Hot on the heels on the Maclean Customer Portal – the easiest way to see your Service Tickets, Invoices and System Health – Maclean Technology today announced the latest in their Managed Service offering – Maclean Live Chat.
Live Chat is expected to be a welcome addition to the support offering, complementing the ability to raise issues and receive support via the traditional telephone and email mechanisms, and the recently launched Maclean Customer Portal which offers customers a convenient real-time view into their systems health and ticket progress.
“As we develop our Managed IT Service offering, we have two primary goals” says Chris Maclean, CEO of Maclean Technology. “They are to avoid downtime if at all possible, for which we use the award-winning Enfusion remote monitoring and maintenance capabilities; and in the event of unavoidable downtime to get it back up and running as quickly as possible. But if we’re not communicating well, then none of that matters. Giving customers real-time visibility into progress and system health through the Maclean Portal, and real-time access to engineers via a system as convenient as Live Chat is another big step forward.”
Live Chat will enable faster and more effective incident resolution, and is expected to have a direct positive impact on reducing the Time to Respond to requests as well as increase our First Call Resolution rates – all of which adds up to a better customer experience. Customers will be able to access from a Desktop Link or our email signatures and there is nothing to install.
New Partnership – theCloud
In forming our Cloud concept, we embarked on an ambitious mission to find the right hosting partners for applications that are best hosted locally. We are very pleased to have formed a business partnership with a similarly ambitious and capable company, appropriately called theCloud. With data centres in Auckland and Hamilton (and soon to include Wellington and Christchurch), market-leading cloud agility products for fast deployment and adjustment, and an impressive array of existing customers, they have proven a great addition to our eco-system of Cloud partners.
Services jointly provided and supported currently include quick provision of Server 2012 Servers, Back up, Disaster Recovery, Hosted Exchange and a new product that provides Dropbox-like functionality in a secure NZ-based location.
theCloud is providing high-quality hosting up to the Operating System level, with Maclean providing related consulting, design, and implementation services and their award-winning Managed Services over the top, giving customers a best-in-class experience perfect for their target mid-sized Auckland-based customers.
theCloud complements our existing relationships with IBM and HD, giving us the enviable ability to find a perfect fit for your requirements.
It’s shaping up to be a big year for Microsoft, with big launches all taking hold at once. Server 2012 promises to give Citrix and VMware a run for its money in the mid-market, causing customers to question whether the (IMHO) slightly better but more expensive Citrix and VMware offerings are still worth their premiums.
Windows 8 is massive, not because of the new features but because it is the first step towards decent mobility for Microsoft. I went to a Microsoft Conference 3 years ago where I heard about this vision, and fair play to them; they’ve done it. They finally have a Windows phone that won’t get you laughed at in the geek set; in fact it might even get some admiration from those not totally blinded by Apple-love. They appear to have done their normal thing – take the bet and raise it some. There’s no doubt that Apple created this Smartphone revolution; but I think Microsoft is going to give them a good run in the business market. They’ve raised the stakes with consistent experience across all devices (desktop to tablet to smartphone) and have enough unique things to stand out. Furthermore, Exchange will always work best with Outlook – and the Microsoft phone has a fantastic Outlook client. A space to watch with interest.
Also important, is Microsoft Office 2013. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now, and love it. It’s hard to describe what makes it worth the upgrade as to me – I guess it’s quite subjective. Simply put, it’s just ‘cooler’. Everything just feels more intuitive, there’s some great features for power-users (like automatic pivot tables which have a pretty good guess at what you might be looking for) and for novices alike (such as adding a new line to a Word table is a one-click operation of the table itself). Here is a link to Microsoft’s user guides for the new app suite.
And finally, let’s not forget Microsoft’s public cloud offering – Office 365. If you have unique email requirements, by all means an on-premise or partner-hosted Exchange server is still a great option and the Managed Service Provider (MSP) community will be happy to help. But if your email is the same as most others, you don’t mind it being offshore or losing some of the more advanced features then Microsoft’s Office 365 Hosted Exchange becomes pretty compelling. Not that it suits us MSP’s too well – but that’s progress.
Up until now apps have had to be tediously loaded on to each and every iOS device one at a time. Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) now makes it easier to find, buy, and then distribute the apps your business needs. Apple’s new VPP isn’t restricted to just Apple Store apps. It’s also a simple way for businesses to get custom B2B apps built and deployed from third party developers.
To enrol and find out more about VPP visit http://www.apple.com/business/vpp/
An investment which pays for itself
Processor technology has been going gang-busters, putting pressure on Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) to keep up. This led to the introduction of Solid State Drives (SSDs) which offer improved performance, longer lifetime and increased productivity.
Most laptop manufacturers offer both spindle (traditional) and SSD options for their laptops. The SSD options tend to more expensive than the traditional hard drive options. But the higher productivity it delivers compensates for this in a big way and the investment pays for itself pretty quickly.
Sceptical? A study sponsored by Intel identified that companies gained a boost in team productivity, quicker response times and happier users. Team members using SSD deployed on notebooks / ultrabooks worked, on average, 51 minutes more every day. As a business owner, this is the kind of stuff I want to hear!
Let’s look at the numbers. A quick online search showed a notepad / ultrabooks with SSHD to cost as much as $300 more than its standard hard drive equivalent. An office worker on minimum wage ($13.50per hour) would be able to make up that additional spend back in under a month from the boost in productivity. From then on those productivity gains will go straight to your bottom line.
SSD drives are also a MUST for anyone who is out and about, one of the most common failures of ultrabooks and laptops is hard drive related. Constantly picking up and putting of laptops cause traditional hard drives to degrade over time leading to problems. SSD drives have no moving parts which mean that the impact of moving around constantly is greatly reduced, meaning longer lifetime for laptops and no having to wait around for replacement hard drives to arrive.
To find out more about Windows 8 and what it could do for your business contact the solutions team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Forget the features, focus on the future. The way IT is delivered and what is expected from an IT department has fundamentally changed over the course of this year. It’s all about being quicker, more cost effective, more flexible and delivering more for the business. This will gain momentum over 2013. At the core of any IT infrastructure is the Operating System and using the products of yesterday to keep up with the demands of today is an uphill battle that is only going to become more difficult. With the release of
Server 2012, Microsoft has effectively given IT professionals the building blocks they need to create the infrastructures of tomorrow. Out of the box Server 2012 is without a doubt bigger, better and faster. But more importantly it gives you options; whether it’s creating private clouds or implementing a line of business application in HTML5.
We put Server 2012 through its paces and believe there are three points that cannot be ignored:
- Robust virtualisation – Allows you to respond to business and provision new services faster. Future proofing for when you are ready to take that next step to the cloud.
- Simplified management – A broad number of management tasks can be automated, making deployment easier. This frees up your IT team (whether it be yours, ours or a hybrid) to create new services and innovate.
- Affordable storage – With Windows Server 2012, vendor lock-in is a thing of the past. Choose the storage which best meets your needs or repurpose existing hardware to maximise investments.
- Reduced risk downtime – Keep all your business critical services (Exchange, Lync, CRM etc) up and running. Windows Server 2012 prevents downtime, speeds up recovery when needed, and can utilise online backup for an additional layer of data protection.
Growing the Business:
- Improved access – Your team is provided secure access to their personalised work environment, which they can virtually access from anywhere and on any device.
- Increased productivity – Your team also have flexible and easy access to data and applications, while simplifying management and maintaining security, control, and compliance
Windows 8 is destined to be a game-changer for Microsoft. Once you get past the Start screen (aka Metro desktop) you find a system that is intuitive to use and significantly faster than its predecessors. But the most important differences are in the very obvious attempts to align the user experience across all devices – from a desktop or laptop to a smartphone or tablet. The redesign means you can easily move from one to another and instantly comprehend the interface.
To be fair to Microsoft, these don’t appear to be so much Microsoft issues – they have produced something special here; but the hardware vendors don’t appear to have kept pace and not all the drivers are available that you’re going to need to have an entirely pleasant transition.
If you’re going there anyway, our top tips are:
- Get used to using the Windows key. It is the fastest way to toggle between what you’ll recognise as a normal desktop and the Metro desktop.
- Once you’re on the Metro desktop don’t bother with clicking through menus to find things – just start typing.
- Don’t feel obliged to use the Metro desktop when you’re on your laptop. It looks cool but isn’t as efficient as your normal desktop. Different story if you’re on a touch screen tablet.
- This is a major transition for users – perhaps even bigger than the Office 2003 to 2007 transition, which we all know created its fair share of frustration. We don’t think it’s wise to resist change – the longer you wait the harder it’ll get – but we highly recommend some user training or you’re likely to see a major drop in productivity for a week or two. This can be a cheap and cheerful as a YouTube video or as comprehensive as a professional trainer from one of our partners in this area.
In July 2012, Maclean Technology Ltd purchased the assets of Maclean Computing Ltd. Maclean Computing Ltd went into liquidation following a very large theft and subsequent bank-facility reduction which the directors were unable to sustain.
The new business is majority-owned by Chris Maclean who, with business partner Matthew Bellingham, purchased the assets to ensure the continuation of service for Maclean’s clients and preservation of loyal employees jobs; and with a commitment to making Maclean Technology the most recommended IT company in Auckland.
Maclean says “we are very excited about the business going forward – we know exactly what needs to be done to meet our objective of being the most recommended IT business in Auckland, and we are now in a position to make it happen. You won’t see a big fanfare from us – we’ll be improving our business quietly and confidently from the inside out and doing whatever it takes to turn every one of our valued customers into a promoter of Macleans”.
Comparing it to the All Blacks, Bellingham adds “the Maclean Computing business lost the game, but like any good team they’re not going home; they’ve gone back to the locker room, had a good hard look at themselves, trained hard and have come out firing on all cylinders keen to win the hearts and minds of their customers. I’m excited to be part of the new business going forward, and sharing what I’ve learned from both my various advisory roles and running a professional services business of my own.”
Sixty days on, the new business is thriving under the new conditions, with customers and staff both benefitting greatly from the fresh start. “We are making rapid and very constructive change. Without the theft-induced debt hanging over us we are able to do the things we’ve wanted to do for quite a while; including all new systems, greater investment in people, introducing new products and improving key business processes. I’ve never been so excited about the business, and the staff feel the same way” says Maclean. “It’s been a pretty tough couple of years, but despite taking a massive knock we now have what it takes to quickly re-group and delight our customers. We are more committed than ever, the place is humming with positive activity and that can only mean good things for everyone.”
Maclean Technology employs over 40 staff, and is focussed on providing Rock-Solid IT Infrastructure solutions to mid-sized, Auckland-based business customers to help them reach their own goals and potential.
The Symantec Symposium event series is taking place across Australia and New Zealand and will be held in Auckland on Tuesday 14 August 2012.
What you can expect at Symantec Symposium 2012.
- Keynote presentations by industry experts
- The latest industry practices and emerging trends
- Useful information and meaningful insights to help you overcome the challenges of cloud, mobility, virtualisation, management, security, backup, and anything else that threatens to slow IT organisations down or put business at risk
- Meet with Symantec executives as well as solution and industry experts
For further details and to register for this event go to Symantec.
Technology is having a significant impact on how retailers are engaging with customers to attract, engage and share their shopping experiences. Check out this latest research and white paper on global trends in the retail space.
Decades ago, retail was based on relationships: When people walked through the front door, the merchant personally greeted them and asked how they could help. Customers trusted the merchant to help them with what they needed and educate them about new items on the shelf.
Over time, the personalized approach was lost and consumers no longer felt the same loyalty to the retailer. Today, retailers are working to enhance their shoppers’ experience, knowing that at the same time customers have options to shop wherever and whenever they want, often without stepping inside a store. Retailers have to anticipate a shopper’s buying behavior, whether the route they take begins with a website, social site or the parking lot outside of their store.
We conducted a survey of 250 U.S.-based retail executives in May 2012 to understand what impact omni-channel retail trends are having on their business, the drivers to change and their plans to use mobile technologies within the next five years…..
Read the full article and download the white paper.