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May 11, 2011


Seems like a lot of impactful current events going on in the world these days - earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, commando raids, Microsoft buying Skype, and not to mention the Lakers losing. Makes me wonder about the weight of one of the current questions I've been hearing a lot from clients - Will Apple release a new iPhone in June? Certainly not the most business impactful question, but there's definitely interest around it. Speaking of trends...

One of the bigger trends we have been seeing over the last few months is the unusually large number of server upgrades and workstation refreshes. Maybe people were holding back over the last couple of years because of "the great recession" or maybe it's just time and it's all hitting at once. Whatever the root cause, we're definitely seeing more upgrades these days. And, with the cost of virtualization dropping, we've seen more and more clients starting to build out their server infrastructure based on virtualization - allowing them to become significantly more flexible in the future. With server virtualization, clients are no longer tied to the underlying hardware. It also makes a huge dent from a business continuity perspective - improving the clients ability to get back up and running from a server crash. This is certainly a hot topic well worth the investment in time to learn more about it. For more info on server virtualization, check out our Virtualization page.

We're also seeing more and more folks moving out of the tape world and into an integrated disk-based BDR solution for backups. No longer do clients have to worry about changing tapes (which are way too often forgotten), running out of media space, pruning data to fit onto their tapes, dealing with false positive "failed" backup jobs, or responding to random Backup Exec glitches. Our BDR (Backup & Disaster Recovery) Solution replaces outdated tape backups, integrates offsite backup storage, and includes server failover virtualization capabilities for business continuity (in the event of a server disaster). This solution has been one of the more powerful "no-brainers" we've seen in a long time. For more info on our BDR solution, check out our BDR micro-site.

For our Time and Materials friends out there I have to report that our move to deliver our services via a Managed Services approach is proving to be highly successful - both for our clients as well as for our staff. Over the last few years, we've invested in updating our systems, methodologies, training, and staffing and I can most assuredly say that we've definitely seen a marked decrease in many of the nagging, annoying, and not to mention costly recurring issues because of this. The uptime of our clients has improved and we're not fighting nearly as many fires we used to. Naturally, this is a win for our clients but also it's important for our staff. We're now involved more proactively with our clients ensuring their productivity rather than fixing something that's broken. This is significantly more productive AND empowering. If you're not already getting some portion of your IT services under a Managed Services approach, I urge you to take a look at it. For more information about our Managed Services, check out our Managed Services site.

Lastly, I recently saw an ad from Verizon utilizing what I thought was a great tag line - "the small business with the best technology wins". I couldn't have said it better myself. Here's to truly leveraging technology to make our businesses better!

Craig Pollack & The FPA Team

What Does Your Hiring Process Look Like?

Beyond our systems, methodologies, and processes there's no doubt that the most significant component of FPA's success over the years has been our people. While we have a pretty significant training process during the "intro" period - we have our own "FPA University" curriculum including consulting classes, technical labs, documenting standards, and even a final exam! - we also have a pretty robust selection process before anyone even gets on board.

The key to our success in getting the right people on board is that we have a consistent, repeatable, and (needless to say) thorough hiring process. Too often bad hiring decisions are because of "gut" feelings rather than objective data. In addition to the standard interviews one would expect, candidates for FPA run through a barrage of tests including:

  • our own proprietary technical competency exam
  • a job profile test (to determine if they're a good "fit" for the position) see Profiles International
  • a DISC assessment (to better understand their communication style)

Once the interviews begin, we look for both technical skills as well as soft skills. Everyone involved in the interview process utilizes a standardized checklist so that we're all providing our feedback using the same tool and scale - which provides for very consistent results.

This methodology gives us a very robust screening process. And all of this goes to giving us one competitive edge - getting the right people on board.

As they say, "hire slow, fire fast". So, what's your hiring process?

Using LinkedIn to Your Advantage

We all know that Facebook is THE social media component that's all but become this generation's communication utility. And Twitter is still up for grabs as far as its usefulness for certain businesses. LinkedIn on the other hand has become the defacto standard of social media for business networking. Assuming you're already a member of LinkedIn (if not signup now and send me a request to connect), are you getting the most out of it?

One of the most immediately impactful ways to take advantage of LinkedIn (above and beyond connecting with those you already know) is to make sure you're joining and utilizing its Groups. Groups are a way to interact with others outside of your immediate network but focused on something that you have in common. There you can join in on online discussions, post a question, post job openings, or connect with others who have similar interests. For our Investment Advisor friends, some groups you may be interested in include:

Some general Groups include:

5 Creative Ways To Recruit New Talent

Trying to build a stellar team? Skip the hefty headhunter fees and try these inexpensive, innovative recruitment approaches. Creative methods will attract a greater, more diverse pool of candidates and help you get the right person for the job. And the less money you spend on recruiting, the more money you can pay your hardworking employees



Mistake #3: Going Cheap or You Get What You Pay For

This mistake is one of the hardest for some clients to get past. Some don't get past it until they get burned by it themselves, while others may never get past it. I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for" and this turns out to be no truer than when spending on technology.

I've seen it happen way too many times - clients with the best of intentions trying to save money only to end up spending more (and sometimes way more) in the long run. Whether it's for hardware, software, or services cutting corners is NEVER the way to save money in the long run.

Mistake #4: Overextending the Technology Lifecycle

This one actually ties in quite nicely to Mistake #3 (Going Cheap), although it may be the chicken and the egg syndrome - not sure which comes first. Are you going cheap because you're overextending the lifecycle of your technology or are you overextending the lifecycle of your technology because you're going cheap? Because many businesses tend to "go cheap", their first inclination is the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". With technology this actually turns out be a more costly approach.


FPA Selected to Participate in Intel’s vPro Pilot Program

FPA Technology Services, Inc., the leading full service IT Services and Support firm in the Los Angeles area, announced that it has recently completed working with Intel® in their vPro™ Pilot Program. Within this program, Intel partners with select Managed Service Providers to install and configure “seed” workstations, provided by Intel, for several clients and then testing and analyzing the performance results of the machines.

This functionality greatly improves FPA’s remote management and administration of client networks resulting in improved response to failure, meeting shorter recovery time objectives, as well as providing the ability to decrease power consumption.

FPA, Twitter, and Facebook

Just a reminder that you can keep in touch and see what's going on with FPA on a regular basis on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out!

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Memorial Day - May 30, 2011

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. It's about coming together to honor those who gave their all for our country.

In December 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed, which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, all Americans voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or a listening of ‘Taps.’

In observance of Memorial Day, our office will be closed on Monday, May30th. If you encounter an emergency situation and need to contact us, please email our Help Desk. Our on-call team will be available to help.

IT Management Services

Strategic Planning & Guidance

How are you addressing your strategic IT needs? Do you have a Technology Plan in effect? How about an annual budget? Do you have a Computer Use Policy in place?

FPA provides a wide array of strategic IT and business consulting services tailored to the specific business needs of our clients. Our outsourced CIO and CTO services offer the highest level of IT experience and expertise at a fraction of the cost of having one in house. We provide many clients with strategic planning and budgeting services to address their technology needs while helping plan for future growth.

FPA works with clients to develop and manage annual capital and operating budgets ensuring that these budgets are met on an ongoing basis. For our larger clients, we also assist with planning and managing their technology staff. While we can assist in the hiring process, we also offer training services to enhance the technical abilities of their existing IT staff.

For more information about our Strategic Planning & Guidance services, please contact us at info@fpainc.com or by phone at 818-501-3390.

Staff Spotlight - Dotan BenTal

Have you met Dotan BenTal? Dotan is in his second year with FPA as a Network Engineer, providing support to clients both remotely as well as onsite. He has come a long way in a short amount of time and his enthusiasm and positive nature is appreciated by FPA staff and clients alike.

Dotan says he does his job by following the mottos of “Get it Right” and “Wow the Client.” Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three year old daughter as well as studying to keep up with technology.

Client Testimonial

"AS's work with me and Verizon today was absolutely AMAZING. Not only was he able to resolve my issue but he was so patient and supportive. He followed up with a summary email which I am thrilled with. I will be sending AS's email to the Office of the President of Verizon and requesting reimbursement for the time spent to resolve this issue. I will never stop being amazed by AS's work!.

"The amazing service and expertise is typical of FPA and is what I most appreciate about FPA.”

JRH Consulting Group

I.T. 101

There are a lot of acronyms and abbreviations tossed out in IT and we forget that not everyone knows our secret shorthand like we do. So, we thought it might be helpful to define them...

What is Cloud Computing?

In the traditional model of computing, both data and software are fully contained on the user's local computer. In cloud computing, the user's local computer contains minimal software or data (maybe even only the operating system and a web browser), and serves as the display terminal for processes occurring on a network of computers far away. The common term for a provided cloud computing service is "The Cloud.”

Recommended Reading

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently

by John C. Maxwell

Have you ever gotten frustrated while making a presentation because people just weren’t getting it? Have you ever wanted your boss to understand how much value you add to the company? Have you ever wanted your children to listen so you could help them make good choices?

What’s the secret? Connecting! John C. Maxwell believes that if you want to succeed, you must learn how to connect with others and if you learned to connect better, it would change your life! This book explores how to become a great connector.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author. His blog can be read at www.JohnMaxwellonLeadership.com.

Careers @ FPA


Looking for a career change or know someone who is? We're always on the lookout for talented people to join our elite team.

Contact Us
Phone: 818-501-3390
Email: info@fpainc.com
Web: www.fpainc.com
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Smart Quote

"It is easier to do a job right than it is to explain why you didn't."

--Martin Van Buren
U. S. President 1837-1841


Copyright 2011 FPA Technology Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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