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Managed Technology Partners: Smaller Businesses Today Can't Afford to Go Without an IT Survival Guide.

BOSTON -- The following is an opinion editorial provided by Peter Cowie, the Chairman and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.  of Managed Technology Partners:

In today's challenging economy, some small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly relying on "IT survival guides" to remain competitive. Still, many SMBs mistakenly think they don't have either the time or resources for this strategic approach. Quite honestly, they can't afford not to.

IT budgets in SMBs that I work with are facing - at a minimum - cuts of 10-20% from last year's levels. To survive and thrive, SMBs must evaluate the effectiveness of their IT operations to ensure they are efficient, and also to understand which strategic applications and IT services truly provide a competitive edge.

An SMB's IT survival guide should provide a clear understanding of where its IT dollars and resources are deployed. Too often they are mistakenly focused on the tactical needs of maintaining the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy.  of the organization, instead of the strategic needs that help grow the business. SMBs today spend as much as 75% of IT time and 70% of the IT budget on tactical activities. By carefully evaluating these tactical activities, organizations can automate or out-source many of these tasks, reducing IT support costs by as much as 40%.

Here are five key areas where savings and efficiencies can most often be found:

* Management & Support - Companies can streamline support and administration processes, and even consider outsourcing desktop or general IT support to managed service providers to reduce those costs by up to 30-40%. Also, through initiatives such as volume licensing and subscription plans, SMBs can reduce their software licensing costs by as much as 20%.

* Virtualization An umbrella term for enhancing a computer's ability to do work. Following are the ways virtualization is used.

Hardware Virtualization
Partitioning the computer's memory into separate and isolated "virtual machines" simulates multiple machines within one physical computer.
 & Consolidation - This approach gets rid of multiple and redundant server and storage silos This article is about Storage Silos. For other types of silos, see Silo.

Storage silos are structures for storing bulk materials. Silos are used in agriculture to store grain (see grain elevators) or fermented feed known as silage.
 for applications or specific services, converts remote users to a thin client platform, and optimizes storage applications across all servers to reduce support costs. It also saves on power and cooling - as much as 30%!

* Backup & Disaster Recovery - Despite the lessons of Hurricane Katrina Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.  and the Iowa River Iowa River

A river rising in northern Iowa and flowing about 529 km (329 mi) southeast to the Mississippi River in the southeast part of the state.
 floods, many SMBs still store backups onsite and have disaster recovery plans that don't go much further than rebuilding or restoring their IT assets from tape. However, by improving their disaster recovery profile, they can protect their business-critical data, reduce recovery time, and significantly cut costs by as much 50%.

* Access & Mobility - Large enterprises have already turned to software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing (1) Running applications in or from network servers. Computing "in the cloud" may refer to a company's own network, but often refers to the Internet and the use of Web browser-based or rich client applications. , and now those technologies are also enabling SMBs to gain access to and increase the availability of their applications from anywhere. SaaS and cloud computing enables SMBs to reduce or eliminate their capital expenditures and also reduce ongoing operating costs operating costs nplgastos mpl operacionales  that their legacy IT systems would have required - often by as much as 80% - while extending the lifecycle of older PC equipment indefinitely. They can also leverage Internet broadband to reduce or even eliminate the costs of their T1 lines. In addition, a virtualized thin client approach for remote Blackberry blackberry, name for several species of thorny plants of the genus Rubus of the family Rosaceae (rose family). See bramble.
 users can greatly reduce connectivity costs.

* Telecommunications - One simple way for SMBs to reduce telecom costs is to identify and eliminate unused legacy lines and connections. A Unified Communications The real time redirection of a voice, text or e-mail message to the device closest to the intended recipient at any given time. For example, voice calls to desk phones could be routed to the user's cellphone when required.  platform for voice, messaging, conferencing and presence management also reduces telecom costs by up to 50% and eliminates the travel costs associated with conferencing and meetings.

Finally, for any survival guide to be successful, it has to be specific and deliver actionable recommendations that align IT services with business needs. Only then can SMBs turn their IT departments into a strategic component that helps their businesses grow.

Peter Cowie is the Chairman and CEO of Managed Technology Partners (, a national managed services An umbrella term for third-party monitoring and maintaining of computers, networks and software. The actual equipment may be inhouse or at the third-party's facilities, but the "managed" implies an ongoing effort; for example, making sure the equipment is running at a certain quality  provider and Cisco Premier Certified Partner based in Boston, Mass. Managed Technology Partners helps SMBs optimize their productivity, business agility, and competitive edge while minimizing IT costs. He can be reached at (617) 265-4000.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 7, 2009
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