team Planning Events for individual activities. Have reviews and walkthroughs as the events unfold. Here necessary inputs are reviewed and clarifications spelt out.

4. Team retreats

Motivation is key to have successful implementation. Find time during the weekends to unwind, play & relax. Avoid talking about the project unless it is positive, mitigation of sorts or emergency response. Have a good laugh of mistakes. Approach challenges as sport. Dance, sing and let every team member just have a good time. It is only after such that the next TPE could achieve so much more.

5. Commissioning

Handing over projects is always an uphill task. Knowing this in advance then it is prudent to start preparing handing over notes as the project begins. Write down short comments alongside all developments. You will be amazed at how all the easier it will be at the veery end to compile the  commissiong report. Every one wants a concise instruction manual and crisp project report.

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