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CDW 'Project Upgrade' Contest Helps Small Businesses Grow

TMCnews Featured Article


September 22, 2008

CDW 'Project Upgrade' Contest Helps Small Businesses Grow

By Barkha Bathwal, TMCnet Contributor


CDW (News - Alert) Corporation, a provider of technology products and services for business, government and education, announced three grand-prize winners of its first-ever Project Upgrade Technology Makeover Contest.

 
The winners included a music recording group, a child care provider, and a law practice. Each winner will receive a complete information technology (IT) makeover tailored to meet its business needs, with top-of-the-line products and solutions from HP, Intel (News - Alert) and Microsoft. Small offices — businesses with 50 or fewer employees — submitted entry forms describing their current technology capabilities, future goals and why they should be selected to win the technology makeover qualified for the contest.
 
According to the CDW Small Business Driver’s Seat Report, the growth period of a company from 50 to 100 employees is a time of dynamic and often dramatic IT evolution. Many times, the IT systems that small businesses use are inadequate to meet the demands of a burgeoning business at this level, so upgraded solutions are necessary to maximize IT capabilities.
 
“Up-to-date technology is necessary to remain competitive and drive business growth, but small businesses often operate on limited budgets and have little or no professional IT support,” said  Maria Sullivan, CDW vice president for small business sales, in a statement. “In fact, the recent CDW Small Business Driver’s Seat study showed that only 15 percent of small businesses have a dedicated IT professional or department. Through Project Upgrade, we are able to deliver cutting-edge IT solutions to three impressive small businesses that have grown and excelled within their industries but are challenged to keep up with technology evolution.”
 
Sullivan added: Through the contest, we are also able to demonstrate business-transforming solutions that are readily available and quickly pay for themselves through accelerated business growth and productivity.”
 
Ranked No. 39 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, CDW is a provider of technology solutions for business, government and education. CDW was founded in 1984 and as of June 30, 2008 employed approximately 6,700 coworkers. In 2007, the company generated sales of $8.1 billion.
 
CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs, technology specialists who offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers can assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. The company aims at notebooks, desktops, printers, servers and storage, unified communications, security, wireless, power and cooling, networking, software licensing and mobility solutions.
 
Spring Hill Music Group, a music recording company with international retail and digital distribution through EMI Christian Music Group and Word Entertainment/WEA, focuses on digital media and online direct marketing using a wide array of communication tools, such as database management, direct-to-consumer marketing, Web marketing and online ordering, inventory management, MP3 marketing techniques and account reconciliation.
 
To support daily business operations and the ability to process large digital files, the company needs an advanced and reliable IT infrastructure. However, traditional database management systems, network servers, desktop computers, unavailability of reliable firewall solution and   multiple Apple (News - Alert) computers that do not conform to current IT policies or capabilities have caused data latency and bottlenecking. Overall, this leaves the business’ communication equipment susceptible to network intrusion and compromises.
 
CDW will present alternative solutions that can best address Spring Hill Music Group’s IT challenges, such as new servers, updated operating systems, firewall software and assistance implementing the solutions it selects as well.
 
“As a pre-existing CDW customer, I was looking for ways to better our processes,”  said Mark Nelson, system administrator for Spring Hill Music Group. “This contest looked like a terrific opportunity for our company and seemed like an ideal fit for us. This increase in technology only prepares us for further market growth. The replacement of some of our most critical elements in our network will ensure better performance and data integrity, which will lead to increased business performance and less downtime.”
 
Little Mittens Ltd. Child Care Centers, is a growing childcare facility that provides attention, guidance and care to 160 children daily. The business faces challenges because of donated computers that are out of date, operate on multiple platforms, break down regularly and do not have adequate Internet filters to provide secure online access for students, the laborious and time consuming attendance process, obsolete accounting programs that have led to significant challenges with payment and receipt processing. The business needs multiple, user friendly solutions to increase the physical and IT security of its classrooms.
 
To enhance the classroom environment and provided added security, CDW will present options such as security cameras and attendance software to track student safety; new computers with student-focused applications and Web site filters; and accounting solutions to efficiently manage financial operations.
 
Julie Metten, president and owner of Little Mittens Childcare Centers, said: “We entered the contest because there must be an easier solution to our current IT environment. We have had to rely on parents and their general computer know-how for the minimal IT support we receive, so we are extremely grateful and honored to have won. The new IT solutions we would like to implement will give our older children safe and reliable computers to complete homework on, parents easy access to their children’s records, and will offer me the opportunity to step away from back office duties and spend more time in the classroom.”
 
Cain Hibbard Myers & Cook, PC, a full-service law firm experienced in a wide range of practice areas, is at this critical juncture, with 19 attorneys and 28 support staff on its roster. The firm suffers due to outdated IT infrastructure, inadequate document management system, obsolete servers that take up more space and use more energy than virtualization solutions available today. The company needs IT solutions that will support the expansion of the law firm and fuel business growth.
 
CDW suggests that the firm implement server virtualization solutions that consolidate the number of servers, thereby freeing up space and reducing energy costs, as well as new storage and document management solutions.
 
“The firm was so excited when we found out about the Project Upgrade win because we have reached a point where our growth is presenting IT challenges,” said Patricia Sokolowski, network administrator at Cain Hibbard Myers & Cook. “We need user friendly solutions that will streamline IT procedures and staff workflow. As a law firm, security and user access are critical but have been difficult to manage because we have to meet not only our own industry requirements but also the requirements in each of our clients’ industries as well. With an updated document management solution, we will be able to manage and access every aspect of a client’s case from anywhere and at any time, via e-mails, scanned documents, PDF files, or other materials ”
 
CDW solutions teams and product specialists will provide onsite assessments to identify technologies that may meet each winner’s specific technology needs, and will provide full installation support of solutions that the winners select, thus helping the winning small businesses boost productivity and efficiency, improve their end-user experience and make them models of the 21st-century office.
 

INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO West 2008 — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year — concluded Thursday in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of attendees flocked to the event for three valuable days of exhibits, conferences and networking opportunities. Mark your calendar now for ITEXPO East 2009, February 2-4, 2009, in sunny Miami, Florida.
 
Read archived editions of Show Daily eNewsletters from ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2008 here. See you in February!


Barkha Bathwal is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Barkha's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Mae Kowalke







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