They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and I hope that this saying is true for those of you who've been snowed in by blizzards over these past few weeks! In case weather conditions have kept you cooped inside for too long, we thought we'd create a special tech-focused newsletter to help you turn this downtime into an opportunity for IT success. (For those of you who've been lucky enough to enjoy warmth and sunshine, you'll of course benefit, too!) No matter the conditions outdoors, there's no better time to learn how you can get more out of SysAid, set new goals, and see how SysAid can help you achieve those goals. Let's kick-start this March with a bang of productivity!
So what's on the agenda? First up, tighter asset control - not only to increase efficiency, but also to save the environment! This month we're releasing not one but two flash tutorials on how you can achieve better asset management. One tutorial shows you how to quickly and efficiently track your software products; the other comes as a green IT tip on how SysAid can help you implement more eco-friendly practices in your organization. Learn how SNMP monitoring can help you reduce paper waste - it's better for the environment, and better for your budget, too!
Next up: how automated are your helpdesk processes? With a new IT Benchmark result now available, you'll see how organizations are using email integration to more efficiently handle service requests. After that, you can consider: are your helpdesk configurations as precise as they should be? Learn how Petra Hillaert of Guylian uses SysAid's Reports and Analysis Module to define KPIs and pinpoint the exact values that need readjusting in her helpdesk set-up.
Finally, SysAid's very own Director of Customer Service and Support Sarah Lahav gives us a lesson on SysAid's API and how it can help you centralize many of your IT processes - automatically. Regardless of your climate or time zone, this newsletter provides something for every tech preference!
This March also marks a significant anniversary for John Dix, Editor-in-Chief of Network World and host of the CIO panel discussion at the SysAid Technology Conference. Don't miss the exclusive Q&A session in which John reveals that March 10, 2010 marks his 30th year in the IT industry! With insights into tech trends, the dos-and-don'ts of the trade, and the evolution of computing, John's IT expertise is refreshingly down-to-earth. Learn more about what he'll discuss with the top IT executives of Clayton Homes and LG Canada and save your spot at the Conference now - registration ends on April 2. That's exactly one month away!
I wish you a successful and productive March, and I truly look forward to seeing you in warm and sunny Las Vegas next month!
SysAid Technology Conference John Dix Goes on the Record and Joins Us in Vegas
Although the IT panel discussion at the SysAid Technology Conference will include plenty of IT talk about cloud computing, virtualization, and ITIL best practices, if John Dix's personality is any indication of where the conversation will lead, we're in for a candid, laid-back, and unforgettable experience!
We had the opportunity to sit down with John Dix, Editor-in-Chief of Network World and the host of the Conference's IT panel, for a little Q&A. With plans to turn the IT panel into an interactive, "roundtable" experience with all Conference participants, John shared his thoughts on tech innovation, the evolution of computing, and what it is about Vegas that he's most looking forward to. We also got the inside scoop on embarrassing moments in the life of a Network World reporter and why some things should stay "off the record!"
Editor-in-Chief Network World
How many computers do you own? What was your first computer?
I bought my first computer in 1987, an 8086 NEC PC with very little RAM, 5M bytes of disk and a 56Kbps dial-up modem. That was a pretty snazzy machine in the day, and cost about $1,200. Today I have a Dell laptop that goes everywhere with me, and we have two more PCs and a Mac at home (wife and two kids). Oh, and of course my Blackberry is essentially a computer in its own right.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what piece of technology would you need to have with you?
Just need my trusty smart phone. The telephone would help guide the rescue team to my little piece of paradise, the Web browser would enable me to figure out how to catch some fish, the email would let me keep up with work, and I could use the calendar to track the days left before rescue.
What are the biggest changes you've seen in IT since you began to write about the industry?
March 10th marks my 30th year in the industry and in that time I've witnessed the mega shifts in computing. When I started out in 1980 we were just beginning to see the emergence of distributed processing which, as the name implies, involved installing smaller computers near where the work was required to augment the mainframes locked up in the glass-enclosed data centers.
And that, of course, gave rise to the local area networks that were needed to stitch together the newly distributed resources. Then came the PC revolution that took distributed processing to the next level, putting computing and a slew of personal productivity tools directly into the hands of workers.
While it was increasingly possible to network all these devices within a given organization, the Internet made it easier to link these computing islands, creating a more seamless fabric. Then the emergence of the Web standards was the crowning touch that fully democratized computing.
As networks have become more and more powerful, computing has, of course, come full circle. Since it no longer matters if the computer is on your desk, down the hall or across the country, organizations are recentralizing resources for cost, control and security reasons. Which brings us to today and the emergence of net-based cloud computing services. We are at the threshold of a whole new round of innovation that will unfold in dramatic fashion over the next five years or so.
What is the craziest thing that ever happened to you while interviewing someone for Network World?
The craziest thing didn't happen to me, but I witnessed the immediate aftermath. I was approaching the boardroom and saw one of our female reporters saying goodbye to two vendor representatives and when she turned to me she was in a tizzy. She said she had her shoe off during the interview and had been rubbing her foot up and down the pedestal leg of the table, or so she thought. She had been concentrating on the conversation and was wondering why the guy across from her was getting increasingly fidgety. Turns out it was his leg. She was mortified.
Is there such thing as "off the record?"
Most certainly. You cannot groom sources if they can't trust you with knowledge they don't want to see in print. You need that inside dope to get a complete picture of what is going on, which makes everything you do more valuable.
Aside from the SysAid Conference, what are you most looking forward to in Vegas?
The warm weather (I'm escaping the snow in Boston) and some of the food. There are great restaurants all over the place.
What do you think is the most important quality for an IT professional to possess?
The ability to keep innovating while contending with constantly changing business requirements, the emergence of new technologies, the daily firestorms, and the relentless press to do ever more with less.
What can SysAid Technology Conference participants expect from the IT Panel?
Any time you have a chance to get top IT executives to sit down and share some of their experiences and thoughts about where we are and where we're going, it always makes for a fascinating conversation. Hopefully we can make it interactive and get the rest of crowd involved in the conversation, make it one big roundtable.
Participating in this interesting panel experience will be top IT executives Daniel Oh of LG Canada and Ralph Warchol of Clayton Homes. Don't miss out on the opportunity to add your two cents to this discussion, see SysAid 7.0 before the rest, meet us face-to-face, learn all about SysAid, get practical skills to help you on the job, and network with other IT pros from around the world. This April, Las Vegas will be everything IT! Registration ends in a month, so sign up for the SysAid Technology Conference now!
Green IT Tip and Tutorial Reduce Paper Waste with SNMP Monitoring
In the spirit of green IT, we asked SysAiders this past September whether or not they thought their organizations could go 100% paperless. The results were optimistic: of those surveyed, 57% believed that while a 100% reduction isn't feasible, they could definitely make some big changes to reduce their paper consumption. Another 24% said that some kind of reduction would be possible, and an enthusiastic 7% were committed to going paperless all the way. As a new spirit of eco-friendliness sweeps the world, IT pros are increasingly adopting greener attitudes and are evaluating how their day-to-day tasks impact the environment.
In line with this commitment to change, we decided to give you a tip on how SysAid can help you reduce paper waste with SNMP. SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is an important component of SysAid's Monitoring module, and the idea behind it is that you can monitor all of the devices in your network , large and small - everything from your telephones to the level of ink that's left in your printer. Within SysAid, you can define certain parameters so that you'll be able to monitor the number of pages that are printed in your organization. Want to see how SNMP can help you establish greener IT practices? Check out the Flash Tutorial below!
You can track this data over time to get a bigger picture of where your organization stands in terms of paper waste. From there, you can develop a reasonable goal for reduction for the future. Making the switch to greener IT is not only an altruistic move, but also carries a strong monetary incentive to cut costs.
Whatever your paper reduction goal may be, SysAid can help you get there: advertise your initiative in your news posts and automatic notifications and evaluate its success with SNMP monitoring. Just another SysAid feature that can help you contribute to the success of your organization - and in this case, planet Earth, too!
SysAid Success Story IT Success is Sweet with SysAid's Reports and Analysis
For ICT Manager Petra Hillaert, working at Guylian is more than a delightful culinary experience (although she does admit to having privileged access to Guylian's chocolate supply!) Like all other organizations, Guylian - the Belgian chocolate manufacturer famous for its delicious chocolate seashells - depends on a strong IT infrastructure to keep business operations running smoothly. For Petra, this requires maintaining organized procedures to keep track of the many service requests that come her way each day. Having mastered the ins-and-outs of SysAid's Reports and Analysis Module, Petra is able to define and analyze important KPIs and pinpoint the specific issues that need special attention.
Guylian Belgian Chocolate
Having established an efficient and precise means of evaluating all helpdesk activity with preconfigured reports, Petra can now more effectively resolve technical issues and provide a high quality support experience. More efficient processes, centralized access to data, and happier end-users - now that's something to really savor!
Asset management just got a little easier! Out of the many different software products your end-users have installed on their computers, it's likely that there are certain applications that you deal with more than others. This demo shows you how to use the Software Products feature to create a list of the software products that you find most relevant to your day-to-day tasks. With this list, you get an instant overview of this product and where it stands within a greater organizational context: how many licenses remain, which specific assets it's installed on, and other important information. Not only does this feature help save you time and energy, but it also helps you more efficiently manage your assets.
IT Benchmark Analysis Email Integration: Are You Automating Your Helpdesk Processes?
New month, new result! Since the release of SysAid 6.5 and the IT Benchmark module, you not only have insight into your own IT performance; you can also see for yourself how other SysAid organizations worldwide are performing! As we saw last month, one thing the IT Benchmark tells us is that SysAid organizations are taking big steps towards automating their helpdesk processes. On average, 38% of service requests are opened via the End-User Portal, a channel that facilitates more efficient procedures for both end-users and administrators alike.
This Month's Result: 32% of Service Requests Are Submitted Via Email
In the IT Benchmark, the result for the "Percentage of Service Requests Opened Via Incoming Emails," is another indication of this trend. This measurement reflects how many service requests your support department receives via emails that are automatically converted into service requests. In addition to the End-User Portal, email integration is a key method for automating the submission of service requests. Among the SysAiders surveyed, an average of 32% percent of service requests were submitted via email integration.
On one end of the spectrum, 16.42% of SysAiders surveyed hardly have any service requests that originated as emails - close to 0% of their service requests came from email integration. On the other end, 4.48% of SysAiders surveyed are maximizing this channel to its fullest extent: almost 100% of their service requests were received via email integration.
Email Integration for Automated Helpdesk Processes
SysAid's email integration feature serves both the interests of your IT department and your end-users. For an end-user, there's nothing easier than shooting out an email; for you, this email is automatically converted to a service request and contains details about the request user, predefined urgency, request time, and other information. This important information provides the high-quality data you need to work more quickly and efficiently. You can even create various email addresses and configure different automatic settings for each. For example, when there's an urgent issue, end-users can write to email@example.com, while less urgent issues can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Integration v. End-User Portal: Is One Better than the Other?
So what's better for the submission of service requests - the End-User Portal or email integration? The truth is, they're both equally excellent options. If your end-users are working from devices that are connected to the SysAid agent, it makes sense for them to submit service requests via the End-User Portal. This channel automatically attaches the screenshot and asset and it provides details such as category and subcategory that can help you more quickly resolve the issue. Furthermore, the End-User Portal offers fantastic Knowledgebase suggestions that can help end-users independently resolve technical issues.
Despite all the advantages of the End-User Portal, we know that users are sometimes reluctant to use it. For many, sending an email is much more convenient and intuitive than filling out a detailed, categorized service request form. It's also a great channel for those who are away from their PCs or laptops and need to quickly submit a service request via iPhone or Blackberry. In the end, to enjoy all the benefits of SysAid's automated helpdesk processes, it's advisable to give your end-users options. Some will be more comfortable with email, and others will love the End-User Portal. Encourage them to use both: either way you'll enjoy more automated helpdesk processes.
New Measurement: the Installation of Windows 7 in Your Organization
Check out the IT Benchmark module to see a new measurement that's now available: "Percentage of Windows 7 OS Installed." Shedding light on the recent debate over the relative merits of the latest Windows release, this measurement will show you the deployment rate of Windows 7 in your organization. In time, a Worldwide Distribution Chart will be available for this measurement so that you can compare your value to the results of other SysAid organizations worldwide.
Haven't Gotten Started Yet with the IT Benchmark?
Go to your local installation and under Helpdesk Menu, open the IT Benchmark module. Make sure that the measurements are enabled. Once you click save, the IT Benchmark will calculate the statistics and provide you with updated information. It's fast, it's free, and it's completely unique to SysAid!
Using API to Centralize Your IT Activities From Sarah Lahav,
Head of SysAid Customer Service and Support
While I hope that by now SysAid has become central to your IT department's activities, I'm sure that it's not the only tool or application that you use on a day-to-day basis. With SysAid's API capability, you can streamline your use of different applications into a centralized location to help you better see and manage "the bigger picture."
With API, different machines, applications, and software can communicate with SysAid and automatically submit service requests when needed. Here are two examples of how this can come in handy:
From your backup software, the API function can automatically submit a service request to SysAid in the event of a backup failure.
API can also help you work with your ERP application much more efficiently. For example, when you've placed a purchase request for a computer but certain information is missing, your ERP application can automatically submit a service request requesting this information. In another case, if your ERP usually receives automatic communication and suddenly fails to receive information, it can submit a service request for the immediate attention of your IT department.
These are just a few examples; the ways you can use API are pretty much limitless, and I'm sure you can get much more creative! For all of the details about how you can get started API, check out this Community post - it gives you the links, scripts, and details you need to set it up. In case you need any help, please contact our support team - we're happy to help you set it up and maximize all of SysAid's added functionalities!
With last month's riddle, you had the chance to see if you're part of the top 2% of the world that can actually solve Einstein's famous puzzle. In case you want to know the answer, check out the solution here. Congratulations to all the geniuses who successfully figured out which man owns the fish!
For this month's riddle, we'll give you only one hint: try to stay focused on the facts that are relevant!
Three men go to lunch at a restaurant. The total comes to $30, so each man pays $10. The manager realizes the bill should only be $25, so he asks the waiter to return $5 to the men. Each man takes back $1, and they tell the waiter to keep the remaining $2 as a tip.
Each man now has $1 back in his pocket, meaning they each paid $9 for the meal. That comes to a total of $27. The waiter has $2 as a tip. If the men originally handing over $30, what happened to the missing dollar?
SysAid Poll of the Month What Do You Think of the iPad?
"A magical and revolutionary product." With these lofty words, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dramatically unveiled the highly anticipated new iPad over a month ago. Falling somewhere between a laptop and a smart phone, this 1.5 pound, 9.7 inch tablet has elicited quite the response from bloggers, tech enthusiasts, and journalists worldwide. Some hail the iPad as the next great business device, and one enthusiastic reviewer at www.guardian.co.uk went as far as to say:
"For anyone who loves new technology, getting the first touch of a new Apple device is a little like laying hands on the Shroud of Turin, or seeing a unicorn: the first experience of a mythical object imbued with magical properties."
On the opposing side, critics are quick to point out the functionality failures of the iPad (Where's the camera? No support for Adobe Flash?) Some have slammed it as no more than a glorified iPod. In a recent interview, even Bill Gates had his two cents to add - and unlike with the 2007 release of the iPhone, he's not losing any sleep over the iPad:
"It's not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, 'Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough.' It's a nice reader, but there's nothing on the iPad I look at and say, 'Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.' I'm a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen, and a real keyboard - in other words a netbook - will be the mainstream on that."
Although there's much to be excited about for the upcoming SysAid Technology Conference, our tech-minded SysAiders are first and foremost dying to see the official unveiling our next release, SysAid 7.0! 53% of those surveyed report that seeing 7.0 before the rest is the most exciting thing scheduled for the Conference. While we can't yet reveal any details about this major release, it's going to be packed with lots of great features - and those who come to the SysAid Technology Conference will be the first to see it, even before our Beta-testing Pathfinders! Another thing SysAiders are looking forward to? Vegas, baby, Vegas! To learn more about the Conference and get registration info, visit the SysAid Technology Conference website. We can't wait to meet you!
Joke of the Month The Simpsons Go to the Mapple Store