Category Archives: Work

Embed specific PowerPoint slide in SharePoint 2013 page

One of the main limitations in the new way of showing PowerPoint slides on SharePoint in 2013, is that you can’t show a specific slide.

In the following I’ll go through the two standard ways to show PowerPoints on SharePoint pages, and then my work-around to show a specific page.

Method 1 – Standard Embedding

This is the classic iframe/embed way to add content. You’re basically showing a webpage within a webpage using standard HTML. This is great in normal webpages, but SharePoint has a tendency to mess up the code.

1) Copy the “Embed Information”:


2) Paste it into your page using the “Embed Code” snippet:


Method 2 – PageViewer Web Part

This is a more stable way of doing the same thing as above, but it has less flexibility as you’re using the built-in web parts instead of your own code.

1) Copy the URL to your PowerPoint:


2) Paste it into the PageViewer Web Part to show it on your page:



Showing a specific slide

To do this, you’ll need to start with either of the two methods above. This will work for both of methods, but I’ll demonstrate using the PageViewer method.

1) Go into “View in Browser”:



2) Go to the slide you want to show and click “Slide Show”:



3) Search through the URL until you find where it says “&wdSlideID=###” and copy it:



4) Paste this into your PageViewer webpart (or embed URL):




This work-around utilizes that the PowerPoint viewer/editor apparently uses a few URL queries to mimic the behavior of the Desktop PowerPoint app.

Why Microsoft didn’t make these options available to users as clickable settings when you copy the code, I don’t know. I can only assume they were too busy.

Also, I haven’t been able to find the wdSlideID in PowerPoint, so I assume it is generated by SharePoint when the file is uploaded. This means you can probably not expect to re-use the ID if you move your presentation to a different library.


Three lessons from rolling out Office 365 at Carlsberg

As a ten year IT Enterprise Architecture veteran in a world leading FMCG/CPG like Carlsberg, you’d think the roll-out of an out-of-the-box service like Office 365 would be smooth sailing.

This was not the case.

But before you start thinking this is a blame-game complainer-post about all the things wrong with Carlsberg, Microsoft, IT, or the world in general, let me tell you up front that this is not the case either.

Carlsberg is an FMCG like many others, Microsoft is a software vendor moving into cloud as many others, and the world in general is changing as it always has. In other words, we’re not unique.

Given that we’re not, hopefully you’ll find my lessons learned useful.

12 years of IT at Carlsberg

Before I get into all that though, you’ll have to understand a bit about Carlsberg as an IT company.

Fifteen years ago Carlsberg was a big brand in a tiny company. We had a number of very strong global brands, but only four actual breweries. The rest were licensees, and in the late nineties they were being gobbled up by our competitors at an alarming rate.

Carlsberg therefore started a huge turn-around. First step was the deal with Orkla that gave Orkla a 40% share and gave Carlsberg the leverage it needed to start buying breweries. Next was a ten year brewery buying spree that continues to this day, allowing us to buy back the shares from Orkla, and get a controlling interest in our Eastern European golden goose, Baltika.

From an IT perspective this meant that the tiny IT organization, which used to spend their days cuddling local business managers, and who, when I was first hired still didn’t know a DMZ from a Firewall, all of a sudden had to make things work under a steady stream of incoming affiliates with local IT management and incompliant infrastructures.

Now, we would probably have done better if first step in this process had been to bring in an IT management team with international experience and representation at our executive board. After all, the times when you could couple an aggressive growth strategy with a hands-off approach to IT went out the window last century.

We didnt’ do that though. Instead we started with IT management picked out of our local Danish businesses, representation only to our CFO, and a steady stream of organization changes as one CIO/management-team after the other tried to navigate the troubled waters of increasing demand, inexperienced resources, and a very complex infrastructure.

In many ways, it was a perfect storm.

Increasing demand forced the most skilled IT resources to focus on business projects instead of stabilizing infrastructure. When forced to work against their better judgement the best resources left one after another, creating even more instability, decreasing trust in IT decision-power, and slowing down delivery even more. A downwards spiral of bad IT and business impatience.

However, at the end of this ten year period we were slowly getting this under control. More internationally experienced IT managers had come in, our 7 year pan-European outsourcing deal had provided leverage for some standardization, and- although we were still a long ways from being a mature IT organization or even close to meeting the demand of our strategy - we had slowed the decline and were seeing the first signs of improvement.

This was the situation when Office 365 came into the picture.

12 years of Microsoft at Carlsberg

In spite of the general role of IT in Carlsberg, we had actually managed to get quite a bit of success with Microsoft technology. I had build a good relationship with Group Legal and Group Communication, and together we managed to standardise Microsoft across companies way beyond of the scope of other IT services.

In 2001 we released the first cross-company platform, containing a group intranet, extranets, and document management for three companies,. In 2003 we narrowed the scope to intranets, but upped the geographic scope ending up with an intranet platform covering 25 markets, which seven years later won second prize as Denmarks best intranet without having been upgraded significantly since first release.

In 2010 we sought to build on this success with CPoint and CWEB. One for intranets, the other for corporate websites. Two very ambitious projects based on MOSS2007, and for the first time we hit problems.

Unlike earlier Microsoft technologies MOSS2007 was marketed by Microsoft as an “application platform”. This caused a few design mistakes, a few oversold features, and before long I was fighting impatient business stakeholders – and even some of our own Microsoft developers – left and right trying to modify, customize, and build whatever the rest of IT had failed to deliver on top of what was supposed to be a commodity service.

In spite of this CPoint was rolled out to 25 markets and CWEB to about 30 markets in 12 months, and became the first truly global IT platforms in Carlsberg.

But they were never the success we intended. Their customizations left them unstable for several years and so complex that nobody could use them without a PhD in Carlsbergese. Instead of a new global collaboration platform to bind Carlsberg together, we got a customized leviathan governed by disagreeing stakeholders.

When Office 365 moved from a Microsoft BPOS curiosity to a more fully fledged commodity, I therefore saw it as an opportunity to leap-frog these issues.

Unlike on-premise, Office 365 features was controlled by Microsoft allowing me a fighting chance to keep VIPs at bay long enough to teach them to leverage what they have instead of always building new. Unlike on-premise, Office 365 had a clear line between operational stability and custom development, allowing me to be overruled by management without jeopardizing stability. And unlike on-premise it was globally available from the moment we signed the contract, instead of me having to fight for years in getting a global AD and a European-based IT organization to think globally.

This is not to say I didn’t expect problems – in fact the problems we overcame are the entire basis of these posts – but it solved the overwhelming issues I couldn’t have fixed in any other way. It replaced a loosing battle with changing management, impatient business VIPs, and a neglected infrastructure, with a stable global platform that Carlsberg could leverage to become a truly global FMCG/CPG.

So going into the things we faced, keep this in mind. I’m not complaining about Office 365. In fact, I’m truly grateful for it, and for all the other out-of-the-box services that are becoming available with the advent of cloud. They are driving a standardization and benefit that would otherwise have been almost impossible to achieve in the complexity that is a rapidly growing multinational organization.

For that I am grateful, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have preferred living without the mistakes we did. So without further ado, allow me to teach you from my experience.

Lesson 1 – Licensing headache

From a licensing perspective it seems to me that Office 365 was shoved into Microsofts licensing team a bit quickly.

When talking to them about prices, the nomenclature switches from “plans” to “licenses” for the same thing, and for the agreements they’ve obviously tried to cobble something together from the old “Enterprise Agreements” and the cloud pay-as-you-go models through a “Hybrid agreement”.

In essence though, there is no getting around the fact that unlike licensing CapEx models, cloud-based services are essentially consumption-based services. You can make an up-front purchase of x-number of plans, for y-number of years, and get a discount, but there is no depreciation. You just pay-as-you-go.

For the Online agreement this is usually not an issue, but for the Hybrid agreements it creates some strange restrictions that are not common for cloud-services like:

  1. You can’t choose freely between plans when adding users to the contract, but have to choose from what was in your original contract
  2. Your local affiliates can’t buy at local rates, but have to use whatever you negotiated centrally
  3. You can’t mix-and-match based on what you need, but have to buy the same for everybody because “an enterprise agreement is a standardization agreement”.

When we did our contract I spend six months boiling the restrictions down to this. I’ll not take you through all the iterations that got us that far, but suffice to say the confusion was on both sides and today I’m an involuntary expert on the wording in MS contracts. Whatever it takes to make theory fit reality right?

Getting that far is just the first step though. Managing resources on the level of detail required for a service where you pay a monthly fee for every mailbox, where adding or removing them requires a contract change, and where every un-used mailbox is money wasted until the next contract renewal takes some getting used to. And that is just mailboxes.

We’re getting there, but don’t underestimate the effort.

Lesson 2 – Upside down IT

There’s no question that being able to reduce operations effort through Office 365 frees up a lot of IT resources. The thing that many, and particularly old-school IT people, find completely counter-intuitive though, is to what degree you have to embrace this.

The fact is that  Office 365 is part-and-parcel of all the hyped mega-trends of BYOD, Cloud, and consumerization that Cognizant, Gartner, and the rest are babbling about, and to get the most benefit you have to think in completely new ways of delivering value.

As an example, Office 365 works a lot better on my Mac at home than it does on my PC at work. Not because Office 365 runs better on OSX than on Windows 7, but because it pre-supposes that you have a relatively open network, can install things yourself, and generally fiddle around as much as you like.

This is rarely the case in an enterprise. We have a responsibility to security and to consistency of service that makes the level of freedom needed to fully benefit from these services, very complex to deliver.

Our networks are secured, our PC’s locked, and to enable a service like this we therefore have to re-configure everything, and keep doing it to keep abreast of the constant patches and updates that Microsoft delivers, while still keeping an eye on security to avoid taking it that one step too far.

And that is just the beginning. Getting IT people to wrap their heads a beast that updates itself regularly, takes for granted trust in a data-center we can’t touch, is best supported through end-user training by non-IT people, and basically puts on it’s head all the tried and true litanies of the last 30 years of IT professionalism, is just as challenging

For most Enterprise Architects this is upside down to what we usually do.  Instead of fighting business units unwilling to align, you’re almost guaranteed to have business behind you as long as you make sure things work as smoothly at work as they do at home. And instead of having IT colleagues support your every move, you’ll be constantly challenged and forced to go on the barricades for “out-of-control” IT.

But in many ways, this is not as much an Office 365 issue as it is the reality of IT today. Carlsberg is progressing nicely, but it’s not a change that comes overnight.

Lesson 3 – Governance litmus test

One of the reasons that “out-of-control” IT is a complete misunderstanding when it comes to Office 365, is that it in fact forces you to take much more direct control over IT and resources than you’ve had before.

When you have your IT on-premise there is a tendency to say that everything on the inside of your firewalls is “safe” and everything outside is “unsafe”. Nothing could be more wrong.

You can put as many locks as you want on your server-room, but that doesn’t prevent somebody from forgetting to lock their laptop at the wrong moment halfway around the globe.  You can smother your laptops in encryption and DRM, and it still doesn’t prevent somebody from snapping a picture of a vital document with their phone.

When you think you’re safe, you forget the vitals of IT. You don’t monitor what AD accounts are used for what, because it’s easier to let them be than to clean-up, and what could go wrong? You don’t audit your mailbox utilization because you pay for storage, so worst case is unnecessary cost right? And you don’t care how people use your information, because it’s on an encrypted laptop with a password a kilometer long, so what could they do?

When you roll out Office 365 all these things surface.

I’m not going to go into the details of meeting rooms created as user-mailboxes, so people could use them for file-shares; public folders growing at 1GB a month because it was easier to drop documents there than into the document-management system they were supposed to use; or the multiple copies of AD users and mailboxes that one person can have simply because it’s easier to add more accounts than to set up one account correctly.

Suffice to say, that when you roll out Office 365 you better be ready for a lot of additional projects cleaning up messes that your operations never bothered with because they never made any difference before.

If you’re lucky, there will be an understanding that this is not Office 365 related. This is IT governance 101 gone awry, and Office 365 or not, it is in everybody’s interest to fix it.

If you’re not, you’ll spend most of your time explaining why a simple migration-project spews add-on activities left and right while the budget explodes.

Conclusions… so far

Nobody says things should be easy. In many ways Office 365 is a sign of things to come. SAP is going full-tilt at cloud services, consumers are getting more demanding every day, and IT is transforming into something not yet clearly defined.

I’m therefore certain that even these few observations about it, are just the tip of the iceberg. Things we’ll all have to learn and get used to in the coming years.

As I said initially, the reasons why Carlsberg invested in Office 365, had much less to do with following overhyped mega-trends, than with day-to-day issues and impossible challenges that couldn’t be overcome in any other way.

That being said, I have to say I’m very happy that we started this journey. It is obvious that Microsoft is investing all it’s effort in their cloud-services. We’re seeing features improving daily instead of having to wait 1-2 years for someone in IT to get around to implementing them. We’re seeing upgrade schedules being planned years in advance instead of years after at the last breath of extended support. And we’re seeing business getting excited and involved in IT again.

In spite of all our challenges – both the ones mentioned here and the ones I couldn’t fit in or am still to learn - I think the decision of moving to Office 365 was the right one for Carlsberg. It leap-frogged us ahead of the curve for collaboration, it brought us up-to-par on supporting our growth strategy, and it is kick-starting the IT transformation needed to keep us there.

Should you be scared of our evil cloud overlords?

I must admit that until Matt Jacobson of Facebook stopped by my workplace for a marketing session yesterday and spent significant time debunking peoples concerns about storing their stuff online, I’d mostly focused on the corporate, legal, and commercial issues and not concerned myself too much with the fact that the majority of my personal data is living a good and active life online.

Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the Microsoft hegemony, and used to the fact that in order for all of us to benefit from a technology, somebody has to define the ground that the rest of us builds upon. Sure, that kind of power almost begs for them to overstep, misuse it at times, and reap as many commercial benefits as they can in the process, but ultimately they’re accountable to all of us and – as happened with Linux and ten years of MS court-cases – the world will find away around it when they overplay their hand.

For Facebook, Google+, Flickr, LinkedIn, Apple, Amazon, and all the others vying for a piece of our personal and social data pie, and no matter what Matt says, it’s therefore necessary to balance value against exploitation. If companies want to stay in the game, they have to provide you value higher than the downside of allowing them to give commercial stakeholders access to, not only your personal data and family pictures, but also to behavioural and social data that will ultimately give them more awareness of who you are, and what you are likely to do, than you probably know yourself.

What most of the more agressively expansionist players online – sorry for not calling them benign idealists – have realized is of course that, unlike traditional business models, in online business the consumer is the product, companies are the consumers, and volume the currency. So when you see them actively trying to minimize their commercial benefits, it’s not because they believe in a rosy future of technology-driven freedom for all. It’s simply to drive more users, more data, and more volume.

When Google therefore provides services for free, open up their software for developers, sets advertising costs at market standard even though they provide much more value per dollar, and says they’ll “do no evil”; When Facebook launches the Open Compute project, gives developers free access to their APIs, and provides a world-class service free of charge or in-your-face advertising; and when any company that wants to be something online is providing services, software, and even content for free, it’s not because their blind idealists, but because the race is on to take over where Microsoft left off and become a part of the next big OS in the cloud where power is not in the code you maintain but in the data you hold.

More traditionalist companies like Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, are stuck struggling to make old-fashioned business models – that require content-control all the way down to the device in your pocket and charging a percentage all the way – work in the cloud, while cloud companies like Google lean back and simply utilize their user and data volume to build the same services virtually for free once a standard has been fleshed out.

This is why Apple for all intends and purposes invented the modern Smartphone, Amazon invented one-click buying, and both of them spent years grinding out the details of how to legally distribute content online, while Google just leaned back, waited until they were done, and then threw Android, Google Wallet, Google Music, and free books into the mix. It’s not because Google is a slow copycat that don’t want to make money, they’re just in a data-volume business where they can make money with a fraction of the risk and effort, and Facebook is positioning itself to be able to do exactly the same.

So you shouldn’t be too concerned about sharing your life with the Facebooks, LinkedIns, and Googles of the world. Trust me, they are very aware that having your trust, getting you to use their services and giving them access to your personal data-stream is the cornerstone of their business, so they’ll do anything in their power not to jeopardize that relationship.

This isn’t to say that there wont be cases of misuse, oversteps of privacy, commercial exploitation, and all the other nasty words that the last century has made us grown-ups allergic to. But as the young people of today – who are gladly moving their entire lives to the cloud without a concern in the world – are showing us, it’s really not a question of exploitation, but of a new type of business in which the consumers may not pay or have direct control over their data, but where the market mechanisms are already in place to ensure that any company overstepping your boundaries will see the impact on their bottom line.

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With the release of Facebook timeline and the privacy controversy, here’s a few more links you might be interested in:

My Last Year in Gadgets

Now, those who know me, know that I’m one of those no-financial-commitments-whatsoever bastards that go through gadgets like most people go through change of underwear. I’ll buy something – seemingly on the spur of the moment – play around with it for about two weeks of geek-bliss, and then suddenly it’ll be off to that mysterious graveyard of single socks, pens, lighters, and decade-long tea-parties of the soul.

In my defence I have to say that I’m not a tech-blog freak and usually don’t drool over GhZ, passive touchscreens, SSDs, or the newest fourth-dimension graphic chip. I pride myself at being slightly more practical than that. So unlike other epi-centres of homeless hardware, I actually start by figuring out what I need and only then start searching for it to see if somebody have had the same idea and gone through the trouble of creating it.

Whatever the excuse though, it allows me first-row view to both some pretty awesome inventions – along with some gaping holes in the worldwide gadget portfolio – so without further ado, here are my two favorite buys this year:

Jambox Jawbone

I don’t know how Jambox did this, but they managed to cram awesome sound, dead-simple set-up, AND 9 hrs of battery into one small and very portable package. It’s simply awesome. Only feature I haven’t gotten to work so well so far is the conference phone and the online updates and apps for it, but to be fair I haven’t tried that hard yet since I’m so satisfied with the basic functionality.

Nook Touch

Most of the reviews says it all. It doesn’t do a lot, but what it does it does exceedingly well and without me having to browse through a gazillion manuals to figure it out. I’ve only had it for two months and gone through 11 books, but the very responsive touch-display, the 6″ screen that actually fits a paperback (unlike my old Bokeen Opus), and the four different ways to flip pages (actually a problem on most ebook readers because you get sore arms) has made it a joy to use.

Now I wouldn’t be a gadget freak if I didn’t also have a slight Apple-fetish. And to be totally honest I do.

But maybe I’m “just not getting” the Steve-and-Ives awesomeness, because to me Lion is still a W7-with-less-features and iOS a locked-down version of something useful, so besides having been through almost all Apple products at one time or another (I never tried the TimeCapsule), I still find myself bootcamping all my Macs and unlocking all my iOS devices to give them the features that should have been there in the first place.

I acknowledge that maybe my brain is wired wrong or something. I did force-feed myself AppleOS on my iMac for six months to see if I could “get it”, and still found myself bootcamping back – doing the obligatory two-week iTunes-migration-dance that never works – and you therefore wont find me doing major investments in an AirPlay stereo speakers until MS, Google, Creative, and the others have made a go at it too.

Now speaking of speakers (hah!), let me finish by sharing the current top two on my why-on-Earth-haven’t-they-invented-this-yet list:

Functioning USBkey/Presenter

What I need is a presenter that will allow me to bring my presentations along so I only have to bring one gadget. Sounds simple right? Wrong!! After two years of perusing dark alleys of gadget R&D – and actually buying this horrific arm-waving-monster at one point – I’m still no closer to finding a solution that actually works. And I know that you can get a promotional presenter that does this, but after my embarassing arm-waving failure I no longer trust gadgets obviously made to be thrown away.

So please MS,  Logitech, Creative, and whoever, stop adding lasers, mouses, and friggin’hand-coolers to your presenters, and give me something useful.

Decor-friendly wireless sound-system

Maybe this is like the holy grail of modern technology and I just missed the memo, but why on Earth do I have to choose between wireless music with no surround, wireless surround with no option of playing music in more than one room, or a monster of a receiver with carport-sized bass-pumpers and two-inch cables snaking across the floor throughout my apartment?

AirPlay would be a step in the right direction if Apple would just stop hogging my wifi-bandwidth, add surround, and figure out how to get sound from my actual TV and not just the AppleTV plastic box they want me to stick under my TV. So for now, I guess I’ll have to try out Sonos and convince myself that the charge in Two Towers will be JUST as impressive with two Play:5′s in front and me jingling house-keys at the back of my head trying to emulate the sound of ten thousand advancing Orcs.

I’ll let you know how THAT goes.

But I guess that’s it for me on the gadget front. I did buy a lot of other gadgets: Four different pens (and one brush) for my iPad, two RC helicopters, a totally hacked AppleTV, and a Ziiiro Mercury watch that unfortunately scratches pretty easily, but you’ll have to ask me about those if you’re interested.

Pictures via:

Five Obstacles for the Cloud Enterprise

With SaaS pundits and tech-bloggers going bananas over cloud, it can be tempting to see deviceless 100% cloud-enabled enterprise as just around the corner.

There is no question that the cloud is a great place for consumers, small startups, and even SMBs, but once you get into major enterprises, and particularly classic enterprises like FMCGs, where the majority of activities are based on end-to-end processes, and where the large numbers of users are either mobile or without regular device-access, problems start piling up.

This hasn’t stopped major ERP vendors, like SAP and Oracle from starting the cumbersome process of webifying their products, and some of them have even dabbled in providing ERP systems as a service, but before they get too excited, there are at least five major obstacles enterprises will need to overcome before they can fully escape to the clouds:

  1. Unreal identity. A lot see this as just a question of device-management, some DRM, and the right service for managing employee identities through the cloud, but you can’t replace physical and local verification of employee identities without loosing trace-ability, so until they plant a chip in our heads somebody will need to put their feet on the ground and actually talk to people to verify that they are who they log in to be.
  2. Variations in employee buying power. Although things are improving, I’ve heard of cost-to-salary ratios of up to three months in certain areas, so the fancy devices you buy in one country will be out of a reach in another, and unless you’re ok with subsidizing a steady loss of devices – which tax authorities tend to frown upon as it gives unfair advantages and/or creates artificial internal “taxation” – you will have to wait until prices drop or stick to cloud-services that also work over SMS.
  3. Limited off-line features. Even in our post-industrialized nations, a significant percentage of ground is not covered by mobile data-services, and once you go to developing nations the coverage is much worse. Most western companies don’t worry about this, but large parts of the world data-coverage is either monopolized and prohibitively expensive, limited to certain “development zones”, or simply impossible to implement because of the vast areas to cover. For enterprises with roaming employees who need to take orders, register goods, bring back empties, calculate discounts etc. you therefore need something a lot more feature-packed and off-line capable than Citrix and cached html5 to get things to work.
  4. Prohibitive legislation. The legislation in many countries severely limit the use of SaaS. In Europe alone we have personal-data laws, unions, local variations of Eurosox, and language-protection laws generating fines of up to €5000 per-document-per-day (I’m not saying in which country, but you can probably guess) that would make even the most cloud-happy CIO cringe, so until local governments get their heads out their… ears… erh… enterprises will stay behind.
  5. Outdated cost and licensing models. Finally, major vendors – and private-cloud IT departments – are having to turn their traditional cost and licensing models model on their heads to provide a per-user-per-month service-fee that supports variations in buying power, taxation, and all the other things in this list into account. This may sound doable, but never underestimate the complexities of merging the cost/benefits of a gazillion departments, contracts, and licenses into a single fee. I’ve seen more than one cloud-project short-circuit at the finish-line because somebody forgot something that completely blew the business-case or made the whole thing illegal in half the countries involved.

All in all, the 100% cloud-based enterprise is therefore still only a real option if you are small or information-based, and the time when major corporations will join in bulk, probably still some years off.

Now, I’m not saying it wont happen. Data becomes available in new areas every day, the services and devices mature, and there is no question that – with the huge push towards consumerization of traditional IT services and the incredible momentum behind privately owned devices – cloud will be an increasingly important factor even in major business.

What I am saying is that it will take time, and probably be a lot more complicated than it looks when you’re setting up your first few Dropbox accounts, logging into Zoho, and reading up on your favorite tech bloggers.

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The TCO/ROI Scoping SweetSpot

If your IT costs are rising constantly on a wave of apparently critical legacy systems that you don’t know how to get rid of and nobody knows how to support, chances are you are missing the TCO/ROI sweetspot when scoping your business cases and projects.

Estimating how many users, servers, licenses, and features you need for the new shiny system you want to implement is relatively easy: just list all the things you need to get that up and running and stop there – but give me a few beers and I can rant for hours on why that is so horribly-not-at-all-and-under-any-circumstances true.

Just looking at your project may tell you something about what it will cost to get your system to work, but that is like figuring out what it costs to build a house without taking down the old one or moving the furniture. To make a proper business case, you need to look at the BIG picture and answer some of the hard questions like:

  • What can you retire when the new system is up?
  • How many years before the next major upgrade is due?
  • Is it realistic to expect everyone to be expert users from day one? Day 500?
  • Are you sure you have EVERYTHING in the project that’s needed to realize all the benefits you listed in your business case?

So to get a proper evaluation, you need to scope at least two aspects of your calculation and your project very carefully:


If you look at too few systems, it is easy to overlook dependencies and feature overlaps. You can make everything dandy within the project, but once you’re live all your benefits get hollowed out by a flotilla of annoying factors like:

  • Users having to use the old systems for single tasks so you can’t retire them
  • Data retention legislation so you can’t get rid of servers
  • Legacy license agreements that means you have to pay for the same feature twice even though you don’t use it anymore, and so on.

On the other hand, if you look at too many systems - as you’ll sometimes see when overzealous guys in my position want to get ALL it costs for all systems on day one – you’ll just drown in data, and you wont be able to deliver any meaningful answer to anything.

In my experience, your best bet here is to cluster systems into domains like HR, Finance, Productivity, and so on, with as clear a boundary as you can manage, so you have a fairly good overview without being hampered down by too much detail.

This is not easily done – and particularly not within a single project where most of the stakeholders on projects have vested interest in the outcome – so you’ll probably need some permanent non-project roles to define the domains and take the long-term TCO responsibility for this to work properly.


The main thing to remember here, is that you can’t disconnect the project timeline from the TCO timeline: If you listed a benefit in your business case, it has to be realized before you end your TCO timeline.

Getting that timeline just right though can be a bit of a problem. Andy Kyte mentions nine years as the average time to fully replace a core IT system, and that’s probably spot on in most cases, but I usually take a less scientific approach and look at the software lifecycle of the product instead.

If you implement an IT system, chances are it will need a major overhaul in 4-5 years, and you want at least one or two of those overhauls to make sure you have a good idea about what’s going to happen. On the other hand, if you look much beyond that, the risk of the software being completely replaced by something else becomes so high that it undermines the validity of the TCO.

In my experience, the scoping sweetspot for the TCO timeline is somewhere between 5-10 years depending on the system you are looking at.


Working with TCO and ROI is not an easy task. As I’ve mentioned before it’s sometimes more art than science, and it can be tempting to give it up altogether and just look at each project individually, because after all, if we get the project approved, who cares about all the old stuff or the future. That will just take care of itself wont it?

Wrong. Of course. If you’re serious about making IT that is a competitive advantage for your business, you need to be not only good at scoping, you need to be better at it than everybody else, because in the end correctly scoping changes is what differentiates the good projects from the bad and the winning business from the ones muddling along.

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Social Media Introduction

For some reason I often find myself explaining basic Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing concepts to people who have neither the time nor the interest to move much beyond the “hey is this a Tweet?!” stage.

So, although I’m totally aware that some of these concepts are still apexing the hype-cycle and have pundits all giddy with excitement over discussing definition minutiae I “dared an eye” – as we say in Danish – and made this presentation anyways.

To me, the main challenge is to get stakeholders to understand the basics, so if you can use it, feel free to download a copy (after reading my terms of usage), and if you have suggestions for improvements I’d love to hear them.

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Template for Enterprise ROI and TCO Calculations

This template for improving consistency in ROI and TCO calculations is one I build for my company. Feel free to download, use it, and share your experience.


One of the most critical, and yet annoyingly abstract excercises in IT, is to make consistent and mutually acceptable evaluations of costs and benefits.

There are so many factors and assumptions involved that it can become almost impossible to get a mutual understanding, and you’ll find yourself stuck in Sisyphusian meeting-cycles with overly technical terms and disbelieving eye-rolls fighting for airspace while business value is quietly climbing out the window.

The overall problem is that in most cases nobody really knows for sure, and if you’re not careful you end up with strong-arming as general design principle, where business will quote gazillion Euro potential benefits in additional sales and IT will refer to obscure security policies to force their will instead of identifying the simple solutions that could really steal away some market-shares from the competition.

This is why a common approach to creating business cases is critical to competitive IT, and why I’m sharing my template to get your input on how it works for you and hopefully some good suggestions on how I could improve it.


But before you get too excited, let me just give a few words of warning:

  • High complexity: Even if you had a perfect template to work from, this is one of the most complex areas of IT, and one that depend on evaluating validity of input from pretty much all IT and business disciplines, so if you don’t have a solid understanding across fields, you’d probably be better off with guesstimating.
  • Overlapping terminology: This template is for practical work. I am not a financial theorist and I know that there are a number of others ways to approach this, but in my experience consistency in communication is far more critical than what theory you adhere to, so feel free to replace my terms with whatever rocks your boat.
  • Basic understanding required: This template will not teach you how to do TCO or ROI. It is a practical tool for those of you already working in this area and wanting more consistency in your approach.

In summary, I don’t take responsibility for anything you do with this tool or any outcomes you get from it. There is no golden goose or perfect tool that will do this for you. You have to rely on your own skill and experience to give you the answers you are looking for, and you have to establish your own good working relationship between IT and business to really get the benefits of all the amazing technology out there.

I’ll be sharing much more on this subject, so hopefully some of this be explained along the way, but for now download, play around with the template, and let me know how it works for you:

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Articles on Mobile Computing and CRM

Throughout 2000, I published a number of articles on Mobile Computing and CRM. At least one of these was published in the Danish newspaper Børsen and another I believe in ComputerWorld, but I don’t remember which and I guess it isn’t important anyways.

In any case, they revolve around some of the basic issues businesses face when extending their IT systems closer to their customers: