Allegient Blog

Visio: It's Not Just for Flowcharts Anymore

Posted by Geoff Lynch | March 25, 2015

Recently a colleague and I had the honor of attending the 2015 Visio Onsite Continuation Program hosted by Microsoft in Seattle. This unique offering was made available to Allegient as well as several other Microsoft business partners from all over the country. What was special about this exclusive gathering was that we were all there to explorer the depths of functionality and interoperability of Visio.  Much more than an online training course could have ever provided, ours was a consortium of colleagues who desired to ask more detailed questions, such as the development sequences for building dashboards, how to tightly integrate Visio, Excel, and SharePoint into a dashboard powerhouse, and debugging strategies (to name a few). 

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Even Your Mattress Can Be an Innovation

Posted by Sarah Boswell | March 23, 2015

This is the fifth post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

Buying online is interesting, isn’t it? Sometimes we want extreme customization, sometimes extreme simplicity. Either way, we just want something that works.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was browsing online for a window seat cushion. (I have this idea that I’ll sit in the window and read a book and enjoy the sunlight.) Unfortunately, I didn’t find what I was looking for at local stores. But my favorite result on Google was a site called Cushion Source. It guides you through choosing the quality, style, and size of your seat cushion, and then offers hundreds of upholstery options. It would have been a great online shopping experience, maybe even an impulse buy, but I stopped at the price tag. I decided I can keep looking for a better deal. Absence of a window seat isn’t what’s keeping me up at night.

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Speaking in Idioms – The Innovation of Process Needs

Posted by Martin J. Wagner | March 12, 2015

This is the fourth post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

Up next in Peter Drucker’s seven sources of innovation is process. I like to think about this source of innovation as the elephant in the room. This metaphorical idiom is the obvious truth that is either being ignored or unaddressed. We all know the elephant is there; it is impossible to ignore. Bill Hogan tells us what to do with this elephant: we take one bite at a time. Drucker tells us that we all know about the need, but usually no one does anything about it.

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How Facebook Trumped Myspace: Taking Advantage of Incongruities

Posted by Sarah Boswell | March 3, 2015

This is the third post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

I remember I was sitting in a stuffy Ball State dorm room with some friends at journalism camp when I first set up my Facebook account. They were a group of people from all over the country, and we stayed in touch for the next year or so, sending messages about our various high school friends and plans for college. One of the girls even became my roommate. We wrote on each other’s wall every day like pen pals, and became true friends because of that opportunity to interact online.

What’s great about Facebook is that it has evolved so much since it started in 2004 in a different dorm room at Harvard University. Facebook was founded on the values of exclusivity, being able to read things you wouldn’t otherwise know, and seeing it practically in real time. That’s similar to how it is now – except everybody uses it, from your mom to your grandma to the nice lady who organizes the church bulletin. But they’re all seeing your life unfold in real time, in such a way that they wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

In 2008, I adopted Facebook, and ditched Myspace, which I remember felt jumbled and cluttered, and none of my friends were using it anymore. I had tried Xanga before that, and I remember I "subscribed" to a few of my friends’ pages, people I had met at a different summer camp and only saw once a year. But as teenagers, our interests change and so do our social media habits.

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Can Data Warehouse Development follow an Agile/Scrum SDLC?

Posted by Warren Sifre | February 25, 2015

“A Data Warehouse is not a project, but an evolution that adapts to the ever changing needs of the business.”

If we agree with the statement above then why not Agile/Scrum Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)?

Many people believe Data Warehouse development cannot follow an Agile/Scrum SDLC. Well, I would suggest it can, given the right team composition and mindset.

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The Unexpected Success of the 2007 Apple iPhone

Posted by Martin J. Wagner | February 20, 2015

This is the second post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

In her post last week, Sarah Boswell introduced the Five Principles of Innovation, the key factors to help a person identify innovative ideas. Starting this week, we’ll begin to explore the Seven Sources of Innovation, or the ways to take advantage of innovative opportunities.

Our first source is The Unexpected.  According to Drucker, “The best source for successful innovation is from an unexpected success or failure.  Exploitation of this requires analysis simply because an unexpected success is a symptom.” 

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Taking Advantage of Good Ideas: The 5 Principles of Innovation

Posted by Sarah Boswell | February 13, 2015

Innovation and entrepreneurship are two big words that pack a lot of punch. In Peter Drucker’s book on the subjects, he breaks it down into two simple ideas – defining first where to look for innovation, and then how to take advantage of innovative opportunities.

Over the next several weeks, Martin Wagner and I will explain the “7 sources of innovation” from Drucker’s book, pulling his wisdom off the page and hopefully into a more modern context. We’ll talk about everything from iPhone to Xbox, to Indiana’s sophisticated beer palette and love for microbreweries.

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Process Excellence Highlights from PEXWeek 2015

Posted by Claire Wybrow | February 2, 2015

Recently, I attended PEXWeek 2015, a 3 day event that provides attendees with business tested techniques, tools and ideas to further process excellence within their organizations. Along with Steve Scott of Allison Transmission, I presented one of the first interactive workshops of the week, titled 'Elevating Process Information Management for the Enterprise'. Check out the case study here.

Workshops were what kicked off the week but there was much more to be discovered at PEXWeek! Here are a few of my own highlights from PEXWeek 2015.

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Inside The World of Agile - Agile 101

Posted by Brian O'Neal | January 23, 2015

"To Agile or Not to Agile?". That is the question.  Have you ever wondered or better yet, been confused by exactly what it means when your project manager mentions the fact that his/her projects are "Agile"? Have you ever questioned whether Agile software development truly has quantifiable benefits? Is the Agile trend ultimately leading to the downfall of "Waterfall".  Well, this post will provide you with enough information about the basics of the Agile methodology with a focus on SCRUM, to help you continue your search. 

History of Agile:

The Agile Manifesto was a document written in 2001 by a group seventeen people at a ski resort in Utah.  At this meeting were software development professionals well versed in development methodologies such as SCRUM, Xtreme Programming, Feature Driven Development, and others.  The main goal of this meeting was to come up with an alternative approach to documentation driven, long and heavy software development methodologies. This group named themselves the Agile Alliance and essentially came up with what's referred to as the "Agile Manifesto".  The core of the manifesto states the value of the items on the left over those on the right.

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An Open Apology to Future Maintainers of my Code

Posted by Jim Garlick | January 20, 2015

The other day, I encountered a particularly awful programming situation. I was working through finding a bug in a multi-thousand line program, we’ll call it FinancialCalc. It is full of tricky calculations, database calls, and middleware messages. The original developer had literally copied FinancialCalc, renamed it to something else like FinancialCalcTwo, tweaked a few lines, and then used FinacialCalcTwo from FinacialCalc. This is the same as buying two copies of a novel in order to read it twice. I jumped out of my chair, shuddering as if I was covered with spiders and asked a coworker, “is there a device that reaches back in time and strangles a developer when he makes horrible design choices?” Without missing a beat he replied, “If there was such a thing, we’d all be dead.”

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