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What exactly is Operational Excellence?

Posted by Dave Kravitt


Many business professionals talk about "operational excellence", but few understand that it actually consists of several elements that must be successfully implemented and integrated to be successful. If you ask a dozen business professionals to define Operational Excellence, you’ll get a dozen different answers, such as “it’s about process quality and making perfect parts every time,“ or “it’s applying lean tools everywhere to eliminate waste.” Perhaps one of the best definitions I’ve seen is also one of the simplest, from business consulting firm Duggan Associates: “It is when each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer and fix that flow when it breaks down.” 

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Tags: Managed Services, Operational Excellence

Too Much To Manage? Top Challenges Facing Tech Leaders Today (And What To Do About Them)

Posted by Dave Kravitt

Guest blog co-written with Thrive Networks

 

As the technology landscape continues to change and evolve at lightning speed, CIOs and CTOs have more on their plates than ever before. For many, spending time on valuable business drivers—the ones that give your business a competitive advantage—takes the backseat to managing and maintaining an IT environment that’s increasingly complex. This challenge is diverse, with many tech leaders needing to oversee everything from vendor management, to rising cyber security concerns, to the many facets associated with maintaining business continuity. And at the end of the day, these tasks leave little time to focus on innovation. 

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Tags: Managed Services

Expert Q&A: How To Avoid a Hodge-Podge IT Environment

Posted by PSGi Staff Writer

Has your manufacturing company experienced considerable growth through acquisition or other significant changes in recent years? While change can be a positive thing, it can also lead to a lack of centralized IT control, in turn creating an IT environment that feels a bit… well, chaotic. This “hodge-podge” type of environment—one that’s characterized by multiple systems managed in functional silos—is actually quite common. And not just an issue among post-acquisition companies. This scenario applies to any manufacturing organization that lacks a holistic, well-planned IT approach.   

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Tags: Managed Services

The 10 Best Questions to Ask When Vetting MSPs

Posted by Larry Dube

 

The new year can be a good time to address head-on those same old IT challenges that have been lingering for too long. So what are YOUR manufacturing company’s IT objectives this year? 

Freeing up internal staffers so they can focus on higher-value projects? Gaining more control over fluctuating IT costs? Tackling the security beast?  

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Tags: Managed Services

3 Reasons Remote System Management Has Become “The New Norm” In Manufacturing

Posted by Dave Kravitt

Whether you embrace new and existing technologies whole-heartedly or with a sense of dread, the need for reliable IT support simply comes with the territory. For some manufacturing and distribution companies, the question then boils down to the type of support you need: in-house staff or remote, outsourced services?

Historically, the decision-making process for SMBs was more difficult, more carefully weighed. That’s been especially true for small firms who have had a hard time making the mental leap from handling everything in-house to having it managed remotely. But today, more companies seem to be accepting the notion that remote managed services are today’s new norm. Here are three significant factors behind this shift—and why they bring about good news for manufacturers.

1 – More Complex, Global IT Environments

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Tags: Managed Services

IBM Is Dropping Support for IBM i  7.1 – Here’s What You Should Know

Posted by Larry Dube

After a recent announcement, the word is slowly rippling through the IBM user community: IBM will be discontinuing support for IBM i 7.1 on April 30, 2018.  

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Tags: IBM i Platform, Managed Services

Mind the Gap: 3 Risks You Could Face With a Traditional Managed Service Provider

Posted by Larry Dube

For major projects like an IBM i system upgrade, most companies will readily recognize the need for specialized, outsourced services. In many cases, this means seeking out a traditional managed service provider (MSP) to handle the system essentials – from performing the upgrade, to troubleshooting system problems, to ensuring stable OS performance. For the same project, that same company may also need application expertise and support — in other words, an additional resource to perform the application upgrades that are required to stay compatible with the upgraded OS.  

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Tags: IBM i Platform, Managed Services

How SMBs Can Address Specific IT Needs with a Flexible IBM i Managed Services Provider

Posted by Dave Kravitt

When it comes to IBM i managed services, most small and mid-sized businesses think big – perhaps a little too big. Given the broad range of system and OS support services many MSPs offer, people often make the mental leap from handling everything in-house to outsourcing all IT-related processes and equipment. From hardware to hosting to backup, analysis and other support services, they’ll automatically envision an all-or-nothing approach to hiring an MSP. When outsourcing seems like such a major undertaking, companies with smaller, more intermittent needs tend to avoid the process altogether. 

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Tags: IBM i Platform, Managed Services

Should You Outsource Support for Your Enterprise Business Systems?

Posted by Dave Kravitt

The decision on whether to outsource support for enterprise resource planning and other business systems can be a difficult one, depending on the complexity of the overall IT environment and whatever vendor support agreement may or may not be in place. Often the decision revolves around money – in most cases you would be spending significantly less with a third-party support company. Although cost is always a top concern and the driving force behind many decisions to outsource support, if you are considering outsourcing support, there are other areas besides cost to consider to improve your system support ROI.  Support should be more than an insurance policy, it should be one of the elements in your foundation for success.  If that is not what you are getting now, perhaps a third party solution should be a consideration.

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Tags: Managed Services, Enterprise Application Support

Traditional Managed Service Provider vs. Multi-Faceted MSP

Posted by Dave Kravitt

You probably already know the benefits of utilizing a managed service provider (MSP) to manage your IT infrastructure. But that’s only half the story – your IT department still has to devote time and resources to monitoring and maintaining the business applications that run on it. Combining the management of your IT system AND the enterprise software that runs on it with a single managed service provider can make your entire IT system more effective and efficient and reducing downtime – saving you time and money. 

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Tags: Managed Services, Enterprise Application Support, Enterprise Application Services