Check it out! Our Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Kevin V. Michael, is scheduled to appear on the panel at the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce’s “Cracking the Code: Business Technology” half-day seminar sponsored by IBM. The event will be taking place from 8:30am to 1:30pm on Friday, September 13 2012 at Parrot Jungle Island.
Cracking the Code: Business Technology, designed especially for small to medium businesses, will present business strategies and best practices in leveraging new technologies to keep your business innovative and competitive to get ahead in the current economic environment.
Other panelists at the event will include Suzan McDowell, President & CEO of Circle of One Marketing and Frank Rodriguez, Account Executive with IBM. Denise Evans, VP of Market Development with IBM will be the featured keynote speaker.
Please join us at the event by RSVP’ing to http://www.m-dcc.org and spread the word to everyone you know!
In a modest departure from the type of posts I usually pen, I’ve decided to write this time not about tips, tricks or how-to’s but rather reflect on what this past year has revealed about how IT is changing, growing, developing in the small business space.
I think it’s safe to say that there is a definite, almost visible line that separates consumer from business technology. This is especially true for larger companies that tend to need more robust solutions for their technology problems. I can’t say the same is true for small business though; while PC makers have differentiated between consumer, small business and enterprise in their product lines for years, I’ve found that this year, more and more, we’ve considered consumer software, services and “gadget” solutions for our small business clients. No longer is it the case that software and services that are specifically tailored to consumers is “no good” for business use. For a small company with less than 20 employee’s there’s no reason not to consider LogMeIn as a REAL remote access solution versus a more complicated VPN and maybe Remote Desktop setup. The importance of having access to your files everywhere, means that we’ve walked into environments where there is no server but Dropbox is installed on each employee’s laptop. Is Dropbox specifically a business solution for sharing files? Not at all, (although now they do have a business plan, they call it Dropbox for Teams) but provided that the information being shared isn’t “three-letter-agency TOP SECRET” why shouldn’t a small business use it if it makes sense for them?
We’ve also had a few clients specifically ask us about iPad‘s; they wanted to know how and iPad could fit into their “technology lifestyle” (my quotes, not theirs). Some other client’s were a bit more proactive, and would come to us after the fact and say “Hey, I got myself an iPad and I have an app that let’s me access my desktop at the office and an app that let’s me review client files…” The great thing about small business IT is that it doesn’t have to go through tons of red tape before it’s adopted by users, and depending on what you need, an iPad my be the perfect device for you to get work done while you’re away from the office. I think for most users (especially in a Windows environment with specific Windows only applications) a laptop is still probably the best portable device, but I don’t see that being the case for much longer.
Enterprise IT has been struggling in the past few years as employee’s have been ditching their Blackberry’s for iPhone’s and Android based handsets. The IT organization has had to find solutions other than BES to manage mobile device security. Small Business IT hasn’t really had these issues around mobile device management and security. What we have come across this year is a lot of: “Hey I got a new [insert name of device here] how to I get my mail and contacts on it?” and then we have to figure out how seamless the integration is going to be between their new device and their e-mail server or provider. The truth is that consumers have quite a few options for getting e-mail, contacts and calendar synced across their multiple devices with offerings from Google, Microsoft and Apple. The fact that both Google and Microsoft have solutions specifically tailored to small business means that these services that consumers have enjoyed over the past few years have moved up to the small business space in terms of features but remained decidedly prosumer in terms of pricing and we’ve found ourselves implementing either solution where the case was right.
This portion of this blog post is brought to you by the buzzwords “virtual” and “cloud”, words which we couldn’t seem to get away from this year. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that 95% of the clients or potential clients we got in front of this year specifically asked us about “going virtual” or “using the cloud”. After hours of evaluating different scenarios, solutions, use cases etc. we’ve come to two fairly simple conclusions:
1. Virtual Desktop technology is not yet priced right for small businesses. Unless your business is currently managing close to 100 desktops, you’re unlikely to save any money by rolling out VDI. The caveat however is that if you have very basic software needs, and a distributed workforce of less than 10 users a Microsoft based Remote Desktop Solution may fit your small business perfectly.
2. Hosted E-mail and Collaboration is the only cost effective way to handle e-mail in a small business environment. As I’ve mentioned before we’ve deployed both Google Apps solutions and Microsoft BPOS and now Office 365 solutions for some of our clients. Most of these clients were previously on basic POP/IMAP e-mail service from their web host so moving to a collaboration platform like Google Apps or Office 365 completely changed the way their business functioned with the ability to share calendars and communicate using IM. It’s clear though that small businesses that are currently managing e-mail using an on-premise server stand to gain a lot from moving to hosted solution, especially where the path is on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server to Office 365. For businesses not as tied to Microsoft products (Windows, Office etc.) Google Apps continues to be an excellent option.
As always every case is different but over the past year we’ve found these general observations to hold true.
It’s heartening to look forward to next year and wonder what new and exciting technologies we’ll come across that will benefit our clients. Undoubtedly prices will continue to fall, and new small business technologies will mean that you won’t need a 20K IT budget to get robust IT solutions for your small business.
Despite a few stubborn sun showers that blanketed the morning sky, the Cracking the Code: Business Technology half day seminar got off to a brisk start at Jungle Island as attendees streamed into the event to learn about current trends and best practices in business technology, how to go virtual, and how disaster proof their business. With opening remarks from the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce President, Bill Diggs, and an introductory address from seminar host Kevin V. Michael, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of managed IT services company Invizio, the stage was set for yet another engaging and interactive Business Empowerment Networking Series.
Title sponsor representative Sandy Sloane of Comcast Business Class took the stage to introduce a few of their services to the audience of entrepreneurs, business owners, tech enthusiasts and the like, after which the first workshop topic of the day was led by Kyle Hurst, Co-Founder of Invizio. Mr. Hurst discussed the importance of data backup as a key component of disaster recovery and preparedness. Stressing that all business owners should have 3 copies of their data, Kyle provided tangible strategies that business owners should employ to protect themselves.
In an economy where every company is being asked to do more with less, Kevin V. Michael followed with the workshop topic on “Communication and Collaboration Technologies of Tomorrow” and outlined the importance of online collaboration platforms like Google Apps, Office 365, and also discussed the growing trend of online meetings and videoconferencing for business use. Attendees took the time to share their experiences using these various tools, and before long it was clear that everyone was happy to weigh in on the discussion.
Next, Mico Yuk, CEO of Benchmarkers, took the stage to share her real world experiences in scaling and streamlining the processes of her Business Intelligence consulting firm. Engaging the crowd with her stories of, let’s just say, eventful online meetings, Ms. Yuk focused in on the effective use of time in a small business and demonstrated how business owners could leverage technology to improve the time spent building their capability in each functional area of their business.
Coming on the heels of Mico Yuk, Kevin V. Michael kicked off the second half of the workshop session by introducing the topic of cloud computing. Kevin keenly described what cloud computing involved and discussed software-as-service tools for accounting, project management and other tools with which the audience should make themselves familiar. Mr. Michael outlined the use of infrastructure-as-service as a viable technology for reducing capital investment in technology hardware and informed the audience of how to incorporate all the solutions discussed to create a business that has the freedom of being virtual. Closing out the workshop, Kyle Hurst took to the task of explaining various options that the busy professional has at their disposal for Internet connectivity while on the go.
After a decadent lunch, Greenberg Traurig super lawyer and managing shareholder, Jaret Davis, CEO and founder of law firm delancyhill, Marlon Hill, CEO of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence, Mico Yuk, and Co-Founder of managed IT services company Invizio, Kyle Hurst, took the stage to engage in an interactive panel discussion best practices in business technology. Trading ideas on the importance of making sure that organizations are psychologically prepared for the change that new technology represents, each panelist shared experiences from their own organizations.
Kevin V. Michael of Invizio and Jessica Geter of the MDCC wrapped the Cracking the Code: Business Technology by graciously thanking the audience for coming and encouraging them to “Crack the Code” by fearlessly implementing technology into their business practices. Attendees then lined up to give video testimonials of what they liked and learned at the seminar. Video clips of the event are available upon request.
Did you attend Cracking the Code?
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Give us your feedback on the event! http://www.invizio.com/ctcfeedback/
You will NOT want to miss this one!
“Cracking the Code: Business Technology”
Invizio, Comcast Business Class & the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, August 18th at Jungle Island
Invizio will host and moderate the Cracking the Code – Business Technology half-day seminar in an interactive, engaging and energetic setting. We’ll be talking about the latest and greatest advancements in technology that you and your business should take advantage of.
Connect with like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs in this relaxed and educational session while learning from the best of the best in business technology. We look forward to having you!
LEARN HOW TO:
· Virtualize and disaster-proof your business
· Maximize workforce communication & collaboration
· Work on-the-go from anywhere in the world!
Cracking the Code – Business Technology is especially designed for small to medium businesses. Kevin and Invizio will host and moderate the seminar and present strategies on integrating new tools in technology to streamline business operations and positively impact productivity and profits.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
8:30 AM – 1:30 PM
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, Florida 33132
Parking $5 with validation
We want to give each participant the personal attention they deserve, so space is limited. Don’t delay, take 5 minutes to register NOW:
This will be an interactive seminar, so remember to bring your laptops. Lunch will be provided.
[July 28, 2011] Miami, FL – Leading South Florida IT services provider, Invizio, announced today that it has earned Microsoft’s Small Business Specialist Partner designation and is now an active member of the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community. This designation, awarded to Microsoft Partners who demonstrate the capability and commitment to implementing and supporting technology solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, places Invizio at the forefront of the IT provider community in South Florida.
The “Microsoft Small Business Specialist” accreditation was established by Microsoft in July 2005 and is designed to help small businesses identify the technology partners best suited to support them. The Small Business Specialist Community is available as a competency designation within the Microsoft Partner Program. In order to qualify as a Small Business Specialist, Invizio has proven its competency in marketing, selling, planning and managing network solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.
“We’re very proud to have earned the Small Business Specialist designation. Deepening the partnerships we have with industry vendors such as Microsoft gives us access to insider insights and resources that will help keep our staff and clients at the cutting edge of technology developments,” said Kevin V. Michael, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Invizio.