Unsolicited Political Opinion

** Unsolicited Political Opinion **
Over the past year so I have become very concerned about the divisiveness that only seems to be growing in our country. I have watched people become estranged and disconnected from lifelong friends and even family based on statements in support for or against a political party or individual. So I thought I would share this excerpt from Washington’s farewell address.

[Party spirit] agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

Washington then went on to advise us that a knowledgeable population, one that is acting not on behalf of a party agenda, but on behalf of the country is the key to maintaining our Democratic Republic.

So, my unsolicited opinion is that we as a nation need to separate whatever legislation is being proposed from the party or individuals proposing it. Focus on whether it’s constitutional, whether it is in the best interest of our nation, and then finally whether it is in our own best interest.

I would like to close this post with one more unsolicited opinion. Just because someone disagrees with your position on something does not mean that you are right and they are wrong. It does not mean they are stupid and you are intelligent. And by all means it doesn’t change the person with whom you are disagreeing . In fact, the most likely scenario is that you are both wrong and both right to varying degrees. So please, learn to tolerate opposing viewpoints. Seek to understand what their position is. Seek to learn from them. You may find that your own position changes and, if not agreeing to disagree on something is a lot better than losing a friend or loved one to an opinion. Especially if that opinion has been dictated to you by someone else. As the British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

Let’s focus on putting the KIND back in mankind and we will all be better off.

If you made it this far…congrats….and thanks.



The Big Move

For those of you that have known me for a while, you probably know me as that “professor guy from NSU”.

Some of you may have actually noticed that this blog hasn’t been updated in QUITE a while (ahem..Green).

Well, for those of you that don’t keep up with my life on a daily basis (and given the fact that I am not a Kardashian, I assume that is most of humanity), I have moved to the University of North Texas in Denton, TX.  It is an exciting move because it puts me at a Carnegie Tier 1 research institution, but it is also a little daunting because my three years of being the Chair of the Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity at NSU has dulled my research brains (let’s face it…if you don’t use it…you DO lose it).

However, thanks to the help from some great colleagues, students, former students, and numerous others, I finally feel like I am getting back into the swing of things.  I have truly been blessed to have been surrounded by such wonderful people.

So, if you don’t mind it too much, I would like to take a departure from the usual content of this blog to spend some time reflecting on the past year starting with the reasons that I made the move to Texas, moving through the adjustment process to a new state and university, and then finishing up with how things are going now.

After that, I will return to our regularly scheduled programming.  Also, you may all officially start referring to me as “that professor guy from UNT”.



Why Go Anywhere? Great Salaries, More Perks, Great Companies, in South Florida!

Recently, Marcia Pounds from the Sun Sentinel interviewed some of the panelists at our most recent SFTA event about the employment environment here in South Florida (the full article can be found here). in conjunction with data from an annual survey released Friday by longtime SFTA sponsor ProTech Staffing the panelists confirmed what I have been seeing for quite some time.  South Florida is a hot place to find a job!

I’m not just saying this from the perspective of temperature (although it’s only the third day of spring and temperatures are already in the high 80’s), but from the perspective that there are a lot of jobs here and competition for qualified employees is at a  high.  However, outside of the pay and perks, there is another thing that is making this area attractive to companies.  We have great companies here.

In my travels around the area as the SFTA President, I have noticed this is fairly common around our area.  We have a ton of great companies with great corporate cultures and happy employees.  These companies range from large, established companies such as Citrix Systems, to upstart entrepreneurial companies such as Yellow Pepper, MDLive, and Modernizing Medicine that have been growing tremendously over the past few years.

We at the SFTA are working to spread the word about this “well kept secret” about our tech economy.  Not just to the tech professionals, recent graduates, and students currently residing in South Florida, but to everyone around the nation and the world.  If you’re looking for a high paying career with great pay and benefits that just happens to be located in paradise, South Florida is the place for you!!

ITPalooza 2014!

For those of you that read this blog, you may have come across a recent post that encouraged people in the South FL technology community to participate in the event known as ITPalooza.  This year’s event happened on December 4th and was bigger and better than ever!  The event hosted more than 2,000 attendees representing all aspects of technology and featured hackathons, a hiring fair, speaker sessions on tracks from Bitcoin to startups, and a great holiday party at the end with live music from  the ITPalooza house band.


The Expo Floor was hopping with tech companies and user groups of all kinds!


The Hiring Fair boasted more than 25 companies looking for IT Talent.

The ITPalooza Band rocked into the night!

In fact, the event has grown so large that the organizers went to a social voting process to select speakers and I was honored to be chosen as one.  The topic of my presentation was “The 5 Tech Trends that will Impact Business” and in it I covered some trends that in my opinion will alter how businesses perform and how work is done.  I was delighted to see that the talk was well attended and that the audience seemed to be engaged and interactive.  In fact, a portion of my talk was even featured in a Miami Herald article on ITPalooza by Nancy Dahlberg.  You can read it here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article4286090.html

ITP3ITP4Our newly formed AIS Student Chapter even participated by having a table in the expo and the online members provided a “Twitter Help Desk” to answer questions about presentation times and locations.

ITP7All in all, it was a great event that highlights the vitality of the technology ecosystem in South Florida and allows us to give back to our community.  I am looking forward to it being even better next year!

Brief Thoughts on Computerworld’s Hottest IT Skills for 2015

As an educator and general technology enthusiast, I am always interested in what skills are in demand in the tech market.  I have always seen them as a barometer of where technology is now and, perhaps more importantly, where it might possibly be headed.  So when I saw that Computerworld’s tweet on the “Hottest IT Skills for 2015,” I had to stop what I was doing and give it a read.

Overall, there wasn’t much in the article that I saw as particularly surprising.  Application development was tops on the list and the usual suspects of business intelligence/analytics, security, and mobile were all represented.  However, while the composition of the list was uneventful (for the most part), the movement of the skills on the list did cause an eyebrow raise or two.  For example, project management skills moved from #5 on the list to #2.  The lead researcher for SIM’s Tech Trends study (just released at their conference in Denver) seems to believe that this is attributable to the fact that many organizations are “catching up” after IT spending hiatuses.  I partially agree that this is the case, but I believe that other factors are coming into play as well.

If you look at the Computerworld ranking as a whole, you can see that networking skills took the biggest plunge falling 6 spots from the #3 position on the list to #9, mobile development fell 4 spots from #4 to #8, and web development was the biggest jumper moving from not being on the list to the #5 spot.  It was also noteworthy to see that database, BI, and Big Data remained relatively unchanged.  To me, the drop in demand for infrastructure or device specific skills is indicative of companies moving away from developing for devices (mobile or otherwise) and in-house infrastructure and towards using the cloud as a delivery platform for applications.

In fact, I see the movement to the cloud as almost inevitable for most companies where computing is not their core competency.   In my opinion, this will have a profound impact on what the front line “IT” worker will look like in the next 5-10 years and the skills that will be required.  No longer will deep applied technical knowledge be the skills that are needed, but rather an ability to leverage cloud based resources that are maintained by other organizations to create innovative solutions to complex business problems.  In other words, the front line IT worker will look a lot like a systems analyst, someone that knows enough about the organization to diagnose what the problems are and enough about the technology to provide a solution.

I’m curious to know what you think the skills of the front line IT worker will be in the next 5-10 years.  Feel free to leave me a comment and share your thoughts!


ITPalooza – An Incredible Opportunity

ITPalooza – An Incredible Opportunity for South Florida Technology

By: James Parrish, Lenny Chesal, and Joe Monaco

The ITPalooza event is scheduled for December 4, 2014 at Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences.   In just its third year of existence, the annual gathering of technology groups has become one of the largest technology events in the region. This year, the organizers are anticipating more than 2,000 registrants who will attend daytime presentations and training from over 60 speakers on a wide variety of technology related topics, learn about the 50 plus technology groups representing themselves at the event, enhance their career options at the ITPalooza hiring fair, and enjoy the evening holiday celebration featuring a live band comprised of local IT Professionals.

On the surface, the event seems to be all about the local technology community getting together for a day of education and fun. However, we at the South Florida Technology Alliance (SFTA) believe it to be much more. We feel large technology events such as ITPalooza and the eMerge Americas Conference to be held in April 2015 are opportunities to demonstrate and enhance the strength of the tech ecosystem in South Florida, which is central to the SFTA mission to enable the present and shape the future of technology in the community that we love.

ITPalooza, perhaps more than any other event, is representative of this community. Everything about the event, from the planning, to the selection of topics and speakers, to the event operations and entertainment is carried out by a group of dedicated volunteers from the technology community who share a passionate belief that South Florida can become a technology hub comparable to California and the Northeast. Yes, the event might be for attendees and technology groups in South Florida, but the audience who will be paying attention to ITPalooza is much greater as evidenced by the number of media outlets that covered the recent press release from October 28th entitled “Today, Analytics is King.”

The attention  ITPalooza has received presents an incredible opportunity for all of us involved with technology in South Florida. As was the case with the first eMerge Americas conference, a well-sponsored and well-attended ITPalooza will send a signal to the rest of the nation that South Florida has a strong technology ecosystem where business, education, and government have all aligned to create an environment attractive enough to entice investment from outside our area, but also to retain the talent  we are producing within. However, whether or not the South Florida technology community can capitalize on this opportunity is the question. Unlike the ITPalooza event, this opportunity can’t be carried out by a small group of dedicated volunteers. It is going to take involvement from the entire community.

Therefore, we at the SFTA are putting out a call to action. We need the support of everyone that loves technology, the technology community, or the community in general in order to make ITPalooza a success. Your support could come in many forms from becoming a sponsor, to giving your time as a volunteer, to simply registering for and attending the event. Every bit of support will help ensure the message  we want ITPalooza to send will be heard loud and clear (like the rock and roll band). The South Florida technology community is our community and ITPalooza is our event. Please help us to leverage the opportunity we have to strengthen both for all of our benefit.

James Parrish is an associate professor of information systems at Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences, Lenny Chesal is the CMO of Host.NET, and Joe Monaco is the Director of Florida/Gulf States sales for Earthlink. All serve on the Executive Committee of the South Florida Technology Alliance (www.southfloridatech.org).

SFTA January Event: Innovation from the Trenches

Hey everyone.  I thought I would share the info about the SFTA event happening next Thursday.  I think it is going to be very interesting, so please attend!  Thanks!
1st SFTA Meeting for 2014
Thursday, January 23rd
INNOVATION : Perspectives From the Trenches
From start-ups to established tech firms, everyone is talking about innovation. Whether it is introducing an innovative product or encouraging others to use existing products in an innovative way, innovation seems to be a central driver to the tech economy.
This panel, moderated by Dr. James L. Parrish, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at Nova Southeastern University, will examine innovation from a national, regional, and local perspectives and brings together experts in innovation to give us their perspectives on what innovation means to them and to discuss what innovative activities that they are seeing “from the trenches.”




Dr Bradley Jensen, Principal Academic Relationship Manager with Microsoft Corporation.



Chris Pyle, President and CEO of Champion Solutions Group.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

5:30 pm : Registration opens
6:00 – 7:00 pm : Networking
7:00 – 8:00 pm : Panel Discussion
8:00 – 8:30 pm : Meet the Speakers
8:30 – Conclusion


SFTA January Meeting

We just set the agenda for the upcoming SFTA (southfloridatech.org) meeting and I have to say that it is going to be a great event at a great venue!  The topic of the event will be innovation and I have the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion of some great entrepreneurs and innovators including my good friend Dr. Bradley Jensen at Citrix Systems headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale.

I first met Brad during my tenure at the University of Arkansas – Little Rock.  He is a very interesting guy that has significant national and international business experience.  Currently, he is the Principal Academic Evangelist for Microsoft, but he has held positions in both industry and academia including a faculty position at the University of North Texas and as an executive with Xerox PARC.  He is an extremely interesting guy with an incredible perspective on what’s going on in the tech space.  Much of this comes from his experience, but it is also because his role with Microsoft has him traveling across the country to see what is going on first hand.

Anyway, I hope that you will consider joining us for this event and all of our SFTA events.  The SFTA is a incredible organization comprised of technophiles of all types.  However we all share the same belief in our mission of advancing the business of thechnology in South Florida.  If you love this community, I strongly encourage you to consider joining us.

Information Systems Rated as the #1 Degree for Job Prospects Now

In Forbes today, I was extremely excited to see that Forbes lists information systems as the #1 career for job prospects.  The data used to obtain this conclusion was obtained from Payscale.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  As a long time proponent of the value of an information systems education in organizations, this is great news. According to the article:

“People with a master’s in information systems are generally trained to be managers for IT workers,” says Katie Bardaro, Payscale’s lead economist. “Therefore, when you combine management with a growing industry you experience top pay and employment prospects. We live in a technological world where our technology footprint will continue to grow. Therefore, job opportunities in this field are predicted to grow faster than average by the BLS. Additionally, high demand for tech workers combined with relatively low supply (relative to all other workers out there) drive up the pay for these positions.”

Organizations have long said that they want to hire people that have both technical skills and business acumen.  However, that talk always seemed like lip service to me because it never really translated into large scale hiring of IS graduates.  Sure, graduates were getting jobs, but not at the rate one would expect given their desire for the IS skillset.  Instead the same old standard of looking for people with niche technical skills or certifications seemed to be getting the lion’s share of the jobs.   Now, however, it seems that they are (finally) coming around to see the light…and boy are they….to the tune of a 30% increase in job openings in the coming years!

This is certainly good news for all of us in IS and for those of us in higher ed.  Now it is up to us (educators) to work with industry to find the correct mix and type of business and technical skills so that we can provide graduates that will thrive in these positions.  We cannot afford to stay in the ivory towers of academia and assume that they way that we are doing things is aligned with what industry needs.  If we don’t organizations will turn elsewhere to fill these needs.

One thing is certain, however, the future is bright for IS graduates.