April 2010
In this issue
Your Nonprofit Needs a Plan
8 Tips to Survive in an
Open-plan Office
What is Managed Services?
The Speed of Small?
The Speed of Small?
Jack Safrit, Axxys Technologies

We have heard a great deal about small businesses of late. It's been said they are the engine that will power our economy out of the recession. They will be the catalyst for employment growth, and future lending to small business will be the basis of any economic recovery. And while I agree that small businesses will be the impetus for change within our economy, it often seems that our leaders do not fully understand the pace at which small businesses move and how quickly they make decisions. Small businesses are not led by burdensome management or boards of directors who have fiduciary responsibilities to their companies' stock holders and as a result must weigh many factors in order to make a decision. Small businesses are agile, make both quick but thoughtful, rational business decisions, but also tend to react to the immediate needs and requests of their clients, customers, employees, and suppliers.

For small businesses to truly be the agent of a stronger economy, our leaders, our bankers, and our suppliers must recognize that small businesses make much faster decisions and can change direction quickly. Small businesses cannot afford to wait for months of legislative debate to take place before laws are created or fiscal policy is changed. They need ready access to capital, and once obtained will make business decisions that benefit their customers, their employees, and the economy.

The Speed of Small is FAST. Decisions and actions take place every day within small businesses that affect all their constituencies. It is only when those decisions and actions are delayed by outside forces that small businesses are hampered from moving forward. Delayed laws, withheld capital, slow access to products and services keep small businesses from starting the economic engine that they should be.

Having worked with small businesses for almost 25 years, it's exciting to see how they react, how they make decisions, and how they strive to move forward. Small business will lead our recovery and set the direction for our economy and country. Again, the Speed of Small is FAST.


Just for Laughs



Quote of the Month

Like almost everyone who uses
e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny
if it weren't so exciting.

Bill Gates


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




It looks like spring is finally sprung in central North Dakota! I know all of us at NRG are looking forward to spring and summer.

Many of our clients have started to execute on their 2010 PC replacement schedule. If you are on one of our Managed Service agreements and have not received a replacement schedule, please let us know. We can prepare a schedule for you that will aid in the replacement process. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is still NRG’s choice for personal computers, and they have models of desktops, workstations and notebooks to fit every need.

If you are in need of technical support, remember our dedicated Service Desk numbers,
701-250-9401 and 888-303-0094. These numbers are answered by our experienced technical staff 7AM-6PM Central time.

Take care until next time!

Your Nonprofit Needs a Technology Plan
by Monte Enbysk
used with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center
To the surprise of the nonprofit sector, Internet technology is enhancing good works.

Relief agencies such as the American Red Cross have demonstrated how effectively online systems can speed cash donations to tragedy-stricken parts of the world. Smaller nonprofits have found the Web to be a blessing for locating discounted items and organizing people to support causes. Foundations and charities have found success with e-philanthropy -- the securing of pledges and donations over the Web -- and made it a vital part of their fundraising strategies.

"Technology is, in many ways, a necessary evil for nonprofits doing business today," says Joni Podolsky, a technology consultant to nonprofits and the author of "Wired for Good: Strategic Technology Planning for Nonprofits." "You need it now just to stay competitive."

The nonprofit industry is indeed competitive, and not just for donations and volunteers. If your business is a nonprofit, you need to compete for grants and other resources, staff talent, community loyalty and simple awareness of your organization and its mission. Bottom line: As with most businesses today, you need a technology plan for your nonprofit agency or organization -- a plan that shows how you can put the Internet to work for you.

Yes, technology can be expensive. No, the economy is not a strong as it has been. But your plan is more than a simple wish list of hardware, software and Internet services you'd like to have. It's a strategy document, helping you think through what your organization needs and how it can be obtained with the resources you have.

Read More

8 Tips to Survive in an Open-plan Office
reprinted with permission from the HP Small Business Center

While many workers would probably prefer a private office with a door, open-plan seating arrangements are common in businesses worldwide. And the benefits of "cubicle farms" are clear: they're cost-efficient, improve communication and collaboration between employees, and can increase productivity.

However, the open-plan office worker may find it difficult to concentrate in this environment – with phones ringing, colleagues talking and walking around, and office equipment running, the number of distractions can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips you and your colleagues can use to help make the most of the open office and improve the environment for everyone.

1. Keep the noise level down. Don't use speaker phone or play any kind of sound on your PC without asking others whether it will bother them. In fact, it's better to use earphones to listen to podcasts, music or videos, and if you must use speaker phone or conduct a lot of conference calls, try to find a meeting room or other enclosed space. Remember that others can hear your phone conversations, so try to keep your voice down.

2. Manage your phones effectively. The ringing of desk phones and mobile phones is one of the main sources of noise in an open-plan office, so be considerate. Turn down the volume of your desk phone and try to answer it within three rings. Select a mobile phone ring that won't bother others around you.

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What is Managed Services?
By Chris Brown, Vice President, NRG Technology Services
Good question! I have heard this query from many people. The IT industry tends to make a lot of acronyms and jargon, and at times "Managed Services" seems like another attempt to change the name of an already familiar service.

Wikipedia defines "Managed Services" as;

"Managed services is the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations. The person or organization who owns or has direct oversight of the organization or system being managed is referred to as the offerer, client, or customer. The person or organization that accepts and provides the managed service is regarded as the service provider."

Typically, the offerer remains accountable for the functionality and performance of managed service and does not relinquish the overall management responsibility of the organization or system."

Wikipedia goes further to state that there are various types of "Managed Services". They can be in Transportation, Postage, Water, Power, Information Services, Communications, Supply Chain Information Services and Media. What is most talked about for computers, networking, servers, etc . . .  is Managed Services for the Information Services sector. These include a subset of services such as; Offsite Backup and Recovery, Storage, Network Management, User Management, Systems Management and Software support and maintenance.

In essence, the "Managed Services" that most IT providers offer (including NRG) are a defined set of services for a fixed, or near-fixed, monthly cost. The idea is that the Managed Service provider will use automated tools, remote monitoring and management, remote access and other technologies to deliver those defined sets of services. In many instances of IT Managed Services, the provider proactively monitors for problems, proactively patches servers and workstations, provides maintenance of PCs and servers, and provides some form of remote and/or "on-site" technical support.

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