C/D/H Summer Newsletter 09


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C/D/H Summer Newsletter

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C/D/H Summer Newsletter 09

  1. 1. A quarterly publication of C/D/H Issue Number 28 SharePoint as a project management tool By Michael Blair What is your favorite project management tool? For me, it’s SharePoint. At C/D/H, we’ve taken it a step further, and developed custom content Not that long ago, I was buried under folders full of Excel spreadsheets types, columns, wikis and lists to match our methodology and processes. and Word documents, and binders for other printed materials. Every For example, we use a standard list, combined with alerting, so that week I had to collect information from my project teammates, laboriously issue status is communicated as outlined in our project communication update the files, then e-mail it all out to everyone. plan. When we update project issues, an alert is automatically e-mailed to everyone, so we’re sure we’re all on the same page. We create custom Happily, I’ve been able to eliminate all that paper, and improve project lists to track deliverables, servers, locations and other project-specific communications, with MOSS. data, and use a change-control list to track project change requests and approval status. Our document libraries notify stakeholders when new documents come in, or existing documents are updated. On some With SharePoint, we can even e-mail projects, we’ve even updated budget reports on the project site, using information directly into a discussion Excel services. With SharePoint, we can even e-mail information directly into a list or document library, so that all discussion list or document library, so that all correspondence is correspondence is centrally collected centrally collected and searchable. and searchable. Alerting is one of my favorite SharePoint features. I use it to keep all project stakeholders up to date on the deliverables, issues and risks outlined in the communication plan we develop for At C/D/H, we’re always finding more uses for SharePoint in our project every project. management practice. Whether it’s managing our own internal projects, I create custom alerts for stakeholders who want notification of every or our clients’ projects, teams are constantly discovering new and change, or tailor others to keep the notifications to those requested by my innovative ways to improve project management with SharePoint. clients. Stakeholders can even easily set their alert levels themselves. We use a different project site for each project, and often sub-sites All of this is part of the C/D/H Project Management Office initiative. under a common client site. We work as a team of project managers who set standards and use With this structure, we can keep project-specific documents and best-practices across our entire practice, and use our SharePoint lists separate, but can still access common user accounts, contact environment to streamline the business process. We are also building lists, document libraries and any other files we need in any given dashboards that will allow our project management team to make the situation, making SharePoint a flexible solution that both our clients and best-informed decisions about resources, finances and scheduling. consultants enjoy using. But while it’s easy to document and discuss the features and benefits SharePoint also complements our focus at C/D/H on communication, of using SharePoint for your project management, effectiveness is only collaboration, and learning. as good as the buy-in from all project stakeholders. I’ll discuss the Over the years, we’ve developed custom lists and Web parts that importance of stakeholder participation in project management in my support and reinforce our project management best-practices, and next column. MOSS has several templates that can jumpstart project management To learn more about how you can use Microsoft Office SharePoint to on SharePoint. manage your projects, e-mail me at mikeb@cdh.com, or contact your C/D/H project management professional. C/D/H Welcomes a New Business Development Manager We are excited to introduce you to the newest member of the C/D/H team, George Aldea. George joins with over 22 years of marketing and information technology experience. Most recently he worked as a senior account manager with AT&T and directed an account team in the design, sale and delivery of Data and Voice communication products, systems and services. George will be responsible for developing sales, pro-actively seeking new business opportunities, and creating strong executive and senior management contacts. We are pleased he has decided to join and look forward to continuing our growth in Southeast Michigan.
  2. 2. Outsourcing E-mail: Are you ready? By Sebastian Atar Introduction Last month, I wrote a brief article for our “Knowledge Transfer” newsletter, It’s possible that for some users, you focusing on the potential risks of outsourcing IT operations. E-mail is usually one of the first targets for savings at a firm that has may be able to lower costs of e-mail decided it can lower IT costs through outsourcing. by up to 75%. E-mail has become invaluable for sharing information quickly, and has effectively replaced letters, faxes, and most phone conversations. Gotchas By its nature, there is a potentially ugly side to outsourcing, because it allows you to shed responsibilities – such as staff. Gartner Inc. estimates that 80 percent Other ramifications can range from poor public opinion to an unexpected of enterprises with fewer than 300 loss of talent through attrition, as employees fear they are next. Either way, it’s a complex “layer 8” issue that must not be ignored. employees could save money by But outsourcing is best viewed by the firm and employees alike not outsourcing e-mail. only as an opportunity to reduce costs, but to eliminate burdensome tasks, a way to free your employees to concentrate on more valuable responsibilities that make better use of their skills. But despite its benefits, e-mail is a management nightmare for internal Granted, moving critical business data to a third-party provider raises IT staff, because it adds exponentially to the complexity of systems concerns about privacy and data protection. To prevent your e-mail required to maintain it. The constant evolution of security threats and outsourcing solution from becoming a “black box,” it is important to stringent legal requirements can also add costs far beyond those of use a provider with excellent references, and which conducts pro-active hardware and licensing. monitoring and testing to ensure they meet SLAs. So outsourcing e-mail (and all of the responsibilities that come with it) can represent a substantial opportunity to reduce costs. Gartner Inc. estimates that 80 percent of enterprises with fewer than 300 employees could save money by outsourcing e-mail. Outsourcing should be viewed as not Many Choices only an opportunity to reduce costs, Outsourcing options abound... but to rid yourself of burdensome Firms currently running and content with Microsoft Exchange have a new option, Microsoft’s new S+S solution, or Microsoft Exchange Online. Or, tasks which will free your employees if you would like to host your exchange through a third-party, but not to concentrate on more valuable necessarily Microsoft, Microsoft Partner Hosting providers include Rackspace and Intermedia, among others. responsibilities that make better use If Exchange is not exactly what you’re looking for, a myriad of other of their skills. hosted, or “cloud,” solutions exist. Vendors include Rackspace, Gmail and Zimbra. Everyone’s heard of Google’s Gmail for personal e-mail; it Final considerations: Deviating from basic vendor offerings may incur now also offers an enterprise e-mail solution. additional costs. It is important to understand how integration with LOB Why? software and Blackberry services may be affected. Also, there may be Outsourcing your e-mail infrastructure lowers your costs by eliminating one-time costs for configuration and migration of your e-mail data. You licensing requirements, reducing the number of servers required to host may also find you need to increase the bandwidth of your connectivity to business functions, and eliminating maintenance operations, including the vendor once you’ve made the move to remote hosting. patching and upgrading. In Conclusion Why Not? Outsourcing e-mail offers a great opportunity to reduce IT operational But for some organizations, outsourcing e-mail may not be the answer. costs. But the key to successfully realizing the cost reduction is careful Integration options with other systems, such as CRM or ERP, may be planning and attention to detail, to 1) ensure that additional costs do not limited. You may be able to leverage some concessions if the size of offset savings, 2) that visible change to end-users is minimized and where your deployment merits it – but you may not. it’s unavoidable, training is provided, and 3) that where employees are involved, everyone considers the change an opportunity to better utilize Costs skills, rather than simply an attempt to lower head-count. The cost of outsourcing your e-mail will vary by vendor, and also depends on your specific requirements. Expect an average cost per employee e- mail account to be about $10 per month--compared to an estimated cost for internal e-mail hosting of up to $27 per month for the average “information worker,” and up to $40 per month for a “mobile executive”.
  3. 3. Mobile applications: Pushing corporate data down to your phone By Chris Monks The use of mobile phones in the enterprise environment continues to This allows for Remote Wipe of the iPhone, or the enforcement of a rise, as the types of data that cannot be accessed via a smart phone passcode policy on the device. continues to shrink. The most interesting extension of the enterprise environment to mobile For several years, the number of professionals who use their devices comes on the unified communications front. Many Windows mobile phones to access personal calendars and e-mail has risen Mobile and Blackberry devices can integrate with Microsoft Office exponentially. Communicator and Cisco Unified Communications systems. This gives The major phone operating systems from Microsoft, Apple and RIM enterprise access to instant messaging systems. can now open and edit Word, Excel and some other Office files. And Additionally, some devices can be integrated with the IP Telephony each of the major players can access SharePoint sites directly, or work systems, so that calls may be transferred from an office phone to with third-party solutions from companies such as Wicksoft to access mobile devices. content. These days, mobile users have come to expect quick access to Each of the major phone vendors provides to some degree the ability to enterprise documents and data wherever they are. One of the more centrally manage enterprise mobile phones, but some systems provide interesting solutions allows users to join and view WebEx sessions more functionality than others. from their mobile devices. The ability to view shared documents or Blackberry devices from RIM have been a leader in this area, with presentations from mobile devices during meetings happening back a significant level of enterprise policy enforcement. The Blackberry at the office offers an additional layer of collaboration among meeting Enterprise Server (BES) provides more than 450 over-the-air policies attendees. or commands that offer significant control over devices. But an obvious limitation to the access users now demand is the size Microsoft within the last two years has released its System Center of mobile phone screens. The idea that users can remotely control a Mobile Device Manager server for Windows Mobile devices. This desktop from their mobile phone is cool, but trying to actually perform server has gone a long way to putting Windows Mobile on a par with tasks on a two- or three-inch screen is far from ideal. Blackberry devices. The small screens force users to spend a significant amount of time Apple does not currently provide an enterprise-level solution. This zooming and/or panning to review information. significantly increases the overhead for iPhones when device security So, in the future, content and application software will have to be is imperative. The only centrally managed option is available from developed with both large-screen and mobile-device views in mind, Microsoft ActiveSync, when it is connected to Exchange servers. because mobile access is here to stay. Meet the consultant: Greg Daly Hi, my name is Greg Daly. we research, recommend, and implement have a positive impact I have worked with C/D/H since 1994, and have since become a on our clients’ business. shareholder in the firm. The old TV commercial adage, “I liked it My primary focuses at C/D/H are infrastructure, access so much, I bought the company” couldn’t be truer; I could not and identity management, and workgroup collaboration work with a better team, in a better work environment, or with technologies. I have been working with Novell technologies better clientele. since the beginning of my professional life, and am still strongly I have always been a tech junkie, and have worked as a support focused on these, including Linux, Identity Manager, GroupWise, engineer and as an IT director. I have an undergraduate BS/BA and eDirectory. degree and an MBA in technology management. My experience Over the next few years, I see technologies centering on and education have given me the necessary background and collaboration and mobile connectivity continuing to burgeon, and insight to help businesses with their technology- revolutionizing the way organizations work, think, based endeavors. and communicate. The key underlying technologies The constant evolution of technology and its impact enabling and facilitating this new collaborative, on the business world is the primary attraction always-connected paradigm will be infrastructure for me. Change is constant, and there is always (local and/or cloud), as well as access and identity something new, different, and interesting in this management. work, from both the technology perspective When not at work, I enjoy time with my family, and and from the ever-evolving environments at our tinkering on my home systems. I stay active by client sites. Most businesses are aware now that skiing, practicing martial arts, and running. technology and business are indelibly linked, and I My LinkedIn profile is http://www.linkedin.com/in/ derive great satisfaction from seeing the technology gjdaly.
  4. 4. Windows 7 – coming to a computer near you By Craig Eidelman It’s official. Additionally, Windows 7 is built on Vista technology -- so if your hardware On July 22, Microsoft gave the next PC operating system, Windows 7, works with Vista, it will most likely work with Windows 7. the green light for the release of the software to hardware partners for And Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise feature, “XP mode,” which installation and testing on the latest PCs. And that means Microsoft will will allow organizations to run an XP virtual machine, with legacy very quickly begin marketing the next-generation operating system to applications, in the Windows 7 environment. That will avoid one of the enterprises and consumers. biggest problems with Vista, which would not run legacy programs from Microsoft announced the system would be available to subscribers the Windows 2000 and XP systems. of the Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet on August 6, to The virtual machine runs in the background of the Windows 7 PC, so that allow technical professionals to begin testing in their environments. XP shortcuts appear seamlessly in the “All Programs” menu of Windows On August 7, Windows 7 was to be made available to volume-license 7. End users won’t even be aware they are running Windows XP in a customers with Software Assurance, virtual machine. or upgrade rights, so enterprises This major improvement will allow can begin to roll out Windows 7. Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise many organizations to begin testing Pre-release reviews of Windows Windows 7 and will facilitate the 7 have been overwhelmingly feature, “XP mode,” which will allow migration from Windows XP to positive. organizations to run an XP virtual Windows 7. Microsoft worked hard to make that happen, assigning huge resources machine, with legacy applications, in To begin the switch, organizations should first review all PCs and to avoid making the mistakes the the Windows 7 environment. laptops in use. System Center company made with Vista. Configuration Manager has built-in While Vista ran poorly on systems inventory functions, and can provide that had run on XP, Windows 7 will run optimally on hardware that detailed hardware reports. is currently using older software. The Vista criticism so rankled the If you have purchased the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, you company that it made every effort to avoid it this time. This is the only can also activate the Asset Inventory Service, which will scan your instance I can think of in which a new operating system can run better environment and provide you with hardware and software reports. Other on older hardware than its immediate predecessor, in this case, Vista. PC management solutions, such as Altiris, will also work. The reports will Vista’s hardware support at the time of release was also problem- indicate which hardware must be replaced or upgraded. plagued. There are also many other steps that must take place before you begin Many printers and other devices did not work because of the major a major rollout. changes in the operating system, because hardware vendors had not C/D/H is offering seminars to help you roll out Windows 7. Talk to your updated their software in time for the release. This time, Microsoft has C/D/H business development manager or consultant to reserve your been working closely with hardware vendors to ensure that hardware team a slot in these informative sessions. will be supported when Windows 7 is released. Back by Popular Demand C/D/H's Technology Briefing Series The Annual Technology Briefing Series packs in valuable content in a fast-track format. You will gain knowledge and engage with certified experts on Virtual Desktops (VDI), Windows 7, Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Craig Eidelman is an MCITP:EA and MBA Join us for the whole series or just one session. Contact your maintaining comprehensive knowledge C/D/H consultant or business development manager for of Active Directory, Windows, Exchange, more information. System Center, and the integration of Don't miss your opportunity to learn the latest on today's these systems. most talked-about technologies! See www.cdh.com for more information.