Thursday, September 27, 2012

Key Indicators For Whether Your Company Is A Prospect For An IT Infrastructure Project

How do you know for sure whether your company is a prime candidate for any changes/improvements to your IT infrastructure?  First understand that you shouldn't expect a sudden epithany ... it won't be obvious.  You'll have work to do to figure it out for sure.  If you wait for a sudden flash of enlightment .... it's already too late.

 As for every business it will be different. What are you looking to do to the infrastructure? Does your  company want new computers/need new computers? Are the end users complaining? Does your company want to move to the cloud? There are many different questions you can ask your company to get a feel for what the biggest pain in the market is. Once you find out this pain, you can begin to look for the solution to the pain . If the pain is end user computers are slow and there is lost productivity, you can talk to the company about an upgrade to Windows 7 (provided the computers are on XP still). I guess the answer is, there are MANY indicators that could be used to classify whether your business is a prospective candidate for an infrastructure project.

Use the following golden rules as a template and survey your company as to whether they have defined their needs in accordance with them.

You may need to assist key decision makers in the definitions. When you can say they are ready to select their tools (Step 3) then your company will be a candidate for IT infrastructure projects.

1. An electronic computer software package is not a system. One cannot acquire a system by acquiring computer capability.

2. One acquires a system by conducting systems analysis, achieving a design and processes by working with the people who will run the system. This is hard work and time consuming. Processes are improved and made more efficient by modifying user behavior not by automating it.

3. Once system and analysis and system design are complete one chooses tools to assist in running the system. The adequacy of a computer tool is driven by the requirements of the most efficient system design.

4. The biggest mistake implementation teams make is to believe they are buying a system when they buy a software tool or let the software drive the systems analysis process. That is like asking a mechanic to drive a wrench from New York to St. Louis. It has resulted in millions of dollars wasted and plummeting efficiency in many organizations, large and small.

5. It is necessary to design a system and processes unique to the company to meet user requirements before going shopping for computer tools. If you do not you will be pigeon-holing your company into a COTS mentality and become a slave to the company that owns the source code. If you want anything changed it costs a big buck.
 
Here is a possible checklist you can use to guide you through the process ......

1. Is your company looking at expansion into new line of business / geography and need IT to support it   e.g. new App servers, datacentres, network equipment, db servers can be pitched.

2. Is your company looking at improving business or technology process efficiency and looking at IT to do it e.g. EAI / Web services / virtualization can be pitched

3. Is your company looking at reducing IT spend/Revenue ratio %   e.g. cloud services, datacentre can be pitched

4. Has your company gone through a top management change / merger / regulatory compulsion (e.g. cable MSO in india)    e.g. BSS / OSS servers, digital swithes can be pitched

5. Is your company sending their top team CTO / CXO only to tech. exhibitions / roadshows / conferences ....  can be taken as an early sign.
 
Now here's another suggestion ... and it won't cost you a thing for their services.   Contact the professionals here for free assistance to help you find the right IT infrastructure solution .....
 
 Network Solutions
 
Communications needs may require modifications from time to time for a variety of reasons, including: cost pressures, expansion, downsizing, amalgamation, telecommuting, new technology, relocation, system replacement, and data network integration.   FreedomFire Communications can help with transitions in telecom needs by identifying the optimum package of services to meet specific requirements.

Every business realizes that they derive the most benefit by concentrating their efforts on their core service or product. Most business people simply do not have the time to analyze technology, suppliers and pricing alternatives in today's constantly changing telecom world.  They will do this for you FREE .... with the goal of identifying the most beneficial alternatives to include areas of cost saving that won't entail sacrificing service.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Telecommunications News For September....Level 3, Windstream, Earthlink, Megapath, tw telecom

Here's the latest news for the telecommunications industry for September.

* Level 3 - will be working with Hughes Cloud Services to extend service level agreements for the last mile to its clients' desktops.

* Windstream - now offers LifeSize Communications' video conferencing equipment alongside its IP networking services.

* West IP Communications - unveils MediaCloud, a hybrid environment for deploying Microsoft Lync throughout enterprises.

* EarthLink - Following the launch of its National Master Program July 19, EarthLink Business channel executive Sherri Turpin is sharing the goals for the program that she helped create and will oversee as vice president of channel strategy.

* MegaPath - announced the opening of a new field sales office in Phoenix to support its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) network expansion.

* tw telecom - tw telecom just released their new dynamic network product! Now a customer can turn up their bandwidth on-demand and only pay a metered fee for usage, and turn it back down when they are done. Here's a few tidbits you should know about tw telecom.....

- telecom offers MPLS, IP-VPN WAN, and Integrated PRI services
- tw telecom has more lit buildings than everyone but AT&T and Verizon
- tw telecom's customer retention is second to none
- tw telecom is financially strong - one of just a few profitable companies in the telecom space

To see where tw telecom services are offered check out their site-map....

Take take advantage of any of the services offered by the providers listed above....simply request a free quote here - -

Telecom Services From Level 3, Windstream, West IP Communications, Earthlink, Megapath, tw telecom

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

How Much Of A Burden Are Federal And State Regulations On Your WAN?

There aren’t any state or federal regulations that directly affect the operation of a private WAN. There are regulations that affect the choices that are available to us from vendors, but nothing that affects which choice we make from what is available. I would say vendor marketing has as much to do with that as any government regulations.

For the most part, the government has been deftly pushing on the carriers/LECs to allow a level of competition, force incumbents to modernize their networks, but not allow the collapse of the LECs. The success of their actions can be seen in steadily falling prices over the last 20 years (over 90% reduction in cost of broadband), increased reliability in primary carriers, and vastly improved capacities.

When a network is connected to the Internet a certain level of responsibility and liability may kick in –
 
Regulatory compliance tends to be industry specific, and in many cases country specifc.  
 
I think that the burden for a national network is dwarfed by the issues that come up for international.....

It is getting more open and easier, but some countries have complicated rules limiting how voice can go across international boundaries, or constraining Internet access.

The issues are mostly a burden on carriers - they get the per country complications such as "limit access to Priate Bay" legal constraints (to mention just 1 recent issue in the uk), or access to some types of adult material and so on.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

History Of The Early Days Of The Internet And World Wide Web

The Internet is over 40 years old. It started out as a Pentagon project for a self-healing communications network that could survive a nuclear war, and was originally ARPANet. Extended to bridge between incompatible computer networks (a DecNet over here, a BitNet over there, some homebrew system in yet another campus), it eventually became known as the INTER NETworking system, or Internet.

The Internet eventually developed a flourishing set of applications running on top of it by circa 1990. These included email and ftp, still widely used, and other apps which are in decline, such as gopher and usenet.

Tim Berners-Lee, working at CERN, decided that it was crazy to have to request a whole document just to see a page or two (even worse if the document owner didn't have a server setup to automatically deliver the document). Plus, documents came in all sorts of formats. He came up with the HyperText Transfer Protocol (but didn't invent the idea of hypertext) and the first HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and browser. This was an application that could run on CERN's local network, and eventually over the Internet as the World Wide Web. It became the Killer App of the Internet.

Al Gore did "play a role" in shepherding through Congressional support and funding for early Internet development, but to say that he "invented" it is a WILD exaggeration.
 
Feel free to add any comments you may have on urban legends of the early internet ... set the record straight.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Typical U.S. Government

This is hilarious....

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page onthe Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany ...

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep."

"Now give me back my dog."

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reprise....What Comes After The $99 Laptop Revolution?

What comes after the $99 laptop revolution?


We live in a fast moving world. Consumer sentiment has shifted from laptops as the “can’t-live-without device” to mobile phones and tablet computers. What will be the next “gadget” revolution in order to make Internet access and mobile communication affordable to everyone? Is it the $99 smart phone (non-subsidized retail price), the $49 tablet computer (or tablet-phone) or a $9 feature phone?

What Comes After The $99 Laptop Revolution

All the fascination we see presently about terminal hardware applications will be over in the near future. The "Cloud" and SAS will rock the hardware and software world and make access to technology easier for vast populations. Devices to do so will cost pennies on the current dollar or the will be free.
Like the PC makers, the sun is already setting on cell phone devices, associated applications, OTS packaged software and related products. Even though these products are enjoying current popularity They are expensive and will be rapidly overtaken by tight economics and services competition.

Smart,strategic planners are pointing to the future and it is not a hardware and licensed software market - it is service oriented with low cost access and rates. Volume, free products, advertising and shareware will drive it all.

Possible exceptions for a bit longer period of time are the high-end hardware and software technologies in government contracting, which for security reasons must be cloistered, protected and safeguarded. Your friendly government agency will be the last to boot its PC out the window.

I suspect we will not have a 99$ revolution, nor a Cloud take over, nor unmetered connectivity services.


In contrast to optimists about the Cloud and services there, ...this will be just another metering point, and some firms are optimistic that they can pull more out of customers this way than with COTS or custom.

There is still a lot of room, in the 300 to 1500 lap tops, and the 1000 to 5000 for product enhancement and price maintenance. This includes entertainment specialized, gaming systems and multiscreen work environments.

Software alone will continue to be more of the average cost for many users...nickle and dime by apps or in large chunks for tool sets from Microsoft, Adobe....

It is possible after decades of experimentation that wearable systems may make more progress, including heads up or wearable displays and alternate input systems. One aspect of the "bigger business" may (still) more accent on fashions, not just shells and covers but ownership of more devices.

Inexpensive devices (smart phones, netbooks, or even tin cans on a string) matter not when the connectivity to the world is metered and expensive.

The next revolution has to be centered on inexpensive connectivity. Otherwise, trading a high capital cost for an expensive gadget vs a high monthly access cost for a cheap gadget does not help society.

The Revolution is already here. Smartphones sales have already exceeded PC Sales (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2379665,00.asp) . Think about what a smart phone can do


*often have faster processors than PCs

*they know where their users with GPS

*know direction that user is going with built in compass

*take pictures, video, and record audio

*Can do real time video conferencing

*Can email and do SMS

*Provides connection to the Internet

*Countless new uses are being introduced via apps

*Fits in the palm of your hand

*Oh yeah can be used as a phone.

And the device can be free with a data plan.

My friends, the revolution is here. You can either be in front of the tsunami or play catch up.  





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Monday, September 10, 2012

How To Design Virtual Teamwork In A Big Organization


Loneliness is a frequent feature of employees in big companies (sometimes, they don't know their colleagues outstide their own floor); it seems to be a problem of efficient communication and management in spite of advanced technology of information transmission.   F2F is not always possible at least at a sufficient periodicity especially when the workplaces are geographically scattered. Thus how is it possible to create links among employees around a clear purpose and induce collaboration work and information sharing?

We have many frontiers to conquer yet in the nuances of a truly integrated, company-wide teamwork. I do not mean technology frontiers, I am referring to human frontiers.

The ability to communicate and network company wide has been around since the advent of email. The more sophisticated aspects of it, such as pooling thoughts and ideas, social networking to innovate and similar advances encounter the organization chart, politics, paranoia regarding career progression and policy and control freaks with outmoded human foibles.

It is an advanced enterprise indeed that springs into the next great leap in teamwork and conquers the above frontiers. I have some clients who have, or are doing so. It is a pleasure to observe their successes.
 
Communication or community don't start with tools or technologies. They start with questions or ideas that are exciting to share, with visible opportunities for mutual aid, with models of light hearted, lively, but mostly mission relevant sharing.

I'd start with the simplest networking tool (which could even be an old fashioned e-mail list), but with the requirement that each message have one of four possible tags. These are the four I might use. You may chose others.

SUCCESS - We made it work, and want to tell you about it

IDEA - We're thinking of, imagining. But is this the best idea since sliced bread, or are we up our rocker?

HELP - We've hit a wall -- perhaps a tiny one, but need help with this question.

WATER COOLER - Personal sharing, but NOT inappropriate (e.g. Jamie completed his first marathon and came in 12th of 183, Mary Jone's house is now completely off the grid)  
 
Matrix-like are the type of organization human groups will coalesce into unless forced to adopt a more efficient model. Tribes are matrices, their armies are not. Matrices imply interdependencies among the people in the group are not far from homogeneity, and the different roles and responsibilities are equally valued.  A matrix won’t emerge by itself in a business organization because of
 
(1) the huge differences in rewards and responsibilities amongst its employees;
 
(2) because there’s a structured decision making process and finally
 
(3) because there’s a need-to-know communication paradigm.


To build matrix subsets within one hierarchical company, there must be operating rules to restore interdependency homogeneity and level the relative value of roles & responsibilities, awards and rewards, and such rules should be defined and enforced using an Operating Contract.

The Operating Contract establishes collective objectives, individual roles and responsibilities, performance goals and metrics, and often information flow and decision making processes, clearly violating the hierarchical nature of business organizations (as in 1, 2 and 3 above). It also creates the matrix boundaries by identifying external customers, stakeholders, approvers, influencers, and general audience. This is fundamental to determine there’s “us” - nodes of the matrix, as opposed to “them” - outside of it.

Create a good Operating Contract, and keep it running effectively:

i) Talk to most of the team every day. Use a daily 15min “good morning project X” as an opportunity to gauge how effective the Operating Contract is, as well as to spot potential issues and conflicts. Challenge the team to declare what was yesterday’s most important accomplishment, how it moves you toward your objective, and what is the one challenge you're going to close today.

ii) Run the one-over-ones at the same rhythm as the team reports out progress. If the team is reporting progress every week, make sure 1x1s are also weekly. Remember the R&Rs are equally valuable, so individuals must voice their issues and concerns, their realizations, at the same pace as the overall team.

iii) Face-to-face (F2F):  if there are no limitations on using webcams or video conferences, use them often. If there are, organize off-hours virtual parties. Invite people to play games online, or just chat, share their hobbies, bridge cultural gaps by discussing food and recipes, clothing, social conventions, and general interests. Keep them mobilized, you want everybody working probably 40 hours per week, but you can have them thinking creatively for another 40.

iv) Dynamically make changes to resolve conflicts and address issues and concerns. If you go trekking with friends, you can’t expect to move faster than your slower mate. Reassign experts tasked with producing quick responses, and reassign adrenaline addicts from tasks requiring complex analysis. Get answers from the fast movers, and questions from the slow movers.

v) Get people from other fields and areas to talk to your team.  For example, invite product development to talk about how people use your products, people from marketing to talk about your brand. HR, Quality, Finance… this helps creating a sense of belonging to a larger group and building the bigger picture.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Reliable Data Back-Up Is Important To Your Business

How would your Business cope with Data Loss / a Data Disaster?

How reliable is your back-up solution?

Could your Business survive if your Backup failed when you needed it most?

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Services are vital for any business. This is a question I often ask prospective customers, and for many, they have to really think about the answer. I find that people don't fully understand what it takes to backup your business data and ensure true Business Continuity. They understand it needs to be done, and they have an idea of what it takes, but usually don't have the services, and/or infrastructure.

Windstream offers DRaaS services along with Data Center and Collocation Services. I ALWAYS recommend to prospective customers that they at the very least Collocate off-site (in case of fire, flooding, etc.).

Data loss is a serious problem. All companies would agree on that. We regularly hear news stories about data loss. These range from the big ones, like the Sony hack last year, to the smaller stories, like the lawyer suing apple over his lost time capsule. There are so many consequences of data loss including damaging your company's reputation, having to replace lost data, and can even result in fines. So it is extremely important that you have a reliable data backup to your business, to eliminate these consequences.

If you ask me - a better question is how much time, effort, and money are you willing to put into data protection. Just about everyone wants reliable backups and a sound disaster recovery plan, but when it comes time to pay for it many companies find themselves settling for nine fives instead of five nines.

The good news is there are many new and emerging technologies that provide cost-effective options. Some of these are discussed in the article below ....

Disaster Recovery Past And Present

For help finding the right Data Back-Up / Disaster Recovery solution for your business ... at no cost to you ... simply ask here:

Data Back-Up and Disaster Recovery Support

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Monday, September 03, 2012

Common Telecommunication Challenges Faced By Businesses

Still "off the radar" today most organizations are wasting millions of dollars unnecessarily on telecom expenses and manual processes.

Current Scenario....

• Telecom and related network services represent almost 4% of revenue & now a Top Four Expense Item

• Analysts report that up to 26% is erroneous and could be avoided

• Lacking a proactive, automated, enterprise-wide process driven approach to managing the end-to-end telecom lifecycle means $3.9M wasted on $15 million total spend

Here's a link to a short presentation that will provide more insight into the problem facing most organizations today:

Telecommunication Issues In Business Today

In addition to eliminating unnecessary and erroneous telecom expenses, another common challenge is to significantly improving visibility, control and tighter network and mobile device security to help mitigate risk of security and privacy breaches.
 
Generally, it depends on the business and how it uses telecom. For example service providers and other consumers of large-scale high performance telecom will have difficulties that are far different than other businesses.

They may include....

*  cost/risk vs. reward

*  outages due to change defects

*  equipment maintenance costs

*  scale vs. demand

*  regulatory issues and permits

*  etc. etc.

An enterprise on the other hand would largely contract to such a network provider for service.

Their concerns would be things like ....

*  Upgrading legacy connections such as Frame-relay and ATM to cheaper more modern services based on business ethernet and/or MPLS networks

*  Site/Datacenter consolidation

*  Monitoring/repair/vendor relationships

*  Equipment depreciation/upgrade

*  Keeping staff current on industry practices

*  Performance optimization

*  Capacity tracking, management and augmentation planning

There are also specialty organizations that will have unique requirements different from the first two.

*  Police departments that use 3G/4G WAN to network individual cruisers and/or stations.

*  Datacenter providers who's telecom is largely within a single building with few links between them.

It's sort of a broad question if you think about how widely telecom is used today.

For any business wanting help with their Telecom needs .... at no cost to them ... simply ask here:

Business Telecom Solutions

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