5 WAYS THE CLOUD RELIEVES YOUR OVERSTRESSED IT STAFF

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 August 10th, 2015|News|

August 10, 2015 – Your IT department is busy. Every single day, they’re putting out small productivity-stopping fires, adding new users to an already vigorous workforce, maintaining and upgrading critical business applications, and at the end of all this, strategically preparing IT infrastructure for future business growth. Or so one, as CIO, would hope that all of those elements are regularly getting checked off the to-do list.

In reality, there’s an ever-growing need for more and more IT workforce, as IT continues to take increasing prominence in daily business operations. With this high job demand comes a consistent shortage of available IT staff, which can have lasting impacts on your company as a whole. Productivity gets bogged down. Strategic IT advancement turns into last-minute firefighting. Employee morale takes a plunge. Business stops growing.

Your IT staff members are critical to maintaining a healthy business. Whether you’re unable to fill the roles you need, or are looking to streamline their workload, your technicians can use all the help they can get. Cue the cloud. Here are 5 ways that the cloud provides stress relief to your overworked IT technicians:

The Cloud…

1.     Allows you to move standard functionality applications offsite. This includes basic business utilities like email, HR, payroll, CRM, etc. These applications don’t provide a competitive edge to your company. One email system is very similar to the next. There’s no need to manage those in-house, overrunning your staff with routine, but likely daily, maintenance support.

2.     Streamlines and simplifies architecture so it “just works”. Reducing the number of overall applications your IT department is responsible for allows them to focus on a smaller set of strategic IT initiatives (applications that have been customized or are in-house written) providing your company a stronger competitive advantage.

3.     Pushes internal staff skillsets off to the cloud vendor. By letting the cloud manage certain applications, you no longer have to depend on specifically focused internal IT staff members. Instead of having 4 trained and focused server technicians, you can limit that skillset to two internally focused technicians. Not to say you should go thin out your IT department and ship off their duties to the cloud. But when your IT staff is already overworked, you can focus on better directing you IT department’s workload instead of adding to your workforce to help out.

4.     Allocates part of the budget to monthly subscription cloud-based expenditures. When your IT budget is more predictable, you can funnel money into more strategic IT advancements. This additionally allows you to also anticipate – and select – the IT staff members you’ll need, with the right skill sets and specific areas of expertise.

5.     Keeps applications current on their latest upgrades. This removes yet another tedious responsibility from your IT department’s plate. Better yet, because your applications will be consistently maintained by the very people designing the application itself, this allows for improved functionality over time.

Just like the clouds up in the airy skies above all our offices, cloud-based solutions can give your IT department the air it needs to breath. Give your technicians a break. Give HR a break. Look into how the cloud can improve overall operational functionality and make way for the business initiatives that really matter.

STOP YOUR TECHNICIAN FROM WALKING OUT THE DOOR

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 August 9th, 2015|News|

August 9, 2015 – When a technician leaves your company, they leave a huge gap in their wake. They take with them the intimate knowledge of critical technical processes and idiosyncrasies that didn’t manage to make it onto paper. They take the time it will take to rehire for that position, and the time lost meanwhile as the rest of the team manages the extra workload. And perhaps most importantly, they take – or break – the bond of trust that has developed between the whole IT department – removing an important cog from the always churning wheel.

For CIOs, losing a technician is a dreaded event. However, there are distinct scenarios that cause your IT staff to get restless, and ways to resolve the tensions that may be brewing under the surface:

Treacherous commute.

Remember that traffic scene in “LA Story” where Steve Martin’s character frantically realizes it’s “open season on the LA freeway” and desperately reaches for his gun, making sure it’s loaded as truckers and grandmothers alike start shooting at his car? May not be real life, but commutes can certainly feel that way. Offer flextime schedules or work from home options to help keep your technicians sane.

Burnt out and smoldering.

Work’s called work for a reason. But sometimes it’s more work than your key technicians can manage, as they’re the ones trusted with the most complicated, time consuming, and stress-inducing responsibilities. Make sure to offer elasticity to workflow, opportunities for downtime, and encourage taking vacation.

Show me the money!

Another classic movie scene, and oh so relevant.  It’s easy for compensation packages to get away from you without even realizing it’s happened. But your technicians are likely aware of what their peers are bringing home, as far as bacon is concerned. Keep current with marketplace trends and provide regular financial incentives to keep your staff motivated.

Too many deadlines, too much pressure.

Your technicians need time to breath between tasks, time to let their minds settle on the job at hand, and invest their best into their work. Make sure to provide reasonable deadlines, find ways to alleviate some of the pressure, and put systems in place to minimize the amount of fire drills.

Feel disrespected or undervalued.

There’s a quote that says “a person who feels appreciated will do more than what is expected.” But someone who feels unappreciated will develop resentment towards their superiors and their job itself. Performance will suffer and eventually they’ll just leave. Recognition and rewards go a long ways toward keeping your best staff on staff. Providing this kind of motivation is often more important than monetary compensation (or at least as important).

Heading for new pastures.

Be it their spouse got a new job in another city, a family member has fallen ill, or they simply want to explore a new place, there are a multitude of reasons your technician may opt to leave town. Offer the chance to work remotely through a virtual desktop so your technician can leave town, but not their job.

No rest for the weary.

Being on call day and/or night can feel like working 24/7, especially for a technician who not only has to troubleshoot the technical issue, but placate the person experiencing the problem, as well. Rotate your on call staff, and give your technicians some true time off. They need it.

Employee turnover is costly in any field – but this is especially true when it comes to losing one of your valued technicians. As your technology platform continues to become the center of your business universe, allowing your company to exist, perform, and expand its operations, technicians are more critical than ever. Don’t miss the signs. Know how to keep your staff happy and on board, and you’ll have the rest of the company smiling brighter, as well.

THE TOP 3 IT SUPPORT COSTS: LEAVE THEM BEHIND YOU!

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 August 9th, 2015|News|

August 9, 2015 – So we know you don’t want to face a list of IT support costs, although at times it might feel like there’s no escaping them. We’ve got good news! We’ve outlined the top IT support costs we see company executives facing daily, and identified a solution for each of them. Better yet, we’re letting you in on the secret.

Top IT Cost #1

Problem: It’s been 3-4 years since you replaced your desktop computers, and your fleet is aging, but you’re worried about dealing with a huge replacement cost.

Solution: The less expensive route is to put in a desktop infrastructure that supports VDI and replace those PC’s with either a thin or zero client – or convert those aging PC’s into thin clients and use them until they break. Both of these strategies help you to remove the overhead of managing a typical PC!

Top IT Cost #2

Problem: Your three-tiered legacy infrastructure is outdated, silo-ed, and slow. Replacing all three elements (server, storage, and network) sounds daunting and very expensive.

Solution: Look at upgrading to a hyperconverged infrastructure (such as Nutanix), which replaces legacy three-tiered infrastructure. A hyperconverged infrastructure is more efficient and requires less effort to manage for your staff, saving you money twice – a win-win! One team can easily manage and support the entire stack that was previously administered by three separate server, network and storage teams. A hyperconverged infrastructure also virtualizes the network layer and eliminates the single network throughput bottleneck, giving you better performance, as well as natively introducing data redundancy, which keeps your data safe. An added bonus (as though that’s not enough): a hyperconverged infrastructure gives you elasticity and scalability.

Top IT Cost #3

Problem: You want/need to hire more people because you have additional technology projects but your budget is either maxed out or can’t be allocated to new hires.

Solution: Take a closer look at your devices and IT processes. An audit will show you where your current team is doing redundant work or where you can optimize hardware and software to increase the efficiency and productivity of your current team, making room in your tight IT budget. As an added bonus: if you’ve moved to a hyperconverged infrastructure (cost #2) that supports Virtual Desktops, you will save money and resources that will allow you to redeploy your team to more strategic technology objectives.

***

At Coretek, we’ve worked with healthcare clients, such as Promise Healthcare in Florida and Torrance Memorial in California, who have been able to address all three of these costssuccessfully – in large part due to the fact that they moved to an improved virtual clinical workstation, or VDI.

Here’s how: By replacing their endpoints with lower cost devices that require virtually no IT support, they’ve been able to free up IT resources to take on additional projects. Even better – the VDI can be supported by hyperconverged hardware in a data center that takes up 25% of the original space, power, and cooling requirements of traditional hardware. Which means these two clients are staying on budget, employees are more productive, and technology is working for them instead of against them. We’d happily trade in our IT costs for those three things, wouldn’t you?

3 EASY STEPS TO IMMEDIATELY REDUCE YOUR IT COSTS

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 August 7th, 2015|News|

August 7, 2015 – We often assume that rising IT costs are inevitable = like growing older, but without the birthday cake. But in the IT world, as time has progressed, we’ve actually benefited from improved, more efficient, and more cost-effective technology. And with the increasing innovations of IT infrastructure, there have also been cost saving advancements, as well. Meaning, your IT costs don’t have to tick upwards. And if they have, you can stop that trend right now.

Here are three easy steps you can take to immediately reduce your IT costs:

Step 1: Audit your software.

So many companies overprovision and pay for software licenses they’re not using. If this is you, these unnecessary costs will hit you every single year. You can avoid this overspending by implementing a few simple measures: Assess your actual usage levels. Stop giving technology to people who don’t need it. (Does every employee require the Office Suite? Probably not.) Layer in licensing only where necessary, based on actual application. You can perform this audit in only a week or two. The payoff? Our clients have been able to shrink their software spend by 30% simply by auditing their licenses.

Step 2: Train your technicians on their specific technological responsibility.

If you have a staff that isn’t trained properly, you’re likely asking them to take on different toolsets that they’re unfamiliar with. Which means that routine maintenance and support is either being done incorrectly or eating up an exorbitant amount of time. You’re technicians aren’t using best practices and instead create work-around processes. That’s like having a bunch of slow and invisible leaks. A well-trained and certified staff of technicians, however, can improve productivity, efficiency, and dollars saved.

Step 3: Assign focused Project Managers.

Managers often assume that their staff can multitask all day long and do everything well. This isn’t true. At Coretek, we often see companies try to cut corners by assigning the Project Manager role to a technician or architect, instead of a dedicated, objective Project Manager (PM). Technicians, at heart and through their training, get caught up in the minutiae of details, and don’t often function well as an effective PM. Thusly,by trying to do more with less you end up doing less with less, instead. This translates to lost hours, days, or weeks on the project. In sharp contrast, if you assign a dedicated Project Manager, the project will stay on track, on budget, on time, and your PM will know how to intelligently allocate additional resources as needed. So keep your tech people in the tech world, and assign a true PM to proactively and objectively manage projects.

There you have it: three steps you can take today to reduce your IT spending. Our healthcare clients who have done one, two, or all three of these steps have been able to significantly shift their IT spending downwards, while actually improving productivity and utilizing better technology.  That’s what we like to call having your cake and eating it, too!

CORETEK SERVICES RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE METROPOLITAN DETROIT’S 2015 101 BEST AND BRIGHTEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 August 6th, 2015|News|

Farmington Hills, MI – August 6, 2015 – Coretek Services, a nationally recognized IT consulting and system integrator, announced it has been honored as a  Metropolitan Detroit’s 2015 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR). Coretek Services has won this award for seven consecutive years, 2009-2015.

“To be recognized for this commitment for seven years in a row is a great honor and a true testament to the hard work and dedication our employees have put forth over the years,” said President and CEO Ron Lisch. “Our definition of great people are those who continue to live our mission. We will work hard to continue to provide a culture where great people want to work with other great people to do great work, which truly is the key to our success.”

The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For competition identifies and honors organizations that display a commitment to excellence in their human resource practices and employee enrichment. Organizations are assessed based on categories such as communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition, retention and more.

About Coretek Services
Coretek Services is a Systems Integration and IT Consulting Company that delivers high value and innovative solutions.  Coretek works with your team to custom-design an IT architecture based on each clients’ unique requirements; the solution encompasses server and desktop virtualization, optimization of a virtual desktop environment, cloud desktop, mobile device management, infrastructure consulting and project management.  Our goal is to help our clients achieve Project Success.  No exceptions.