April News:

On The Calendar Fulcrum Group Wins Digium Pinnacle Partner Award 2017We hope you didn't miss the good news that The Fulcrum Group was acknowledged for the 5th time with the prestigious Digium Pinnacle Partner Award for 2017. Find out more here. Come out and see The Fulcrum Group on Wednesday, April 26th in Las Colinas at the Irving Convention Center for InnoTech Dallas/SharePoint TechFest.  We're in booth #212 - stop by and chat with us, and ready your best putt for a fun freebie! Registration is complimentary and we invite you to join us. USE DISCOUNT CODE FULCRUM7C to receive complimentary admission to InnoTech Dallas or 20% off any special event. On April 19th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the DFW Business Intelligence Community meeting focus will be how you can use Power BI to take your data to the next level and use it to make an impact in your organization, what Power BI offers, and show how it can integrate with your existing infrastructure.  More info, and link to RSVP on our Events page. Our April Webinar - 8 Tips For Successfully Managing Your IT Vendors - will be Thursday, April 20th from 10:00 - 10:30 a.m.  RSVP today - afterward, you can expect to receive an Outlook calendar appointment with all relevant details inside. If you missed our March webinar, 5 Steps For Improving Email Security, we hope you'll check it out.  You can access the presentation here. This webinar spotlights how to help ensure your email communications are as secure as possible.  Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us. If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.
8 Tips For Successfully Managing Your  IT Vendors One of the most time-consuming tasks in day-to-day IT is the managing of 3rd party IT vendors.  This includes everything from software vendors to telecom vendors, Internet Service Providers, to Cloud Service Providers, as well as third party IT contractors. Not managing your vendors can end up costing you more than it should to operate your IT environment and could even increase your IT security risks. Here are 8 tips that can help you that will be expanded on in our upcoming webinar later this month: Tip 1 – Start a complete list of your various IT operating vendors. When you have issues, you want to have all the details for someone ahead of time. Tip 2 – Cultivate a relationship with vendors. Proactively reach out to close vendors prior to major changes and they usually will respond sooner. Tip 3 – Speak your vendor’s language. When you are working with an IT vendor, it helps to speak their language and use their terminology. Tip 4 – Manage your vendors to lower your costs. Regularly review invoices, review scope of services received and possibly renegotiate prices to help lower costs. Tip 5 – Measure your vendors to ensure they meet their contract terms and service level agreements. Vendors that meet their contract terms and service level agreements will provide better value to your business. Tip 6 - Identify the gaps in your IT vendors and their service offerings. Gaps in your IT delivery can represent risk to your business.  Tip 7 - Manage your IT vendor budget AND hype. New prospective IT vendors may promise a lot in their sales pitch.  Tip 8 - Avoid spending all of your IT vendor budget. Be sure to keep some annual budget funds in reserve to cover emergencies that inevitably arise. Our upcoming webinar, 8 Tips for Successfully Managing Your IT Vendors, will explore these ideas more thoroughly, which will help you ensure you're getting the most value from your 3rd party IT vendors. Don't miss it - RSVP today!
What The Recent FCC Privacy Rules Repeal Means For You

While this move may help level the playing field for businesses competing in the digital world, our sensitive data is as safe as it hasn't already been up to this point.

Confused on the ramifications of all this - or know anyone who is...? Business Insider has a very thorough analysis of what the recent FCC Privacy Ruling means for you and me. Its a good read.

SPOTlight On: Josh Shepherd The Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Outsourcing Here's 3 fun facts from Fulcrum Group's newest Help Desk Engineer, Josh:
  1. I’m a huge anime fan. Still a kid at heart! I find I’m not alone in that regard since I’ve been working at Fulcrum, it’s become sort of an ice-breaker for me.
  2. I like to cook. Just throwing things together and making something really good (or sometimes not so good). It’s a creative outlet.
  3. I like learning new and challenging things. Whether in IT or in life in general, I enjoy learning new things because I tend to pick up and retain information easily. I'm constantly on the lookout for more things to add to my bag of “tricks."
Sounds like Josh is a good add to the Fulcrum bag of tricks, too.  Welcome, Josh!
  More Than Tech Tips: Driving Success Through Employee Happiness Tech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Provider

Contributed by Tiana Curtis

Anybody familiar with the phrase, "Happy wife, happy life"...? For business owners, a similar saying rings true - “Happy employees, happy work life.” Over the past few years, more companies and researchers have put a focus on the correlation between employee happiness and client satisfaction. CEOs and business owners and managers are measuring just how much influence happy employees affects their bottom line, according to recent Gallup poll results.

A recent article by Robert Wagner at Forbes.com has taken a deeper look at the current statistics. Wagner found “the strongest links between employee happiness and business outcomes occur over the long term and behind the scenes” (pg. 2). The strongest links between employee happiness and business outcomes occur over the long term and behind the scenes. Not surprisingly, turns out innovation flourishes in supportive, transparent, healthy, cool, high-recognition environments. The correlation between employee happiness and innovation is nearly twice as strong as the correlation with customer focus. Only 6% of those who strongly disagree they are happy in their current job say it brings out their best ideas. Among those happiest at work, the proportion spikes to 82%.

The other large correlation found was between happiness and turnover rate. With high turnover rate, companies must spend more time on finding and training new employees and are therefore less able to focus on their customers. Both innovation and turnover ratio can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.

The bottom line to this idea? A sharp focus turned on employee satisfaction can help give a company an edge over its competitors by encouraging innovative thinking and reducing costly turnovers. With the right focus, companies will be able to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers in today’s economy.

Just for fun, here's some of the ways The Fulcrum Group encourages a positive company culture:

  • We're a transparent group.  At every monthly company-wide meeting, we provide a snapshot of Fulcrum Group financials which are shared and discussed.
  • We encourage a fun climate during the workday. From quarterly themes that are complemented by different degrees of wacky and almost-always-relevant decor, to motivational rewards for measurable results (such as sports outings or fun gift cards), we're a group who appreciates the value in having a positive, fun work environment.
  • We encourage a fun climate after the workday with various social activities ranging from cookouts to arcade nights.
What do you do to encourage a positive environment for your employees?  Let us know on our Facebook page!
  Did You Know...IT Vendor ManagementThe Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Outsourcing Managed Services Fulcrum Group SPOT Managed IT Services includes IT vendor management?  Our main article, above, has more info on what kind of impact this can make on your business. Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager via email or at 817-337-0300 for more details.