Customer relationships are more important than ever in this business climate, but while even small companies save computerised their order books, far fewer are using the tools available to help manage what they know about their customers.
Reselling services represent a significant – and growing – part of the business for many IT consultants. Margins on IT hardware, and to a lesser extent, software, have fallen steadily. The fees that can be charged for higher-value work, such as code customisation and application testing, have also come under pressure, not least because of competition from suppliers in markets such as India or Eastern Europe and Russia.
Protect computers from power problems and you can extend their working life as well as avoiding downtime and possible data corruption. Losing data on a laptop or desktop is bad enough, but losing a server to a power surge or power cut can be much more severe, potentially even a threat to the business. Losing a mail server or a major database can lead to serious data corruption that will take you time, perhaps even days, to resolve. During that time, your customer’s business is being impacted, and even if they’ve ignored your advice they’re likely to blame you, so you need to explain the danger and convince them to protect their systems.
Like any other database, Exchange needs a little TLC if you want to recover from any downtime.
The iPhone continues to increase in popularity and it’s been more suitable for business since the launch of the 3GS, which added hardware encryption. However, configuring and deploying devices remains an issue. Apple’s iPhone management tools are primitive at best, and awkward for any business trying to manage a fleet of devices.
SBS 2008 has some long-awaited features, including Exchange Server 2007, and it’s far simpler to set up, but it also drops features like firewalling, VPN and some backup options. What do you gain, what do you lose and what do you need to do about it?
Subscribe and get the magazine in the post before it's online
Subscribe and get access to all of the back issues
To read a sample eMagazine - March 2010