October 2008
In this issue
NRG's Managed Services
Wireless Threats
Excellent Customer Service
NRG Technology Services
Microsoft Demo - Pivot Tables
Don't Have to Hate Vista

Make Sense of Your
Data Using
PivotTable Reports

Microsoft Office Excel 2003

Imagine being faced with a pile of data that you need to organize and summarize in a hurry. And what’s more, you have to present the information in a way that highlights specific aspects of the data.

If this sounds familiar, the PivotTable report feature in Microsoft Office Excel 2003 could be what you’re looking for. PivotTable reports are interactive tables that make it possible for you to move information around, so that you can see how it fits together.

PivotTable reports help you to organize and compare data so that you can see patterns, trends, and relationships. And it takes only seconds to pivot the rows and columns of data from one view to another, like turning a kaleidoscope to see the different patterns.

Watch this demo to learn how to work with PivotTable reports.

You Don’t Have
to Hate Vista

Speeding Up Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7

Why is my computer so slow?

Why is my hard drive always running when I’m not doing anything?

Why does it take so long to start up and shut down?

Why does it take so long to open and scroll through web pages?

No matter that running Windows XP is like wearing an old, comfortable shoe, Windows Vista is the reality for most of us purchasing a new PC. It has gotten past many of its initial growing pains and now most software programs have been updated to run with it.

Here are some things I learned with my Vista laptop. I’ll also let you know how to get the most speed out of Internet Explorer 7.


Quote of the Month

"The whole purpose
of education is to turn
mirrors into windows."

Sydney J. Harris

Just for Laughs


1661 Capitol Way, Suite 102
Bismarck, ND 58501
Phone: 701-250-9400


Welcome to the first edition of the NRG Technology Services newsletter. We hope to publish a newsletter once per quarter, bringing you updates on happenings in the world of Information Technology and with NRG Technology Services.

Our first edition of the newsletter contains some basic information about NRG’s services and how to contact us for support. We hope you find this information useful. If you wish to unsubscribe from future newsletters, please click on the link at the bottom of this message. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at cbrown@nrgtechservices.com or by using the phone numbers in the lower left-hand corner.

Thank you!
Chris Brown
Vice President
NRG Technology Services

NRG's Managed Services
For the last few years, NRG has been moving towards a goal of providing proactive, managed services to its customers. Managed Services is simply (sometimes not so simply!) defined as “the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations”. For IT systems, this means making a strategic decision to outsource the management of your IT systems. For NRG this means laying in tools and procedures to effectively and efficiently managed your systems, while providing those services in a cost-effective manner for you. No small feat!

The good news is that NRG now provides Managed Services with various tiers of service ranging from basic monitoring, to unlimited on-site support. Our pro-active approach to monitoring your IT systems helps to eliminate downtime caused by unexpected outages. Sure, unplanned outages still occur, but the idea is to minimize those events. For example, recently our monitoring tools detected a bad hard drive on a PC at a client’s location. We were able to warn the client, pre-failure, recommend a course of action and mitigate the down time for the end-user. In another case, we were able to fix an ailing server before it locked up, saving time for a number of end users. In today's economy, you need to make the most of your dollars. Let NRG Technology Services help you spend more time serving your customers, rather than worrying about IT matters. Contact us today!

6 Wireless Threats to Your Business
by Christopher Elliott
reprinted with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center

If you think a promiscuous client is a scantily-dressed customer, you're in trouble. And I'm not talking about having an affair.  Think an evil twin is a horror-movie villain? Wrong again. The horror you should be bracing yourself for is not on the silver screen — and it's not from a rolling pin flung at you from across the kitchen, for that matter. Rather, the trouble is in the airwaves and targeted to Wi-Fi users. Both the "Promiscuous Client" and the "Evil Twin" are two of the latest wireless threats to your small business. If you haven't heard of them, you probably will soon.

"What would happen to your business if your strongest competitor gained access to all of your data?" asks Greg Phillips, chief executive for AirTegrity Wireless, Inc., a Stateline, Nev. wireless security company. "Unfortunately, it is a very real possibility if appropriate controls against these new threats are not exercised."

So what's out there?

7 Tips for Excellent Customer Service
By Jeff Wuorio
Reprinted with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness 

In the business world, good customer service often isn't good enough anymore.  Customers and clients are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the merely adequate. For them, extraordinary service is the rule, not the exception. Anything less, and they're happy to vote with their feet and their wallets.

That makes extraordinary service necessary, not just desirable. And that, in turn, mandates a strategy to help ensure that your business matches that standout service standard on a daily basis.   Here are seven ideas and tips to help your business establish and maintain an ongoing climate of service excellence.

NRG Technology Services Support
Many of you may not be aware that we made some major changes this year in how we provide support to Counties, Cities and private corporations. In the past, many of you were assigned a certain “tech” to help you with all of your IT needs. In the beginning, this worked great, as we had limited tools to track calls for service and each tech “owned” a client and their issues. As we grew, and technology became more complex, this approach did not always lead to us providing you with the best service. Sometimes the tech was busy at another site, out of the office, out of cell phone coverage, or the tech did not have the particular skill set or background to troubleshoot and resolve that particular issue. Not a good way to operate.

Fast forward to January of this year, when we started work to implement a new service tracking system that would enable us to not only track calls for service, but to also match the needs to the skill set of the tech. This is a big shift from the old way of doing things, but one we know will provide you with quicker and more accurate service. On April 1 2008, we went live with the new system and have accumulated over 5,300 separate service requests since then. Now when calling a issue in, your call will be answered by a central service desk that knows the issues and who is best able to resolve that issue the quickest. So, a call from the SW part of ND may be resolved by someone from the NE part of the State. All in the name of better customer service.

Also, instead of calling in and either being on hold or having to leave a message, you can e-mail your issue to support@nrgtechservices.com and a service ticket will be created. You will receive a confirmation e-mail back that lists the ticket number for future reference. We also offer on line access to our customer portal (depending on your level of service agreement) where you can see all the service tickets for your organization and manage those issues from one point, if you wish. Users can be set up with varying permissions to allow you to control who has the ability to use the customer portal.

So far, this has made a huge difference in the accuracy and speed of resolving your issues. Instead of piling up calls to “your tech” many people from your organization can call or e-mail issues in and, in many cases, we have seen our staff working multiple issues for you at the same time!

With this change we have seen an increase in calls to the Service Desk. Sometimes this means your call goes into voicemail. Rest assured that this is not the “black hole of NRG” and that we usually pick up those calls within 15 minutes. While we are working to improve communications back to you, to let you know we have your issue, many times the Service Desk will create a ticket and forward it to the appropriate tech in less than 30 minutes. We are working on upgrading our phone system, in the first quarter of 2009. This will allow us to have a live person answering the calls for service and creating your case in real-time. In the mean time, please call the Service Desk at extension 206 for the fastest possible service.

If you have any questions about our service process, please feel free to contact Mel Kambeitz, Service Manager, at 888-303-0094 x204, or mel.kambeitz@nrgtechservices.com.

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