Practical Power BI Dashboard Design In 60 Seconds

As one of the premier data visualization tools for the enterprise, Microsoft Power BI can become an indispensable tool. However, to make the most of Power BI, you must first consider your audience. Here are a few tips to help you build the best dashboard for your business. Power BI is a dashboard tool to […]


Microsoft 365: Bringing Intelligent Security To Business

We are living at an Inflection Point. Digital transformation is the biggest change any of us has seen in our lifetime. Companies invest in technology to optimize operations, transform products, engage customers, and empower employees. The challenge is to find a finding the way to empower people to do their best work. This starts with […]

Feature image not available

Resistance Is Futile

Agile development methodologies are well into the Gartner “Scope of Enlightenment” stage, yet are still misunderstood by stakeholders and teams that don’t yet realize the tremendous value that it can bring to an organization.  Historically, there have been distrusting and adversarial relationships between business teams and technology teams. However, these melt away when they collaboratively […]


WEBINAR: Microsoft Power BI Solution for System Center Configuration Manager

Microsoft Power BI Solution for System Center Configuration Manager It is shocking how little the reporting functionality of SCCM is used in many enterprises. The amount of last minute effort a company will expend to obtain basic environmental information is also shocking. There is an extensive amount of data that is stored in the SCCM […]


Agile Transformation For An Insurance Provider

OVERVIEW A large insurance provider in the Northeastern US decided to implement an Agile Transformation initiative across their organization, as part of the implementation of a new policy provisioning system. CHALLENGE The Operations department were using a number of time intensive manual tasks to process client applications.  The Business and IT relationship had grown to […]


Digital Transformation Within Hospitality – A Mobile First Case Study

Digital transformation within the hospitality industry has begun to push innovation in the mobile technology space. As a result, user experience and customer loyalty have become more important than ever before. Customers want to quickly make decisions and act upon them…all while on-the-go. Simple responsive websites are not enough to meet the needs for an […]

Microsoft Recognition

Oakwood Systems Group Earns Microsoft Recognition

The 2014 Partner of the Year Capitalizes on the Growing Demand for Cloud Solutions   January 20, 2015, St. Louis, MO: Oakwood Systems Group, a business and technology consulting firm, has earned a new competency from Microsoft, at the silver level, for the new Cloud Platform. Oakwood is 1 of just 200 partners worldwide to […]

Guy Kawasaki

Interview with Guy Kawasaki on Marketing

Good information shared by arguably one of the industry’s leaders. Interview with Guy Kawasaki on marketing and building a brand. About Oakwood Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   […]

Business Intelligence

Actionable Business Intelligence Is Not A Million Dollar Project

Ever heard the phrase “we have a lot of wood to chop?”  Well, we just realized that Business Intelligence is number one on the CIO “must have” list for the fourth year in a row. What's Going On? It's starting to seem sort of like a “goal weight,” isn't it?  It's something you put on […]

Great IT group

Does Every Organization Need To Be A Best Place to Work?

Do you have a great IT group that is helping to make your company a better place to work?  Here comes the survey so you can sign up your company as the greatest place in the world to work.  Every organization is on a quest to hire and retain the best people, wouldn't you agree?  So […]

Microsoft Licensing Agreement

Another $50K Into the Hopper

Are you up-to-date on Microsoft licensing agreement benefits?  This morning I read another case study about a client who saved a lot of money (around $50K) by replacing a third party tool with a tool that they already owned by virtue of their Microsoft licensing agreement.  In this case, it was replacing the anti-virus solution […]

Service Manager

Do IT Projects Have Organizational Value?

Several team members were discussing Portfolio Management.  We agreed that one of the main tenets of portfolio management is demand management, and the key to making it work is to be able to measure the value of a proposed project to the organization.  This is typically done by assessing the proposed project against organizational targets […]

Social Media Power Outage

Reduce the Cost of Social Media Marketing

I read an article the other day that discussed that “free” social media marketing is a terrific time and money hog in the corporate environment, and my own experience bears that out.  We have developed a new utility that takes a little of the cost out and makes the monitoring and responding to certain social […]

Business Intelligence

Driving the Business with Business Intelligence

Let's talk about business intelligence.  The Oakwood Team is pretty jazzed about the conceptual metaphor: “Driving Your Business with BI”.  The spot-on clarity of the comparison—and how important it relates to the business culture and competitive marketplace we now operate is astonishing. It’s critical to understand the depth of this seemingly obvious observation. Driving Success […]

Six Dollar Haircut

Why Would You Buy a Six Dollar Haircut Anyway?

Ever thought about how nice it would be to get a six dollar haircut?  Let's digress for a minute.  An email arrived this morning with the title “Build a Project Office on SharePoint in 30 Minutes,” and I am so flabbergasted by this concept that I hardly know what to say.  It's just plain wrong. What does […]

sales prevention department

Managing the Sales Prevention Department

Every time a representative of your company interacts with a customer, they could be reassigning themselves to the Sales Prevention Department.  Every time one of your company's processes or systems touches a customer, they could be part of the Sales Prevention Department too.  People need to understand their role in the customer interaction process.  And people who […]

What can Oakwood do for you?

No Competitive Differentiators For Our Custom Development Practice

You probably catch yourself saying to your significant other once or twice a day “So, what can Oakwood do for you?”  We don’t have a unique competitive difference for our custom development practice. We’ve been discussing, arguing, debating, brainstorming, and otherwise dissecting the issue for a long time. During our chats we did make a […]

80/20 Rule

80/20 Spending Rule – Get Better 1% at a Time

80/20.  What exactly are we talking about?  As humans, sometimes we make projects so huge that there's no way to get them done.  “We must reduce our IT maintenance budget by 10% so we have more money to spend on innovation” isn't that much different from the conversation I had with my young neighbor over […]

IT Teams

Mapping the Customer Engagement – Where Does IT Touch? Where Can IT Touch?

Hey IT Teams.  Got an idea.  Grab a piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle of it.  Label it “Customer.”  Now draw lines out from the circle, each line representing the way that a customer can interact with the business. Customer Engagement Now recolor the boxes to represent all of the places where IT […]


Every Person Affects the Bottom Line

“Undercover Boss,” if you haven't seen it, is a TV show where the head of a big organization goes undercover as a worker, learning from his own unknowing employees and discovering where “corporate” may have missed the mark.  It's a cool show, but I wish it were longer than one hour, so we could really […]

Master Data Management

Run, Grow, Transform. Why Master Data Management is Important.

Building a strong foundation makes it easier to build a strong house.  If you don't have a Master Data Management (MDM) strategy in place, it will cost you more time and more money to deploy solutions that rely on your data – and you might be surprised at where some of those costs are incurred. […]

Leveraging Azure

Leveraging Azure for Disaster Recovery & Cold Storage

Disaster Recovery (DR) has long been a difficult challenge in any data center. Historically, the options have been manual processes, or, automated processes that have typically placed expensive constraints on the limited supply of resources available in the organization. The most common approach we've seen is a set of libraries backing up volumes of data to a tape […]

Gold Competency

Oakwood Earns Sixth Gold Competency – Messaging

Oakwood Systems Group announces that it has earned its sixth Gold Competency from Microsoft, in Messaging.  Microsoft competencies showcase the company's capabilities in specific areas of technology knowledge, with Gold being the highest level attainable.  Each Gold Competency requires a minimum of four professionals with relevant Microsoft certification, and a minimum of five competency-specific Microsoft references. […]

Upgrade Your SQL Server

When Was the Last Time You Upgraded SQL Server?

Upgrade your SQL Server.  But how?  It’s kind of like that college class you hated but was necessary to take in order to graduate. The homework was awful so you kept putting it off until the last minute.  In the case of SQL Server, you may have systems that are 5 or even 10 years […]


Bring Your Own Device | What’s The Big Deal?

BYOD, or bring your own device, is a reflection of another term-of-the-day, “the consumerization of IT.”  While they aren’t 100% the same, the two terms are frequently used interchangeably.  For clarity, here’s how we define the two: Consumerization of IT The junction of consumer-targeted computing devices and corporate requirements.  An IT organization may choose to […]

BI Implementation

Avoid the High-Wire Act During BI Implementation

In many clients we see the fine art of BI implementation is a challenge similar to a high-wire act, avoiding a fiscal cliff or landing a person on the moon. The adage that “things worth doing are never easy” holds true, especially with BI. Doing nothing may be the absolute wrong thing to do also. Truth […]

Infrastructure Operations

The Problem with Infrastructure Operations Managing Applications

For many organizations, infrastructure operations are responsible for running hardware infrastructure associated with the application platform.  The application manager is in charge of managing the application, which includes functional configurations that support all of the underlying business processes.  Most of the time, the application owners are responsible for user management, security, staying on top of […]


Assessing Cloud Value – The Nimbus Framework

Talking today about Nimbus.  Hey, don't freak out!  We are only talking about the cloud.  One of the most frequent questions we are asked about the cloud, and specifically Azure, is the standard “What's in it for me?”  While this is a good question, the only answer that is consistently accurate is “It depends… why […]

Backup Protocols

Why “Backup” is Becoming a Dirty Word

A very interesting topic we like to chat about is backup protocols.  Are you excited?  Here is what happened.  A robust conversation took place this morning on the topic of “backup,” after one of our clients put out a call for help.  They can no longer complete their backups during the agreed-upon backup window, and […]

Office 365 Email

MS Office 365 – It May Be Time To Look

Wondering about Office 365 benefits.   Time to consider it?  We agree!  And, we have you covered.  Let's jump into the world of online applications.  It hasn't been without challenges.  The launch of Business Productivity Online Suite, or BPOS, may have been too much, too fast, considering that it was seemingly fast-tracked in response to the […]