Monthly Archives

May 2013

Manage IT Costs More Effectively

By | Managed IT Services | No Comments

mechanicDo you worry that when you take your car to the mechanic, more things will be wrong with the car after they see it than before? Do you stress over every hour your car is in the shop, knowing that it is racking up an ever-larger bill with each passing minute? If you could, would you pay a flat rate every month trusting that no matter what went wrong with your car, the mechanic would take care of it? And if you had an agreement like that, don’t you think that the mechanic would be certain to change the oil, rotate the tires and do all the other necessary preventative maintenance that would ensure the car remained finely tuned?

We don’t know of any mechanics who make such an offer, but the concept of a flat-rate service leading to better preventative care is transforming the way IT services are being handled. You can manage IT more efficiently.

Paying for Uptime

With a managed service plan, you and your IT provider work closely to ensure that your IT infrastructure and services are meeting your company’s needs. Because there is no hourly cost involved, it’s less likely that important proactive strategies will be ignored simply because of cost. By employing proactive measures to prevent disasters, a partnership-oriented relationship is created in which you are paying for uptime, not downtime. It turns IT support on its head.

Making IT Costs More Predictable

Consider the extraordinary cost of downtime on your organization. Hardware can fail, a server may crash, or data may become corrupted. These issues can impact your ability to provide service to your customers; in some cases, downtime can send them looking elsewhere. Whatever the issue may be, infrastructure failures can impact your business in unexpected ways. You may spend weeks rebuilding systems, reconnecting computers and restoring data. This becomes an enormous, unpredictable cost.

In our next blog, we will discuss how you can make your IT costs more predictable.

thinkCSC offers a variety of Managed IT plans to suit businesses of any size. Contact us for more information about how we can help you better manage your IT costs and pay for uptime instead of downtime.

Columbus 2020: Investing in the Future of Columbus

By | Community Involvement, thinkCSC Leadership Series | No Comments

columbusPublic and private enterprises in the Columbus region are funding a non-profit economic growth initiative known as Columbus 2020. Columbus 2020 organizers are using the combined strengths of these government & business investors to significantly increase per capita income and employment by attracting major employers to the region while retaining and developing existing companies.

Columbus 2020 investors see the value of 2020’s mission and want to help it succeed. The idea is that by bringing more businesses to Columbus, the local economy will grow stronger – everybody wins. The companies involved are putting this investment forward knowing that there is no guarantee that the initiative will succeed, but this is a great symbol of leadership. As a leader, you know what the right thing is to do, you believe in it and you hope it turns out for the best – and the expectations are that it will.

thinkCSC is a proud investor in the 2020 mission, and while Columbus 2020 asks for a five-year commitment, it is not binding. However, an economic development initiative such as this – which is to market Columbus and persuade entrepreneurs of the value of moving or starting their businesses here – it makes sense to invest for the long haul. Such a venture does not happen over night; it takes time.

Columbus has been ranked by Forbes as one of the best places for business and careers. IBM, having closed the deal on the acquisition of Sterling Commerce, is creating approximately 500 high-tech jobs over the next three years. These types of stories are becoming more common, and much of this can be attributed to the efforts of Columbus 2020. New projects are regularly being considered for the Columbus region.

Am I worried that Columbus 2020 will bring in more competition in addition to jobs and prosperity? Of course, I think about remaining competitive. But as a business leader, I know in my heart that if my business and my people are strong, and if our services are relevant, we will realize more in terms of opportunity than we lose with additional competition.

thinkCSC believes in the Columbus 2020 initiative and we appreciate having the opportunity to share our Columbus stories with those businesses considering a move to Columbus. Investing in Columbus 2020 is good for the community and for thinkCSC it is smart business.

Image via: Columbus 2020

Schools, EdTech, and Budgeting

By | EdTech | No Comments

Making the Most of the EdTech Mandates

school technologyThere are many state-mandated requirements in order to introduce technology into schools for the 2013-2014 school year. While building their budgets, virtually every district is responding to these mandates differently. BYOD (bring your own device), BYOT (bring your own technology) and 1:1 are the most common methods used. Some of the most important considerations regarding the use of devices in schools, however, are largely geared towards the 1:1 wireless scenario.

Is Your Infrastructure Capable of Handling the Devices You Choose?

As these devices – iPads, tablets or laptops – are given to students, schools must determine infrastructure readiness. The physical structure inside the schools, in regards to Internet connectivity bandwidth, must be capable of sustaining all of the devices. There are many elements that go into that.

For example, an increasing number of mobile tablet devices use a larger amount of Internet bandwidth, versus a traditional laptop that uses a local service typically hosted at the school. The more cloud services that are being used, the greater the demand on Internet infrastructure and on the bandwidth that the school district has. When a school chooses to deploy a large number of devices, the process of ensuring that the network is physically capable of providing a reliable and seamless end-user experience is complicated.

Do You Have Enough Bandwidth to Keep Everyone Connected?

Consider the amount of bandwidth necessary for your network; you want to ensure that you have sufficient internal bandwidth to sustain the number of devices you are deploying, as well as enough bandwidth to support your connectivity to the outside world. Essentially, the amount of bandwidth necessary comes down to the applications that you are using on your devices. If students are using iPads or Chromebooks, these cloud-based devices demand a substantially higher external bandwidth, as opposed to those devices that are using a local resource hosted by the school.

Addressing Security and MDM

Some schools provide the devices and let students take them home. By doing so, they then have to determine how they will continue to manage content that comes through the device. Is there still content filtering taking place outside of the school? Mobile device management – or MDM – is another infrastructure readiness issue. Once you have all of the devices, you want to have the capability to easily maintain them.

If you have to deploy application software, you want to be able to do so for a group of devices at a time or all of the devices simultaneously. If you need to filter content, change security preferences or block certain applications because of content, you want to be able to do that quickly, as opposed to one device at a time. If you have MDM in place, that significantly reduces the amount of time it takes for you to deploy, maintain and monitor your devices, at the same time ensuring that the devices are secure.

Saving Money on Device Investment, Warranty and Repair Services

In addition to infrastructure concerns related to bandwidth and connectivity of technology in schools, the cost of purchasing devices and warranties must be considered. School districts often purchase the manufacturer’s warranty and offer additional accidental damage insurance to the students – passing the cost onto the parents – on top of the manufacturer’s warranty. thinkCSC purchases from the same supplier as CDWG, so we can offer highly competitive rates for devices. As well, our warranty is less expensive, and we provide convenient device pick-up, repair and drop-off, thereby saving you time as well as money. In many cases, we can complete repairs on site.

Many district IT departments are capable of deploying technology devices themselves, but CSC can help, either with a particular portion or with the entire process. Our experience with both small and large school districts helps us steer you away from what doesn’t work and focus on what does. thinkCSC looks at the big picture, ensuring device deployments go as smoothly as possible. If you would like more information about our school technology and warranty services, please contact us.