Saturday, 25 October 2008

A balanced work ethic? SBS helps at work and home

We all have different tolerance levels for how much work we can put in for the week.

But, there is definitely one thing that distinguishes those of us striving to get ahead, build, or otherwise express our love for what we do: We tend to work at it a lot!

What exactly is meant by work?

For us, the following would cover to a great extent what work is:
  • Providing the best possible solutions and services to our clients.
  • Developing our professionalism through formal training, mentorship, reading, labs, and more.
  • Contribute our expertise back to the community at large.
For those of us who are single, the amount of time spent working can be quite large. There is a flexibility in the amount of time a single person can schedule around their professional life. But, there needs to be a balance with the time spent with friends and family too.

For those of us who are married with or without children there is a balance that we must achieve between our work and family life. That balance is critical, because if one suffers, the other will too!

We are fortunate that SBS and related products and services we work with facilitate the ability to make efficient all aspects of our work life:
  • Remote Web Workplace: Remote connectivity to everything we need.
  • Remote Desktop: Via RWW gives us a secure way to work from anywhere.
  • SharePoint: Via RWW or direct allows access to many critical resources.
  • Outlook Web Access: In a pinch, works great via Web or Mobile Device.
  • Windows Mobile device: Remote connectivity while moving about with access to virtually all SBS services.
  • A good laptop that is encrypted and uses cellular high speed for connectivity.
Tying all of these SBS and related products together for our own businesses enables us to have a demonstration platform in place for our prospect visits, or for demonstrating to existing clients what further SBS based features could help their business.

For us, the above setup allows for scheduling flexibility. If there is a need to spend time with family, the day, like today, can be divided up between family and work.

Balance ...

Involvement in our professional and local communities are the other side to this coin. Getting out and getting involved in the SBSC, local Microsoft User Groups, online forums and groups, local charities, and the like are good for maintaining and developing new business and colleague relationships.

While the online stuff may facilitate our professional and to some extent our personal lives, nothing replaces face-to-face time with our peers, business colleagues, family, and others. To a great extent, the online stuff needs to take second place to face-to-face time.

A further development to balance things for my own family was the implementation of an SBS network at home. Having SBS at home has given us the ability to work with shared resources such as family e-mail, calendars, tasks, and contacts. Centralizing has made our home life balance and time management a lot easier to accomplish.

The CompanyWeb SharePoint site facilitates both our business and personal life work flow management that helps to give Monique the ability to be at home while still being fully involved in our business.

In the end, if our lives are well balanced between business and personal time involvements, we will find find that balance lends itself to our being very successful in both!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed but I would say that many other technologies can now provide the "balance" of which you speak not merely SBS. In reality isn't what you are talking about 'cloud computing'? Because SBS resources are available remotely (ie in the cloud) this is what makes them useful.

There are just so many applications available (most for free) these days 'in the cloud' that if you aren't using them then well you are going the way of the dinosaur!

Sure SBS stuff is great but so is stuff like Google Apss, Windows Live and so on. Why does someone need a server on site these days to achieve balance? Just give me a connection to the Internet and I'll browse to Shangra-la.

Just an opinion.

Thanks
Robert Crane

Philip E. said...

Robert,

I am personally not comfortable with Google's Terms and Conditions.

Live, maybe, but I need to look through their T&Cs too.

As far as the cloud is concerned, SBS gives me a one-stop-shop for all of my remote connectivity needs. The only way to get that is to go to SBS hosting in the cloud. Since we are setting up to do that for our small-small business clients a la SPLA, the point in that regard is a bit on the moot side. ;)

But, if I value my time at say $100/hr, and I look at all of the features listed in this blog post and subsequently the search for the right cloud app or apps that would meet my needs exactly as SBS does, how much time do I need to put into that for each component of SBS?

I doubt "free" would give me the whole enchelada. So, the cost to me in the form of time would be rather expensive relative to having everything in the one spot with SBS.

I do believe that the cloud has a place in our network infrastructure futures. I do not believe that the cloud will be a one-stop-shop for everyone. Those that need rather specialized setups will still look to local setups, or perhaps a hybrid depending on everything from Internet connection to Line of Business Apps.

Thanks for the comment,

Philip

Philip E. said...

Robert,

Your opinion is appreciated! :)

One more thing when it comes to the cloud and any online apps: I go through the T&Cs with a fine tooth comb.

If I don't like what I see in the way of wording being too vague around critical items such as content, ownership of said content, and privacy or I need a lawyer to interpret the T&Cs I walk away.

I have seen way too many "free" services that bury their right to whatever content is posted/used on their services.

It would be my preference to pay for the service if their T&C leaves sole right to me.

Philip

Robert Crane said...

Phil,

I agree with what you say but in my experience customers are moving to the cloud in droves. Sure they won't read the T&C's but most are pretty happy with the value they receive.

Given the economic conditions I believe we are going to see a greater move towards doing things via 'free' services. Sure they aren't pretty, sure they may lack the singularity of SBS but you can't beat the price.

So do you consider Microsoft offering Exchange, Sharepoint, etc in the cloud acceptable? If they offer them in SBS isn't what they offer in the cloud the same since we trust Microsoft to provide us SBS?

In my books clients just want access to their stuff. They don't care where that stuff is, they want access to it. That means the infrastructure becomes immaterial.

Just my opinion.

Thanks
Robert Crane

Philip E. said...

Robert,

For many small business clients, I can see that to be the case ... depending on their sensitivity to retraining costs.

In our case, most of our clients have extremely sensitive data on their networks ... we have signed many an NDA as a result. From health related info through to law and accounting firms, the cloud is not the answer. And that is where we reside for the most part.

Microsoft offering Exchange and SharePoint in the cloud is all fine and dandy, but lets see them offer us the full meal deal: Remote Web Workplace with RDP to a customized desktop with GP restrictions in place per user.

We still have an avenue as a cloud provider for those clients that require a particular setup.

That is the market we decided to pursue and as a result, we are not too concerned about the cloud and its presence ... yet. A lot has to be seen as far as where the dice fall.

We here in Alberta will be insulated from the downturn to a good degree because we provide a very significant chunk of the USA's oil. Things are still moving along as long as the Provincial government doesn't muck things up ... and people keep their heads about them.

Philip