5 Ways for IT to Put Social Media to Work in the Enterprise

5 Ways for IT to Put Social Media to Work in the Enterprise

IT leaders are probably in the best position to help prevent a “fire, ready, aim” approach to using social media. This may sound counter-intuitive at first. After all, IT blocks social media, right? Not so. I’d argue that any organization that’s getting serious about using social media has a lot to gain by leveraging IT people’s natural strengths of connecting technology’s value to the business as a whole.

Here are 5 ways IT can be a force for social media good, while protecting the needs (and IP) of the business.

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Building better, stronger businesses through Services

Over the years our goal has always been to help our customers become more successful, more productive and more competitive. This year, we have chosen to narrow our focus even more to one major WIG – wildly important goal – that will guide our offerings for the next year.

This is the year when it all comes together – our deep expertise in networking, security, application integration, data center virtualization, cloud and managed services, plus our extensive project management experience and our mastery in technical consulting have all coalesced into a comprehensive service mix. We’ve identified our strengths and how Softchoice services deliver the greatest returns to our customers. Read on to hear what our senior leaders have to say about our strategy. [Read more…]

Assessing the challenges of your cloud computing journey

Chicken and eggs and clouds (Oh my) 

If your organization isn’t already dipping its toes into the cloud, it inevitably will in 2012. Quicker speed to market, universal availability for users, improved flexibility and ability to free up resources, with reduction in total cost of ownership, make cloud computing a no-brainer.

At least that’s the hype most business leaders have bought into.

The truth from an IT perspective is a bit more nuanced. The cloud is not, for lack of a better metaphor, heaven on earth. There are risks, hiccups and complications that every organization will experience with a profound transition like this. But the truth also happens to be that cloud computing can benefit your company – and your competitors – in a variety of very real quantitative and qualitative ways (In other words, sometimes a lot of the hype turns out to be true).

Cloud migration is serious business with major capital investment. And as with any change of this magnitude, you’ll need to understand the risks, develop business and IT strategies, scope technical feasibility and costs, put together impact assessments and develop an air-tight business case, long before your cloud project is ever launched.

At Softchoice, our team can separate hype from reality on the ground, guide you through the entire decision-making process, help initiate conversations within your organization and perform due diligence to create a roadmap that makes it all unfold as smoothly as possible.

Here’s how we see the journey taking place as well as some helpful tips and thought-starters to consider along the way.

Step 1: Where to begin? [Read more…]

A Softchoice IT forecast: Hot technologies to watch in 2012

As 2011 comes to a close, Softchoice customers are evaluating the success and challenges from the present year, and planning for the year to come. The Softchoice Advisor sat down with our Manager of Category Marketing, Bryan Rusche, to understand the opportunity organizations should expect to encounter while continuing to mitigate risk and maximize efficiencies in 2012.

What are the key IT priorities that Softchoice and other organizations will be focusing on in 2012?

I think the big theme is continued economic uncertainty and the need to continue driving greater efficiencies within IT. Using that as the backdrop, I think there are four big areas where we will see our customers investing. One is going to be on providing efficiencies and better management tools on client infrastructure and helping organizations deal with some of the dynamics around new devices and operating systems. The second thing is driving greater efficiencies in the data center through greater density, more efficient use of power and cooling and better utilization. Unified Communications is the third area, particularly people-driven processes and creating efficiencies by reducing travel expenses as an example. Lastly, cloud – which remains the most
hyped term in the industry, will play a growing role. Spending on public cloud as an example is expected to grow four times faster than IT spend in general.

The evolving client infrastructure continues to be a hot topic. What challenges are organizations facing today and what solutions are they going to look to in 2012? [Read more…]

How the right Services provider helps you get to the finish line, fast.

As summer comes to a close, it’s time to get back to business. Fall brings a fresh opportunity to focus on what needs to be done and to make action plans for the last quarter of the year. This is especially relevant within the fast-paced and frequently evolving IT industry. New technologies are constantly being introduced and adapted into various business environments, so advanced planning and support is crucial.

The Services business plays a pivotal role in guiding the adaptation of the changing technology landscape. The resources, knowledge and expertise Services offers helps organizations consider the most efficient ways to deploy and optimize technologies within unique environments. To discuss how the right Services provider has a profound impact on organizations, the Advisor sat down with Softchoice’s Senior Vice President of Services, Paul Khawaja.

What are some common IT challenges that organizations will face over the next few years?

One of the transformational developments right now in IT is of course cloud computing. Many of our clients have some type of a cloud-based solution, but they also have proprietary self-hosted solutions to run their business. I believe integration of these applications is going to be critical. For example, how do you make sure a sales management provider and your sales reports are effectively connecting into your ERP or into your manufacturing system? You’re likely going to need consultants to come in and work with your IT organization to develop a road map. And when they do, they need to be able to address questions like “How do I work with those solutions in order to integrate them”, and “what is a reasonable timeline for me to integrate those solutions”?

What should organizations consider before choosing a potential Services partner? [Read more…]

Softchoice CIO Interview: How to ride the cloud-wave without wiping out

How to ride the cloud wave without wiping out

Everyone has an opinion on the best way to leverage cloud technology. And with all the hype out there, it’s hard to know what’s just hot air and what you can actually use to your organization’s advantage. Our CIO Kevin Wright sat down with the Softchoice Advisor to give some straight talk on successfully riding the cloud computing wave.

Q: With a lot of breakthrough innovations, there’s often a lot of initial hype then a reality check. Where’s the cloud on the so-called hype curve?

Coined by Gartner, the hype curve – or cycle – represents the stages of maturity, adoption and social application of technologies. It starts with a breakthrough, then reaches a peak of inflated expectations, then enters a trough of disillusionment as some hyped expectations aren’t met, followed by more practical enlightenment and productivity. Where the cloud sits on this curve really depends on which part of the cloud you’re talking about. Software-as-a-Service (Saas) has already reached a comfortable and proven level of maturity for the right types of businesses, while Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is getting more mature and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is really still in its infancy and, therefore, still more prone to hype. For me, the cloud sits somewhere between 3D television and e-book readers. With technologies like 3D televisions, you’re still not sure if they’re going to live or die. With the cloud, the economics and technology drivers are unquestionably here to stay.

[Read more…]