Blogs


2018

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 […]

2018

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
2017

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
2017

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.aspx

Business Intelligence
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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?
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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 […]

2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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 […]

BYOD
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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 […]

Nimbus
2017

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
2017

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
2017

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 […]

SQL Server
2017

Broken SQL, Broken Company: A Client Story

Everyone has head about SQL Server.  We share client stories in the hope that something will spark something, cause someone to take some action, or otherwise turn on a light bulb to alleviate some sort of corporate darkness (ha), and this story is, frankly, filled with corporate darkness – the type of darkness we see […]

client access server
2017

Exchange 2013 | What’s New Client Access Server

One of the many new changes with Exchange Server 2013 is the collapsing of the four roles that made up Exchange Server 2007 and 2010; the fifth role, the Edge Transport role, has been dropped completely from 2013. Similar to the Front End/Back End topology of Exchange 2003, there are now two roles in Exchange […]

Configuration Item
2017

The OpsMan Alert Connector and An Often Over-Looked Step

If you have both Operations Manager and Service Manager in your environment it can be very useful to set up both the Configuration Item (CI) and the Alert Connector. As a result, the CI connector will help build your CMDB, and the Alert Connector will sync your OpsMan alerts to Service Manager, creating incidents for […]

Service Manager
2017

SCSM 2012 – How-To: Relationship Subscriptions

When performing Service Manager implementations, a near-universal request from clients is to have a notification email triggered upon a work item’s assignment changing. As a Service Manager admin, you may or may not already be aware that this functionality is present within Service Manager, however, is unable to be created from within the GUI as […]