Archive | September 2013

Look Beyond The Technology

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IOS vs AndroidWindows vs OSXCisco vs Polycom; you could insert any two competing technologies or companies into a sentence and the chances are that in an office or pub somewhere, someone is having a debate about which is better and why. Marketing companies go into overdrive to advertise the features and functionality of product X, or other subjective testing takes place to validate why vendor or manufacturer Y is better than Z or vice versa.

Generally we seem to buy into this mentality, driven by features and functionality of gadgets and products for home, car or office; many get sucked into a series of perpetual upgrade cycles driven by brand loyalty and feature sheets. Its no wonder then, that when it comes to customers purchasing IT and especially unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technologies, that there is a constant fixation on features and functionality.

Don’t get me wrong, features and functionality are important, but they must be addressed in the correct manner. I have seen far too many times where technology, features and functions have been shoehorned into a solution for a company, had next to zero uptake or a protracted user adoption period, purely because someone believed that the more features and functions technology has, the better it must be. This cycle has to be broken to truly derive business benefits from a UCC solution.

What should I choose?

When talking to a customer, one should never start talking about technology before truly understanding what the customers goals and objectives are, or what business problem(s) or compelling event is driving the necessity for change. Technology can provide a solution to enable businesses to be more competitive, or more agile or more anything, but without the context of customer requirement and a solid business understanding, technology is simply that…..technology.

Look beyond the technology, get to understand the real drivers behind any required changes, don’t fall for the marketing hype or feature list. Investing in IT solutions is not like buying a phone or a computer for personal use. The decisions made at this level affect the ability of the company to execute against business plans, to empower and enable staff, to communicate with customers and partners, in essence all of these things to enable businesses to make money. Investing in solutions purely from a capability perspective will not necessarily reap the expected rewards or benefits.

Another major factor in the success of the solution is enabling ease of adoption within the user community, but that’s a discussion for another blog.

Both as a consumer and as a service provider, look at where the business is at right now, examine where you want to go in the future. Document the expectations of the business in everyday terms, i.e. “I want to grow market awareness of the business“, “I want to increase sales of x by a factor of y” or “I want to improve customer service”. 

The basic business requirements in everyday speak can then be mapped to a technology stack or solution that enables those business drivers, it should always be done that way. Once the business drivers have been identified, how you might achieve those can be mapped out to a solution that enables the business to move to the target state. This is where Computacenter can help; not being aligned to any vendor, our desire is to help our customers achieve their goals. We have a dedicated UCC team with the ability to assist in creating roadmap services around not just UCC but all technology stacks. We can help turn those business goals into a solution that is the best fit for your company, but also with the realisation that moving towards those goals may required a number of steps; we are here to help you on that journey.

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Computacenter Sponsors Team NetApp-Endura

Computacenter has signed a sponsorship deal with Pro Cycling Team NetApp-Endura for the second half of 2013 including two major Pro Cycling  races, the Vuelta a España and the Tour of Britain.

Look out for our Computacenter logo the sleeves of the team’s race shirts and on the support cars following the race. You can catch all the action on ITV and through the extensive media coverage – TV, online and print.

Vuelta a Espana will reach its dramatic finale on Sunday the 15th September in Madrid, while the Tour of Britain will kicks off in Peebles, Scotland on the same day.
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This year’s Vuelta a España is considered to be one of the most difficult three-week races of the past couple of years. With 11 mountain finishes, it will demand quite a bit from the riders. For the first time since 2003, the route crosses the border into France with in a mountain finish in Peyragudes.

The 68th edition of the race started on the far western edge of the Iberian peninsula, called the “end of the world,” with a team time trial on the 24th August and the routes have wound their way through Galicia, south to Andalusia, where the first Hors catègorie mountain, the Alto de Hazallanas (1,680 metres), challenged the riders during the 10th stage. After a day of rest, the course then took riders from the Sierra Nevada back north to Aragon.

A hilly time trial during the 11th stage wraps things up in the northeast of Spain, before heading to Andorra with a climb up the Collada de la Gallina. From Andorra, the route leads through the Pyrenees to Peyragudes, a ski station three kilometres behind the famous Col de Peyresoude. The final three days before Madrid will no doubt deliver an exciting race with three consecutive mountain finishes: Peña Cabarga, Monte Naranco and the pinnacle stage, Alto de l’Angliru.

The 13-kilometre climb up Angliru, with its incline of nearly 24%, may shake up the general classification a ,bit before the finale in Madrid on 15 September ends in a sprint.

However, Team NetApp-Endura headed into its second Grand Tour with high ambitions, team captain Leopold Koenig is showing no fear when it comes to the difficult mountain stages. “I personally like mountainous terrain, and I’m happy that climbers will have so many opportunities to show what they’re capable of.”

Over the weekend Leopold Koenig won the eighth stage of the Vuelta a España and for his Team NetApp-Endura, the most important success in the team’s history to date. The 25-year-old Czech rider prevailed as the day’s best rider after a 14.5-kilometer final climb to the top of Alto Pena Blancas in the south of Spain, relegating Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Nicholas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff) to second and third place. With his stage win, Koenig went up to 5th place in the general classification

We will be updating this blog with more team news as the drama unfolds and keep your eyes peeled for those Computacenter logos if you’re watching the TV coverage

GO TEAM NETAPP – ENDURA!!!