January 2011
In this issue

3 Essential Steps to Better
Business Intelligence

Go Green With Ease

My IT Department - Why So Much Harder to Manage Than the Rest?

11 Things to Give Up in 2011

Business Continuity Tip

Eleven Things to Give Up in 2011
by Marlene Chism

Instead of trying to lose twenty pounds for your New Year’s resolution, what if you decided to give up eleven habits that keep you stuck in your relationships at home and at work. Here are eleven things, in the form of mindsets, habits and behaviors to give up in 2011.

1. Give up the need to control
Impatience, complaining, and manipulation are ways we try to change something that can’t be changed. You can't control the weather, the crowds at the grocery store or traffic. All you can do is prepare, shop at a different time or leave early. In your workplace, ask yourself where you need to let go of control, where you can delegate and how you can learn instead to trust your co-workers.

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Continuity Tip
Reap the benefits.

We talk about the importance of creating a comprehensive and actionable recovery plan. It will come as no surprise, that most plans are built with the worst-case-scenario in mind. But the reality is that most business interruptions are not major "smoking hole" events. Employee illness, transit strikes, religious holidays or even scheduled events like the recent G20 in Toronto are just a few examples of the many things that can keep people out of work throughout the year.

A comprehensive recovery plan takes these "minor" interruptions into account. For example, if you have a large group of employees out of town for a tradeshow, who will function as their backup? What's the impact on your customers? How will external audiences be notified? What's the procedure for handling increased workload? Is your current process efficient? You back up your data every night, but have you made the same accommodations for your people?  A robust recovery plan will help you address these concerns throughout the year.

Quote for Today

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

Bill Vaughn

Just for Laughs

3 Essential Steps to Better Business Intelligence
used with permission from the Microsoft Small Business website

Companies today have too much information. What companies don't have enough of is intelligence - and no, we're not talking about your staff. Business intelligence refers to the insights you discover when you turn all that data into something that your employees can use to make smart business decisions.

Business leaders and managers at all levels are bombarded with data from accounting systems, CRM, ERP and other business applications. Much of this information comes in the form of reports, which can be difficult to read and understand, or charts, which often lack necessary background detail.

Here are three essential steps to turning all those reams and megabytes of information into vital business insights - business intelligence.

1. Remove the clutter
Knowledge may be power, but information overload can weaken even the best of us. The first step in combating this common problem is to determine what information is important and to whom. Every role has different information requirements. Salespeople require customer information. The finance team requires financial information. Manufacturing requires production data.

There is some overlap. For example, manufacturing might require information on upcoming large orders to plan appropriately for production. However, you don't want to make production managers sift through all outstanding proposals searching for the one or two that might impact their production schedules.

Narrowing down information dissemination to essential data points can help ensure that your teams keep their eye on what's important and avoid the "paralysis by analysis" that happens in many organizations. For the production manager just mentioned, sifting through a report of all open orders can be a time-wasting, error prone process. Alternatively, providing the manager with a dashboard of pending large orders for items with long production lead times would allow the manager to easily identify orders that need to be included in production forecasts. Real-time, role-specific key performance indicators (KPIs) provides business intelligence that help business leaders focus on the most vital information.

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Go Green with Ease: 5 Steps for Small Businesses
used with permission from the Cisco Small Business Center

Easy IT Strategies that Save Money and Help the Environment

Smart information technology (IT) practices can reduce the environmental impact of conducting business, and help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reduce expenses.

With employee awareness and participation, even the busiest SMB can adopt simple "green" strategies that require little to no additional equipment or labor expenditures. Consider these enviro-friendly IT strategies:

Turn It Off
Reducing electricity consumption can help your business save money and the environment. U.S. computers used nearly 64 billion kilowatt hours of energy in 2005, costing over $6 billion, according to GreenIT, a consultancy focused on sustainable solutions for IT systems. Some solutions:

Activate the sleep settings on idle monitors and PCs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates this action can save up to $75 per computer in annual power costs. From one management console, IT staff can use commercial software to control the power management features in networked computers.
Replace power-hungry cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and televisions with more efficient Light-Emitting Diode (LED) monitors.

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My IT Department –
Why So Much Harder to Manage Than the Rest?

by Chris Geiser - PC Solutions - cgeiser@pcstechnology.com


In the last 5 years PCS has evolved from an IT consultancy to an IT support organization, relying on our people, processes, and controls to achieve our performance objectives. Our focus on service level improvements has, at times, been revealing about how IT personnel prefer to function. Today, I wanted to share a little bit of what we have been learning in the hopes that it can help you continue to improve the usefulness and efficiency of your IT systems.

So, what’s different about your IT department than, say, your Human Resources, Sales, or Finance departments?

If You’re Not Measuring It, You’re Not Managing It
If you are a business executive, you may not be an expert in any of those other departments. However, when circumstances require you to do so, you spend a week or two in and around those departments and get up to speed. You observe the inputs, the outputs, and the performance metrics. Then, you identify performance gaps and inspire new (or revive forsaken) departmental efficiencies. In so doing, you make your staff more accountable for their individual performance levels. Why then, do you not feel that your occasional foray into the IT department seems to harvest similar results?

To measure performance a company requires the use of statistical evidence to determine progress towards that company’s objectives. As it relates to the IT department, most small and mid-sized business executives have trouble setting performance objectives, as they have little way of knowing how much time various technical initiatives and/or tasks ought to take. So why bother measuring performance at all?

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Idealogical Systems Inc.
2900 John St.- Suite 400 |  Markham, ON  |  L3R 5G3  |  416-410-5030  |  www.idealogical.com