Articles for January 2013

Apple Vs. Android: Which Is Better Suited For Business?

Apple Vs AndroidApple vs Android: Which is better suited for business? This question can be as entertaining as this picture. The problem is that the answer you get may be just as useful. As the battlegrounds heat up in the mobile device world, defining which is better suited for business becomes ever more complicated. So how do you decide? Here’s a list of comparisons that might help you decide which devices are best suited for your business.


Some may say that this is a biased comparison as Apple’s iPhones and iPads tend to cost more than Android phones and tablets. This may be true if you compare solely the lowest priced devices. Truth is, there are a lot of Android devices and only a few are true ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons with Apple devices (pardon the pun). In true comparisons, Android devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy device line, are only slightly more affordable. The key point should be which devices bring you the “Bang for your buck”.


In business, pretty shouldn’t matter. The question should be instead: What does the device bring to the table in Return On Investment (ROI) and Productivity? Every business has different needs. This stems beyond what the device itself can or cannot do. A lot of it is determined by the industry that the business resides in. Manufacturing for example, may lean towards Android devices due to the sheer variety and selection they provide. Medical practices may lean towards Apple devices due to the security and a uniformity of experience both within and between medical organizations that Android devices can’t match.


The ability to control a device and reduce data loss is key for IT administration these days. Email, Contact Lists, Sales Cost spreadsheets, and many other confidential types of data can be obtained and publicly exposed if a device is lost or stolen. Limiting what data is stored on a device and the ability to wipe a device is available for both Apple and Android. The difference maker is the implementation cost to maintain security. Android devices hold the edge here as there are more security services available to choose from for Android devices than Apple. The other factor is that most Apple endpoint security apps cost money to download while most Android endpoint security apps are free (apps not service).


Probably the most important part of the decision making process is compatibility. Contrary to some opinion, the line between Apple and Android when it comes to app quality is too close to even be considered. The device you choose should be compatible with the key software you use in your company. It should also have enough supporting apps to make employees more productive. This can only be determined by testing both Apple and Android devices to see which jells better with your environment.

Apple Vs Android: And The Winner Is?

To be determined. For now, each business will have to weigh the facts above and decide which works best for them. Warning: Avoid the hybrid solution or the popularity vote. These only lead to confusion and headaches in the end.

Is Technology Lifecycle Management Important?

Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM) has been developed as an IT business approach for managing computer systems, software, and network devices (switches, firewallls, and routers) across their total life cycle. By learning how to more effectively manage this cycle, an IT Department can uncover a wealth of proactive business value.

TLM for some IT Departments is as common and as critical to their daily operations as breathing. Others are just beginning to understand and appreciate it’s core value. A properly implemented TLM solution takes time and planning. Gathering information for every desktop computer, server, virtual server, network device, and software package deployed in your environment can be quite a daunting task if your IT Department is small and your corporate footprint is large or even multinational. However, once the task is complete, the benefits are overwhelming.

Cost Reduction
Industry analysts estimate that 80% of the cost of corporate PC ownership occurs after the initial purchase. Knowing when a PC, software package, or network device has reached an upgrade point or end-of-life means the ability to proactively plan ahead thus creating a more accurate IT budget. TLM is the blueprint for what you’re going to need over the next one to three years, allowing you to plan for things like software assurance and enterprise agreements. The impending result is less downtime, more productivity, IT budget savings, and peace of mind.

Risk Reduction
One word that can give any business owner chills: Audit. TLM provides benefits where you most need it: compliance and risk reduction. Knowing what software you own and what’s actually being used will help you eliminate the spread of unauthorized software installations. The ability to provide auditors with printouts of your complete inventory and licensing can reduce the stress that is often associated with company audits.

Software packages such as Spiceworks, PRTG, and Numara BMC Footprints can greatly assist any IT staff in the task of TLM. However, TLM requires constant cultivation from IT to keep it healthy and accurate.

Is TLM important? Absolutely.

BYOD: Is It A Viable Business Solution?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the practice of allowing employees to use their personal smartphone and tablet devices for business related purposes. This practice can be mutually beneficial for both the employee and the employer.

The biggest benefit of BYOD is cost. By reducing the size of wireless contracts and offering employees added pay incentives to use their personal devices at work, companies can save thousands of dollars each year. Employees gain from this by making more money and reducing the number of devices they have to carry around.

With that said, the question we hear from businesses is whether or not it’s a viable solution. The answer is yes, as long as a few policy guidelines are in place in advance and followed. The old saying still stands true, “Poor Planning Produces Poor Results”.

Imagine that your largest client calls to check on the status of an order. The receptionist transfers the call to Joe, your senior account manager. Joe is not in the office today so the phone system transfers the call to his mobile phone. Instead of a typical ring, Joe has set his phone to play hold music and set it to his favorite rock band song. If that is not bad enough, Joe is not available and instead of hearing a professional voicemail message they hear, “It’s Joe. Sorry I missed ya. You know what to do so just do it!”.

This would not just be unprofessional but very embarrassing. Most businesses have policies preventing such nonprofessional actions on corporate cell phones. They also have policies restricting the type of apps that can be loaded onto corporate smartphones and tablets. The question is how do you restrict what employees can do on their personal devices like personal ringbacks and playing Angry Birds while at work?

These questions are the reasons why Human Resources and IT departments have fought hard for years to keep non-corporate devices out of the workplace.Yet the influx of personal devices into the workplace continues to grow every year.

So how can you successfully implement BYOD? The answer is Policy, Policy, and more Policy. While you cannot legally prevent employees from installing games and social media apps on their personal devices, you can prohibit their use while on the corporate clock. You can also implement polices that restrict the type of ringback and voicemail messages used if the employee is being compensated for the use of their device. For this reason, a strong communication between HR and IT must be kept open when it comes to BYOD.

BYOD is a viable business solution that should be investigated thoroughly and tested with a handful of employees first before offering it to the entire company. Truth is, no matter how many policies are put in place or how many incentives are offered, there will never be a BYOD that completely replaces the need of corporate devices. Some people will just “have to have” the new song as their ringback or funny saying on their voicemail for social reasons and no incentive will be enough.

Five Free Apps I Recommend (And Use Daily)

A lot of people ask, “What’s your favorite app?” In response to this repetitive question, I’ve put together a list of five free apps that I use everyday on my Android smartphone. The listing order is based upon usage.

  1. RealCalc Scientific Calculator – In it’s defense, the calculator that comes with Android phones by default is a nice simple app. The difference is having a calculator that can calculate percentages and compound equations on the fly.
  2. DuckDuckGo Search – I still use Google Search too but it’s hard to deny that having a Search Engine app without the restraints of the “Bubble Search” Google uses doesn’t produce some interesting results. Try it and see for yourself.
  3. ES File Explorer – Organizing your smartphone data has become crucial for those on the go. The ES File Explorer allows me to organize files for my personal life and my business. I use PDFs, Word docs, and Excel spreadsheets everyday on my phone. Having data in the palm of your hand can be essential for success.
  4. The Weather Channel – Who has time to stop an check the weather? We all do if we have to but the Weather Channel knows that most of us won’t if we don’t have to. That’s why they created their app. It’s quick, easy, and fast. What more can you ask for? Wait… never-mind.
  5. ESPN ScoreCenter For Android – I like sports. Not all sports but I have my favorites. ESPN ScoreCenter allows me to choose which sports and teams I want to follow, then it does something great, it doesn’t bore me with news about the teams I don’t care about. Only five minutes a day of my life spent keeping up to date. Yay! When there’s no games on. 😉

There are other apps that I use and some I use daily. These happen to be the ones I use the most on a daily basis that did not come with my phone. Their addition help keep me productive and happy.

If there are apps you use (and I’m sure there are) that help you stay productive, please feel free to let me know. We are always on the lookout for useful apps and tools.

2013: Time For A Change?

Ah, welcome everyone to 2013 and a very Happy New Year. Every year something new and exciting is entering or has just entered the technology market. It’s one of the reasons I really love my field of work. This year is already proving to be no exception.

To summarize technology in 2013 in one word: Change. And leading the charge towards change is Windows 8.

In an effort to conform and compete in the tablet and smartphone markets, Microsoft has changed the way Windows looks and feels. Gone is the Start Menu that has been apart of Windows since 95. It’s replacement is a full screen, tile filled view. Gone is the ability to view more than two programs at once. It’s replaced with a one third/ two third split view no matter how large the monitor is. While tablet users may find these changes welcome, many desktop and laptop users are having a hard time accepting the new look.

So the question remains, is it time to change from the comfort and feel of Windows XP/ 7 (we don’t speak of the other here) for Windows 8 and it’s sleek but challenging new look?