Web Favourites Jan 29 2010

This post is part of a weekly/bi-weekly roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

Tesco Law V Brand Solicitor – “Law firms need to be thinking about the outward facing solution because when I read legal technology sites they seem to go on about internal use. The future is "social" and what that means is turning your websites to point at clients so they can engage and transact with you.”

Consumerization of IT Executive Briefing – “”Designed for enterprise executives, this fully scripted presentation introduces Microsoft’s vision for how organizations can reap the benefits of the consumerization of IT”

Stop Trying To Be Better Than the Competition – “Creating your own special way to treat customers, creating an experience that’s unique, or creating a totally new and frictionless way for people to get a result is how you stand out from the pack, it’s how you create a difference that can’t be easily copied, and it’s how innovation comes to small business. Instead of spending your precious R&D time on product features, spend it on creating branded intellectual property, a distinct way of marketing, or on developing people and culture inside your organization that enables you to be seen as different”

Office 2010 System Requirements

Minimum CPU and  RAM requirements are unchanged from Office 2007, but the footprint of most Office applications have gotten larger. Most standalone application disk-space requirements have gone up by 0.5 GB and the suites have increased by 1.0 or 1.5 GB.

So in short, if your PC can run Office 2007, it will be able to run Office 2010. If you just acquired a brand new PC, it also will be able to run the forthcoming suite. But if you’re using Office 2003, there are no guarantees you’ll automatically be able to run Office 2010 on the same hardware.

The 32-bit version of Office 2010 will run on the following 32-bit operating systems: XP with Service Pack (SP)3, Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 R2 (with MS XML). The 64-bit version will run on on 64-bit versions of all of these same operating systems, with the exception of Windows Server 2003 R2.

via Mary Jo Foley

Web Favourites Jan 18 2010

This post is part of a weekly/bi-weekly roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

SharePoint for Legal Project Management–A Retrospective – “To help you understand the power of SharePoint, I thought I would share what I was able to start doing with it within a week of it having it set-up…”

Case Study: Alternative Fees – “We are at the tipping point when it comes to the billable hour, and one law firm leading the way into the future is Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP…It studied what clients stated in writing what they wanted, gave it to them, and generated lots of new business.”

Get Connected or Get Out of the Kitchen – “I’ll make a prediction here that I’ll review this time in 2011. There will emerge two types of solicitors firms by the end of the year: those that have fully adopted IT systems for service delivery and those that have not.”

Cloud Computing Explained

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What is Cloud Computing?

Put simply, Cloud Computing means that your computing resources live outside of your computer or physical premises.

What’s All the Fuss About?

Cloud computing is the key driver behind a new emerging economy based on lower costs and higher productivity than before: an economy holding great potential for smaller, agile businesses. The promise of the Cloud is that it enables all sizes of companies to benefit from the economies of scale that until now only large corporations could afford.

What is the Cloud?

The idea may seem strange at first, but the chances are that you are already using the Cloud if you use an online web editor for your website; host your website with a hosting company, or use a web analytics package to measure web hits. Even if you don’t have a website, the simplest forms of Cloud computing already give you remote access to your email, files, photos, online calendar, and instant messaging (IM).

Access to Data

The Cloud makes a lot of sense for those of us who can’t afford or don’t need our own server, but it can go further than that. For example, web conferencing and IM applications store your contacts and details online and can be accessed from any computer running the client software, or often with just a web browser. Email can managed from your PC, your phone or a web browser – any time, anywhere.

Applications in the Cloud

Stepping beyond basic data storage, cloud applications enable business systems such as finance and accounting packages, CRM or HR systems to run externally too. These kind of cloud applications together are called Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, and are typically accessed via a web browser.

The Upside

With your business applications hosted remotely, there are real cost and efficiency benefits.

  • No capital outlay on software or hardware
  • Predictable annual running costs
  • You have the peace of mind that your data is protected and backed up by a service that will not be affected by anything happening to you physical premises
  • Time and labour saving automatic upgrades that don’t need to be downloaded or paid for outside of the software subscription
  • The ability to grow and scale your IT systems easily as your business grows
  • And perhaps most important of all, you get to focus on what you do best: running your business, not running an IT operation

And the Downside

The potential risk of keeping company data externally is security. Most service providers take this risk very seriously and use highly-encrypted communications and storage systems – it’s worth checking when shopping for providers.

Consider too the financial risk: This is a young market with lots of new service providers competing for a share of the market. If your provider runs into financial problems, your service may be compromised. Check to see what protection you have in that situation.

There is also the imperative to be connected to the web when using SaaS applications – not always possible for the mobile worker or anyone who experiences broadband downtime for any reason.

How We Can Help

At Connectegrity we have partnered with Microsoft, one of the most stable and financially secure companies in the world,  to ensure the strictest security and resilience of all of our Cloud Computing offerings. All of our services include:

  • Built-in antivirus and spam filtering
  • Highly secure data access for users via HTTPS
  • Geo-redundant data centre architecture
  • 99.9% scheduled uptime backed by a financial guarantee

And, unlike some other vendors, we believe that the combination of Software plus Services (S+S) provides the best balance of benefits and risks. Unlike SaaS, you get the best of both worlds. Your data lives in the cloud, but smart client applications enable you to continue to work when disconnected, then automatically synchronise with the Cloud when you are next online. You don’t need to do anything at all!

(p.s. The image at the top of this post links to a great 3 minute video from Common Craft explaining Cloud Computing “in plain English”. It’s a great one to share around your company if you are trying to socialise the Cloud Computing concept).

Web Favourites Jan 10 2010

Frozen Britain Jan 2010 This is the first of what I hope will be a weekly or bi-weekly roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!

(The picture here is from NASA’s Terra satellite last week and show the extent of the snow and icy conditions on frozen Britain.)

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

A Case for Operating in the Cloud – “Microsoft’s ‘cloud’ enabled me to survive this downturn, will help me thrive in the upturn”. One law firm explain how they cut costs and moved to Exchange Online and SharePoint Online with Microsoft BPOS.

10 Things SharePoint can do for Your Law Firm – How to use SharePoint to “improve attorney effectiveness, deliver better client service and reduce costs”.

Why Some People Are Reluctant to Share – Rajesh Shetty explains the knowledge capture problem of KM tools: When something becomes obvious people tend to stop sharing.