Providing IT Services and Technological Solutions for Your Financial Institution’s Needs

Network Management Group, Inc. has a very long and established history in the financial services sector. In the last 30 years of providing IT and technology services to financial institutions of all sizes across the country, we have seen the vast and dramatic changes in regulations and required security protocols. In just the last few years many previous system implementations and strategies have been rendered outdated and ineffective, which requires many financial institutions to implement new solutions that are both cost effective and deliver proven results. As a result of our extensive experience, NMGI specializes in protecting revenue from lack of productivity, lack of security, and unnecessary operating costs.

In today’s market, no matter the size of your business or where it is, you simply must have security features in place for all of your computers, data, records, and electronic communications. Your well-being, your customer’s well-being, and the future of your business depend on it. Further, your employees need to be aware of, and vigilant towards, all new security threats. It comes down to mitigating risk, and a technology security breach is a very real risk today. Developing risk management strategies and implementing effective IT solutions require professionals who know the ins and outs of the financial sector, including the regulations that govern banking and financial professionals.

Among other services for the financial sector, NMGI specializes in providing critical solutions for secure data backup that meet regulatory standards for disaster recovery. Our experience with the financial services industry spans three decades, so we can assist you with your operational and technology processes including business continuity planning. We are not strictly a technology or IT consulting firm because we have extensive banking experience. Our Consultants specializing in banking and finance have first-hand knowledge of operational problems and are available to speak with you today.

Services Include:

  • Compliance and regulatory agency assistance
  • Security Assessments
  • Security awareness training for GLBA compliance
  • Secure email
  • Platform Integration
  • Policy Generation, Review, and Management
  • FedLine Advantage integration done properly
  • ATM patch management and secure routing
  • Technology Planning
  • Technology Product Selection
  • Marketing Assistance
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A company that doesn’t take Its partnerships lightly

A CASE STUDY ABOUT NETWORK MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC.

Intro:   Network Management Group, Inc. (NMGI) has been delivering consultative services focusing on computer networking, infrastructure management, business continuity, and technology services to small – and mid-size businesses and accounting firms for over twenty-five years.  The team at NMGI knew that Cloud services would become a big part of the future of their business and their clients businesses and they chose Intermedia as the partner that would help them make cloud services an integral part of their offerings. [Read more…]

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Why You Need a Managed Services Provider

Information technology (IT) systems are expected to meet high standards of operation, while offering 24/7 availability, security, and performance. In today’s environment, you have to keep pace with the constant changes in IT, performance demands, and pressure to deliver competitive IT functionality. To meet these challenges, many organizations consider outsourcing their IT activities to be an attractive option.

What is a Managed Services Provider?

A Managed Services Provider (MSP) lets you delegate specific IT operations to them. The MSP is then responsible for monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for your IT systems and functions. [Read more…]

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Hire and inspire all of your mobile employees

reprinted with permission from the HP Small Business Center

The economic downturn that sent financial shivers through all businesses and the unemployment rate skyrocketing has a silver lining especially for small and medium businesses. With the economy turning around, and your business poised for growth, you have access to perhaps the world’s greatest talent pool ever.

The new era of connected mobility collapses time and distance; you can tap the potential of motivated and highly skilled individuals located almost anywhere! 

The ‘perfect’ candidate three time zones away may prove a better choice for your business than the ‘very good’ candidate located in the same city as your operations. Outsourcing repetitive tasks and some functions offers many benefits. But other times your business demands having the sustained contribution of a full-time employee.

So how do you find, equip, and maximize the potential of these mobile workers? Here are a few ideas to consider:

To find them, think like them. . .

Make sure the job description on your web site stands out! What intangible qualities do want your employee to possess? One music-related business in search of a marketing manager wanted to know which song they’d play at the office. Be creative. 

Put your social network to work. Spread the word to your LinkedIn connections. Your employees may be willing to do the same to their connections. Increasingly, Twitter is used to match employers with potential employees. 

Check references, as well as your candidate’s online presence. Arrange a video teleconference rather than only a phone interview. Some businesses rely on firms such as PI Worldwide that use surveys to make science-based decisions on individual’s potential. 

Provide the right tools, the right mobile infrastructure 

Now that you’ve made an important investment in human capital, it’s time to make the right technology investment. Technology, simply put, is the lifeblood of your mobile workforce. It enables them to connect, collaborate, create, report, print, prospect, code, propose, and much more.

The specific function of an employee will determine whether she requires a laptop, a desktop PC or a powerful workstation.

The ability to print high quality color or black and white documents, locally and remotely, is often a key requirement.
A support plan can minimize downtime.

Inspire! 

Despite having access to the best technology, working remotely is sometimes isolating. Engage your extended, mobile workforce as you do your employees who sit nearby.

Face-to-face meetings, even once a year, promote relationship building among team members. 

Be aware of the challenges your mobile workers face. If they participate in meetings by phone, for example, it is difficult to hear soft-spoken individuals, and impossible to participate in side conversations.

Set goals and objectives together and ask for regular status updates in writing—a best practice for all employees.

Take advantage! 

Incredible talent is out there! Find, equip, and inspire the newest members of your mobile team, and your business will reap the benefits of the potential you unleash.

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Eight Strategies for First-rate Customer Service

used with permission from the Cisco Small Business Resource Center 

 

Customer_sat

Are you providing your customers with the satisfying experience that will keep them coming back? 
 
In a marketplace where too many products and services are chasing too little demand, businesses face a daunting challenge: do everything possible to attract and retain customers.

The stakes are high: Reducing customer attrition by 5 to 10 percent can increase annual profits by as much as 75 percent, according to a study by The Wharton School.

“The next economy will be characterized by customer infidelity. Only those companies focusing on the customer experience will command the loyalty necessary to survive and succeed,” says Elliott Ettenberg, a former chairman and CEO of Bozell Retail Worldwide and now president of Ettenberg & Company, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in customer service and turnaround marketing.

Customer service starts by offering both a trouble-free shopping experience and a smooth business transaction. But now more than ever it’s also about anticipating and meeting a person’s or company’s wants, not just needs.

Here are eight strategies for creating a relationship with your customers that will keep them coming back:

1. Commit to knowing your customer. 
In today’s interconnected and knowledge-based economy, a business’s survival depends on how well the business and IT sides of the company join to meet the needs of customers. Until recently, only large enterprises with hefty budgets could afford the tools needed to manage the entire customer experience.

With the advent of new tools and technologies, such as unified communications and affordable customer relationship management software, many of the cost barriers for smaller businesses are disappearing.

“The company of the future will focus on a combination of people, processes, and technology to achieve success and stay competitive in the new interactive economy. And they’ll alter their corporate mindset to deliver the rich customer experience, one customer at a time,” says Rob Lloyd, Senior Vice President of US and Canada Operations at Cisco.

2. Create a customer experience roadmap. 
What is the customer experience you want? What new customer-service capabilities will you need to add? What new resources will allow your workforce to be more effective? Can your existing network support the new technologies your business will need in the future, such as call centers, online services and advanced security? Use these questions to create a customer service roadmap that ensures your IT infrastructure evolves in step with your business vision.

With every business and technology decision ask yourself: “Will this investment help my employees better understand the value and needs of my customers and promote superior customer service?”

3. Remove barriers to information, connectivity and collaboration. 
The more you increase your customer knowledge and centralize it into single customer profile, the better positioned you will be to deliver a satisfying customer experience at every customer touch point, be it on the Web, face to face, e-mail, or telephone.

Do your sales, marketing and support people currently manage separate databases? If so, build a strategy to merge all information into a single customer database accessible by as many people in as many places as possible.

4. Converge your networks. 
Businesses can both reduce costs and enhance customer service by migrating voice and data infrastructures onto a single converged IP network. With a converged, integrated network, there is only one network to manage and one system on which to train technical employees and end users.

It’s estimated that by the year 2010, 40 percent of small and medium-sized companies will have integrated their entire voice and data networks into a single network and more than 95 percent of large and midsize companies will have at least started the process, according to Gartner, a market research firm.

5. Utilize IP Communication Tools. 
A large percentage of customer interactions still take place over the phone. Tools like integrated voice and data messaging help employees communicate more efficiently. Single Number Reach enables customers to connect to employees with a single call instead of multiple calls.

Cisco Unified Contact Center Express allows businesses to deploy contact center software that routes customer calls to the agent or employee who can best address the customer issue. In turn, employees have faster access to customer data, improving their ability to provide superior customer service and increase customer loyalty.

And IP Communications-based rich media conferencing enhances collaboration between co-workers, partners, and customers.

6. Deploy a CRM solution. 
Customer interactions happen across multiple channels and departments. How can you easily manage all this activity? Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to collect, organize, analyze, and disseminate information about customers, including:

  • Purchases and returns

  • Buying habits and other behaviors

  • The products they own

  • The newer products they’re likely to buy

  • Service contracts

With CRM software, SMBs can track performance across the entire organization. This includes business activity and employee performance for an inside sales team, call duration and first-call resolution in a contact center, and accurate invoice tracking and billing.

All this information can be quickly communicated to management for more informed decision making.

7. Integrate IP Communications with CRM. 
The convergence of IP telephony with CRM solutions erases many of the obstacles to achieving a truly customer-centric company. The Cisco Unified CRM Connector integrates Cisco Unified Communications with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application to provide all staff—not just call center agents—with an easy-to-use and more complete CRM solution.

By combing the two, employees can pull up contact information on the screen of any IP telephone on the network. Now employees in any department, such as accounting or shipping and receiving, can view the latest customer information and can better answer customer inquiries and look for cross sell or up sell opportunities. Because all the information can be provided to remote workers, companies can extend their workforce beyond the reach of traditional offices.

8. Continually modify.
Every company, regardless of size, must track the performance of people, processes and workflows to determine how well they are delivering a satisfying customer experience. Here are some key questions to keep in mind.

  • Are we managing all our customer interactions well from first contact to last?

  • Can customer information be accessed by every one who needs it, wherever they are located?

  • Are we continually identifying the needs of individual customers and providing the best response to the right customers at the right time?

Loyalty into profits
“Businesses that fail to build their services and networks around the customer experience will experience high customer turnover, decreasing market share, and increasing cost due to fragmented business processes,” says Ettenberg.

That’s why smart companies are taking a customer-centric approach to longevity and profitability.

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Remote working is no longer an employee perk, it’s a business necessity

Remote_working

Reprinted with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center

 

The kind of office most of us are familiar with is a building with four walls and a roof that we probably drive to 40 or so hours each week, Monday through Friday. Today, many companies still maintain traditional offices, but the decision makers are also discovering that to compete in the current economy, employees must be able to do their jobs anywhere, anytime.

Microsoft recently commissioned a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs among more than 4,500 information workers in 15 U.S. markets to better understand opinions and attitudes related to mobile and internal business technologies and capabilities. The survey results further underscore the growing requirement for mobile work solutions – more than half of respondents (57%) report that their company has a formal telework policy and more than three quarters of information workers (77%) say their company provides access to technology support for working remotely.

Working without walls – what it is, and isn’t At Microsoft, we like to describe remote working as “working without walls,” because it’s becoming much more than simply handing employees laptops and giving them the ability to check e-mail outside the office . . . though that’s a start. Rather, today’s business climate demands that employees be able to work just as effectively inside the office as they can outside the office. This means being able to use laptops as well as handheld devices to securely access vital business information, collaborate with colleagues (even face-to-face), make critical business decisions, and more.

Tools that can help A range of technology tools exists to help businesses effectively mobilize employees. Here are a few that are particularly helpful for working without walls.

Cloud-based software: One of the primary benefits the cloud has delivered to businesses of all sizes is access to software that formerly only existed on local servers and required employees to be in the office to use the applications. Now, thanks to the cloud, workers can use many of the programs they formerly only had access to in the office wherever they have a secure Internet connection.

Microsoft recently launched the beta version of Office 365 — an all-in-one solution that combines SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, and Office in an up-to-date cloud service. Ideal for letting employees remain productive in and out of the office, Office 365 makes things like videoconferencing, document and desktop sharing easy for mobile workers, as well as tasks like e-mail, chat, calendaring and document creation.

Smartphones: Sometimes, when working without walls, it’s just not efficient to conduct work from a laptop. For instance, you might be at a business lunch and can’t lug your laptop to the table, or it could already be stowed in the overhead compartment of an airplane when you realize you need to send off a quick e-mail before your plane departs.

In these instances, having a smartphone can make all the difference. A phone like Windows Phone 7, designed specifically for the business user, includes applications that make it possible to do virtually everything you already do on a desktop PC or laptop. It also includes numerous data protection features that help safeguard your business information should your phone be lost or stolen. What’s more, Office 365 will be available on Windows Phone 7, ensuring that users get the maximum productivity benefits this software provides.

Security enhanced operating systems: In those instances when using a laptop makes more sense than working from a smartphone, it’s vital that your computer’s operating system is security enhanced.

Windows 7, Microsoft’s newest operating system, is its most secure operating system to date and provides data encryption features through BitLocker — for hard drives, as well as BitLocker to Go — for removable disk drives. Another feature included in the Enterprise version of Windows 7 that’s particularly beneficial to mobile workers is DirectAccess, which gives users security enhanced and easy access to corporate networks without a VPN.

Collaboration, connection and security are business essentials inside, and outside the four walls of your office. Fortunately, today’s technology tools can easily help you empower employees to work productively from any location and will likely make your business leaner and more efficient as a result.

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News on HP and Hard Drive Shortage

Hitachi

Ken McClelland — Vice-President of Sales, Network Management Group, Inc.

 

There are a couple of things that have transpired in the computer industry in the last month that I believe are worthwhile to note. First, a typhoon caused massive flooding to parts of Thailand at the end of August. This flooding has covered about one-third of Thailand’s surface area. What does this have to do with technology you ask? The flooding has had serious impact on the countries manufacturing business, notably the manufacturing of computer hard drives. Thailand accounts for approximately twenty five percent of the world’s hard drive production. Supply chains for hard drive manufacturing in other countries will be disrupted as well. Factories that produce components used in over 70% of worldwide hard drives produced by Western Digital, Seagate, Hitachi, Toshiba and Samsung have been damaged as well. Industry analysts are noting that the reduced manufacturing capacity will cause inventory constraints and increased prices throughout the end of the year and into the first quarter of next year. Please keep this under consideration as you plan your year-end computer purchases as well as your budgeting for 2012 Q1.

On a brighter note, Meg Whitman (Hewlett Packard President and CEO) announced last week that HP will not sell off its Personal Systems Group. The Personal Systems Group (PSG) is the business unit responsible for the manufacture and sales of desktop, workstation and mobile computers. This unit was the number one manufacturer of personal computers in 2010 with worldwide revenues totaling $40.7 billion. This accounts for over one third of Hewlett Packard’s overall revenue, the number ten ranked company on America’s 2010 Fortune 500 list.

This follows former Hewlett Packard CEO Leo Apotheker shocking the technology industry on August 18th when he announced that HP was exploring “strategic alternatives” for its PSG unit. These alternatives may have included a sale or spin-off of the Personal Systems Group. In a written statement Meg Whitman states, “It’s clear after our analysis that keeping the Personal Systems Group within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees. HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger.” Hewlett Packard believes the PC business is too ingrained in the company’s supply chain and other key HP operations to let it go. Computers also help promote HP’s brand, and are a crucial part of the company’s “one-stop shop” services that it offers to corporate customers, HP said.

“As part of HP, PSG will continue to give customers and partners the advantages of product innovation and global scale across the industry’s broadest portfolio of PCs, workstations and more,” said Todd Bradley, head of HP’s Personal Systems unit. “We intend to make the leading PC business in the world even better.”

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An Enlightened Approach to Practice Growth

A new e-book available for free download

Article by Rick Solomon

 

Mastersebook

Tapping into the human side of the equation for practice growth and success is undoubtedly the next frontier for our profession. It’s absolutely necessary to evolve our practices into the future. We’re not talking about a better marketing plan or a new strategy, but rather a true game changer. We have tremendous potential for success, and yet we ourselves are the biggest obstacles to that success. Removing these hidden barriers, as a growing number of accountants are beginning to demonstrate, opens up worlds of possibilities for success, abundance and enjoyment well beyond what many might even consider possible.

 

When it comes to growing a practice, I’ve long held the view that most firms are unaware of, or fail to address, the single most important growth factor.  This missing factor is why so many firms struggle with growth, while the few firms that have figured it out enjoy healthy growth with little effort. Just imagine if a single factor was removed from an algebraic equation. No matter how much time you spend trying to solve it, or how hard you work at it, or how much outside help you have, you won’t solve it. That’s because if a factor is missing, it’s unsolvable.  So it is with practice growth.

There’s no shortage of resources, trainings, marketing consultants, and the like to help firms grow, some of which is quite good. We’re always looking for the next great thing to achieve growth. And yet, in the search for the best solutions, most tend to overlook the single most important growth factor, the one closest to us. It’s the “Human Factor”.

Virtually every person in a firm has an untapped potential for playing a meaningful role in the firm’s growth. While external solutions certainly play a role, by far the greatest results are achieved by tending to the human factor. In my experience as a practice growth advisor, it became clear to me that how an individual views practice growth, their beliefs about themselves and what it takes to succeed at it, has a far greater impact on their results than anything else. Helping them let go of these self limiting beliefs frees them to achieve more, with less effort.

Inspired by these findings, I set out to find a way to apply this understanding to firms on a larger scale. Starting with a small group of accountants, I organized an experiment to explore what was possible with a concentrated group focus on this human factor. The experiment, which later evolved into an ongoing program, demonstrated beyond a doubt that when we get out of our own way we can create extraordinary results for our clients and our firm, and do so with less effort.

The results of this experiment, and the principles upon which it was formed have just been published in an e-book that is available online for immediate access, at no cost.http://www.accountingtoday.com/growyourpractice?src=masters

This e-book describes foundational truths and principles that you can apply in your own firm. It also includes five case studies about how different accountants in very different situations experienced remarkable results by ridding themselves of their self-limiting beliefs, and a video interview and other resources. Implementing even a small portion of what you’ll read or hear could have a huge impact on your practice.

As a growing number of accountants are beginning to learn, never believe in anything that limits you.

Enjoy the journey!

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