Tale of Two Executives

Leaders with foresight make better decisions

One autumn afternoon in Miami, Florida, two executives were busy overseeing preparations for the arrival of yet another major hurricane. They were very much alike, these two executives. Both oversaw finances and other operations at their firms, both had stewarded their company’s resources carefully, and both were personable, ambitious, and eager to continue to create success for their companies.

Both executives closed their businesses down, fettered the windows, locked the doors, and sent their employees off with their families to safe zones. Both executives were filled with apprehension at the potential damage of the coming storm hailed as “the worst since Hurricane Andrew.” And when both executives came back to work one week later, they found that they had been right to be fearful: “Wilma” had left chaos in her wake, snapping concrete power poles, felling trees, damaging roofs, shutting off electricity, and flooding their office buildings.

But there was a difference. One of the executives came back to find that his company’s computer servers and core infrastructure had sustained extensive water damage. As a result, customer files and other mission-critical business data had been lost, and his IT staff informed him that in addition to the two weeks’ delay in business the hurricane had caused, he would need to wait another two to three months for operations to get back to normal. And, he would need to approve hundreds of thousands of dollars of spending in order to replace and restore the lost equipment. In the meantime, business would need to be put on hold.

The other executive came back to find the same physical damage to his facilities, but there was no loss of business data, no corruption of files, and no downtime necessary to resume normal operations, save for replacing a few items of furniture and some desks. In fact, their company had lost no time to Wilma at all, because employees were still able to access their computer desktops remotely, and had continued to service their clients as usual during their evacuation. Some had connected from hotel or motel rooms, while others had borrowed the home computers of their relatives to continue their work. His customers were surprised to hear of the $24 billion in damages the hurricane had created, because they had never even noticed a disruption in their service!

What Made The Difference?

It wasn’t that one executive was more conscientious, harder-working, or just plain luckier than the other. It was simply that he had made a decision to outsource the hosting of his business applications and data to a company in Denver called ITonCommand. He had made this decision for several reasons: to free up cash flow previously spent on IT infrastructure, to enable his employees to effectively telecommute from home or the road, and to avoid the headaches associated with mundane IT tasks. And the very last reason on his list, the one that was just a “side-benefit” in his mind, was that in the case of a natural disaster, all of his company’s mission-critical data would be unaffected and his business would continue to thrive.

The difference, in this case, was this executive’s foresight and decision-making capacity. The truth is, the first executive got off easy: according to the University of Texas at Arlington, the average business experiences a 25% loss in daily revenue by the 6th day of a computer outage. By day 25, the revenue drop increases to 40%. In fact, 43% - almost half – of all companies that experience a data loss disaster, but have no recovery plan in place, never re-open[1].

And that is why we’re telling you and executives like you about ITonCommand: to let you know about our managed, hosted desktop service and how we can preserve your company as a going concern in your greatest time of need, AND make your daily IT life easier, too.

An Outsourced IT Service Unlike Any Other

You see, ITonCommand is a unique service. We not only host Microsoft’s most often-used business software, but we have also integrated over 100 other applications and programs that you might use on a daily basis and give you access to those as well. These include a wide range of accounting, business management and customer relationship management applications that are used across multiple industries.

Each day, our staff of IT experts is single-mindedly devoted to the smooth operation of our customers’ computer systems: from the automatic installation of security patches and upgrades to the addition of servers when our customers’ needs for storage capacity grow. Each day, we keep your spam and anti-virus definitions up to date, configure new users for you, lock down your employees’ desktop so no rogue applications can harm your business, manage and maintain our data centers, and host desktops for thousands of other business users like you.

Our company has served clients for more than a decade, and we are profitable and growing by leaps and bounds. In the course of providing excellent service to our customers, we’ve received some big accolades: in 2005, we won the Microsoft Partner Program Award for Security Solutions and Security Management, and in 2006 we were one of three worldwide finalists for the Technology Innovation Partner of the Year Award in Advanced Infrastructure Solutions. We are also a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with competencies in Advanced Infrastructure Solutions, Hosting and Security, and we can honestly say our firewalls have never been breached. Seriously, though we sustain a barrage of attempts on a daily basis, we have never, ever, been successfully hacked. So can you trust us with your applications and data? You bet!

In fact, our Senior Technical Architect advises Microsoft on security and other business computing issues as part of the Microsoft Security Partner Advisory Council. Imagine that: among the other industry giants that they have access to, they actually seek us out to pick our brain!

Outsourcing IT Enables You to Get Back to Your Core Business

If Information Technology is a core competency of your company’s, then go ahead and disregard this story. But if it’s often more a distraction than anything else, then consider that outsourcing IT could save you money, lessen the opportunity cost of downtime, free up your staff, and even facilitate new business acquisitions: from a hardware systems integration perspective, merging the newly acquired entity will be a breeze. You’ll be able to move capital expenditures into the operating column, immediately write off all un-amortized infrastructural investments, and actually invest some dollars and cents into other business needs. Like marketing and customer acquisition, perhaps.

Your employees will no longer have to contend with VPN and WAN issues when connecting from out of the office. They will be able to access the very desktop that they use at work from any location with an Internet connection, whether on the road, at home, or on vacation. Of course, they may not elect to sign in from "Paradise," but as long as they have that connection, they have the option to do so. If your employees use Smartphones or PDAs, these can be automatically synchronized with our Exchange servers so they can send and receive e-mail, make calendar adjustments, and access their contact lists on-the-go.

Your IT staff will be free to pursue other challenges, because we’ll be the ones worrying about keeping up with patches, updates, and upgrades, software licensing and compliance, security issues, and adding more storage capacity when you need it.

And lastly, but obviously not least, you will automatically have your business data backed up in a remote location that is NOT susceptible to hurricane-related threats such as storm surges, wind damage, torrential rains, power outages, and opportunistic looters. This means you will sleep better at night – and isn’t peace of mind worth a great deal these days?

About those two executives I mentioned at the beginning of this letter: They both faced the same hurricane, worked in the same industry, had the same responsibilities at their firm, and shared the same desire to continue servicing their clients. So what made their post-hurricane lives in business different?

Vision, foresight, and wise decision-making. And a little help from ITonCommand.

An Investment in Business Success

We cannot promise you that your business future will be instantly rosy the minute you start your ITonCommand service. But we can promise that your IT headaches will be diminished, your systems and data more secure and stable, and your core IT infrastructural investments greatly reduced. And, of course, that you and your employees will be better able to focus on what you’re really good at, which is running your business and providing high-quality services to your customers.

[1] Research Study Undertaken by The University of Texas at Arlington : “Functional Impacts of Computer Outages on Business"

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