Looking Ahead: What’s In Store For Your Company?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Our clients are typically small and medium sized companies, and while some of them are putting the brakes on and slowing down, most are still going strong.

We’re feverishly working with many clients to plan out their IT projects for 2009. Several clients are looking to upgrade their infrastructure with new servers, workstations and higher speed networking equipment. Even more will be enhancing their Internet speed and security and upgrading their websites (look for an incredible web and e-mail service promotion from us next month!).

These clients understand the importance of keeping their network and critical business systems update to date and in great operating condition.

What Is Your 2009 Plan?
By now, you’ve undoubtedly got the framework of your 2009 plan put together. What’s on the agenda?

From our corner of the world, as your computer guys, we’re seeing many companies looking for ways to decrease expenses and increase sales. We think some of the key technologies you’ll see helping with that include virtualization, unified communications, and cloud computing.

Virtualization technologies go back all the way to the 1960s and IBM’s M44 mainframe systems. In essence, virtualization lets you create and run more than one server “system” on a single piece of server “hardware.” The obvious benefit is that you’re able to run distinct servers on one piece of hardware.

An example application for small business would be a company that uses a specialized piece of software that requires a dedicated server. If the company is smaller, chances are a lot of that server’s horsepower is going to sit idle – because not a lot of people are using it. With virtualization, we would simply create another virtual server and install the special business software on that virtual server, saving the cost of an additional server.

Unified Communications
During the next few years, you’ll see the number of different communications vendors you work with reduced considerably. The technology already exists to check your e-mail from your cell phone, and to receive voice mails in your e-mail.

Cloud Computing
“The cloud” is a metaphor for the Internet. In general terms, cloud computing is the concept that your computing resources are no longer located in your office, or on your server, but rather, purchased as a service and delivered via the Internet. More and more, the services your company relies on every day will move to cloud computing applications, eliminating the need for hardware at your office.

The initial cost savings of cloud computing are obvious; the longer term cost savings will come from reduced operating expenses (employees can work from home, or anywhere, lowering the need for expensive office space) and access to higher quality services that are traditionally too expensive for small companies to implement. Salesforce.com is the perfect example of an enterprise-class application made available to small companies through the use of cloud computing.

Thank You!
As we wind down 2008, I’d like to thank the clients and friends that support Tech Experts. The trust and confidence you place in us as your IT company is invaluable, and everyone here is very thankful for your business. Happy new year!

A Great Book To Read
Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity (edited by Michael Lewis) is a brilliant book and a good start to our new “Recommended Reading” list.

Panic covers five modern financial crashes: The Crash of 1987, The Russian Default / Collapse of Long Term Capital Management, The Asian Currency Crisis of 1999, The Internet Bubble and The Subprime Mortgage Disaster.

Each section has a perfect setup – a few articles preceding the actual crash followed by articles that are written as the crash is happening. Lewis finishes off each section with at least one post crash article.

There are some interesting characters throughout the book, but my favorite example is from The Internet Bubble section: Bernard Madoff – yes, the one that’s been in the news lately.