Browsing Posts tagged Business Productivity Online Suite

Happy New Year!  (just how old is your Lang Sign, anyway?)

Thankfully, 2010 was actually pretty good for us here at Simplex-IT.  During 2010:

  • Our customer base about doubled;
  • We’ve got some new faces around here;
  • We’ve increased our support offerings rather substantially;
  • We have a strong marketing/sales pipeline process;
  • Our Monthly Lunchinar continues to draw people to hear our “messages;”
  • That same Lunchinar is starting to appear on YouTube;
  • Our eNewsletter subscription bases continues to grow;
  • Microsoft’s BPOS solutions have been great choices for many of our customers;
  • Microsoft Licensing has been eas….um, a breez…err…simple to…well, we’ve been pretty successfully making Licensing easier for several of our customers;
  • Our BizBlog is starting to get some notice;
  • Our SEO strategy is starting to pay off;
  • Our backup strategy seems to be a bit of a hit;

Pretty good accomplishments, all told.  John Harrow has done a great job bringing in new customers, with help from Cyndee Duhon.  Kevin Dutkiewicz picked up where Sam Hays left off, and didn’t miss a beat.  Doug Tombow has given us some additional strength on the SQL and application side.

And let’s not forget the efforts of Steve Skunta, who joined us a few months ago.  Or the efforts of Lindsey Karoly or Alaa Hamdan, both working as part time technicians.

Then there are the partners we work with. DeVore Technologies has to be there in front.  Brian Hansen and I have a standard phone call each week where we start out laughing at each other’s misery, and then talk about working together to help our customers.

Then there’s Oxford International.  Amy and Don have been great folks to work with, as we find ways to partner.  Yes, even Don<g>.

And our network monitoring solution from Level Platforms just seems to be getting better and better.  As does our long term partners such as Sophos, LogMeIn, Ingram Micro, Microsoft and eFolder.  And our newer partners such as OpenDNS, RackSpace and CharTec offer some great solutions as well.

So far, we’ve every reason to believe that 2011 is going to continue our tradition (Seriously?  You can start saying tradition when you’ve only been open since 2007??) of providing great service to our customers, and having some fun while doing it.

 Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Wanna play<g>?

Ok, to understand my point here, it’s important to understand the lengths I’m willing to go to in order to make a point. Right now I’m on the 8th deck of the cruise ship “Monarch of the Sea.” Before you ask, no, it is not the sister ship of “Chicken of the Sea.”

Anywho, here’s the fun part. I’m on day 3 of a 4-day cruise, taken under extreme suggestion from my lovely wife, Julie. Most folks, when they hear about going on a cruise, they immediately check out destinations, menus, activities, etc. Me? I’m checking out Wi-Fi, cellular charges, wanting to make sure that, fun or not, I’m as online as I need to be. Yup, that makes me at least a workaholic. And yup, it makes a saint out of Julie.

Now, here’s how it works. Cell charges change immediately to $2.75 a minute when out to sea (this is based on my provider, Sprint). And Wi-Fi is available, at (drum roll, please)…$.65/minute. And it’s only available at certain parts of the ship.

So, how do I get to my files? Working on my emails? Talking with my staff while I’m gone? Am I forced to pay a premium every time I want to talk to somebody or do anything with my data.

Welllllll, no. Actually it’s worked out pretty well (so far). And unlike web applications, most of my applications are installed on my laptop (Office, as an example). So here’s what I do.

  1. Open Outlook. Review my current emails, and write any new ones (or replies). But here’s the catch. Do this while offline, so I’m not being charged anything.
  2. Head to where there’s wireless (huh, go figure…a bar!). Connect to the ship’s wireless, and put Outlook back online. All my outgoing emails are sent, and all new emails waiting for me are delivered. Total time, a couple of minutes.
  3. Turn Outlook offline.
  4. Disconnect from the Wi-Fi network.
  5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But what about files? No problem there, either. Because at Simplex-IT, we do a lot of our file work using our internal SharePoint site. And I’m synchronizing our files using Outlook 2010 (I could have just as easily created SharePoint Workspaces). Which means as soon as I connect, all new files added by anybody to our SharePoint site are automatically added to my Outlook, and I can edit those files offline as well.

And talking to my staff? Well, I’ve got the cell phone ($G$ulp). Or I can go with email. But how about using Office Communicator, which gives me an encrypted chat session with my folks (I can see while I’m online whether they’re available). Yeah, I have to be online for this, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The nice thing about this scenario is it highlights the benefit of both thin (where everything is in the cloud) and thick (where some or all of everything is installed locally) solutions. Relying solely on one strategy opens up several vulnerabilities. By combining the strategies, you give yourself an additional layer of protection and control. And it ain’t that expensive.

So, am I too reliant on the software installed on my laptop? What if, as my wife has threatened, she takes it snorkeling with her? Not a problem. Office 365 (Microsoft’s successor to BPOS) gives me the flexibility to work on Office files from any web-connected workstation.

Ok, let me clarify this. Not a problem in terms of my data. But I think I’d better get back with my wife before I put this to the test<g>.

Ummm…anybody think I could claim this cruise as a business deduction now?  No?  Ok, just a thought<g>.

On Wednesday, June 2nd from 8am-3pm, Microsoft (along with COSE) is presenting “Microsoft Smart & Simple Technology Strategies.”  According to the post on COSE’s site (click here), you’ll “get tips, advice, and secrets from experts, all designed to help you utilize technology to increase productivity and your bottom line, protect your valuable data, improve your marketing efforts and work better on the go. “  You can see Microsoft’s take on it by clicking here.

Ok, that might be enough to send you there.  But you’ll also get to talk to me during lunch.  Specifically about BPOS, Microsoft’s online suite that includes Exchange, LiveMeeting, SharePoint and Office Communications Online.  I was asked by Microsoft (fools that they be!) to attend the luncheon, and talk to folks interested in learning more about BPOS.

We’ve been working with several companies recently, migrating their email from existing Exchange setups as well as hosted Pop3 services.  It’s actually a pretty cool service!

The event actually looks pretty decent too.  And, unlike most Cose events, this one is absolutely free!

Bob presents to Hudson Chamber

On May 25, over 50 members of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce enjoyed a relaxed and informative presentation at their monthly luncheon meeting by Bob Coppedge, President of Simplex-IT, on some of the latest and greatest developments in the world of Information Technology.

The range of topics was broad, as you can well imagine, and included the latest Microsoft offerings, Windows 7 and Office 2010 (Simplex-IT is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist and Partner).

Cloud-based services, like Microsoft’s BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), were covered as they continue to generate great response from the marketplace. It seems like everyone likes the idea of eliminating the expense and hassles of keeping hardware, software and administration all onsite when instead they can offload those issues to a reputable business partner for a low, fixed monthly fee. What a great concept!

Also of significant interest among the attendees were the many different kinds of Social Media that many companies are rushing to use to stay in touch with their customers – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs being the big ones many people are familiar with.

And, as it just so happens, Social Media is the topic for our next Simplex-IT Lunchinar that will be held at Hattie’s Café in Hudson on Wednesday, June 16 from 11:30am-1:00pm. If you’d like to join us you can reserve your seat by calling 234.380.1277, or emailing mailto:John@Simplex-IT.com. We’d love to have you join us!

As you can probably tell, Bob really loves to talk about technology and how, when properly managed, it can help companies lower costs, increase productivity and grow the bottom line. If you would like him to make a presentation to your group or organization, contact him and he will be more than willing to make that happen!