Nov 17

ZDNet – Cloud computing: How to build a business case

Like any other major tech project, moving workloads into the cloud needs a solid business case — one that takes into account all the likely costs and benefits — before a company can decide whether it’s the correct move.

Cloud migration may be a tougher proposition than a standard IT project because companies have to consider a wider variety of issues — like what to do with all those servers, or even entire data centers, that may be made redundant by the move.

The business case should calculate the costs of migrating to the cloud — which include the cost of moving systems over, as well as the cost of running services in the cloud after migration — and then compare them to the costs of keeping systems in-house.

More of the ZDNet post from Steve Ranger

Dec 15

Customer Think – How Have You Helped Your Customers Improve Their Outcomes?

As we approach the end of the year, there’s always a huge intensity of activity. A lot driven by the various holidays we celebrate, a lot driven by year end (or quarter end), and some driven by preparations for the new fiscal year.

It’s easy to lose focus on our customers.

But perhaps it’s worth a few minutes to reflect. Perhaps even spending some time in review with them.

The key issue is, “How have you helped them improve their outcomes in the past year?”

At the core of everything we do, our success is measured less on achieving our sales numbers, but more on the results we’ve helped our customers achieve.

It’s important to both our customers and us, but too often we tend to forget about it–or we realize they haven’t achieve the outcomes expected.

This isn’t driven by some airy concept of customer-centricity, though that’s very nice. These are really data driven, tough minded business discussions.

How have you helped your customers improve their outcomes?

Sure you may have gotten an order, but customers don’t buy just to buy. They buy to achieve results. Did they achieve them?

More of the Customer Think post by Dave Brock

Nov 15

Margaret Heffernan – The secret ingredient that makes some teams better than others

“The trust, knowledge, reciprocity and shared norms that create quality of life and make a group resilient. “Thanks, Emily Theis, for sharing this.

Culture defines any business, but it’s one of the hardest things to manage. In this extract from her new TED Book, Margaret Heffernan lays out the often-overlooked element necessary to build an effective, efficient organization: social capital.

Running a software company in Boston, I recognized — and my board told me — that we needed to reposition the business. Our product was too bland, too generic to stimulate excitement or loyalty. I needed a team to help me, and I ended up working through the problem with a motley crew: a young web developer, a seasoned and eccentric media executive, a visual artist, and me. We spent a week in the private room of a burger joint, exploring options, rejecting easy answers, pushing one another to find something none of us could see. Looking back, I recall that intense period as one of the most thought-provoking learning experiences I’ve ever had. The team was outstanding — and successful — but why? How did such an eclectic combination of people manage to work together so well? What made this experience of creative conflict so productive?

More of the Ted Idea from Margaret Heffernan

Feb 14

Mashable – The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Etiquette

LinkedIn has developed a killer resource of 225 million users, one you absolutely should take advantage of when it comes to your career. But you’ll have to navigate LinkedIn’s potentially tricky tools and settings while you’re at it. Not to mention take care to maintain proper etiquette at all times. That’s a lot of pressure.

Chances are, if you do use LinkedIn, you’re approaching the network from a job seeker’s perspective — if not now, then in the future. Or maybe you’re a recruiter or a PR representative looking to network and pitch via LinkedIn.

See also: 10 Simple Google Calendar Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Productivity

No matter your background, let’s dissect some of the biggest etiquette dos and don’ts when logging into LinkedIn, the web’s largest professional network.

More of the Mashable post by Stephanie Buck

Jan 14

CustomerThink – What Really Creates Customer Loyalty?

Most companies that set out to deliver better customer service today fall short of creating a customer experience that creates customer loyalty.

60% of customers today say that companies that set out to deliver better customer service don’t actually improve the customer experience enough to create customer loyalty.

All companies want customer loyalty. Customer retention is part of the strategy of any business. The problem many organizations face today is that even with their emphasis on customer retention and increasing customer loyalty, customers aren’t feeling the love they think they need in order to reward organizations with their continued business.

This infographic comes from the team at Drumbi, a company that provides technology to transform the way we communicate. The Drumby team believes that mobile devices, smartphones, mobile web, social media and location-based interactions have created a new metaphor for communications.

More of the CustomerThink post by Flavio Martins

Nov 13

Theis Joins Innovative Integration

From the Inside Indiana Business article this morning:

Doug Theis has joined Innovative Integration, Inc. as a Senior Account Executive. Innovative Integration, Inc. is a nationally-recognized IT services firm that helps clients with the challenges of IT complexity, risk reduction, disaster recovery and security.

Doug’s previous position was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Lifeline Data Centers. Doug helped Lifeline grow revenues over 600% in the seven years he spent as a contracted Vice President of Sales. Doug’s monthly newsletter, the Data Center News Digest, has over 3500 subscribers and is one of the oldest technology industry newsletters in Indiana.

“I’m excited about joining the team at Innovative. With one of the strongest Engineering teams in the Midwest, we will continue help our clients navigate the changing landscape of technology and to achieve their business goals.”

Doug is the founder and former Chair of the Techmakers technology networking group, a monthly networking and personal improvement group that meets in Indianapolis. Doug’s large network of connections in the technology and business development fields has enabled him to develop long-term business relationships with some of the best technology minds in the region. Doug also speaks publicly on IT strategy, data center strategies and disaster recovery.

Doug’s passion is about getting better, about leaving his comfort zone. For 14 years, Doug has led Team Ragged Glory, an Indy-based adventure racing team that competes in team endurance events that include paddling, running, mountain biking, ropes and navigation.

Source: Innovative Integration Inc.

Nov 13

Innovative Integration is my new home!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined the team at Innovative Integration!

Innovative Integration, Inc.

Innovative Integration, Inc.

Located in Indianapolis and South Bend, Innovative is an information technology integrator. We help companies develop and follow technology strategy to reduce risk and get the most out of every IT dollar spent. We help large IT staffs with challenges like high availability, application delivery, enterprise mobility, bring your own device, data protection and disaster recovery. We help smaller IT staffs solve IT problems including technology selection, installs and upgrades, security, data protection and day-to-day maintenance.

Innovative is known for high-end Engineers and for the diligent pursuit of quality IT solutions for our clients. Innovative’s client list reads like a Who’s Who of successful Indiana companies and organizations.

Innovative is full of talent and full of old friends; many of the Engineering staff are people that I used to work with in the Lantech days.

Proud to be part of one of the best IT strategy and project delivery talent pools in the Midwest!

Oct 13

40-30-30 still holds true

Here’s a repost of an article from Robert Nagle, one of the Fathers of adventure racing. It addresses the balance required for success in adventure racing. I’ve quoted this article to many of my friends because I believe now more than ever that it applies to business and to life as well.

40-30-30: A Ratio For Racing Success

By Robert Nagle, 2002 Team Captain Eco Internet/GoLite

No, this is not yet another thesis on how to eat during an adventure race. Nor is it a discussion on the best diet for athletic training. Instead, it is a discussion of a different kind – what goes into making a successful adventure racing experience.

How you define success is, of course, up to you. Success may mean completing the course. Or, at the other extreme, it may mean a podium finish. Regardless, there are three key elements that will determine whether or not you meet your goals.

Most people fixate on the physical challenge when they first encounter adventure racing (be it on a television show, a gripping magazine article or even just one graphic image). The immediate assumption is that adventure racing is a grueling physical test. Of course, much of the media (and some race promoters) play it this way. Is adventure racing the toughest sport of all? Is this the toughest adventure race ever staged? How can these crazies race so hard for so long on such little sustenance in such a hostile environment?

Full article

Oct 13

What’s your brand?

Last night at Techmakers (Indy’s oldest and best technology professionals networking event), I really enjoyed the guest speaker, Andrew Curtis of Fuel Visual Media. Andrew spoke on company branding. Brand is what others think of you, Andrew pointed out. Andrew also discussed the fact that a companies have a brand whether they choose to manage it or not! The implications of this idea are far reaching. We all know that actions speak louder than words. What are your company’s actions saying to the marketplace? Do your company’s actions match up with what you believe the brand to be?

It’s not just your company that has a brand. You as an individual have a brand too. And what you think of yourself may not match up with what others think of you. Indy’s Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy and have written a book called Branding Yourself. The book is a call to action on managing your brand.

What’s your brand? Write down what you think others believe about you as a business professional, and as a person. Then go to the marketplace and verify what you believe. Do you have trusted friends in the business world that will give you an honest opinion of how they perceive you? Ask them what they believe your brand to be. Do they match? And does your brand match up well with the company’s brand? If not, the time is now to take action!

Nov 12

Spending on IT Outsourcing on the Rise – CIO Insight

As businesses stabilize and expand IT budgets, IT outsourcing is on the rise, particularly in help desk support.

The percentage of the IT budget designated for outsourcing services is up 23 percent, on average, in 2012 over the prior year, according to Computer Economics annual outsourcing study, IT Outsourcing Statistics 2012/2013. The report also found Web/e-commerce systems and application development were the two most widely outsourced functions, and outsourcing in that sector is a mature service with a high adoption level, likely to grow relatively slowly, compared with other services.

Help desk and desktop support are the IT functions with the greatest potential for successfully reducing costs through outsourcing, while the functions with the greatest potential for improving service are desktop support and IT security. The study profiled outsourcing activity for 11 IT functions, including application development, application hosting, application maintenance, data center operations, database administration, desktop support, disaster recovery services, help desk services, IT security, network operations, and Web/e-commerce systems.

For each IT function, the company looks at how many organizations are outsourcing work and how much of their workload is being outsourced. “As our analysis shows, IT organizations are beginning to embrace cloud-based applications as well as expand outsourcing of data center operations. Other factors are also supporting decisions to outsource IT functions, including the ever-present desire to reduce costs,” the report said.

Spending on IT Outsourcing on the Rise – CIO Insight.