Archive

Author Archive

Promotional Video – Giving Time and Solutions Ltd Company Services Update

August 27, 2013 1 comment

This is my 1st video (please see website link 1 below) recorded and edited by Luke and Myroslava who are 2nd year Media Production students at Coventry University. I was happy with the results – the outcome – 1st CLASS! I am so glad I did my 1st video with Luke and Myroslava. I found both of them:-

  • Were very honest from the start. In our initial meeting, they were honest about their particular skills set and what they could and could not do
  • Knew when best to use verbal and written communication
  • Were very professional to work with
  • Were very reliable
  • Kept me informed on progress throughout the project  – the good and not so good news!
  • Were polite and friendly to work with
  • Delivered to very tight time-scales – quick turnaround!
  • At times called me first, which I found was very professional
  • Understood the importance of scheduling calls/meetings
  • Tried tasks which may not be their strength and knew how to work well in a team to deliver a high quality product! 10/10
  • Demonstrated their attention to detail
  • Have been consistent with me after project completion – again very professional!
  • Were very mature in their attitude
  • Always confirmed the meeting minutes (in writing)

Before the project started, I contacted a number of people. Firstly I visited the staff who work in Media Reception in February 2013. Following this I had separate meetings with the Senior Lecturers to discuss the video I wanted. I then sent a document outlining my project requirements and Luke responded.

I could tell from the initial meeting (would not quite call it an interview myself) I had with Luke and Myroslava that they were excited to work on this project. This is exactly what I was looking for – Passion!

On 27 and 28 March 2013, we recorded the video. I left it to Luke and Myroslava to give me their expertise on how I should present myself. When watching myself back, my usual style of presenting to an audience did not seem suitable for this video. I changed my style and listened to the instructions from Luke and Myroslava. There was a blank screen behind me, I had to stand still and there was a microphone above me. All the graphics was going to be added afterwards.

Once we recorded the video, it was then time for Luke and Myroslava to edit it. The project was completed in Coventry and London and we worked on site and remotely. As a Programmer many years ago, I always believed it was best to have clients involved in how they wanted the IT systems designed, prototypes was what always worked well. I gave my feedback verbally and then documented it in a structured document to Luke and Myroslava. It saved time and was a good document to keep referencing to check if the changes were done.

Despite the few ‘these things happen sometimes in the real world’ moments (please read Luke’s and Myroslava’s blog posts  – website links 2 and 3 below), the video was completed ahead of schedule. Contingency planning a must!

Once the project was completed we had a ‘let’s celebrate’ meeting to review the lessons learnt and discuss the areas that went particularly well.The written project requirements and mutually agreed terms and conditions documents proved to be useful during and after project completion. Again, both documents were good to refer to as a ‘To Do’ checklist with my ‘I like giving ticks on tasks done’.

On another note, I sometimes have to rely on experts and professionals to provide certain services to Giving Time and Solutions Ltd, be it a freelancer or people from a small/medium/large size organisation.

As with everything I do, I contact people directly myself. I feel more comfortable working with professional people who respond, reply and mutually agree in writing the verbal discussions we have and work that will be carried out.

For the last 3 years, I have been looking for someone to do a video (for another requirement I have) and take professional photos. As well as the promotional video, Luke and Myroslava have also taken professional photos for me! I will definitely consider working with Luke and Myroslava again.

For me, this was a SUCCESSFUL project and I thoroughly enjoyed working with Luke and Myroslava! A BIG THANK YOU to Coventry University, the Senior Lecturers who made time to meet me (200 students!), staff in the Media department, and of course Luke and Myroslava! My family, friends, previous work colleagues and relatives have directly given me good and constructive honest feedback comments, both of which will help with videos I do.

From one Director to another Director – please do read the detailed ‘Giving Time and Solutions Ltd Promotional Video – Behind the Scenes’ blog posts Luke and Myroslava have written – please see website links 2 and 3 below.

*** UPDATE:

The Green IT workshops had been requested in the Green IT awareness talk feedback forms (March 2011).

A lot has happened in the last year (2013). I am happy with the progress made on other projects/work I have been focusing on, as well as looking into the options to outsource some of the tasks I have.

5 year milestone on 16 April 2014!

There are lots of people who have genuinely supported me and I am also fortunate to have connected with more honest and trustworthy professional people. Every person has made a difference.

The people who have and continue to inspire and influence me are real people.

To read the testimonials/recommendations, please visit the company website or my LinkedIn Professional Profile.

 

***

WEBSITE REFERENCE

NO. WEBSITE LINK DESCRIPTION
1. http://youtu.be/3Mi0dcIoFlU Giving Time and Solutions Ltd – Promotional Video
2. http://bit.ly/13VVtnp Luke’s Behind the scenes Blog Posts – Coventry University Media Production Student (Year 2)
3. http://bit.ly/1dmmW5M http://bit.ly/15fIPti http://bit.ly/12HrAEB Myroslava’s Behind the scenes Blog Posts – Coventry University Media Production Student (Year 2)
4. http://www.givingtimeandsolutions.com Giving Time and Solutions Ltd – Testimonials.

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 27 August 2013 1.30pm
Last updated: 28 October 2016 4.15pm

Advertisements

Efficient Database Design – Tips!

December 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Information Overload!  I have lots of useful information gathered on Green IT and environmental topics which I will share in a number of ways.

Database Overload? As a customer, I had someone recently tell me about their slow database. Patience.

What is the cost of having slow systems and incorrect data held in IT systems?

I hope the table below will help people understand what simple steps to take to ensure an efficient database is designed.

NO STEPS TO TAKE DESCRIPTION/EXAMPLE
1 Group Data Logically You will firstly want to group data into ‘tables’ (Techie Speak). Use a diagram!
  1. Table – Countries
  2. Table – Cities
2 Identify Data Relationships A city exists in a country. Bear in mind, one city can exist in more than one country.
  1. City – Coventry
  2. City – Reading
3 Ensure you are able to view who has maintained the data. Of course everyone uses their own logon details…YES WE DO

It helps to identify the person who originally created the data/document. Think of security and trust as well.

Who (have a table to store contact details)

  • Created it
  • Updated it
  • Viewed it
  • Deleted it

When was it (date/full timestamp)

  • Created
  • Updated
  • Viewed
  • Deleted
4 When data is actually stored in the IT system/database, ensure unique numbers are used (increment this automatically) to identify the record. Change will happen! You may want to display the record in a drop down list or Radio buttons on front-end/data-entry screens.
Milan and Milano (the same)
5 Use synonyms (database) and have descriptions. MIL (Milan) and MLN (Milano)
6 Ensure there is validation (on the database or in the code) to avoid duplicate records being created. Prevention is better than cure.
Milan MILan MILAN
7 The person who is writing the code (developer/programmer) will be linking back to the database. Try to build code dynamically such that you have one piece of code and are passing parameters to it. You may want to change the currency exchange rate for each country on a regular basis and will therefore want one command to update the data/record
UPDATE (parameter 1 passed) SET COLUMN 1= (parameter 2 passed)
WHERE COLUMN 2= (parameter 3 passed)

There’s lots more to consider – large Media files, Archives, audit trail, etc. Hopefully this helps!

Whether it’s Oracle or Business Objects (any business intelligence/database/CRM/reporting tool), I would advise investing time in understanding what data is being stored and for what purpose.

As with most things, review what you’re doing at least once a year. Prioritise with all projects/tasks you have – time, budget and people available.

And remember, there’s always a temporary solution/workaround before the perfect solution is implemented!

Keep it simple…

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 11 December 2012 2.00pm
Date updated: 2 April 2015 4.45pm

Categories: Green IT, Greener Coding

NHS Sustainable Development Unit for England

June 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Based in Cambridge, the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) has been established since April 2008.  It was formed by the National Health Service (NHS) in England under the auspices of the Office of the Strategic Health Authorities (OSHA). It is now hosted by NHS Midlands and East and its Chief Executive, Sir Neil McKay.

The aim of SDU is to help the NHS fulfil its potential as a leading sustainable and low carbon health service.

The SDU
1. Is a source of leadership, expertise and guidance concerning sustainable development to all NHS organisations in England.
2. Raises awareness of the actions and responsibilities that the NHS has regarding sustainable development and climate change.  This includes promoting a culture of measurement and management which leads to a process of carbon governance.
3. Helps to shape NHS policy, locally nationally and internationally.  This makes sustainable development and dealing with climate change both necessary and possible for every NHS organisation.
4. Ensures the very best practice and innovations on sustainability in the NHS and elsewhere are evaluated and costed and the mechanisms for implementation are made fully available to all NHS organisations.
5. Works in partnership with the NHS, government, industry and the third sector to achieve the above.

Several NHS organisations have submitted case studies listed under the different headings below, which show the initiatives in embracing in more sustainable practice.
Energy and carbon management
• Procurement and food
• Travel, transport and access
• Waste
• Buildings – Designing the built environment
• Organisational and workforce development and Behavioural Change
• Partnerships and networks
• Governance
• Technology and Models of Care

 To find out more, please see website link 1 below

NO. WEBSITE LINK DESCRIPTION
1. http://www.sdu.nhs.uk Sustainable Development Unit Website

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 2 June 2012 4.00pm

Fujitsu’s own Green Label

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I find looking at eco-labelling is similar to food labelling. As a vegetarian (together with the huge interest I have in health/fitness!) I often have to do more detailed research into the actual ingredients and nutritional information.

Not everyone can agree what a vegetarian can or cannot eat though, which makes my interviewing/question process so much more interesting! Not to mention the really long words on the labelling for both IT eco-labels and food labels!

I’ve spent the last few months looking at more eco-friendly IT products, mainly for my Green IT talks/training and for a customer requirement. The joy of speaking to some resellers and account managers has been rather eventful.

I like to directly contact the company myself. There are other eco-friendly technology products as well as those on the UK EPEAT list.

I’ve looked into this further with EPEAT and received some information to do with paying and registering on a country by country basis.  I also spoke to a contact who actually works in the sustainability team at Fujitsu in the UK, as none of their products appear on the UK EPEAT list.

Fujitsu have their own Green Label which includes EPEAT, Blue Angel, Nordic and Energy Star, and they look at the whole lifecycle.

The Blue Angel is a German certification and is the oldest eco label in the world. Fujitsu Siemans was the first global manufacturer to introduce a Blue Angel certified Green PC to market in 1993.

The Nordic label was established in 1989 and is another environmentally labelling scheme used internationally.

So, as well as EPEAT (UK), it’s also worth looking at Fujitsu’s Green Labelled products for other environmentally friendly technology products.
 

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 11 December 2011 12.30pm

Green Coding – Best practices to ensure reduced costs, carbon footprint and energy usage

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

What is meant by Green Coding?

Having efficient systems and well written code is a must, as there will be many benefits delivered.

IT application systems that have data entry screens (where you would input values) or reports used by its customers/employees will be written using a coding language.

Whether it’s the IT Development or IT Support team, both will regularly need to look at the code.  The impact of having code not well written for the systems will cause many problems for the organisation in the long-term.

The systems developed must always be supportable and easy to maintain, especially when the Developer/IT Support employee is not in, has left, is no longer working on that project, etc.

The code always remains the intellectual property of the organisation. It must be documented well, structured and easy to maintain.

  • How many IT systems do you have which require knowledge of the current VAT percentage? This does change.
  • How are calculations made? For example, calculating the energy usage?
  • How many business processes require knowing when bank holidays/holidays are?
  • How are names stored (first name, surname)? The surname and marital status can change.

I’ve decided to keep the questioning short in this blog post.

Hopefully, the diagram below will illustrate some best coding practices, to ensure there is Greener Coding.

 

NO. WEBSITE LINK DESCRIPTION
1. https://triptaprashar.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/business-at-risk-from-mountains-of-unstructured-data/ Previous Blog Post on ‘Business at risk from mountains of unstructured data’ – written  19 August 2011
2. https://triptaprashar.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/whether-you-store-files-locally-on-the-server-or-up-in-the-cloud-it-is-important-to-structure-well/ Previous Blog Post on ‘The importance of structuring’ – written 19 July 2010
3. http://www.givingtimeandsolutions.com Giving Time and Solutions Ltd

 

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 22 September 2011 6.00pm

Categories: Green IT, Greener Coding

How Virtualization can help customers meet their business needs faster and save costs and reduce carbon footprint

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Other than cloud computing, I keep hearing about Zumba dancing and virtualisation/virtualization. I’ll stick to the American spelling in this blog post.

What do they all have in common? Latest buzz words!

Although Zumba dancing (dance aerobic) has a link with energy, my point is they’re all the latest craze, trends, what’s being talked about, what people are following….if you know what I mean.

Anyway in Green IT, cloud computing and virtualization are being described as the future of IT. They offer many financial and environmental benefits, and once again, have proven to do so.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, virtualization isn’t really anything new. It’s something which was being used at a company I worked at quite a few years ago. They always kept up to date (and still do) with the latest technologies.

With virtualization, you have desktop virtualization, server virtualization, network virtualization and more.

To describe it simply, you’re basically connecting to another machine. You may use Microsoft Terminal Services, Virtual Private Network (VPN), to access/use the software, applications, data, run database scripts, etc., which are basically not stored on your own PC. You would log on locally onto your own PC to use the software which has been installed on it.

As your business grows the need for services increases. As the needs for services increases, new IT application systems may be required, more storage space, more operating systems, etc.

The IT department must always implement cost-effective solutions to ensure the needs of the business/customer are continuously being met. The business may also grow because companies have merged.

I recently received a letter to inform me that I wouldn’t be able to access a website for a day due to the merge of two companies. My assumption is they have migrated all their data, new websites and systems to one central location (perhaps). They will therefore have to ensure the migration to the production/live system has worked ok and has been thoroughly tested again, before their customers can access it. That’s one day of down time (unavailability).

• Do you know where the IT  application systems you use are kept?

• Do you know where your e-mails are being kept?

• Do you know where your databases are and how many you have?

• Do you know how much storage is being used?

• As a tester or user of an application system, do you know if you have separate servers set up (in the ideal world!) for unit testing, system testing and the live/production environments for each of these?

• Do you know how you’re connecting on to the intranet or internet?

• How many Data Centers (staying consistent with the American spelling) do you have?

Is your data stored on or off site? It may be outsourced.

• Do you have any servers under your desk or located in different offices?

• Do you have blade or rack servers?

• How much space is being occupied with the servers?

• Are servers being left on 24/7?

• Do you have Oracle servers, SQL servers, etc?

• How many operating systems/versions do you have?

• Are you using open-source software?

• How much is being spent on buying new hardware servers and how often?

• How much time is being spent by IT staff maintaining the servers?

• What impact does it have on the business when servers have to be taken down when an update or fix is required?

• How long are servers down for (downtime)?

• What business critical systems are held on which servers?

Are there any systems no longer being used by the customers/employees/staff/users?

• Are your servers being accessed globally?

• Do you have documentation on who has access to applications/data/servers?

• Do you have physical and/or virtual servers?

• How much heating/cooling/power is being consumed?

• How much are you spending on hardware, licenses, software etc.

• How long does it take to deploy new servers?

• Are all your servers from the same supplier/vendor?

• What support do your suppliers provide and also, not support?

• How do you back up your information/data?

Again, endless questions….

THE BENEFITS OF VIRTUALIZATION
There are over 20 benefits of virtualization, such as  quicker systems delivery time, reduced carbon footprint, reduced processing time and time saved.

VIRTUALIZATION – PROVEN SUCCESSES
There are many companies who have had their costs saved and carbon footprint reduced through virtualization.

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 20 September 2011 1.00pm

Green IT Printing Initiatives – Save Energy and Save Paper by using Managed Print Services

September 14, 2011 1 comment

Save Energy –> Save Paper –> Save Costs

If your organisation has separate printers, photocopiers, scanners and faxes, you may want to consider Managed Print Services. There are a number of suppliers who provide this service, and the financial and environmental reduction benefits have been proven!

An understanding of your current businesses processes and IT print infrastructure is initially required.

  • Are departments paying separately?
  • Are there any legal requirements to do so?
  • Do employees know about the printing policies?
  • Do you continue to keep what you have or are you just wasting costs this way?
  • Do you have different makes/models for faxes, photocopiers, printers and scanners?
  • Do you have to really fax, photocopy, print and scan documents?
  • Do you know how much you’re spending on licenses, maintenance/support, paper, toners/cartridgesIT energy usage (the bills), etc?
  • How do you recycle?
  • How long does it take to ‘walk to the printer’?!?  🙂  Think of the exercise and health/safety!
  • How many support calls for IT are logged to do with fax/photocopier/print /scanner faults?
  • How much time is spent on training staff to fix these devices, use them, etc?
  • How reliable are your suppliers?
  • Is information secure if a printer is shared across different departments/team?
  • What impact does it have on your business when none of the devices work?
  • What is your printing policy?
  • Which departments/employees require their own personal printer?
  • Who actually knows the overall IT printing costs?
  • Would it be better for the IT department to focus on their other main responsibilities within the organisation? To support the IT systems used by the business and its customers?

 I could go on and on with my questions!

At a recent event I attended, Severn Trent mentioned they have a paperless office and no air-conditioning. I’m intrigued! As mentioned in a previous blog post, there are needs to print.

  • client/customer documents
  • confidentiality agreements/non-disclosure-agreements (NDA). This is a document you give to a person who has said you can trust them to keep all information (projects, prospects, clients, suppliers, who you are in talks with, etc) that you share about your company confidential.

***

TOP TIPTHINK VERY CAREFULLY before you share any company information with anyone, whether you know them personally or professionally.

  • What will it cost you/your business? 
  • Who would want to get information about your company from a person who has signed a confidentiality agreement
  • Can you trust the person who has told you verbally and/or in writing they have kept the information confidential?
  • Are they honest?
  • This (breach of non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement) will take CONSIDERABLE TIME out of your work/business.
  • Value time?
  • Do you keep both a soft and hard copy?
  • Is a digital signature ok?
  • Do you have policies in place asking the people who have signed a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement to confirm in writing they have kept the information you have shared about your company confidential?

***

  • lengthy legal standard contracts from professional solicitors which require a signature (for full/part employees, subcontractors, etc.) Again you will be sharing company confidential information.
  • letters
  • marketing material
  • questionnaires
  • receipts

and more…

Just like some mobile phone contracts, with Managed Print Services you are paying a monthly fee. The costs may also include page volumes, print cartridges and maintenance/repair.

To have your printing services managed centrally will reduce your waste in more ways than one, as it’s a more controlled structured process.

Having remote support has many advantages, such as automatically monitoring your current supply usage and any performance issues for you (in advance). By paying and monitoring monthly, you will have much better reporting, incident reports, fix response times and more.

Giving Time and Solutions Ltd is an independent company, which means the solutions given are vendor-neutral. I have information on a number of suppliers who have proven to reduce the IT print costs and improve the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for large, globally and UK based companies. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) for each supplier will differ, but overall, your IT printing costs will be a lot more transparent…..which is a good thing!

MFP/MFD (Multifunction printer/devices)  have replaced legacy IT equipment, as they allow you to print, copy and scan-to-e-mail, and have many other technical features. Having to enter a pin to collect print-outs has also proven to reduce the paper waste on documents which have been sent to print, but have not actually been printed.

As with most changes,  managing the behavioural changes will be required. Employees may no longer have their own printer and they may see it as a more controlled process.

If you don’t know what each department/team is doing, how will you know how best to reduce your costs and waste?

However, in time, the benefits will be seen, and employees will see an improvement to efficiency, productivity and quality.  These benefits will need communicating to all staff on a regular basis, so that the difference is being recognised.

WEBSITE REFERENCES

NO. WEBSITE LINKS DESCRIPTION
1. https://triptaprashar.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/green-printing-option-vegetable-based-inks-reduces-the-impact-on-the-environment/ Previous Blog Post on Vegetable-based inks – written 18 April 2011
2. https://triptaprashar.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/to-print-or-not-to-print-reduce-costs-and-carbon-emissions/ Previous Blog Post on ‘to print or not to print’ – – written 5 August 2010
3. https://triptaprashar.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/printing-tips-explaining-the-why-on-how-to-print-efficiently-and-be-more-greener/ Previous Blog Post on explaining’ when’ to print – written 20 August 2010

 

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 14 September 2011 9.00pm
Last updated: 2 April 2015 5.55pm