CBA Inc

Archive for Posts Tagged ‘Tips & Tricks’

15

Jan
2014

Better Safe than Sorry!

Information Security - Better Safe than Sorry

I want to share some very useful tips with you on information safety.

Unfortunately, I recently learned the hard way when my credit card number was stolen as I checked into a Las Vegas Hotel for a seminar. Luckily though, my bank was very diligent and the breach was under $100 and very short lived!

  • 1)  ALWAYS use strong passwords (combinations of capital letter, number and punctuation work best and are harder to crack). An easy way to remember is also using something similar to the following short phrase: I8cookies
  • 2)  Don’t use the same passwords for all accounts and change passwords regularly. This is easier said than done and is more secure. There are password vault applications available (many free) on the web and on smartphones that can help you compile and manage your different passwords securely. Granted, you sometimes get as much functionality as you pay for. There are some really good paid options too. A personal favorite of a colleague of mine is called RoboForm.
  • 3)  Back up your data into multiple and diverse solutions such as an external portable hard drive in conjunction with a secured cloud based backup solution. Don’t rely on a single storage medium for your most important data (family photos, etc.)
  • 4)  Basic information like your address and birthday are easily obtainable online. For Password Reset questions always use secret questions that are fairly obscure and only you or close family would know.
  • 5)  Another good practice is to make sure public profiles on Google, Facebook, etc. are controlled and you only share information that you are comfortable with the whole world seeing. Don’t make it easy for someone to guess your password. Also, don’t set your social, email or other accounts to “auto login”. If someone nabs your computer or device, you have given them instant access.
  • 6)  Full disk encryption (e.g., BitLocker for Windows, FileVault for Mac OS X, dm-crypt + LUKS for Linux) for your personal machines is critical to secure your data in the event you misplace or lose it. That way, despite the loss of the hardware, it becomes more difficult for someone else to access your data.
  • 7)  Be wary of using your credit card or other sensitive information online with websites that are not well known. Always ensure that HTTPS/SSL encryption is used when performing any transaction that requires you to enter sensitive information including your username and password. Look for https on the URL and the padlock icon in the URL. To even be safer, one can click the padlock and ensure the site has a valid certificate (such as Verisign).
  • 8)  Enable every alert possible for transaction confirmations, password changes and other notifications. It is one of the best ways to keep on top of any unauthorized change in any online account. Pay attention to the options each site provides and enable as many as possible.
  • 9)  Be aware of email phishing scams where a hacker attempts to gather information about you such as your username, passwords, or credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links or providing any data about yourself. Always contact the entity directly using their published contact details to validate if it’s a legitimate request.
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16

Oct
2013
Comments Off on Primavera P6 Service Alert

Primavera P6 Service Alert

Primavera P6 Service Alert

On October 15th, Java released a critical patch update to Java Runtime Environment (JRE) release – 1.7.0_45. If upgrading the JRE to this release, the Primavera P6 Web Access module of the P6 EPPM product line, which utilizes LiveConnect applets in the browser, will start generating errors.


This is a biggie! This alert indicated that it was just for P6, but from what I understand, it will also BREAK  PCM. – – Be aware!!

If you are experiencing any issues

Contact Us!  We are here to help!!

Contact us NOW!

Alert Applies to:

Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management – Version 7.0 and later

Information in this document applies to any platform.

Description

On October 15th, Java released a critical patch update (CPU) which will require download and upgrade to the following Java Runtime Environment (JRE) release – 1.7.0_45.  If upgrading the JRE to this release, the P6 module (also known as Web Access) of the P6 EPPM product line, which utilizes LiveConnect applets in the browser, will start generating one or both of the following prompts:

• “Security Warning – Allow access to the following application from this web site?”

• Available Options: ‘Allow’ & ‘Do Not Allow’.

Screen Capture Example:

Security Warning - Allow or Do Not Allow?

• “Security Warning – This web site is requesting access and control of the Java application shown above.  Allow access only if you trust the web site and know that the application is intended to run on this site.  Allow access to the following application from this web site.”

• Available Options:  ‘Yes’ & ‘No’ & ‘Help’

Screen Capture Example:

Security Warning Image - Requesting Access

 

Occurrence

This will occur for every P6 EPPM release, P6 (also known as Web Access) module.

 

Symptoms

See the description field above for symptoms when loading applets in P6 using JRE 1.7.0_45

 

Workaround

To remediate these prompts for the P6 EPPM P6 module, Oracle Primavera will be releasing fixpacks (see patches section below for further patch detail).  Until fixpacks become available and are applied to your P6 EPPM release, you can use the following workaround to suppress these prompts:

• Select the ‘Allow’ Prompt or ‘Yes’ prompt for successful loading of applets.  Note:  This prompt will occur for each applet.

If you have previously select the ‘Do Not Allow’ prompt or ‘No’ prompt and the applets fail to load, refer to the following instruction to clear your java cache for allowing selection to the ‘Allow’ or ‘Yes’ prompts:  http://www.java.com/en/download/help/plugin_cache.xml

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24

Sep
2013
Comments Off on Better P6 Float Management through Proactive Analysis

Better P6 Float Management through Proactive Analysis

Mange P6 Float by Proactively Adjusting Your Schedules

…if the Finish Date Variance is trending in a negative path, the activity may soon have negative float.

As many times as I have conducted Primavera P6 training, I am always surprised by the under use of one of the basic P6 tools.

A Scheduler painstakingly builds a schedule to reflect reality and then after the project starts, neglects to take advantage of the opportunity to be proactive in managing negative float and variance trends.  The tool is the P6 Baseline.  Sure, most Schedulers create a baseline at the onset of a project and, if following best practices, assign it to the Project Baseline to make it globally available for all users to view.  Assigning to the Project Baseline ensures that any P6 User comparing the “BL Columns and Gantt Bars” is viewing data from the original Baseline.

But how about Updated Baselines for trend analysis?

With all the focus on managing negative float within a schedule, the Finish Date variance trends sometimes get lost in the shuffle.  It is extremely important to understand that, even when an activity has positive float, if the Finish Date Variance is trending in a negative path, the activity may soon have negative float. The ability to see the negative trend and adjustment the schedule accordingly can prevent the activity from ever having negative float.

Consider the following:

Utilizing data in the table below, at what point would you recognize that the Foundation activity had a negative float issue?  CYCLE 5??

 

Update # Update Date Activity Float BL1 Finish Date Variance
Cycle 1 6/15/2013 Foundation 12 0
Cycle 2 6/30/2013 Foundation 9 -3
Cycle 3 7/15/2013 Foundation 5 -4
Cycle 4 7/30/2013 Foundation 1 -4
Cycle 5 8/15/2013 Foundation -2 -3

 

If you were capturing updated baselines each cycle and monitoring the negative Finish Date Variance trends, it is likely that you noticed a potential problem on Cycle 3. Being the proactive person you are, you take action to mitigate the negative trend activity from ever getting into negative float territory.

ly

So what is the suggested best practice?

  • Capture a baseline each time you update the schedule and assign it to the Primary Baseline
  • Use variance analysis layouts to monitor trends using Activity Table columns such as BL1 Finish Date and BL1 Project Finish Date Variance.
  • Consider capturing past period Finish Date Variances in User Defined Fields to watch for trends occurring over multiple Update cycles.
  • Design P6 Report Writer reports to use color coded conditionally formatted cells to highlight negative float/negative finish date trends as red and positive float/negative finish date trends as yellow.
  • Take action on the scenario where positive float activities have multiple Update Cycles with negative Finish Date Variances.
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21

Aug
2013
Comments Off on Out of the BOX

Out of the BOX

CBA Cloud Solutions powered by box

The expertise of CBA + box = CBA Cloud Solutions

The risk of data loss to sources outside of the company’s walls is a huge concern to executives and IT professionals alike.  Controlling security is a full time job in and of itself.  Firewalls, spam filters, open ports, closed ports so many things to be concerned with.

But what about documents that must be shared with customers and partners outside of your corporate walls?   What about the burden of large confidential documents being sent via unsecured email as attachments – not only from an upload/download and storage perspective, but what about from a security perspective?!

Good news!! Now you can safely share documents and save your IT team from pulling their hair out because they can’t keep up with all of the demands put on them.  CBA, Inc. offers a secure, cloud based solution to share and collaborate on documents internally or externally.  Concerned about attachment send/receive limits??  No worries there either – they are sent as a link to the document rather than sending an actual document.  How cool is that?  Oh, and with an enterprise package, the sky’s the limit for storage space!!

Best of all, you can control who sees what, manage who opens what and you can integrate it with other applications – out of the BOX!!

Our partner company is growing extremely fast and their solution is being used by some pretty impressive companies on an enterprise and global level. Additionally impressive is that the price points make it attractive and accessible to all size organizations!

Just ask us!  We are a “Choice Re-seller” Partner of  BOX and we have already been doing installations for our customers who recognize a great thing when we show it to them!!

Call me and I can show you how to give your executives and IT professionals a good night’s sleep by protecting your documents while improving corporate collaboration – safely!

Donna McLean
Account Executive
CBA, Inc.
dmclean@cbainc.com
567-202-9280
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6

Aug
2013
Comments Off on Lessons Learned at the Tip of the Spear – Part 2

Lessons Learned at the Tip of the Spear – Part 2

Improper Java configuration can be a Primavera P6 deployment hurdle"

Making sure that your Java is configured properly will help you avoid a major deployment hurdle.

Terry’s Oracle P6 v8.x EPPM Deployment Hurdles

      Part 2 – Six Primavera Java Tips (…read Part 1 >HERE<)

What is going on with my computer?  It seems that every time I visit our Primavera website or launch my Primavera client software, I get errors.

With 90% certainty, I can say your trouble is rooted in your Java setup.  Additionally, you probably have software issues elsewhere on your PC which are rooted in this same problem…until now, you just haven’t been motivated enough to ask questions or to try to fix them yet.

What is “Java”?

From Oracle’s Java information page:

Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day…

Replace the phrase “lots of applications and websites” with “Primavera” and you will quickly recognize how important Java is to the P6 Scheduler.  You simply can’t use Primavera software without Java.

How do I get Java for my Primavera Software?

The good news:  Java is free, freely accessible on the web, and can be downloaded in a couple mouse clicks.


Essentially, you point your browser at http://www.java.com/ and click the giant “Free Java Download” button.


If you don’t have Java at the time you install your P6 system software, Oracle takes the liberty of installing Java for you.  Is that a good deal, or what?!

What problems can happen if my Primavera Java is wrong?

Now the bad news:  Java is free, freely accessible on the web, and can be downloaded in a couple mouse clicks…


… a couple clicks that a typical Primavera user performs in diligent effort to fix their P6 system problems, when obediently following the instructions of the error message.  Are you starting to get the picture?


Here’s the problem:  Unlike most other software, Java does not replace itself with an updated or revised version.  It simply adds another installation to your existing version, and expects your very powerful computer to figure out what to do with all the details.  If, (following the directions given by the now spiraling-out-of-control error messages prompting you to do so), you keep going to the aforesaid website to download the “latest version”, you will simply compound the problem.


Amazingly, your first indication that you have problems developing with your Java installation may be a loud noise emanating from your computer.  The noise you hear is your computers cooling fan going into high speed, literally because the CPU is working so hard to get the Java mess sorted out!


Oh, and your Primavera software will continue to give you trouble and errors, looping you back to www.java.com for yet more “free software”.

Lesson from the Tip of the Spear

Get used to it; 3 Billion devices run Java.  Your Primavera installation runs Java.  Like it or hate it, we need Java as much as we need the operating system.  We are all well served to sharpen our technical skills on this foundational piece of software.

Regarding Primavera, here are 6 tips that may help you get your Java under control:

  • 1.  If terms like “Plugin”, “JDK”, “JRE”, or “Applet” confuse you, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FIX YOUR JAVA.  Instead, contact CBA for help.  When Primavera gives you Java trouble, getting the right eyes on the problem saves time, money and frustration.  We specialize in getting your Primavera problems fixed right, in short order. Critical Business Analysis, Inc 

  • 2.  Despite what Oracle recommends, Turn off the Automatic Update feature in Java. The method for turning off automatic Java updates varies with the version and your operating system.  Go to www.java.com for detailed instruction.

  • 3.  Uninstall all but one Java update.  It is particularly important that you go to www.java.com for details on how to get older versions uninstalled.   Make sure the one you have is compatible with your Primavera software. (Older P6 versions likely require use of specific update packages).

  • 4.  Try a different browser.  Firefox has consistently been my “Go-To” browser to diagnose problems with Primavera and Java.

  • 5.  Look for the symptoms of other Java issues.  Web page applets and plugin’s that don’t work, desktop executable programs or batch files that appear briefly then go away without doing anything, software that does not display correct and full interface views, and many other abnormalities are symptoms that your Java may not be installed properly.

  • 6.  Learn how to set “Environment Variables” for Java.  I realize this tip will seem very “geeky” to most schedulers – it’s a stretch and you may not “get” why I added it.  Simply stated, Environment Variables are a gold mine of great new skills.  Once you learn a few things about them, and know which ones you have, you will be able to beat almost anything Java throws at you.

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2

Jul
2013
Comments Off on Staff Augmentation – An Emerging Best Practice

Staff Augmentation – An Emerging Best Practice

CBA Staff Augmentation

Use CBA Staff Augmentation to fill your staffing needs

Many organizations experience fluctuations in their staffing requirements due to changes in workload attributable to: market conditions, rapid growth, project implementation, facility maintenance and turn around, employee attrition, regulatory requirements and a variety of other factors.  Staff Augmentation is an effective strategy which can address these fluctuations in 6 key areas.

TimeThe time saved by not having to recruit, screen, interview, hire and then train additional highly skilled and specialized resources can be substantial

CostThere are significant savings realized by contracting at hourly rates for specified periods of time. Included in these savings are the avoidance of costs associated with having to provide a competitive full-time benefits package and training for a traditional full-time employee.

RiskTargeted staff augmentation helps reduce the likelihood of costly project over-runs by having the right resources in the right places for critical time periods.

FlexibilityAgility is critical to any organizations success in responding effectively to market conditions and regulatory changes.  Staff augmentation provides additional flexibility in prioritizing resource and workload challenges by quickly addressing unanticipated staffing needs.

Control One of the trade-offs for outsourcing certain functions can be a loss of control.  Staff augmentation enables you to maintain more organizational control and oversight of your projects and initiatives

ExpertiseThe best staffing providers have access to many highly skilled and specialized candidates for particular and unique needs.  These candidates will enhance the “tribal knowledge” of your organization stepping in to fill leadership and supervisory roles and train your staff in the process.  Often these individuals are open to staying on as full- time staff when there is an especially good fit.

These are some of the reasons why many organizations are turning to staff augmentation providers for expert and timely support in response to fluctuating conditions.  Many of you may have had experiences as contractors or clients which will shed light on staff augmentation as a viable solution. We would welcome your comments and experiences.

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26

Mar
2012
Comments Off on Transitioning from InfoMaker to Oracle’s BI Publisher

Transitioning from InfoMaker to Oracle’s BI Publisher

At the time PCM 14.0 BIPE was released many in the PCM community were excited to hear of the retirement of InfoMaker, but at the same time dismayed to hear there was no ‘upgrade’ or ‘conversion’ from their extensively customized libraries. I have started my own personal journey to being equally comfortable with BI Publisher. And it looks like it will be a long journey.

Aligning with the Oracle Toolset — With the acquisition of Primavera by Oracle in 2009, many of Oracle’s other products are being introduced into the applications Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and Primavera Contract Management. The default database server, application server, content repository and reporting tool have been replaced with Oracle owned products such as Oracle Server, WebLogic, Enterprise Content Management and BI Publisher. Additionally, the introduction of Business Process Management, User Productivity Kit, Fusion Middleware and BI Enterprise Edition into the Primavera applications further extends the power and availability of your work product.

BI Publisher Resources — Many great resources are available for BI Publisher. The most important resources are the product documentation and Oracle’s support team. This will help with the proper installation and integration of BI Publisher with Primavera Contract Management. Failure to get this fundamental step completed accurately will make this journey all the more frustrating. Additional resources I have found valuable include the Oracle Blogs and Community pages, as well as content found on the BI Publisher YouTube channel. Although not geared to Primavera applications specifically, the BI Publisher Fundamentals training from Oracle University gives you a glimpse into the possibilities while giving some comfort with the tool.

“Practice makes Perfect” — With all the resources available, using the tool will be the best way to learn. Rebuilding the stock reports and forms gave me the comfort of using the tool and validation of how the pieces work together. I am not venturing into rebuilding some custom content that I have previously created in InfoMaker. In the near future I see working with the new template and output options available and seeing how they fit into Primavera Contract Management.

Conclusion — While sad to see my trusted friend InfoMaker disappear after a 15 year love-hate relationship, I see the power of BI Publisher being a great reason to embrace the future and this this tool. While this journey is nowhere near the end, I do see that I will continue to use the resources I have mentioned to make the travels a little less uncomfortable, even if that means circling back many times. Hope to see you on the road…

Collaborate12 — I will be presenting on this topic at Collaborate 12 in Las Vegas, NV. My presentation will be one of several on the topic of BI Publisher. Be sure to check out this conference.

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