Monthly Archives: March 2011

March Madness: The Ultimate Juggling Act

During the month of March, a spell is cast on college basketball fans across the country. What’s so special about this time of year in the college sports world? Well, you would have to be living under a rock to not know that March Madness is a super sports event where millions flock to cheer their favorite college teams on to a championship victory! As for the organizers of this huge undertaking, they must have the ability to juggle several balls at once.


Obviously, March Madness has been a successful event and occasion, so it is clear that a group of pros are large and in-charge. Timing and coordination are key factors in bringing this event to fruition, up until the last second buzzer. They must deal with a series of tournaments that have to begin and end like clockwork. While legions of fans march in and out of these arenas, the coordinators must have a definite and clear understanding of what the fans of each performing team require. Not only does this require experience, but lots of preparation as well. These teams will play in the same venue for a few days, and event coordinators must assure the seating of fans together for each specific school. Seating signs will identify where school team fans should sit and must be changed after each game.

In order to make this event flow and run like a well-oiled machine, several methods must be utilized. Event coordinators should learn as much as they can about the performing teams and what their fans expect. They must be capable of scheduling the facility, specifically, luxury box suites and meeting rooms. There is arena management software that can make the job easier by handling staff scheduling, selling sponsorships, attracting suite holders and season patrons, managing event day services and much more. Over the course of these games, it is vital to have peak staffing available to handle different facets of the event day.

The planning and scheduling around the sporting venue is important, but just as important is the coordinator’s ability to make contact with each school. Based upon the institutions’ experience with their own fan base, they can provide crucial information concerning fans that travel to the games to render their support, ticket distribution and communicating with alumni. College staff members are especially knowledgeable about how to pull lots outside support and make it advantageous to the overall event.

By utilizing as many arena management tools as possible, coordinators of March Madness can create a calm flow of what looks like total insanity.

Two Reasons to Manage a User’s Workspace in the Office

There are many reasons to manage a user’s workspace. Following is a look at two: (i) ensuring company security; and (ii) increasing employee productivity.

Managing a User’s Workspace to Protect Company Data

Employees are most company’s most valued asset. But, as the 1970s R&B hit by The Persuaders touted, “There’s a thin line between love and hate.” A most valued employee today can be a firm’s biggest enemy tomorrow.

Corporate espionage costs companies hundreds of millions of dollars per year. One of the most famous cases happened at DuPont in 2005 when one of its scientists stole $400 million in intellectual property. How did he do it? By accessing sensitive scientific information from the server which contained the firm’s electronic data library.

Although most employees are loyal, hardworking and trustworthy, it’s cases like this that highlight the need for companies to manage user workspaces by monitoring and controlling who has access to what and when.

As one executive said in an article in SC Magazine, a publication for IT security professionals:

“There are people who when it comes down to securing their critical information assets, their strategy is hope . . . hope is not a strategy. You have got to have very clear policy, you’ve got to implement controls [i.e., manage user workspaces] on that policy and then you’ve got to audit usage.”

Managing a User’s Workspace to Increase Productivity

Corporate espionage aside, a more common reason many companies manage user workspaces is to help them to do their jobs better. This has become increasingly difficult in today’s environment. System upgrades, the ability to share desktops and remote application infrastructures are just some of the reasons it’s difficult.

But companies realize the need to allow employees to personalize their workspace. How Employee A works may be different from Employee B, who is different from Employee C.

To overcome this, many companies use technology that allow them to manage a user’s desktop to a certain degree, while still allowing employees the autonomy to independently craft their user settings to meet their personal workflow needs.

Too Busy to Grow Up, Too Small to Keep Up?

In the real world, the IT changes and upgrades you could have completed when everyone had time will probably show up as problems when things are going really well. When your marketing bears fruit, the sales guys close deals, and everyone is productive, life is otherwise good. Except that the whole company is at full throttle just to fulfill expectations. The last thing you have time for now is the detail you needed to pay attention to when you had other things going. Growing the business to get through this is going to involve taking care of upgrades, changes, and work that’s going to be needed to keep bad things from happening, and more importantly, to keep good things happening.

This is where judicious application of a specific set of skills from a professional IT consultant will help do what needs done – the process details that you can’t get to because you are busy working for the company. There are better times this kind of work could happen, but the critical time is when things are going well for your company, when the revenues are there and you want them to stay. Except nobody has the time, skills or resources. There are three ways a professional IT consultant can help you grow from here.

First, you can think about how they can assist you in making the right decisions regarding business technology. They will understand your goals and bring the detailed knowledge of best practices and systems right into your office and tell you what will or won’t get you where you need to be. You don’t want to trust someone who’s barely got the time to come to an easy answer, let alone the right one, just to move it off his desk. To have their whole attention on the project, your person needs help to do regular work, or help to do the project, but they really can’t do both.

Second, they can help you plan changes and help get them done. The best IT consultants will bring not only their own expertise, but they will also know about the people needed to get it done, or have them on staff, and can help to predict what it will cost.

Third, you need to have real accountability – someone focused on the project and fully accountable to you, as your go-to when you need to know. They won’t be tied up with daily emergencies your IT person has to deal with just to keep things together.

Here are a few additional resources to assist with your decision in choosing the right IT consultant for your needs:

Run With The Big Dogs: Three Ways to Make Your Small Business Shine

At the heart of all entrepreneurship is the spirit of an adventurer. Defined, it is the ability to take a chance on your ideas and gamble that it will be a success. While many of these ventures succeed, a great number of them also fail.

Small businesses today operate in a fiercely competitive economy. In order to stay on top of your game, it is necessary to focus on key aspects that nurture success. Using the following three tips, you can implement practical strategies that will ensure that your efforts are well rewarded.

Tip #1 – Have a smart marketing strategy.

Great marketing does not always have to cost a fortune. Small businesses struggle to establish an identity on par with their larger counterparts. Having a smaller budget means that it becomes more vital to advertise and promote with focus.

It starts with developing a marketing plan that outlines specific goals. You must have a direction in which to follow. A good plan doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to address the following:

  • Who your target is – Research who your client is and what their interests are
  • Decide on a media and track your results – Print ads, internet marketing, social media, direct mail, mobile media, and publicity marketing are all avenues to explore.
  • Develop a budget – Know how much you can spend and what kind of return on investment you need to see in order to stay profitable

Tip #2 – Outsource your technology needs to a reliable technical support company.

For any small business, reliability is essential. However, an in-house IT person can carry a heavy price tag. For this reason, it makes sense to contract with a company that offers troubleshooting, operating solutions and data security. It gives you the same advantage that larger companies are able to enjoy, but at a fraction of the cost.

Professional technical support companies should offer all of the following:

  • Troubleshooting and repair
  • Installation, upgrades and configuration
  • System protection from malicious malware and viruses
  • Data backup systems that are inexpensive and secure

Tip #3 – Differentiate your business with top notch customer service.

Friendly, responsive and fast customer satisfaction does two things: it keeps your customers coming back for more, and it builds your brand through word of mouth. Your reputation is priceless, so protect it vigorously. The following are all ways to build newsworthy service:

  • Offer quality products or services, and value laden pricing strategies
  • Form relationships with your customers and know what they want from you
  • Use customer complaints as a springboard to institute changes that foster good will