Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Customer Needs - Our Motive Revealed

"The customer's needs are always right"

Do we really believe this?
Do we really live and think in a manner that supports this?

Our actions, tone and words demonstrate if we really believe this or not; by our response to a customers need.

When a customer asks us to perform something we already know how to-do, the answer is easy. However, when a customer asks us to perform something in which we DO NOT already have the answer, our response will in effect reveal our motive.

When we respond:
"I don't know how to-do that"

We could be implying a non-willing motive.

On the contrary, when we say:
"I can help; I will figure out..."

We are demonstrating our motive to support the need at hand.

If in a frustrated tone we say/think: "I don't know what to-do!"
Patience goes to frustration, challenges become Roadblocks, our focus gets skewed and completing our objective is far off.

We can either reject the responsibility of the objective assigned to us. Or we can adapt our thinking to that of a naturally helpful person.

When asked to perform a task, do you:
Find any and every excuse why we can't do it.

Or do you:
Think of any and every possible way to do it.

Which line of thinking reveals a positive motive?
Which line of thinking reveals that we truly believe the need at hand, the customer's need is right and we want to be a part of the solution?

Real Life Example.
Recently we had a project request from a client, one that was a bit out of the norm. When I asked one of my techs to assist, I heard:
Um, ah, well that’s not gonna work. We’re going to have all kinds of problems. Why do they need that? This is going to be a huge project. It's going to take a long time for this. I can’t do that without this or that.

How do you think this makes the Manger feel about this person's eagerness to fulfill their assignment? I already knew there were many unknowns and we would have to figure out things we never had. But that was not a roadblock for me. I saw that as a challenge and was excited to take it on. Well that employee no longer works for us. Their replacement was then assigned this same task, I heard:
Oh wow that’s interesting. Ok, well there are many things to consider. What will we do about this and that? Do we want to have it this way or that way? I can do something like this. Do you think that will be what they want? There is also this option, although I've never done it, I'm sure we can figure it out.

Now, how do you think the Manager felt about this response? Needless to say that person still has their job. And it’s a joy to work with him.

You can see, simply by our response to tasks assigned, our true Motive or view for the Customers Need is reveled.

Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant

Contact me:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Remotely Access Quickbooks

How do I remotely share QuickBooks?

First off, QuickBooks has cloud versions that do just that. They are a bit more expensive since you are paying for the service, but it’s simple and ready to go.

However, most of the time you already have QuickBooks in use at your office. You may even have multi-users in use now. In any case, we have helped many clients setup a remote access for QuickBooks.

Here are some Tips, Info and Answers FAQ.
QuickBooks is designed as a client / server program. This means the locally installed program can look to another computer on the network for the data file. Thus multiple computers can look to the same QuickBooks company file and use it concurrently.  Really it’s the concurrent use that changes how a person / company plans to use QuickBooks.

In an environment where you have many people who need access to QuickBooks, but really only 1 concurrent session, then you only need 1 computer and 1 QBB license.  You can setup a free remote tool like Team Viewer, VNC or Remote Desktop to remotely access that QBB computer and use its programs. This is the most cost effective way to Remotly Access QuickBooks.

In the case where you’re already sharing QBB on a network, the same concept can apply. You can setup Team Viewer (or another remote connection tool) to the computer you normally use at the office. When away you simply remote connect to your office computer and you can use QBB concurrently with others. Again a simple solution.

The more advanced situation is when you have say 1 or 2 computers physically connected on a network and you need 3 or more concurrent remote QBB sessions. Say you have 2 computers at the office, but have 3 remote users who need to concurrently use QBB.  SOLUTION: This calls for Terminal Services (or similar software). This is a Microsoft Software Service that can run on a server and allows for multiple sessions to run on a single computer/server. It’s kind of like taking 3,4,5 or more computers and smashing them all together into one. You can have many active users connected each with their own completely separate remote session. This technology has been available for many years, but it must reside on a Microsoft Server. That usually prevents the mass public from setting up on their own. With Server 2008 R2, there have been many additional advancements with this technology. We have setup this system for many clients, using QuickBooks and all sorts of other programs.  (QuickBooks, MAS90, MAS200, Sage Business Works, Syspro, IMS / MediTab, TAM, Word, Excel, Access, Visio and many more)

Quickbooks on iPad
We have clients right now, and we use this internally, that can access Quickbooks from iPhone, iPad and Android. You can do this by using one of the above mentioned techniques.

As you can see, most often you can setup remote access to QuickBooks for free, and rather simply. And if you need to go beyond the basics, we have the solution. Hope this was helpful in your need to Remotely Access QuickBooks. Let us know if we can assist further.

Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant

Contact me:

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Real Costs of Downtime

I Declare that your IT should be a profit point NOT an expense.

We can take any company be it 'technology strategic' or 'technology dependent' and increase their annual revenue well beyond the perceptive expense associated with IT.  Thus taking what all your competitors view as an expense on their P&L Statements and making IT give back ROI with tangible $$$ .   You will see IT as a Profit Point NOT an expense.

With DataCare - the Delivery of Downtime Prevention.

We do this every day with companies from 10 to 200 employees. But for sake of example, let’s just say Your Company has 45 employees & your Information System has a 99% uptime.  With that, I can typically increase your annual NET Profit by $24,000. No Joke.

You may ask: "How can hiring you make my business more profit?"

The answer is quite simple: 'Numbers don't lie'.

If you’re a business Owner, CEO, CFO, Controller or even a Manager, and you care about the $$$ at the bottom line, you will want to listen carefully.

First let me define 2 key matrix:
1.       Downtime
2.       Per Employee Revenue

1.       Downtime
Webster defines Downtime as: "Time during which production is stopped."
Wikipedia says the term downtime is used "to refer to periods when a system is unavailable."

I am referring to when your computer system is not available at its normal capacity.

Fun Fact: First known use of the word downtime was in 1928

2.       Per Employee Revenue
A typical company does anywhere from $100,000 - $250,000 in annual revenue averaged per employee.


Company: Hi-Value Professional Service Co.
Annual Revenue:  $2,000,000
Employees: 15
Avg. per Employee Revenue: $133,000

Company: ABC Widget Co
Annual Revenue:  $6,750,000
Employees: 45
Avg. per Employee Revenue: $150,000

Company: ProManufacturing Inc.
Annual Revenue:  $25,000,000
Employees: 120
Avg. per Employee Revenue: $208,000

These are sample companies, but my experience is the average annual revenue per employee is $150,000.

A Standard Working Year has 2,080 hours.
$150,000 per employee annual revenue / 2080 Hours = $72/hr avg. per employee

So despite what your employee payroll is, the avg company will generate $72 / hr of revenue per employee.  This factor is key because if your system is down, and your employees can’t work, aren't productive, then you’re losing $72/hr per person.  THIS IS YOUR REAL IT COSTS!

Now we have both Downtime and Per Employee Revenue defined, we can calculate.

So you have an uptime of 99% that means 1% downtime. 
1% downtime x 2080 annual working hours = 20.8 hours x $72/hr = $1,495 hour per employee of lost revenue x 45 Employees = $67,392

Sample Costs for DataCare: $80 user / month.
$80 * 45 users = $3,600 month x 12 months = $43,200

DataCare removes the downtime, $67,392 recovered - $43,200 invested = $24,192 recovered to your bottom line

I haven't even factored in the Unlimited IT Support, ongoing user training, included IT Consulting, Vendor Management and Local Techs who speak to you as a caring human being (in English).

I ask 'If I can give you $24,000, would you take it?'

Then WHY doesn’t everyone take the money?
They can't do the math in a tangible manner, they can’t quantify the value I explained above, or their perception just hasn’t been corrected yet.

Let me illustrate the latter:
You say:  'My computer runs fine'.
I say: 'What if I could make all your computers, run just as fast and smooth as the day you bought it, for the rest of its life?    Would that make your employees more productive? Would that allow your employees to do more work? Would that improve their job enjoyment having their computers happy?

I know that some people just won’t get it, and the DataCare program isn’t for everyone. I only accept clients who really want to make a success of their business. If you as the Business Leader don’t want to recover lost expense, increase your bottom line and make a happier work environment for your people, then please don’t contact me.

I challenge anyone to prove me otherwise. Either this is hype and my 11 year old company will fail, or I have a method that others truly improve from and you have to decide whether to keep holding back your business or to taste and see.

I've spent the last 15 years turning Industry Proven Techniques and my IT Best Practices into profit for my clients. I created a program to manage IT called DataCare. DataCare delivers the ability to always keep you connected to your data, empower your employees, and make your Network Happy!

Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant

Contact me:

Friday, September 2, 2011

"netvsc" error with Hyper-V guest

We have many clients with Server 2008 running Hyper-V to virtualize the live servers. Virtualization has provided many benefits to our clients. (Reduced power consumption, increased uptime, added redundancy, server consolidation, hardware replacement for old servers while keeping the old server system OS, and much more)

As always when using technology as a solution, you are increasing the complexity. Thus along with the benefits come some increased risks & support.

A few times now we have seen a Server 2003 child machine completely stop communicating over the network. The Virtual Machine looks fine from Hyper-V Manager, but nothing can communicate to or from the child server.

The error looks like this:

Event Type:       Information
Event Source:     netvsc
Event Category:  None
Event ID:            4
Date:                 9/2/2011
Time:                3:49:53 PM
User:                 N/A
Computer:        SERVER10

The miniport ‘Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus Network Adapter' reset.

Once this happens, it's as if the network cable was disconnected from the Server 2003 Virtual Machine.  Obviously this causes a complete network shutdown for anyone using this server.


After much diagnostics, I found this to be related to the virtual machine network interface on the child server. Microsoft confirms a glitch with the 'Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus Network Adapter'

Driver Version: 6.1.7600.16385  
(This also represents the version of Integrated Services) 

 The FIX:

Microsoft has released an on demand (voluntary) hotfix related to this issue.
MS Article: KB981836

You must install the hotfix on the HOST SERVER (in my case Server 2008 R2 64bit w/ Hyper-V)

NOTE: This is not a patch that should be auto-installed. Only install this patch if a server is experiencing these exact symptoms explained in the KB article.  As of writing this blog, Microsoft requires you to 'request' the hotfix, its not auto-downloadable.

After installing the hotfix, you must update the Integrated Services on the 2003 Server VM.  This is what actually updates the Network Interface Drivers on the Child Server.

After the install, the VM Network Interface should be updated.
Driver Version: 6.1.7600.20683

In my case, I first create a snapshot of the child VM. After I install the hotfix on the HOST, I shutdown the child VM, then restarted the HOST server.

Once all goes well and you confirm the Driver Version is updated, shutdown your VM, delete the snapshot, then wait until it merges. Startup the VM and all should be well.

I also noticed that the HOST and Child servers seamed more responsive. I have yet to see the relation, but I do notice an improvement.

PLEASE NOTE: This should be performed by an experienced Server Administrator. This is NOT for the faint at heart.

Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant

Need Help?    Contact me:

Shadow RDC Session

Ever want to shadow a session on a server?

1. Get on the server.
Either be at the physical console or start your own TS connection to the server.

2. Use the shadow command to shadow a session.
Start - Run - Type: shadow x
where X = the terminal service session ID.

What is the session ID?
Open Terminal Service Manager. there you can see what user is connected, the state and connection time. Column 'ID' shows what ID they are. Usually something like 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or some numerical value. As new TS connections are made, the next session ID is handed out.

By default, the session you are attempting to shadow will be prompted to allow your connection. Once you are connected, you will now be seeing the exact same terminal service connection. You can see each other mouse clicks and actions.

This can be really helpful in supporting other users.

Now, once you are done, how do you disconnect the shadow?
Use the hotkey: CTRL+*

You must use the * key on the 10 key of the keyboard. you can not use the shift of # 8. On a laptop this might be a little extra challenging. You will normally have to enable numlock, then the 10 key becomes active.

This is the only disconnect, so I suggest you give it a test run in preparation.

Happy clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant