Didn’t We Just Do This Last Year?

A little more than a year ago, TAC went live with a new website. The reason for the update then was to give the site a fresh new look, a “digital coat of paint” so to speak. We also wanted to incorporate a blog and other new features to make navigation easier as well as showcase some new services that we brought online.

Well, now we’ve gone and done it again; we just went live with a brand new website.

This time it’s more than just a simple “refresh”. The latest iteration of the TAC website is really a totally new-from-the-ground-up website. In addition to further simplifying both our message and our navigation, we’ve added:

  • native search
  • mobile accessibility
  • a blog archive and categorized blog posts
  • a new podcast page (more on podcasting in a future post)
  • access to TACwizard, a revolutionary way to access our private network of some of the worlds best IT practitioners
  • the ability to easily follow us for updates and new posts

I invite you to come and take a look at the latest and greatest TAC website, still at www.tacadvisory.com. We hope you like what you see (and if you don’t, please contact us and let us know). Come back often to take advantage of our constantly changing library of case studies, blogs, podcasts, and other content. And, as always, we welcome your comments.

Regards,

Michael D. Greene
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
TAC (The Advisory Council)

Monitoring Architecture

Monitoring has evolved to mean much more than just managing the network components in the IT production data center. In the good old days, a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) management product was sufficient to manage all the network components. For today’s complex IT environments, we need a multi-tier monitoring architecture.

By: Mark O’Gara, TAC Expert

Monitoring has evolved to mean much more than just managing the network components in the IT production data center. In the good old days, a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) management product was sufficient to manage all the network components. For today’s complex IT environments, we need a multi-tier monitoring architecture. A multi-tier monitoring architecture is a critical component to a good monitoring strategy. A sample multi-tier monitoring architecture follows:

  • Customer Experience Management (CEM)
  • Application Performance Management (APM)
  • Synthetic transactions
  • Manager of Managers (MOM)
  • Element Management Systems (EMS)

The base layer of the architecture is the Element Management Systems (EMS). The EMS layer manages the health of all the components in our IT environment to include components in our data centers, Software-as-a-Service providers and cloud providers. The EMS layer manages components such as routers, LAN switches, servers, middleware and databases. Depending on the complexity of the environment, you might have multiple EMSs and stand-alone point solutions such as an agent-less protocol monitoring tool.

The next layer in the architecture is the Manager of Managers (MOM). The MOM layer consolidates all the alarms and events from the EMS layer to provide a unified and coordinated view of the IT environment. Typical functions provided at the MOM layer include event correlation and data enrichment. The MOM provides the ability to input alarms and log files from the various EMS layer devices. The MOM layer helps to solve the problem of the EMS layer being managed in silos.

The third layer in the monitoring architecture is synthetic transactions. The synthetic transaction layer provides the ability to simulate users transaction and understand how the user will interface with the application and core infrastructure components. Typical functions provided by the synthetic transaction layer include testing a Uniform Resource Locater (URL), executing a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) on a web server at the basic level to executing the multiple steps a user would take to execute an application process. The synthetic transaction layer starts to test the horizontal aspects of how well the infrastructure supports an application transaction in the production environment.

The fourth layer of the monitoring architecture is the Application Performance Management (APM). The Application Performance Management layer provides the ability to track an application transaction from a time and resource perspective. The APM layer will timestamp transactions, store the data, and provide reporting and alerting on the transaction. Another function of the APM layer is how well, or not, an application consumes resources such as the available memory in a virtual machine (VM). The APM layer provides data on how well the application transaction performs and gives us live data on the production environment.

The last layer in the architecture is the Customer Experience Management (CEM) layer. The Customer Experience Management layer provides the ability to understand how well the external users can access our production environments. The functions provided by the CEM layer include testing remote network access from different geographical locations and running simulators to test mobile network access. A well executed CEM layer provides data on issues effecting the user that are beyond the IT production environment.

Depending on the maturity of your monitoring organization, you may have one or all of the layers listed in the monitoring architecture. The key to success is to establish a good base Element Management System layer and build up!

Mark O’Gara, TAC Expert, has more than 30 years of experience as an operations and engineering IT executive with a diverse background from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies. Experienced with tactical, hands on problem solving as well as developing and implementing business strategy. Creates a high performance team by focusing on communications and leadership development. Able to lead large change management transformations that focus on improving service delivery and cost reductions. Functional expertise in monitoring, voice, data, wireless and applications.

What to Do When Your Biggest Threat to Security is a Well-Intentioned Employee

Unfortunately, employees tend to forget or disregard policies, especially mobile security policies, so they may engage in risky behavior without thinking about it. They’re generally unaware of the potential risks, and often treat their mobile device like their company PC, assuming it’s secured by IT.

By: Rick Derouin, TAC Executive Consultant

We all make mistakes. Often, we don’t realize the full ramifications of our actions until we have that “oh no” moment after something has already gone wrong. In a business environment, there may be a large number of employees with enterprise access and multiple platforms, and society’s constant impetus to move to the latest device (which may not be an “official” device) poses a constant threat to security; especially from well-intentioned but security-challenged employees.

Unfortunately, employees tend to forget or disregard policies, especially mobile security policies, so they may engage in risky behavior without thinking about it. They’re generally unaware of the potential risks, and often treat their mobile device like their company PC, assuming it’s secured by IT. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the chief information security officer of Blackstone Group LP stated, “The No. 1 most significant risk to every organization is your well-intentioned, non malicious insider who is trying to do the right thing for the organization and makes a stupid mistake.”

What Makes Well-Intentioned Employees Dangerous

Employee threats are sometimes hard to spot, but there are a few warning signs you can look out for. Does the employee instantly access information on their device? There’s a good chance they’re not using a passcode. Were they hired recently or do they miss meetings regularly? They may not have been counseled on the mobile security policy. Do they use multiple devices or a different device type than you’re managing? You may have an unsecured device problem.

Most employees aren’t malicious. They aren’t a deliberate security threat; they just don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong. Here are the top six mistakes well-intentioned employees make that are a threat to security:

  • Accessing unsecured Wi-Fi
  • Using login credentials on shared or unsecured devices
  • Failing to use a passcode on devices
  • Saving company information to personal devices or cloud storage
  • Inadvertently forwarding sensitive information
  • Taking company information or login credentials with them when they leave

Mitigating the Risk Well-Intentioned Employees Represent

From a security perspective, people are hard to manage; they do all sorts of things when you aren’t looking and you can’t watch them every minute of every day. Still, there are some things you can do to educate employees and manage devices for a more secure mobile environment. Here are four steps you should take to mitigate the risks of a well-intentioned employee:

  • Create well-defined policies.
  • Set device limits.
  • Implement a mobile device management solution.

The nice thing about malicious threats to security is that dealing with them is black and white. They don’t have good intentions, and you don’t want them anywhere near your data. Dealing with the threat of well-intentioned employees is more difficult, because you want them to have access to information, but there’s always a chance that they might misuse it. It can be hard for IT personnel to understand why employees do the things they do, but remember that not everyone understands the risk. Try to put yourself in their less-educated shoes, and safeguard against their mistakes before they make them.

Rick Derouin, TAC Executive Consultant, has more than 35 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries, with the past 12 years focused on increasing clients’ business benefits from investments in communications technology and services and ensuring clients need what they have and are paying the best possible price. He has designed and implemented innovative approaches to performance measurement, benchmarking, and alignment of technology for increased communications (voice and data) effectiveness. Mr. Derouin began his career with 10 years at IBM, in the last 15 years of his vendor career he was Senior Vice President of TeleGlobe, Vice President of AT&T Public Sector Markets, World Wide Vice President of Steltor, and Global Vice President of Oracle’s SWAT Team.

Windows 10 : Windows 8 :: Windows 7 : Windows Vista

I’ve been using the Windows 10 Technical/Insider Previews (slow ring, now build 10130) on my primary work laptop since October, and it’s clear to me that in Windows 10 Microsoft has successfully salvaged the Metro/WinRT technology, introduced with Windows 8, to create a winning new OS version.

by Peter Schay, President and CEO of TAC.

I’ve been using the Windows 10 Technical/Insider Previews (slow ring, now build 10130) on my primary work laptop since October, and it’s clear to me that in Windows 10 Microsoft has successfully salvaged the Metro/WinRT technology, introduced with Windows 8, to create a winning new OS version.

Beginning with the introduction of Windows Vista in 2007, Microsoft seems to have fallen into a cycle of overreaching “failure” followed by corrective success in its Windows versions (keeping in mind that for Windows, “failure” still means hundreds of millions sold).

(I should point out that, in the case of Vista, TAC was far more positive in our assessment than most pundits at the time [see SmartTip “Cutting through the Nonsense about Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc.”].)

As explained in the SmartTip cited above, the highly successful Windows 7 is basically a “cleaned up” version of what Vista should have been, with mostly incremental improvements. The one major new feature in Windows 7, Windows XP Mode, was added specifically to address the application software compatibility problems that plagued Vista.

Our advice regarding Windows 8 was, like the product itself, bifurcated. Microsoft’s emphasis on the “mobile first,” touch-oriented Modern (a.k.a. Metro) side of Windows 8 was an immense turn-off for desktop users with non-touch PCs, i.e., most of the Windows-using world. At the same time, the development of the Modern environment was an absolutely essential strategic move for Microsoft in the face of the Apple iPad and various Google Android tablet devices. (See the blog postings below, “Windows 8, BYOD, and IT Leadership,” “Yes, Windows 8 Is Bad…,” “Windows Reimagined,” and “A Learning Curve with Windows 8? Much Ado About Nothing, but Stick With Windows 7 for the Enterprise,” for our comments at the time.)

Now, on the threshold of the July 29 general availability of Windows 10, there is no doubt that Windows 10 is to Windows 8 as Windows 7 was to Windows Vista. The clunky awkwardness of the dual Windows 8 environments has evolved into a more-or-less seamless — and far more desktop friendly — experience which, on 2-in-1 devices (e.g., Microsoft Surface 3, Lenovo Yoga) includes the “Continuum” capability of automatically adjusting on-the-fly to changes in physical configuration.

Bottom line, Windows 10 is a winner. Any organization that has not yet deployed Windows 8 devices should wait for Windows 10.

How IT Advisory Services Should Work

Designed as a stand-alone, on-demand advisory service for the occasional user, the TACwizard has no seat licenses, no restrictions on the use of information internally, and no strings attached.

tacwizardOn Tuesday, March 10, at 8:30 AM EDT, a new type of IT advisory service launches. TAC (The Advisory Council) has been changing the way IT advisory services work for well over a decade, first by building one of the world’s largest private networks of vetted expert IT practitioners, then by introducing Expertise-as-a-Service® (EaaS™) . TAC now introduces the world to the TACwizard.

You may have seen a number of articles and endless tweets referring to this launch. It’s a concept and service we’re really proud of, because it completely changes the way IT advisory services are delivered.

Traditionally, IT advisory services have been delivered in the form of white paper research compiled by analysts. Written for large enterprises, and sometimes “sponsored” by vendors, the advice is difficult if not impossible to scale to smaller enterprises and midmarket companies. TAC changed the game when it built a network of hundreds of expert practitioners and gave clients the ability to leverage this network through phone consultations and documents custom-written in the client’s context. Further, TAC did away with seat licenses and restrictions on information sharing within the client organization, reducing the cost and increasing the quality and value of IT advisory services.

Over the years, TAC has added a number of other services leveraging the same expert practitioner network. These EaaS™ offerings bring a level of quality to smaller IT departments that were once only available to large enterprises.

The TACwizard is the latest in these offerings. Designed as a stand-alone, on-demand advisory service for the occasional user, the TACwizard has no seat licenses, no restrictions on the use of information internally, and no strings attached. A user simply creates a free account and asks their tactical, strategic, functional or operational IT question to the TACwizard. A few days later they receive a response to their question (a mini-bio of the expert that answered the question is also included with the response).

That’s it.

We hope you’ll take a look and give it a try. We believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of information, the ease of use, and the speed of the responses to the questions you ask.

You can follow the countdown at the TACwizard website, and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Regards,

Mike Greene
Vice President
TAC

Why Some Advisory Companies Are Really “Just Guessing”

Everyone likes to be asked for advice. In fact many companies have made a good living by giving advice. But have you ever noticed that these same companies always wrap their research in “safe harbor” statements? Ever wonder why?

Everyone likes to be asked for advice. In fact many companies have made a good living by giving advice. But have you ever noticed that these same companies always wrap their research in “safe harbor” statements? Ever wonder why?

They look into the crystal ball but they won’t eat the glass

Traditional advisory services companies are not really advisory companies; they are research companies. They don’t really give advice; they provide “forward-looking information” based on research and the past performance of clients and other companies. Anyone who has ever read safe harbor statements has seen the phrase “past performance does not guarantee future results”, yet it is exactly these predictions based on past performance that enterprises rely on to make decisions. Granted, we’re not talking about throwing darts blindfolded in the general direction of the dart board, hoping to hit a bull’s-eye, but in an era of rapid growth of disruptive technologies, predictions (essentially educated guesses) made by advisory services companies are becoming less reliable and “sponsored research” is becoming more prevalent, so the “guidance” from these companies is becoming more biased and less valuable. Traditional advisory services continually hide inaccuracies behind “revised estimates”, essentially saying, “We guessed wrong on that one folks, but now we’ve got it right… until the next revision”.

To get good guidance, get a good guide.

A map (research) may show you the place you need to get to and possible paths to get there, but a good guide is needed to get you there the fastest and safest way possible, and to let you know what to do once you get there. Most companies already understand the need to make the trip, and most “advisory/research” companies just supply more “maps”. What most enterprises really need is not seat licensed advisory services that provides research, but good guides; individuals that know the territory, people who have already been there and back and know the path around the problems.

TAC understands that it’s a guide that you’re looking for; we call them Expert Practitioners, and TAC has hundreds of them, working in IT for an average of 20 years. These experts truly guide clients around the mishaps, pitfalls, and dead ends that others face; they can do that because they have been there and done that and know where the hidden dangers are.

TAC has created two unique ways to get the guidance you need:

  • EaaS Advisory Services – Client companies and individuals get access to TAC’s network of expert practitioners through moderated “Expert Phone Consultations” and custom written “Personal Advisory Reports”. This no-seat-license, retainer-based model brings everyone in the enterprise to the table. You pay a retainer based on only the number of deliverables you choose to consume, you grant access to those in your company that need it, and you share information freely throughout your enterprise.
  • TACwizard (launching March 10, 2015 – www.tacwizard.com) – With this pay-as-you-go option, the occasional IT advisory services user gets full access to the power of one of the world’s largest vetted expert networks. Users ask their own questions and receive answers custom written by an expert practitioner.

Contact TAC to find out more about how you can leverage one of the world’s largest vetted private networks of expert IT practitioners.

What I Learned about Advisory Services from an “All You Can Eat” Buffet

I don’t know about you, but I’d like my advisory service to be more like a fine dining experience rather than the all-you-can-eat buffet. I prefer to sit down and be served exactly what I want instead of wandering around with the hopes of finding something that may satisfy me.

Years ago, when we would go to visit my mother-in-law, we’d offer to take her anywhere in town she’d like to go for dinner. As it turned out, her favorite place to go was the local Chinese all-you-can-eat-buffet. This is not to say that she was a big eater; she wasn’t. She liked the idea that just by each of us walking in and paying a fixed price, we could have, without waiting for service, anything they served and as much of it as we wanted, even if the amount that we wanted wasn’t all that much. But since my kids were older and liked to eat (both are very athletic and burn calories like crazy), we usually ate at least our money’s worth, sometimes more.

“All you can eat” buffets like this make money because:

  • Few people eat a quantity of food greater than what it costs the buffet to serve it.
  • People are selective – not everyone eats everything.
  • Few if any people will sit there all day eating. When you leave, you’re done.
  • Nothing is cooked to order. What you see is what you get.
  • No “doggie bags”. You can’t take any food home with you to share with others.

Traditional advisory services use a very similar business model. Access is a fixed fee for each user, and once “inside”, the user has “all-you-can-eat” access to a whitepaper library.

Traditional advisory services make money because:

  • Since a whitepaper only needs to be written once and can be used many times, members can’t possibly consume more than it costs the service provider to “serve”.
  • People are selective in the information they need – Not everyone reads everything.
  • These expensive subscriptions expire. When they do, access is denied.
  • Nothing is done to order. What you see is what you get (unless you pay a premium).
  • No “doggie bags”. You can’t share the information with others that are not subscribed.

For the service provider, this is a great model. It allows them to sell high-priced services with the expectation that they’ll have customers like my mother-in-law… customers that consume less of the service than they paid for. This means that for the high seat license fee, the value drops quickly with services that go unused.

So what can you do to make sure that you get proper value for your advisory spend?

Look for advisory services that:

  • Allow you to pay for only what you want/need
  • Do not require subscriptions
  • Do not use seat licenses
  • Allow information sharing
  • Give targeted answers to what you ask, not answers to questions they think you should be asking

I don’t know about you, but I’d like my advisory service to be more like a fine dining experience rather than the all-you-can-eat buffet. I prefer to sit down and be served exactly what I want instead of wandering around with the hopes of finding something that may satisfy me.

We at TAC understand that you don’t want to pay for what you’re not going to use. So to give clients a more value-centric IT advisory service, TAC has created two unique service options:

  • EaaS Advisory Services – Client companies and individuals get access to TAC’s network of expert practitioners through moderated “Expert Phone Consultations” and custom written “Personal Advisory Reports”. This no-seat-license, retainer-based model brings everyone in the enterprise to the table. You pay a retainer based on only the number of deliverables you choose to consume, you grant access to those in your company that need it, and you share information freely throughout your enterprise.
  • TACwizard (launching March 10, 2015 – www.tacwizard.com) – With this pay-as-you-go option, the occasional IT advisory services user gets full access to the power of one of the world’s largest vetted expert networks. Users ask their own questions and receive answers custom written by an expert practitioner.

Contact TAC to find out more about how you can leverage one of the world’s largest vetted private networks of expert IT practitioners.

The Anthem Hack: Sophisticated? Maybe, Maybe Not.

How could Home Depot and Neiman Marcus fall into the same trap that Target did months earlier? Could it be that this is not considered material enough to spend money on both the technology (to prevent & detect data losses) and the human behavioral changes needed to minimize incidents?

by Jim Noble, Director TAC International

The news on Wednesday that Anthem’s systems had been compromised ranks among the largest ever such breach. Simply on the basis of the number of people affected, it is double the size of the Target incident. But therein lies the complexity of this subject. Many companies suffer a breach, but it is not “material” in a business risk context, and so it attracts little publicity. The formula says Materiality = Threat x Vulnerability x Consequence.

While the Threat is widely acknowledged, there seems to be widespread denial of the Vulnerability. As in the case of Sony, it is tempting to pardon this sort of lapse as “inevitable and inescapable” because of the sharply focused and sophisticated nature of the attack. But that is a pathetic excuse, and deserves a robust challenge in a lawsuit on the basis of neglect of their fiduciary Duty of Care on behalf of their shareholders. Instead of taking the issue seriously and dealing with basic deficiencies, companies are throwing technology (hardware and software products) at the problem and installing more and more sophisticated equipment, which is often poorly configured and managed. If you look at the root causes of healthcare breaches on HHS.gov you will be amazed at how trivial most are. But companies always say they were the subject of a sophisticated attack. I guess this protects against negligence law suits. Healthcare breaches have continued to increase after HIPAA was implemented.That complacency also extends to Consequences. For companies handling credit card data such as Target, Home Depot & TJ Maxx, the consequences were fraudulent transactions on their customers’ accounts, which can be addressed by the card issuers, or credit watch companies like Equifax. For companies with sensitive intellectual property like Sony Pictures Entertainment, knowing what has been stolen helps them to take steps to mitigate the consequences. In the case of Anthem, the consequences could be much more serious, because the personal data could result in identity theft, which is a more complex situation to recover from.

So how is it that avoidable incidents keep happening? How could Home Depot and Neiman Marcus fall into the same trap that Target did months earlier? Could it be that this is not considered material enough to spend money on both the technology (to prevent & detect data losses) and the human behavioral changes needed to minimize incidents? Maybe it is just the cost of doing business, and we should just buy insurance to cover for the results of incompetence.

Six Easy Ways to Get More Done in Less Time

We still have only twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, and to-do lists that continue to grow. Large companies get around many time limitations by buying more time in the form of employee man-hours, but not all of us can afford to do this.

We made it to the new year, but some things never change. We still have only twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, and to-do lists that continue to grow. Large companies get around many time limitations by buying more time in the form of employee man-hours, but not all of us can afford to do this. It becomes important, therefore, to get more done in the hours one has. This means using time more efficiently and minimizing distractions. Here are six easy tips that will help you accomplish this:

  1. Don’t let emails and texts become a distraction – it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to get back on task after an interruption. Shut off the notifications on your laptop, tablet, and smart phone that warn you that emails or texts have come in. Then check and respond to your emails and texts only a few times a day, like first thing in the morning, noon, and 4:00 PM. Give yourself a half hour (or other appropriate amount of time) to respond to the emails and texts
  2. Don’t answer the phone unless you really have to… Or it’s a customer – the same rules apply here as they do to emails and texts. The only difference is that you have to be aware of providing the best customer service you can, and that may mean answering the phone for customers and clients. Again, check voice-mails only a few times a day and respond as necessary.
  3. Tie your to-do list to your calendar – Most of us have a to-do list, and that list seems to get longer, not shorter, as time goes on. We then have trouble prioritizing and reshuffling the tasks and fewer and fewer of them get done. Part of the problem lies with due dates of “soon”, “sometime next week”, and “ASAP”. Since these are abstract ideas of time, the human brain doesn’t process them the same way as a hard due date. By putting tasks on your calendar with blocks of time to accomplish them, just as you would set an appointment, you automatically prioritize the tasks and reserve the proper amount of time to get that task done. Make sure that if the task is more than a few days out, you set periodic reminders for yourself.
  4. Delegate wherever and whenever possible –Much of the time we find ourselves doing things ourselves that we can delegate to others, freeing up our valuable time for those things we can’t delegate. Make sure that when you delegate a task, you assign it in writing with a due date, and if the due date is more than a few days out, make sure you get periodic status reports. Most CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) allow you to assign tasks to others. If you don’t have a CRM, do it on a shared calendar.
  5. Share your calendar – It’s important that others on your team know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it so they know when not to disturb you. By calendaring tasks (above) and sharing that calendar, you indicate the times you are busy, removing in-office distractions.
  6. Access Expertise-as-a-Service when and where needed – by using experts to get the information you need in the proper context, you shorten the amount of time needed to make mission-critical decisions, freeing up time to do other important tasks.

Try these tips for 60 days. Why 60? Because it will take you at least 30 days to break the habits of looking at your smart phone 50-100 times a day and keeping your email folders open. After using these methods for a few months, I think you’ll find that it’s easier to get more things done faster, with less aggravation and better results.

Have you tried any of these tips before? how did they work for you? What advice do you have to use time efficiently? Please comment to let us know.

Rabbit Season, Duck Season, Budget Season

Reevaluating services and looking for options is always a good idea. It keeps you up-to-date on new technologies, new services, and new engagement models that could reduce your need (and cost) for some services and replace them with lower-cost, higher-value ones.

In the confluence of seasons, deadlines, holidays and budget cycles, little things can make a huge difference.

One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Bugs Bunny, and one of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons was (and still is) “Rabbit Seasoning”, written in 1952 by Chuck Jones and voiced by the immortal Mel Blanc. In this cartoon, Daffy Duck tries to get Elmer Fudd to shoot Bugs (as usual), which backfires on Daffy (pun intended), multiple times. The difference between getting shot and not getting shot is the strategic use of pronouns. You can watch a clip of the cartoon here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e1hZGDaqIw?version=3&rel=0&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

The takeaway is that doing something small, (like changing a pronoun) can have a drastic impact on outcomes.

This time of year is full of decisions: personal, professional and business. Budgets need to be both reconciled and projected, new services acquired, and old ones reexamined for the coming year. The leaders of organizations find themselves in one of two equally stressful positions, possibly both: either they have money left in the budget that they have not spent yet, or they’ve been given the same budget as last year and have greater demands for the coming year.

So, you have money left in last year’s budget? Good for you!

You’ve worked hard this last year to save what you could, and now you are reaping the rewards… tough decisions about where to allocate remaining budget dollars from this year. You are likely asking yourself and your trusted advisors, “what can we invest in now to make our lives easier in 2015?”

Stuck with Last Year’s Budget for Next Year’s Demands?

You’ve been hit with the second edge of that double-edged sword. You got through the year on the budget you were allocated, and maybe had a little left over, so now “the powers-that-be” want you to do it all over again, but with bigger demands than last year’s. That’s going to mean reevaluating and possibly replacing expensive outside services with lower-cost ones.

Compromise? Nope.

Reevaluating services and looking for options is always a good idea. It keeps you up-to-date on new technologies, new services, and new engagement models that could reduce your need (and cost) for some services and replace them with lower-cost, higher-value ones. For instance, now is the perfect time to investigate our Advisory Services, personalized, in-context, actionable advice and information with truly unique deliverables, and TAC Insights, a semi-monthly information and intelligence report on current IT trends and topics. Both are a low-cost, high-value services designed to make your life easier now and in 2015 – with satisfaction guaranteed.

We know we’re not the only ones out there, but we are the only ones out there that do what we do, the way we do it. In a new year with new challenges, better decision-making, productivity and collaboration can make all the difference to you and your team. A small change with a dramatic impact? That’s TAC. You really do owe it to yourself to make your life easier in the new year. Let us know how we can help and we’ll get it done.

Oh, and have a happy Thanksgiving!