Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Reducing Payroll Costs Closer to Home

April 25, 2009

I have been slowly following a series of cost reductions that seem to touch a lot of people I know (yes myself included). We have all heard the stories on the news about automotive workers, home builders, and financial industry types losing jobs and not having anywhere to go. These seem so distant though (despite my brother-in-law being laid off from GM and my sister-in-law, his wife, being laid off from Expedia). Yeah there are some home builders here putting people out of work, there was WaMu, there is Russell. We don’t have much in the way of auto workers around here though. We’ve got a fair amount of airplane and boat makers instead that seem to be less impacted. We clearly aren’t as bad off as other areas hit harder by the declines in these sectors.  Michigan has the highest unemployment rate at 12.6%, which is drastically different than Seattle’s unemployment rate of 8.7% (ranking it 191st on the list of major metropolitan areas). So what are the entities around here doing to reduce their costs if they aren’t closing up shop or laying off people? Surely the value of goods here in Seattle can’t be higher than the value of the goods elsewhere.

Organizations around here do seem to be reducing their costs. My friend Nathan has some great advice on reducing costs of running your business and the importance of cash flow. Other organizations out there (companies, nonprofits, government agencies) are all showing an interest in preserving cash too. Besides the great ideas for reducing operating costs that Nathan has, there are the payroll costs that usually take up a bulk of the costs. Obviously the fastest method to reduce the cost on people was to get rid of the dead weight these organizations were  carrying around for unnessessary projects or simply in an inneffective workforce. These are the numbers that we track on a grand scale. This is also what we hear the most of… “My friend lost their job”. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the agency that tracks these numbers. Their report for Washington State has things like, construction jobs being down 12.4%, Education and Health Services, Other Services, and Government as having an increase in jobs (1.3%, .3%, & 1.2% respectively), and a total of only a 4% drop in the last twelve months…

What do all these rises and drops in wages mean to the value of the goods we are buying and selling? Looking further at the data, the rise in the average hourly wage at a national level is roughly $5 over the last 10 years, that’s $.50/year. With an average hourly wage of $13.27 in January of 1999 and $18.43 in January of 2009. This doesn’t even include the rest of the real cost of hiring employees. Clearly we as employees cost more money these days (even if the output we are making is worth less due to decreased demand). The result? A paycut…. Of course!

The average paycut seems to be 5-10% (reflecting that on the hourly wages, 5% of $18.43, puts us back at the hourly wages of August 2007 – 10% puts back to the hourly wages of March 2006). With these kinds of cuts should we be looking to value our assets at these levels? The stock Market is much lower than the ’06 levels, the current value of the Dow is at 1998 levels. Should we be looking at wages from these levels? I sure hope not, that’s more of a 25% paycut…

So if we aren’t going to lay off a bunch of people, but we need to make our companies operate at the levels of 2006 and 2007, and perhaps even 1998. There needs to be methods for doing so, paycuts, benefit reductions, and furloughs seem to be popular choices. A few that I have heard about recently are summarized below. What about you? Are you an employee or a business owner? Are you part of a cost reduction? If you are an entrepreneur – are you paying yourself less?

Some non-layoff measures I’ve heard of lately (local and not so local):

Paycuts:

EMC Corporation – 5% accross the board for 2009, perhaps re-instated in 2010, then again maybe not. Executive staff took a previous paycut.

Siemens Business Services – Managers & directors took a paycut

Denali Advanced Integration – 5-20% paycut depending on level and margin contribution. Raises and bonuses frozen.

Microsoft – lowering the amount they are paying vendors by 10%, removing cost of living adjustments this year.

401(k) reductions:

EMC Corporation – no 401k matching

Chase (wamu) – no 401k matching

Furloughs:

Siemens Business Services – 5 days mandatory

USBank – US Bank’s furloughs were voluntary.

King County – 10 mandatory days (everyone takes them at the same time), Cost of Living Adjustments still happening (so more base pay, plus a few days off w/o pay)

Planned Parenthood – 5  mandatory days (take them at your convenience)

Add more in the comments or email and I’ll add them to the list…

Exchange Server 2010

April 15, 2009

As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now Microsoft is putting the word out on Exchange Server 2010 today. This is exciting as usual and there are some great features that Microsoft and others will be talking about, among other features (that Martin Tuip has posted) there are:

  • Built-in Archiving
  • JBOD support (yes – JBOD)
  • The updated OWA interface (details from Paul Robichaux)
  • Mail Tips
  • Updated Conversation View
  • Some UM improvements (details from Technet Edge)
  • Remote upgrade of Windows Mobile Clients
  • Outlook connections moving from the Mailbox Server to the CAS
  • Updated transport rules
  • Updated Admin tools (including remote powershell support)

Of course the features that got me the most interested were all around HA, storage, and the database again – I guess it can be hard teaching an old dog new tricks… The database story is continuing down the path that was started with Exchange Server 2007 and now there are no more storage groups, clustered mailbox servers, or support for replicating Public Folders with the improved database replication technology. Yes that means Public Folders still exist (I’ll talk more about that later though)…

There are lots of things to talk about and I will post some additional information about the features soon as well as a better analysis about what it means to you. In the meantime feel free to go download the Exchange Server 2010 beta, read through Scott’s installation instructions, check out Joel’s features posts and forums, read through the press releases including Mary Jo’s announcement. Of course Microsoft is announcing details on their Exchange Team Blog as well

Microsoft Leaks – 2010

April 14, 2009

Looks like Elizabeth Montalbano over at PCWorld and everyone else has gotten early approval to talk about Microsoft’s HUGE announcement tomorrow!!

This includes the announcement of the next version of a number of products including:

  • Exchange Server 2010 (previously e14)
  • Office 2010 (previously office14)
  • SharePoint 2010 (…14)
  • Visio 2010 (…14)
  • Project 2010 (…14)

Well you get the picture, the “Wave 14″ has been un-officially announced… I’ve heard rumors that tomorrow there will be details on Microsoft’s website and that the final pre-release announcements were happening today (press briefings, technical briefings, etc). There isn’t anything on the Press Release site yet…

press_release

…..so the rest of us bloggers, twitter’ers, analysts, and journalists will do our best to hold our breath until tomorrow when we can talk about the details.

Pacific Northwest UC Doers User Group Meeting – 4/29

March 27, 2009
Wednesday April 29, 2009 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Microsoft Campus
Building 41 – Townsend Room
(Corner of 156th Ave. NE and NE 31st St.)
Redmond, Washington

The Pacific Northwest UC Doers group is still going strong!! Fourth Quarter in a row and we are going to move to the Microsoft Campus for a little while. We have had the last few over at the gracious McKinstry offices (Thanks you so much, we hope to return to your offices soon!!).

This meeting will be held on the heals of the INTERACT 2009 conference so there will be loads of great people to meet and things to talk about. More info to come soon!

If you have something to discuss, have a presentation you’d like to give, or have things you’d like to see on this quarter or a future quarter’s agenda – drop me a note and let me know! I could talk all day, but I’m sure the rest of you have more interesting things to talk about!

Please rsvp via email to info@ucdoers.org or on Upcoming

ok, now time to grab the kids and head to Oahu – see you all in a week :)

A few Microsoft Online Webcasts

December 4, 2008

I noticed that the Microsoft Online folks posted a series of webcasts on the MS Online blog. They relate in various ways to their offering and should be interesting for all types of folks (whether your thinking of switching to Microsoft Online, looking to resell it – disclosure: I am a reseller, or have some form of a competing product – disclosure: I resell a competing product).
Here they are all in one place to make things easier….

Microsoft Online Services Setup, On-boarding, and Administration (Level 200)

View the Webcast: Microsoft Online Services Setup, On-boarding, and Administration (Level 200) 
Event Overview: The Business Productivity Online (BPO) Suite from Microsoft Online Services includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Exchange Hosted Filtering, enterprise-class software delivered as a subscription service, hosted by Microsoft, and sold with partners. In this webcast, we introduce the Microsoft Online Administration Center (MOAC) and the process for setting up and on-boarding an organization to the BPO Suite. 
Presenter: Casey McKinnon, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 11:30 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 

Plan for Microsoft Online Services Deployment and On-boarding
View the Webcast: Planning for Microsoft Online Services Deployment and On-boarding
Event Overview: Deploying the Business Productivity Online (BPO) Suite from Microsoft Online Services requires planning and preparation to ready an organization for the full use of the services. In this webcast, we discuss preparations for the BPO Suite, including infrastructure requirements and desktop application deployment, and we provide a working check list for IT professionals to reference as they on-board the services. 
Presenter: Ryan Phillips, Escalation Engineer, Microsoft Corporation
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:00 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 

Microsoft Online Services: Critical Infrastructure and Operations for Delivering Secure, Enterprise-Class Software Services (Level 200)
View the Webcast: Microsoft Online Services: Critical Infrastructure and Operations for Delivering Secure, Enterprise-Class Software Services (Level 200)
Event Overview: In this webcast, we focus on the operations and infrastructure for delivering Microsoft Online Services, enterprise-class software hosted by Microsoft and delivered as a subscription service. Customers require high availability, security, and reliability for their hosted applications and data. Join the Microsoft Online Services operations team as they discuss the network infrastructure, architecture, and operations for exceeding customers’ expectations for system availability, security, and reliability. 
Presenter: Mike Ziock, Senior Director Operations, Microsoft Corporation
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 1:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 
 
Technical Overview of the Business Productivity Online Suite from Microsoft Online Services (Level 200)
View the Webcast:
 Technical Overview of the Business Productivity Online Suite from Microsoft Online Services (Level 200)
Event Overview: The Business Productivity Online (BPO) Suite from Microsoft Online Services includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Exchange Hosted Filtering, enterprise-class software delivered as a subscription service, hosted by Microsoft, and sold with partners. In this webcast, we introduce you to the BPO Suite and its components, and we demonstrate the ease with which IT professionals can set up the service for their organizations and users.

Presenter: John Betz, Director, Microsoft Corporation
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start Date: Friday, September 19, 2008 9:30 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 
 
Migration and Coexistence for the Business Productivity Online Suite from Microsoft Online Services (Level 300)
View the Webcast: Migration and Coexistence for the Business Productivity Online Suite from Microsoft Online Services (Level 300)
Event Overview: In this webcast, we demonstrate coexistence and migration tools and strategies for Microsoft Online Services. These tools help organizations synchronize their on-premise Active Directory forest with the Microsoft Online Service directory structure in the cloud, migrate mailboxes from on-premise mail servers to Microsoft Exchange Online, and operate their on-premise Active Directory forest and Exchange Servers in coexistence with their Microsoft Online Services deployment. 
Presenter: Erik Ashby, Senior Program Manager Lead, Microsoft Corporation
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start Date: Saturday, September 27, 2008 1:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 
 
Exchange Online Capabilities (Level 200)
View the Webcast:  Exchange Online Application Capabilities (Level 200)
Event Overview: Microsoft Exchange Online is the messaging component of the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) from Microsoft Online Services. In this webcast, we explore the application capabilities of Exchange Online, including steps for configuring and managing the service, such as adding custom domains, configuring for external relay, provisioning mailboxes, creating distribution lists, and adding contacts.

Presenter: Edward Wu, Senior Program Manager Lead, Microsoft Corporation 
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start Date: Thursday, September 25, 2008 8:00 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 

SharePoint Online Capabilities (Level 200)
View the Webcast:
 SharePoint Online Application Capabilities (Level 200)
Event Overview: Microsoft SharePoint Online is the collaboration component of the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) from Microsoft Online Services. In this webcast, we explore the application capabilities of SharePoint Online, including steps for configuring and managing the service, while demonstrating the speed with which  the rich functionality of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007  can be tapped from this in-the-cloud deployment.
Presenter: Christoph Bichsel, Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation
Duration: 90 Minutes   
Start date: Thursday, September 25, 2008 1:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) 
 
And not a webcast, but equally interesting….
How to Extend Your Microsoft Online Services Free Trial
If you would like to extend your free trial, you can request a one-time, 30-day extension, and add up to 40 additional seats. 
 
Request an extension / add seats
 
General Support Information


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