November 2011
In this issue

Are You Taking the Right Approach to the Cloud?

Are Your Emails Falling Into a
Black Hole?

Video Tip: PivotTables in Excel

The Future of Windows

Business Continuity Tip
Continuity Tip

How Smart Is Your Phone?

Millions of BlackBerry users around the world had their work, business, and social lives severely affected recently after a server crash that disconnected smartphone users across the globe. The three-day outage interrupted email messages and Internet services for customers spanning five continents.

In today's world of continuous communication, a network disruption can be detrimental to your business. Below are some simple tips to keep you and your employees connected during an outage.

► SMS Text Updates: Regardless of the severity of the interruption, it is important you have a way to notify employees, clients, and stakeholders. SMS text messaging has proven to work when other mobile functions are down.

Backup Contacts: Keep your contacts updated across all channels, including phone, email, and social media. This will make it easy to reach out to the right people quickly.

Have a Backup Email Provider: Keep a list of your key contacts in a separate web-based email system such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or myAgility. This will allow you to access your contacts and send updates from anywhere with an internet connection.

Update Your Website: Know how to quickly update your website to address the situation. Consider having a pre-populated webpage that can be activated on short notice to provide information during an emergency.

Follow-Up: Always inform your employees, stakeholders, and clients when the outage has ended and steps you may be taking to prevent future interruptions.

Quote for Today

As we express our gratitude, we
must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

Just for Laughs

Are You Taking the Right Approach to the Cloud?
used with permission from Symantec

Interest in cloud computing is more intense than ever before. That's pretty understandable. Cloud computing promises tremendous advantages in terms of flexibility, agility, and on-demand resources that can give organizations a real competitive edge.

Despite these advantages, some enterprises continue to drag their feet. They point to a number of high-profile outages earlier this year as evidence of the precarious nature of cloud-based services. They say that companies relying on those services lost a lot of money and a significant amount of customer trust.

That's not all. A recently released study has uncovered some fundamental disparities between expectations and reality when it comes to cloud computing. According to Symantec's 2011 Virtualization and Evolution to the Cloud Survey, IT and C-level executives are at odds over cloud deployment. CEOs and CFOs in particular are concerned with moving business-critical applications into virtual and cloud environments due to challenges including reliability, security, availability, and performance.

The first thing organizations need to consider as they look to the cloud is which approach they want to take. That's because in this case one size does not fit all. Continue reading to gain a better understanding of the cloud computing options available to you.

Read On

Are Your Emails Falling Into a Black Hole?
reprinted with permission from the HP Small Business Center
It’s so frustrating: you regularly send out emails and then sit staring at your computer, waiting for some sort of response. Don’t you sometimes get the feeling that you’re just sending words out into a black hole?

Of course, you can never "ensure" that emails are going to be read or acted upon. It’s a sad result of the information overload we suffer from. People who sit working at their computers for hours every day might have the time, energy and interest to open the numerous messages which fill their inbox—or they might not. So what is it exactly that tips them over the delicate, crucial line between “read” and ”leave for later/delete”?

The answer is that most recipients of emails often decide whether or not to read them because of two things: the “subject” line and the “from” line.
  • They must recognize who the email is coming from
  • They must see a benefit or reason to open it

So consider these useful tips before you send your next mail:

Read On

Video Tip: PivotTables in Excel 2010
reprinted with permission from the HP Small Business Center

Need a way to summarize a large amount of data or crunch numbers better? Enter the PivotTable feature in Microsoft Excel 2010. A PivotTable takes your dataset and lets you choose the fields and filters to build a report and PivotCharts.

Learn more about this powerful way to glean meaning from your data in this video tip.

The Future of Windows
written by David Tan, Chief Technology Office, CHIPS Technology Group LLC

Microsoft held their first ever Build Conference in Anaheim in September. It’s a new annual event for Windows developers to gather and learn about building applications for the Windows platform. This one was special not only because it was the first, but also because leading up to it, all the buzz was about how much of Windows 8 Microsoft would show and what details we would learn about the next version of the most popular operating system in the world.

Microsoft did not disappoint. They have showed demos, talked about features and functions, and even made an open beta immediately available to all who are interested to download, play with, and Microsoft hopes develop applications for. The buzz leading up to the conference has grown into a fever pitch with partners, developers, and customers all extremely excited about the next Windows release. What is it about this platform that Microsoft is doing right, and why is everyone so excited?

First off, Windows has a new look and feel. The next interface, dubbed “Metro” represents the single biggest change to the Windows interface since the additions of the Start button back in 1995. It has been completely revamped from the ground up. It is a radical departure. The traditional desktop and icons have been replaced by dynamic tiles. These tiles will not only allow you to interact with program, but will allow the applications to communicate with the user by surfacing key messages, data, or photos, depending on the needs.

Read On


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