Ownership Thinking

how-to-choose-a-careerI was asked recently to speak to a group of college students about lessons learned from my 35 years in the marketplace.  As you can imagine, narrowing 35 years of experience down to a 30-minute talk was fairly challenging, but one of the topics I chose for these students – and a factor that has contributed significantly to our success at Keller Schroeder – is what I refer to as ownership thinking.

Keller Schroeder has been employee-owned for 13 years through an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), but ownership thinking has little to do with who actually holds the stock certificates.  There are lots of people who own companies, in full or in part, who do not practice ownership thinking.  And, there are lots of people who have never owned a share of stock in a company who are pros at ownership thinking.

choose-your-pathOwnership thinking is about choosing to believe – and it is a choice – that you have the most to do with your path and your destination – not your circumstances, and not the actions of others.  Psychologists refer to it as a strong “internal locus of control”.  Students who practice ownership thinking will blame themselves, not their teacher, for a poor outcome on an exam.  Leaders who practice ownership thinking will focus on shaping the future and influencing outcomes rather than reporting on the past or justifying underperformance.  Conversely, individuals who tend toward an “external locus of control” are quick to blame others or environmental factors for their misfortunes.

What is your bias?  Do you “own it”, look for solutions, and take action?  And would you agree that those who do so are far more pleasant to live with and work around than those who don’t?  Doesn’t it stand to reason that those who practice ownership thinking perform at a higher level and achieve more than those whose default is to look beyond their sphere of influence to explain most of what happens to them?

You and I as individuals can strengthen our tendency toward ownership thinking by surrounding ourselves with those who have a strong internal locus of control – those who habitually believe and act as though their own actions are more important than the hand they have been dealt.  As leaders, we can build a bias in our organizations toward ownership thinking by rewarding action and initiative over justification and deflection.

There are always environmental factors and circumstantial contributors to what we see and experience in business and in life, but if we choose to own, act and move, rather than blame, dwell and wait, we exponentially increase our chances for success.

Larry May[President]


Enterprise Storage Is Not A Game

Kris Linville – [Senior Systems Consultant]Basic RGB

Winter is coming… have you chosen which house you will ally with?  Challengers will rise and fall but only the one true king will sit upon the throne when the game is won.

Your current storage solution has done an adequate job at fulfilling your needs in the past using the same old traditional methodologies.  Still, you have learned that, all too often, quality of service will vary under the stressful load of a busy day and you realize that a little more struggle will be in order to get what you need when your storage must divide its attention between multiple courtiers.  Maybe you are ready to see how much your highly-virtualized, production server environment can prosper when a worthy solution is allowed to take its place in your data kingdom.

Pass the crown.  It’s time to elect a small but mighty array to rule the bits and bytes in your data center and Keller Schroeder with Nimble Storage can light the way.

nimble-flash-array

In 2015, Sr. Systems Consultant Chris Haynes explained the features of the CS-Series arrays and told you why Nimble Storage is favored by Keller Schroeder as the best next-gen hybrid storage array.  With its groundbreaking simplicity and advanced administrative features, Nimble Storage has been renowned, worldwide, as one of the fastest growing storage vendors in history and has rightfully received numerous industry awards in the process.

Since its first product shipment in 2010, Nimble Storage has attentively listened to its partners and customers to develop innovative solutions that fulfill the ever-growing enterprise data center storage needs.  It is that attention and innovation which has led to the release of the most predictive, most scalable, and most reliable all-flash storage array on the market today.

With the Nimble Storage AF-Series all-flash arrays, you will get all of the NimbleOS feature enhancements at no additional cost, Triple+ Parity RAID to survive 3 simultaneous drive failures, variable block sizes for application performance optimization, predictive analytics monitoring for your storage arrays and virtual machines through the InfoSight portal and VM Vision, and FIPS-certified encryption at rest and on-the-wire when natively replicated… just to highlight a few.

Hold the door!  The illustration below compares the performance and storage capacity based on data center footprint of the Nimble Storage AF-Series with other well-known all-flash offerings.  Obviously, the Nimble Storage AF-Series is no sheep.  This small package has a beast inside and it is not afraid to break through the large shadow cast by other solutions on the market.  How will you choose to arm your data center?

nimble-size-comparison

Other all-flash solutions may offer great performance and latency numbers, but do not scale well as storage demands grow.  Nimble Storage products offer simple and seamless scalability in enterprise storage solutions.  Keller Schroeder has seen, first-hand, the real-world results of the All Flash Array scalability and data reduction technologies that provide over 3x storage savings for highly virtualized environments.  When you need to grow, whether you are looking to scale up, scale deep, or scale out, you can rest easy knowing that performance is decoupled from capacity to allow for scaling only the necessary components.  This uniquely allows for independent and non-disruptive scaling operations that include upgrading storage controllers, adding external storage shelves, and clustering any combination of Adaptive Flash or All Flash arrays in up to four nodes per cluster, to provide guaranteed performance of 1.2 million IOPS at sub-millisecond latency in as much as 8.2PB of storagsmartstacke capacity.

Modern data centers are all about consolidation and integration which makes building specialized infrastructure silos feel like a step in the wrong direction.  There’s no longer a reason to limit your best performance to just a select set of workloads.  Nimble Storage has once again partnered with Cisco and VMware to develop reference architectures; combining Nimble Storage Arrays, Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS), and VMware vSphere; known as Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) for all types of production data center workloads.  The SmartStack Integrated Infrastructure increases performance and availability while driving down data center hardware cost and footprint.

Nimble Storage All Flash Array Key Feature Summary:

  • All NimbleOS Software Features Included
  • Consistent Storage Performance
  • Tailored Application Optimization
  • Predictive Analytics with InfoSight and VM Vision
  • Data Reduction with Deduplication and Compression
  • Unified Flash Fabric – any 4 CS-Series or AF-Series arrays
  • Scale-to-fit Architecture
  • Triple+ Parity RAID for Maximum Availability
  • FIPS-certified Encryption at Rest and On-the-wire
  • SmartStack Integrated Infrastructure CVDs

“That’s what I do… I’m fast and I store things.”

                                                                  -Nimble


Winter is coming.  Take up your watch.  Build a true history of great conversation by contacting your Keller Schroeder Account Manager and be the fire that burns against the cold.


2016 Client Appreciation Event : Superheroes Unite

Carissa Eatmon – [Marketing and Communications Coordinator]2016-cae-logo-superheroes-unite-2

On Friday, October 7th, 2016, Keller Schroeder hosted our annual Client Appreciation Event. This year, we wanted to again honor the true superheroes in our organization, our fantastic group of clients. With a theme of “Superheroes Unite,” it was a day filled with a delicious lunch from Marx Barbecue and dessert from the Pacetre, plus fellowship, fantastic prizes, and a lot of fun. Our prizes this year icae-2016-photo-booth-1ncluded a Bose Home Theater System, an Apple Series 2 Watch, fun superhero gear, Yeti tumblers, gift cards, a more!

Perhaps our favorite aspect of this event every year is the opportunity we give our clients and employee-owners to give back to the community. The continued generosity shown at this event never ceases to amaze us. This year, The Lampion Center was chosen to receive our give back donations. We successfully collected over 2 truckloads of supplies for the organization – things like cleaning supplies, office supplies, Daniel Tiger DVDs, and new equipment to aid the Lampion Center’s therapists during their sessions.

2016-cae-centerpiececae-2016-cupcakesThank you so much to all of our employee-owners for their hard work in making this event a reality every year. We also greatly appreciation our vendor partners for both their resources and for joining us. Most importantly, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our clients for their continued loyalty and support. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s Client Appreciation Event! It’s always the first Friday in OctoberOctober 6th in 2017!

 


How Does Work Flow in your Organization?

workflow-illustrationCarrie Rudolph – [Keller Schroeder Certified Nintex Workflow Professional]

How often do you hear individuals in your organization say, “I haven’t been able to work on that ‘important task’ yet, because of all of these other smaller things needing my attention each day.”?  How often do individuals in your organization answer questions on status with “It’s somewhere in the approval process but I don’t know whose desk it’s on.”?  These phrases are all too common.  When work doesn’t flow smoothly and efficiently throughout your organization it causes backlogs, distractions, and frustration, all of which impact your organization’s ability to function, react, and grow.

According to businessdictionary.com, a workflow is defined as a progression of steps (tasks, events, interactions) that comprise a work process, involve two or more persons, and create or add value to the organization’s activities.  Every department in every organization has workflows.  Some are simple and straightforward, others are more complicated with many people, tasks, and events.  Workflows made up of logical and repeatable steps present an opportunity for automation.

When many organizations begin to explore workflow automation, they focus on the larger, more cumbersome workflows thinking that streamlining these complex processes will yield the most savings of time and resources.  Starting with these larger processes however, many times results in failed attempts at automation or lackluster adoption and savings due to the complexity of these processes.  Instead, I challenge organizations to consider the numerous simpler processes that employees perform every day.

These work items are fundamental processes that are crucial to the operation of your organization, such as document approvals, expense reports, leave requests, and service requests. These are workflows that may distract employees from larger issues/tasks, and because they are performed so frequently and viewed as simple, they are prone to more mistakes, which can add up in rework and lost time.  These processes are perfect candidates for automation because they have a great chance for success, are less complex, and train users to think about workflow solutions.

Automating these solutions takes the burden of managing the processes off of your employees and results in more than ROI.  You can get more done with less effort, focus on what matters most, and expand the impact and scope of your organization. Workflow automation also provides a clear picture of current status and participants’ performance, and this additional data can lead to process improvement. The keys to success, when starting to introduce workflow automation in your organization, are to make an immediate impact by getting started quickly, easily reaching all participants, and connecting to content across your organization.

nintex-logoThe Nintex Workflow Platform is a suite that Keller Schroeder recommends to assist organizations with workflow automation.  Nintex enables organizations to create solutions in days and weeks, instead of months, so you quickly see the benefits from reduced steps.  It allows workflow participants to interact with tasks via mobile devices, emails, or Skype for Business.  The Nintex Platform also facilitates links across your work systems, cloud applications, or social channels to facilitate information sharing.

The Nintex Workflow Platform sits on top of Microsoft SharePoint and doesn’t require additional infrastructure.  Nintex workflows, forms, and connectors are designed using the drag, drop, and configure approach instead of coding, so it’s very easy to learn and use.  If work isn’t flowing within your organization, consider workflow automation as a means to ease the backlog and frustrations and allow your team to focus on what’s most important.

Keller Schroeder is a partner with Nintex and has two employee-owners who are certified Nintex Workflow Professionals.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more about workflow automation with the Nintex Workflow Platform.


United, We Serve

Carissa Eatmon – [Marketing and Communications Coordinator]

One of the most unique things about Keller Schroeder as a company is our caring group of employee-owners and their generous hearts. The culture we have fostered emphasizes making positive impacts on people, and our employee-owners continually do this through charitable giving, camaraderie, and joining forces behind causes that directly impact our community. This fall presented us with many opportunities to work together to give back to our community, including to one of our own facing her own battle.


day-of-caringUnited Way’s Day of Caring – September 9th, 2016

Each fall, businesses in the surrounding area allow their employees to spend time volunteering alongside the United Way of Southwestern Indiana on a single day known as “The Day of Caring.” This year’s “Day of Caring” was held on September 9th. Volunteers first met at the Old National Events Plaza for a kick-off breakfast. They then headed to areas in need all over the community. This year, our President Larry May worked with Payne Wealth Partners to assist the Evansville Association for the Blind.

 


Komen Evansville Race for the Cure – September 28th, 2016rftc-the-girls

September also marks our community’s annual Susan G. Komen’ Race for the Cure. Thousands of runners and walkers gather along side breast cancer survivors and their families to raise funds and awareness. This year’s Race for the Cure was particularly meaningful for our Keller Schroeder family. Our Inside Product Manager Dezarae Loewen is currently battling Stage 2 breast cancer. Our employee-owners banded together to walk or run to help find a cure and show our love and support for Dezarae. It was a hot one, but we had a blast “Doing It for Dez!”


United Way Giving Campaign Company Picnic – October 4th, 2016united_way_logo-svg

The end of September brings Keller Schroeder’s United Way Giving Campaign, where employee-owners commit to giving to the United Way of Southwestern Indiana for the following year. Our campaign for 2017 was another huge success, with our employee-owners opening their hearts and wallets to support this amazing organization. To cap off our campaign, we always host an outdoor picnic to celebrate. We used this year’s picnic to thank and celebrate our staff for their generous pledges, and as a way for our group to come together to show our support for Dezarae Loewen. It was a great day filled with food, prizes, fun, and lots of love. Thank you once again to our employee-owners and their families!
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