Saint Paul, MN (November 26, 2013) – Renodis (www.Renodis.com), the only firm in America providing professional management of communications infrastructure, has been invited to sponsor the upcoming Minneapolis Mid-Market CIO Executive Summit on December 4th at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. This is the second year in a row that Renodis has been invited to participate in this event.

Renodis is pleased to sponsor the speaking session of Joe Topinka, CIO and VP of Multichannel Commerce at Red Wing Shoe Company, also a client of Renodis. His session, entitled “The CIO’s Role in Demystifying IT”, will cover his tried and true methods to help IT emerge from the traditional service provider role to one of true business partner.  Topinka will reveal CEOs’ biggest fears and discuss techniques that move IT from a mysterious chest of secrets to known, trusted advisor, from order taker to business peer, and from necessary evil to business game changer.

Renodis will also be providing attendees an opportunity to receive a complimentary copy of Joe Topinka’s upcoming book, “IT Business Partnerships: A Field Guide”.  The book provides an actionable plan to implement an IT Business Partnership Program in organizations to achieve business technology convergence.

The Minneapolis Mid-Market CIO Executive Summit is an invitation-only event dedicated to bringing together mid-market technology leaders to accelerate leadership development and drive business transformation.

To learn more about the upcoming Minneapolis Mid-Market CIO Executive Summit or how to register, go to: http://www.evanta.com/cio/mid-market/minneapolis.

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Renodis is the only firm in America providing professional management of businesses communications infrastructure. As a pioneer in its field, Renodis is committed to providing objective service that empowers clients to reduce the Total Cost of Telecom™, free up valuable IT and Executive resources, future-proof their technology, and gain more time for core business initiatives. www.Renodis.com

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Is your company looking for ways to cut costs in 2014? With increases in healthcare costs and decreases in budgets, many I.T. managers have been asked to reduce costs. The good news is that there are a few things that I.T. can outsource to save companies money and time, and probably end up looking like a hero in the process.

Read on for the Top 5 Things I.T. Should Outsource in 2014.

#1: Copier / Printer Outsourcing

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“Copying and printing can cost up to 3% of a company’s revenue – equivalent to the average IT budget – so don’t overlook services that could help to reduce that outlay” – Julie Giera with Computer Weekly

Printers and copiers can be high maintenance, expensive, and very time consuming. In the past five years, many IT departments have shrunk; you may have fewer people on staff to manage your printers as they grow older and fall out of warranty. Maybe you have one person on your staff that is trained to work on printers and copiers, but what happens when that person is sick or leaves the company? By outsourcing copying and printing (often to the same company), you free up your staff to perform more important I.T. functions. Staff members no longer have to stay up-to-date to work on the latest copiers and printers. Common problems like recurring paper jams are handled by a professional technician. You no longer have to have one of your I.T. staff spend hours breaking down the machine to try and find the part that is causing the problem.

#2: Software Development

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Few small to medium-sized businesses have the resources for software developers and quality control staff (aka software testers). Some companies make the mistake of hiring a lone developer to create software. This person will usually work on only one project at a time, which can delay development. Another problem comes when the person gets sick or decides to leave the company. Who is going to take their place, and is there proper documentation for what they created so another person can take over?

How do you know when you’ve found the right software development firm? Communication, skill, and price must combine for the right choice. The right software development firms will have flexible staffing numbers and the ability to get your product to market quicker and usually at lower cost.

It makes sense for most small to medium-sized businesses to outsource software development in 2014. It can be a major, time-consuming headache that is better handled by a company with development and quality control staff on-site.

#3: Disaster Recovery 

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Have you spent much time thinking about what will happen when a disaster occurs? While some minor issues like power outages occur occasionally, a true disaster is something that must be properly planned for. This can be a very time-consuming process and it is better to work with a vendor who has experience in this area. Where will your team go when a disaster occurs?

After a disaster, employees still need to get paid. Vendors still need to receive checks to keep products flowing. There are many critical company processes that will need to function even after a disaster. This is why it is crucial to have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Once a disaster occurs, you can expect to spend long hours, possibly even days, working in a disaster recovery facility. It is important to pick a place that will allow your people to work in safety until the disaster is over. A disaster recovery service will have systems available when you need them and can scale to meet your needs as your company grows.

According to an IDC survey, in 2013 data center managers expect to allocate almost 50% of their budgets to the cloud. This number is predicted to grow in 2014.  As more companies move to the cloud, it makes sense to move disaster recovery there as well.

While some companies may consider doing disaster recovery internally, maintaining extra hardware and a place to keep it can be an expensive proposition. As the hardware ages, new equipment will have to be purchased. By outsourcing to a disaster recovery service, hardware and location becomes their responsibility to maintain.

#4: Email Archiving 

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“Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) estimates that 70% of you haven’t deployed any form of e-mail archiving.” – Outsourcing Email Pros and Cons 

You don’t want to find out when it’s too late that you can’t restore an old email. Standard backups may suffice for short-term storage and are much more reliable than they used to be. However, if all you have is a standard backup, how are you going to handle it when HR comes to your door and needs an email from a year ago for a legal issue? (After the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedures were passed in 2006, emails (and other forms of communication) may be requested for litigation and must be archived.)

You need to be proactive in how you handle email archiving. Having the right email archiving service provider can mitigate the risk that is a growing reality for many companies. By outsourcing email archiving, you can reduce the overall cost of storage and speed up email clients along the way.

Users can be trained so that when they need an email that was accidentally deleted three weeks ago, they can simply go to a search box and find the email themselves in the email archive. Since all of the emails are stored in the cloud, it reduces the cost of new hardware on-site.

#5: Telecom Management 

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“[Telecom management] allowed us to do more value-added services versus managing boilerplate telecom functions,” says Joe Topinka, CIO and Vice President of Multichannel Commerce at Red Wing Shoe Company. “We’re able to do more project-based work now.  These strategic initiatives have to do with expanding market strategy. That’s a big deal for us,” he says.  “Telecom management is important – it’s the dial tone of the organization. But it’s not what differentiates us, so we looked for a partner.” 

Let’s face it, corporate telecommunications can be a mess: a tangle of providers, contracts and technologies that your I.T. staff would be better served not wasting its time on. Most companies rely on their I.T. departments to handle telecommunications because they aren’t aware of other options. But that’s not a good use of highly trained (and highly paid) I.T. employees who’ve spent years mastering computer science and systems development.  It takes time to become an expert at telecom management and for most I.T. staff, their time is better spent focusing on their core strengths. In addition, the world of telecom management is changing rapidly and growing even more complex, making it difficult for non-experts to keep pace – and when non-experts are managing telecom, cost savings are essentially left on the table.

Why Telecom Management Isn’t Worth I.T.’s Time

5 Things I.T. Should Outsource in 2014 – Conclusion

Outsourcing began to take off in the 1990s as companies began to shed functions they had to do that were not part of their core missions. Since then, outsourcing has grown substantially. According to a Deloitte study, 60 percent of respondents said that outsourcing was a “standard practice” at their companies.

In this article, we covered five things I.T. should outsource in 2014. With copier and printer outsourcing, you can keep your I.T. staff from being tied up with these machines. Software development can easily be outsourced so that they take care of the full development process. This leaves your staff to determine needs analysis and manage the project.

Disaster recovery will help you sleep every night knowing that you have a contract stating your service provider will be ready in case a disaster ever occurs. With email archiving, you never have to worry about employees accidentally losing emails again. With simple training, they can learn how to look up lost emails on their own.

Finally, outsourcing telecom management allows you to focus your I.T. department’s efforts on strategic initiatives, harness the value of telecom-specific expertise, and reduce your total cost of telecom.

Every smartphone manufacturer is looking to develop the next big thing.  The explosion of apps in the last ten years combined with rapid device innovation has created a climate of unprecedented competition to provide that one device that will turn the industry upside down.   For every hit, there are several misses.  Manufacturers and carriers alike stake their reputations on these devices, and some of the results are tragic and some are comical.

Read on for a few brilliant smartphone ideas that tanked … big time.

#1: Kyocera Echo (Sprint) April to October 2011

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Not even the magic of David Blaine’s introduction could transform the Kyocera Echo into a winner.  This was the phone for those who didn’t want to carry a tablet and a phone.  Two 3.5 inch screens combined to create a hinged tablet.  The problems…  Two screens meant twice the battery drain.  There was never really a niche carved out for this device.  Gamers didn’t buy it.  Most tablet users didn’t want to merge the functionality of their tablet and phone, and those that wanted bigger screens eventually got them.  Samsung, HTC, and Apple started making bigger screened devices shortly after the Echo debuted.

#2: Palm Pre (Sprint) June 2009-2010

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With waning sales during the end of the reign of Blackberry, two years after the first iPhone, and 1 year after the first Androids, Palm introduced the Pre to much fanfare.  It was even featured on the tech segment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  The device featured Palm’s new Web OS and a touchstone charger that allowed the phone to charge by being placed on a charger with no wires.  The Pre was in essence the last Hail Mary of Palm, but alas, it was too late.  Google and Apple had already started a revolution against Blackberry – and Palm was not invited.  The lackluster sales of this device led to Palm’s demise and they were eventually acquired by HP.

#3: Blackberry Z10 and Q10 (Multiple Carriers) Mid 2012

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Blackberry’s reign ended with the one-two punch of iPhone and Android.  By the time Blackberry was able to adapt with the Blackberry Q10 and Z10 in mid-2012, it was late to the game.  They brought on a new CEO who tried to emulate Android and IOS, but Blackberry went on the auction block after the failure of these devices.  It has since been pulled back because of a lack of suitors.

#4: Microsoft Kin (Verizon) May to June 2010

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The Microsoft Kin was a complete failure.  It was Microsoft’s first attempt into the smartphone world, and had a shelf life of only two months.  That was after Microsoft invested two years and about $1 billion developing the Kin platform.  It was supposed to be a social platform and was completely dependent on it.  The Kin was SUCH a failure that Microsoft scrapped it completely within one year, shutting down the services that provided the social elements, rendering the phone useless.  It also had no app store, no third party applications and limited API for developers.

#5: Motorola i930 (Nextel) October 2005

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Limited 2G Data Speeds and no Qwerty Keyboard made this device outdated by the time it was released.  It was a tri-band world phone designed for World Business Travelers, but the user interface combined with Windows Mobile 2003 was clumsy and inefficient.  It lacked Bluetooth capabilities and could not be upgraded.  Third party apps would lock up on the device.

#6: Samsung Omnia (Verizon) June 2008 to March 2011

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Even Samsung had some Dogs.  Though the Korean Giant dominated with the Galaxy Line, their foray into the Windows Phone in 2008 lacked pizzazz.  It had Windows Mobile 6.1, but was known to be buggy and tried too hard to be a pc on a smartphone screen.

#7: HTC Evo 3D (Sprint) 2011 

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The EVO 3D was the third entry in the EVO series for Sprint.  It offered a faster dual core processer, better battery life than the previous models, and used Sprint’s 4G Wimax technology.  The wow factor on this phone was the 3D effect.  HTC used a parallax barrier, essentially they combined two image versions of the same image to mimic a 3D effect.  The technology was cool – for about a week.  Then you just had an expensive EVO.  3D belongs on a TV, or if you’re old like me, it belongs on a theater screen.  3D on your phone was shelved when the EVO 3D went end of life.  Until we have holograms popping out of our phones like in Star Wars and Star Trek, I’ll pass.

7 Brilliant Smartphones that Tanked – The Summary

These devices showed that not everything that CAN be done with a smartphone – SHOULD be done.  What seems like a good idea at CTIA will not always grab a chunk of the market.  When you see those old reels of early attempts at flight around the time the Wright Brothers had their success, you see a similar comical path to what amounted to a new era in human innovation.  Without all these failures, how do we decide what not to do?