We've covered a lot of ground during Managed Services Month. By now, you're familiar with how proactive managed IT services can help your desktops, your servers, and your business. But did you also know that managed services can optimize your network's performance and reduce outages caused by network failures?
For many organizations, the network is a critical component to business operations - but it's not a core focus for most companies. However, in today's digital world, businesses of all sizes are depending on increasingly complex network technologies to support all levels of internal and external operations. In addition, your business is not static - it is a constantly changing environment that revolves around revenue growth, strategic planning, improving efficiencies and reducing costs. To meet these objectives, you need a network that can keep pace with your shifting business requirements.
When you think about it, the network is more than just the bits and bytes of data being transferred across connections and devices - it is the lifeblood of your business. It represents the sales orders, invoices, online transactions, critical communications and customer service interactions that comprise your business as a whole. When network outages occur, it results in reduced productivity, lost sales, customer service bottlenecks and increased costs due to reactive measures.
Utilizing proactive managed IT services for your business network can achieve consistent, reliable network performance and reduce the costs associated with reactive IT. If we've managed to stress anything during Managed Services Month, it's that dealing with technical problems in a reactive way leads to forced business choices and heavier cost burdens.
CompleteIT manages all of the necessary tasks associated with network optimization - so you don't have to. Our dedicated Network Operations Center (NOC) continuously scans and monitors your business network and detects potential issues, threats and complications that result in unplanned downtime. Problems are identified, escalated and solved before they have the chance to bring your network down, giving you the peace of mind and the ability to focus on your core business.
CompleteIT streamlines your network's operation, and features:
- 24x7x365 network performance management, proactive monitoring, and real-time notification
- In-depth analysis and escalation to isolate and correct network issues
- Detailed executive reporting that contains network health scoring
- Guaranteed service level agreements for incident identification and response times
- On-demand support for our highly skilled network engineers
There are a million things that you need to be doing in your business - but managing your network (and your IT for that matter) isn't one of them. At DataCentric, we understand how important it is to have a fast, secure and optimized network as the foundation for your business infrastructure. That is why our CompleteIT solutions are engineered to align with your business needs. Our goal is to solve the challenges your business is faced with when it comes to your network and everything IT - and do to it proactively so that you can focus on what matters most - your business.
Is your business network working for you, or against you? Find out with our 100% FREE CompleteIT Network Assessment, valued at over $200. No obligations. No stress. Just solid, in-depth analysis on your network's performance and strategic recommendations on ways to improve your network's efficiency. Click the promotion below to get started.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Critical failure in 3...2...1
It was Friday. The hour was late and everyone had gone home...well, almost everyone. Elliot Davis sat in his office reviewing his final notes for the Big Meeting on Monday. "If everything goes right with this deal, I'll finally be able to grow my business," he thought. His planning was interrupted by the sound of angry beeping noises coming from the end of the hall, in the closet that housed the company's server and networking equipment.
Elliot poked his head into the computer closet and started jiggling the wires in the back of the server, hoping to stop the raucous tintinnabulation. "Great. Just great," he muttered to himself while thinking about how expensive it would be to call the guy who sometimes works on the office computers where there are problems. Suddenly, the server stopped beeping, and the office was quiet once more. Elliot made a mental note to call the IT guy on Monday, and left for the weekend, his thoughts on bigger issues.
Monday morning came, and Elliot's arrival at the office was met with the frantic panicking of his office staff. It seemed as though the server failed sometime over the weekend, and no one was able to get to their files or send emails. Recalling the noises coming from the server on Friday, Elliot quickly dialed the number for his break-fix IT guy.
Of course, by then it was too late. One of the server's main hard drives had failed, and it would take more than 36 hours and a big outlay of cash to replace the drive and reinstall and reconfigure everything. Even worse, the most recent backup was more than four months old, and the chances of recovering the most current data was slim.
In the meantime, business was at a standstill. The Big Meeting that could have brought Big Things to Elliot's company was canceled. Elliot had to send most of his employees home, and the cost of downtime due to a single hardware failure and subsequent data loss almost put Elliot out of business.
This happens every day
While Elliot's story is sad, it's not uncommon. Dealing with business IT in a reactive way almost always ends in disaster, with decisions being made in crisis mode resulting in considerable expense. So what would the story have looked like if Elliot used CompleteIT Server Care - a proactive, managed IT service from DataCentric?
Elliot Davis was preparing for a Big Meeting in two weeks. He was at his desk drawing up some initial notes when he received an email notification alert from DataCentric stating that one of the hard drives in the server was having problems. Fortunately, the issue had been detected early enough before it became a show-stopper. A smart and friendly tech from DataCentric replaced the hard drive with minimal business impact, and with up-to-the-minute data backups, no data was lost.
Even better, other than the cost of the new hard drive, Elliot's bill was the same low price it was every month, letting him know his exact cost of IT. He liked that, because it enabled him to make good business decisions and budget his business better.
Two weeks later, Elliot scored big when his business deal went through. His eyes are on the future with plans to hire more people to keep up with company growth. As for his business IT, he doesn't worry anymore because he knows DataCentric has him covered.
The value of proactive IT services
CompleteIT Server Care is a proactive managed IT service for business servers. Through regular, proactive maintenance designed to keep your servers operating efficiently, we reduce the business impact caused by IT failures. Our solution remotely monitors your servers 24x7 automatically, and notifies you immediately when problems are found. In most cases, issues can be resolved remotely before they ever have the chance to affect your business.
Our solution optimizes your servers for peak performance, with automatic deployment of security patches and upgrades needed to keep your servers running smoothly. In addition, technical support is available from our certified experts 24x7x365. Plus, we help make your IT budget stable and predictable, allowing you to adapt to changing business conditions.
CompleteIT Server Care features:
- 24x7 remote server monitoring
- Real-time issue identification, notification and escalation
- Automated patch management and security updates
- Proactive, preventative maintenance and repair
- Tier 1 (non-critical) issue identification with automatic remote remediation
- Tier 2 (critical) issue escalation and resolution with senior technical experts
- Automatic virus and spyware detection and updates
- Server optimization and performance maintenance
Critical IT failures happen every day. But with CompleteIT Server Care, we can prevent many of those failures from ever happening. Now that's a happy ending!
Sign up for CompleteIT Server Care and receive $100 instant savings on your first month's bill when you enroll 2 or more servers. This offer ends March 31, 2013 - don't miss out on the best proactive care available for your business. Click the promotion below to get started and get back to business faster with CompleteIT.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Your business is at a crossroads, and the path you choose could affect everything from your profitability to your sustainability - and it all comes down to your IT environment.
Down one path, your employees are unproductive - their desktops are slow and filled with viruses and malware. They're either self-diagnosing their system issues and dragging other co-workers down the time-wasting spiral, or they're calling some overpriced tech support line that charges more per minute than a psychic hot line. Every day is a break-fix party, and your business is paying top dollar for it.
Take a look down the other road. There's still a party going on, but the scene is completely different. It's proactive IT, and it's costing you a fraction of the first option. Productivity is at an all time high - your employees are getting more done and you aren't being nickeled and dimed every time they need help with Microsoft Office or a smartphone setup. Your IT environment is running like a well-oiled engine; scheduled maintenance keeps your desktops current with the latest security patches and updates, and regular anti-virus scans protect those machines from malicious threats. Friendly, knowledgeable technical expertise is at your fingertips, when and where you need it.
When faced with the choice of Reactive vs. Proactive IT, the answer is clear. It's CompleteIT.
CompleteIT Desktop Services is a comprehensive, proactive and affordable way to manage and maintain your business workstations. Our approach is focused on ensuring your desktops remain fully operational and secure to maximize employee productivity and minimize business impact from unplanned downtime.
We utilize remote, intelligent monitoring with real-time issue correction to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Add in regular and comprehensive preventative maintenance, and the reliability and stability of your critical desktop systems is ensured.
Already have an in-house IT staff that does this for you? That's like using a Ferrari to go off-roading. Keep your IT staff focused on where it matters most - strategic projects that support business growth and profitability.
Our solution is ideal for businesses looking to decrease IT costs and increase productivity gains. We offer flat monthly billing that delivers consistent cost savings every time. In addition, you'll get granular, executive reporting for strategic analysis and auditing purposes.
We offer service plans backed by performance service level agreements that start at just $9.99 per month per desktop. Leveraging CompleteIT Desktop Services will help your business:
- Minimize business impact due to IT outages
- Maximize desktop security and dependability
- Increase employee productivity
- Improve operational efficiency and performance
- Focus on strategic business goals
- Lower total IT costs
- Maximize ROI on desktop investments
Don't lead your business down the path to IT failure. Choose CompleteIT Desktop Services and get back to business faster.
Sign up for any CompleteIT Desktop Service plan and receive $50 off instantly when you enroll 10 or more desktops. This offer ends March 31, 2013 - don't miss out on the best proactive care available for your business machines. Click the promotion below to get started and get back to business faster with CompleteIT Desktop Services.
Heather Boothe, Operations
As a business owner, you understand the importance of maintaining your IT and preventing unwanted and unnecessary downtime. Unfortunately, when issues arise, there are usually high costs associated with restoring your systems back to working order.
Many business owners call an IT professional when it's too late or when critical systems are already down. But what if you could have prevented the downtime in the first place? What if you had someone monitoring your environment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
Instead of reactive services, call us when you have an issue - we provide proactive services so issues are resolved before they turn into real, business-stopping problems. This improves the overall quality of your IT environment as a whole, reducing your long term IT support costs.
We have a state-of-the-art Network Operations Center (NOC) that monitors your servers 24x7 and ensures they remain healthy and optimized for performance. In addition, we run scheduled maintenance on your desktops which includes anti-virus and anti-spyware scans to ensure they are free from malware.
CompleteIT is a complete Managed Services solution, tailored to fit the needs of your business and align with your strategic goals. Our objective is to solve the challenges your business is faced with when it comes to your IT environment - and to do it proactively and within your budget so that you can focus on what matters most - your business.
Our services include:
- Server Management
- Desktop Maintenance
- Proactive Monitoring
- Help Desk Services
- Unlimited Remote Support
- Vendor Management
- Performance Optimization
- Network Device Management
- Managed Print Services
CompleteIT is so effective, our clients see results almost immediately. A regularly maintained network means fewer failures, yielding higher productivity and savings on support costs for our clients. At the same time, the exposure to security risks is dramatically lessened, and frustration from unstable IT resources is eliminated. Our clients choose DataCentric as their trusted IT partner because we help them to focus on what matters most to them - their business - while leaving the IT management up to us.
Sign up for any CompleteIT Managed Service package and receive a FREE $50 Amazon Gift Card. This offer ends March 31, 2013, so don't miss out on the best proactive IT care for your business. Click the promotion below to get started and get back to business faster with CompleteIT.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Business leaders and IT managers take note - dismissing the movement of employee-owned devices in the workplace as just a temporary trend could hinder your company's growth. According to Gartner, BYOD is an "inevitable requirement" and recommends mobile strategies should be implemented within enterprise IT departments.
The "bring your own device" (BYOD) movement is rapidly proliferating throughout businesses everywhere, as the younger generation takes their rightful places in the working world. The new youthful face of the workplace has been inundated with technology at every point in their lives, and this technically savvy upbringing is reshaping the IT world as we know it.
According to a survey by Forrester of 205 business leaders and IT professionals, at least 57% have already adopted BYOD policies, while the remainder chooses not to modify their current IT structure due to concerns over cost and security. But how do those businesses that are reluctant to evolve during this shift handle these next-gen employees who are adamant for BYOD, regardless of corporate policy and potential consequences?
John Thielens, CSO for Axway, states, "If we take a hard-line stance and cling to a centralized, company-issued, company-managed, firewalled type of approach, we'll be ignored outright. Our employees will do their jobs outside of IT's purview. If we take a soft-line stance and become permissive parents with a let-them-do-what-they-want philosophy, we'll be ignoring our responsibility. Our employees will put the enterprise at risk."
For those companies dragging their feet on BYOD, the good news is that there are ways to have the best of both worlds - a secure corporate infrastructure and happy, productive employees - along with the opportunity to invest in growth for the future. By taking a proactive approach and creating policies that structure the use, security and management of personal devices, businesses can maintain control over corporate IT environments.
BYOD is here to stay, but this evolution of IT doesn't have to be painful. Business leaders that take the initiative and follow best practices for mobile data protection (MDP), network access control (NAC) and mobile device management (MDM) will be shaping IT for the future, and what the next generation brings.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Cloud computing has rapidly become one of the most prevalent topics in IT today. For Enterprises and SMBs alike, the greatest challenges of private cloud adoption stems from misconceptions about the cloud as a whole. The significance of what cloud computing is and does has become obscured behind a smokescreen of buzzwords and jargon. False expectations can quickly ground a private cloud implementation strategy, or waste valuable resources such as time and money into planning that goes nowhere.
As with any technology trend that spikes waves in the business world, it's important to levy due diligence before tackling a cloud initiative. Separating the fact from the fiction can seem overwhelming, but today we are going to examine the top 3 myths of private clouds in an effort to aide business leaders and IT professionals who are looking to transition to private cloud infrastructure and services.
Myth I: Thou Shalt Be Cheap
The amount of misinformation that surrounds this myth is staggering. Non-technical folks have had this misnomer thrown at them so often that it's understandable why they cling to it as though it's fact.
The reason why it's misleading is that while the price for public cloud services can cost as little as a quarter of an in-house IT department, that price can surge upwards of three times more expensive than maintaining an on-premise data center, depending on data, access and application needs. However, there are cost-effective private cloud solutions available even for businesses that require storage-needy applications and controlled response times.
Virtualization technologies also allow businesses to reuse and recycle their old servers and hardware, giving management the most bang for their buck. For most companies, the cost of operations and support is still likely to outweigh the costs of adopting a private cloud.
Myth II: Thou Shalt Virtualize First
There are plenty of misconceptions about what type of architecture is needed to make private clouds efficient. Many organizations who implement a private cloud hope to see immediate gains in speed and response times after deploying a private cloud. The architecture road map used by data centers shows that blending servers and storage into resource "pools" threaded with a standardized technology will achieve similar efficiency.
In a nutshell, virtualization by itself can improve efficiency versus standalone servers, and multi-threading can maximize CPU and disk resources. But virtualization alone might not be enough to do the trick for large corporate environments with centralized infrastructure. There are a variety of architectures available for private clouds, so research is key in determining which type of architecture suits your business needs.
Myth III: All Thy Clouds Are Created Equal
The cloud is nothing like those slippers your Aunt Edna gave you last Christmas...there is no "one size fits all" model for businesses looking to launch a private cloud initiative. The cloud solution that works for a large enterprise might not necessarily be the best course of action for a smaller company, and vice versa. The safest bet to save yourself the headache and frustration of a failed cloud strategy is to determine what your needs are, and then keep those needs in mind when developing your plan.
If you look past all of the propaganda surrounding cloud computing, the real truth is that it can deliver measurable benefits to businesses that seek to cut costs, improve performance and achieve scalable growth. But as with any technology you incorporate into your business, research is the key in assuring that the cloud solution you choose fulfills your organization's needs.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Summary: Gartner analysts identify the top technology trends to watch in 2013.
As this new year begins, Gartner analysts have been hard at work, identifying for us the top strategic trends we can expect to see in 2013. Gartner identifies "strategic technology" as having a conceivable impact on the enterprise over a three-year span.
"We have identified the top 10 technologies that will be strategic for most organizations, and that IT leaders should factor into strategic planning processes over the next two years," said David Cearley, Gartner's vice president. "This does not necessarily mean enterprises should adopt and invest in all of the listed technologies; however, companies need to be making deliberate decisions about how they fit with their expected needs in the near future."
Here are some highlights from the top technology trends expected to make waves in 2013:
Mobile Device Battles
- The "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend is rapidly accelerating.
- Mobile phones will surpass PCs as the most commonly used Internet device worldwide.
- By 2015, more than 80% of handsets sold will be smartphones (of which, only 20% are expected to be Windows phones).
- Consumerization will continue to drive tablets into the enterprise, and Apple's iOS will lead the mobile operating systems, followed by Google's Android and Windows 8.
- Windows 8 needs additional evaluation for real-world performance and usability.
- The era where PCs-with-Windows as the standard is over. In the post-PC world, Windows will just be another environment for IT to support.
Mobile Applications & HTML5
- These six mobile architectures will remain in demand - native, special, hybrid, HTML5, Message & No Client.
- As the market develops, no single tool will be optimal for mobile application development.
- As HTML5 becomes more capable, the shift from native apps to Web apps will become more transparent.
The Personal Cloud
- The personal cloud will eventually replace the PC and become the focus of a user's digital life for data, apps, and services.
- The personal cloud shifts the emphasis from the client device to cloud-based services delivered across devices.
Enterprise App Stores
- In 2 years, Gartner anticipates that many companies will deliver mobile applications to employees through private app stores.
- By 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile apps downloaded from app stores.
- These private app stores transform the role of IT from a centralized planner to a service broker.
The Internet of Things
- The Internet of Things describes how the Internet will grow as tangible items like consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the Internet.
- The definition of "mobile" will no longer refer to just cellular phones or tablets - cellular technology is finding its way into new devices including pharmaceutical containers and cars.
- By 2020, there will be more than 30 billion Internet-connected "things", with over 200 billion intermittent connections.
- Embedded sensors, image recognition and NFC payments are key technologies to watch for.
Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing
- This is changing the role of IT as we know it.
- Cloud adoption strategies are increasing in response to IT consumption.
Strategic Big Data
- Data volume, variety, velocity, and complexity are forcing changes in the traditional strategic information architecture.
- The concept of a single enterprise data center is being abandoned in favor of moving towards multiple systems.
- Analytics are being increasingly delivered to users in context at the point of action.
- Better performance and lower cost mean company leaders can perform analytics for all business areas.
- Mobile devices increase the flexibility of strategic business decisions.
In Memory Computing
- Time-consuming batch processes can be shortened to minutes or even seconds, allowing these types of processes to be delivered as cloud services in real-time to internal or external users.
- The possibility of simultaneously running transactional and analytical applications against the same dataset will open up untaped possibilities for business innovation.
- The demand for more integrated systems is being driven by the need for lower cost, reduced complexity and stronger security.
- Also on the rise are pre-packaged "appliances", consisting of combined hardware, software and services.
- Virtual appliances are also expected to increase in demand over the next five years.
This year will bring big changes to the way that organizations utilize and manage business technology. Need assistance with strategic IT? We can help.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Disaster recovery and business continuity are critical to your organization's survival.
Your corporate data is like a solid steel chain, connecting you to every aspect of your business operation. So what happens when a link in the chain breaks? The survival rate for businesses that have suffered a catastrophic loss of data is less than 10%. You might be thinking to yourself, "It can never happen to my business." But what you really should be thinking is, "When it happens to my business, am I prepared?"
Your business is not immune to disaster. The threats to business data are everywhere - from external sources such as natural disasters, hackers, viruses and malware, to internal sources such as human error and deliberate sabotage. This is why concepts such as disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) are so very important.
Over the course of time, and as is typical with most technologies, the definitions of DR and BC have become a little...fuzzy. I've had many people ask me what the difference is between the two concepts, and how they prepare businesses for the inevitable fact of data loss.
Disaster Recovery consists of the processes, policies and procedures surrounding the recovery or continuation of an organization's vital technology infrastructure. The focus of DR is on the IT systems that support critical business functions, as well as the steps and time frames involved in getting those systems back up and running when disaster strikes.
Unfortunately, many businesses just use something like tape backups, and call it "disaster recovery". But what happens when the tapes fail? Or when Susie in Marketing takes the tapes home for "security", and ends up losing them? True disaster recovery requires having a plan in place to deal with a data emergency, and ensures that the plan gets executed correctly when disaster strikes.
A thorough disaster recovery plan should answer questions like:
- How long will it take to bring your systems back online?
- How fresh will the data be once the systems are up and running?
- When, how and where are backups performed and stored?
- Are there backups to the backups?
- How easy is it to retrieve and restore the data?
- What hardware and/or software is required to access the data?
If you can't easily answer some of these questions, then this might be a good time to start thinking about implementing a disaster recovery plan.
While DR primarily focuses on IT infrastructure, business continuity involves everything else, including the planning and procedures for keeping all aspects of your business functioning in the midst of disrupting events.
The goal of business continuity is to alleviate the effects of a disaster by lessening interruptions in daily business operations. A business continuity system typically incorporates high availability (HA) hardware - these are redundant systems that operate in real-time with real data. With HA, when one system fails, the redundant system takes over, reducing the impact on your business operations.
Keep in mind, however, that while having HA systems in place reduces the probability of a data disaster, it does not eliminate the threat altogether. There is always the possibility of power surges, corrupted data blocks and other failures that can damage the redundant data.
Combining the availability targets of business continuity with the recoverability objectives of disaster recovery can mean the difference between life and death for businesses everywhere. As organizations become progressively dependent on their data for longevity, the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity cannot be stressed enough.
Data loss is inevitable...but that doesn't mean you have to sit back and wait for it to happen. Is your business prepared? Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity solutions.
Heather Boothe, Operations
Baumueller-Nuermont searches for a way to keep their employees and their operations up and running.Chooses DataCentric and Virtual Command.
Baumueller-Nuermont, Inc. is an international industrial systems and services company. Headquartered in Germany, Baumueller-US has three offices throughout North America, and over 35 employees who sell, service, install and repair intelligent motion control systems and all corresponding components.
At the heart of Baumueller's sales and support operations are three critical applications: a service tracking system called AYS (At Your Service), their CRM, Sage ACT! 2012, and their accounting application, Sage MAS 200. Without access to those, business literally stops. And that is exactly what happened in October of 2011.
Freak US snowstorm kills 11 and leaves millions without power.
A record two feet of snow was dumped across the northeast United States that month, knocking out power and disrupting everything along the northeast seaboard. For Baumueller, the storm's repercussions were devastating. Their entire US operations were completely shut down because their application servers were located in their Hartford, CT office, which was without power or staff for 10 days. And because it happened at the worst possible time - month end - they couldn't sell their services or close their books. It was a mess.
After the disaster, the President for Baumueller's North American operations, Brad Fowler, vowed that the company would never be made vulnerable to a single location outage like that again. "We needed a solution that would allow for all of our employees, no matter where they are, to securely access the systems and information they need to do their job. And we needed it to be managed by a company that has the same one-stop shop culture that we do for our customers."
Baumueller started searching for a solution provider who could deliver both the continuous access and the security that they needed. "We didn't want public cloud-based services - our German parent company was concerned about the security of a public access system. But our servers were getting old and we knew we needed a better approach," Fowler said.
Baumueller began talks with several IT providers, describing their operations, their IT needs and their budget. Each company was asked to propose a solution and demonstrate how that provider would ensure Baumueller's operations stay up and running, no matter what. These service providers were asked to illustrate their customer service and their total value as well, as those were two critical factors in the selection process.
"We chose DataCentric for a number of reasons, but in the end, it was Bob and Joe and the guys who convinced me that they had the best technical solution and that they would really take care of us. And they have."
DataCentric proposed Virtual Command - a new SaaS platform that combines secure remote access to an organization's range of IT resources, with fail-safe redundancy and complete service management to ensure all of their employees are connected to whatever they need, when they need it, no matter where they are or what device they're using.
"With Virtual Command, we are able to put all of Baumueller's applications like Microsoft Office, Exchange, Sage - essentially everything - in our state-of-the-art data center, and configure all of their employees to have continuous access to the specific tools they need, whenever and wherever they need them," said DataCentric Operations Manager, Joseph Sgroe. "Our data center, and the connection to those facilities, has multiple layers of security and redundancy, so Baumueller can rest easy that there is no single point of failure," he explained.
"Since we did a thorough system analysis early in the process, we had a good understanding of what they needed for each employee at each location. We were able to configure the Virtual Command platform so that it did not negatively impact their existing processes. We also worked with their current application vendors for MAS 200 and AYS to configure each system with the secure access they needed. We even upgraded AYS to the newest version during the transition.
"Because we were able to see all of their systems remotely, we could configure them as needed, and if any issues came up, we could address them ASAP. And we proactively managed all of their PCs, making sure that everything had all of the necessary patches and updates before going live to the new platform. This avoided a lot of potential problems during the switch."
The transition to the Virtual Command platform took a few weeks. "I wanted to experience the system first, before my employees were transitioned, and I wanted to know how it was going to impact them and be sure that any disruptions were minimized," Baumueller's President said.
"The transition wasn't invisible, and there were a couple of hiccups," he continued. "The upgrade of our service tracking system created some printer configuration issues, but the guys and gals and DataCentric were just awesome. They were fast and responsive.
"Plus, we had some internal training to do. In the past, our employees were all trained to never call IT. Before DataCentric, we were billed for every single support call, so folks would try to figure it out themselves - or just put up with the problems. For example, I was in the Chicago office and noticed they were having a minor problem, but hadn't reported it. I sent an email to DataCentric, and the problem was fixed in 15 minutes. Plus, I get email notifications for every support ticket my employees open. So, instead of waiting for a month-end report, I know in real-time what's going on and I really like that.
"DataCentric and the Virtual Command platform is a great combination. As a service and as a team they get high marks across the board. I rarely recommend companies," Fowler said, "but they have won our business and our praises."
|Before Virtual Command
||With Virtual Command
|Multiple points of failure
||Consolidated IT infrastructure
|Software version inconsistencies
||Eliminated multiple points of failure
|Inconsistent user configurations
||Mobile, anywhere, anytime computing
|Multiple desktop operating systems
||Radically improved service distribution & uptime
|Outdated, inefficient hardware
||Robust data backups, disaster recovery & fail-over
|No centralized support structure
||Unified software environments
|No designated IT staff - DIY
||Version control & uniform desktop environments
|No data backups or disaster recovery
||Remote file management
|No file management or collaboration
||Centralized collaboration between locations
Virtual Command is a unique cloud computing platform that combines the automated delivery of IT resources with universal, secure and immediate connectivity to IT assets - anywhere, anytime with any Internet-connected device. Contact us today to learn more about Virtual Command and explore how this innovative platform can deliver unparalleled benefits to your organization.
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Savvy companies are keenly aware that without quality Search Engine Optimization (SEO), their websites are about as effective for generating leads as an unlit billboard on a dark and stormy night. If you aren't generating high page rankings on the right keywords then you are alone in the wilderness, preaching to the cacti, which rarely have a budget and are notoriously bad at buying things.
If you're not quite there yet - or if you haven't even started, resolve to make 2012 the year that you do! Because if you don't, you'll be watching your competition pull ahead by attracting your potential clients. Studies show that over 70 percent of B2B purchasers begin their buying process by searching the web, and that percentage is even higher for B2C.
But after getting SEO-ready, it's time to get "SCO-ready". SCO = Sales Cycle Optimization.
SCO is the active process of providing content on your site (and beyond) that speaks to each of the key phases your prospects go through as they progress from curious informational researcher to active evaluator, and ultimately, hopefully, to buyer. SCO also addresses the reality that your buyer is often more than one person.
The process of Sales Cycle Optimization is more complicated and time consuming for bigger, more complex sales but products of even modest value and complexity benefit from SCO.
To get SCO-ready, here are 5 essential steps:
- Map your sales process. If you have multiple products or services, start with the top priority ones for your company in 2012. Even if your cycle is pretty quick, it's useful to put it in writing (better yet, in a diagram).
- Involve your sales department. They know best the key milestones of the sales process and the typical time frames to move through the cycle. They also know the decision influencers and their informational needs/biases.
- Review the content of your website. Assess how much of your content is targeted to each phase of your sales cycle and how much content actively speaks to the needs of each decision maker/influencer. This will highlight where to focus new content development.
- Review your lead conversion offers (i.e. Free White Papers, Webinars, etc.) to see if your offers cover all the steps in the sales cycle, and where you are getting the most conversions. If it's lopsided, adjust.
- Look beyond your website. Does your extended web presence support your lead generation campaigns? Evaluate how well you're getting seen and heard at the industry level. From industry articles to blogs; social media sites to webinars and conference speaking engagements. All roads should lead to your website and ultimately, your sales force.
With these data points, you are armed to get Sales Cycle Optimized. You're better prepared to create new content and offers that will create conversions at each stage of the sales cycle. And you're able to see when visits move from curiosity to interest, and you're ready to turn those leads into sales.