IN THIS ISSUE
How's Your Health?
Eating Our Own Dog Food
New Escrow Provider Selected
Seizing End-of-Summer Sales
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How's Your (Computer's) Health?
Bidwell, VP Sales & Marketing
You can never be too healthy. It's wise advice - not only for us mere humans, but for our computer systems as well. Virus detection software is a must for the health and well-being of any computer (and its user!), especially if it is connected to the Internet. What many people fail to realize is that their virus detection software is only as good as the last update that they’ve received from their virus software provider. This usually involves an annual subscription service that provides updates automatically. Whether your computer configuration is a simple one with each workstation having its own subscription, or whether it is centrally managed by a server, each option has its pro's and con's. It's important to note, however, that the central server approach provides a “global snapshot” that allows you to see who within your organization is not up-to-date, who is currently infected with a virus - the list goes on and on.
It is not uncommon for either Symantec or McAfee, two of the leading antivirus software providers, to provide updates on a daily basis. The reason for virus updates is pretty simple. There are new viruses, worms, Trojan horses, adware and spyware, more commonly referred to as Malware, being created on a daily basis from around the globe. Unfortunately, the Malware has to be created first, before the antidote can be created. (I often wonder if the antivirus software companies have a "backroom" somewhere in the world where Malware is being created so they can justify their existence by creating the antidotes, but I highly doubt it.) Since the Malware has to exist before the antidote, it is also good practice to make sure your operating systems are up-to-date (see http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifesupsps), and that you have a firewall in place, as these additional steps help reduce your risk of an infection and business shut-down. For example, if you are still running Windows 98 or NT Server, you are at a much greater risk of infection, than if you are running XP Professional or 2003 Server. Why? Most significantly, Windows 98 and NT are no longer supported by Microsoft. When Microsoft no longer supports their products, it also means they cease creating software patches. The software patches created by Microsoft typically deal with exploits within an operating system or software product that is used as entry points by the Malware to infect the operating system and programs installed on the computer. ASI receives a least one or two calls a month from customers who have been infected by Malware, putting their businesses at a standstill. The worst part is that it could have possibly been prevented if the company had proper virus software and the latest operating systems in place.
If you are interested in reading more about Malware and the risks surrounding it visit http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,135410/article.html. And remember to protect the health of your organization by putting your computer systems through a thorough checkup. It can save your company significant time and loss in revenue - not to mention preserve your own health and mental well-being!
Eating Our Own Dog Food
Tony Kovalik, ASI Senior Developer
The term “dogfooding” applies to a form of beta-testing where a software company actually uses its own product. It originated from the marketing slang "...but will the dog eat the dog food?" and refers to the early days of television, when programming and commercials were live and things did not always go as planned – particularly if one of the actors was a dog. Dog food commercials frequently ended with a dog actually not eating the product. This expression eventually made its way into computer jargon at, of all places, Microsoft, where managers tried to encourage workers to use their own products in an effort to make them better.
When ASI releases a new solution or update, we think it’s important that we’ve “eaten our dog food.” This form of testing provides several benefits to our customers and eventual customers. First, to “dog food” our solutions helps to flush out bugs that appear only in the course of normal use – those persnickety errors that never seem to get noticed in routine testing. Second, it is easier to isolate bugs that we encounter on a regular basis. Third, dogfooding puts us in the shoes of our end users, making the ASI Team more knowledgeable and responsive.
New Escrow Provider Selected
ASI has selected Escrow Associates, LLC as our new software escrow services provider. Escrow Associates is a premier provider of software and technology escrow services worldwide. Fortune 1000 and Software 500 companies rely on their services every day to help facilitate technology-related transactions. We certainly do not plan on any of our customers needing to use their services, but we recognize that it is an important part of contingency and disaster recovery planning. And if any industry should recognize the value of a solid DR plan, it’s ours.
If your company is interested in becoming a beneficiary of the program, simply download the Exhibit C Enrollment Form from our website, fill it out and fax it back to us. We will process the appropriate forms and Escrow Associates will contact you confirming that your company has been added to the list of beneficiaries. For a copy of the Andrews Software, Inc./Escrow Associates, LLC Agreement, click here. If you should have any questions regarding the escrow agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
Seizing End-of-Summer Sales
April Ganong, PEAK Planning
Although the oven-hot temps seem to say otherwise, there's no denying summer is coming to a close. And while many people are out of the office, squeezing in as much time as possible to enjoy some fun in the sun, I don't know anyone who is out of touch for the entire month. What does this mean for you? It means you're likely to reach prospects and customers at a time when they feel relaxed and are in a good mood. Just as we flock to the mall to take advantage of those end-of-summer sales, now's the time to seize the opportunity to increase sales for your own business. Here are some bottom-line boosting ideas you can easily put into action:
- Catch up with your current clients and upsell by offering incremental programs and add on services - your own version of "summer savings" for your customers. Capture “sweep up dollars” from the use it or lose it 2007 client budget.
- Look through your pending proposals and identify 3 strategic ideas that will move each proposal closer to a close. Choose the best one for each and execute!
- Look through your files and make a list of prospect decision makers you’ve met but have not closed sales with. Call to schedule September meetings to discuss what is new since you last spoke and whether there is an opportunity to work together now.
- Seize the (half) day! Make calls after 2pm on the Friday before Labor Day and you will reach those hard to get hold of decision makers without their gatekeepers answering the phone. Were you thinking of leaving early that day? So is your competition. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity!
Implement just a couple of these strategies to jumpstart sales. While it may be cooling off outside, your business will be as heating up - kind of like these hazy, lazy August afternoons.
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