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Introducing ExecutiveProTem.com

Published on August 3, 2012 in General

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You can now subscribe to our leadership alerts at ExecutiveProTem.com .

Do you want to  accelerates results for your unique, temporary situation? Visit us and learn how we can help you when urgency matters.

 

 
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Data Center Move Guide Available

Published on January 15, 2012 in DataCenters

Our updated Data Center Move Guide is now available. The new guide contains updates for governance, virtualization, and the cloud. Instructions to get the guide are at http://datacentermoving.com/guide 
The 2012 edition of the guide contains:

  • Moving Your Data Center: Practical Steps
  • Is Your Move Feasible?
  • Anatomy Of A Data Center Move
  • Governance
  • Budgeting
  • Site Selection
  • Pre-Move Planning
  • Teardown
  • Transit
  • Arrival
  • Re-Assembly
  • Post-Move
  • Top Mistakes To Avoid
  • Building Your Data Center Move Checklist
  • Virtualization And Data Center Moving
  • Move your Data Center to the Cloud?
  • DataCenterMoving.com Resources
  • How To Choose A Data Center Relocation Firm
  • Conclusions
  • Next Steps
 
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Connect the Unrelated Dots

Everyone has varying degrees of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the practice of enhancing information that supports a preconception and rejecting information that opposes it. Consider what happens when you use confirmation bias to collect biased data points and then you connect those data points to form a conclusion which you defend vigorously.

What happens when the natural tendency of confirmation bias meets the game of connect the unrelated dots?

How many dots does it take to draw a giraffe?

Using confirmation bias, data points are enhanced to support the preconception.  These data points are connected to form a patten or a conclusion despite the fact that these dots are flawed with no true picture of the rejected data surrounding the decision. In the extreme, one dot can be used to draw a substantial conclusion – akin to using one dot to draw a large giraffe!

Rarely talked about is that many preconceptions are formed based on personal bias – the like or dislike of individuals in an organization. This typically builds over many years with many technology battles waged and lost and a secret score of the campaigns now influence the personal bias of the winners and losers.

No Silver Bullets

Presumably, an organization would want to eliminate these biases but most don’t challenge strong personalities or politically connected leaders. Management gets defensive when their judgment is questioned and a defensive manager can be a vengeful manager!

Vendors also have their own built-in biases that support their self-preservation within their customer’s ecosystem.  One technique to validate important decisions is to use peer reviews facilitated by vendors who can be objective.

These reviews rely on your staff presenting their data points or dots and the vendor facilitates the objective discovery of the resulting conclusions. Most internal staff detest these reviews. Incumbent vendors also fear these reviews because they shine light on their inefficiencies. Outsiders readily identify the confirmation and personal bias and ask uncomfortable questions that linger long after the initial engagement.

The game of connect the unrelated dots is in daily use as individuals advance their causes.  Challenging the conclusions that were based on potentially biased data requires strong leaders and outsiders willing to ask uncomfortable questions.

E-Oasis conducts peer reviews to help organizations with technology projects, budget allocations of competing projects, acceleration of stalled projects, and termination of weak projects.  Contact us to learn more. Learn about our data center relocation services here.

 
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Longmont Power and Communications rates among the lowest in Colorado

Published on May 4, 2011 in DataCenters

Power rates are just one of the important considerations for a data center site selection. The Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities survey shows that LPC (Longmont Power and Communications) has some of the lowest rates in Colorado and also compares favorably nationally.

The average industrial rate was about 4.7 cents per kilowatt hour and the average large commercial rate was around 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 7.1 cents and 9.8 cents in the rest of the State. Average rates can be misleading, as pockets of rate differentials exist throughout North America. That’s why it’s critical that data center site selectors put their boots on the ground and investigate the geographies under consideration.

Is your company considering relocation to Colorado or elsewhere? Check out our data center moving resources including our free data center moving guide.

 
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Welcome Microsoft to Longmont

Microsoft recently announced the purchase of just over 8 acres in Longmont, Colorado. Speculation on their project plans include a modular data center or a  research lab. Until their plans are submitted to the city council, the exact build-out is really unknown.

Microsoft joins a robust technical community in Longmont and they are no strangers to Colorado with a presence in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and now Longmont.

Welcome Microsoft Corporation to Longmont!

Is your company considering relocation to Colorado or elsewhere? Check out our data center moving resources including our free data center moving guide.

 
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The Hard, Boring Work of 2011

While many seek to predict trends for this brand new year or look in the rear view mirror of the previous year, isn’t it time for something a bit less dramatic? How many of these tasks are going uncompleted in your organization?

  1. Have you migrated to a current and supported version of Exchange (that supports the mobility users want with their mobile devices)?
  2. When was the last time you audited both the backup and restore elements of your infrastructure?
  3. Are you taking full advantage of virtualization in your data center?
  4. Can you complete an eDiscovery request from your legal department in an organized manner?
  5. Did you kill any weak and resource-draining IT (Information Technology) projects?
  6. Do you have a Windows 7 strategy for replacing Microsoft XP?
  7. Have you looked at consolidating your data center and actually retiring unneeded applications and their servers?
  8. Did you fix any of those vulnerabilities your last security audit discovered?
  9. Have you refreshed your storage infrastructure with more efficient and higher capacity equipment?
  10. Is your disaster recovery and business continuity plan real or imagined?

The hard, boring work of 2011 might not be as exciting as moving to the cloud or filling your organization with iPads, but isn’t it essential for your business to get the basics working well?

Maybe not. After all, expending extraordinary effort for ordinary gain is how some advance their Information Technology careers.

Where is the sense of urgency?

A sense of urgency is often missing in these boring IT projects but a well-run shop is characterized by few surprises and stable, working (and documented) infrastructure. Not all leaders recognize this and get caught up in the latest trends pushed by the trade press as silver bullets of cost savings and hyper-coolness.

What will you prioritize as important for 2011?

Blaine Berger is the President of E-Oasis and a business and technology veteran with over 25 years of experience. You can contact Blaine via e-mail at blaine@e-oasis.com or connect with Blaine on LinkedIn.

 
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Carry the Message to Garcia

How often do you find yourself wishing you could find someone to Carry a Message to Garcia?

Finding people who understand the value of completing a mission without filing a flight plan, without endless questioning, without frivolous interruptions is a mission all by itself.

Initiative, according to Elbert Hubbard who wrote the famous essay had one definition:

Doing the Right Thing without being told.

Hubbard goes on:

But next to doing the thing without being told is to do it when you are told once. That is to say, carry the Message to Garcia: those who can carry a message get high honors, but their pay is not always in proportion.

Next, there are those who never do a thing until they are told twice; such get no honors and small pay.

Next, there are those who do the right thing onlywhen necessity kicks them from behind, and these get indifference instead of honors, and a pittance for pay. This kind spends most of its time polishing a bench with a hard-luck story.

Then, still lower down in the scale than this, we have fellow who will not do the right thing even when some one goes along to show him how and stays to see that he does it; he is always out of job, and receives the contempt he deserves, unless he happens to have a rich Pa, in which case Destiny patiently awaits around a corner with a stuffed club.

To which class do you belong?

I promise you that sometime in your life you will have wished you had printed Elbert Hubbard’s 1899 Essay so that you could hand it to someone and save them decades of excuses!

Find it here and save a copy to your computer for that eventuality:

http://www.nato.int/nrdc-it/about/message_to_garcia.pdf

 
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Extraordinary Effort for Ordinary Gain

It’s easy to be cynical if you are an end user who relies on an IT (Information Technology) support organization. How many unplanned outage notices have you wondering if anything is going to be working today?

Frustrated, you send that e-mail to the CEO to get some attention on something that should have been fixed a decade ago. Interestingly, this touches off a pattern of waste that is repeated daily in organizations everywhere. Allowing  pedestrian problems to ignite into full-blown all-hands-on-deck emergencies is completely avoidable.  Sadly, it’s more the norm than the exception.

Even worse, real emergencies often go unrecognized while extraordinary effort is expended for ordinary gain.

If this happens frequently in your organization, isn’t it time to look beyond the fire fighting?

  1. Do you have chronic issues that are never completely resolved?
  2. Do the same people make the same mistakes unable to turn a lesson learned into a lesson remembered?
  3. Are resources stretched so thin that a satisfactory root cause analysis is omitted in order to fight the next fire?
  4. Is Executive Management seemingly oblivious to the perils since they often benefit from extraordinary effort exercises?

Breaking your organization’s dependency on fire-fighting as a normal reaction is not a quick-fix proposition. Finding a way to measure and report the cost of extraordinary efforts and contrasting them against the underwhelming, ordinary results they produce is a good first step.

Getting someone to act on that data is the real trick.

 
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Critical Lessons in Economic Development

Uncertainty and fear are common emotions expressed by executives during my conservations with them about their business outlook. However, those charged with economic development are undaunted in their efforts to raise awareness about their regions. I interviewed a veteran of this process, John Cody, President and CEO of the Longmont Area Economic Council (LAEC).

John-Cody-Web

John has over 25 years of economic experience with a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, a Certified Economic Developer (CED), and prior experience in Louisiana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Q1.You work with Primary Employers and Longmont has seen some interesting industry clusters develop in the area. What is an industry cluster and how long do they take to develop? What are the main industry clusters and the emerging clusters now developing?

Industry Clusters are basically concentrations of companies in a geographic region within a specific industry classification.  The term was popularized by Michael Porter in his book “The Competitive Advantage of Nations”.  In a classic sense they represent an industry group that is integrated on both a vertical and horizontal basis.  However, outside the classic definition, “clusters” are used to define concentrations of employment that are multiples of the national average.

In that regard, Longmont has four identified clusters: Data Storage, Biotech, Software and Semiconductor Design.  Each of these “clusters” has a high concentration in the Longmont area.  We are also seeing the emergence of possible clusters in the aerospace and renewable energy industries.  In a larger sense, Advanced Technology, as a group of industries, represents more than half of the primary employment in Longmont.  This is many times the national average.

In recent years we have also seen the rise of data centers in Longmont, due to our low cost and availability of electricity and because we are located in a relatively “disaster free area”.  While data centers are not specific to a given industry, we are beginning to see a concentration of these facilities.  So far, American Honda, Xilinx, West Corporation and Ongoing operations are here in Longmont.

Q2.Are there any industry clusters Longmont currently hasn’t developed that would be a good fit for the area?

No, not really.  Business, like water, tends to seek its own level.  We look for a presence in the region as evidence that an industry likes this area and then we determine if that industry is poised to grow and how effectively we can compete for expansions and relocations.

Q3.Awareness is a problem for many regions. What kind of outreach are you doing outside of Colorado to highlight the business benefits of Longmont?

As a small community (87,000 population) we rely on two primary vehicles for getting our word out.  First, we work with our regional and state partners to promote this part of Colorado, recognizing we will compete best when this region is selected as a good location by a prospective company.  We participate in trade shows, site selection conferences, trade missions and national marketing efforts by these groups to get the word out about the Denver metro region.

We then begin the process of “coopitition” to try and attract a given prospect that is looking for a community like Longmont.  Second, we use our web page, which has become the standard for initial stages of the site selection process.

In addition to information (demographics, incentives, community profile, industry profile, etc.) we also maintain a comprehensive real estate database that is searchable online and which is maintained completely by our organization.  We are the only organization in Colorado to do this.

Q4.I’m often surprised by Longmont Primary Employers who are unaware of each other. What kind of events does the LAEC sponsor so these companies learn about each other?

We promote our companies in a variety of ways including:  two industry recognition events that have a 10 year history in Longmont, promotion on our web page and quarterly newsletter, promotion through our quarterly supplement in the Boulder County Business Report and news items that are included in our weekly updates to investors.

In addition, we periodically bring together companies that have common issues to facilitate discussion.  Topics have included government procurement, employment law, lean manufacturing, telecommunications, etc.

Q5.What have you found is the best-kept-secret of Longmont that businesses are surprised to learn when you engage with them?

With the advent of the Internet, secrets have become mostly a thing of the past.  What I do notice is that people seem surprised about the caliber of companies we have based on the size of our community.  Names like Seagate, Amgen, DigitalGlobe and Intrado locally and IBM, Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft in Boulder County are usually reserved for much larger populated areas.

Our competitive advantages include the quality of our workforce, the cost of doing business (especially for advanced technology companies), and a business friendly local government are usually uncovered before we talk with them.

Q6.What advice can you give Longmont Primary Employers who are interested in seeing their particular industry cluster develop or grow?

Obviously, no one is better at growing their companies than they are.  What we want companies to know is that when they are ready to grow, Longmont has the right talent, the right tools and the right business environment to contribute to their success.

Q7.Is there anything you’d like to add about LAEC, Longmont, or business development?

Just that the site selection process is complex because there are so many factors to be considered.  Our office has over 50 years of experience in working with companies to find a location and a process that meets their needs.  Not every community is a good fit for every company.

We can facilitate a company’s needs in finding the best location and in the time frame that matches their needs to be operational.  Longmont is a great community for the right company and we want them to know they have an ally in the Economic Council and the City of Longmont.

See these additional LAEC resources if you are considering the Longmont Area for a corporate relocation:

You can contact John Cody and Staff at the Longmont Area Economic Council via phone at 303-651-0128.

About the Author:

Blaine Berger is the President of E-Oasis, a business and technology veteran with over 25 years of experience. You can contact Blaine via e-mail at blaine@e-oasis.com or follow @eoasis on Twitter. You may also leave a comment here.

E-Oasis offers complete data center moving services for the  life-cycle of a data center or computer room move. We help you avoid Complexity Blindness in your data center move planning. Additionally, our workshop series addresses all aspects of data center moving.

About republication:  Contact blaine@e-oasis.com with your republication inquiry about this story.

About your Economic Development organization: Send your pitch and information about your organization to be considered for future stories on economic development to blaine@e-oasis.com .

 
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Welcome Serious Materials and Video Accessory Corporation to Longmont

Published on July 20, 2009 in General

Serious Materials, a manufacturer of energy efficient building materials, opened a 36,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and R&D facility in Longmont, Colorado. The Longmont facility is slated to produce super insulating windows and glass for commercial and residential markets. The nearby ConocoPhillip’s research center for alternative fuels was mentioned as one reason to choose Colorado for the facility.

Video Accessory Corporation (VAC), manufacturer of  video and audio distribution and switching products, moved their headquarters into almost 15,000 sq. feet in Longmont, Colorado.  VAC offers over 3,000 products used in audio/visual applications, military command and control systems, and security and survellience systems.

Welcome Serious Materials and Video Accessory Corporation to Longmont!

Is your company considering relocation? Check out our data center moving resources.

 
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