Help us help you: How enterprise IT teams can improve supply chain efficiency

When it comes to selecting a solutions provider, organizations today are prioritizing long-term support over cost. More than a one-and-done solution, they want a strategic partner that can help them tackle their current IT demands and work with them to identify needs they might not know they have, or that might not exist yet.

For a solutions provider, too, these are the best kind of customer relationships—true partnerships with organizations that take an active role in improving their IT environment, and that not only to ask, “what else can you do be doing for us?” but also, “what can we be doing for you?”

There are many ways that enterprise IT teams can work with solutions providers to take their partnership—and thus the efficiency of their supply chain —to the next level. As Jerry Maguire might say, it’s all about finding the best ways to “Help us, help you!

Here are three of the best ways to do that.

1. Maintain an effective IT asset management solution. In terms of hardware, traditional volume licensing software, and cloud-based solutions, nothing can be done efficiently without understanding the relationship between what your contracts entitle you to deploy vs. what is actually deployed in your environment.

As an organization gets bigger, it’s harder to maintain that understanding, meaning more money can be wasted through redundant purchases—or worse—audit remediation. Understanding the products deployed, quantities, and entitlements granted by ongoing maintenance is a great start. From there, efficient forward progress is possible.

2. Understand which other internal groups will need to weigh in on big projects. IT must constantly evaluate new technologies, which requires time, bandwidth, and expertise. However, once a solution is found, other parts of the organization—like procurement, corporate governance, information security, and others—might also need to sign off on a solution.

Whether it’s leveraging an existing licensing agreement or remaining compliant with internal company standards and policies, there is great value and efficiency in inclusion. A longtime and trusted solutions partner sometimes adds value by introducing like-minded groups to one another— often within the same enterprise. Knowing all ducks must be in a row, it’s actually in the solutions provider’s best interests to do so well in advance, with the help of the IT team.

3. Understand all the capabilities a solutions provider can offer. Anyone who’s watched a Microsoft Excel wizard turn messy columns of data into a glorious pivot table has had the same thought: “I never knew Excel could do that!”

Just like how most of us only use 20 percent of an application’s capabilities, many longtime solutions providers have capabilities you may not be fully leveraging. When was the last time you asked what your solutions provider could do? It’s possible that your “Microsoft guy” also has the ability to become your “AWS guy,” and you didn’t even know it.

By keeping regularly scheduled business reviews and periodically asking questions like “What services or best practices are you providing to other customers like us?” you can up your chances of identifying untapped talent and resources that already exist in a trusted and approved solutions partner. Keep those QBRs on your calendar, share your pain points, and challenge your partners to identify ways to do more for you. Their answers and capabilities will almost certainly surprise you.

Help us help you

Service providers will do what they can to make your IT experience more efficient, but sometimes a little help from the other side can push that efficiency to another level. Don’t be afraid to ask how to make the process more efficient. Odds are, the answer won’t be that difficult—simply keep your IT data organized and your channels of communication open. The bigger the business, the more important it is to help us help you by optimizing the partnership with your service provider.

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How SHI helped coordinate telephony upgrades for 500 branches

Sometimes, you’re just due for an upgrade. That sounds like a routine process, but when you’re a huge supply company spanning the country, things can get extremely complicated.

In one particular case, a customer wanted to update its telephony infrastructure—about 500 branches of work over a relatively short period of time. Having been a customer of SHI for over a decade, the company came to us for help. Even with our extensive knowledge of the client and their equipment, it was true that this was going to be a challenge.

Despite these doubts, the initial complications of pilot testing and rollout, and the overall complexity of the project, SHI managed to find the perfect set of resources and people to get the project done right. Here’s how we did it. Continue Reading…

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The importance of green data centers on Earth Day – and every day

Last year, data center providers signed contracts for over 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy, proving that energy efficiency in IT isn’t just an Earth Day promise—it’s an everyday action!

By using renewable power sources and minimizing your environmental footprint, you can save money and the environment. Virtualizing 100 servers, for example, can have a benefit equivalent to planting 89 trees. Continue Reading…

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2 things you need to know when switching to Office 365

Switching from Office on premises to Office 365 (O365) seems like a natural step—it’s the future of Microsoft, comes with tons of great benefits, and it allows you to work from a user-based system, rather than a device-based system. In most cases, you get more overall value out of the program.

However, switching from a device-based program to a user-based program, and from an ownership model to a subscription one, doesn’t always go smoothly. Processes like installation, true up, and licensing often look similar to what you’re used to, but need to be handled differently with O365.

To help you escape these mistakes—or recognize that you might be making them—here are two of the most common differences users face when switching to O365. Continue Reading…

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SHI wins NASPO ValuePoint—Cloud Services master agreement, expands options for public sector

SHI is committed to bringing public sector organizations the best technology and services available. Now we’re able to offer even more.

SHI has been awarded a NASPO ValuePoint—Cloud Solutions master agreement, which allows state and local governments and other public sector organizations to skip the bid process and streamline cloud deployment and support through SHI. Those in the public sector can now breathe a little easier knowing that cloud solutions are more readily at hand. Continue Reading…

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4 times you’ll be glad you have Cisco SMARTnet

Many IT departments think of warranties and extra support as costly add-ons, a waste of money preparing for disasters that probably won’t happen.

Every once in a while, that might be the case. For the vast majority however, these programs are a smart insurance policy for the day when hardware or software issues crash your system—sometimes permanently. That kind of disruption can have a huge impact on your bottom line, waste tons of time, and leave customers confused or headed to your competitors. Even a single incident can make a warranty or support team worth every penny. Continue Reading…

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Simplifying the shopping experience with custom catalogs from SHI

While search functions are great for pointing users in the right direction, sometimes they don’t get it quite right. They can mix up terms, suggest items that don’t even meet your business requirements, or send you searching through tens of pages if your search terms are too broad. Refining search functions—through catalogs, preferences, and filters—can make the shopping experience far more efficient and stress-free.

To these ends, SHI has made some big updates to our website.

Using our knowledge about our customers, indexing, and an improved algorithm, we’ve streamlined our search and purchase functions through the creation of custom catalogs and featured products. These catalogs help minimize the potential for rogue purchases and speed up the overall shopping process by leveraging product lines and devices that align with your unique business needs and standards.

These catalogs can be accessed two ways: through the creation of custom folders that appear on the user sidebar, or through search bar functions that help to prioritize and sort through your catalog.

Find out more about how to create and navigate custom catalogs below:

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Why you shouldn’t shy away from Windows 10

Windows 10 is designed to be the operating system to end all other Windows operating systems. It’s the present and future, the pinnacle of Windows, and can adapt to any device you throw at it. So why are so many businesses hesitant to adopt it?

The short answer? Because it’s different. Windows 10 has more in common with operating systems for phones and tablets—and Apple products—than previous iterations of Windows. But different doesn’t mean bad, and Windows 10 fits the modern work environment better than any previous iteration.

If you’re still sitting on the fence, hesitant to bring Windows 10 into your environment, here’s why you should stop resisting and take the leap. Continue Reading…

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