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by Mallory Mallory No Comments

Introducing Our New Ecommerce Site

 

Graham Paxton_ KS Employee-Owner

Graham Paxton – [Inside Sales Manager]

Keller Schroeder’s mission is to provide our clients with the IT tools and services to improve business performance. That intention includes finding effective, time-saving methods to get you the IT products and information you need in the most efficient manner. With that focus in mind, we are excited to announce our new ecommerce website: Shop.KellerSchroeder.com.

Shop.KellerSchroeder.com was developed to meet a specific, increasing need among a number of our clients. They were looking for a quick resource that allowed them to research products, check availability, and compare the specifications of products.  PLUS, once they had made their buying decision, they wanted the opportunity to go ahead and place an order immediately. This is especially true for commodity-type items (i.e. laptops, components, accessories) where a traditional quote and design from our team is often unnecessary.

With this site, we are making those types of simple orders even easier, and it provides a convenient way to do business with a company that you already trust. Do you know exactly the product you need? Search for it and place your order on Shop.KellerSchroeder.com. Do you want to compare specs on products to see what best fits your needs and environment? Research it on Shop.KellerSchroeder.com. Do you need to determine what solutions and gear will fit within your budget? Take a look at Shop.Keller Schroeder.com.

Shop.KellerSchroeder.com IT Ecommerce

Upon entering the site, you will find a multitude of ways to search for products and organize search results. You will see real-time updates of availability directly from our distributors, along with any special promotions. This system also allows YOU to track your products once they have been shipped.  Plus you can use it anytime, day or night, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

As we are currently only issuing invoices for payment, our ecommerce site will initially require you to sign up for an account before you can place orders. It requires your team to fill out a simple form on the site, our team to validate it, and then you will be able to begin placing orders. For those who just want to peruse, all of the search and comparison features are available without an account.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and hope the new ecommerce website is an effective, time-saving way for you to make the purchases you need for your business. If you have any questions regarding Shop.KellerSchroeder.com, please reach out to your Select Account Manager or Graham Paxton, Keller Schroeder’s Inside Sales Manager, at onlinesales@kellerschroeder.com.

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Technical and Interpersonal Skills are Equally Important

 

Jeff Gorman Keller Schroeder PresidentJeff Gorman  – [President]

As an IT professional, knowing your strengths and learning to recognize how to best interact with others is not viewed as a technical aptitude, but it does allow each of us to perform better in terms of providing desired services to business areas who need technical resources to achieve their goals.

Learning how to communicate effectively among people is equally important with knowing how to make technical systems communicate with each other.  There are plenty of stories from business units about projects failing because IT did not understand requirements.  There are also countless stories from IT about projects failing because the business units do not understand the technical implications behind their requests and actions.

At its most effective level, good Information Technology is about providing service to others to help improve business performance. Efficiently performing Information Technology takes both technical and interpersonal skills in equal parts. Beyond interactions with the rest of the business, even within IT there are frequently opposing objectives, which are not based on technical requirements but are critical to navigate successfully.

For example:

  • Security administrators want to keep systems patched at all times.
  • System administrators want to keep systems up at all times.

In most cases, it’s not possible to achieve both of those divergent objectives.  Common technical architecture principles say you get three choices among “good, fast, and cheap,” which inherently means as IT architects it is imperative you understand how to balance different needs and collaborate with others to determine the best courses of action.

The best administrators have to be effective communicators; listening with empathy, asking questions to seek context, establishing clarity on objectives and intentions, understanding a ‘big-picture’ outside of the tasks or systems they are responsible for to ensure their actions match the true ‘best case’ for the organization.

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Thanks For Trusting Us Nashville

 

Rob Wilson- Keller Schroeder Leadership Team

Rob Wilson  – [Associate Vice President – Greater Nashville Area]

As we approach the two year anniversary of when we started to emphasize growing our business in the Greater Nashville Area, I wanted to give an update on how things are progressing. Road warriors no more, Lee Barron and I have both moved into the region as of earlier this year. In 2018, we more than doubled the number of clients we serve in Nashville. In the past twelve months, over one-third of our employee-owners have been engaged on projects for our Nashville area clients. There is much to be thankful for, but nothing more than the trust our new and existing clients have given us.

Trust is an interesting thing. We often think of it as something we must earn, when in fact it is something one must choose to give in advance. That’s why we don’t take trust for granted. It is the hardest thing for you to let go of. It is said that people do business with those they know, like, and trust. We can help you know us by making you more aware of who we are and what we do. We can help you like us by being likable. And, of course, we can influence your trust proving ourselves trustworthy. But it isn’t enough just to share how others trusted us and how we delivered for them, or even to tell you of the times we messed up and how we made it right. In fact, our trustworthiness is not something we can prove to you personally at all until first you give us your trust. Once you give it, the onus is on us to prove you right.

We’re very grateful for those who have trusted us, and then gave us the highest of compliments by trusting us again. It’s a big step, putting your personal seal on a relationship recommendation, and we know it. You have business objectives you are trying to achieve, and you need to make sure the right technology partnerships are in place to achieve them. Once you trust us on an endeavor, we share the responsibility of making it a success. We own that responsibility, and we care deeply about your success.

Another interesting thing about trust – it goes both ways. We have expressed our trust in the Nashville community through our investments of many types. Of course, you have delivered on your end. As we continue to strive to make positive, personal impacts on the businesses and communities in the Nashville area, through technology and other meaningful ways, we look forward to continuing to build upon that mutual trust.

In future posts, I’ll share more about the type of work we’re doing here and ways we are getting involved. For now, we just wanted to say thank you again to our clients and partners here for your warm welcome and for proving your trustworthiness to us.

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Let Your Data Tell Your Story

 

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

Currently, AI or Artificial Intelligence is quite the buzzword.  AI is defined as intelligence exhibited by machines or software.  AI is growing leaps and bounds in the business world and AI investment increased by 300% in 2017 according to IDC.  Deloitte reports 82% of organizations will be investing in AI by 2020. There are many levels of AI, some more advanced, costly, and complex than others.  Many smaller organizations hesitate, and rightly so, to take the plunge into the newest, costly AI technologies.  How do these organizations get started without having to invest too much time and resources into AI technologies?

Our answer is Microsoft Power BI, an affordable business analytics solution that visualizes data and allows you to share insights across the organization.  It can connect to many data sources and bring data to life with interactive, live dashboards and reports.  Power BI can integrate with Azure Machine Learning Services, which are a subset of AI, to analyze data and make future predictions about the business.  Power BI is available as a SaaS option running in the Azure cloud or as an on-premises option as Power BI Report Server.

Even if you are not quite ready to go big with AI, your business will benefit greatly from Power BI because of its easy-to-use capabilities to create reports and dashboards to gain insight into your data.  Different departments in an organization have different needs for the type of data, reports, and visualizations they use to monitor performance.  For example, Finance might want to see visualizations around revenue, profitability, and expense management, while individuals in Operations have a need to see inventory performance and resource consumption trends.

The great news is that Power BI is affordable.  You can sign up for a free account to give it a test drive or subscribe for $9.99 per month per user.  There is a premium license available for capacity-based pricing.  Compared to other tools it can be much more affordable to get started, providing you more time to get buy-in from the organization before investing too much up-front.

Power BI is a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. This is quite an achievement for only being in the market for 4 years, but Power BI is a cloud-based platform built using technologies from Microsoft that have been around for the last 20 years.  It is an industry-leading product and can scale as your data analytics and AI practices grow within your organization.

Power BI Desktop is a free downloadable client desktop tool used to configure, model, and build visualizations and reports in Power BI.  It is designed for a power user, someone with data and technical skills, but not necessarily programming skills. Power BI Desktop uses Excel like expressions called Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) for extending your data model for reporting purposes.  No coding is required.

The process for getting started using Power BI is straightforward.

  1. Connect to your data using over 100+ built-in data source connectors
  2. Easily clean the data using the user interface options and load it into Power BI Desktop
  3. Shape the data to match your analysis and reporting needs using DAX
  4. Create relationships and enrich your data model with new calculated columns and metrics
  5. Create reports with dozens of customizable pre-built visualizations
  6. Publish the reports and datasets to the Power BI service for collaboration and consumption by others in your organization

As a consumer of Power BI, you choose datasets and fields you want in your reports, filter the data, build dashboards, share with others, use natural language to ask questions of the data, and view visualizations anywhere on your mobile device.

In the data culture we are currently living in, gathering data from multiple sources and analyzing it in order to clearly understand what story the data is telling can be a daunting task.  Power BI enables you to easily connect, model, and then explore your data with visual reports so that you can collaborate, publish, and share.

Keller Schroeder can help you purchase, configure, model your data, and build visualizations that will change your data into insights using Microsoft Power BI.  Gaining insights and telling a story with your data can be the first steps to utilizing AI in your business and modernizing your organization’s data strategy.

If you would like to learn more about Power BI, please reach out to our Applications Solutions Group to get started.

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Keller Schroeder Cloud Readiness Assessment

 

Matt Barton  – [Director, Data Center Services]

Quick quiz: How many of the following Cloud related terms can you define?

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, DRaaS, BaaS, HPC, AI, BI, Cloud Native, Private, Hybrid, Public, Hyperscale, Serverless, Burstable, Elastic, CDN, EC2, Containers, Objects, Multi-tenancy, Microservices, CSP, SLA, IoT, VPC, AWS, and Azure.

Confused?  You’re not alone.  The cloud market in 2019 is a mash-up of thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of applications.  From Cloud Native, to ‘Cloudwashed’ re-branded on-premises applications, there is no shortage of solutions for any problem facing your business.  Deciding what to migrate, when, and to which cloud provider are all important decisions.  Monthly costs and a predictable budget are not necessarily a sure thing, either.

Thankfully, Keller Schroeder can help!  Using the recently launched Microsoft Azure Migrate product, Keller Schroeder can help simplifying key technical decisions surrounding migrating apps to the cloud:

  • Assess whether your on-premises machines are suitable for running in Azure.
  • Get size recommendations for Azure VMs based on the performance history of on-premises VMs.
  • Get estimated costs for running on-premises machines in Azure.
  • Visualize dependencies of on-premises machines to create groups of machines that you will assess and migrate together.

Azure Migrate, combined with Service Map gather information about all TCP-connected processes on the server where they’re installed and details about the inbound and outbound connections for each process.  This prevents migrating dependent apps on different servers, racking up potential additional bandwidth charges.

In addition, data collected from Azure Migrate can be used to determine if a local SQL server should migrate to an individual SQL VM (costly) or to SQL as a Service (much cheaper).

Azure Migrate automatically suggests VM sizing based on ACTUAL on-prem performance requirements; no need to manually adjust the sizing of those VMs you KNOW are oversized.  Consistent costs and a fixed budget are possible by starting with properly sized Azure resources:

Azure Migrate is quickly & easily deployed into most VMware environments, and support for physical servers is due out soon.  Reach out to your Account Manager for more information!

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Square Peg in a Round Hole

 

Jeff Gorman Keller Schroeder PresidentJeff Gorman  – [President]

Years ago, a commercial aired with two mechanics pounding on an obviously incorrectly sized car part saying, “It will fit, we’ll make it fit.”  The advertisement worked because the concept of forcing the wrong solution onto a problem was relatable.  Common sense tells us square pegs do not belong in round holes.  If the problem you are trying to solve is filling in a round hole, and someone offers to assist by giving you a square peg, you will likely suggest they help someone else instead.

Square Peg in A Round HoleAs simple as that concept is for people to understand, somehow it frequently gets lost in the world of technology.   People become infatuated with the newest “square peg” technology and become fixated on pounding it into a “round hole” issue just to have the privilege of using the latest and greatest.  As a technology company in the performance improvement business, Keller Schroeder firmly believes the role of Information Technology is to make businesses perform better.  Information Technology companies and departments should serve the business functions, not vice versa.  IT professionals should have a box full of different shaped pegs, and when they collaborate with business units, should be able to identify solutions that specifically address business needs and improve overall performance.

Business units should not play the role of being a showcase for technology; technology should be used to better showcase and empower business units.  Your company and companies you partner with for technology must understand and perform in a manner which makes it clear everyone agrees with that intent.  If not, you may end up with some really cool “square pegs,” having made no progress in filling your company’s “round hole” issues.

Look for our newsletters this year to follow this theme.  We will talk more about the issues affecting different industries and how to apply technology to solve specific problems.  For more than forty years, we have grown relationships by first seeking to understand the business of our partners and then leveraging technology to improve their business’ performance.  If you want to talk more with us about how technology might be able to solve a business problem you are experiencing, we would love the opportunity to meet with you.

 

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Making Positive Impacts – You Did The Golfing, We Did The Giving

 

Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Golf and Giving Recipient

Keller Schroeder continues its effort to make positive impacts in our communities by hosting unique events that allow us to enjoy the company of our current and potential clients, as well as give back. We recently hosted a Golf and Giving event at Top Golf in Nashville (home to our second office) where attendees golfed to earn points toward charitable giving. (Thus the tagline – you do the golfing, we do the giving!)

The clients in attendance had the opportunity to vote for their favorite charity to receive the donations for the day. The winning charity was Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Associate Vice President Rob Wilson and Director of Impact Growth Leesa Richardson delivered a $500 check to help fund the amazing work the organization is doing. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped us make a positive impact in the Nashville community!

 

 

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Nashville Update – New Year, Same Focus

 

Leesa Richardson Director, Infrastructure Growth

Leesa Richardson – [Director, Impact Growth]

Keller Schroeder Nashville Heritage

Although we have been headquartered in Evansville, Indiana for over 40 years, Keller Schroeder has successfully served the Nashville area for many of those years. As our desire to make a greater impact on those we could potentially serve kept increasing and knowing how proximity is important to those we currently serve, we decided to open a new office and become a proud member of Nashville’s heritage in 2018.

Over this past year, we have found the hearts of the people in Nashville are very similar to the hearts of those in Evansville.  This made our journey to connect with IT and business professionals to discuss the possibility of partnering in business and giving back to the Nashville community, a successful and rewarding one.

2018 Keller Schroeder Giving Alive Hospice

In 2018 we met with over 200 business professionals in the Nashville area and partnered with several businesses who have the same passion for community.  It was a simple concept, for meeting with us they chose their favorite charity, and we did the giving.

Through the contacts we met, we impacted businesses through the use of our talented IT staff from application development/integration, to infrastructure solutions, and staffing/contractor needs.

Even more exciting than the new business partnerships formed, we also donated thousands of dollars to many local United Way charities like Second Harvest Food Bank, Alive Hospice, and Renewal House to name just a few.

As we move into our second year of having a physical presence in Nashville, we look forward to the opportunity of connecting with many more Nashville area organizations. If you would like to connect with us, please give us a call at 615-988-4874.

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Simple, Sneaky Ways Cybercriminals Access A Small Business’s Network

Sneaky Ways Cybercriminals Access Small Business Networks

Hackers prefer the little guy. The high-profile data breaches you read about in the news — your Facebooks and Equifaxes and T-Mobiles — are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the digital crimes being perpetrated day after day, especially against small businesses. Today, according to a report by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 70 percent of hackers specifically target small businesses. Attracted by the prospect of easy money, they search for those organizations who underspend on protection, who have employees untrained to spot security risks, and who subscribe to woefully out-of-date practices to protect their data. As a result, more than 50 percent of small businesses have been hacked, while 60 percent of companies breached are forced to close their doors within six months.

Most business owners have no idea the danger they are putting their livelihood in by leaving cyber security up to chance. According to a survey conducted by Paychex, 68 percent of small-business owners are not concerned about their current cyber security standards, despite the fact that around 70 percent of them aren’t adequately protected. In the face of an imminent, global threat to the very existence of small businesses everywhere, most CEOs offer up a collective shrug.

The tactics and software available to hackers become more sophisticated by the day, but with so many unwitting victims, most criminals do not even need to work that hard to net a six-figure income. By sticking to three tried-and-tested tools of the trade — phishing, ransomware and the subtle art of guessing users’ passwords — they leech comfortably off the earnest efforts of small businesses all over the world.

So, what has to be done? Well, first things first: You need to educate yourself and your team. Protect your organization against phishing by fostering a healthy skepticism of any email that enters your inbox. Make it a habit of hovering over hyperlinks to check their actual destination before you click. If an email is coming from someone you know, but the email address is different, verify it with the other party. And never, ever send passwords or personal details to anyone over the internet if you can avoid it.

Speaking of passwords, you probably need to upgrade yours. The majority of folks use the same password for everything from their Facebook account to their business email. The fact that this includes your employees should make you shudder. It may not seem like a big deal — who is going to take the time to guess SoCcErMoM666? — but aside from the fact that simple software enables hackers to guess even complicated passwords in minutes, that’s not even usually necessary. Instead, they can just look at the data dumps from a recent more high-profile breach — think the Equifax fiasco — pull your old website from there and type it into whatever profile they want to access. If you keep all your passwords the same across sites, it will not take them long to dig into your most precious assets. To avoid this, implement a strict set of password regulations for your business, preferably incorporating two-factor authentication and mandatory password changes every few weeks.

While educating yourself and training your team on the latest hacking techniques is a great line of defense, it is still always possible for a data breach to occur. Cybercrime is constantly evolving, and staying abreast of its breakneck pace takes a dedicated awareness of the latest protective tools and measures. That is why your single best weapon to defend you against the hackers at your door is to find a trusted technology partner with a background in defending against digital threats. With a proper backup and disaster recovery plan in place, if a crisis strikes, they will be able to help get your network back up in minutes rather than days.

In today’s digital world, leaving your cyber security up to a subpar antivirus and some wishful thinking is more than irresponsible — it’s an existential threat to your company. However, with a little savvy, a bit of investment and a second opinion on the circumstances of your company’s security, you can rest easy knowing that no matter what comes, you’re protected.

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Save the Date – 2019 Technology Vendor Summit

Technology Vendor Summit Logo

Our second largest event is coming back in 2019! Mark your calendars for our second annual Technology Vendor Summit on April 10th, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (CST) at the Old National Events Plaza in Evansville. Further details will be coming to your inbox soon.

As with last year’s event, you can expect the area’s largest gathering of technology vendor partners, high-quality key note speakers, informative breakout sessions, your opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow IT professionals, and a chance for you to help us give back to our community.

Technology Vendor Summit
Wednesday, April 10th, 2019
Old National Events Plaza
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

If you would like to hear from clients who attended last year’s event, take a look at this video:
2018 Technology Vendor Summit | From a Client’s Point of View

Photos and a list of vendor partners who helped make last year’s event such a success can be viewed here:
2018 Technology Vendor Summit

If you loved last year’s event and want to go ahead and register, you can sign up here:
Register for the 2019 Event

Additional details will be online soon, stay tuned!
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