Cost Explorer – Find Your AWS Budget

The complexities of an enterprise AWS configuration can be staggering.  In fact, the ability to determine your required budget can be a blocking factor in moving to AWS.  Thus, Amazon has provided the Cost Explorer tool to help us figure out what our environment is likely to cost. Getting Started With Cost Explorer The first thing you need to do is enable Cost Explorer.  This is done by logging into your AWS dashboard and then clicking on the billing menu item.  This step should take you to the billing summary page for your account.  In the Spend Summary Title bar towards the top left will be a Cost Explorer button.  Click on this to enable cost explorer.  Unfortunately, it can take up... Read more

build your portfolio

Building Your Portfolio and Presenting it to Prospects

Once a customer has been won, there are always others to impress.  The good news is that it gets easier to win the contracts past the first.  However, a smart approach includes building your portfolio to use past success to attract future clients. Building Your Portfolio Requires More Than Pictures A good IT portfolio starts with some screenshots and captures.  However, that should be just the beginning.  Your customers desire more than just a beautiful application.  They are looking for a solution to their problems.  The challenge is that so many of the details of the solutions you provide are not going to be easily highlighted by a sample UI. Every project in your portfolio should include some explanation of what you were asked to... Read more

winning your first it project

Winning Your First IT Consulting Project

The hardest part of IT consulting arguably is landing that first customer and project.  This is obviously one of the important steps in a successful career. Unfortunately, it often is where dreams of consulting die.  The world has gotten smaller and it is easier to connect with potential customers.  However, this makes competition more likely as well.  Over the years I have found a number of attributes of strong contenders.  Here are some things you can do without have a long resume or vast portfolio. Find a Prospect There are many ways to find opportunities these days.  Advertising your services and direct mail are ok.  However, sites like and will provide better results and qualified leads.  The proposals... Read more

Chalkboard of words like training and development

Incorporating User Experience Into Your Solution From The Start

In this third episode of the Creating a Software Solution series we look at the user experience.  The key to a software solution is solving a problem that needs to be addressed.  However, a solution that is not usable will likely fail.  That leads us to a focus on the user experience from the beginning of the project.  We will discuss building a foundation for the solution that will make the customers happy. There are Many Considerations for User Experience One of the problems most software solutions run into is a lack of detail for the user experience.  We tend to skip a lot of “common sense” areas of an application that cause us headaches when we move to testing and... Read more


Amazon App Stream – Run Your Applications Anywhere

In the list of AWS resources,  I think AppStream (2.0) is one of the most powerful and innovative. What is AppStream? This service is another bundle of features that add up to a solution to a common problem.  The problem is providing access to a Windows application across the Internet.  There are a lot of legacy applications built for companies that require access from more than a desktop.  Remote workers are becoming more common, and that means that we need to give them access to the same tools they have in the office. Complex Infrastructure, Quickly The Appstream solution is not new or unknown.  A lot of companies provide remote connectivity into their network and virtual machines that can run applications.... Read more