Are Your Employees Among the 160 Million Users Stuck on XP?

With 40% of computers still running Windows XP on a global scale, companies need a reliable resource to step in, manually uninstall, install, and deploy enterprise-wide updates in multiple locations around world. Do you have adequate resources? What global services are available outside your company? How much time will it take to complete? How do you best coordinate such massive changes globally?   Good questions that business decision makers everywhere are asking, looking for a cost effective, streamlined way to accomplish this major transition of migrating from XP.   April 8, 2014 — the deadline has come and gone. Microsoft will no longer release any patches or updates for XP, even if critical bugs are found. The only exceptions will be for large corporate customers willing to pay $200 per computer for a year’s extension of “premier” support for hundreds, or thousands of machines. Definitely not cost effective.   Since you’re going to have to migrate anyway, you might as well as move toward an XP-free future now, instead of waiting for attackers to wreak havoc with your digital life. Take into consideration some of the XP migration challenges ahead that could include:   1) A lack of governance over their application library and the pervasiveness of rogue applications that are not managed by IT, but are critical to the business; 2) Overcoming application compatibility issues associated with both third-party and custom developed software 3) Overcoming web-based application compatibility issues associated with the upgrade to a modern browser 4) Automating a “zero touch” deployment strategy 5) Preparing for future cloud computing and application and desktop virtualization strategies 6) Determining...

Collaborative Intelligence Drives Effective Teams.

In 2006, Gartner predicted a shift toward more collaborative working models for businesses. Eight years later, it looks like they were right. Collaborative intelligence is part of every successful business model, emphasizing the value of collaborative decision making.   By definition, Wiki says: Collaborative intelligence characterizes multi-agent, distributed systems where each agent, human or machine, is uniquely positioned, with autonomy to contribute to a problem-solving network.   A more in-depth definition reads: Collaborative intelligence characterizes the attributes of cross-disciplinary problem-solving teams – a distributed group mind at peak performance in solving creative problems, dynamics that occur when people from different disciplines with diverse skills, agendas and priorities produce outcomes that a majority of participants and stakeholders in the process view as more effective than what independent individuals, or single discipline groups, could have produced alone. A method to guide processes that require collaborative intelligence can benefit from tools, such as evolvable templates, problem-maps, online process tracking, improved search, visualization and decision support.   Now that we know the definition of collaborative intelligence, let’s look at some of the characteristics and skill sets that make an outstanding, collaborative team member.   1. Willingness to collaborate You are willing to engage with others for mutual benefit, or to help get to a specific goal.   2. Willingness to share Are you a knowledge hoarder? These are people who believe that their value is their knowledge and to share it would diminish their value, when it would actually increase it.   3. How to build trust One of the ways trust is built is through sharing. Also being consistent in your words and behaviors and...

Bring Your Own Challenge – Scheduling Changes

CHALLENGE: Our biggest challenge comes from scheduling. Very often a schedule will change, sometimes in the middle of a project. That’s very disruptive to the workforce, planning and priorities.   Without enough people to accommodate the scheduling challenges, we’re faced with being unable to meet demand and stay on deadline. Managing this kind of challenge at one location is bad enough, but sometimes this happens simultaneously in more than one location. When we have competing priorities, it really puts us behind the eight ball.  What’s the solution?   SOLUTION:   Scheduling changes are bound to occur. Timelines change but the demand for deliverables remains first priority. Here’s what you can do to alleviate the disruption and get back on track:   Create contingency plans up front that identify potential scheduling changes, possible alternative resources and acceptable scope modifications. Ensure that all stakeholders, including clients, accept and buy into the schedule in advance of the project, coaching them so they understand the impacts from schedule changes. Establish clearly defined procedures for performing pre-project activities, steps and resource arrangements to avoid last minute snafus. Use a reliable, complementary resource partner with ‘feet on the street’ in the respective locations, making schedule changes easier and more cost effective.   A strong collaborative process is an essential part of the scheduling solution, so be sure that your complementary resources can work seamlessly with your project team.   Share your fixed asset management challenges with us and we’ll help you find the...

Bring Your Own Challenge: Localized IT and Asset Management

How to Make Localized IT and Asset Management Part of the Success of Global Offices   Challenge:   Your company has the chance to take on some amazing new business by opening a call center in Costa Rica. Office space has been selected and the account management team is excited to get started, but you are having trouble making decisions about how to handle the IT asset management functions necessary to make the project a success.   In your domestic offices, you may have a “go-to” guy that can handle all your asset management and maintenance needs. And now, with new offices coming on board all over the globe, you want to make sure that your staff still has the excellent support that you have relied on at home, but you aren’t sure how to make it work.   Do you send your local expert all over the globe? This could get costly in a hurry, and may also spread personnel too thin to maintain the level of service your home office requires. Do you try to find new staff, sourced in your new locale? This might be great if you knew whom you could trust and knew that there were no language or cultural barriers that might impact expectations in regard to efficiency and cost. What if things don’t go right, do you have any recourse? Can you afford a full time staff member for asset management in the new office?   Solution:   This is where partnering with a company that can provide specialized technicians and administrators only when you need them can help. Working with a...

Bring Your Own Challenge: Fixed Asset Management

CHALLENGE: We’re a growing multinational corporation and have no available fixed asset management resources to conduct affordable inventories and testing at multiple global locations.   Rapid growth is for the most part a good thing; however, with multiple locations across Asia, Latin America and the U. S., we are challenged with having enough technicians and skilled resources to inventory and test our equipment in a timely manner. Our initial approach was to assign personnel to each of the main global locations, but because our business has grown so quickly, we cannot assign our ‘high demand” technicians as necessary to get the work completed.   SOLUTION: Feel some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Most companies, even large, established businesses do not maintain necessary staff to perform fixed asset management services in a cost effective way. Here are some solution-based tips.   Have a working Project Plan and Resource Capacity Plan in place to allow flexible assignment of resources. Establish Regional Resource Pools for change and demand. Estimate the work based on expected performance levels, including environmental unknowns.   Partner with a resource/inventory company to complement your regional resources. Choose a company that can provide specialized technicians and administrators only when you need them and only in specific global locations. If you need equipment inventory, verification and tracking on a regular basis and in real time, be sure to have a reliable source in place. This could be a challenge solver and a cost saver in one.   Share your fixed asset management challenges with us and we’ll help you find the...

GlobalNow – Synaptyk Inc IT Services Project

We recently received an acknowledgement from one of our multinational computer services companies for which we provide telecom inventory and IT services. GlobalNow helped us provide international resources for one of the major projects for this client. Our client passed on their appreciation for the hard work and flexibility on the project, as can be seen from the excerpt below.   Our project managers worked with the GlobalNow team to create and deploy thorough operational procedures which were designed to ensure successful project delivery. However, we realized as the project progressed that even with the planning and emphasis on standardized procedures, a key consideration was the ability of the team to be flexible and accommodate project change. This included (at times with very little notice) rescheduling start dates by site location, increasing or decreasing the number of techs needed due to changes in scope, adjusting work hours as needed to avoid disruption to the client workforce, and developing inventory change procedures to accommodate out of date/missing records, inaccuracies, etc.   The lesson learned is that for an engagement like this, we must have standardized procedures and a close working relationship with a team willing and able to accommodate the changes outlined above. Fortunately, our combined Synaptyk/GlobalNow team fit the bill.   I look forward to us meeting future client needs by continuing to work together in the above fashion.   “I wanted to pass along recognition and thanks from our entire team to yours. This project was high visibility and challenging in so many ways and yet it was executed on time and without any major incident. This is...

GlobalNow Costa Rica Is Open For Business

I wanted to share a recent development regarding GlobalNow.   GlobalNow Inc., a provider of IT Software and Services, recently opened an affiliate company in San Jose Costa Rica.    This division of GlobalNow with primary location in Curridabat  (a neighborhood within San Jose) will focus on providing reliable and affordable talent in the areas of web development, quality assurance, user experience testing, and digital animation services.   GlobalNow has successfully engaged talent through partners, freelancers and employees from the United States and a variety of global locations to meet client requirements.  So why open a division in Costa Rica?   Costa Rica is historically a highly stable Latin American country, with a strong reputation for ethical business practices and respect for commercial law; with an educated and concentrated talent pool in and around the San Jose area; supported by over five universities with technology oriented curriculums.   As part of our operational strategy in Costa Rica, we have aligned with a  Curridabat based boutique IT company (Intelligent Sense) founded by a team of university professors and former graduate students; who maintain strong relationships with key universities (see note below) in support of ongoing curriculum development and student development. With this partner as part of our expanded team, we see a compelling opportunity to deliver affordable talent from our Curridabat location – through unique recruiting access to the highest quality graduates/students from a network of highly regarded university programs. GlobalNow Costa Rica will provide both junior and senior skilled resources, in the areas of design, IT programming and testing. This talent pool will help GlobalNow to execute its long term business...

Time + Talent = Success in Managed Services Project

In an earlier blog 1+1+1 = Big Win we discussed our experiences with a multinational client that had asked us to help them with one of their IT managed services projects. The good outcome of this project was a direct result of the hard work from our field technicians coupled with our proven management processes, which enabled our client to: Ensure accurate billing to their end client – based on a thorough inventory and verification of equipment types and count Ensure all equipment worked as expected– through our testing and call campaigns Reduce cost by using local/regional resources at the worldwide sites Reduce travel costs Ensure local work customs were understood and accommodated Accommodate project scope and schedule changes using flexible local resources Ensure accuracy through experienced technical resources By having a committed pool of resources, we were able to address some of the typical project challenges, marshaling additional resources as needed and adjusting the work assignments to fit the changes as necessary.  You can read some of the key planning steps for each site in last week’s blog The Challenge of Telecom Inventory Management. Our approach to meeting these asset management requirements began with the use of proven and highly ethical technicians, with experience and skills in technology, inventory management, and detailed work activities.  A recent blog Who Will You Call For Asset Management shared that a flexible approach was also important to ensure resources could accommodate work hours that were not disruptive to the internal employee work schedules. Even though we had a successful outcome for this and other projects, we will continue to work with our client...

The Challenge of Telecom Inventory Management

We mentioned in our Inventory Management blog that our project approach for the telecom project was based on team collaboration.   This real time global teamwork was necessary  by all of the stakeholders, including our channel partner, client, project managers, trainers, regional team leads and local technicians.  Fortunately, current technology allows this group participation to occur efficiently for participants located anywhere in the world.   We used online project management tools (such as basecamp), skype, go-to meeting and other file sharing tools (and sometimes the good ol’ fashion phone call) to help ensure communication was consistent and timely as needed to properly manage the site visits. Some of the key planning steps for each site visit included: Review of expected equipment, and inventory devices (count and type) Work plan (resource assignment and schedule) for major sites, by floor, room, occupancy etc. Special on site client requirements Initial training and training reinforcement Utilization and management of a standard checklist Clear check in and check out requirements for lead techs We assigned a lead field technician for each site, which was especially important for the larger locations, to help execute the work plan, work with the local contact on schedule and equipment questions, and help ensure all resources were efficient and as productive as possible.  Techs were required to update their inventory application on a daily basis, allowing management the opportunity to review results, measure progress, and determine if any project adjustments were needed. Even with all of the above in place, we sometimes encountered typical project challenges, such as sudden changes in project schedules, differences in equipment expectations vs. reality,...