Supporting your IT infrastructure

February 26, 2013

Technology is the backbone for most businesses today.  Chances are your organization could not function without the technological infrastructure that enables all of your day to day business activities.  You may rely on a network, a server, a database, an application, or any combination therein; but the bottom line is you and your business are completely reliant on a fully functioning, bug free IT infrastructure.

 

Unfortunately, it is not easy to maintain your technological infrastructure.  There are always a laundry list of problems... bugs, updates, outages, and a wide host of other hiccups that hinder your ability to work at peak efficiency.  Depending on the complexity of your technology needs, you may need an individual or an entire department to manage your IT infrastructure.

 

Astir IT Solutions, Inc. has the expert IT resources you need to properly manage your IT infrastructure.  We can provide you with a single IT consultant, staff an entire team, or take the helm on your infrastructure projects from conception to completion.  Astir has over 10 years of experience providing our Fortune 500 clients with the perfect IT resources, and we would love to support your organization.

 

Feel free to give me a call at (908) 279-8670 ext. 704 so we can discuss your IT infrastructure needs.

 

Best Regards,

Bob Markowitz

Executive Vice President

Astir IT Solutions, Inc.

Astir IT, Blog, Consulting, Recent Posts

Are Technical Skills Enough?

July 30, 2012

There is a great posting by Mary Shacklett that was published on TechRepublic called "10 highly valued soft skills for IT pros" (http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-highly-valued-soft-skills-for-it-pros/3353?tag=nl.e101).

In her posting she walks through the skills that will take the average technical person and make this person much more valuable to the business.  These skills include:

1. Deal making and meeting skills

2. Communications skills

3. Project skills / intuitiveness

4. Ergonomic Perspective (think from a user perspective)

5. Great team player

6. Political smarts

7. Teaching, mentoring, knowledge sharing

8. Gray issue resolution

9. Vendor management

10. Contract negotiation

What it in essence comes down to, is just knowing the technical's is not good enough - the needed skill sets listed above, in addition to excellent communications skills, separate the technical talent.

Astir IT is proud of our resources who go beyond just knowing the technical's.   Give me a call on (908) 279-8670 ext. 704, I'd love to discuss the Astir difference.

Bob

Bob Markowitz

Executive Vice President

bobm@astirit.com

(908) 279-8670 ext. 704

 

 

Astir IT, Consulting

Google and SEO

June 11, 2012

There is a great posting in Marketing Profs by Aaron Dun entitled, “The New Google Search: Six Changes That Rocked the SEO World” (http://www.mpdailyfix.com/the-new-google-search-six-changes-that-rocked-the-seo-world/?adref=nlt060912&utm_source=mptw&utm_medium=myview&utm_campaign=basic&utm_term=sales&utm_content=post) that talks to the evolution of SEO over the past decade and how Google’s successive changes continue to change the landscape of search, insofar as the strategies that companies need to employ in order to best support ranking.

Mr. Dun goes on to discuss each of the six changes and the affect they have had as follows (in chronologic order):

-Google Panda – In this change to Google’s search results ranking algorithm the idea was  to shutdown “content farms” (sites that exist solely to rank highly in search results, grab traffic, and monetize that traffic with paid ads for actual content sites). The end result was that quality sites ranked higher in search than so-called “content farms”.

-Google+ - Google+ was created as a social networking service, in order to leverage its power in search in order to compete with Facebook. Google’s Circles were touted as a core differentiator (which Facebook quickly copied). However, the true differentiator was (and remains) the ability for Google to index social traffic in its search algorithm.

-Secure Search - Google began hiding organic search details (the terms you searched) from websites if you were logged in to Google (starting first with Gmail, but now across Google properties). Now, 15-30% of a site’s organic traffic is “unknown”.

-Freshness Update - Targeted at news results, Google changed its rankings to display the most recent content first. In essence, the more recent the content, the more likely it will be to come up in the top results.

-Search plus Your World - Google now indexes your social feed and includes results from your feed ahead of other natural searches, so all search results are personalized for you—when you are logged in to a Google account (and to a lesser degree, even when you are not). Now, each person’s results are clearly different from each another’s.

-Penguin - The change will lower the search engine rankings of pages that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google has signaled an intent to penalize sites that over-engineer the search results using keyword-stuffing techniques. The penalties will be targeted at the worst offenders.

So where does all this lead?  In order to be continually ahead of the curve you need to be prepared for constant change.  By working with Astir IT Solutions and Astir Analytics, we can put our SEO and development resources to work for you.

Give me a call, I would love to explain the Astir difference.

Bob Markowitz

Executive Vice President

bobm@astirit.com

(908) 279-8670 ext. 704

SEO

Consulting Services - Astir IT Solutions Blog

April 17, 2012

Bringing on project related consulting resources who are experts in specific technology areas has numerous benefits.  These benefits can include; cost advantages, having an expert resource at your fingertips, for the period of time needed and only when needed, accountability of a knowledge expert.

 

Astir IT is proud to provide expert resources for client engagements as needed.  Our model can include engagements done on-site, off-site or off-shore.  One advantage to engaging Astir IT is our dedication to providing our clients the highest level of technical expertise along with a strong belief in regular communication.  Astir IT takes these engagements seriously and works closely with our clients to make certain you end up seeing all of the benefits.  In fact, when you work with Astir IT Solutions, you are working with the entire Astir Family of Companies.

 

Astir IT provides consulting experts / resources in the following areas:

§  Application Development

§  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions

§  Infrastructure Support Solutions

§  Web Design

§  Business Intelligence

§  Quality Assurance and Testing Services

§  EDI

§  Business Analysis

§  Project Management and more 

 

I would love to discuss the Astir IT difference to consulting. Please feel free to contact me or visit Astir IT Solutions at www.astirit.com.

 

I look forward to hearing from you,

Bob Markowitz
Executive Vice President
908-279-8670 ext. 704

bobm@astirit.com

The Power of CRM - Astir IT Solutions Blog

March 08, 2012

It’s interesting to note that research has shown that retaining as few as an additional 5% of your customers can increase your profit margin by almost 100%. What keeps this from being great news is that, according to that same research, on average half of a B2B organizations’ customers will leave them within 5 years.

So what is a company to do?

Because you require a better understanding of your customer needs and greater insight into how you can strengthen your customer relationships, begin able to  keep customers happy and identify the best new customers to acquire is key.

This is where CRM (Customer Relationship Management) comes in.

Astir IT can support your CRM endeavors based on 3 key elements: Information, Processes, and Relationships.

Information is critical to understanding the relationships you want to have with your customers. Information is also key in learning how to improve the profitability of these relationships. Without a proper understanding of your customers and their needs, you will never be able to provide the proper services to maintain a longstanding, successful relationship.

Processes promote consistency. Customers want to know that you will perform well, and perform consistently. Customers want to be able to predict their experiences, and want to know that they can expect excellence. Apart from stabilizing a relationship, processes help break down complex tasks into digestible steps for your customers to understand. This way, not only can they predict excellent results, but they can understand the worth in your services.

Relationships are the most important aspect of customer retention. Customers respond to value, and only when you provide consistent value will a customer become loyal. Regular positive interaction allows you to reinforce the positive value you provide your customers, and fosters the strong relationships.

Astir can work with you to define and refine your customer approach. Give me a call, I’d love to discuss the Astir difference.

Bob Markowitz

Vice President

(908) 279-8670 ext. 704

bobm@astirit.com

CRM

QA Testing - Astir IT Solutions Blog

February 27, 2012

According to WikiPedia, “Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.” At Astir IT, we take Quality Assurance seriously and have a QA focused mindset across every product and service we deliver.

Our QA / Testing professionals work with our clients to manage the testing engagement whether it is an end to end program, or simply the testing of a small effort.  Our testing support can include; test script development, test strategy and planning, benchmarking, automation testing, system testing, business validation testing, user acceptance testing, regression testing, integration testing, certification testing, as well as other more specific testing including device, etc.

Astir IT employs the most rigorous and exacting testing standards in the industry to ensure your system reliability, help roll out bug free products to your customers, and make sure your applications and devices work the way you need them to. Astir IT testing services are a combination of the best industry practices; allowing quick, efficient and reliable turn around.

Astir IT Solutions, expert testing resources, look forward to working with you in supporting all of your testing efforts.  Please be sure to visit us at www.astirit.com or contact me directly.

Bob Markowitz

Vice President

Astir IT Solutions, Inc.

(908) 279-8670 ext. 704

bobm@astirit.com

QA Testing

Successful Data Warehousing

January 21, 2012

Every company has the need to gather, store and analyze data. Because data can come from a multitude of sources and can take many forms, implementing a successful Data Warehousing solution can be challenging. On top of this, being able apply analytics (including trending) on top of this data adds to the challenge, since the data analysis is only as good as the data quality.

So what should be thought about when implementing a Data Warehousing solution?

-           Data Integration

-           Data Quality

-           Data Transformation

-           Metadata

Data Integration: Data Integration can be looked at as bringing together data from multiple or disparate sources.  Because data from these different sources can be in different formats, data transformation becomes critical.

Data Quality: Data Quality is actually involved across the entire Data Warehousing solution, and revolves around ensuring that the data is accurate, consistent, and complete.

Data Transformation: Data Transformation is probably the most complex, but critical part of a Data Warehousing solution. In Data Transformation data conversions, scrubbing, and mapping is applied to the data in order to make the data usable for reporting purposes.

Metadata: Metadata can be defined as the data that supports the data.  In other words it defines the data in a way that allows for reporting and analytics to be applied.

When it comes down to developing and implementing a Data Warehousing solution, you should look for an experienced partner who can work with you along the way.  Astir IT Solutions (www.astirit.com) has experts that have successfully designed and implemented Data Warehousing solutions for our clients. With many years of experience, our experts have supported solutions in numerous industries and built on different technical platforms.  In addition, Astir IT works closely with Astir Analytics in the creation of reporting and Business Intelligence solutions answering client needs.

Give me a call, I’d love to explain the Astir IT difference.

Bob Markowitz

Vice President

(908) 279-8670 ext.704

bobm@astirit.com

Data Warehousing

Outsourcing Solutions that Work - Astir IT Solutions Blog

January 08, 2012

Outsourcing key specialized areas to experts is not a new phenomenon; in fact, it has been a way of business life for quite some time.  There are numerous benefits to outsourcing, when done right but the trick to getting the benefits out of outsourcing lie in the selection of the right partner(s) and also making certain that coordination and communication between the partner and your employee staff occurs very regularly.

Accountability is probably the key word to focus on when outsourcing. Who is going to be accountable for the success of the effort? In the end if you are the person either outsourcing the function or responsible for the project – YOU are the person accountable.  Therefore you need to keep the outsourcing firm accountable to you. Think of outsourcing a project the same as running any other project, there are timelines and milestones.  Whether the project is managed from your location or somewhere else, the outsourced engagement needs to be tracked and communicated in order to guarantee success.

Astir IT is proud to be a company that takes on outsourcing engagement from our clients, where we can run projects; on-site, off-site or off-shore.  One advantage to engaging Astir IT for an outsourced engagement is our dedication to providing our clients the highest level of technical expertise along with a strong belief in regular communication.  Astir IT takes these engagements seriously and works closely with you to make certain you end up seeing all of the benefits associated with outsourcing.  In fact, when you work with Astir IT Solutions, you are working with the entire Astir Family of Companies.

The Astir IT outsourcing services include:

  • Application Development
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions
  • Infrastructure Support Solutions
  • Web Design
  • Business Intelligence
  • Quality Assurance and Testing Services

I would love to discuss the Astir IT difference to outsourcing. Please feel free to contact me or visit Astir IT at www.astirit.com.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Bob Markowitz

Vice President

908-279-8670 ext. 704

bobm@astirit.com

Outsourcing

Quality Assurance / Testing

December 18, 2011

While many companies have in-house test teams and expertise, many companies can easily benefit by taking advantage of the knowledge and experience of an Outsourced Testing / Quality Assurance partner, such as Astir IT Solutions.  In fact, even companies with in-house capabilities find that Astir IT Solutions, and others can complement the in-house knowledge of internal quality assurance / testing resources.

Having readily available expert resources at your fingertips, who can run with the testing of an IT project is a major advantage to partnering with a testing partner, such as Astir IT. Rather than worrying about keeping resources permanently on staff allows companies to focus best on their business, rather than focusing on the business of testing.  In other words let the experts in testing do what they do best — testing.

By selecting a Quality Assurance / Testing provider, proper test plans scripts, test scripts, issue / bug reports and increased quality can be achieved. In addition, other benefits can include; validation of in-house resource work, increased efficiency (resource utilization), all while achieving a higher Return on Investment (ROI).

Astir IT Solutions, expert testing resources, look forward to working with you in supporting all of your testing efforts.  Please be sure to visit us at www.astirit.com or contact me directly.

Bob Markowitz

Vice President

Astir IT Solutions, Inc.

(908) 279-8670 ext. 704

bobm@astirit.com

QA Testing

Welcome to the Astir IT Blog!

December 04, 2011

Being that this is the first Astir IT Solutions blog let me welcome you.

Astir IT Solutions, Inc. was founded in 2001 by 2 people and a vision. It began as a small home operation, but as time progressed and the reputation for excellence flourished, the business expanded quickly. Astir IT grew exponentially with every passing year, and today we have locations on both coasts and India. We have consultants placed all over the United States, and can place personnel in any state.

In 2009, Astir IT launched a Business Intelligence / Analytics division, Astir Analytics, and in 2010 Inothink Solutions and Sysnet Technology Solutions, IT consulting and outsourcing firms, joined the Astir family.

You can visit us at www.astirit.com,  www.astiranalytics.com and www.sysnetts.com.

Astir IT Solutions was established at the height of a recession in technology services. We recognized there was an opportunity to provide consulting services to firms who were unable to hire trained and qualified technology professionals. From there, the scope of our services grew to include Customer Relationship Management (CRM,) Information and Database Management, Application Development and Maintenance, Infrastructure Support and more. We provide the expertise and solutions businesses desperately need to reach and surpass their goals.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to hear more about the Astir difference.

Bob Markowitz

Vice President

908-279-8670 ext. 704

bobm@astirit.com

Astir IT