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Archive for March, 2010

This is the 5th anniversary for my Ides of March newsletter. Hard to believe and exciting at the same time!  This is a famous quote that I learned in high school Latin class which foretold the downfall (in this instance, death) of Julius Caesar. Every March 15th, I remember the Ides yet not in any formal way. Some things just stick with you.

What is this leading up to and what does it have to do with computers and technology?

What it means to me is that businesses (including mine) need to be aware of what is going on around them. When it comes to their computer networks and how people within the company or organization are using the technology, it’s especially important. Julius Caesar had enemies in the Roman Senate that we could analogize to those tricky computer viruses because they were/are poised to attack at any moment. Is your network prepared for attacks or downtime due to hardware failure (think business continuity plan)?

We always speak with our existing clients and prospective clients that the best (and least stressful) way to defend one’s business from outside attackers (e.g. viruses, hackers) and costly downtime is to always be prepared (“semper preparatus”). This translates into ensuring that critical data is backed up on a regular basis and confirm backups can be restored; preventative (not reactive) measures are taken (e.g. anti-virus and firewall protection, updates and patches). For our clients, this means having CMIT Marathon and CMIT Guardian.

Ever since training and completing a marathon in Rome, Italy seven years ago, my business and personal philosophy has been to be in “for the long haul”. “Sprinting” (or making short-term reactive decisions) is not the healthy way for a business to survive in the long term. It’s following the prescribed regimen or processes, staying healthy (you and your computers) and having goals.

Well, we should listen to the warnings of those who know. One must be on guard to protect against loss of data on a computer or server. One must be on guard to protect against unwanted intruders (hackers, spammers). And, unfortunately, one must be on guard against those who are around us who unknowingly abuse Acceptable Use Practices (you are aware that Caesar knew his assassin, Brutus). This is why we work with our clients to determine what kind of protection their techology environment should have and at what level of protection.

Let me know if it would be helpful to have a fresh assessment of your business – both the business and technology aspects since they go hand in hand. Send me an email or give me a call at 303-756-2648. You can also check out our company website to learn more. It’s up to you.

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Now that we are experiencing the effects of transitioning to Daylight Savings Time, we are prompted to think about Spring which is just a week away. We have no control over “springing forward” (except that I wish it would be later in the month like it used to be). However, we do have control or have the desire to control the work and home environments. Let’s focus on the work environment and what kind of cleaning can be accomplished.

I have been reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done book slowly as well as sharing with CMIT colleagues what they do to calendar, prioritize and calendar activities. This is an ongoing process that requires daily discipline for just staying on top of it all. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • How many emails are sitting (read or unread) in your Inbox?
  • Is your computer monitor/desktop have icons that are rarely used?
  • Do you leave the office every day with a clean desktop (the wooden kind)?
  • What 3 things can you do right away to be more organized and, therefore, more productive?

 When thinking about what can be done at your office with paper and your computer, the first thing you should do is set aside a block of time (preferably not billable time) to start cleaning and decluttering. In David Allen’s book, I was reminded of the 2 minute rule: if you can do a task in 2 minutes or less, do it and get it done or delete it. This simple rule has helped me get things done NOW instead of later when my tasks continue to pile up. On the flip side, it might be good to set aside time for these 2 minute tasks so as not to interrupt or slow down your productivity during the what should be sacred billable time.

Another spring cleaning task is to make sure that whomever takes care of your computers and technology (hopefully CMIT Marathon) should perform maintenance on your computer so those unwanted files are cleaned up and discarded as well as other normal maintenance tasks. By having a computer that is running smoothly, you can be more productive and have less wasted time. This should include -without hesitation – a spam management solution. Having this in place can save your company thousands of dollars annually.

Recently a colleague of mine, Dave,  told me that he doesn’t leave the office unless his Outlook Inbox only has 1 screen of emails in it. When I heard this, I was jealous! Wow, no scrolling in the Inbox! What a great way to minimize stress. This means that anyone who wishes to emulate Dave should determine what needs to be done to clean up that Inbox. You can create folders to move emails to that relate to a certain type of action. You can hire a professional who works with people day in and day out on getting more organized using Outlook (emails, Tasks,…). This article isn’t even touching on being more organized using tools like Microsoft Sharepoint (intranet) or an electronic document management system (eFileCabinet) to move your office towards being paperless.

Hope this article has caused you to think about what you ARE doing and what you could be doing. It’s not just a Spring Cleaning task, this is one of those habits to live by.

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At 11:59:59 pm on Sunday, March 28th we will stop accepting the nomination ballots (applications) for the first ever Colorado Technology Makeover. We are encouraging those businesses (5 or more computer users) to call me [Debi] at 303-756-2648 to schedule the assessment and our team will help you in completing the application. This offer has been received well by our applicants. Naturally, there are some answers that we cannot provide, specifically the business-oriented ones. You can download the nomination form from the Makeover website by going to the Apply tab and download and print the pdf. All of the instructions are there.

There is $55,445 of technology services and products awaiting the winner of the Makeover. This will be announced at the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours on Wednesday, April 14th. National and local technology companies have banded together to help take a local Denver business to the next level.  Join in and participate in this business community outreach effort.

I continue to recite the mantra “You won’t have a chance to win (and win big!) if you don’t play!”

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