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Archive for February, 2010

As part of taking our Denver business to the next level in multiple arenas, I have undertaken a gargantuan community, marketing, PR, and sales effort by creating and implementing the Colorado Technology Makeover. This is a wonderful example for me to present as a collaborative process and the benefits that accompany such a process.

According to Wikipedia.com, collaboration is a “recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Most collaboration requires leadership,… In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.”

So, what does participation in this collaborative process teach me? I have always been one to appreciate and learn from collaboration, especially efforts with my CMIT counterparts and our corporate office. To reference one of the 4 questions that is said during the holiday of Passover, “Why is THIS collaboration different from all other collaborations?”

First of all, it’s not just me, Debi Bush or just CMIT Solutions of Denver, putting this effort together. Nor is it an intra-CMIT effort. The Colorado Technology Makeover has brought together organizations from a national and local perspective (Microsoft and Verizon Wireless at the national level and FirstBank, Computer Horizons and other numerous technology-related firms at the local level) to be sponsors. We have common goals that will benefit each and every sponsoring partner’s organization and this Makeover is a magnificent way to reach out to our local business community.

Collaborative efforts don’t have to be at this level of intensity. Just ask my husband and boss, Phil, about my intense focus and the number of hours I have already invested into the Makeover.  A simple collaboration can involve 2 firms that can work on a joint venture project that will present both firms as providing a service or product to a targeted group who can benefit from the collaboration. Many of my CMIT colleagues have had successful joint ventures with a CPA firm or telecommunications provider to make it a win-win for both and for the recipients of the offer.

Naturally, I will keep you posted as to the progress of CMIT Denver’s major effort. This is a learning and growing experience for me that will present many opportunities and insights.

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Picture it: You’re a small business with 10 or so users, getting by without a full-time IT support person. When you have problems, you call up an independent contractor who acts as your go-to computer guy.

It’s the Friday before a three-day weekend and you’ve got a big problem. Your server just crashed, your backups aren’t working, your contractor has left town for the weekend — and you’ve got to be open for your annual sale at 8am sharp on Saturday morning. What do you do?

You can call up another contractor and see if they’re available. But if you’d hired a consultant from the beginning, you might never have experienced this unfortunate chain of events.

Computer consultants combine deep technology expertise with a keen understanding of business practices in order to help businesses make responsible, strategic decisions about their IT infrastructure. They’re more likely to recommend practices and products that help you to avoid emergencies from occuring in the first place.

Independent IT contractors, on the other hand, tend to focus on immediate solutions to short-term problems. They can help get your server back online, and they can probably salvage your backups — but they might not bring up the issue of long-term planning. This doesn’t mean that they’re irresponsible or unknowledgeable; far from it. It’s just that their focus is on your technology, not your business.

And this is the difference between contractors and consultants. A great contractor is a whiz at mitigating emergency issues and fixing what breaks. A great consultant looks ahead and sees how you can get out of that cycle of breaking and fixing, and on the path to consistently high levels of service.

In many situations, your contractor and your consultant may be the same person. But you absolutely need that consultative approach if you’re ever going to get out ahead of your technology problems.

Think of technology not as a business expense, but as an asset. The right IT setup can have a tremendous effect on productivity and actually help your business to grow. When you look at it that way, your “computer guy” shouldn’t just be the cheapest service you can find in the Yellow Pages; it should be somebody whose expertise and opinions you truly trust.

“Computer consultants provide the exact same kind of services and expertise, the same intellectual property that engineers or architects do,” says CMIT Solutions client Darwin Smith, of the Lake Stevens Sewer District in Lake Stevens, Washington. “That’s a departure from the way people have looked at it and the way government has looked at it, but that is the way to look at it, and that is the way to approach hiring IT people.”

If you’re looking for fewer IT emergencies, consistently high levels of service, and predictable expenses, CMIT Solutions can act as your computer consultant. Call us at 303-756-2648 or go to our website and we’ll schedule an in-depth review of your technology systems. After that, we’ll give you our expert recommendation about how you can start getting more out of your IT infrastructure.

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Windows 7 Windows 7, Microsoft’s new operating system, released in November 2009 has created a lot of buzz and positive buzz at that. From our experience, business owners and decision makers are embracing and adopting this new OS with more ease than Microsoft’s previously released Vista. Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for helping to determine whether or not a Windows 7  upgrade makes sense for you.

DO – Find out if all your software programs will be compatible.
Anytime Microsoft creates a new operating system, software companies often scramble to make their package work properly with it so there are no errors, glitches, or data corruption (a.k.a. “your information deleted”). Some software companies are faster and better at this than others, so be sure to check with your software (especially Line of Business) manufacturer to make sure you won’t end up with more problems than when you started.

DON’T – Hold back from getting the new computers you need.
Maybe you want to wait until Windows 7 gets the bugs out.  As long as you and your internal or external IT department perform due diligence (see the “DO” above), there should be no major problems when purchasing a new computer.

DO – Know how to “shake” it.
Have you ever had a bunch of windows open on your computer and felt like it was out of control and you couldn’t find anything? Then Windows 7 might be for you. It is designed to save time for people who workk on multiple documents, spreadsheets, and web pages all at once by allowing  you to simply shake your mouse vigorously and make all those Windows drop to the bottom of the screen and clear up your workspace. In addition to the “shake” feature, Windows 7 also makes it easier to view and use two programs side-by-side with just one click.

DON’T – Expect miracles.
Windows 7 does truly make using your computer faster since many of the features Microsoft has rolled out to help business owners and their teams to open multiple projects at once easier to use than ever before. Initial studies are showing that it might add one to two hours of productivity to your week over previous versions. But, if you expect Windows 7 to actually do the work for you, you may be disappointed.

Windows 7 does truly make using your computer faster since many of the features Microsoft has rolled out to help business owners and their teams work on multiple projects at once easier to use than ever before. As we have noted in previous newsletters, Windows 7 helps to save energy since computers start up and shut down so much faster than with previous OS versions.

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