Post by: Martin DesRosiers
Posted on: 1/29/2013 12:13:00 AM
Categories: Business;Managed Services
Being an independent IT consultant is a daily grind and presents numerous ongoing challenges. I know this from personal experience as I used to own and operate a small IT consulting firm for 3-years composed of me, myself, and I + a couple of sub-contractors. I want to highlight some of these challenges and extend an open offer for those looking for a change to contact me directly to discuss different possibilities. First let's start with the challenges Your competition The IT consulting space is stacked with competition. Saturated is probably an unfair term, but everyone and their dog seems to label themselves as an IT contractor. You may not have an office and find it difficult to complete even with those that are only a couple of people, let alone the IT companies that are 20+ in strength. You're continually having to adjust your hourly billable rates as contractors try to undercut the competition instead of focusing on the value they offer. Your clients want to turn to you for purchasing equipment and software but you can’t get credit with the major channel distributors. So you’re either opening the door to vendors who could compete within your own accounts or you’re passing through retail pricing to your clients and missing revenue opportunities. It can be tough to always do the best thing for your clients when you don’t have all the options available to you. Growing and building Do you love consulting and managing people at the same time? If most are honest the answer is likely an emphatic "no". It's very hard to go from being a great independent IT consultant to the CEO of your own business with dozens of resources to manage and direct. Maybe you're OK with steady or neutral growth but what does your business and personal security look like over the longer-term? Maintaining your agility You are only one, or you have limited help with your business. How do you scale your business while maintaining positive client relationships? Do you really want to maintain that threshold of juggling a finite number of clients versus accidentally biting off more than you can chew? It's a fine balance between growing your business and effectively servicing your clients. Doing it all on your own can be a stressful, uphill battle. When was the last time you had a truly uninterrupted vacation? So why partner or join forces with Softlanding? We can offer you and your clients many benefits
Team Collaboration; work with a team of seasoned IT professionals and share ideas
Escalation Points; you can seek the help of others when faced with crazy complex IT issues
Vacations; yes, I'm sure you haven't taken one of those in YEARS
Benefits; medical, dental, statutory holidays, sick-days and many other perks are present
Service Levels; Improve service levels and response time with your clients by tapping into a veteran Help Desk
Partnerships; have access to partner and channel benefits
Project Resources; Access to project teams who can provide additional skillsets and solution capabilities to your clients
Personal development; Attend conferences and pursue training, IT certifications, and other personal growth opportunities
If you're an independent IT consultant looking for a change please contact me directly (604-697-6756). I look forward to hearing from you. You don’t always have to go it alone!
Post by: Martin DesRosiers
Posted on: 1/23/2013 11:13:00 PM
Some businesses are obsessed with numbers, so much so that metrics are the only thing that is ever discussed at an operational and strategic level. The problem with this approach is that a key ingredient of business success is missing from these discussions - staff and client satisfaction. If you are solely focused on the numbers and only care about your profit margins then you will become delusional. Over time you become oblivious to the human element of the business and will lose sight of reality which in turn will cost you valuable staff members and precious clients; two resources that you've spent years building and developing. We are not robots, we are living/breathing people with emotions, families, and personal goals. Metrics and the 'numbers' are important but they aren't everything, never lose sight of that fact. Without the hard working people in your company and the great client relationships you form, you have nothing but an idea, a vision, a shell that has the potential to be filled with greatness. Don't forget where you came from, don't lose sight of reality and what's really important if you strip everything away because after all, you wouldn't be here without them. You need to listen, you need to use your 'gut instinct' when it comes to certain business decisions, you need to maintain your finger on the pulse of your staff and clients and know when to take your foot off the pedal and when to push it to the floor. It's not all about the money and the margins and if it is, you will continue to experience attrition and treading water-like growth. At Softlanding we don't ignore the metrics but we don't obsess over them either. We strive to create a workplace that fosters a solid work-life balance and forge long-term positive client relationships. Believe it or not, in the 12 years since we launched, we did no marketing, and our business grew via word of mouth due to positive experience and brand reputation. We value every client engagement and were recently rewarded for our client-centric approach by being one of three Microsoft partners in Canada to be named a Client Experience Award finalist. We have a collaborative approach to business growth and we are transparent with our staff when it comes to the 'numbers' and the overall health of the organization. We seek the input of others and ensure everyone has the ability to contribute. Don't get me wrong, the numbers are important, but what's critical is that we're focused on empowering our people and providing complete value and satisfaction for our clients and staff.
Post by: Paul Bauer
Posted on: 1/22/2013 12:09:00 AM
I ran into a puzzling issue the other day while developing a custom web part - after ajax postbacks via the .net UpdatePanel control, the page title would become completely blank in the browser. Turns out, you may have (like me) formatted your master page such that the ContentPlaceHolder for the page title looked like this
<aspContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server"/>
It looks nice, and the page title seems to display fine in all browsers on initial load. However, after an asynchronous partial postback - for example, the UpdatePanel in my web part, the title completely disappears from the browser title bar!
...Turns out, it's the nice formatting in the Master Page!
If you remove the new lines and tabs, and just put everything in 1 line (like it is in the original v4.master), you will notice that even after posting back via the UpdatePanel, the title remains there no problem.
<title id="onetidTitle"><aspContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server"/></title>
Post by: Bryant Gofsky
Posted on: 1/11/2013 5:03:00 PM
Scenario You set up a Search Service Application in SharePoint 2010. You configure your content sources to crawl your sites. You notice that documents that were created using Word 2007 are not searchable based on their Title. The search crawler picks up the first few words in the document, but not the Title. Impact One of the consequences of this issue is that the quality of your search results will be significantly reduced, especially if many of your documents begin with text that is the same or very similar to every other document (e.g. disclaimers). Because the title is not being crawled for Word 2007 documents, all of the documents with similar beginning text will appear in the search results for any given query, and it will be difficult to distinguish them. Solution The fix for this issue consists in editing the registry on the server that is running the search service application.
Open registry for editing by typing “regedit.exe” in Start > Run
Navigate to the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office Server\14.0\Search\Global\Gathering Manager]
Change the hexadecimal value for EnableOptimisticTitleOverride to 0 (zero) on the right hand side.
Restart SharePoint Search service by typing the following commands in command prompt.
net stop osearch14
net start osearch14
Perform a full crawl
Once the crawl in completed you will be able to search for documents based on their title.
Post by: Bryant Gofsky
Posted on: 1/11/2013 4:53:00 PM
After successfully configuring the User Profile Service Application for your SharePoint farm you are able to successfully sync user profile data from Active Directory. However, after rebooting the SharePoint server you notice that Active Directory user profile changes are no longer being synchronized with SharePoint.
The issue is that the Forefront Identity Manager Synchronization Service is not started on the SharePoint server. This prevents any synchronization with Active Directory.
You may also see the following error in the event logs on the SharePoint server
Ultimately, the issue is related to permissions. At one point during the process, when the Synchronization service is attempting to start, the Network Service account requires access to some files in the SharePoint root (i.e. 14.0 directory). If the account does not have access to these files then the Synchronization service will fail to start.
The solution is to add the Network Service account on the SharePoint server to the WSS_WPG Group. This should resolve the issue.
There are some posts that recommend adding the Network Service account to the administrators group on the server or granting the Network Service account Full Control to the entire SharePoint root. However, these strategies are not aligned with security best practices and are not necessary. Adding the service account to the WSS_WPG group is sufficient to resolve the issue and will not introduce any security issues.
Post by: Bryant Gofsky
Posted on: 1/11/2013 4:38:00 PM
Cache-Control Settings for SharePoint 2010
We can adjust the Cache-Control settings in IIS so that content sent from the _layouts folder will expire sooner than it's default configuration.
In IIS select the _layouts folder within the site that you want to configure. Select ‘HTTP Reponse Headers’
Select ‘Set Common Headers’
You will see that the default configuration is to have Web content expire after 365 days