So What Is SharePoint, Anyway?

Many small businesses have huge problems when it comes to managing processes and sharing information. With every worker wearing multiple hats, it’s often difficult to keep track of who’s in charge of what, to say nothing of where all the information on a particular project is stored. So what do people do? They either have a short conversation by the water cooler, or they say, “Shoot me an email with the status update and your newest version of that contract.”

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These approaches will get the job done – and for your average small business struggling to stay on top of a growing workload with limited staff and resources, just getting the job done is an accomplishment in itself. But if you want to get ahead by actively managing your work processes and sharing information efficiently, you’re probably going to need something like SharePoint.

What it is: In a nutshell, it’s the guts behind a good intranet. Think about your ideal company intranet. It would probably include:

  • Information sharing, so that common documents like time-off request forms or expense forms were all in one place;
  • Document management, so that you could all work off the same version of the employee manual instead of the sixteen revisions you have floating around the office;
  • Collaborative capabilities, so that people could discuss individual projects or business issues in an open forum;
  • Client access, so that clients could review contracts or other documents online instead of trading endless emails.

SharePoint gives you all of that in a single package. And it’s highly customizable to fit in with your company’s structure and work processes.

What it does: It centralizes all that information that’s been floating around in email, on hard drives, on various servers, and on paper so that everybody in your organization can find what they need in one place. It helps preserve institutional knowledge so that you’re not left in the lurch if a key employee leaves your organization. It can serve as the go-to bulletin board for company announcements. And it can foster lively discussions and the exchange of ideas.

What it won’t do: Like any collaborative tool, SharePoint thrives on participation and suffers when it’s ignored. In other words, it won’t work if you don’t use it. You have to actively post documents and participate in discussions. People may resist using SharePoint at first, preferring to just email documents or do whatever their old work habits dictate. But the more you can steer people toward it, the more they’ll use it, and the more value they’ll build into it. It’s a virtuous circle.

Sign me up: Not so fast. First you need to decide whether you’re going to go with a server-based, in-house SharePoint solution, or if you’re going to go with a hosted option. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. Talk with CMIT Solutions about which option is best for you – whichever one you choose, we can help you set up and customize SharePoint to fit your business.

CMIT Solutions of Denver has our own SharePoint consultant in Michelle Herring. She works with our Denver office as well as several CMIT Solutions offices across the country.

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Microsoft Office Apps Now Available for iPhone

Microsoft has finally made Office Apps available through its Office 365 cloud services! Office 365 (O365) is a wonderful solution for businesses of all sizes and now that Office Apps can be accessed from an iPhone.

If you would like more information about the Office 365 cloud solutions (Exchange, Lync, Office Web Apps, Sharepoint), contact CMIT Solutions of Denver because we use this internally and have implemented O365 for a lot of our clients.

 

 

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So long, farewell Windows XP and Office 2003

Info from my friends at Microsoft: On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for the decade-old Windows XP as well as Office 2003. This means customers will no longer receive updates, including security updates, for Windows XP from Microsoft.  Talk to your IT support team (hopefully CMIT Solutions of Denver) about what needs to be done if you fall in this category.

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What Would Henry Higgins Say?

HenryHigginsI have always wondered why the English language just doesn’t make sense in the way the words are spelled as well as how they are pronounced. Perhaps the “proper” English of Henry Higgins’ (of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady fame) works for many; however, one still winds up with the dilemma of spelling and pronunciation. The English language hails from Latin (60%) and German (40%). Our prospects and clients both want to have our engineers speak in layman’s or normal terms and not tech or geek jargon. This just complicates things even more so we do our best to avoid geek speak.Enjoy the “story” below and go out and learn a language other than English because it will probably help you make more sense of our native English language.

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT!

Read all the way to the end…………….. This took a lot of work to put together!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

 

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3 Ways To Jumpstart Your Productivity

Whether due to interruption by a co-worker, technical problems with your computer, inability to focus, or just plain old procrastination, obstacles to your productivity come in many forms. As such, there’s no one easy fix all of them. However, when you find yourself stuck in an unproductive rut, try one of these suggestions to shake things up. Sometimes, merely doing something you don’t normally do is sufficient to motivate you to tackle challenges.

  1. Take a nap – While it may seem counter-intuitive, a brief nap is a great way to disengage from what you’re working on, give your brain a rest, and refresh your mindset. The trick is correctly timing your nap. Research has shown that a quick catnap (no longer than 15 to 20 minutes) improves your cognitive abilities, but only if taken between 1pm and 3pm.
  2. Look at something cute – Speaking of cats, a study conducted by Hiroshima University in Japan revealed that participants who viewed pleasant or cute images for only a few minutes increased their performance in concentration-related tasks by a whopping 44 percent. Okay, so maybe it’s not hard science just yet, but it can’t hurt, right?
  3. Banish IT problems for good – If you find your productivity compromised by a computer that won’t cooperate or technical glitches that seem to pop up at the most inopportune times, don’t lose countless hours troubleshooting it yourself. And don’t spend another dime (and more hours waiting) on the break/fix guy to repair it again. Consult with a managed services provider (MSP) that takes a proactive approach to IT maintenance and strategy instead of waiting for something to go wrong before doing anything.

Your time is valuable. Don’t let IT problems stand in the way of accomplishing what you set out to do. Click on the video below to see what your business can do when nothing is stopping you!

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Join the Revolution!

Click below to learn how CMIT Solutions is revolutionizing the way companies do business by eliminating potential IT issues before they grow into costly interruptions. With CMIT Solutions, you can finally say “goodbye” to unscheduled downtime!
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Sharing Wi-Fi With All Your Neighbors

Over the years you may have seen me write about securing your wireless network, both for home and office. Unfortunately, it is something that often gets overlooked. You will eventually pay the price for that oversight. Last year I wrote about how to invite the FBI into your home or office. But here is a true story about how a client invited others on to his home wireless.

Tom (not his real name) had been using wireless in his apartment for many years, connecting successfully and consistently to the internet. But recently he was having problems. He’d come home from work and try to connect but could not. Doing the logical first steps in troubleshooting, he would reboot his wireless router. He would then successfully connect to his wireless and be on his way. But it was annoying him that this was frequently happening.

As this continued to happened, he noticed that whenever he rebooted the wireless, he would hear moans of disappointment coming from a neighboring apartment. It just so happens there are three teenage girls living there. As you can imagine, they have smart phones, iPads and laptops. All were connecting to his wireless and saturating it to the point there were no logins left. He could not imagine how they got his logon information but they had it.

The easy solution would have been to just change the password. A better solution would have been to increase the security setting as well as change the password. But the wireless router was getting old anyway so instead he bought a new one. It setup in 5 minutes, was faster and had better security. He was back in business with no interruptions from the girls next door. Lesson learned: have high security on your wireless; nothing less than WPA but preferably WPA2.

And what about those poor girls who now lost their free internet access? Tom recalls seeing a Comcast truck out in front one day.

A special note from Debi Bush, CEO, CMIT Solutions of Denver:
You know us as an IT consulting and support company. But we can offer more to you, often at no charge. I have been providing IT support for over 8 years and was in the corporate world before that (cable TV). I have made quite a few alliances and know people and companies that provide services to businesses.  I have always been one who recognizes the need for being “connected” and being a resource for others. If you need services that may not be IT, I may still be able to recommend someone to you. I am constantly looking for companies that may be of service to our clients. If we can help you with your business, then everyone wins. Please give us the opportunity to service beyond your IT needs.

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Microsoft Store Offers Free Training

windows_8_workshops_imageLast Friday I was at the Microsoft Store at Park Meadows Mall to speak with the Business Community liaison. While there I was given a brochure of the store’s schedule of events for February. There are special events such as Surface Pro Sneak Peek (2/6-2/8/13 from 9-10am) to Staying Connected with OneNote as well as Getting To Know Windows 8 and Office 2013.  There are also recurring events on several days of the week – including Sundays – that reflect some of the same topics and more including Xbox Sports Night, Dance Central 3 and StarCraft II (whatever that is). By attending one of these events you will receive a Friends and Family discount card.

Go to the Microsoft Store and check out all their great devices including the Windows 8 phone which I am presently checking out. You can even have groups of people from your office schedule a time for a free training on Microsoft products.

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