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January 22,2014 by Webcast: Optimize 2014 Cloud and Virtualization Strategy

Thinking about adopting the cloud or improving your cloud strategy this year?

If you’re planning to implement or update a cloud or virtualization strategy this year, you need to know about the latest trends and tools in the industry. Join our experts for an informative webinar where they’ll discuss the state of cloud and virtualization technology and adoption as well as tips for getting the most out of your cloud platforms this year – and beyond.

Date: Wednesday, January 22
Time: 10:00 AM CST
Location: Online Webcast
Register Now

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January 17,2014 by Strategizing Today for the Legal Tech of Tomorrow

The below is an excerpt of an article previously published in Legal Management - The Magazine of the Association of Legal Administrators. You can read the article in its entirety here.

We often hear the following: Law firms have traditionally been technology adopting laggards. They
cannot afford to be behind the technology eight ball anymore. And without a solid technology
strategy and vision, and the ability to implement the strategic plan, law firms will fold.

Ready for more bad news? Law firm clients demand superior legal services at a lower cost. They are less loyal, less willing to keep you on just because, and more savvy when it comes to technologies
and systems that will make their lives (not yours) easier. How can firms leverage their often massive technology investment as an integral component of a game-winning, long-term strategy?

As law firm service offerings and delivery models evolve, law firm IT and technology solutions are
also undergoing great transformation. The speed of technology change is dictated by the business
value realized with significant behavioral and technology trends in the marketplace.

Project Leadership Associates, a reputable provider of high-value business and technology consulting services to the legal market, and its Law Firm IT Value Evolution Model (see graphic below) illustrate the steady increase of IT value over time. Dan Safran, Project Leadership Associates’ Executive Vice President and long-time technology advisor to law firms and corporate legal departments, sees the IT value opportunity: According to Safran, “Cloud solutions, mobility and collaboration (based on the consumerization of technology) and applications that allow IT to operate as a service to the firm, represent the newer mission-critical technologies supporting the evolving law firm. Looking closer to the horizon, increased consolidation and competition will spur greater need for closer client collaboration, and even better, true integration with law firm clients. Nothing is better for attracting and building long-term client relationships than working hand-in-hand, day-to-day alongside clients, whether that integration and interaction are physical or virtual.”

(Click to Enlarge)

- Dan Safran, Executive Vice President, Management Consulting

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December 12,2013 by 8th Annual Technology Expo

New Horizons, PLA, along with a variety of technical partners, is once again celebrating the quickly changing landscape of Information Technology. Techknowledgey 2013 will introduce you to the tools, products, and strategies that Modern IT departments use today and will introduce over the months ahead. Multiple sessions discussing collaboration tools, cloud technologies, system integration, and the latest operating systems, will get you the information you need today to make proper business decisions tomorrow.

Date: Thursday, December 12
Time: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Location, New Horizons, 14115 Farmington Rd., Livonia, MI
Register Now

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October 02,2013 by Configuration Manager 2012 Migration – Missing Shared Distribution Points

Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager includes built-in migration tools, and one of the key features of the migration tools is the ability to use Shared Distribution Points.  This allows for a smoother transition between environments by allowing the new ConfigMgr 2012 site to use existing Distribution Points in the old site (ConfigMgr 2012 or SCCM 2007) as content locations while clients in the old site continue to function normally.  Moreover, once the clients that use an SCCM 2007 DP are upgraded, the DP can be upgraded to a full ConfigMgr 2012 DP and all of the content in the CM07 distribution share is copied into the CM12 content libary, alleviating the need to redistributed massive amounts of content across the network.  All that is required to enable this great feature is a simple check box when the Source Hierarchy is identified:

With that as a major component of most migration strategies, configuring a Source Hierarchy for migration only to discover that none of the Distribution Points show up can be a show stopper.  Consider this example where an SCCM 2007 site was configured:

There is only one server that appears after the data gather, and it’s the Primary Site Server (the Primary has the Distribution Point role assigned, but note that it is not eligible to be upgraded).  When we look in the CM07 console though, we see there is another server in the site: a Distribution Point that we would really like to leverage between both environments.

So why aren’t we seeing our Distribution Point as an option for a Shared DP?

Buried in the TechNet migration prerequisites documentation is a single line in the “Shared distribution points” section that makes all the difference:

For each source site, only the distribution points that are installed on site system servers that are configured with a FQDN are shared.

So let’s add the FQDN of the server to the properties…

…and tell ConfigMgr 2012 to Gather Data Now.

Now when we refresh, we see that our DP shows up under Shared Distribution Points and is available for upgrading:

While it is generally not common practice to omit the FQDN from site server roles in SCCM 2007, there are some environments where this is done for various reasons so it’s important to plan for adding this configuration setting prior to migration activities if Shared Distribution Points are a major part of the migration strategy.

- Phil Schwan, Technical Specialist.
You can read more posts by Phil at My IT Forum.

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October 01,2013 by Implementing a BYOD Strategy

As I discuss IT strategies and roadmaps with companies, the term BYOD (bring-your-own-device) comes up nearly 100% of the time. Time and time again, I would hear “we are currently talking to MDM (mobile device management) vendors and getting demos so we can implement a BYOD strategy.” A software solution should not drive the ‘strategy’ and prior to going through a software selection exercise a true strategy should be defined. Let me explain. In reality, the “strategy” is not in a software product or devices but begins at the business level and then the technology should be chosen to enforce/drive the strategy.

As you read this, you may wonder what does he mean? What I mean is when defining a BYOD strategy, it should begin on paper in the form of governance and policies that would be shared with the BYOD user community. Some examples of the governance and policies that should be defined would include:

  • What does the business intend to achieve by implementing BYOD? Cost savings (if so, in what areas – devices, support, head count, etc.)?
  • What kind of device assortment are being used today or what devices would they buy? Was there a user facing survey done?
  • Does the firm want to limit the devices that the BYOD program would cover?
  • What would the reimbursement policy be and how will the users submit for it?
  • How does an employee enroll in the BYOD program?
  • What rights does the company have to the device once they connect to the corporate network? What can or will be wiped if the employee loses the device or leaves the company?
  • If there is a support issue with the device hardware who will support it? For example, if their iPad screen goes out do they bring it to IT or go to the Apple store themselves?

After these policies are defined, documented and approved by the company brass is when the technology comes into play. All the leg work would be done to develop a questionnaire or requirements to share with potential MDM and SaaS vendors to see where their solutions may or may not fit before going to the next step of demo, PoC, and pilot. Without this upfront planning and due diligence, there would be a very high risk of the BYOD program failing due to lack of user adoption, increased IT support overload, and unrealistic expectations which would lead to bad press internally.

- Neil Parekh, Practice Director

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