Less Spent On Support Means More Data Issues

A recent survey found that large companies will spend 19 percent less on service and support this year compared with last year, or $170,000 on average per firm, down from $211,000. Small businesses expect to hold spending steady at $3,000 per firm over the same time period, according to the survey, which was conducted for CRN by The Gallup Organization Inc.

Servers with problems, geeks with jobs!

Servers with problems, geeks with jobs!

Bill Gardner, president of reseller UltraServ Inc., San Jose, Calif., is already capitalizing on the services spending trend in the middle market, which he attributes to the effects of the Asian contagion. “We’re seeing that trend reflected in our sales mix, particularly in the last quarter,” Gardner said.

UltraServ offers data storage products and services as part of networking solutions provided primarily to midsize customers in four vertical markets: medical, financial, industrial/manufacturing and software development industries. Many of Gardner’s clients, like so many companies that operate in Silicon Valley, have been hit hard by the Asian economic crisis and are cutting back on IT spending, he said.

In this time of shrinking budgets, Gardner sells his team of technicians as a cost-effective alternative to the bloated IT department. He said the cost-effectiveness factor “is a pretty powerful argument right now” because many companies are looking to cut back on overhead. He also says that offering

Translating Always A Difficulty With Libraries

If you have tried to use the same computer workstation to run multimedia training programs sold by different vendors or created with different authoring tools, you may have found it difficult or impossible. Ditto if you’ve tried to use your company’s online training-administration system to track students’ progress through computer-based training (CBT) courses created with authoring tools that turned out to be incompatible with the system. For instance, if you built the course with Macromedia’s Authorware and your administration system is Asymetrix’s Librarian, you’re out of luck.

Finally, if you’ve followed the talk in the online-learning industry about “reusable content objects,” also known as “granular” content or “chunks,” you’re aware that an imposing obstacle stands in the way of the visions inspired by the concept of granularity. (If you haven’t followed that talk, the general idea is that brief chunks of online information – a few paragraphs of text, an audio or video clip, a pie graph – could easily be reused again and again in any number of different training or performance-support applications.)

In all three cases, the missing element is standards: a universal language, as it were, for a set of instructions that would run “underneath” or parallel to the program. In a Web page or an online CBT course, such standards would allow you to find, identify, retrieve,

Do Not Procrastinate If You Have To Fix A Broken RAID Array

braProcrastination is a dangerous thing when it comes to any situation; this is especially true in the case of office operations. For instance, if you really need to fix your broken RAID array and you are sitting on it and not calling a RAID 5 recovery expert for immediate assistance,  you are bound to suffer substantial losses. You may have thought that it is just data and that it is not a big deal. You may also be under the illusion that your assistant has taken the required backups. What if you turned out to be wrong? What if your assistant is also a procrastinator and the data is truly lost? When your boss tells you to fix that broken RAID array as soon as it happens, you had better listen and take it to heart. It could make the difference between having a job and losing it.

If you let things slide and if you do not fix your RAID array, it is entirely possible that your boss will consider you not only inept but also lazy. That is a sure sign that you are going to be given the pink slip. You would be wiser to make sure that you have a backup of all the contact information of companies that send out professionals to solve the problem and …

Retailers Succeeding With Innovative Programs

When a competing product is scanned at the point of sale, a store-specific, short-dated coupon is automatically printed for a supporting vendor’s product. Manufacturers like the program because it ensures that their marketing dollars are aimed directly at consumers who buy the type of product they’re selling. And retailers see the program as both a value-add to their customers and as one more way to entice customers to return to their store soon.

With so many transactions passing through its systems, Catalina Marketing was in what was at once an enviable and a frustrating position. Even the largest retail companies only see transactional data from their own stores. From its catbird seat, Catalina could peer down at transactions across the broad and varied store base it serves.

So much data, so little warehouse!

So much data, so little warehouse!

The frustration came from not being able to analyze that rich flood of data effectively. Catalina knew that if it could flow that information into a large, central database, it could help the retailers and manufacturers it serves to target their promotions with unparalleled efficiency.

“We needed a data warehouse for a number of reasons,” Bross said. “We needed a single repository of business information to answer our own decision-support needs and to provide decision-critical information to our clients.

And we needed a data warehouse to support our in-house

Does Your Business Have The Credibility?

duhtcMORE THAN 22 MILLION U.S. HOME-BASED businesses vie for attention from an increasingly discriminating marketplace. But you can gain an edge over the competition by making yourself known as the expert in your field.

Cultivating yourself as an expert gets you in front of the right people, say Paul and Sarah Edwards, authors of Getting Business To Come To You ($19; J.P. Tarcher). “You need to become so well-known that when someone in the right circle needs what you have to offer, your name will either immediately come to mind or should be the first one mentioned [when] they turn to others to find what they need,” says Paul Edwards.

Establishing yourself as an expert distinguishes you in two important ways. First, it lifts you from the ranks of anonymity. Second, your clients will think of you as the unequivocal authority on their needs. As a result, you’ll get more business with less effort, command higher fees, and leverage yourself by spreading outward in new directions–whether writing books, giving speeches, or holding seminars and workshops.

The Power of Publishing Writing articles, columns, and books is an important way to establish your credibility with thousands of prospective clients. After you’re published, you can mail out reprints of your articles as excellent, low-cost sales tools that replace expensive brochures and newsletters.

The printed word

How A Consultant Wooed The World

hacwtwHe targeted wealthy; smart women – doctors, lawyers, authors. For each online conversation, he took on a new persona that offered him a challenge in conquering women. One doctor for example, believed he was a cardiologist! There are none so blind….

He claimed to be an agent. And he seemed wonderful: kind, successful, a man of the world. Was meeting this man on America Online the beginning of a romance? Excited, I wondered if the time had come to fall in love again. A few days after our first conversation, I gave him my phone number. He followed up by sending a $100 bouquet of flowers. That began a whirlwind, nine-day romance, filled with phone and e-mail flirtation … and then POOF!!

My excitement turned to astonishment the day I received a call from a police detective. Turns out, Mr. Wonderful was a notorious con artist. He was wanted for a minimum of eight counts of bigamy and fraud for bilking millions of dollars in life savings from scores of women. When the police caught up with him in Chicago and went through his records, they realized I was his next target.

I knew him as Andrew Farr-Condon, but he goes by many other names. He’s been hunting women for 30 years. But about a year ago, he discovered cyberspace –