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What€™s Your Ultimate Tech Wish List?
It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to put together a wish list of technology solutions that could be used to drive a modern, highly productive workplace. So, let’s begin our if-money-were-no-object quest. If it were up to me, I would make investments with these three goals in mind:
1. Maximize computing power and functionality.
Every office has desktops and notebooks, and they’ll continue to be useful for quite some time. To make them even more useful, we’d equip all of our systems with solid-state drives (SSDs) and hybrid drives using SSD technology, such as those from OCZ Technologies. The reduction in boot times and application load times will more than pay for the technology over the life of these drives.
Now, let’s move on to other computing devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Imagine the impact our sales and marketing teams could have on clients with a few of these ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablets. They could get all the benefits of a highly portable tablet, combined with a keyboard that doubles as a docking station. These are good for employees who do more content consumption than content creation. Android is currently my favorite mobile platform, as it provides a variety of applications for corporate connectivity, including virtual private networks (VPN), remote desktop (RDP) clients for our Windows systems, and corporate email integration.
2. Utilize the cloud.
We’ve managed to push a lot of our server-side functionality into the cloud, so there’s not as much need for backing up local servers at our office. On the mobile front, however, we will have lots of important data that needs to be backed up securely. So we’d turn to i365, Asigra or Druva for our mobile backup solution, and Whisper Systems for disk encryption.
Security is great, but we’re in business to get things done, and that means a robust office application suite such as Microsoft’s Office 365, Google Apps or Zoho’s Collaboration Apps. These cloud-based suites will enable our teams to share data wherever they happen to be. To further aid in employee collaboration, we’d equip our organization with online file synchronization tools from Box.net, which has clear advantages when it comes to integration with other business tools, such as NetSuite for our financials, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
3. Enable training and communications.
Although primarily used in the education market, interactive whiteboards are a valuable technology for training and for technical architecture sessions. Also great for presentations to customers and for all sorts of corporate planning, these tools go a long way towards reducing paper consumption in the office.
We’d also want to keep our employees highly connected using a unified communications (UC) solution from Mitel, Microsoft or Avaya. Whether they are in or out of the office, our employees will be easily reachable by voice, email and instant messenger, and be able to easily set up conference calls with other staff members or clients or business partners.
4. Embrace virtualization.
So far, we’ve kept most of our office infrastructure in the cloud, but we’ll still have a few servers left, if only to manage our local network access. These server instances would be virtualized using Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer or VMware vSphere. This gives us great disaster recovery capabilities and lots of flexibility with server configuration for regularly changing business needs.
We’ve managed to cover mobile technology, the cloud, communications and collaboration while moving our business forward. Now, wasn’t that fun?
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