One of the most rewarding aspects of providing technology to many different types of businesses and organizations is what happens when you build those relationships beyond the professional level. One local client that we’re closely tied to is the YWCA Columbus. In providing IT support for them over the years, we have heard countless stories about the displaced families who go there and get help - not only food and shelter but with getting back on their feet. We couldn’t help but look for ways to get involved beyond the extent of our professional services.
The YWCA is an organization that does so much for so many people. Knowing this has touched me over the last few months as I have further developed my partnership with them. thinkCSC contributes as a sponsor of the YWCA’s various annual events, including Women of Achievement, their Annual Meeting and their Women to Women event. It has been an eye-opening experience to give back to one of our clients in this way.
Jay, one of our younger engineers, works closely with the YWCA. Jay was so impressed with the YWCA’s commitment to the underserved of our community that he went to the grocery store, filled his cart with home goods and groceries, and dropped them off at the YWCA. Most people at that age are thinking only of themselves, but he spent time at the Y and was touched by what he witnessed and experienced. That resonates with me, because it speaks to our culture here at thinkCSC. When our guys take off their work hats and see how they can make a difference elsewhere with a client, it makes me proud to be working with them.
We have come to believe in what the YWCA does. Our sponsorship and individual contributions led us to find out more about them than we ever thought we would. As a business owner, it is very powerful when our clients’ mission circles back and motivates us to do more. On a professional level, our technology services help them run efficiently, so they can focus more resources on the women and families they serve, but it is the impact they’ve had on us as individuals that inspires me.
Downtime can equate to death for business owners whose customers rely on them to be available and accessible. Those same business owners spend a considerable amount of money on hardware to protect their businesses. Redundant backups and server upgrades are designed to offer some protection. But what do you do when the server or system goes down? Backups are not going to keep you running.
thinkCSC recommends that every company develop an emergency preparedness plan. Preparing for disaster means reducing or eliminating downtime to ensure that you are able to provide uninterrupted service to your clients. During a disaster, significant repairing and reconfiguring may be required. That's going to turn into lost money and lost opportunities, unless you have a hardware-independent restore option.
Most company executives operate under the assumption that their backups will protect them, and they don’t discover the risk until the first time they’ve experienced a significant outage and their customers are left stranded. Because of the time it takes to access and re-install your files on the new or repaired hardware, the only way to ensure continuous service to your customers is by having a hardware-independent restore.
thinkCSC can help you take the hassle out of recovery, so you can get back to doing business.
We offer a suite of tools dedicated to disaster recovery that goes above and beyond simple backups. StorageCraft is a set of technology tools that builds a chain of backups that can be consolidated and replicated to an off-site destination. When disaster strikes, this solution ensures that there is a back-up chain that you can work from virtually while you start repairing the failed equipment, without shutting down the virtual machine that's operating as your temporary server. The virtual machine can be housed locally or in the cloud. You can continue operating as normal during the repair period; once the problem is fixed, simply shut down your virtual machines, and boot the last incremental back-up chain to the new environment.
The advantages of thinkCSC’s StorageCraft solution include:
- Drastically reduced downtime
- Better business availability during emergencies
- Cost effective and scalable solution
- Need-based pricing
- Enterprise class recovery for every business
When you're not being tied to one piece of hardware or one piece of virtual infrastructure, you can be responsive and flexible during any kind of disaster, meeting the needs of your clients without delay. While your competition is struggling to bring their computers online, thinkCSC can help you develop a plan that ensures a seamless recovery.
Are you still not convinced that you should convert your traditional PBX (multi-line) phone system to a Voice over Internet Protocol system (VoIP)? If your company employs a virtual structure, there are many reasons to make the switch. VoIP easily solves those pesky challenges that often plague virtual businesses.Connecting Employees Anywhere
Do you have employees who work exclusively from home or in offices scattered across the country? With nationwide distribution, no matter where your offices are or where your employees work, VoIP can connect you. If you currently use PBX, you know that you have to use 800-number dialing hubs for each company location or employee work center. VoIP eliminates the need for that dialing hub.
Phones on the VoIP system are pre-programmed with a server address, and they use the Internet to place calls. No more dialing hubs or phone lines; VoIP just needs a working Internet connection. You can also get creative with VoIP and customize your system. A follow-me service can be extremely useful for those employees that work in multiple offices or travel frequently. VoIP can be programmed so that calls literally follow you where you go. For example, calls to your office phone can ring for one second, and the call is not answered, VoIP will redirect the call and ring your mobile phone.
Along with managing multiple offices, employees of virtual businesses are often tasked with managing multiple mail boxes. VoIP allows you to contain all voicemails in a central location. No more checking multiple assigned voicemails on multiple phones or numbers. Again, because VoIP can be programmed specifically for you, your voicemail will go wherever you need it: your email, your home or work office, or your mobile phone.
Who’s Calling Me?
With PBX, you know the frustration of receiving an internal work call and not knowing who it is, because one central number is displayed. The nature of the PBX native-line format can often disrupt Caller-ID functionality, omitting extension or internal caller information on the display. VoIP preserves that caller information, and it can be as detailed as you need it to be. Because you can program VoIP to your own specifications, you can decide the call display and extension information that makes sense to you.
There is one wrinkle in both the PBX and VoIP system Caller-ID set-up: the lack of ability to relay appropriate information to 911. For example, if you have an employee working at home and his Caller-ID information is set-up to display the head office number, calls into 911 from that home office will direct emergency responders to the head office instead of the employee’s home. However, because of the ability to customize VoIP, it is possible to assign a unique number to each virtual office. Another option would be programming your Caller-ID information to display corporate information for outgoing business calls, but local information for calls to 911.
With VoIP, you can let your imagination run wild and customize the office communication system you’ve always dreamed of. If you’ve been thinking about converting to VoIP, the question isn’t “what can it do for my virtual office?” The question is “what can’t VoIP do?”
Call thinkCSC's sales team today to schedule your free VoIP assessment!
I recently attended a Columbus EO event featuring one of central Ohio’s most distinguished business & community leaders, Les Wexner.
Wexner shared many stories that helped shape both his personal & professional life. He also discussed his love of reading, and in particular, he singled out biographies. He stated that biographies help him gain insight as to how other leaders think and act. In turn, these lessons help Wexner as he continues to grow his businesses and effectively lead his community.
Wexner went on to say that every leader goes through crucible moments. It is because of these extraordinary circumstances that we are able to glean valuable lessons about leadership from others, as well as ourselves. Mr. Wexner explained that the best leaders have a lot to teach us, based on both their successes and their failures.
Les Wexner is known here in Ohio and beyond for his exemplary leadership qualities and level of perseverance. During his talk that evening, he told us about a time, after much success in business, when he looked into a mirror and asked himself a direct question: “Am I somebody that I would want to meet?” His question really made me think. Why would I want to meet myself? What character traits do I have that would make me want to get to know me better?
Can you pinpoint the precise instance a character trait became a trademark of who you are? Sometimes we have a crucible moment that shapes our character. Mr. Wexner’s story was one of learning about honesty from his father. Hearing his story reminded me of an event from my younger days which I hadn’t thought about in a long time. One of my crucible moments, much like Mr. Wexner’s, helped shaped my future leadership tenets and beliefs.
I was 12 years old when I and several friends shoplifted from the local convenience store. As fate would have it, I ended up getting caught by the shopkeeper, who in turn called the police. The shopkeeper called my parents, too, and my mom was the one who took the call. He and my mother were very good friends, but he didn't realize who I was. When he understood the situation better, the manager felt terrible that he called the police. Right when it looked like I might not have to deal with the long arm of the law, my mom encouraged him to stay the course and let the police come because, as she put it, “My son needs to learn a lesson.” This important lesson about honesty, albeit a painful and frightening experience, has stayed with me to this day. I credit my parents, the shopkeeper and the police officer for instilling this trait in me.
What about you? What crucible moment(s) have shaped you up to this point? Are you someone you would like to meet? If not, you may be motivated by this sage advice from George Eliot: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
Due to the overwhelming success of Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad, more and more consumers are faced with this dilemma – whether to continue using a PC or to make the switch to Mac. In recent years, it seems that Apple has marketed Macs with this in mind. If they can hook you with one of their popular, ancillary products, you might think it appropriate, as Apple’s website suggests, to “make the ultimate upgrade” and buy a Mac.
Of course, if you have your own business, or if you are in the process of starting one, the stakes are much higher because the choice you make will determine both your everyday productivity and the ongoing support services you will need to make it work. It is easy to get swept up by clever marketing or even that colleague of yours who insists that Mac is the only option. However, making an informed decision is always best. Included here are several things you will want to consider before choosing Mac for yourself and/or your employees.
First, you should reflect on whether the end will justify the means. The hard truth is, if you are in an office environment and have a Windows Server and Windows-based apps, switching to Mac may entail more than you are really prepared for. For instance, you may find that your current business software is not compatible with Mac and has to be replaced. To sidestep this problem, a lot of Mac users decide to run virtualization on their computers, allowing them to choose which OS, Mac or Windows, they want to use at any given time. Yet, virtualization itself can lead to additional support costs and security issues. The moment you put Windows on your computer, your Windows environment can get infected just as easily as if you had a PC.
So when is it smart to choose Mac for a business environment? Generally speaking, if your business is small, web-based and your primary needs involve web, email, productivity, and file access, there is no reason why Mac would not be more than suitable. Apple’s hardware is infused with user confidence, and for good reason. You will definitely have fewer security and configuration problems. If price is a concern, you might consider the MacBook Air, which cannot be matched in the PC world for all that it offers. Unfortunately, the larger your business, the more complex a transition to Mac could become, requiring much more in the way of support services.
All that said, the decision to use Macs or PCs for your business needs may not be as straightforward as you’d like. Based on our broad history with the Mac platform, thinkCSC can help you determine which route is best for you.
As a public administrator today, finding cost-effective answers for your agency’s information technology questions can often be your greatest challenge. After all, there is a lot to consider when dealing with IT: staffing, networking hardware and software, building infrastructure, centralized data backup and disaster-recovery planning.
With an increasing number of public employees using their personal laptops, portable devices and other mobile applications to perform at least some of their duties, it makes good fiscal sense for government offices to deploy some form of safe wireless technology for wider use. This goal is not without its obstacles, though. Your agency may not have the necessary back-end hardware to support some of the newer wireless technology, your data may be stored in several locations, or you may be required to have specific hardware controlling numerous access points.
Fortunately, several of the current cloud-based wireless applications address these scenarios. For instance, with just a couple of mouse clicks on the “dashboard” of one of these Web-based management interfaces, you can control all of your access points. Simply enter the appropriate data into your network during the initial setup process, and you are ready to begin. Your agency needs no physical controller, and the system is easy to deploy and change whenever necessary.
If your IT challenges need staffing solutions, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to provide technical support for your employees or to assist in the integration of local or regional IT operations, even on a small scale. Plus, there is another distinct benefit for government agencies when it comes to outsourcing IT support. Your agency becomes privy to a large, collective amount of experience that has dealt with hundreds of different customers. If an IT issue arises in your office and no one single person on your staff can address it, chances are there is someone on your outsourcing team who has knowledge of current technology trends on a much broader scale.
Still, perhaps your most vital responsibility within your own government agency, aside from providing a valuable service to the public, is the protection and security of your information database. The importance cannot be overstated of having a disaster-recovery plan in effect and the necessary hardware in place for a quick IT recovery. As an example, before your software crashes or your physical hardware goes down, you should have a local hardware server that can remotely have your system up and running within 10 or 15 minutes, so no one even knows there has been a failure. Instead of being offline for several days, you have a temporary solution in place while your main hardware is being permanently restored.
Whether your agency is considering outsourcing IT tasks or deploying in-house solutions, the key point to remember is planning ahead. Because you rely on public monies to operate, having funding in place to advance your IT program will be your foremost hurdle. However, keep in mind that while much attention will be focused on your proposed upfront investment, your bottom line may be more attractive in the long run because of more efficient IT infrastructure — and fewer problems.
Well, we did it. We’re in our new facility. thinkCSC has moved from an office renter to a property owner and it’s really very exciting! It’ll take a few weeks of unpacking, hanging pictures, arranging furniture and all of those other fun tasks that come with a move, but we're definitely settling in.
Our new facility fits our needs and gives us room to grow. Our 12,000 square foot building offers us much more space than our old offices had. 7420 Worthington Galena, Worthington OH 43085, our new address, is just a couple of miles north of our old location. We're literally neighbors with Emerson Power, Mettler Toledo and Worthington Industries. In fact, Emerson’s global headquarters are right in our back yard, which leads to wonderful possibilities for greatly expanded data and power capability for our hosted services clients.
I’m especially proud of the design of our physical plant. We’ve built out two-thirds of the building and have plenty of space for everybody. We put a lot of glass in the main area of the building where our Sales Team, NSG (Network Services Group), and WSG (Warranty Services Group) work.
Our three teams literally have glass between them, which opens up their work space and encourages collaboration. Our NOC (Network Operations Center) has three 47” monitors, so the entire company can view our client dashboards, including tech support phone calls in our queue and schedule openings in each of our engineers’ calendars.
At the same time, our thinkCSC Managed Services Program (MSP) is reporting back client IT alerts that allow us to proactively monitor and remediate from our NOC. We’ve built cohesion into our three teams because each of them knows what the others are doing. The area is so spacious, accommodating, and convenient that it’s easy and exciting for the teams to collaborate.
Because we want our employees to really love coming to work, we’ve also tried to make it a great place to relax as well. To that end, we added a billiards room next to our break room & an audio system for fun tunes. It's cool that we have this area where the team can go after work and shoot pool and let off some steam.
So, we have a bit of unpacking yet to do, but sometime in March, we'll invite everyone in for a look at the new digs.
This time of year provides us all with an opportunity to be grateful for the people and experiences that make our lives worthwhile. I am proud to work with such a fine team and humbled by the opportunity I have had this year to connect with extraordinary people in our community.
I had the chance to spend time at a leadership retreat, where I realized the enormously positive impact each business can have on our community. I am committed to finding new and innovative ways to make a difference in Columbus, to developing the leadership potential of our youth by volunteering time in schools and to supporting growth and development in the Columbus community. I hope you will join me in choosing to make a positive difference - not just at Christmas, but throughout the coming year.
From our thinkCSC family to yours – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As we move more and more into a cloud-based environment and online learning becomes the norm, many schools are switching from land-based to wireless networking. And, with extensive budget cuts to education, many schools are turning to a bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) methodology, where students are required to bring their own equipment to school.
There is simply not enough space to provide a computer lab for every student. With a new law that requires mandated online testing, schools are trying to convert to wireless and BYOT as an easy way to provide localized data management for the entire student population.
The problem for many schools is that their infrastructure is outdated. Often, servers and other electronic hardware must be replaced before even attempting the installation of a wireless system and implementing BYOT. From thinkCSC’s perspective, the key to wireless in schools is planning.
There is still a year or two before the mandated online testing takes effect, so it's imperative that schools not wait until the last minute to make the necessary changes. Until we get a team in the school to examine the infrastructure and take readings, we don't know if there are any wiring needs, which can add time and expense.
The physical structure of the building and what it is made out of, such as drywall or brick, can have a tremendous effect on wireless capabilities. We set up an access point and take measurements on its strength to determine an appropriate setup.
Once we know what the school needs to accomplish their wireless goals, the school can secure finding and find a time during which we can install the access points. Some schools may have a technology budget, but many schools have to obtain grants or pass special budget addendum. Most schools also try to avoid disruptions during classes, and try to schedule the installations for vacations. While these systems can be built in as little as three days, we have to know exactly what we are dealing with before we can give them an accurate estimate.
Luckily, we have partnered with an easily deployed cloud-based system called Meraki. Unlike most interfaces that require a physical piece of hardware in the school controlling the wireless access points, Meraki lets schools use the company's website to control the access points with only a few clicks of the mouse. It's easy to install, set-up, and change.
Some people worry about security with a wireless system, but the system can be as open or locked down as the school needs. A lot of these schools want wireless access for events or other functions so parents and guests can have access to their system. As far as security is concerned, there really are no major issues as long as it’s professionally installed.
Many schools wait until it's almost too late and end up rushing to get it done. With the mandate still more than a year away, there is still plenty of time for us to review the school’s infrastructure and draft a proposal so that the school can find funding and install the system before the deadline for the mandated testing arrives.
For the most part Macs run well, but like any technology, eventually they will fail. When that time comes, the odds are you will not be able to fix it yourself. You are going to need some professional help in order to get your system back in working order.
To complicate matters, you can’t just hire any technician. You need to deal with someone who knows how to work with Macs - and a PC technician just won’t cut it. Macs have a unique system architecture that require specialized knowledge. Even the best Windows tech could end up doing more harm that good if they issue the wrong commands through Terminal, which provides the technician nearly unlimited access to the core of the system.
So, how do you pick a good Mac service provider? There are four basic credentials you should look for that will help you to decide which service provider is the one that can meet your needs.
When it comes to getting your systems repaired, experience matters. You need a service provide who is familiar with the system but every company’s marketing department is going to tell you that they are the best company to meet your needs. Only by talking to their customers and finding out how they have handled problems in the past can you ensure that the service is responsive, friendly and able to meet your needs. Never use a service that cannot provide you with references.
Remember, this is IT. Technology changes quickly. You’re not looking for a company with 50 years of experience. In fact, IT companies that last longer than five years are doing really well. One good example is CSC, which has been in business since 1992. Not a lengthy history when you compare it to a brand like Kellogg’s, but it is an impressive span for an IT services provider.
2. Apple Certifications
When you are choosing a company you need to be sure that the providers who will be working on your systems with have the appropriate Apple certifications. These credentials, issued by Apple, show that the people who will be servicing your systems have demonstrated the knowledge and the skills needed to work with your systems to the satisfaction of the Mac makers themselves.
3. Apple Authorized Repair Center
Apple Authorized Repair Centers come with a guarantee that the service will be done right. Even more important, using an Apple Authorized Repair Center is a guarantee that the service will not void your warranty.
4. Managed Services
A number of problems with your system can be avoided simply by making sure that your system gets the monitoring that it needs on a daily basis, and the maintenance that it needs on a monthly basis. A company that provides its customers managed services simplifies that process and helps to prevent problems before they happen. This kind of service gives you what you don’t know you need but can’t live without.
There’s a challenge before Columbus area business leaders today. How can you demonstrate true commitment to the betterment of the business community without reaching down to help young people climb up?
This was one of the broader themes that came out of the Columbus Partnership retreat I attended at Harvard University a few months back. I was there with about 30 other chief executives and founders from Columbus to meet with public officials, distinguished fellows and professors, and to exchange ideas and talk about business development.
Although we touched on many innovative and stimulating subjects, one idea resonated throughout the gathering: strengthen our schools to strengthen our businesses.
I reflected on what that meant for Columbus and the greater Central Ohio business community. I see two major opportunities for us. Columbus should join the growing number of major cities that place responsibility for the school systems under the purview of the mayor.
But, beyond creating a formal pipeline to introduce young professionals into the Columbus economy, I think another challenge is getting involved personally. How much time have any of us given back, so that Columbus-area students benefit from the wealth of knowledge we have in the business community?
So here’s how I see it. Our police department, fire, and most city services ultimately fall under the auspices of the mayor. Why not education? The schooling of our young people makes a difference in the quality of leadership we will have in the public and private sector. So instead of having an elected board, we should have in the mayor, a single point of authority — and accountability — for the success or failure of our schools.
Mayors are a lot like chief executives. They have to have strong managerial skills. They have to know how to efficiently coordinate limited resources. They have the most power in terms of summoning more attention and resources where needed. Like they respond to the needs of all citizens, mayors can and should be called upon to respond to the needs of students and us, the employers who want to invest in our future workforce.
We’d be joining about a dozen other major cities around the nation, including New York, Boston, and Chicago which now, well into their new structure, are seeing improved test scores, fewer teacher strikes and superintendents who stick around longer without the political in-fighting typical of elected boards. Moreover, struggling schools no longer have to clamor for services and fight for funding when it’s the mayor’s responsibility to meet those needs.
Business community leaders must work with government leaders as part of this process. We must define the kind of skills and assets we need our students to have to compete in our increasingly competitive and global marketplace.
If this sounds a bit highbrow, that’s because it is. I’m not unaware of the great amount of effort and political will that must be channeled into making this vision a reality.
In the meantime, I’m challenging myself and I’m challenging you to join me in giving more of yourself to Columbus youth. A role model from the business community may be the only positive image some see, and it could spark their desire to achieve more.
I’m inspired by members of the Columbus Partnership, who, for example visit schools and read to elementary school students once each month. I think meeting with high school juniors and seniors, who are contemplating college, can be beneficial as well. The gift of time and experience is what business owners have to give. Let’s walk the walk and talk the talk. Do more than pay lip service to these issues.
I’m starting by looking for opportunities to invest and pour into Columbus students. And next, I want to lay down the gauntlet by carving out time for my employees to do the same. The challenge is before you. Are you in?
We’ve talked about Cloud computing before, but technology is an industry that moves quickly, and Cloud – or Sky – computing, is something everyone from individual computer users to CEOs and IT managers need to start considering as a mainstream component to the way you store data and provide solutions for clients.
In cloud computing, data and software are stored on servers, and devices like smartphones and computers access them through the Internet. The move toward cloud computing allows for music and video streaming, photo storage and sharing, and document retention. From a business standpoint, it can also mean improvements in efficiency and the ability to better collaborate on projects across the miles. As more people use gadgets with limited data storage, cloud computing may become an everyday convenience.
When Apple unveiled their version of cloud services to compete in a fast-growing market led by Amazon, Steve Jobs announced, "We're going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud. Everything happens automatically and there's nothing new to learn. It just all works." Wall Street analysts say with Apple's iCloud service, the foundation has been laid cloud computing to effectively transform the way we store, access, share, and manage data.
Many users are already using cloud services without knowing it. Turbo Tax, with its internet-based tax preparation, Google Picassa and Yahoo Flickr are all well-known examples of the Cloud at work. Even Facebook is a cloud-based interaction application. To most users, it’s just a popular web site, but they have an element of cloud computing to them: All the games – Farmville, Wheel of Fortune, Gardens of Time – are internet based with nothing stored locally on a computer.
Concerns for security and privacy are valid. Apple, Google and Amazon offer plenty of security promises about their cloud services, but promises don't stop people from worrying about lost documents or privacy breaches. On the other side, PC and laptops are vulnerable to theft, loss or unrecoverable data damage. One of the advantages of cloud computing from a user standpoint is that if your system is compromised, you can log in from anywhere and recover all of your information.
The cloud has some pitfalls and bugs to address, and as technology increases, the concept becomes more appealing to business owners who can see the advantages of information being accessible to team members wherever they happen to be in the world. When handled correctly, the transition is less challenging. Netflix (the lack of popularity of their new pricing structure not withstanding) is a great example of a company that rebuilt its applications from scratch and smartly designed a successful cloud platform. Security issues need to be addressed with a more holistic approach. Traditional security techniques and aggressive monitoring by IT departments effectively apply to the cloud as well as existing hosted products.
CSC believes that the future lies in the Cloud. We understand security, privacy and the benefits of web-based data storage, and offer solutions that can help you and your clients achieve your data protection and storage goals. The advantages of CSC managing our own cloud provide our clients with a local option and better service – with the same engineers that know your network — as well as fewer security concerns. We are ready to assist you to move forward – and upward. Meet you in the Cloud!
Colonel Eric Kail wrote an excellent article about leadership character in The Washington Post. He says, “Selflessness is all about strength, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Weakness, on the other hand, takes the path of least resistance; and as humans, that means being selfish — wanting all the credit and none of the blame. Real strength is measured by what we enable our followers to accomplish through our service to them.”
To be an effective business leader, one must come from the perspective of helping others play to their strengths. The Columbus Partnership enables us to be such leaders. Three strong pillars support the organization: the Columbus Chamber, TechColumbus and Columbus2020. Each pillar is vital to the health of the Columbus business climate.
The Columbus Chamber looks at the business climate in the Central Ohio region holistically and develops programs to encourage companies to stay in the metro. The Columbus Chamber works well with all the other chambers in the surrounding counties in a cooperative effort to retain businesses. They offer professional development events such as speakers and opportunities for members to learn and grow through networking, trade shows, and other opportunities.
TechColumbus encourages small businesses by arranging funds, or putting them in touch with the opportunity to get investment funds. They are always looking for fresh ideas for professional development. TechColumbus partners qualified people with young entrepreneurs to review business plans and goals. They also have many roundtable discussions with business leaders in town. A unique value proposition and a business plan that has sexy elements to it appeals to the leaders associated with TechColumbus.
Columbus2020! is the newest initiative in the Columbus Partnership. Columbus2020!’s focus is to attract business to Columbus from throughout the country and the world. Their staffers travel extensively talking about how great Columbus is as a business location. Over 200 companies are considering relocating here since Columbus2020! started. They do a great job of getting the news out and telling our story. CSC is proud to be an investor with Columbus2020! They have about 160 investors in Columbus2020! ranging from small investors to big companies that cut checks for $100,000.00. Community involvement through Columbus2020! is a win-win all the way around.
Our goal at CSC, partly working through The Columbus Partnership, is to serve our fellow business owners. If I am giving my people all the access, tools & encouragement that they need to succeed, I am being an effective leader. We are excited about the current and future possibilities in Columbus. We invite you to join us!
Do you remember how it used to work, way back in the 90s, when you wanted to hire someone with a specific skill set for your company? Before social media venues like LinkedIn changed the employment landscape forever, companies used to have to place ads in these archaic forms of communication called newspapers.
These newspapers only reached a specific audience: local readers who were actively seeking employment. It severely limited a company’s options. Of course, technological advancement brought things like Monster and CareerBuilder, and other online job search engines, so you could reach a larger labor pool, but companies then had the cost of bringing people in for interviews and paying for relocation expenses in order to be competitive.
As with everything in the tech industry, things change fast, and the last few years have brought a number of improvements to the way people work and live. Job seekers don’t use classified ads; in fact, they rarely use job sites anymore. Job seekers network, are comfortable conducting business over the Internet, and don’t need a tour of the corporate office to know whether or not you’re a good employer. It can be easier to find skilled employees who meet your criteria. For businesses, particularly in the tech industry, the biggest advantage of the changing nature of work is that instead of having to draw from the local labor pool, you can now draw from anywhere in the country they can find the talent – without having to pay relocation costs.
What does offering a flexible work environment mean for your business?
With the right tools and security in place, such as hosted exchange servers, cloud data storage, and encrypted security protects your information,data, and intellectual property, you can change the nature of your workforce, reduce overhead costs, and improve efficiency. Not only do you have more options for hiring, but your employees don’t have to give up their lives and homes to work for you. Remote work environments give you the advantage of having happier, more productive employees who are more likely to remain loyal. It can also free you to hire contractors on an as-needed basis and avoid the costs of paying for salaries and benefits when work volume shifts.
Whether your employees work from home or are out meeting with clients and away from the office, working remotely adds efficiency and immediacy to your ability to service your clients. Your employees simply need access to the Internet to be able to collaborate on projects, access needed information, and complete work. In the long-term, it’s possible that the typical corporate office will disappear and be replaced by virtual companies with employees who connect from all over the world.
Will you be ready?
Recently I was invited to attend a Columbus Partnership leadership retreat at Harvard. My experience was eye opening and encouraging! The Columbus Partnership is a civic organization of community leaders whose goal is to improve the economic vitality of Central Ohio. Although The Partnership has many guiding principles & initiatives, their current focus is with economic development in Central Ohio-which is being executed. through the Columbus 2020! Plan.
I had an amazing surprise right off the bat - I was invited to fly on Les Wexner’s private jet with Partnership members. I definitely count this as a top five business experience! We flew to Cambridge and met for two days with Harvard Fellows and Professors who talked about business development, leadership and many other important topics. The conference provided a great opportunity for me to grow professionally and personally.
My initial take away from the leadership retreat is the humility of this group of leaders. The prevailing attitude was, “We’re here to learn because we believe that leadership is a journey and not a destination.” Their concise focus and mission is to develop Columbus & Central Ohio into the greatest community in the US to both work and live.
The Partnership retreat started with a roundtable discussion about the generations from Baby Boomers to Generation X and Generation Y and the differences on how people think based on their generations. We dovetailed into how each generation works and what they expect from the companies where they work. I found it fascinating: We are all the same and yet we are not-based on the generational timeframethat each of us was raised. Generational leadership is blossoming in Columbus, and to have this conversation with Harvard Fellows about what makes each of us tick is applicable to Columbus and our workforce.
Three successful city leaders led another discussion on where government and business work well together and where they don’t. The Partnership can take this information and knowledge and apply it to Columbus. When city government and business community leaders work together, long-term goals can be realized more effectively.
The Partnership believes – and I agree – that community involvement is good business. The biggest gift you can give and the biggest difference you can make is your time. Whether it’s reading to a second grade class or meeting with juniors and seniors who are contemplating college, the time and experience you share with students is invaluable.
I learned much at this leadership retreat-the value of trans-generational communication, the importance of humility & the positive impact and outcomes of community involvement.
CSC is already drawing up a plan to participate in Columbus education programs and expects to become more proactive and impactful in the daily business objectives of Columbus - I hope that you do too!