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Office 365, It makes I.T. Support Easier and Increases Productivity?

  
  
  

Microsoft Office 365What do you want to accomplish with your business? Increase productivity? Reduce Costs? That is exactly what we seek for our Louisville, KY area clients. Maybe before diving into the pros and cons, the question needs to be asked, What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a software as a service solution that provides many of the software and applications you need to run your business via the Internet Cloud. Here is how Microsoft answers the question.

Now that is out of the way how can Office 365 help your business? Don’t take our word for it check out these examples.

Boost Productivity
Here is an example of a construction company that was able to utilize Office 365 to increase efficiency in their organization. One key was Simplified I.T. Management.

Reduce Costs
A realty company found they could save over $30,000 with an Office 365 solution. Maybe you can reduce I.T. costs too?

Simplify I.T. & Boost Collaboration
Check out how this retailer boosted interaction with field team members and the brand corporate was trying to improve. Imagine better collaboration for all of your team members, no matter where they are.

The fact is Microsoft is a leader in the cloud. Unlike many others Microsoft will be here long after the venture companies and hottest cloud start ups have moved on. Stability for your business, that is what we suggest.

Is Office 365 a perfect match for every business? Absolutely not. Does it require some type of hybrid implementation and not being 100% in the cloud? Quite possibly. Can Absolute Networking help you decipher through this madness to create a plan that suites your business I.T. needs for now and the future? The benefits of going to the cloud continue to grow, and now is the time to move past your competition, to the future.

Technology for Business, it’s what we do.

Absolute Networking is a Technology Company serving the Louisville, KY area for business. We provide I.T ConsultingBusiness Telephone SystemsData Cabling, & Cloud based solutions including our hybrid data backup solution. Give us a call 502.267.2552 or fill out our contact us form to get in touch with us.

My Business Needs Virtualization?

  
  
  

Louisville IT companyThe fact is you may already have it and not even know it! But virtualization is no longer just a cool I.T. Consulting initiative, but a way to protect your business from downtime, save $’s, reduce maintenance, and increase efficiency. We have been helping our clients in Louisville, KY and across the U.S.A. virtualize for many years now and simply put, it works.

The most common question we get when discussing virtualization are "What is server virtualization and how will it help me?" Here are some tidbits that we hope help you understand a little better:

Server virtualization is the masking of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems, from server users. A software application divides the one physical server into multiple isolated virtual environments. SIMPLE ALERT: LESS HARDWARE & MORE FLEXIBILITY

Why would anyone virtualize some, or all of their serves? To highlight just a little bit server virtualization can be used to eliminate server sprawl, where many basic application servers can be consolidated on one more robust server. It allows a more efficient use of server resources. For example, one backup and one uninterruptable power supply (UPS) serves several virtual servers SAVE $S.

Server virtualization is useful in improving both server availability and disaster recovery, as the virtual server can be reloaded on different hardware if there is a hardware crash. DECREASE DOWNTIME

Server virtualization aids in software testing and development. One can load a new software release onto the virtual server and confirm everything functions smoothly before releasing the upgrade to live servers. INCREASED EFFICIENCY

Finally, server virtualization can centralize server administration - managing multiple servers through one software console. BETTER MANAGEMENT

Now that you know the low down what do you do now? Your virtualization should be limited to two software vendors that make it possible, VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V, any other choice would not be suggested. The utilizing internal I.T. or a strategic partner like Absolute Networking gain guidance and experience to ensure all goes smoothly.

A proper plan is key. Plan out the migration and once completed start sleeping better at night and enjoying the benefits of virtualization!

Technology for Business, it’s what we do.

P.S. Absolute Networking is a Technology Company serving the Louisville, KY area for business. We provide I.T ConsultingBusiness Telephone SystemsData Cabling, & Cloud based solutions including our hybrid data backup solution. Give us a call 502.267.2552 or fill out our contact us form to get in touch with us.

Outsourcing I.T. Managed Services

  
  
  

Louisville IT companyAll businesses, large or small have three basic IT service needs:

  • Helpdesk – A first responder who quickly solves simple problems like “I can’t print” or “Can you setup a new computer for me?”
  • System Engineer – A diverse technical skill set with 5+ years of experience. Provides support for servers, securing your network from hackers, and deploying enterprise wide database applications.
  • CIO – A technology visionary for your company. Someone who understands where the business is headed and how technology can help you enhance operational efficiencies.

According to Salary.com the average base salary for a systems administrator is over $75,000 per year. Considering that one person may only have a subset of knowledge for your overall IT needs, you would still need to contract with additional vendors to fill in the gaps. In addition, you now have one more employee to manage and provide benefits and raises for. Finally, what happens when that person is out sick? Now you need to have a backup plan for another key employee.

Absolute Networking can be your outsourced IT department with a hybrid managed IT services plan of attack that solves all of those problems for you. For normally much less, as hiring that one employee, we provide a complete, turnkey, and redundant IT department including all of those skill sets and manage the process for you with complete transparency at a consistent affordable price.

Here are just a few of the benefits to using an outsourced it department:

  • Redundancy – for a fraction of the cost of one full time employee, you have access to a team of resources.
  • Better management – We manage IT professionals every day. We can do a better job of managing their effectiveness and provide them opportunities for professional growth.
  • Industry Standards – On a daily basis we are studying our industry trends and standards and apply those best practices to our clients. We also see what works and what doesn’t work, first hand. Our clients benefit from our collective experience.
  • Investment in training and education – we provide continuing education incentives for our employees to make them better prepared for tomorrows’ challenges.

Absolute Networking has been providing quality IT Support and Services since 1996 to our community. We have numerous clients that have been relying on us for our services for 10, even 15 years. Imagine having the confidence to stay with an I.T. Consulting company for over a decade. You can get the that level of comfort knowing you are maximixing your investments with Absolute Networking.

P.S. Absolute Networking is a Technology Company serving the Louisville, KY area for business. We provide I.T. Consulting, Business Telephone Systems, Data Cabling, & Cloud based solutions including our hybrid data backup solution. Give us a call 502.267.2552 or fill out our contact us form to get in touch with us.

Technology for Business, it’s what we do.

Office and Business Phone Service: Maximize your $$$'s

  
  
  
Louisville communications companyHow can we GUARANTEE a better value for your business phone and Internet service? If we are unable to we will give you a gift card for lunch out, for you and a friend.

(Want to allow us to take a stab at this? Contact us here and we would be happy to.)

It is easy, because MOST businesses are spending more than they need to on this area.
This is EXACTLY why you should evaluate your service every two years. For Internet service your needs are only increasing, maybe multi-fold, but pricing should be going down.

Here are some steps to take when you want to maximize your investment $’s in business phone and Internet service:

Step One: I Have
Gain a better understanding of what you have, what your usage is, utilization, when your current contract expires,and how much you are paying. Gather these brief notes on a single cheat sheet ~ Be Informed.

Step Two: I Need & Want
Identify what your needs may be in the next 36 months, expiration of your agreements with carriers, and growth plans of people and locations. Any new remote access or Internet based applications in the works requiring substantial needs for increased Internet? How does your business look differently than it did three years ago? How do you think it will look different three years from now?

Step Three: Who
For a list of local carriers to the Louisville area look below, otherwise for your specific needs ask around. There are normally 2-4 quality carriers of service in every region, I hope for your sake. The key here is to gain the benefit of getting quotes on service from at least two carriers in addition to your current provider. Be prepared to overview your cheat sheet and goals for the coming years, as well have prepared copied of existing bills, previous two months. Contact possible vendors, share your information, and suggest they quote current service needs and options for improvements they might suggest.

Step Four: How
Allow each representative to bring to the table their solutions for your business, this is Important, your business more than ever depends on quality phone service and Internet bandwidth that works. Listen to what they are selling, you should not make your decision based on the lowest price, but on the value of their service and the customer service avenues you have with them.

Step Five: Proceed
Start gaining the benefits of increased service and saving $$$’s. Have a kick off meeting where your I.T. Consultant, Phone System support provider, and the provider of your phone service so all are on the same page and responsible for a smooth transition.

Other Considerations:
A. Gain the benefit of your current I.T. and phone system service provider’s input. They should not be bias to a certain carrier but suggest the type of service.
B. Understand any upgrades required to your existing phone system to accomodate the new service.
C. Can you live without Internet service for an hour? If not, consider having a lower cost secondary Internet service brought in as a fail over in the event the primary goes down for any reason.
D. Maybe now is the time to consider taking those monthly cost savings and investing in a new phone system? A new PBX, telephone system, VoIP, or whatever you choose to call it can greatly increase efficiency and effectiveness of your business. Learn about a solution we have in place from leaders in communications NEC (small and medium business), and Interactive Intelligence (enterprise and call center).

Of course, this all begs the question “What is VoIP” and how does this play into my business needs. Download our Guide to become a VoIP Ninja so you can maximize your investments in technology with VoIP and your communications.

If you live in the Louisville, KY metropolitan area here are the primary providers of service.

Let us know if we can gather quotes from these providers and assist you through this maze. We can gain pricing from these vendors, provide some additional ones, and do all the research and work for you so you can focus on your business!

We hope this post will help you saving $$’s and increasing the efficiency of your business!

P.S. Absolute Networking is a Technology Company serving the Louisville, KY area for business. We provide I.T Consulting, Business Telephone Systems, Data Cabling, & Cloud based solutions including our hybrid data backup solution. Give us a call 502.267.2552 or fill out our contact us form to get in touch with us.

Technology for Business, it’s what we do.

Attractive business climate in Louisville enticing companies to the area

  
  
  

Absolute Networking is excited to have a seasoned professional, Tre Pryor, provide a guest blogger for our readers. Tre is the epitome of a professional and provides insight to the Louisville Real Estate marketplace via his Louisville Homes Blog. In this post we asked Tre to provide our readers some insight on how Louisville stacks up to other areas for business relocation.

[This article was originally published on 1/31/2012 on InsiderLouisville.com. It has been edited by the author and published with persmission on this blog.]

By Tre Pryor, Realtor

Tre Pryor Louisville realtorMoving a company headquarters, manufacturing plant, or even sales office, is a major decision. Executives weigh the pros and cons across a myriad of factors before arriving at the best choice. State tax codes, amount of skilled/non-skilled labor, proximity to strategic partners, geographic location — each plays a strong role. Let’s see how Louisville stacks up to our regional competition, and we’ll gain some insight as to why a growing number of high-powered, national companies are choosing Louisville for their company headquarters or vital operations. For years, the talent base in states like California, New York and others has been enough for tech companies to justify those states' anti-corporate tax codes. That balance has started to shift. The Tax Foundation has just published their Tax Climate Index for 2012 and the results aren't exceptionally surprising. Here are some selected states.

Rank State Index
1st Wyoming 7.67
2nd South Dakota 7.52
3rd Nevada 7.45
11th Indiana 5.99
14th Tennessee 5.62
22nd Kentucky 5.20
28th Illinois 5.05
39th Ohio 4.56
44th North Carolina 4.22
48th California 3.71
49th New York 3.59
50th New Jersey 3.33

Note: Higher scores indicate more favorable tax systems for business. Ranking 22nd in the country is fairly strong for Kentucky, even while there’s still room for improvement. Affordable housing plays a strong role in how companies view a city's attractiveness. Cost of living factors into so many facets of a corporation's cost structure: salaries, cost of goods, real estate, energy costs, etc. All of these must be weighted by the decision makers. Let’s see how Louisville real estate compares to a somewhat similar city such as Charlotte, NC. According to Sperling's (a great source for all kinds of demographic data), Charlotte rates a 98 just under the 100 national average. But Louisville comes in at 85, a far lower cost of living. Looking strictly at residential real estate, here’s how the two cities stack up.

City Avg. Listing Price Median Sales Price Avg. Price/sqft # of Sales
Louisville, KY $206,029 $130,000 $94 962
Charlotte, NC $265,568 $145,000 $175 756

Source: Trulia.com

In Louisville, home prices are lower, (i.e. home buyers get more house for their money) and sales activity is higher. So if a company was planning to move part of their operations from a city like Charlotte to Louisville, the company would experience a more business-friendly tax situation, save money on employee salaries due to the lower cost of living, and those same employees get more purchasing power. Along with an up-and-coming technological base, more and more SMBs in Louisville are optimistic about the city's future.

Tre PryorTre Pryor, a lifelong resident of Louisville, is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Champions. A graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in Marketing, he has 18 years of professional experience including consultation work for Fortune 200 companies. He uses his extensive Internet expertise to help his real estate clients realize superior results. Tre lives with his wife, three sons and daughter in the Springhurst area of Louisville. Mr. Pryor is also the Editor-in-Chief of the LouisvilleHomesBlog.com where visitors can get targeted real estate news and advice for home buyers and sellers in the Louisville area. You can also find him at TrePryor.com.

The Hunger Games Movie Info, Movie Times, and Trivia

  
  
  
It is exciting to have some Kentucky actors in the latest soon-to-be block buster opening March 23, 2012, The Hunger Games. Louisville, Kentucky's own Jennifer Lawrence plays the lead, Katniss Everdeen, in this futuristic movie. Josh Hutcherson from Union, KY plays Peeta Mellark, who just may have a thing for Katniss.  

A novel by author Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games has been adapted for the big screen in a big way. Here is Amazon's Book Description:

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

It is not a bad thing to have another exciting block buster for our young adults based upon a series of novels. This is the first in a series, just maybe we can get our young adults off the computers, iPhones, and gaming systems a little more and get their noses into a book. The vibe is that not only young adults but adults alike are enjoying this well written, light reading, action adventure series.

The Hunger Games Movie Times & Locations:  
Hint: Choose March 22 for Midnight Screenings

The Hunger Games Movie Trivia:
  1. Between what ages must you be in order to enter the reaping?
  2. What is an "Avox?"
  3. Which person does Katniss frequently sell strawberries to?
  4. What industry characterizes Katniss's 'District 12?'
  5. What is the name of the mutant killer wasps?

We hope you enjoy catching The Hunger Games and watching Louisville's own Jennifer Lawrence in what is expected to be a big block buster.  

P.S. While we like to support Louisville actors and people reading more books, we ARE an I.T. Consulting Company here in Louisville. Computers and Data ARE what your business runs on and Absolute Networking is here to help. Being a Microsoft Partner for well over a decade ensures your business is receiving the most in expertise and knowledge. Contact us for a FREE Consultation or give us a call today: 502.267.2552.

Technology for Business, it's what we do.

ANSWERS:  1.  To enter the Reaping you must be between the ages of 12 & 18,  2. An Avox is someone whose tongue has been cut out,  3. Katniss sells strawberries to the mayor,  4. Coal Mining is the industry of District 12,  5. Those terrible wasps are called Tracker Jackers.

Employee Spotlight: Meet M.C. Irvin

  
  
  

As part of our new initiative to share a little insight into our family members here at Absolute Networking who make it happen day in and day out, say hello to M.C. Irvin!

M.C. Irvin1. Tell us a little bit about the type of work you do for Absolute Networking.

I really enjoy helping Customers improve the use of technology solutions.  It is truly amazing how much small improvements can have a large impact on productivity.  Change is not always easy but it can have great benefits.  For instance, implementing a new phone system, with voicemail to email, gives a person the ability to call a Customer back sooner so you have improved responsiveness and even better Customer service!

2. When you aren’t doing work for us, what keeps you busy?

I really enjoy the outdoors. What can be better than hiking our beautiful Kentucky countryside on a beautiful day? Hanging out and relaxing on beautiful Lake Cumberland offers a pleasant distraction from “the daily grind.”  All things outdoors allow us to enjoy the beauty of our wonderful environment.

3. Have you always been in this industry? If not, what brought you where you are today?

I have been around computers for 1,000 years, in some capacity. The evolution of technology moves at a blinding speed and it has always been a fun challenge to try to stay “in the know” and share new technology with others.

4. What’s one thing you love about what you do for a living?

Helping my Customers and earning new ones. There is tremendous gratification in hearing a “Thank You.”  When you can show a prospect a new solution or a fresh approach to what they are trying to accomplish, and it propels them toward their objectives, they are grateful. That is a very rewarding experience.

5. Tell us a little bit about what you do for fun.

See #2

6. If you could do one thing for a living that had nothing to do with your current job, what would it be? 

Small project construction. I really enjoy planning, building or assembling, and completing small projects. It can be a small woodworking project, landscaping, building a brick fireplace/grill or a host of other small projects. The enjoyment comes in learning what needs to be accomplished, planning, executing and then stepping back and enjoying the gratification of seeing the “fruits of your labor.”

7. What is your favorite food treat, favorite color, favorite tv show, & favorite web site?

Pizza, Blue, I Rarely Watch TV, Google Finance 

M.C. Irvin has been in our family for over ten years on our sales team. Feel free to give him a call at our office, email: mcirvin-at-AllCommunicate.com, or connect on LinkedIn.

March Madness Basketball Brackets & Trivia

  
  
  

March Madness TriviaIt is that time of year and we like it!!! Although our focus is providing I.T. Support and Technology Solutions to businesses in our area, March is a time of bracketology!  At our place, employees play for free.  Each employee gets 2 x brackets to fill out: the winner gets bragging rights and a nice dinner out.


First, here are some important March Madness Resources:

 


We hope this is some trivia that you can 'WOW' your friends with:
(answers below)

  • It is not possible for a team to beat four #1 seeds but beating three can happen.  Only one team has ever done this, and in what year? Hint:  They beat Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
  • What team has the longest ACTIVE streak in tourney appearances? Hint: Overall North Carolina is #1 ever with 27, Arizona 25, and 3rd place is our answer.
  • Who was the lowest seeded team to make it to the championship game and in what year? Hints: They won the championship. Seeding started in 1979.


Well, good luck on your brackets.  One more thing, we do have to pay the bills... Absolute Networking is a Microsoft Partner, a Cisco Partner, and an experienced I.T. Company providing Technology Solutions for Kentucky and Indiana Businesses.  Contact us for a Free Consultation if you are considering a Business Telephone System, looking for new Business Phone Service, or just want to get a 2nd opinion on your I.T. support.
Technology for Business, it's what we do.

(#1. Stanford in 1997  #2.  Kansas with 22 straight years, currently active.  #3. Villanova in 1985.)

Microsoft Technology Vision of the Future

  
  
  
What a neat little video to check out what is going on in Microsoft's big brains for the next 8+ years.  We have to guess that these innovations are already in the works, right?  



Some other cool Future Technology things to check out:

A top Futurist who is doing, and has done some very exciting things, Ray Kurzweil, might be worth a check out.

As we look to the future do not forget the past, are you familiar with Moore's Law?  For you and I the non-scientists, it equates to a double of computing speeds every two years while prices remain a constant.  For Moore's law this means today is measured as x1, then in ten years technology will be 32x.

Is your business ready?

Louisville communications provider

For business how does all of this help?  Digest all of these future tidbits, then, look at your business & industry.  How can you innovate beyond where you are today?  Is it possible for your ENTIRE staff to be working from home and or the field and still be effective?  What if the decisions you made today started working you toward a more reliable computer network and technology infrastructure?   What if you were 5, 10, 15 years ahead of your competitors?  

P.S.  We can't promise we can predict the future of your industry, but we might be able to offer a 2nd opinion on your business's technology.  Give us a shout, fill out our Free Consultation form and maybe your technology decisions can start being based upon a future plan, not just avoiding tomorrow's headaches.

Employee Spotlight: Meet Steven Cox

  
  
  

As part of our new initiative to share a little insight into our family members here at Absolute Networking who make it happen day in and day out, say hello to Mr. Steven Cox!

Absolute Networking employee spotlight1. Tell us a little bit about the type of work you do at Absolute Networking?

As a Business Technology Consultant, I strive to keep our client’s IT infrastructure running as smoothly as possible.

2. When you aren’t doing work, what keeps you busy?

I’m very active in my Church, I’m dating a wonderful woman, and I have two adult children and one grand child—all of whom keep me very busy.

3. Have you always been in this industry? If not, what brought you where you are today?

I was in sales when PCs first started coming into businesses. As the industry I was in became more technical, I made a career shift and became an application engineer/ trainer for software for the M/CAD Industry. From there I moved into hardware oriented support and Windows Servers. I spent 10 years as the IT Manager for a Louisville Engineering Firm prior to joining Absolute.

4. What’s one thing you love about what you do for a living?

Knowing that I help people accomplish the tasks they have before them. If the technology in their office doesn’t work, then getting their jobs done becomes more of a hassle.

5. Tell us a little bit about what you do for fun.

Cheer for U of L, play guitar infrequently, spend time with my lovely lady friend, hang out with my kids.

6. If you could do one thing for a living that had nothing to do with your current job, what would it be?

Book editor.

7. What is your favorite food treat, favorite color, favorite tv show, & favorite web site?

A really good burger, Red, NCIS, Google.

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