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
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outdated tape backups, integrates offsite backup storage,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
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
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
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
- a DISC
assessment (to better understand their communication
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
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?
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:
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
#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
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
#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.
Selected to Participate in Intel’s vPro Pilot
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.
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
Check us out!
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
"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
"The amazing service and expertise is typical
of FPA and is what I most appreciate about FPA.”
JRH Consulting Group
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
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.”
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
John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected
leadership expert, speaker, and author. His blog
can be read at www.JohnMaxwellonLeadership.com.
Looking for a career change
or know someone who is? We're always on the lookout
for talented people to join our elite team.