How CA Service Desk Manager can help you

Service Desk Manager has helped First National Technology Solutions (FNTS) improve the process of service delivery, customer satisfaction, and reduce cost through automation.

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How one top-rated bank uses technology to meet customer demands

As the top-rated bank in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Blackhawk Bank focuses on providing exceptional customer service and superior financial products, while also allowing its customers and employees to benefit from the latest technologies. Throughout its rich history, Blackhawk Bank has gone through several expansions, mergers and acquisitions – all while maintaining a powerful partnership with First National Technology Solutions (FNTS).

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Data Center Trends: Outsourcing

Corporations face mounting pressure from stakeholders to reduce expenses and increase efficiencies in their information technology (IT) environments, all while maintaining 100 percent data availability. In addition, many organizations have substantial IT initiatives to tackle this year, leaving them with few resources to devote to routine facility maintenance. As a result, facilities are increasingly turning to outsourcing opportunities, such as data center services and cloud hosting to store and manage their data. By doing so, many organizations have successfully eliminated the capital required to purchase and maintain expensive hardware and accommodate the capacity needed to store data on premise. By outsourcing managed services, facility managers can free up critical square footage and IT staff can hand off general maintenance activities and prioritize overall business strategy. 

Confirming this trend, Gartner recently published a report forecasting a 0.5 percent decline this year in worldwide IT spending from 2015. However, spending in the IT services market is expected to reach $929 billion, a 2.1 percent increase from 2015. In other words, as budgets tighten and technology advances, senior IT leaders recognize the value in managed services and, in turn, spend less on implementing their own hardware and software, entrusting their data to expert providers.

As part of this IT spending shift toward outsourced services, organizations are also considering virtualization in their critical systems and IT environments. As the amount of capacity required to store data on premise proliferates, organizations are turning to virtual technology instead of increasing the square footage in their facilities. According to a recent survey published by Nomura Holdings, CIOs expect cloud consumption to rise from 31 percent in 2014 to 58 percent in 2018. In addition, public cloud adoption is predicted to grow the fastest – from 8 percent in 2014 to 19 percent in 2018.

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Six Outsourcing “Do’s”

Outsourcing your IT environment is an important decision for any business. Whether it be online backups, offsite backups or anything in between, it helps to keep certain tips in mind when choosing among mainframe outsourcing companies. Here are some “do’s” to help you in your outsourcing decisions.

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How to avoid project failure

The technology landscape is cluttered with promises of product problem solving.  And while these products are designed to help solve the problem at hand, it won't solve the issue completely.  Why? How do you get to the end result to solve the problem?  Reset, revisit and look at your predefined expectations and requirements.  

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Mainframe vs. the Engineer

Mainframe vs. the Engineer

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What I Learned on the Night Shift

FNTS has taken great pride on the expanded work hours for the Enterprise Systems Operations Center (ESOC).  To expand our service offering and provide our customers with the best service if issues arose.   In addition to putting out fires it also permits our customers a night-time window for after-hours work to be performed such as scheduled maintenance and upgrades.  
 
In August I assumed a roll as a night shift employee.  With the arrival of a new baby, the night shift theory worked out well because I could be home with our son during the day to allow my wife some sleep after having been up most of the night while I was gone.  However, that theory was just that - a theory.  
 
What I learned working the night shift.
 
The Good:
•    Fewer interruptions.  As a subject matter expert (SME) on many items that the ESOC supports, I was accustomed to interruptions from fellow team members looking for input how to solve difficult tasks.  When on the night shift, we were often engrossed in our own tasks and didn't need to interact very much with each other, allowing ourselves to deep-dive into the tasks at hand without interruption.
•    Able to work on and focus on projects for both internal and external clients, increasing customer satisfaction and flexibility to meet customer needs.
•    Deep-dive troubleshooting and research issues with little to no distractions.  I was able to dive deep into tasks - making it easier to fend off the urge to sleep.
 
The Bad:
•    Very few places are open for a late night snack, many that are open are not very healthy:  You'd better plan out meals and snacks during the night, or else you'll be spending some time in a fast food drive-through or raiding the vending machines.
•    Sleep will try and trick you, it can be very difficult to stay awake on some nights.    You have to keep very busy during the night and or it is easy to nod off.
•    Lose out on interaction with the day crew.  When most of your team works and holds their meetings during the day, you can certainly miss out on the comradery and current events. 
 
The Ugly:
•    Odd sleep cycle - split-sleep schedule:  Perhaps because I knew this was temporary, I never quite adjusted to working during the night and sleeping during the day.  I often would come home and try to interact with the family when I should have been asleep, often which would burn me later.
•    Crashes - sleep always wins:  I found that I would crash about every week to week and a half.  My average day was 2-5 hours of sleep, usually split into two chunks throughout the day.  While not healthy, it just plain wears on a person, and eventually sleep will win out.  This also caused random bouts of falling asleep during the day during inconvenient (and sometimes unsafe) times.
•    Impact on family life schedule.  Remember our theory about working at night and then being up during the day so that my wife could sleep?  Almost never happened.  When I got home, I was sometimes awake (usually when the other kids were home from school), but most of the time, I just wanted to get some rest.  I'm pretty sure my wife spent more time awake during the average day than I did.
 
So the moral of the story?  The night-shift certainly can have its advantages, but you have to be fully devoted to the schedule or it will kick you in the hind-quarters and it can be rough on personal, professional, and family life.  I have a new-found respect for the night crew and what they do, no matter how large or small the task.  

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Why do I need to know anything about business? I’m in IT!

This is the question that was asked of me a few weeks ago by a graduate student in an MIS program. And my response was "How can you support a business if you don't have any understanding of it? How can you sit in a room with a client and translate their business process needs into technical terms and solutions without actually understanding their business in the first place?”.  The light bulb went off and they said, “I get it now”.

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Overcoming Challenges

Rachel Nicholas, a Project Manager at First National Technology Solutions (FNTS) likes a good challenge. “However, as a project manager, I like to have some ability to plan as well,” says Nicholas.

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Solutions Customized, Not Cookie Cutter

There are a lot of companies out there that need to update their software, and think “where can I get the resources to do the testing, do the update and then get rid of it without using a lot of capital?” Susan Couron, Senior Client Executive at First National Technology Solutions (FNTS) has the answer.  Every day she helps customers find solutions to this issue and more.

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Self-Provisioning, what does it mean for you?

A key characteristic First National Technology Solutions (FNTS) prides itself on is the flexibility available to customers. This quality is particularly demonstrated in a project Vice President of Sales, Kim Whittaker is involved in: offering cloud self-provisioning.

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Personal Service Comes with a Price Tag

Help!  Recently I embarked on a new endeavor, outside of my comfort zone, into uncharted territory.  In this new endeavor, I found myself learning on the fly and getting along pretty well until the project went awry and I needed help.  I tried to call the vendor but could not get through, so I was forced to send an email for assistance and wait.  And wait.  I felt helpless sitting there waiting for help to arrive.  As it turned out I was only allowed email support. I had to pay extra for actual phone assistance.  I was stunned!  Could this be true – are there companies that force customers to pay extra to get help from a product/service they offer and charge for?  The answer is yes.

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Seven things about outsourcing your CIO wants to know.

Once upon a time the term outsourcing was deemed automatic job loss or loss of control over your critical systems. With technology changing, the lines between consumer and business blurring, security and compliance standards rising and business drivers changing the technology world continually – the role of the CIO has changed and now outsourcing has become an extension of your staff – not a replacement.

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“I Love Cookies”

I love cookies. I love to make them, buy them and eat them…which is why I must exercise! But I digress. I am NOT here to talk about exercise. (Aren’t you glad?) I am here to talk about ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions to ‘non-cookie-cutter’ problems.

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I Like Hats

I like hats…... sun hats, baseball caps, skater hats, Easter Sunday bonnets, hockey helmets and more. I don’t necessarily like to wear them or look good in them, but I like them. Hats allow you to be someone else for a little bit. A baseball cap, for instance, allows you to be athletic and play a game while keeping the sun out of your eyes. A sun hat allows you to be outside and work in your garden without getting sunburn. A hockey helmet lets you be rough, tough and invincible. The hat you are wearing lets you be that person for at least as long as you are wearing that hat.

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