Press Releases

Sinu Blog: Playing with Sand

  • Tuesday

    Achieving a symbiotic relationship between your business and its technology  

    recent blog in the Harvard Business Review does an excellent job of echoing our philosophy here at Sinu: business technology should be seamlessly aligned with the long-term goals of an organization and should drive value by supporting employee productivity and company profitability.

    “IT Has Finally Cracked the C-Suite,” by Robert Plant, an associate professor of computer information systems at the University of Miami School of Business Administration, writes that there are two schools of thought right now with business executives – those who use technology to drive value and those who still see it as a data center. He goes on to suggest that when CIOs (and, I would add, anybody leading IT efforts in an organization) free up some of the time they spend on day-to-day IT management, then they can focus more on creating and implementing strategies that use technology to drive the company forward.

    Plant explains, “Freed from their service role and increasingly appreciated for their business knowledge, technologist executives are finally breaking down the walls that separated technology from the organization’s other functions. This new freedom will allow them to focus more on their role as enterprise architects, creating alignment between the organization’s technological and business processes in accordance with the company’s business model. They will also be able to focus more on providing governance leadership, ensuring, as Gartner Research defines it, the effective and efficient use of information technology in enabling the organization to reach its goals. They’ll no longer be at the periphery, but will be fully integrated into the core strategic work of the firm, the business itself.”

    We can be confident that more departments in more businesses will be able to benefit from the efficiencies technology can offer. Companies that embrace a more integrated approach to their technological and business processes will have a competitive advantage over those organizations that are stuck in the “data center” mindset.

    For over ten years, Sinu has offered one all-inclusive IT service that includes hardware, software and network management, consulting, unlimited support, and reporting. We believed then, and more so now as technology evolves ever more quickly, that if we free our customers from their “service role” of managing technology then they can spend more time growing their businesses.


    Creating a culture of discipline and practice in your business

    By Larry Velez, Sinu founder and CTO

    I have often repeated Malcolm Gladwell’s statement from the Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. Gladwell claims that 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to become world-class in any field. There is an interesting article in Entrepreneur (7/8/14) that analyzes that theory. It references a recent Princeton study that challenges the overarching principle, however, the report goes on to admit: "There is no doubt that deliberate practice is important, from both a statistical and a theoretical perspective. It is just less important than has been argued... For scientists, the important question now is, what else matters?"

    According to the Entrepreneur report, Frans Johansson, author of The Click Moment, argues that “deliberate practice is only a predictor of success in fields that have super stable structures. For example, in tennis, chess, and classical music, the rules never change, so you can study up to become the best.” 

    But for business owners who face ever-changing challenges and opportunities (and not bound by a set of constants), I would argue that the “what else matters” question can be answered by discipline, documentation, and balance. I believe you can improve productivity and profitability through your business process, employee training, and encouraging an infrastructure that allows them to practice the skills they learn.

    So with the demands of day-to-day operations, how can your organization incorporate a culture of deliberate practice in order to become a better business?

    Try to create a set of “rules” for success that never change. This means really thinking about what the goals are and how policies and guidelines can be created that would always point toward that goal. Developing and following a set of accepted “rules” can help boost productivity and morale and it sends a message that your organization values time, efficiency, and practice.

    The goal is to have self-reinforcing rules in place for your entire organization in order to create an ecosystem of guidelines that is as closed as possible. In chess every piece has absolute rules and all the rules fit together with almost no exceptions. Your business will never be as well defined as a chessboard – but the closer you can get, the more expert your team can become on what the rules are and how to succeed and contribute toward the greater success of the company as a whole.

    Practice makes perfect, but only when you know what to practice and can practice the same way every time. If there is a strong culture of practice in place, your organization will run more smoothly and will be better prepared to take advantage of opportunities that arise in an ever-changing marketplace. That’s the balance – the “what else matters.”



    Microsoft warns it will end support for key products, including Windows 7 

    According to a recent ZDnet article, Microsoft has warned of an end to tech support for certain key products, including Windows 7, Office 2010 SP1, and Windows Server 2003. “Mainstream” support for Windows 7 is scheduled to end January 13, 2015, while support for some key products will end as early as October 14, 2014. (For a full list of the Microsoft products reaching the end of support in over the next six months, click here.)

    Windows 7, released in 2009, is the world’s most popular operating system, far outselling Windows 8, which was launched in 2012. In fact, when XP support ended this April, more people chose to migrate to Windows 7 than the newer Windows 8. But Microsoft will stop “mainstream” support in January for Windows 7 and transition to “extended” support, which typically includes free security fixes but other types of updates are paid and require specific licensing deals. While there is a grace period, if you are running Windows 7, a recent Forbes article warns that you need to be sure you are running the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to access the extended service.

    So now that “mainstream” support for Windows 7 ends in 6 months, Microsoft will likely turn its energy to developing and introducing the next best thing. So what should we expect from Microsoft in the coming months?

    According to Channelnomics: “Microsoft may hint at the forthcoming Windows 9, codename: Threshold, which is expected to hit the market in early 2015…Like Windows 7 was a correction to Vista, Windows 9 will likely be a make-good on Windows 8. It’s rumored the new version will sense the type of device in use, booting into either a traditional desktop mode or touch-enabled interface.”

    As we have been saying, technology now becomes obsolete at an increasing pace. For example, XP support stopped earlier this year and Microsoft is Windows 7 is being phased out after only 5 years. Now more than ever, businesses need to reevaluate their technology replacement cycle in order to avoid the risks of obsolete or aging technology (see Sinu blog from earlier this year). As a start, plan your company’s operating budget assuming a 3-4 year lifespan for your hardware devices. Use the Sinu Store as a guideline of what today’s devices cost and plan to replace 20-30% of your company’s devices yearly to ensure no device is more than 4 years old. (To access the Sinu Store, go to Sinu Support and click the STORE tab on the far right.) If you plan according to the lifecycle now dictated by today’s technology industry, your business will be healthier, your team more productive, and your budget will have fewer surprises.