Archive for April, 2016

TNT’s New Website Highlights Outsourced IT Services

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Things that are no more.

  • New York City used to experience total blackouts during the day, as the passenger pigeons flying above the city were so numerous they would block out the sunlight.
  • The Sears catalog used to have a greater publishing volume than any other printed item in the United States…for over 50 years.  Now, it is an online only document.

Jessica Diehl, our marketing director, and I decided that the TNT website was on the same path that the passenger pigeon and Sears catalog had taken.  There was a time when our website accurately described who we were and what our service offerings are.  Alas, that day has passed.  As TNT moves more into the realm of outsourced IT services, our website had to catch up. We hired Big Ring to help design a new website.

Managed IT Services

TNT continues to perform project-based work and on-going support for customers of all sorts and sizes in and around the Carolinas. However, our business now includes an ever growing number of managed services/ outsourced IT services customers who want All-You-Can-Eat IT services for their user communities.  As such, we have placed much focus on this new area.  As you can see from the chart below, we anticipate that we will continue to add more services.Outsourced IT Services

More User Friendly

The website is more user-friendly as well, allowing visitors to pick the path that best suits their needs right from the home page. We can be your IT and take your technology hassles off the hands of your IT staff so they can focus on improving your bottom line.  Or, if you simply need help with an IT project, our highly trained engineers can come alongside your team to assist.

Take a look around, and let us know how TNT can simplify IT for you.

 

by: Jeff Gaura, TNT President 

How to Choose a Technology Vendor According to Charles Bronson

Posted on: April 20th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Perhaps my favorite Charles Bronson phrase is, “where there is any doubt, there is no doubt.”  It aptly applies to how to choose a technology vendor, and relationship management with vendors in general.

To begin, I am not telling a unique story or a story full of enlightening commentary.  Yesterday morning, my wife told me, “this is a good blog post for you.”  As such, I am acting on her guidance, like any good husband would do.

Or something like that.

My entire team has a long standing relationship with the data center where we kept our equipment.  The agreement included keeping the equipment in their facilities, at no charge, as we would refer other companies who had needs for off-site data center services to them.  As time passed and they brought on board new leadership and high-profile venture capital, someone decided we couldn’t stay for free.  Instead they would pay us a monthly nut for the customers we sent their way in exchange for us sending them a check.  It wasn’t quite a wash, but it seemed fair.  As time passed and they experienced severe employee turnover, I lost track of who our point people and technical resources were.

Nothing strange so far, right?

A few months ago, I gathered with the newest batch of staff with whom I was to interface for a meal and get-to-know session.  I enjoyed my time there and we discussed some joint events together.  During the meeting, they let me know it was time for TNT to renew our contract.  I shared with them what I wanted and expected to hear back from them with the T and C of our conversation in written format for me to sign.  I got the written format, but it wasn’t what we discussed.  Term length and dollar expectations were not correct.  I replied to them with more of my story and needs and heard nothing.  I reached out to another person in the organization looking for guidance.  Finally, I got an email stating that our rates were going up on a specific date, and that date happened to be right around the corner.

Another few messages on this topic finally resulted in a commitment to respond to me by a certain date.  The date for that promised response came, but all I heard were crickets.

Joint marketing email requests that included people both in the meeting and in the organization also went without response. A theme of “don’t respond in writing,” seemed to be a part of the new way of doing business there.

Enter the Charles Bronson phrase.  I now have doubts about the people working in this organization.  Multiple experiences with more than one person who did not keep their word convinced me that I needed to find a new partner who could not only give me what I want, but also keep their word on promises.  I was blessed to quickly find such a partner, and we relocated our data center.

It has now been several weeks since we have moved out, and it recently dawned on me; we were a customer for over 10 years and left.  No one took the time to ask what happened or why it happened, leaving me to believe that I am one in a series of folks who have been gobbled up by the engine of American business growth at its worst.

We have seen this pattern with LeftHand Networks, Meraki, Webex and others.  When the entity was small and the staff driven by relationships, their presence and products made a positive impact in the world, not just of companies, but also of people.  Then, as they grow and become part of an engine, with sales quotas and support staff focused on getting problems fixed instead addressing relationship problems, they become as forgettable as ceiling tiles in a multistory building.

My recommendations for technology are often very specific to the world that we live in, the problems we face, and the subject matter than I am often asked to discuss.  Today, I jump to a higher level set of recommendations, beyond how to choose a technology vendor.  These apply for all of recorded history.

  • Work with and select vendors who care about relationships. Hairstylists and software vendors all should pass a screening that includes getting to know whoever it is you are paying to take care of you.
  • If you are someone who selects vendors and you weight cost ahead of relationship value, consider a career change. You will retire, die and be forgotten.  You don’t want that sort of legacy.
  • If you are a manager of an organization tasked to grow, hire people who care about people, not about quotas. Your paycheck isn’t worth messing up the value of your word in your professional circles.

Post by: Jeff Gaura, TNT President

Low Power Bluetooth Possibilities Go Far Beyond Retail

Posted on: April 13th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Bluetooth beacon technology, also known as low power Bluetooth, has been in the news, mostly for the possibilities it affords for retail establishments to reach potential customers.  However, the possibilities with Bluetooth beacon go infinitely beyond retail.

For example:

  • Using your employees’ mobile devices as security badges to get into your building instead of a badge (which could be more likely to be lent out versus a phone)
  • Instructions on how to use a copier or other device in your company that pop up on an employee’s mobile phone whenever they are near the device
  • Providing navigation information to visitors or employees within your building, and alerting you when someone goes somewhere they shouldn’t

All of these use cases and more are possible with Bluetooth beacon technology.

Here’s how the technology works: a small device sends out data strings to Bluetooth receivers using low power Bluetooth energy. It doesn’t require pairing or connecting to the device.  Then, an app installed on the device determines a course of action.  (In the example above, the app would display instructions for a copier when the receiver acknowledges the device.)

The technology has huge implications for improving both customer satisfaction, and employee productivity.  However, there are some hurdles to it reaching a tipping point.

There are many questions around app development for Bluetooth beacon.  Take the retail example.  Would there have to be an app for every store?  Developing “one retail app to rule them all” would certainly be complicated and rife with security vulnerabilities.  And speaking of security, you would have to overcome the trust issue of having the beaconing devices connect to personal phones.

The fact that the possibilities are limitless is both promising and overwhelming.

The Network Team is already engaging in discussions about how Bluetooth beacon can help us and our customers.  Cisco Meraki has released new Bluetooth low energy enabled Access Points.

Join the conversation by contacting TNT president Jeff Gaura who has been researching this topic and has many more ideas of how companies can use the technology to better their bottom line.

The Network Team