Browsing Posts tagged Bob

We’ve just published our March 2010 eNewsletter. Click here to see it and here if you’re not receiving it.

A lot of companies have an IT support strategy based on “a guy.” An IT guy working full time somewhere else. The owners’ nephew. A guy who works in the plant but has set up a networki of his own in his house.


EVERYTHING in your business rides on your computer network and the data it holds – which is exactly why you can’t afford to have an incompetent person managing it. But how can you know for sure if you have the right person? How can a non-technical person know if they are paying for sub-standard support? And how can you make sure you don’t find out the hard way after a major disaster erases all your data and brings down your network for a week?


If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then it’s important that you get and read our new business advisory guide, “16 Critical Questions You MUST Ask Before Hiring Any IT Company.”


This free report will explain in simple, non-technical terms what you need to look for when outsourcing your IT support, as well as cost-saving strategies, insider tips and 16 revealing questions you MUST ask any computer consultant before giving him access to your computer network. If your current guy can’t answer a confident “Yes” to all 16, it might be time to look for someone else.


Want a copy? Emal John Harrow at John@Simplex-IT.com, or give him a call at 234.380.1277.


Office 2010 is coming out later this year. And it brings a fair amount of improvements, especially if you’re using Windows 7. Features like vastly improved collaboration, a tighter interface and…wait for it…smiley faces! (yup, and they actually are pretty cool, if you ask me)

A new suite to most of you, Office 2010 is something we here at Simplex-IT have been investigating for a while already.

Attend this free Lunchinar and we’ll throw in a copy of the 200 page eBook from Microsoft showing the new stuff in Office 2010!

When:  Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 from 11:30am-1:30pm
Where:  Hattie’s Cafe, 164 N Main St, Hudson, OH 44236
Cost:  Free!
And we’ll give a few lucky folks a copy of the Beta Edition!

Each month Simplex-IT (http://www.Simplex-IT.com) holds a free lunchinar. Free food, good information, a chance to network. Either register here, or contact John Harrow at John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277.


See ya there!

Ok, it’s the end of February. In Northeast Ohio. Saying there’s a cloud in your future is like saying there’s a chance the Indians might not win the World Series. But I’m actually talking about another kind of cloud. The web-based, hosted “out there,” ethereal kind of cloud. Y’know…a geek cloud.
Here’s the challenge. Go to your computer, and click on something. That’s starting a program up. Maybe the program is on your computer. Maybe it’s on another computer in your office. Or maybe…it’s somewhere “out there.”
It used to be we were pretty much stuck with where the program was. If it’s a web site, it was hosted “out there.” If it was email (we’re talking business now), it was part of the corporate IT, usually either an Exchange or Notes server (sometimes referred to as the “dedicated” model). If it was a program, like Word, it was located right on your computer.
Well, things are changing. Over the past several years, more and more people are getting faster and faster connections to the Internet. And applications “out there” are getting more and more sophisticated. And so the boundaries are getting blurred.
Google is probably leading the charge with this. “Google Apps” (www.google.com/apps) has created quite a stir, giving users access to applications, email, storage for free (ad driven) and a fee based ($50/user/year).
Microsoft, of course, is busy pushing out their own version. Their BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite, atwww.Microsoft.com/online) offers hosted versions of Exchange, SharePoint, LiveMeeting and Office Communications. Their offering starts at about $5/user/month for an Exchange mailbox.
And, of course, the debate is starting. There are those who tout the Hosted solutions as the greatest thing since the last greatest thing. Their points (and the counterpoints that the Dedicated folks will give:No hardware or software costs (yeah, but Dedicated has no subscription fees)No complicated installation (no flexibility for special needs)All you need is an Internet connection…access it from anywhere! (you can access Dedicated solutions from anywhere, too, ya know)No concerns about your internal IT infrastructure (yeah, just concerns about the hosted company)Not dependence on internal security setups (hope your hosted folks know how to be secure)No backups, since the hosting company backs stuff up for you (hope they do it well…the brochures say they do)
And they’ll just keep on blathering, until you stop them.
Here’s the bottom line. Both strategies are valid. Sorry, but it’s true. And moving forward, more and more solutions are going to incorporate portions from both. You need to review your options based on your organization.
Want to learn more? Join us at Simplex-IT’s next monthly Lunchinar, on Wednesday March 17th from 11:30-1:30, at Hattie’s Caf

(There are still some seats left, but there won’t be many for long!)  

We have all heard the news reports about the extreme conditions that continue to intensify in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.    

On March 9th Simplex-IT and DeVore Technologies will offer a half day class (from 8:30 -12:00) on Office 2010. This hands-on class will be taught by Bob Coppedge and serves as an introduction to the new features found in Microsoft Office 2010 and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, OneNote and Publisher.    

The cost?  A donation to the American Red Cross.
 
Registration for these special courses is accepted by telephone only. To register, please call DeVore’s training department at 440-232-3846 x103 and ask to speak with Ms. Billi Pate.


Students can expect to receive DeVore’s deluxe complimentary continental breakfast. Seats are limited and registration for these classes is by telephone only. Reserve your seat today and Help us Help Haiti!

For more information About the American Red Cross, please call 1-800 HELP NOW or email info@usa.redcross.org.

Office 2010 is coming out later this year. And it brings a fair amount of improvements, especially if you’re using Windows 7. Features like vastly improved collaboration, a tighter interface and, wait for it, smiley faces! (yup, and they actually are pretty cool, if you ask me)
A new suite to most of you, Office 2010 is something we here at Simplex-IT have been investigating for a while already.
Attend this free Lunchinar and we’ll throw in a copy of the 200 page eBook from Microsoft showing the new stuff in Office 2010!
When: Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 from 11:30am-1:30pm
Where: Hattie’s Cafe, 164 N Main St, Hudson, OH 44236
Cost: Free!
And we’ll give a few lucky folks a copy of the Beta Edition!
Each month Simplex-IT (http://www.Simplex-IT.com) holds a free lunchinar. Free food, good information, a chance to network. Either register here, or contact John Harrow atJohn@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277.
See ya there!

Bob here. Progress is…well, progressive. And one of the biggest challenges we face is just how progressive do we want to be? The leader of the pack (outside of being a song) can be known as either someone who brings exciting new ideas to the forefront or the first lemming to leap flaming over the abyss (ok, so lemmings aren’t usually aflame when they jump…sheesh!).

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the wonderful world of computers and IT (Information Technology). For every leading edge solution, there are hundreds of bleeding edge paper cuts (now with lemon!). And sometimes you just can’t tell why an idea failed (or even why it succeeded). Often it has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual qualities of the product.

One of the biggest challenges deals with the question, “When do I update to the latest version of <fill in the blank>?” The funny part is when people think that there’s a clear and concise answer!

There’s good and there’s bad to moving forward or staying put. Fewer opportunities, fewer risks. The questions is, which is most critical for you? As an IT support organization, we don’t have a choice. We have to stay ahead of the rest of the world. So when a new product comes around, we have to decide “Is this going to be of interest to our market?” And if the answer is yup, we have to become knowledgeable on it or find someone else who is and partner with ‘em.

The alternative? We’re going to make recommendations to our customers based on our comfort zone. Not good. Because they’ll hear about the “new stuff” from our competition, and wonder, “why didn’t my current IT folks tell me about it?”

Ah, but we have to be careful. The other extreme (remember the Flaming Lemmings? I think I’ve just named my imaginary rock band) is just as harmful. If we push the latest greatest thing without regard to a> the quality of that thing, b> the ultimate industrial success of that thing, or c> (most importantly) why the customer would benefit from that thing, our advice has a good chance of being flat out wrong.

Why? Because we’re making selections for the wrong reasons. New technology has to make sense for businesses. If it doesn’t, don’t do it! IT folks in particular (and some business folks as well) get caught up in the “sexiness” of the new stuff.

If you’d like to see an example of all of this (and get a free lunch) join us on Wednesday February 17th (11:30am-1:pm) at Hattie’s Café in Downtown Hudson. We’ll be demonstrating the new version of Microsoft Office (2010), which will see the light of day 3rd quarter this year. And all attendees will get a free 200 page eBook about the new Office 2010 as a bonus! As always, we won’t be selling anything. If you’re interested, contact John Harrow at John@Simplex-IT.com or 234.380.1277.


We truly can understand a company’s hesitation to trust their IT network and infrastructure to a remote, off-campus entity.  We appreciate that relying on an outside vendor to manage all of the critical information that a company generates can create a sense of worry and trepidation.  As we host learning events and seminars, it is our hope and initiative to educate and calm those fears and create a new sense of trust and belief in remote Information Technology Management.


Perhaps it would help if companies knew exactly what they could (and should) be getting out of a managed services arrangement.  Of course, impeccable, proactive, constantly available IT support and service should be first and foremost.


In addition, reports on performance, utilization and hang-ups should be available and understandable to the non-technical forum.  Also, you should be able to learn and understand how ready your system is for upgrades to both the network and other applications (such as bringing in a new database or a new VoIP phone system).  Traffic patterns (including the type of traffic your network is maneuvering) should be something that your IT gurus take note of. 


Taking managed services a step further, companies are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and check efficiencies.  Trends and performance analyses should be available from your IT provider to formulate business models and prepare for upgrades and improvements.  Too, IT relates to and relies on a company’s budget, so your managed services provider should offer and be a source of information when it comes to financial analysis and budgetary planning. 


It was reported that $14.3 billion dollars is roughly the world-wide amount that small and midsized businesses spent on managed services in 2009.  Are you getting a good return on investment?  Are you utilizing what you have in-house optimally?  Impeccable, responsive, quality Information Technology is something that companies cannot afford to be without. 


Is your company on solid ground with their IT initiative?


If not, shouldn’t you be contacting…oh, let’s say…Simplex-IT?  Call us at 234.380.1277 to learn more!


 

Let us help you with Microsoft Licensing and Upgrades! 

Here’s a thing you need to know about Microsoft Licensing. It’s painful. Nasty. Nobody enjoys it except for those people who think a swell thing to do on a Saturday night is review IRS tax laws while watching CSPan.

That said, Microsoft actually has a lot of deals for folks purchasing software, especially when a product is relatively new, like Windows 7. Don’t believe me? Check out their Incentives site by clicking here.

Ok, point made.

Now, then. Simply stated, volume licensing of software makes it easier and more affordable to run software on multiple computers within a single purchasing organization.

By acquiring software licenses through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs, you only pay for the software license. Boxed software, on the other hand, includes media (the CD-ROM or DVD), a user’s guide and other packaging items. Eliminating these physical costs and purchasing in volume often reduces cost and provides more customized purchasing options and improved software management.

In the case of some Volume Licensing programs, you may also purchase Software Assurance. This comprehensive maintenance offering can help you get the most out of your software investment. It combines the latest software with phone support, partner services, training, and IT tools. You can choose Software Assurance at the time of purchase and begin using your benefits immediately for the term of your license agreement.

To choose the optimal approach for your organization, you must first understand the major characteristics of Licensing policies and programs. Areas for consideration:

The size and type of your organization
The products you want to license
The way in which you want to use those products 
  

Microsoft tailors some of its programs to meet the needs of specific industries, depending on the primary function of the organization.
 

Contact us to learn more! 

Bob here. Simplex-IT has recently become certified to sell and support Microsoft’s online Services.

 

What does this mean? It means that we can offer…choices. Exchange, SharePoint, Live Meeting and more! Hosted solutions are particularly compelling because there’s no software or hardware to purchase, install or configure. And the monthly cost is pretty compelling. And they integrate into your Windows network very cleanly. But you get all the benefits of the Microsoft Exchange (or SharePoint) infrastructure.

Hosted Exchange starts at $5/user/month. We’ll be making this new service part of an upcoming Lunchinar.

Click here for more details about the program. Email Bob or call 234.380.1277 for more information.