Computer Systems Management

March 9, 2010

When you think about it, much of the intellectual property and technical assets of an integration company lies within your computer systems. So, it is critical to have a good management plan for your computer systems.

Data Protection

Most integrators are familiar with and have tools for providing adequate security. They are generally available tools for creating firewalls and virus protection. But, the amount of attention to data protection can greatly vary from one company to the next. It’s a bit surprising since that data is a huge asset for the organization. And, not just project data, but also business data, customer information, ….

Back Up Process

To adequate protect your company’s assets, you should have a formal, thorough, and complete process for data back up. On a daily basis, data from each computer should be backed up to a central server – preferably automatically. You should then back up the server. At a minimum, you should create daily tapes, store them in a fire-proof safe, and then take a copy off-site each week. Alternatively, many companies with multiple locations have begun mirroring their servers. (Consider working with another company to do the same)

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Facilities and Equipment

March 2, 2010

OK, enough about organizational structure, what about physical structure? That is your facilities and equipment.

Facilities

Your facilities are a representation of who you are and the type of work that your company does. A professional workplace should be neat and ergonomic. The equipment should be available and well-maintained. Failure to do so may be a detriment to employee effectiveness and satisfaction.

It can re-inforce the image (either positive or negative) that you portray to your customers – or your vendors. Over the years, I’ve visited the facilities of many Alliance Partners. And, those that have well-kept facilities certainly instill more confidence that they will take the same care with their projects.

Computers and Networks

Computers and networks are the backbone of most successful companies. But, they are often an afterthought in a system integrators business – a part-time task that takes away from a developer’s billable time. If you haven’t already, consider defining the role of a system administrator. Give them the authority to create policies and processes for ensuring the proper equipment.

You should have formal procedures for purchasing and configuring computer equipment as well as installing and maintaining licenses. Employees should recognize that the computers are company property, not their personal computer.