September News:

On The Calendar Thursday, October 18 - Come join us for a tour of the new state of the art QTS Fort Worth Data Center.  This 300,000 sq. ft. facility is 20 miles from Dallas, has multiple power feeds, 2N redundant cooling, and is carrier-neutral. Download our flyer and register right from our Events page, and take a chance at winning a new iPad! We'll let you know about any additional upcoming 2018 special events through our social media pages, which we'll update on our Events page as they occur. 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.
Microsoft Teams to Replace Skype for Business The Fulcrum Group has enjoyed great success in deploying Office 365 for many of our clients, who count on it every day to get their work done. Microsoft recently announced that the capabilities of Skype for Business would be integrated into Microsoft Teams, delivering a single hub for teamwork, with built-in, fully integrated voice, video, and collaboration. As users are working more collaboratively, Microsoft sees the opportunity to more seamlessly integrate Office 365 communication capabilities into Teams so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts, and content.  Microsoft Teams will also leverage modern cloud features such as AI, Microsoft Graph, and LinkedIn to deliver additional benefits.  And Microsoft is creating new experiences for meetings and calling, including the prep, delivery, and post–follow-ups through Teams. Microsoft has created a roadmap for Teams so customers can assess the capabilities of Teams relative to their needs, and to help plan their migration to Teams. What This Means for Existing Office 365 Customers Microsoft will bring the key set of Skype for Business capabilities in Office 365 into Teams over time along with new voice, video, and meetings innovation. Customers can choose to migrate Skype for Business users when the capabilities meet their requirements. We encourage all Office 365 customers to start using Teams independently or side-by-side with Skype for Business.  If you’re considering migrating to Office 365 E5 to utilize Office 365 as your phone system, you may want to delay that decision to allow Microsoft Teams to mature sufficiently to provide the VOIP/Unified Communications functionality you need. Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager or Fractional CIO for more details on the Microsoft Teams migration process.
  Section 179 Update for 2018 With the passage and signing into law of H.R.1, aka, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there have been a few important changes to the Section 179 tax deduction for businesses, including an increased deduction limit ($1,000,000 for 2018 and beyond), limited on equipment purchases (increased to $2.5 million) as well as increases on bonus depreciation. Our Section 179 resource page will catch you up with all the new changes and provide links to other important resources, including the 2018 tax savings calculator as well as financing options with the Fulcrum Group and our leasing application. Check it out!
SPOTlight On: 3 Fun Facts About Matthew Keiser
  1. Matthew is Fulcrum Group's latest Service Desk Engineer, who comes to us with a special focus on security services.
  2. Favorite activities - spending time with his kids, playing video games, programming and other tech stuff!
  3. Matthew transitioned from a career in the ophthalmic medical field in the US Air Force, even once doing an eye exam on a 3 star general.
Pretty cool - Welcome, Matthew!
  Vistage Executive News - Tie Compensation Plans To KPIs Vistage Executive News Contributed by Dean Ash with 360 Consulting Compensation Plans are one way a company communicates areas of focus for employees.  Whether the compensation plans are paid out as commissions, bonuses, stock, etc., they must be tied to your company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in order to drive the right outcomes for your company. How do you define your company's KPIs? Defining your company’s KPIs starts with developing your company’s annual revenue plan by month, by product and service.  As you project your company’s revenue plan, look at past history, your competitive position, new enhancements, new products, underserved markets, account growth/decline, etc.  This will form the basis of your assumptions that underpin your revenue plan.  It is not uncommon to build 2 or 3 revenue plans based on different assumptions (e.g. base plan, aggressive plan, and stretch plan). Once you have your revenue plan(s), define the cost structure needed to achieve the plan(s).  Look at the resources, capacity, efficiency gains, etc. required to deliver the margins your business needs with the revenue plan(s) assumed.  Add these elements to your assumptions.  You now have the basis for creating your KPIs. How do you turn your assumptions into your company's KPIs? In your assumptions, you will have several elements that are critical to making your annual business plan.  Those elements will often consist of items like revenue, gross margin or net profit.  However, other growth or operational efficiency elements may surface as well.  Growth elements may be upselling existing accounts, acquiring new accounts, and opening new market segments.  Operational efficiency elements may be reducing rework, creating more accurate estimates on bids, delivering tighter scopes of work, improving terms with suppliers, reducing inventory, improving inventory turns, etc. How do you align compensation to your company's KPIs? Look at each employee’s role in your company’s KPIs and develop a compensation plan that rewards that person when the KPI(s) they can affect is achieved.  For instance, your sales representative tasked with growing existing accounts might have her commission plan focused on territory revenue growth and introduction of new offerings to existing accounts.  Your business development representative tasked with new client acquisition might have his compensation plan focused on first year revenue of a new account.  A sales leader might be compensated on revenue and gross margin targets.  An estimator might be compensated on achieving the company’s average gross margins or gross margin dollars.  Your office staff might be compensated on the overall achievement of stated company’s revenue and margin goals as a bonus.  No matter what, the KPIs should be measurable and achievable with the right focus and execution.  In addition, you might consider different levels of bonus or commissions if your aggressive or stretch plans are achieved. How do you communicate the compensation plans?  Every person should have a written compensation plan for the year that clearly articulates their KPIs and the compensation associated with achievement of the plan for that year.  This plan should be signed by both the employee and their supervisor.  This provides a powerful communication vehicle at the beginning of the year and in the quarterly reviews to discuss and reinforce the employee’s progress and areas of focus to achieve the desired KPI(s).  Consistently communicating ongoing progress versus the overall company’s KPIs is critical.  Knowing the score at each inning of the baseball game gives you and the employee enough time to course correct to achieve the desired results. When do you reward the achievement of your company's KPIs? As important as it is to communicate your KPIs and report progress against achieving your KPIs, paying for the achievement of your KPIs in a timely fashion is also crucial.  Payment should occur as close to the achievement as possible.   For employees on less leveraged compensation plans tied to overall company metrics, it might be soon after you close the books on that year.  For employees on more leveraged compensation plans, it might be monthly or quarterly.  Also, remember that the “reward” is more than monetary.  Enthusiastically promoting the successes and individual employee contributions to the successes creates great job satisfaction and loyalty.  This is another reason to make the results achievable with good execution.  However, if the results are not achieved, clearly discuss the reasons why and areas for improvement openly and honestly.  Resist the urge for “participation awards”.
Fulcrum Group Did You Know   Did You Know...Microsoft Teams  Fulcrum Group is a long-time Office 365 partner and can help clients with the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams.  Contact your Account Manager or Fractional CIO to learn more.