A Holiday Message From Our President

Keller Schroeder Leadership-Jeff GormanJeff Gorman – [President]

As 2017 winds to a close and the holiday season is upon us, it becomes easy to get wrapped up in a frenetic pace of gift-buying, party-attending, and filling every minute of available time with “required” activities.  Instead of giving in to the pressures of that type of schedule, I encourage you to give yourself the gift of some quiet time filled with reflection on what is most important to you and how you can ensure those relationships get priority.  These moments of self-awareness can reduce stress and provide clarity and perspective that greatly increase your enjoyment of a season to be filled with celebration and joy.

At Keller Schroeder, we strongly believe the purpose of our organization is to provide positive, personal impacts in all of our interactions.  Our desire is to make those impacts on our employee-owners, our business partners, and the communities where we work.  It is a blessing to have had so many opportunities to serve you in that manner in 2017.  We truly value our relationships with the businesses and community organizations where we work, and we look forward to additional opportunities to make even greater positive, personal impacts in 2018 and beyond.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.  If Christmas is not a holiday you observe, we wish you a season full of joy, grace, and peacefulness.

Best wishes for a successful 2018.

Jeff Gorman |  President


Culture Surveys

Keller Schroeder President-Jeff GormanJeff Gorman – [President]

The importance of measuring key performance indicators, or knowing the ‘score’ of your progress toward goals, is a widely held view among leaders.  Without some consistent manner from which you can evaluate your progress, it becomes difficult to maintain clarity within an organization regarding the current state of key efforts.  Successful businesses frequently apply this mentality to financial performance, budgets, timelines, and other key initiatives.   Seeing the trend in share value, a comparison of year-to-date financials to budget, or comparing project milestones to forecasts are all great tools of measuring ‘lag’ indicators, those indicators that show the final impact of previous actions on current performance.

At Keller Schroeder, we strongly believe a key performance differentiator for our business is our ownership culture.  Because our employees are owners in the business, we believe they engage with a different level of commitment, they more strongly value client relationships, and they feel more connected to the purpose of the business.  To help assess and measure our performance with respect to our culture, we regularly perform employee-engagement surveys.  We have engaged with nationally known organizations who focus on effective ways to measure culture and employee perceptions of key aspects of the organization with the expectation that we want to compare how we align against those who set the standard nationally for having great workplaces.  Much like reviewing a financial statement, we use the output from the surveys to identify areas where we need to focus for improvement, and we look for areas where we are performing strongly and discuss how to leverage those strengths.  We use the baseline numbers from the top organizations as our ‘budget’ for knowing where we are currently against where we want to reside.

Best Small Workplaces 2017 LogoI am very excited and proud to share, based on the feedback from our employee-owners this year, Keller Schroeder was named to the Fortune magazine and Great Places to Work ’50 Best Small Workplaces’ in the United States this year.  Our results were scored against hundreds of other companies with surveys covering over seventy-thousand employees of small and medium businesses across the country.  From our collective scores and information provided about our benefits, our behaviors, and our focus on the community, Keller Schroeder was rated as #21 on this year’s list.  We have plenty to work on to continue to improve as an organization focused on making positive, personal impacts on our employee-owners, our clients, and our communities, and yet we are very proud of where the scoreboard shows us in our pursuit of that purpose.

It is consistently insightful and invaluable to get candid feedback from a wide swath of employees to create a scoreboard for your culture. It can be both very humbling and very rewarding.  It also should be a requirement if you support the view that the organizational health of your company is the most critical ‘lead’ measure, having direct impact on the ‘lag’ measures you have been using as a scorecard for years.  Research consistently shows the value to an organization, in all measurable ways, of ‘engaged’ employees over ‘content’ or ‘discontent’ employees.  Determining the best way to build a scoreboard to allow an organization to start tracking that key metric should be getting consideration.  We view our culture as a key difference maker in how we add value to our clients; we would encourage others to invest the time to measure those traits in their own organizations.  The benefits to knowing your culture ‘score’ can have a direct impact on all aspects of a company’s performance, and in a marketplace where competitiveness for business and for employees is extremely high, the insight gained from the assessment can help an organization turn culture into a positive differentiator.


Thanks to our Totally Rad Clients!

Each year in October, Keller Schroeder invites our clients to join us for an on-site event that serves as our opportunity to thank them for their continued business. Around 400 of our clients, prospects, and staff members get together for lunch, prizes, and a lot of fun. Each attendee receives a thank you gift for attending (we’ve given laptop backpacks, Maglites, Tervis tumblers, lunch coolers, etc.), and are also entered to win prizes which are drawn every half hour during the event.

Keller Schroeder Totally Rad 2017 Client Appreciation Event

KS Client Appreciation Event Tent

In 2017, we went retro with an 80s-themed “Totally Rad Client Appreciation Event.” We are proud to say we took this theme to the max with lots of neon, Rubix cubes, cassette & VHS tapes, Slinky’s, floppy disks – the works!

 

KS Client Appreciation Event Prize WinnersKS Client Appreciation Event Retro Arcade

Thanks to the Cisco Team at Tech Data, we were even able to secure a retro arcade- complete with Pacman, Galaga, Frogger, Asteroids, and more. Attendees were also entered to win some pretty sweet 80s-themed door prizes including a 50” 4K TV along with a Nintendo NES Classic, an adult-sized big wheel, a retro-style turntable with 80s vinyls, and an updated Polaroid camera.

KS Client Appreciation Event Give Back TentOur Client Appreciation Event also involves a unique charitable aspect, as we ask our employee-owners and clients to bring along a donation for a different charity each year. They are always exceedingly generous, and our chosen charities come away with truckloads of useful items they have requested. This is a major contributing factor in the Client Appreciation Event being our largest and most anticipated event every year.

Albion Fellows Bacon Center LogoFor this year’s event, we partnered with Albion Fellows Bacon Center as our give back organization. For over 35 years, Albion Fellows Bacon Center has been strategically working toward preventing domestic and sexual violence in our community and offering services to empower victims. Their services assess barriers to safety and self-sufficiency as well as the emotional and psychological needs of victims.

Albion Fellows Bacon Center Dryers

The generosity from our clients and employee-owners was once again overwhelming, and Albion left with tons of needed supplies. Keller Schroeder as a company was also able to provide two high-capacity dryers and laundry supplies for Albion’s shelter.

Thank you once again to our clients, employee-owners, and our vendor partners for making this year’s Client Appreciation Event an incredible success!


What is Visual Studio Team Services and How Does It Differ From TFS?

Carrie Rudolph Microsoft Business Unit DirectorCarrie Rudolph – [Microsoft Business Unit Director]

Best practices say that any custom development team should use a source control tool for versioning and collaboration.  Microsoft’s historical source control tool has been Team Foundation Server (TFS), released in 2006 and still a leader in source control today.   Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) is the online version of Team Foundation Server (TFS), and while these two tools have many similarities there are a few differences as well.

Microsoft Visual StudioBoth provide an integrated and collaborative development environment that provides tools for version control, planning, and work tracking. They both offer much more than source control they are application development lifecycle management tools. TFS is an on premise installation with a SQL Server backend.   Previously known as Visual Studio Online, VSTS is a cloud service backed by Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.  For TFS, you typically connect to an intranet server and authenticate using Windows Authentication and Active Directory.  This authentication is normally transparent and most users do not realize it’s even occurring.  With VSTS you are connecting over the public internet, and you authenticate with a Microsoft account or using Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

Microsoft Visual Studio Screen ShotThere are several advantages to using VSTS instead of TFS.  Since VSTS is a cloud hosted service there is nothing for you to install or maintain.  You can eliminate cost of servers, time to install, update, and backup the software, patches, and OS. VSTS ensures that you will immediately be able to utilize the latest and greatest features and functionality.    With the online access to VSTS, the need for developers to connect via VPN to access source code is eliminated.  This can be a big benefit for development teams spread out over several locations.  VSTS can also host GIT projects as well as traditional team foundation projects, which allows you to manage all of your source code in one place and eliminate the need for multiple services. Lastly, VSTS also includes a marketplace with hundreds of available plugins, from Slack Integration, to Code Search, and Trello; there is an ever growing list of plugins available for free at the click of a button.

VSTS is free to those individuals with Visual Studio memberships.   A small team (up to five users) can access Basic features free of charge, and for larger teams, there is a per user monthly fee.  An unlimited number of project Stakeholders can also be added for free; they can view and edit work items but not manage code.

Microsoft Visual Studio Screen ShotThere are several options for migrating from TFS to VSTS.  Projects can be added to VSTS one at a time, in which case previous version history will be lost.  Projects and their related history can be migrated directly from TFS 2017 to VSTS using the TFS Database Import Service from Microsoft. . Finally, you can use a public API, but please know that many of these will not move all of your TFS artifacts and their history. If you have added customizations to TFS, these may cause errors that must be resolved prior to migrating to VSTS.  In some cases, customizations may be lost.

If you are looking to reduce time and cost related to hosting TFS and increase your team’s accessibility to source code, you will definitely want to consider Visual Studio Team Services. Contact your Select Account Manager to learn how Keller Schroeder can help.


CLIENT SUCCESS: Improved Experience For Employees And Customers with Cisco

In partnership with  Tech Data, Keller Schroeder was able to obtain a series of case studies depicting recent client experiences with our team and Cisco technologies. Keep reading to learn how Keller Schroeder helped Jasper Chair Company improve their employees’ and customers’ experiences with an upgrade to the company’s IT network and security infrastructure with Cisco network and VOIP technology.

The Challenge

Jasper Chair Company LogoJasper Chair’s IT network and phone systems were outdated and systems were disjointed. In fact, it was starting to affect the workforce and it was slowing down production. Jasper Chair needed to find an IT company to help them build a roadmap to overhaul their existing IT infrastructure and replace it with faster, better performing technology that would enable them to offer an improved experience to their employees and customers.“Offering better technology that works together well is an essential backbone of any successful business. We knew we needed to heavily invest in new technology infrastructure, and we were looking for a trusted provider to help us build a strategy and a roadmap to gain a competitive advantage with the new technology,” explains Chad Barth, Vice President at Jasper Chair Company.

The Solution

Great Strategy and IT Roadmap for the Future  –    Jasper Chair needed to build a cohesive IT network and completely overhaul its existing phone system. Jasper Chair reached out to its IT manager, who then referred the company to Keller Schroeder. When Jasper Chair hired Keller Schroeder, their engineers and account managers were able to hit the ground running. The Keller Schroeder team listened to Jasper Chair’s concerns, they took time to understand the company’s technology wish list, and fully learn the current IT landscape. “We have really put our faith in Keller Schroeder, and they successfully laid out a plan to help us build the IT infrastructure we needed to be successful. We are confident in the technology selected because we chose Cisco,” adds Barth. Keller Schroeder created a roadmap and added in security solutions that would meet the IT needs of Jasper Chair. This new infrastructure included Cisco VoIP phone system, a server, Cisco Adaptive Security Application (ASA), and a new network. “Most importantly, Keller Schroeder helped us choose the best Cisco security products to protect our company from ransomware or cyberattacks.”

Benefits

High-Performing, Driven, and Organized – Throughout the project, Keller Schroeder was organized, attentive, and thoughtful about meeting Jasper Chair’s needs. The Keller Schroeder team led the charge in effectively managing the projects, and the company worked well with the Jasper Chair IT team.

“What most stood out to us with Keller Schroeder was their people. They were great to work with. They are all so effective and driven, and you can definitely tell that they love their job and the work they are doing” – Chad Barth, Vice President at Jasper Chair

Cisco LogoKeller Schroeder’s extensive knowledge about the Cisco products and solutions provided Jasper Chair with a guarantee the final solution would be high functioning and reliable. “They were cohesive with our IT systems, they integrated the projects well, and their engineers worked with the network team to ensure everything was working well together.” Managing the budget efficiently is a large part of successfully seeing the project through. Jasper Chair’s headquarters is located about an hour away from Keller Schroeder’s office, so the company took the time to conduct video conferencing sessions as much as possible to help control the costs. Barth says, “Keller Schroeder really put us first. Once they had the IT infrastructure in place, they really worked with us on the budget by accommodating us remotely.”

Thorough Support

Building and installing a new network and VOIP phone system can be complicated. Throughout the process, Keller Schroeder provided Jasper Chair with end-to-end support. From planning and purchasing and all the way to installation, Keller Schroeder was organized and set expectations for Jasper Chair to ensure the project’s success. “Keller Schroeder brought so many good ideas to the table, and we depend on them for that. They not only helped us build our new network and VOIP phone system, but they also gave us a plan for the future,” says Barth.

Results

Carefully Vetted, Secure Solutions – When building an expansive IT network, it is important to make sure all the products and solutions work together well. It is also important to ensure the best products are used to meet the business needs of the customer. Keller Schroeder carefully vetted the products and provided a cohesive ecosystem to help Jasper Chair’s business thrive. Barth adds, “With Keller Schroeder’s guidance, we decided to go primarily with Cisco products to build our IT network, VOIP phone system, and data center. Their solutions are reliable and secure. Protecting our data is a high priority.” Like many companies, Jasper Chair had been a target of malicious cyber-attacks. Now that they have Keller Schroeder on their side building reliable IT infrastructure with Cisco solutions and security, Jasper Chair has not had any further issues.

Happy Employees, Satisfied Customers – Prior to their engagement with Keller Schroeder, Jasper Chair’s employees had experienced a slow network and other technical issues that were distracting from their day-to-day tasks. Now, with the new system in place, employees are happy and more productive. “Keller Schroeder provided us with incredible service and they helped us find exactly what we were looking for. They have done a fantastic job with our current projects, and now they are already working on taking us through the next phase.”

Throughout the projects, Keller Schroeder worked to exceed Jasper Chair’s expectations and accomplish all their project goals and objectives. “They did everything we asked them to do, while exceeding our expectations on all levels. We don’t get as many complaints from employees anymore because things are working effectively.”

“The team at Keller Schroeder went the distance with us and has taken care of everything. Their commitment to our success was really felt by all of the employees at Jasper Chair.” — Chad Barth, Vice President at Jasper Chair Company

Exceeded Expectations – Keller Schroeder prides itself on going the distance to satisfy its customers. They don’t just meet the customer’s needs, but it exceeds them on all levels. Throughout the projects, Keller Schroeder was attentive to Jasper Chair’s needs and thoughtful about providing them the best customer service in the industry. “We look for consistency and trust and believe that slow and steady wins the race. For me, the most important factor for any business partnership is reliability, consistency, trustworthiness. We want reliable performance on a steady basis. Barth explains, “Keller Schroeder offered us the performance, quality, and expert knowledge we were looking for from an experienced and professional IT service provider. They were able to help us with all of our IT needs and build a roadmap for the future.”

For more information about how Keller Schroeder can assist your organization with Cisco technology, please contact your Select Account Manager.


Application Solutions Group Leadership Transition

Keller Schroeder President-Jeff GormanJeff Gorman – [President]

It is my pleasure to announce an upcoming leadership transition at Keller Schroeder.  After thirty extremely successful years as a leader at Keller Schroeder, Dan Ehrhart will retire from his role as the Vice President of our Application Solutions Group, effective at the end of this year.  Dan will remain an owner and a member of our Board of Directors in addition to his plans to invest time with family, friends, the outdoors, and as a community volunteer.

Cathy Graper Incoming Application Solutions Group Vice PresidentCathy Graper will become the Vice President of our Application Solutions Group effective January 1, 2018.  Cathy has been with Keller Schroeder for twenty-two years and is a seasoned Business Unit Director reporting directly to Dan.  She has a deep and diverse background in Information Technology, starting with her B.S. in Computer Science from Indiana State University and progressing through a variety of roles making positive impacts on clients of all sizes in multiple industries.  She has had great success as a developer, analyst and project manager during her tenure with Keller Schroeder and has a deep understanding of our Application group and Keller Schroeder as a whole.   Her ability to create ‘followship’ in a variety of roles speaks to her natural leadership ability, and, most importantly, she has long been exemplary in exhibiting our values of making positive, personal impacts for our employee-owners, our clients, and our community.

Keller Schroeder’s Application Solutions Group is a significant pillar of our diverse organization.  The group has grown and evolved during Dan’s leadership and I am excited about the prospects for that to continue with Cathy’s leadership.   We are being intentional about making this announcement six months in advance of the transition to give Cathy and Dan the opportunity to work closely through the second half of 2017 and beginning of 2018 to ensure a seamless transition.  Those of you who have interacted with members of the Keller Schroeder team know our success has been tethered directly to the outstanding skills and conscientious work ethic of our employee-owners.  I am excited to see the success continue.  As we complete this transition, Cathy is well-positioned to advance our long-standing trend of excellence.

Keller Schroeder is a technology company in the performance improvement business.


Office 2007 Retirement Is Coming!

Systems Engineer Chance WebsterChance Webster – [Systems Engineer]

On October 10, 2017, Microsoft will officially retire all editions of Office 2007.  What does this mean for you?  Microsoft will no longer offer updates or provide free or paid support for the Office 2007 family of products.  If you have not upgraded the Office suite for one or more of your PCs, this would be the perfect time to consider a more recent version of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Office 2007 LogoOne reason to upgrade is that newer versions of Microsoft platforms such as Exchange and SharePoint will not interact with the Office 2007 platform.  Also, newer versions of Office do not interact properly or at all with older, unsupported platforms.  For example, Outlook 2016 does not work with Exchange 2007 – which is 3 versions lower in the Office family.  Likewise, Outlook 2007 does not connect to either Exchange 2016 or Exchange Online.  Both of these concerns could add more unplanned costs when planning for an on-premises Exchange or SharePoint upgrade project.

Microsoft Word 2007 IconAnother reason to upgrade is based on Microsoft’s policy change concerning Office 365 and Microsoft Office in the future.  The good news is this policy change does not fully take effect until October 13, 2020, so there is time to consider your upgrade options related to your on-premises infrastructure or any cloud initiatives.   For more detail, please see this policy change here: https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/04/20/office-365-proplus-updates/.

The following are alternatives to consider:

  1. Do nothing. This option is NOT recommended.  There are several exploitable vulnerabilities that rely on unpatched versions of Microsoft Office products.  Due to no additional patches being developed for Office 2007 after October 2017, continuing use of Office 2007 products would create a security risk for your organization.
  2. Purchase new Office licenses. This can be achieved via direct purchase through many resources, however this option provides only the current version of Office.  The Software Assurance option would need to be purchased via a Volume License agreement to provide you with future versions of Office at no charge.
  3. Purchase an Office 365 subscription. Office 365 suites that include Office licensing provide an array of benefits.  Not only would you get Office licensing for users licensed under a supported suite, you would also be able to take advantage of hosted platforms for Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business.  This can provide a significant cost savings for your organization and reduce the technical burden often added when these technologies are deployed.

For more information about how Keller Schroeder can assist your organization with migrating to Office 365, please contact your Select Account Manager.


Stay Connected With Us!

Social Media DiagramThe team at Keller Schroeder is always searching for new opportunities and avenues to stay connected with our clients, employee-owners, and vendor partners. If you haven’t already, take a quick moment to scroll down and “like” or “follow” us on your favorite social media sites.

We post the most up-to-date content and announcements to these pages including:

  • Weekly Cyber Security Tips
  • Upcoming Seminar and Webinar Information
  • Links to the Latest IT News
  • Community Give Back Highlights
  • Event Photos and Recaps
  • Contesting Opportunities
  • Fun Facts
  • And Much More!

 

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TechSpot Recap: Targeting Security

 Carissa Eatmon – [Marketing & Communications Coordinator]

Our TechSpot learning series continued with a BANG in Evansville on Thursday, June 15th. In partnership with LogRhythm and Cisco, our Sales & Marketing Team hosted another great event with our clients as we focused on “Targeting Security.”

Targeting Security At Uncle Rudy's Gina MinetteThis event took place at Uncle Rudy’s Indoor Firing Range and not only offered our clients the opportunity to hear valuable information, but also the chance to show off their shooting skills. Whether the client was a complete novice or highly experienced, the staff at Uncle Rudy’s catered to each individual. Congratulations to John Atkison from Deaconess Health System and Bob Moss from Big Rivers Electric Corporation for being our top 2 shooters!

In addition to the fun, we were fortunTargeting Security At Uncle Rudy's Kelley Spurrierate to have Cisco & LogRhythm joining us to discuss important security information. LogRhythm reps were on hand to speak about using their solution to reduce the time to detect and respond to threats and LogRhythm’s Network Monitor. Cisco joined us remotely to detail their FirePower security solution and how you can use it to find and track malware. 

We look forward to hosting more of these types of events in the future! To view a full list of upcoming Keller Schroeder events, including seminars and webinars, visit the “Events” section on our home page. You can also reach out to your Account Manager to be added to our communications list.

 


What Is A Digital Workplace?

Applications Consultant Matt MulherinMatt Mulherin – [Applications Consultant]

Today’s personal technology boom provides instant information at out fingertips to assist with every facet of our lives.  If you have a question, you just “google” for the answer.  If you have a problem, there is an app for that.  With this easy and constant access to information in their personal lives, employees are looking for the same experience in their work life. Many employees have a physical workplace where they report to work every day, but now they are also working more and more away from the office, where they would like to find the same easy and constant access to the information and applications necessary to perform their work at any location at any time.

Powell 365 Digital Workplace DashboardAccording to CMS Wire, “The digital workplace is meant to be a virtual equivalent to the physical workplace, which requires strong planning and management due to its fundamental role in people’s productivity, engagement, and working health.”

A successful digital workplace should incorporate several key features:

  • Centralized and accessible information – employees should have information easily accessible in order to make well-informed, timely decisions
  • Easy collaboration with others – employees should be able to collaborate on projects, documents, presentations
  • Accessibility of business applications – the applications employees need and use frequently should be accessible from one centralized location

The digital workplace should be engaging and easy!  Ideally the digital workplace should bring the ease and availability of information to your employees’ work lives in a way similar to consumer-oriented technology.

Deloitte identifies the following advantages of embracing a digital workplace strategy:

  • Talent attraction: 64% of employees would opt for a lower paying job if they could work away from the office.
  • Employee productivity: organizations with strong online social networks are 7% more productive than those without.
  • Employee satisfaction: organizations that installed social media tools internally found a median of 20% increase in employee satisfaction.
  • Employee retention: when employee engagement increases, there is a corresponding increase in employee retention by up to 87%.
  • Communication tools: information workers prefer newer communication tools, particularly instant messaging, over more traditional ones like e-mail or team workspaces.

Powell 365 LogoYour organization’s digital workplace transformation strategy could begin with your intranet.  Intranets have been around for a long time, but with rapid changes in technology, organizations find themselves with outdated platforms and features.  Keller Schroeder recommends Powell 365, a digital workplace that sits on top of SharePoint Online and the Office 365 platform.  Powell 365 allows you to quickly implement an intranet with optimum user experience to develop communication and collaboration between your teams. It provides your employees a single point of access to all of your digital content that is accessible in the office and on your mobile devices.

Keller Schroeder is a partner with Powell 365.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more about digital workplaces or Powell 365.