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Using Microsoft datacenters as an integral part of your Disaster Recovery Plan:
Free hands-on event
Do you want to learn about new disaster recovery options from Microsoft experts?
Have you been putting off trying new technology due to time pressures or not knowing where to start?
Do you think your disaster recovery strategy would benefit from a refresh?
Have you considered refreshing your servers in the cloud instead of a hardware refresh?
If you answer yes to any of the above we may be able to help.
Your Microsoft IT Pro subject matter experts are coming to a city near you over the next couple of months to provide education on disaster recovery. You will see demos and walk through hands on labs on the elements Microsoft provides to support a disaster recovery strategy.
The content is delivered in a fun, educational way, what’s more we will even provide a free Azure pass to ensure it’s not costing you to learn with Azure.
Attend the event and you will learn:
How to replicate virtualized workloads to Microsoft's global data centers
How to backup data and protect workloads with nearly infinite scalability
How to implement a hybrid replication utilizing both cloud and on premise
How to do back up without needing to buy more tape
Backing up your Windows clients (including Windows 10) to remote storage
Dates and locations:
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
San Francisco, CA
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Wednesday, October 6, 2015
Thursday, October 7, 2015
New York, NY
Friday, October 8, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
Click here to register: TechNet on Tour
We look forward to seeing you at one of the events above.
The IT Pro team.
IT organizations have been asking this question for 20 years, if not more. Yet with all the advancements in technology, business intelligence and executive leadership skills, why hasn’t this question been put to rest?
The factors hindering IT’s efforts in this area have shifted over time, but over the last several years, the race to answer this question has become all the more urgent as a viable, competitive landscape of IT services has emerged. The reality is that IT organizations today must compete for their businesses’ business. This is due to not only to an increasingly self-sufficient and tech-savvy user base, but also to the widespread availability, affordability and ease of implementing X-aaS solutions such as software, infrastructure and storage as a service. The end result is that the business frequently makes its own technology decisions and procures its own solutions—further marginalizing the IT organization in the process.
So the question has shifted from “How can IT improve its standing within the business” to “How can IT improve its standing within a competitive landscape?”
Unfortunately, IT has historically done a poor job of promoting itself and positioning itself as a strategic partner to the business. But this is exactly what IT must do in order to stay relevant.
In fact, it sounds like a job for marketing. Yes, marketing!
The Value Proposition
In order to change the perception of IT’s role within the organization, it’s necessary to employ some fundamental marketing techniques to develop and communicate the IT department’s “value proposition.” A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, and that value is determined by the recipient, not the provider. In the case of IT, we may do a terrific job delivering services to the business, but if our customers do not believe those services solve their problems and make their lives easier, then we provide no value to them.
Do you have a value proposition? Does it describe what you offer and why what you offer is useful? Why should the business use your services and not the myriad of cloud-based services available to them?
To develop your value proposition, you must thoroughly understand your business consumers’ needs, wants and behaviors. This means getting to know your users and how they interact with the technology you support. For example, providing time for service desk analysts to get away from their desks to observe how salespeople use the CRM application can provide key insight about how to better support users. Riding along with field service technicians can give analysts a deeper appreciation of the urgency of incidents related to the field service management application. Conducting this type of ethnographic research can position your IT team to alleviate pain and position your group as an enabling partner.
Once your team has defined its value proposition, you can work to change perception by taking a page from the “pragmatic marketing” playbook and actively demonstrating—and relentlessly communicating—the value your team provides. Yes, you absolutely have to stabilize and support IT services, but you can’t stop there; the IT service desk can be a strategic channel that lies at the intersection of IT and the business. Empowering the function that interacts with your business users each and every day can go a long way toward shifting the conversation.
One of the bigger misconceptions among IT organizations is that the business user base is a single, homogeneous entity, and that non-IT employees have the same level of technology acumen (or lack thereof!) and practices. The truth is, the business does not have a single user type; to the contrary, it may have 50 or more. Understanding that employees have not only different levels of comfort with technology, but also have different use cases, can help the IT organization understand how better to support and deliver IT services. This is where persona management comes in.
For instance, knowing that Frances in accounting is a technology novice in all areas outside of Microsoft Excel can be useful in helping her troubleshoot and resolve an issue. Furthermore, knowing that all of Frances’ issues (regardless of what the service portfolio says) are mission critical when it comes to closing out the fiscal quarter is an important data point in prioritizing incidents. The same goes for your middle-aged account exec road warrior, your millennial contact center representative, and your baby boomer executive VP. Navigating these different roles can be tricky, but understanding these personas, along with their unique pains, goals and objectives, can pay a major role in helping the IT organization craft and deliver on its value proposition. You can start understanding and developing personas through surveys and focus groups if those resources are available to you.
Having been the sole provider of IT services to this point, IT has become accustomed to providing online experiences that are more aligned with its own needs that with those of the consumer. Take IT self-service portals, for example, which have historically failed to deliver on the promise of reduced IT labor intensity and improved customer satisfaction. The success of IT self-service depends largely on the user’s desire to self-resolve, regardless of how easy IT makes it. Why else would password reset still be the number one IT service desk contact type, despite the wide availability of password reset solutions?
Where IT organizations have fallen short is in creating self-service “experiences” that are aligned with your business culture and personas. Your users may not expect an Amazon-like experience for IT, but utilization data might tell you they don’t want your stuffy portal either. A/B testing is a systematic, data-driven process that helps marketers test alternative treatments of a web site (or other marketing mediums) to see how various factors influence response rate. Under this model, each version of the web site introduces a variation in layout, messaging, imagery, button style or any other attribute the marketer wants to test. Two versions of the site are run concurrently (unbeknownst to the user), and analysis is conducted across a sample of users to see which version of the site performs more favorably.
IT can use a similar technique to gain an understanding of how the self-service portal can be changed to drive more usage—and ultimately, improved customer satisfaction. Work with alternative versions of your IT self-service portal and see which one(s) resonate with your user base. Generally speaking, the layout should be clean, easy to navigate and, if possible, capture user context to improve the experience. If promoting usage of your self-service portal is a high priority but you don’t have in-house expertise or resources to drive changes, consider investing in a third-party UX design/usability firm.
Embrace Peer-to-Peer Communities
Traditionally, IT organizations have embraced phone, email and chat as their primary support channels. However, social media—specifically peer-to-peer communities—has not be widely regarded as a viable channel. This thinking needs to change.
A peer-to-peer community can be a dynamic interaction hub where people—including members of the IT organization—can share ideas, provide support and offer suggestions. One specific benefit to the IT organization is that “super-users” within the business can share their knowledge with a wider number of users. For example, when the person most knowledgeable about Salesforce.com is a seasoned sales representative, his willingness to share tips and tricks likely only benefits his closest colleagues who ask him for this type of assistance. Peer-to-peer support allows this kind of assistance to scale by providing him the means to “write once – answer many.” It also enables IT to manage (not police) the community and ensure the information exchanged is vetted for accuracy, provides value and doesn’t put the IT infrastructure at risk.
P2P communities leverage social software tools like Yammer and Jive to let members connect. If your organization uses these types of tools, it’s very likely the conversation about IT has already started. If not, it’s not too late to get in there!
In summary, IT is sitting on a gold mine of assets and intelligence that the proverbial competitive landscape will never possess, including: 1) proximity to and familiarity with the unique needs of its users, 2) a fundamental understanding of the inner workings of the business from a technology perspective, and 3) the broader business’ strategic goals and objectives. If harnessed strategically, this information can be used to position IT as the solution provider of choice. And while IT may not always be the provider of the business “technology,” it can (and should) act as the broker of those capabilities – maintaining its power to decide whether to buy, build or partner.
The above list is by no means an exhaustive list of marketing practices IT can leverage to increase business/IT engagement. But these methods are both practical and affordable, and will give you a great start for demonstrating IT’s value to the business—and changing overall perception of IT’s role within the organization.
For further reading, see the following resources:
How to Effectively Market Your IT Service Desk
7 Essentials that Raise IT’s Value to the Business
Author bio: Jarod Greene is the Vice President of Product Marketing for Cherwell Software, a leader in IT service management (ITSM) and business enablement solutions. As a former Gartner analyst, Jarod Greene spent ten years covering the ITSM industry, with a focus on processes, organizational structure and enabling technologies.
A Tour of Azure for IT Pros
As part of an extended AngelBeat gathering, the evangelists at Microsoft will be delivering a tour of the Microsoft Azure platform. This extended session is aimed at IT Pros who want to get hands on with Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. The evangelists will show:
· Running Virtual Machines in Azure
· Using the Azure gallery for pre-defined virtual machines
· Capturing Virtual Machine
· Setting up Virtual Networks
· Setting up storage in the cloud
· Backing up an Azure Virtual Machine (currently in preview)
This session is ideally aimed at those that want to learn about Azure from a technical perspective, it’s not designed to be hands on but if delegates wanted to bring their own subscriptions to the event then they would be welcome to follow along.
It's free to sign up:
We look forward to seeing you there!
The US IT Pro Team
Spend the day with over a hundred of your closest IT buddies and learn how to get your organization hybrid-ready at this exclusive, FREE, Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Workshop: Ignite Edition. Learn how to move your IT workloads from on-premises to the cloud and back again. Just to sweeten the deal, everyone who attends will receive a $100 Microsoft Store voucher. We’ll also host a free after-event cocktail hour where you can mingle, sip and talk shop with your peers. Sign up here: http://aka.ms/MonsterITCamp
From time to time, you may have an opportunity to attend one of our in-person events - IT Camp. Lately these events focus on using Microsoft Azure, particularly using the Infrastructure as a Service components, Virtual Machines, to extend or supplement your existing on-prem infrastructure. During these events you have the opportunity to try out Azure with our hands-on lab guide. For those of you who haven't had a chance to attend an event yet or maybe you just want to share the labs with a colleague, here is the version of the labs we will be using this Spring!
The goal of labs 1-3 is to show you how Azure and PowerShell can be used to perform familiar tasks while reducing the need for using a GUI tool or a web interface. Using the lab manual and scripts referenced within it, you will set up core Azure components for your cloud infrastructure, including storage accounts, networking and cloud services. Then you will deploy a traditional Active Directory infrastructure using PowerShell for managing Azure and remotely connect to the VMs to configure Active Directory. Finally, you will use that AD infrastructure to sync with Azure Active Directory and activate Multifactor Authentication features.
With Lab 4, you will use a single script to automate the deployment of a SQL Server and a Web Server to host an application. With minimal adjustments to the script (for uniqueness), you can experience the power behind reusable code in your organization.
Download the lab and get started!
Did you love the Hybrid Cloud Blog Series? Do you wish you could learn more in person? Get hybrid-ready at a free IT Camps in California, Florida and Tennessee next week!
Join us for this interactive, full-day training session and learn how to move your workloads from on-premises to the cloud and back again. You'll see how Microsoft Azure supports powerful virtualization, on-demand application scaling, complete data control, and the fastest customer response times around. Get the scoop from a technical evangelist who can show you how to expand your IT options without adding complexity – or giving yourself a headache in the process. Here are just a few of the topics we'll cover:
Don't miss one of these valuable, free events – regardless of whether you're new to the cloud, or you currently use an on-premises, hybrid or fully cloud-based solution. All IT Pros are welcome! Sessions run from 9:00am - 4:00pm. Attendance is limited, so save your seat today.
Not close enough for you? Let us know in the comments and don't forget to check out the full blog series on Azure and the Hybrid Cloud for the IT Pro.
Did you blink and miss it? Last Friday was the end of the most recent blog series for IT Pros - on Hybrid Cloud! The results were several great step-by-step guides by Kevin Remde, Dan Stolts and Blain Barton. Find them below and check out the entire 15-post series.
If you've been following along since week one, you know this series is quickly coming to a close. Don't fall behind this week! So far, week three has brought three step-by-step guides and a Jump Start to Azure certification.
Today brings Week Two of the Hybrid Cloud for IT Pros Blog Series to a close. This week, we've brought you topics on network connectivity, migration and remote access. If you haven't had a chance to dig in, you can quickly catch up right here! Check back next week as we touch on more migration, identity and automation. Also, don't miss out on the great posts from Week One - see the full series of posts for those!
Networking functionality can be one of the make it or break it components of your hybrid cloud deployment. Over the last two weeks, Yung Chou and Tommy Patterson have covered a lot of what you need to make the planning and adoption of a hybrid cloud with Azure a seamless part of your on-premises infrastructure. Check out all the posts here:
Find the full list of posts from the entire series so far at http://aka.ms/HybridCloudforITPro
Our second week of the Hybrid Cloud for the IT Professional blog series starts off with Tommy Patterson bringing us more about Azure Virtual Networks with two installments of Connectivity to the Datacenter from Azure. Part One is available today, check back tomorrow for Part Two.
If you need more of a primer for Azure Networking, check out Yung Chou's post from earlier in the series. For the full list of posts in this series so far, visit http://aka.ms/HybridCloudforITPro.
Today brings Week One of the Hybrid Cloud for IT Pros Blog Series to a close. For today, Jennelle Crothers explains the differences between the various redundancy options in Azure storage. If you haven't had a chance to check out all the posts for this week, here is the list:
Over the next three weeks, the US IT Pro Evangelists will be running a blog series on extending your datacenter with Azure. The "cloud" has become the next great location to host some (or all) of your IT infrastructure and there is a lot of "what-ifs" and "how-tos" that can make it complex. With this series, we hope to shed some light on some of the more common usage scenarios and concerns you might be coming across as you explore how the cloud can work for the organization you support.
Look forward to posts from Yung Chou, Dan Stolts, Kevin Remde, Tommy Patterson, Blain Barton, Jessica DeVita and myself as we cover topics including infrastructure services, backup solutions, networking fundamentals and connectivity, remote access, SQL Server, Multifactor Authentication, Azure certification and more! This post will list the summary of all the post titles and links.
Azure Storage Redundancy Options
Today in Part 3 of the blog series, Kevin Remde show us how to extend your existing Active Directory infrastructure to the cloud with a step-by-step guide - AD Domain Controllers in the Azure... You Bet!
If you missed the earlier posts this week or need a primer in getting started with Azure for IaaS, check out Yung Chou's Azure IaaS 101 and 102 Fundamentals.
Today marks the conclusion of our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series. Over the past 6 weeks we've walked through the process of assessing our current environment, planning and architecting our new environment with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure, and then migrating existing server workloads to our new Hybrid Cloud infrastructure.
As you continue through your own server migrations, the following additional resources will be helpful to continue your Hybrid Cloud learning on Microsoft Virtual Academy ...
In addition, as technical questions arise during your migrating planning, feel free to reach out to our team of US-based IT Pros if we can assist with additional guidance and resources.
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, follow along with Dan Stolts as he provides an overview of the various options and considerations for migrating existing SQL Server databases to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, along with step-by-step examples.
READ DAN'S ARTICLE HERE!
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Blain Barton is back to walk us through using the Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment Assistant tool to define a step-by-step checklist for migrating legacy Exchange Servers to Office 365.
READ BLAIN'S FULL ARTICLE HERE!
Lots of organizations may have web servers running on Windows Server 2003 today. With End-of-Support for Windows Server 2003 quickly approaching on July 14, 2015, your migration plan should include migrating these web servers to either Windows Server 2012 R2 or Microsoft Azure Websites. Migration of existing web applications can involve several considerations, but there's also tools available to help streamline this process. When migrating to Azure Websites, you can also benefit from new capabilities that you may not currently have today, such as improved availability, a financially-backed Service Level Agreement, one-click scalability, and a super-easy way of managing roll-forward and roll-back of web application or web site changes.
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Blain Barton walks us through the steps for migrating existing web sites and web applications to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure. Along the way, he also explores tools, such as the Azure Websites Migration Assistant, that can help accelerate your migration steps.
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Tommy Patterson is back again to help us with options for easily migrating existing legacy file servers to Windows Server 2012 R2.
Join Tommy as he explains leveraging tools such as Distributed File Servers (DFS) namespaces, Robocopy, and the Server Migration Tools kit to quickly move and modernize Server Message Block (SMB) file server workloads to Windows Server 2012 R2. When considering moving SMB shared folders to the Microsoft Azure public cloud, be sure to also check out this article from Jessica DeVita on our new Azure Files cloud platform feature.
READ TOMMY'S FULL ARTICLE HERE!
Windows Server 2003 End-of-Support is quickly approaching on July 14th, 2015 ... does your organizations still have Windows Server 2003 servers running key infrastructure services, such as Active Directory, DNS and DHCP? The process for migrating these key services to Windows Server 2012 R2 may be easier than you think!
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Tommy Patterson steps through the general process for migrating Active Directory, DNS and DHCP services from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2. Along the way, he also provides links to additional helpful tools and resources.
In today's episode of our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Blain Barton and Tommy Patterson discuss how to get started migrating server workloads to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure. Join us for this great session on server migration from on-premises to the cloud or a combination of both. Learn which option is best for your organization as well as what tools are available to make this process as efficient as possible.
Watch this video online or Download for offline viewing.
WATCH THIS FULL EPISODE HERE!
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Dan Stolts steps through the configuration of System Center 2012 R2 for monitoring workloads cross-premises in the Hybrid Cloud.
From Dan's article: "Hybrid Cloud monitoring tools give us the capability of seeing ALL of our application workloads: on-premises machines, virtual machines and even all of our cloud infrastructure. Not only can we see how they are doing and anticipate failure, but we can audit (track who changed what) and even evaluate performance. By seeing our complete hybrid infrastructure, we can proactively make sure it all stays running to meet our SLAs and we keep our jobs and prosper ..."
READ DAN'S FULL ARTICLE HERE!
Make it so! Traditional configuration management of server and application workloads can be complicated. In the past, configuration management has often required us to build and maintain lots of scripts with complex conditional logic to handle all possible states of a server when deploying a new configuration to it. PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) simplifies configuration management in the Hybrid Cloud by defining a declarative description of the end-state of our servers. DSC automatically determines which components needed to be added, removed or updated based on the current state of servers to which this definition is applied. What's more, DSC can be leveraged across your Hybrid Cloud to provide a consistent approach for managing the configuration of on-premises hosts, virtual machines, application roles and public cloud fabrics!
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, Kevin Remde steps through leveraging PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) to define the configuration of a server, apply that configuration, and then periodically verify (and remediate, if necessary) that the configuration is still in-place.
READ KEVIN'S FULL ARTICLE HERE!
When migrating to Hybrid Cloud, developing automated standards for provisioning and managing application workloads is key to accelerating the predictable deployment of new business solutions. As you begin developing scripts and workflows, being able to do so with consistency across on-premises datacenters and public cloud platforms is important to promote reusability and agility when migrating these workloads.
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, follow along with Yung Chou and I as we walk through the steps to get started with Windows PowerShell and the Azure PowerShell module for automating both Azure Pack private clouds and Microsoft Azure public clouds via the tenant service management API. We'll provide PowerShell code snippets so that you can easily try this out in your own Hybrid Cloud, too!
READ THIS COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE!
In today's article in our Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series,we’ll step through the process of setting up Windows Azure Pack for provisioning and delegating on-demand private clouds. Along the way, we’ll call out specific details that you'll find helpful to successfully build your own private cloud lab environment.
Service Management Portal in Windows Azure Pack
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE!
Be sure to check out these additional resources: