Consider Microsoft Teams to help boost productivity!

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Consider Microsoft Teams to help boost productivity!

Microsoft Teams is a powerful communication and collaboration tool that may become a major player in the market.  Teams was added to the Office 365 suite of services in November of 2016. Teams can play a significant role in the new workplace where workers are not all on site, travel regularly, or work remotely. A recent survey revealed that almost 80% of remote workers report greater productivity while working offsite.

Teams has a significant advantage over competitors like Slack. It comes with Business Essentials, Premium, or Enterprise Office 365 subscription which means many companies already own it. Teams allows you to set up multiple channels (discussion areas) for your team, share and store files, and conduct live voice and video meetings. 

Teams provides global, remote, and isolated team members the ability to work together and share information via common space.  Teams provides the ability to chat one-on-one, privately or publicly with team members. The Hub feature of teams offers a shared workspace for various applications in Microsoft Office including Power Point, Word, Excel, Planner, One Note, SharePoint, Delve, and Power BI. Teams also integrates with Skype, Exchange, and Yammer and allows for adding emojis to video discussions with Skype.   

More features of Teams include; E-Discovery for meeting various compliance regulations and making applications secure. Teams also provides views for scheduled meetings, subjects and attendees, and a Bots gallery for polling and reporting to mention a few. Available on both Android and iOS, Teams also has the capabilities to perform mobile and video calling.

Microsoft Teams boasts cutting-edge security and compliance capabilities that are present with any of Office 365’s platform services. Teams can be tailored to use API’s and connecting to applications for added functionality of notifications from third-party products as well.

Microsoft has announced that Teams will replace Skype for Business as the primary communications client in Office 365. Here are more features in Teams you can do to help you to make your workplace more collaborative:

·       Name your Chats – chats are all saved in Teams so they can be referenced any time  

·       Assign an email address to a channel and forward emails

·       Has a mobile App that can be used for messaging within channels

·       Track tasks by using Microsoft Planner

Using Teams can have significant advantages for your workforce; however you must consider how to treat the data within Teams. Consider what work as in documents, conversations, email, texts, and recordings, are being held or saved in Teams. Do you need to retain all the data, documents, emails, and recordings? Should this information be backed up as all the other data within your system? How should it be categorized or retained – separately or integrated with all like components or by timeline?

 

Contact us to learn more about Microsoft Teams and you can get started using this product you might already own. If you don’t own Teams and you are looking for collaboration software, we can walk you through selection, integration, and deployment for a more effective workplace and make better use of your Time, Talent, and Treasure.

Call or contact EIS at 440-918-1040 or ConsultEIS@gotoeis.com

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Digital Disruption Delivered Through Agile, Lean and DevOps

In today’s fast-paced, information-centric world, it’s essential to have the right tools in place to improve your employees’ workplace experience. To do so, you’ll need the right technology-enabled programs. This blog post will take a hard look at the use of Agile, Lean, DevOps, and other learning initiatives to keep your digital disruption transformation manageable.

 

Agile

Agile software development is an umbrella term for a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it.

To understand Agile more clearly, please take a moment to view this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/KLARQSoNAlc

How can you prepare for an Agile environment?

1.      Centralize and redefine your IT department.

2.      Develop four key areas:

a.       Technology – a movement toward self-service tools with automated delivery (i.e., AI, chatbots)

b.      Talent – Movement away from software developers toward infrastructural engineers who can build well-defined service offerings

c.       Processes – Teams are now responsible for end-to-end, repetitive, and streamlined service offerings

d.      Collaboration – Blending development and operations

3.       Start with a small project and cross-functional team for software development.

Lean

Lean Digital Transformation is the process by which companies apply Lean principles to the design, development, and delivery of new digital experiences. While methodologies are in order, the use of computer languages such as Java, COBOL, and ETL code is often needed to provide the right outcome.  

 

DevOps

DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and information technology operations to shorten the systems development life cycle while delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives. A good source for understanding and implementing this methodology is The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations.

Here an excellent introductory video to DevOps: https://youtu.be/3EyT1i0wYUY

 

How can you move forward on DevOps?

1.      Read the handbook listed above and refer to it often.

2.      Consider contracting DevOps engineers from EIS.

3.      Internally, start using tools like Git, Docker, Jenkins, Ansible, and Nagios.

4.      Certify some of your IT staff in DevOps which may include Microsoft Azure Certifications and becoming a Certified ScrumMaster.

 

Continuous Learning

Digitally disruptive organizations are implementing lunch and learn series or teaching days to allow employees to spread the teachings of Agile, Lean, and DevOps to their peers. The intent is to promote the latest IT practices and coding updates and methods.

 

Digital Disruption Benefits

 

The ability to release high-quality software sooner at a lower cost is part and parcel why there’s such a massive push toward disruption. Also, the automation of software testing allows for a much more efficient process.

According to McKinsey, Agile approaches can boost the productivity of software developers by 25-30% within 6-18 months. In fact, in one company they were able to cut IT costs by greater than 35% while doubling overall productivity.

Lastly, the team is continually finding ways to improve which cuts down on IT burnout and boredom.

 

Conclusion

Traditional IT infrastructures and management practices cannot compete with the fast-paced digital disruption delivery solutions. Old school thinking of stability first is gone due to multiple handoffs, delays and frequent misunderstandings as identified in the Agile video.

With the integration of DevOps, the product owner and ScrumMaster collectively flush out the scope, objectives, and metrics of the project. They are fully integrated into the process from beginning to end.

 

EIS is Committed to Digital Disruption

Our Consulting Solutions division will deliver high quality, custom software solutions to your organization quickly and within budget. We have the right talent and can provide the right resources for your organization today! Email ConsultEIS@gotoeis.com or give us a call at 440-918-0140 to learn more about our services.

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Snipping Tool - The all NEW Update

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Snipping Tool - The all NEW Update

Ability to finally annotate on a touch screen.

With the all NEW Snip & Sketch a person will have Capture, mark up, and share, all with touch screen users in mind. Some of the differences that is first noticed is that the new Snip & Sketch is a new modern APP that is available from the Microsoft App Store. This tool comes with an update to Windows 10 with version 1809.

View the article to read more.

#EISITConsulting
#EISmakesadifference
#CLEeis

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Sound Business Practices + Cybersecurity = Company Bliss

These two measures are at the heartbeat of any organization. You’ve worked hard to grow your business and keep it profitable. Something is missing. That something is cybersecurity in which every employee is aware and involved. Having the right cybersecurity talent, processes and procedures in place before your business goes off the rails is vital to ensure everything you spent the last several years building up, doesn’t crumble before your eyes.

If you know how to recover from cybersecurity attacks and you’re sure you can recover all of your data and pick where you left off before the attack, and your employees are trained, then no need to read any further! Reality is there are so many ways of an attack that no one is an expert in recovering. Even the best preparation for an attack may be challenged, but experts will tell you the best-known preparation is prevention and avoidance. An attack could result in a very daunting and tireless effort with unknown results. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small and midsized businesses that are hacked go out of business within 6 months.

Let’s take an in-depth look at both and how they intersect.

 

First: Start with Your Business Processes

At the heart of every business, there are things you must do to bring in revenue. You put in place procedures for two reasons: Accountability and Scalability. Focusing exclusively on growth (i.e., sales targets, opening in new markets) can be difficult without a clearly defined plan.

It’s important to take a holistic approach to avoid cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Map out every process and look for weaknesses, especially where sensitive data can be exposed if it falls into the wrong hands.

This audit requires the following:

  • Document when each activity starts and ends

  • What the outcomes are

  • When and who makes the decisions

Ideally, this process will identify areas where things are either paper or process intensive. However, before you automate or streamline anything, you must define the cybersecurity risks.

Second: Inventory BYODs and Beware of Shadow IT

Employees are putting increasing pressure on their employers to allow them to use their own devices when accessing company applications and data. In areas where the CIO or department haven’t approved BYODs, it may be happening despite mandates that state otherwise. Shadow IT is the use of devices, software, and applications without explicit IT department approval. It has grown exponentially in recent years with the adoption of the cloud. From these devices, some data breaches have occurred.

Third: Implement a Good Cybersecurity Strategy

According to Hiscox, a cybersecurity insurance company, roughly 47% of U.S. small businesses had at least one cyber attack last year, and 44% had two to four attacks.

To prevent one from happening to your organization, we recommend the following:

  1. Make sure all software, antivirus software, and firewalls are up to date. Outdated software, including and especially Windows 7 (no longer supported January 2020), will leave the door wide open for data vulnerabilities.

  2. Establish a password policy. Strong passwords that are at least ten characters long with upper and lower case, special characters and numbers, are the best.

  3. Train employees about phishing scams. Don’t do this once – it must be an ongoing process as hackers find new ways to clickbait your staff.

  4. Hire an outside firm to: Hacking needs to be performed from the outside by security experts to be sure no vulnerabilities are present in hardware, software, and policies. Don’t leave your business in the hands of “I would have never thought of that”. A hacker lives and breathes hacking – you don’t.

    1. Complete a vulnerability assessment. This assessment should include all threats in the cloud, with mobile devices, and your data.

    2. Conduct ongoing employee training. It must include BYOD policies, password guidelines, phishing and consequences of violating policies.

  5. Remember, cybersecurity isn’t one and done.
    Consider hiring one or more contract consultants to keep up on assessments, audits, testing, and regulations. This person can be onsite as a contract employee or manage your account as part of our managed services offering.

EIS can provide you with the proper technology solutions, recommend colleagues that can write your policies, and map out plans for continuous improvement.

 

Conclusion

Business process and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand. Understand your processes first, make sure you have a clear path to automation, and use policies, procedures and outside help to ensure your data is secure.  

 

Exodus Integrity Services Has An Unique Advantage

Our IT Consulting Team  is well versed in IT infrastructure, software development, and cybersecurity at the forefront of industry trends and state/federal regulations.

Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced IT consultants. ConsultEIS@gotoeis.com

 

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How to predict the lifespan of a company in one simple measure

By Dave West February 14, 2017 Business 

In his book “Creative Destruction”, Richard N. Foster revealed that the rate that companies fall off of the S&P 500 – the 500 most valuable companies traded on the U.S. stock market – is accelerating. In 1958, the lifespan for a company on the list was roughly 61 years. Today, the average is just 18 years. At this rate, 75 per cent of the S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027. The reasons behind this shift are many, but in recent years, the advent of the Internet and cloud has reshaped how, when and where we do business. In the current economy, businesses and investors alike are all asking themselves what determines the healthy lifespan of a company? In an age of unicorns, where are the cockroaches that will outlast them all? 

There’s one key measure that may help predict whether or not a company will have staying power and it has nothing to do with revenue, acquisitions or celebrity endorsements. In fact, you need only look back to the story of Thomas Edison, who – in addition to inventing one of the most remarkable innovations in human history – famously failed “10,000 times”. In the face of failure, Edison never stopped innovating, again and again. This is the special sauce to success: speed and frequency of innovation delivery to market. 

Research from Forrester has found that more than one third of banks and insurance companies surveyed delivered new software releases quarterly or less. For an 18 -year old company – assuming that software is part of their innovation – that would equal about 72 releases over the organisations lifetime, as most companies release on a quarterly basis. That sounds like a lot, but for a startup today, that means they have between 10 and 72 times to get it right.

Driven to innovate

Lean startups have removed perfection from their criteria for release. These small organisations are driven to innovate in order to stay alive, but often fall into technological debt as a result. Older, more established businesses less reliant on innovation aren’t in a position to take the chance of imperfection, so they stagger releases, leaving time for trial-and-error before going to market, which typically means three-to-four months between deliveries. This old-guard delivery may have worked in the past, but in today’s world of continuously cloud delivery, that just won’t cut it.

This is where an agile approach to technology innovation can help to speed organisations from idea to delivery. Scrum is an agile approach to software development and delivery that is particularly effective at creating a culture of constant delivery by completing work in regular sprints that focus on clear business outcomes. Each sprint provides a way for the business to inspect and adapt to outcomes, throwing out the bad and concentrating on the good. Some of the most successful companies push innovation delivery regularly – just look at the frequency of app updates to Uber, Facebook and Instagram. 

Not all businesses that employ this approach deal exclusively with software. Capital One is a great example of a business that applied an agile framework to its business operations. In 2011, the company began rolling out agile development, accounting for about one per cent of software.  

Today, agile delivers approximately 85 per cent of software at a rate of roughly 400 product releases per month, with 95 per cent of products meeting expectations on the first release. By opening lines of communication between business partners and development teams, the company makes delivery a business goal, rather than keeping it in an IT silo. Another financial organisation who has made agile their main approach to innovation is BBVA Compass, which is committed to the agile approach and has gone so far as to move many of its developers into a startup incubator and plans to open its programs up to startups to further foster innovation. 

Secret ingredient to disruption

It’s not just the financial industry that benefits from an agile approach – Spotify is a poster child for agile, having originally employed Scrum and then, as the company grew, actually developed their own methodology for agile, which they continue to use today. Agile in the big leagues include the likes of Uber and Airbnb, multi-billion dollar companies that retained the speed, responsiveness and flexibility associated with lean startups. Beyond the on-demand economy, less assuming companies that utilise an agile approach include John Deere, which simultaneously moved 800 software developers into an agile development process in 2011 and saw measurable results including a 42 per cent reduction in time to field issue resolution and faster time to market.  

Agile is also a main ingredient in the secret sauce of disruptors. SpaceX is completely reshaping the space travel industry, with its high rate of software deployment via Continuous Integration and agile approach, where historically innovation has moved at a snail’s pace. From a strictly software perspective, Atlassian has embraced agile to the point of creating an agile resource for customers on the basis of the framework, so that they too can embrace an agile approach that fosters innovation and speeds delivery. 

If you’re curious what happens to companies who fail to adopt this framework, consider the cautionary tale of Circuit City. Once beloved for all things personally electronic, the company was blown out of the water by agile-loving Best Buy. With dedicated “geeks” around the store to help with product-specific inquires and a robust, easy-to-navigate ecommerce site, customers were able to choose whether or not to interact with a salesperson, unlike the Circuit City counter-purchase approach. What Best Buy did was apply agile to the retail store ecosystem which not only improved the speed and quality of customer service, but has allowed the company to remain flexible in the rapidly changing demands of customers. Today, a similar saga is playing out at the Sports Authority, which is struggling to remain relevant in a retail market now dominated by online sales.  

If any of these examples should stand for anything, it should be that speed does not mean the abandonment of quality but that speed via an agile approach has proven to drive innovation for companies new and established alike, who will enjoy a long and fruitful lifespan as long as they continue to innovate at the pace of market demand. For those who resist the agile approach, take comfort in the words of Edison: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” 

Dave West, product owner, CEO, Scrum.org
Image Credit: rawpixel.com

 

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Exciting News!

We have some great new things going on at EIS. Stay tuned for our new blog posts coming soon! Great content on its’ way.

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