Friday, February 12, 2010

Representing you at MVP Summit Next Week

I’m off to the Microsoft MVP Summit next week. This is the annual event where Microsoft’s developers get MVP’s from around the world into a small room by specialty where we thrash their current products and argue for feature adds that we think would benefit you. Much of what we’ll see next week is “already baked”, that is it has already been developed and we’ll just be asked to help put the icing on the cake and suggest final tweaks. Make no mistake though, this is hell week for Microsoft developers. It’s when they have to face us and explain themselves and their vision for the future.

These guys aren’t professional speakers. They are serious nerds, nervously showing demo’s of their new idea. To get up in front of this group of 30 or so people you need some thick skin because we don’t hold back.

I’ve already seen what’s coming, so I’m prepared. In October I was one of the fortunate 15 that got in earlier for a week and saw some interesting things in the new product line. The changes coming are dramatic and will take us all down a new path. Imagine if you will, instead of just SBS being available to you, a choice of 6 different server configurations designed for different types of small and medium businesses of up to 500 people. Off-site hosted solutions are also coming on strong and I’ll venture to say that 5 years from now your computer network won’t bare much resemblance to what it is today.

On the weekend after, I’m headed to Vancouver to see Olympic curling. I’m very excited about both components of this trip.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Life without Dell

“Dell Inc. will spend $3.9 billion for the technology services company Perot Systems Corp. in an attempt to expand beyond the PC business”

“Dell's purchase of MessageOne, coming on the heels of its acquisition of EqualLogic in November, may signal that the manufacturer is looking to build its own storage brand…”

“Dell Computer has acquired privately-held Plural Inc., a Web application development and services company…”

“Dell has completed the acquisition of Everdream, a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for remote-service management, providing Dell with an expanded presence in the rapidly growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-enabled managed services market….”

I could go on and on posting news snippets from the last two years that demonstrate Dell’s progress out of its core business of providing great PC’s and Servers to businesses. Dell has purchased 10 companies all of which have nothing to do with making a good computer for you.

Dell has also reduced the sales and support for partners like Harbor Computer Services. Whereas, we used to have a team at Dell that was dedicated to helping us get you the best configuration for the specific needs of your business, we no longer have that team. Support for business sales is dismal and is moving in the direction of Dell’s customers support – off shore and disinterested.

Recently Dell moved it’s assembly plant from Texas to Mexico. With this move, Dell is no longer able to provide shipping time estimates for custom products. Our customers have experienced month long wait times and this unfortunately isn’t something that Dell intends to fix. It in in fact part of their plan to move away from providing custom computers for business needs.

Given the problems we have been experiencing, coupled with the news that Dell is moving its focus away from building great PC’s and Servers, we have decided to begin the move away from using Dell products. After significant research and agonizing over loosing a long term supplier, we have made our selection. We have been a HUGE Dell fan in the past, so this decision was not taken lightly or quickly – it has in fact been somewhat painful.

Our new preferred partner is Equus. Equus is an American business with 100% of its assembly, support and service in the USA. They build computers from Intel components. They are Intel’s 7th largest customer. They have been in business for 21 years. They are employee owned. They have an office in Novi and are headquartered in Minneapolis. We are confident that we have found the right hardware supplier. 

Building computers is what Equus does. Support partners like Harbor Computer Services is all that their support department does. They are good at what they do and have been well respected in the industry for many years.

We hope that you will move along with us in the transition from Dell to Equus. We will still be able to obtain Dell equipment for you, but we no longer feel confident in recommending them as the preferred solution. Ted, Diana and Amy can answer any questions and address concerns that you may have. Change is difficult and uneasy but sometimes necessary. This is one of those cases.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Other States putting regulations on you

There a trend in State’s requiring business to protect personal information of their residents. This new laws apply to all businesses even those not located in the State. Tried in the California courts, it has stood the test and I expect this trend to rapidly spread to every State in the nation.

Massachusetts follows California, Utah, Connecticut, Nebraska and Pennsylvania in putting regulation on businesses and individuals outside of their State that hold information about their residents. This means that if you have any customers that live in these States (and expect these laws to spread quickly) you are required to protect their information in specific ways.

As an example, here’s what the Massachusetts's law says:

In a nutshell, if you have any information about one of their residents you are required to protect it and document in a security plan how you are going about it protecting this information.


The good news is that this doesn’t have to be a hugely elaborate or expensive effort. But you will need to have one, if not today, then eventually because it won’t be long before every State enacts similar laws.

So what is consider personal information?


Note that earlier in the document that “person”and “resident” encompass business entities are well as individuals people.

So if you have a name and another piece of information you are subject to this law. Many businesses will have a name and a tax ID number that’s enough to find yourself subject to these laws.

If you think you are or might be subject to these new regulations, we can help you develop your plan and reduce your liability.

--Harbor Computer Services 248-850-8616

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