Archive for the ‘Managed Services’ Category

Windows Server 2016 – Free Labor and Training from TNT

Posted on: July 28th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Microsoft is set to release Windows Server 2016 to the public during its Ignite Conference September 26-30th.  Windows Server 2016 is billed as ‘cloud-ready’ and has perhaps more new features for overall performance increases than any other version ever released.  It promises new levels of security and increased flexibility as your company grows.  The Network Team wants all of our customers to experience the product as soon as is possible.

We have created a limited time special offer to help you kick the tires of Windows 2016 before you dive all the way in.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase one instance of Server 2016 on your network
  2. Commit to a date to install the instance on your network before October 29, 2016. (You do not need to have it installed before October 29th. You just need to commit to a date before then.)
  3. TNT will provide you the labor and training for that instance at no cost.

There are some caveats1.

Windows Server 2016 has several flavors and colors to choose from.  TNT will continue to do what we do best:  help you pick the version that is right for you and create a plan to migrate to this version.  Our certified engineers and even our president are taking ownership of migrating our internal network to Windows Server 2016, so we can share with you not only other customers’ experiences but our internal use stories as well.

The release of a new version of Windows Server is a good reminder that many older versions are either no longer supported by Microsoft, or soon won’t be.  TNT recommends that by the end of the year, all users be on supported versions of the Windows Server, and make sure that all hardware and software utilized by users day in and day out be covered by our managed services and manufacturer’s warranty.

1TNT will install exactly one instance of Windows Server 2016 as a virtual machine.  TNT will install it on a new machine if and only if there are no other operating systems on that machine.  The follow technologies will be demoed:

  • a Nano server (which is a new feature in Windows Server 2016 that, among other things, improves efficiency), running either locally or remotely
  • a single containerized application
  • management interfaces

TNT will join this server to the domain and create shares and remote access to it for administrators to “play” with.  It is not intended to be used as a production device but as a learning tool.

Don’t miss out on this offer of free labor and training.  Contact TNT today to register for the deal before it’s too late.

Systems Engineer Job Opening

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Network Team is currently looking to hire a Systems Engineer.

TNT is a dynamic IT Services company, offering both managed services in the form of monthly contracts as well as project work, completed using a time and materials model.  TNT is seeking a network engineer both with experience and a hunger to learn as much as possible regarding the offerings of Microsoft, Citrix and Cisco.

The ideal candidate has a great blend of work styles.  S/he needs to be able to work alone and/or remotely on customer issues for hours at a time, as well as be comfortable operating in a group situation for consecutive days while maintaining a focus on the technical tasks at hand.  S/he need to be able to adapt both spoken and written language to appropriately communicate with audience.

The most successful candidates are able to discern between technical problems and business problems and can help bridge the gap be concisely explaining the cause of and solution to problems that our customer community is facing.  Exemplary candidates can present solutions that create new revenue opportunities for the entire organization.

Description of Duties:

Technical Tasks:

  • Customer service: Establish and maintain relationships with customers. Prior to commencing any work, briefly speak with the customer contact and inform them of your objective.
  • Troubleshoot: Install, configure, and maintain networking devices, per manufacturer and/or company standards, ensuring that customer applications and data remain accessible.  Apply basic troubleshooting skills of problem isolation and single change corrections to ensure problems are resolved in a timely manner.

Administrative Tasks:

  • Account for their time. Enter spent time daily into the Time Management system (as of this writing, a web enabled application).  Charge customers for fair amount of time spent on tasks, not necessarily actual time spent (educational time is not charged to a customer).
  • Integrate with sales staff to formulate and present solutions to customers that are both in line with what the customer needs and within the scope of the offerings of The Network Team, Inc.
  • Follow-up with customers both before a project starts and after it ends to ensure that customers’ requirements have been met. Make sure tasks are complete.
  • Be comfortable while working from home. Maintain a car, telecommunications equipment and tools necessary to complete your job in at least a satisfactory manner.
  • Bill a minimum of 28 hours per week, coordinating schedules with customers and company tasks.

 

Professional Expectations:

  • Dress appropriately for each engagement, wearing company provided logo clothing on any new engagement.
  • Continuing education is a job requirement. Read and discuss current trends in the industry with other TNT staff and business partners to ensure cohesive direction and presentation.  Attend seminars and pass written exams, as is deemed appropriate to ensure that TNT quality is above industry average.
  • Honesty with customers and staff.
  • Vision of stewardship of both customers and company property.
  • The first 90 days of employment are a trial period. At the end of this period, both employee and employer reserve the right to terminate this contract without justification.

 

Pre-requisites:

  • Manufacturer based entry level certifications. This includes Cisco CCNA, Microsoft MCP, VMWare VCP, Citrix CCA, et al.
  • 2 years or more experience working with home PC hardware or equivalent, demonstrating competence to change out PC Hardware, Software and networking devices.
  • Entry level knowledge of Networking Essentials, including telco products and services. Although this is a part of the CCNA cert process, we include it here to stress its importance.
  • Entry knowledge of Windows servers and desktop products, with the ability to work on these devices unsupervised.
  • Ability to troubleshoot any networking problem, given the right resources.

If you are interested in applying for the network engineer position, please email your resume and cover letter to info@thenetworkteam.co.

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