IT solutions for the new economy

    There’s no question that businesses today, in Milwaukee and throughout the country, are carefully evaluating their financial decisions. Economically challenging times call for even greater attention to operational efficiencies and most businesses can’t afford to misjudge their needs or underutilize existing resources.

    Businesses that invest in innovation today position themselves to not only better endure this difficult time but also to emerge as more a competitive player when the economy recovers. Today, the information technology industry is delivering some key innovations that will enable forward-looking businesses to build information systems and processes that are flexible, cost-effective and even environmentally friendly.


    • Software plus services – A software plus services strategy provides businesses flexibility and the option to choose which software systems they access via the Internet, and which they maintain on-site. This hybrid approach is increasingly popular with midsized and smaller businesses because it enables them to take advantage of the capabilities of enterprise-class software hosted over the Web, without an enterprise-class price tag. 
    • Unified communications – Unified communication technologies, which bring solutions such as voice communications, e-mail and instant messaging together, enable your company to replace traditional phone systems with an integrated software solution that reduces hardware and maintenance costs. Additionally, businesses that implement unified communications find that they can reduce travel costs by 10 to 30 percent, which benefits the bottom line and the environment as well.
    • Virtualization – This computing technique makes it possible to run more than one operating system on a single computer. Virtualization also reduces energy costs and consumption by enabling organizations to use more of the computing power that they already own. Companies are finding that reducing computer energy consumption is one of the most effective ways to lower operational costs without hampering organizational capabilities.
    • Business intelligence – Business intelligence solutions enable companies to identify opportunities or cut costs by helping them determine where synergies or operational inefficiencies exist.  For example, a company dashboard created as part of a business intelligence solution could reveal opportunities to lower company energy costs, benefiting the company and the environment.  With better insight into financial and operational performance, a business can better understand variances and interdependencies, as well as pinpoint sales trends and cost-cutting opportunities.  Furthermore, business intelligence solutions automates routine processes, cutting labor costs and giving employees more time to focus on business priorities.


    Economically challenging times, though difficult, also provide opportunities for business leaders to evaluate their operations and make investments that better position them for growth when the economy rebounds. Take some time to assess how your business can use IT solutions to its competitive advantage.

    Rob Busch is the Wisconsin enterprise sales manager for Microsoft and serves clients and partners in the company’s Waukesha office.  For more information, visit

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