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Does Your Data Belong in the Cloud?

You can’t pick up an IT trade publication these days without seeing an article about cloud computing. This is also becoming rapidly true among general business magazines and even the industry-specific ones. Yes, indeed. Cloud is all the rage. And when there’s this much buzz around something, it’s almost always difficult to separate the hype from the reality.

It’s also become one of those vague Information Technology terms in which the definition can be almost anything at all, depending on who’s talking and what they’re trying to sell. The following definition comes from Wikipedia, and I think it’s as good as any of the ones floating around out there.

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How A Long-term Approach to IT Can Save You Money

Very often, technology decisions occur because something broke, or perhaps because something has become so outdated or so difficult to manage that replacement of the offending product is the only way to avoid employee insurrection. But if your company’s technology decisions are solely made during such a state of emergency, then you’ve been missing the boat when it comes to getting the most out of your IT investment.

This is tantamount to driving your car and making left or right turns based solely on traffic conditions and then seeing where you end up at the end of the day. Not necessarily a bad thing if you’re just exploring the area, but it’s not exactly a business class response focused on expense control and profitability in a competitive environment.

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Five Keys to a Successful Meeting with your Channel Partner

The best way to prepare for a meeting with your channel partner depends, in large part, on how long you have been working together. We’re going to look at five key points, assuming that you and the partner are starting from Square One. If you’ve been working with the same partner for a considerable period of time, you may already have done some of these. But be on the lookout for anything you might have missed.

#1: Look at your IT needs from a business perspective, as well as a technological perspective.

This is not as basic as it might sound. What are the pain points of your company? Where are your costs just a little too high? What types of functions are slipping through the cracks? As you can surmise, the true potential of technology runs much deeper than the basics around email, Internet access and whatever applications you currently may be using. Your partner may have some ideas for new software that can remove extra cycles or help your people more effectively track functions that somehow get lost in the shuffle.

#2: Provide an accurate accounting of the systems and software already in place.

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Partner or Go IT Alone?

The term, “middleman” often has negative connotations in our business world.  Cutting out the middleman is often seen as a commitment to profitability.  And at times that can be true.

Unless, of course, the middleman has something of value to offer.

This balance between financial common sense and the need for professional services is a very common theme for small businesses trying to optimize their use of information technology.  When dealing with computers and relatively straightforward networks, it can often be tempting to go it alone as opposed to hiring a technology reseller to help.

I don’t think my job as your faithful blogger is to talk you out of doing this.  We all have varying levels of expertise and skills, and the technology systems that we use have varying levels of complexity, based on what we do and how we get it done.  Add the presence of available time to the equation and we’ve got a three-legged stool that becomes the basis for making the decision of hiring a reseller or forging ahead on our own.

The three legs of this stool are often very closely related.  For example, a company may have someone with a totally different job who can function as the de facto IT person.  That’s kind of a freebie, of sorts. But that person might not always have the time, or even the expertise, to do tech support without neglecting the things they are actually paid to do.  And while technology tends to gain increased importance in all of our businesses, it’s also true that the occasional temporary outage may be more of a crisis for some of us than it is for others.

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What is a Channel Partner?

I’ve been with Cisco 11 years.  Sometimes I forget that companies, much like families have their own language.  I can look at my husband at any time and say “Baxter, you ate a whole wheel of cheese?  I’m not even angry I’m impressed!” and he laughs.  He not only knows I’m trying to break the tension, but it takes us back to our first date (It’s a quote from Anchorman, the Legend of Ron Burgandy). Within my Cisco family I can say SBCS and people know exactly what products I am talking about and which products I’m not talking about.  Truth is, those four letters are a complex communication and sometimes we forget as Cisco-ites that we have our own language.

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