The Definition of Success

Jeff Gorman - Keller Schroeder PresidentJeff Gorman  – [President]

Quickly, name someone you consider highly successful.  Success is such an abstract concept, with wildly different definitions even within the same culture, that it is really challenging to get consistent answers to that prompt.  Some people will quickly conjure up names of leaders of large businesses.  Some people will default to celebrities from the entertainment or athletic world.  Still others will lead with a family member that has no exceptional level of wealth or celebrity status but had a profound impact on them.  While the word ‘success’ is readily understood, it’s scored abstractly for everyone based on what is most important to us personally.

If asking people to name someone successful can lead to answers that diverse, it stands to follow that asking employees if their team or business is ‘successful’ at a given point in time is likely to have a myriad of answers as well.  Successful teams, and therefore businesses, require clarity.  Part of clarity means success criteria are defined and leaders generate ‘buy-in’ on that vision.  If the business is not taking time to generate clarity and ‘buy-in’ on what it considers success to look like for the company, it can assume people are applying their own interpretation of success – and those views are not going to be consistent, which will lead to breakdowns in commitment and accountability.  The process of defining and reiterating that clarity is a critical task in the process of getting employees engaged in a common pursuit.  Those engaged employees, and the teams on which they participate, are the path to having a company which consistently pursues the same objectives, knows how that pursuit is progressing, and holds each other accountable for the process of achieving collective success.

If it feels like an employee, team, partner, or anyone else you have a relationship with is completely missing the mark with your expectations, consider how well you have shared in the process of creating support for a clear, shared definition of success.  What feels like a performance issue could possibly be as simple as leaving some portion of ‘success’ to personal interpretation.  Clarity and buy-in could be exactly what is needed to move the needle in a more positive direction.


End of General Support for VMware vSphere 5.5

Chris Haynes - Keller Schroeder Senior Systems EngineerChris Haynes  – [Senior Systems Consultant]

The End of General Support date for vSphere 5.5 is September 19, 2018.  VMware just released the newest version of VMware called vSphere 6.7, which means the oldest supported vSphere version of 5.5 will fall off the support list and vSphere 6.0 will now become the oldest supported version.

Vmware Vsphere 5.5 End of General Support

To maintain the full level of support and subscription services, VMware recommends upgrading to the current stable vSphere 6.5 Update 1 version, or to the newer 6.7 version once it is compatible with your environment. VMware has extended general support for vSphere 6.5 to a full five years from its release date, which means general support for vSphere 6.5 will end on November 15, 2021. For more information on the benefits of upgrading and how to upgrade, visit the VMware vSphere Upgrade Center:

https://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/upgrade-center.html

If you would like assistance in moving to a newer version of vSphere, Keller Schroeder’s System Engineers provide a comprehensive service to upgrade your virtual infrastructure. The service includes recommendations, planning, pre-upgrade remediation, the actual upgrade itself, and post upgrade testing & validation. For more information contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


SharePoint News Update

Matt Mulherin - Keller Schroeder Applications ConsultantMatt Mulherin  – [Applications Consultant]

Microsoft has been very busy developing new and exciting features for SharePoint.  Now that SharePoint is online as part of Office 365, it is continually being updated and improved.  Microsoft’s vision for SharePoint going forward encompasses four key areas: share with confidence, transform business processes, inform and engage employees, and harness collective knowledge.


Share with Confidence

Microsoft Teams SharePoint

One of the newest updates is the ability to add a SharePoint page to a Teams channel.  Teams is a social and chat application that encourages quick and immediate collaboration.  For example, if you have a team of employees and you communicate regularly in Microsoft Teams chatting, by sharing files, etc., you then realize that you have a SharePoint page that needs be referenced by the team.  Instead of adding a link to the team chat window for everyone to click, which directs them away from the Team channel, you can simply add the page for reference directly in Microsoft Teams.

SharePoint and OneDrive files on Demand is another new feature that allows you to easily access your personal and professional files from your favorite device.  The files are not downloaded on your device until you choose to work with them.  This new feature is a major development because as a collection of files and folders grows exponentially in our personal and professional lives, we need a better way to manage and keep visible all of this important information.  We also need quick and easy ways to share this information from our devices, which you now can do by dropping the file directly into instant messages on your iOS device, or by simply right clicking directly in Windows Explorer on your desktop.


Transform Business Process

Microsoft Power Apps Sharepoint

You can improve your business processes by using SharePoint hub sites.  Hub sites give structure and topology to your SharePoint sites, allowing users to quickly find and access sites within your organization.  You can create one or many hub sites and organize your sites by associating like sites under the same hub site.

Create custom SharePoint forms and digital experiences with Microsoft PowerApps that surface directly in the context of a list or library.  These new forms provide better context to the user and are much more engaging and interactive.  Any user can transform a team’s organizational processes because PowerApps provides the creation of customized forms without the need to write any code.

Microsoft announced major improvements to lists.  Some of these features are available today and some in late 2018.  Cognitive analysis on list data, column and row formatting, more easily create lists based on excel data and other lists, edit lists more quickly, and real-time list updates (no more refreshing pages) are some of the new list improvements announced.


Inform and Engage Employees

Microsoft Sharepoint Communication SiteCommunication sites are dynamic sites that provide the ability to reach a broad audience within an organization.  Think of a communication site as a way for the organization to share news, inform and engage employees, while fostering open communication.  These sites look great on the web, on a PC or Mac, on mobile browsers and in the SharePoint app.  Publish news content on your communications site and it will automatically surface on the SharePoint home page in Office 365.  Configuring the layout of the communication sites is very user friendly with new multi-column sections and drag-and-drop authoring.

SharePoint provides many new out-of-the-box web parts, but custom web-parts are still possible.  Microsoft has a new SharePoint Development Framework (SPFx) that gives developers a better way to develop web parts and extensions.  SPFX is available today with SharePoint Online and it will be possible to develop SPFx custom code on-premises after the release of Feature Pack 2 this fall.

Microsoft just announced an exciting new feature called SharePoint spaces that is currently in limited preview.  It is an immersive, mixed reality experience for users, which allows visualization and editing of content from any angle on any device.  Microsoft suggests using spaces for recruiting and onboarding, learning, and product development business cases.


Harness Collective Knowledge

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2019For SharePoint On-Premise deployments, Microsoft is committed to on-premises and hybrid customers.  SharePoint Server 2016 has several features that confirm this commitment.  One is the on-premises feature packs that can be installed, which include some of the previously released SharePoint online features.  In addition, Microsoft provides hybrid features that allow organizations to have both an on-premises and online SharePoint environments working together to offer users a single user experience, such as merging search indexes and allowing users to view search results from both on-premises and SharePoint online.  Essentially, users are simply given content based on their search criteria, regardless of where the content is stored.

Microsoft is planning to release to preview SharePoint Server 2019 any day now and to general availability in the second half of 2018.  More hybrid features, Next-Gen Sync Client support, Modern UX throughout, and more Flow/PowerApps integration will be included.  In addition, SharePoint 2010 workflows and InfoPath forms will continue to be supported in SharePoint Server 2019.


SharePoint continues to grow as a popular and widely used enterprise-wide collaboration platform and we do not anticipate the growth will diminish.  According to Microsoft’s Office 365 Roadmap, 62 updates are beginning to roll-out and 190 are currently in development.  We only touched on the surface of all of the new and exciting features coming to SharePoint.  Please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager to learn how SharePoint can positively impact the performance, collaboration, and engagement within your organization.


Cisco Umbrella: First Line of Defense

Tyler Carlisle - Keller Schroeder Network ConsultantTyler Carlisle  – [Network Consultant]

How do you protect your users when they are off your corporate network, outside the boundaries of your perimeter security solution? Do they use a VPN? Are you sure? A recent Gartner study predicted that as much as 25% of corporate data traffic will bypass perimeter security. How can you guarantee that your users are secure? Cisco Umbrella can provide the answer.

Cisco Umbrella First Line of Defense

Cisco acquired OpenDNS in 2015 and rebranded its enterprise security products to Cisco Umbrella. Cisco Umbrella is a cloud-based Secure Internet Gateway that protects your users wherever they access the internet, whether on or off the corporate network, and on or off the VPN. Its DNS-based architecture and IP layer enforcement provide a first line of defense against threats, such as malware, ransomware, and C2 callbacks.

Cisco Umbrella Security

 

Cisco Umbrella provides the same protection to all devices on the corporate network, including IoT and mobile devices, by simply forwarding external DNS traffic to the Umbrella servers. Best of all, it provides all this protection with zero additional latency, 100% uptime, and it can be deployed in as little as 30 minutes.

 

If you would like more information on Cisco Umbrella, visit kellerschroeder.com/umbrella to download our “At A Glance” information sheet or request to be added to our upcoming webinar distribution list.  You can also contact your Keller Schroeder Select Account Manager today to start your free trial of Cisco Umbrella.


Partnering in Business and Community Giveback

Carissa Eatmon -Keller Schroeder Marketing & Communications CoordinatorCarissa Eatmon  – [Marketing & Communications Coordinator]

Partnering Together in Business and Giving

At Keller Schroeder, we like to regularly emphasize our mission of existing to make positive, personal impacts on our clients, our employee-owners, and in our community. We are passionate about our clients, and are incredibly grateful for their generosity and willingness to partner with us to give back in meaningful ways. For example, with our annual Client Appreciation Event alone, our clients have helped us positively impact nine individual charitable organizations (plus our local United Way chapter as a whole) with truckloads of in-kind goods and thousands of dollars in donations.

With that sentiment in mind, our recent effort to create relationships with new clients and prospects has extended an opportunity to partner with us, both in business and also in giving back to our community. Each quarter, we are holding a drawing for a $500 donation to a United Way-approved organization nominated by a prospective client we have recently met with.

Partnering with Second Harvest Food BankWe are excited to announce our first quarter “Partnering Together In Business & Community Giveback” $500 donation recipient is Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, nominated by Brian Whittaker, Help Desk Manager from CareHere. Brian was recently joined at CareHere’s offices by Keller Schroeder’s Select Account Manager Lee Barron and Second Harvest’s Corporate Partnerships Manager Amanda Richard to accept the donation. Thank you for partnering with us in giving Brian!


The Best Way to Work ‘On’ A Community is to Work ‘In’ the Community

Jeff Gorman- Keller Schroeder PresidentJeff Gorman – [President]

We are proud to be celebrating our 40th year of being a technology company in the performance improvement business.  At some point in our recent history, if you have joined us at a Keller Schroeder event, you have seen and heard us promote our even larger purpose of making positive, personal impacts.  We seek to exhibit that behavior among employee-owners, with our clients, and in our communities.  While the value of making positive impacts on clients and employee-owners is probably not hard to discern, it occurred to me people might wonder why we feel as compelled to consistently focus on making positive impacts in the community.

In its simplest form, the answer is the best way to work ‘on’ a community is to work ‘in’ the community.  We are proud of the local community, and we hope to see it continue to grow and offer greater opportunities for everyone.  Just like a business, though, the local community cannot improve by simply having people wish for improvement.  If its members want it to improve, they must be willing to get involved and make it what they want it to be.  Keller Schroeder does not view the communities in which we work as disconnected entities from our company; we view our company as an integrated part of the community.  In that capacity, we have an obligation to find ways to make positive impacts on and with organizations who are helping our families, our friends, our neighbors, and others who are dealing with significant needs.

Some make the case the responsibility for community involvement lies with the individuals of a company rather than with the company itself.  Their stance is to keep the company focused on profitability, remaining socially neutral, while allowing your employees to support causes which matter to them.  Our view is that our company, as a collection of employee-owners, has a responsibility to be an active member of the communities in which it exists.  Our employee-owners also have their own individual causes and contributions they can discern, but their activities do not preclude the company from its responsibility of working to make the community better in a way that balances both our value and our values.

We look forward to continuing to find ways to celebrate and support the communities where we do business, and we hope to have the opportunity to join up with you in that pursuit sometime soon.  The better our communities become, the better the environments are for our businesses, our employees, our families, and our future.


Baramundi Management Suite

Chance Webster – [Systems Engineer]

There are often tasks in IT departments that tend to create a lot of legwork and require significant time and effort to complete.  Reconciling hardware and software inventories, patching servers and PCs, mitigating security risks or misconfigurations, and deploying software quickly to many PCs or servers in a short amount of time are challenges that every IT department faces.  Baramundi Management Suite helps resolve many time-consuming tasks that you may have in your organization.

Baramundi Logo

With Baramundi Management Suite, hardware and software inventories can be automated, which reduces the manual overhead of collecting inventory information.  Inventories can then be broken out by static groups or groups based on specific attributes such as operating system versions or available disk space.  Inventory information can also be obtained from SNMP capable devices such as switches, routers, firewalls, and printers to reduce the overhead even further.

Security and vulnerabilities are also easier to manage using Baramundi Management Suite.  By providing vulnerability information in a consolidated way, it allows prioritization of these fixes either per machine or per specific vulnerability.  Baramundi Management Suite provides a platform which can be used to replace your WSUS deployment and provide you with a managed, up to date catalog of third party updates to help keep these applications updated.  In addition, a compliance management module is available to allow you to scan for any new vulnerabilities after your patch deployment is complete.

Baramundi Management Suite

Software deployment throughout the organization using Baramundi Management Suite is a snap.  If you are using a pre-packaged Microsoft Installer or other executable package, you can easily create a package to deploy that software with just a few mouse clicks.  If, however, the software requires some customization during the install, you can use the Baramundi Automation Studio to step through the installation as you normally would, recording each step along the way, to create your deployment package.  Once completed, you will be able to deploy even the most difficult applications quickly and easily.

Baramundi Management Suite is one of many systems management platforms.  What makes it stand out among the likes of SCCM, Altiris, and other systems management platform is the ease of use.  You can achieve tasks in minutes that have taken hours, if not days, to accomplish before.  Baramundi Management Suite also allows you to definitively see, in real-time, that action has been taken for a particular task.  Baramundi Management Suite is systems management in real time.

To learn how Baramundi can help resolve many of the time-consuming tasks you may have in your organization, please reach out to your Keller Schroeder Select Account Manager.


B2B, EDI, and Data Transformation Made Easy

Mark Heuring- Keller Schroeder Applications ConsultantMark Heuring – [Applications Consultant]

As you move throughout your digital transformation, the need to share data between systems and entities becomes greater and greater.  You may need to share data with your vendors, customers, partners, or compliance agencies, or you may need to share data between two internal systems.

Business-to-Business (B2B) integration, or the automated exchange of data between two companies, is not a new concept. Although sharing data sounds simple enough, there can be many challenges. The entities you share data with might all have different format requirements, different supported communication protocols, different frequency for updates, or any number of items that make them unique.  Whether sharing data with third parties or internal systems, the data will likely need to be transformed into a compatible format for the exchange.

These unique requirements frequently require custom data transformation applications to be written for each use case, which lead to high development and maintenance costs. These high costs may prohibit or diminish your ability to share data in a real-time, automated fashion, which may in turn reduce or hinder your growth potential.

Some companies use EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, to facilitate their B2B integration needs. While Keller Schroeder offers EDI Managed Services to assist companies with the maintenance and support of their EDI systems, many companies do not require or need a full blown EDI system to handle B2B integrations.  The need for automated B2B data transformation and exchange is a requirement across industry verticals and throughout departments within companies.Keller Schroeder is introducing a new B2B service to help address the challenges of data transformation and exchange.  Our new B2B Integration Solution can be used to exchange information with third parties or between internal systems and will not require custom coding for each use case.  Our solution utilizes a cloud based data transformation service that has quick and easy setup and configuration, leading to less development and maintenance time.

Keller Schroeder’s B2B Integration Solution:

  • Automates the transformation and exchange of documents between two parties, including customers, ERP solutions, suppliers, regulatory agencies, warehouse managers, internal line of business systems, etc.
  • Supports many communication protocols, including AS/2, FTP(s), sFTP, web, email, SOAP, and more
  • Supports many message formats, including XML, Excel, EDI, CSV, and even custom file-formats
  • Allows you to mix and match incoming and outgoing formats and communication protocols
  • Maintains the highest quality and strictest security management processes as recommended by ISO27001
  • Removes communication protocol barriers with your trading partners and between your systems
  • Pricing based on number of messages with no minimum, which leads to a low cost and low risk barrier to entry

Please contact Keller Schroeder to learn more about our new B2B Integration Solution or our EDI Managed Services offerings and how we can partner with you to positively impact your digital transformation.


Carbon Black Defense Endpoint Security

Paul Miller Keller Schroeder Senior EngineerPaul Miller – [Senior Systems Engineer]

The world of endpoint security is a very crowded market right now, making it difficult to discern what makes one solution better than another. We at Keller Schroeder found ourselves hunting for answers in this market space last summer, and underwent an evaluation of the top ten solutions on the market. After this extensive research, we ended up establishing a new partnership with Carbon Black.

Carbon Black Logo

Carbon Black Defense brings a robust set of features to the table. Their entire technique for endpoint defense relies on detecting malicious software and stopping execution before damage is done.  As a cloud-based solution, Carbon Black monitors all processes running on your endpoint, scores them based on malicious tactics, techniques, and procedures (ram scraping, bad execution methods, self-elevation), and then stops the execution of processes that are found to be up to no good. This happens in real-time, and utilizes a very light agent (0-1% CPU) on the endpoints.

Carbon Black Predictive Security Cloud

The console provides kill chain insight like no other product on the market, and other advanced threat protection options.  From the console it is simple (a couple of clicks… really), to look at a threat’s kill chain, and blacklist the offending process from running again anywhere in your enterprise.  Management overhead for most environments are estimated at around 1-2 hours a week under normal conditions, making it light on administration overhead as well.

If you have a renewal in the future for your endpoint security products, and would like to take a look at CB Defense, please get in touch with your Keller Schroeder Select Account Manager. We would enjoy providing you a demo to show you why this product stands out in this very crowded field.

 


Technology Vendor Summit

Carissa Eatmon – [Marketing & Communications Coordinator]

On Thursday, February, 22nd, nearly 200 IT professionals from our local area, along with 17 technology vendor partners, gathered at the Old National Events Plaza for the first Keller Schroeder Technology Vendor Summit.

This daylong event featured networking opportunities and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. We were also honored to have Assistant United States Attorney Todd Shellenbarger and Secret Service Agent Jeff Ehringer serve as our key note guest speakers to discuss our government’s efforts to combat cyber security.


“Keller Schroeder has been around for over 40 years now, and we’re passionate about our clients. We’re also passionate about the opportunity to bring them new products that can help them in their day to day business. The Technology Vendor Summit is an opportunity for a large number of our vendor partners to come to Evansville, and educate our clients and prospects about their offerings. It’s really a unique way we feel we can make a positive, personal impact on our clients, so that they understand the wealth of opportunity and the wealth of products that are out there that can help them in their business.”

– Stephen Sleziak  |   Vice President of Infrastructure  |  Keller Schroeder


As you may know, Keller Schroeder always tries to include a way to give back to our community during our events. During the Technology Vendor Summit, we invited attendees to visit each of our vendor booths and vote for their favorite local charity, in hopes that their organization would win our $1,000 Give Back donation. We are excited to announce that our attendees chose Vanderburgh County CASA as the recipient of our $1,000 Give Back donation. Congratulations to the team at Cisco for gathering the most votes for your organization!

We put together two videos recapping the event, both from a client’s and a vendor partner’s point of view. You can see those via the Keller Schroeder YouTube Channel. You can also see additional photos of the event at kellerschroeder.com/tvs.

Thank you to all of our valued clients, employee-owners, and vendor partners for making this a fantastic event. Stay tuned for more information on next year’s Technology Vendor Summit!Keller Schroeder Technology Vendor Summit