Your domain is your address on the Internet.  

That domain  is the yourcompany.com part of your e-mail and web site. In fact you had to pay for it.

So, where is your records of thatpurchase  information?

Or did you just have it set up by the same guy that hosts or builds your web site?

As a SME owner or manager, keep in mind – that domain name– should be your property. Not your web host or contractor.

For larger SMB’s, ensure that the registrar administration information is assigned to someone senior in the organization, or even a role.

Not a junior staffer who could be gone next week.

For smaller organizations, it is still your property – not your contractor or IT supplier.

Even if you contract a company do do your website – ensure that you are the registered owner, that the contact information is you, not them.

Unlike a physical street address, an Internet address is mobile!

Do you have all that information documented and available?

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A Word Of Wisdom

March 25, 2009

An older article by Lisa Valentine on the banktech.com web site, in an interview with First National Bank of Omaha President Rajive Johri 

Outsourcing is not the root of complexity; software customization is. The moment you customize, you cannot upgrade to new releases without further customization

As Managers in the SMB space, it is too easy to let the way we’ve always done it around here take over.

When implementing any line of business or enterprise software tool, it is usually easier to take the opportunity to fit your internal processes to the software. 

Not trying to force fit the software to your existing processes

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A Six Figure Settlement

March 25, 2009

Have you documented all of your software asset licences?

I have mentioned that one benefit of documenting your software licences is ensuring that you don’t re-purchase software assets that you already own.

For SMB Managers, there is one more thing to consider;

The Software & Information Industry Association said it has obtained a six-figure settlement in a copyright infringement case against a company and its affiliate that used illegal software. 

Do you really want to drop a Six figure amount because of a few illegal copies of MS Word?

I would hope not!

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Military Strategy

Military Strategy

 

A few weeks ago, on a brief state visit, United States President Barack Obama was here in Ottawa.

During his visit, President Obama made a brief undisclosed stop in a tourist area of Ottawa. 

Rapid Response

After the presidents visit, one of the senior leaders of the Ottawa Police Services was interviewed about the logistical challenges posed to the service on this undisclosed stop.

His response was that they were prepared with just a few minutes notice to provide seamless coverage where and whenever required.

Having served in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, my first thought was of course, standard operating procedure.

Because the Military works the same way when the conditions are unknown and unknowable. You maintain your perimeter, and then rapid response teams that can move any way that you need on short notice.

What Can SMB’s Learn?

As I thought about it, as a small business manager, for us the future is equally unknown, and for the most part unknowable.

We cannot spend hours, sweat, and money on every possible opportunity and risk.

What we can do is ensure that our people, our systems and our processes are flexible, and able to react with just a short notice.

Like dancers we move and pivot.

We can adjust quickly to both opportunities and risks, as the Police Services did, wherever, and whenever necessary.

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Photo Credit Wikipedia

Complexity; Visually!

March 24, 2009

You have to see this!

I have written that even for SMB’s, reducing complexity within IT is critical.

Natty Gur shows a complexity diagram of a typical larger orgnization on this advice.cio.com  post titled; Mapping IT Assets

Now take a look at the diagram on that post

Look at it and answer his question;

Do you still think that IT is simple?

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Having a handle on your IT assets is important. Both in the context of ITIL and from the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your IT assets. 

For larger businesses in the SME space, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of tools that you can purchase.

For smaller businesses, you can do it yourself – and do it pretty cheap as well!

So here is how to start an asset management system on the cheap.

Step 1 The Asset Tags

If you are tracking assets by a name like Jeff’s PC or Printer next to Christine. What happens when Jeff leaves or the printer is moved?

Companies such as Maverick Label  will do Asset Tags in smaller batches, complete with your company name and logo starting at about a buck per tag.

That Asset Tag number becomes the global identifier for that asset. That remote sales rep calls with a laptop or projector problem?

That number will pull up every detail for you.

Step 2 The Asset Data

The exact data that you want to track may vary, but I track the asset number, the device serial number, make, model, manufacturer, purchase and warranty dates, vendor, asset type, who it is assigned to, location, and some general configuration information. I also keep space to document any service and historical information of the asset.

Step 3 The Asset Tracking Tool

Yes, it can be something as simple as a spreadsheet. However I like to use the freely down-loadable Microsoft Sharepoint Team Services.

I used Sharepoints custom list ability to create the asset management tool quickly, and free.

The benefit that I find is that with Sharepoint’s search capability I can pull up any asset by its asset number, or any other criteria.

Who has the projector that Jane used to use? one sec … got it

Which PDA is John using? .. got it.

The SMB Takeaway

Managing the life cycle of your IT assets is the first step in ensuring that you are accounting for both the whereabouts, and status of all IT assets.

It also reduces the time and cost of servicing assets as you have a central repository of each and every asset you own.

It also reduces purchasing assets that you may already have in surplus, and can even identify assets that are beginning to fail to frequently. 

And best of all, for smaller businesses, you can do it cheap!

Larger Image

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HR; Meet Wall Street

March 22, 2009

From the Department of Scary Quotes

Just by chance I read two articles the same day.

The first at portfolio.com outlined the quantitative modellers or quants that built the mathematical models that, in their words;

…That Killed Wall Street

The second, a BusinessWeek article by Stephen Baker titled; Data Mining Moves to Human Resources (emphasis mine)

….For executives to calculate the return on investment of each worker, their human resources departments are starting to open their doors to the quants.

I guess that means we will be rightsized, downsized, or RIF’d by the same mathematical quants that brought us Lehman, Bear Sterns and AIG.

Make you feel warm and squishy inside doesn’t it?

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