Screening Data Center Providers: Discerning a Provider that Won’t Let You Down

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For companies looking to quickly expand their data center capabilities without building out their own facilities, outsourcing is increasingly a favored, no-brainer option. While outsourcing options abound, pinpointing the one that best fulfills your company’s needs and long-term goals without wasting resources requires careful consideration of numerous factors.

Choosing a data center provider based purely on budget and short-term wins would be a costly mistake you’re guaranteed to regret when the apparent savings bite back in technology misfires, unreliable performance and extended downtime. Save yourself the headache and dollars by screening potential providers with the following criteria—key attributes of a data center that won’t let you down.

1. Certifications
Data centers are generally evaluated by the Uptime Institute and classified based on the performance of their infrastructure, uptime and other factors that determine reliability. With each Tier level, I through IV, the data center’s infrastructure costs and operational complexities increase, according to Uptime. Also, Tier IV centers are required to demonstrate a higher level of uptime. Uptime Institute recommends that companies analyze their business applications and needs when making a decision on data center providers.

2. Compliance
It’s critical that a data center provider keeps you in compliance with regulations specific to your industry. Many companies face audits, including SSAE 16, NFPA, TIA-942, HIPAA, FISMA, FDA, PCI/DSS and Sarbanes-Oxley. It is imperative that the data center provider you choose possesses expertise with regard to these audits.

3. Data Center Location
One of the most critical factors of a reliable data center provider is location. Access it to determine the history of natural disasters in the area, including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Other factors that can influence the data center’s resilience and ability to bounce back from crisis scenarios include proximity to other businesses and first responders, like police officers and firefighters.

4. Facility
The data center building should feature state-of-the-art equipment, cooling and updated infrastructure, including structural reinforcements. It also should be well guarded by security officials.

5. Redundant Power/Cooling
A quality data center includes quality generators, uninterruptible power supplies, power delivery, utilities and cooling infrastructure systems. When screening providers, ask specific questions about Service Level Agreements (especially about uptime); electrical and cooling; redundancy power architecture; backup systems; monitoring; and transformers.

Since 2001, Lifeline Data Centers has earned a reputation as a leader in data center compliance, uptime, and innovation—including a notable recognition as one of the 20 most promising data center providers in 2016 by CIOReview, citing Lifeline’s 99.999% uptime, multi-layered security systems, highly compliant processes, and “superior and compliant” workspace. The company is also currently undergoing the arduous task of becoming FedRAMP-authorized—the highest level of clearance to house government and military data.

Find out if Lifeline is the provider you’ve been searching for. Visit lifelinedatacenters.com. Also read the Chamber’s recent BizVoice magazine feature on the company.

Want to learn why EMP shielding, FedRAMP certification, and Rated-4 data centers matter to your business? Download Lifeline’s infographic series on EMP, FedRAMP, and Rated-4! Read online.

Policy Circle Co-Hosting Women’s Influence & Liberty Event September 17

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The Policy Circle – think a book club for women to discuss policy (not politics) – and the Center for the Study of Liberty will host the Women’s Influence & Liberty half-day conference September 17 in downtown Indianapolis.

Open to all women – and particularly those who are interested in business, entrepreneurship and even those researching various policy issues – the conference will include a chance for participants to discuss policy issues with each other and policy experts during roundtable discussion breakout sessions.

Nina Easton, chair of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit, will headline as the keynote speaker. A networking reception will follow the conclusion of the event, from 6 to 7 p.m.

The Policy Circle was formed in Illinois and serves as a catalyst for women to join together and share information and opinions, having read data-driven policy briefs prior to group discussions. The non-partisan, 501©3 organization encourages women to join together and discuss policy issues to educate and engage other women in their communities. Following group discussions every other month, members can take action, such as contacting lawmakers to advocate for specific policies, or following along with proposed legislation.

The group guidelines are to leave the social issues at home, however, and follow the direction of former Gov. Mitch Daniels. He urged for a pause on social issues so everyone could focus on other pressing items, such as foreign policy and immigration, education, economic growth, free enterprise and health care.

With 23 circles in 10 states – including Indiana – and almost 900 women involved so far, the organization is growing. For more information on The Policy Circle, including how to join or start a circle, visit the web site at www.thepolicycircle.org.

The registration fee for the Women’s Influence & Liberty event is $75 and includes lunch; register online.

Indy’s WebLink Celebrates 20 Years Serving Chambers, Associations

weblinkIndianapolis-based WebLink celebrated its 20th anniversary this week. The company provides innovative software and technology solutions for associations and chambers of commerce. A release has more:

“This has been quite a ride,” said DJ Muller, founder and president/CEO. “We’ve not only kept up with the speed of technology, we’ve been ahead of it all the way. WebLink is in an excellent position to continue to grow and succeed in the years ahead.”

“Built on innovation and exceptional customer service, WebLink is a seasoned technology company that runs like an entrepreneurial start up,” said Scott Webber, board member. “They’ve always had the ingredients of a burgeoning technology company.”

A brief history
WebLink began as a provider of software specifically designed for chambers of commerce. The company has since expanded to serve all types of associations, including builders and contractors, housing, healthcare, hospitality, trade, and transportation, and today, has clients in 490 cities and four countries.

Its signature association management software, WebLink Connect™, has more than 15,000 users and 10 million profiles. More than 170 new features were released to the software in the last year, which enables clients to manage members, prospects, events, websites, finances, and communications—all in one place. A new online community for users will be launched later this month.

The company also offers a slate of webinars, eBooks and other online resources, training events, and a certification program.

Today, approximately 800 member-based organizations, more than half of which are chambers of commerce, use WebLink’s cloud-based software-as-a-service solution. The company boasts an astonishing year-to-year average customer retention rate of 94 percent and customer satisfaction rating of 95 percent.

A strong tech neighborhood
WebLink is active in a strong and growing neighborhood of technology providers. High-tech software and services employment grew 18 percent in Indianapolis from 2012 to 2014—the eighth-fastest rate among the 30 cities surveyed. Multiple marketing and technology companies, including Salesforce and Appirio, have recently announced relocations or expansions into the area.

“It’s great to be in a hub of innovation,” said Muller. “Being close to and working with other marketing and technology companies keeps us on our toes and always looking ahead.”

Recent growth
The company grew new customer sales by 63 percent in 2014, earning a coveted TechPoint MIRA Award in Tech Sales and Marketing. Last year, WebLink secured $1.54 million of funding to expand into trade and professional association markets and further its position as a premier provider of association management software.

TECH THURSDAY: Scott Dorsey: Business Leader of the Year

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EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2012 favorite.

Speaking with those who’ve risen with the tide of Indianapolis-based e-mail/digital marketing juggernaut ExactTarget, a unique picture is painted of CEO Scott Dorsey’s leadership style.

“One of the things I’ve always found so impressive is that he’s an atypical CEO,” asserts director of product management Joanna Milliken, who holds the distinction of being the company’s first official hire in 2001. “When you think of these hotshot CEOs who are very verbose or demanding, (he’s different because) he’s unassuming and has an amazing balance.

“He’s an incredible risk taker, but he’s not rash. He’s compassionate, but he’s not emotional. He can be both very strategic and knows when to jump in and when to be tactical. That’s a combination you don’t often find.”

Dorsey remembers the company’s humble beginnings, striving to emerge at a precarious time for Internet businesses.

“The Internet bubble had burst; money was not flowing into Internet companies,” he conveys. “We were three entrepreneurs with no software experience. The capital-raising process was really difficult. We went down the friends and family route. It was great, but a little unconventional.”

He adds that building software products with no technical background was a challenge, and the trio was fortunate to find strong developers to help with the early generations of the product.

“We really bootstrapped the company; it was thinly capitalized,” Dorsey offers. “Three of us worked without salaries for nearly the first year we were in business. We were incredibly frugal and watched every dollar very carefully. We didn’t have much to work with. That was a good thing though, because we had to be very sales driven, and built a small product – small enough that we could start to sell it and deliver value in many ways.”

Read the full story online.

Learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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Kelley School of Business Indianapolis Seeks Companies Looking for New Growth Opportunities

IUPUI KelleyThe IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis is looking for central Indiana companies to partner with undergraduate-student teams for its renowned Integrative Core (I-Core) Program. A release from the school has more:

I-Core is a distinguishing component of Kelley’s bachelor’s degree program. Junior-level students take a set of four integrated classes—marketing, finance, supply chain management and team dynamics and leadership—during a single semester. Kelley students say I-Core is one of the most meaningful experiences of their Kelley careers—a rite of passage to understanding the business world and the value of teamwork.

A team of students will meet with company representatives to establish a project that works to benefit the company. Students conduct research, analyze findings and provide a recommendation at the end of the semester.

Students may consider new goods or services, providing a feasibility study of the new product and market. They will determine if return on investment justifies risk and capital investment.

Company representatives are asked to participate in an on-campus meeting to talk about the company’s current business and provide background information to help student analysis.

 Results: Testimonials from company reps and students

Last academic year, one student team worked with RICS Software in Indianapolis. VP of Products and Technology Chris Kozlowski says the I-Core group looked at additional revenue opportunities for the company.

“If you have the resources to spare, and you are looking for ways to think about your business differently, it’s a no-brainer,” Kozlowski said about his experience with the Kelley I-Core team.

“You have students who will think about the ways you do business, and the exercise—just going through the process—is worth it. It’s always nice to hear a different perspective. The fruit is in the ideation that they produce and present to you. It’s a different take on your business, which allows you to see things differently,” said Kozlowski. “The ideas were original and well-thought through. It’s a great exercise because it casts the lens inward a bit. It’s always good to hear new and different ideas.”

Kelley student and supply chain major Salman Al Muqaimi, BS’17, was one of the students who worked with RICS Software.

“Working with RICS Software was a great opportunity,” Al Muqaimi said. “Interacting and working with business professionals taught me that important skill everyone needs to be successful in business: communication. Taking I-Core gave me a better picture of what business is and how companies use the science of business to help them succeed.”

“I consider the I-Core project to be a preparation course for real life in business. I-Core is the gate, and walking through this gate gives you the chance to apply knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom to the real world,” he added.

Chris Gray is the Founder and CEO of Track Ahead, a career development app that facilitates firsthand and indirect engagement between college students and employers to match them based on mutual fit. He also worked with a Kelley I-Core team, who used Track Ahead data to build their own business model.

“When you’re talking to students about an idea, they’re asking questions. Those are often the same type of questions we thought about when the business was just getting started. It puts you back into that ‘day one mindset,’ thinking about the answers to the kinds of questions that hadn’t been thought about in a while,” said Gray. “In the startup world, you have to keep that sort of ‘day one thinking.’ You can’t lose sight of the thought process and the things you were thinking about in the first place. I think it was a good exercise.”

“I would recommend the I-Core experience to any company,” said Gray. “Being involved with Kelley Indy students helps all of us in the business community—to make sure we’re growing and cultivating the next generation. We have to find the time to reach out to them.”

Accounting and finance major Jalen McCoy, BS’18, says I-Core taught him to work efficiently with a team and the importance of being a leader.

“I enjoyed working with a company that genuinely cared about the ideas we came up with,” said McCoy. “The I-Core experience for a company could be an excellent recruiting tool, and students may come up with ideas that act as a catalyst for growth. I know personally that this I-Core experience was truly one of a kind, and I appreciated the participation of the company that I was involved with.”

How to get involved

Please request and fill out an application if you’d like your business to be involved.

Any for-profit organization can apply. The ideal company will have been in business for at least 10 years (minimum of 5 years) and will have shown an operating profit for at least three years (minimum one year). The company must be incorporated as an S corporation, C corporation or an LLC.

If you would like more information on this program, or to request an application, contact Teresa Bennett at tkbennet(at)iupui.edu or at 317 278-9173.

Hoosier Author John Green on the “Joys” of Adulthood

John Green, the well-known Indianapolis-based author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Paper Towns” and other modern literary hits, recently spoke to the graduating class of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

He’s articulate as always and waxes philosophical on the monotony of adulthood, but explains why that monotony does have a purpose in advancing society.

National Conference on Career Pathways Coming to Indy

pathway confPostsecondary Pathways has been a multi-year series of regional events connecting educators and businesses throughout the state. BizVoice magazine featured a 2015 stop in Batesville and a March-April 2016 update on recent programs.

The topic is also prominent at the national level, with the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) bringing its annual conference to Indianapolis and the JW Marriott in October. NCPN assists educators and employers involved in the advancement of career pathways, career and technical education, and related education reform initiatives.

The conference takes place October 5-7. Pre-conference workshops, nationally-known keynote speakers and more than 130 breakout sessions are featured. More than 1,200 participants are expected.

 

 

Exploring a ‘Best’-Kept Secret

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This is going to be good!

Like a kid in a candy store, my eyes widened as I gazed around the spacious surroundings at MOBI, an Indianapolis-based provider of software and services that helps businesses manage mobility.

Maybe it was the infectious energy enveloping employees as they chuckled, collaborated and consumed – in moderation – an adult beverage, courtesy of Frank the Tank (MOBI’s kegerator). Perhaps it was the colorful décor that so aptly captured the vibrant personality of its people. Something was special about MOBI.

Make yourself at home at MOBI with this BizVoice® magazine story about its honor as one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana.

Regional Coordinator Helps Build Intern Relationships in Central Indiana

Chelsea-DuKate-graphicIn 2015, Indiana INTERNnet launched regional initiatives to increase the number of experiential learning opportunities available to Indiana students. Chelsea DuKate, founder and president of Red Envelope Consulting, is working with employers in Central Indiana at every stage of internship management from development to recruiting to evaluation.

Indiana INTERNnet: Why are internships more important than ever for employers?

Chelsea DuKate: Besides the general benefits of enhanced productivity and gaining a potential new diverse perspective, employers also have an opportunity to better engage with the early career community. Internship programs can serve as a ‘selection method’ of sorts for full-time positions within their organization.

Studies have shown that interns hired full-time tend to be more loyal to that organization, which directly impacts labor and turnover costs. Other benefits include the company marketing that goes along with having interns and the increased name recognition and employment branding opportunities.

IIN: How are you helping Indianapolis area employers connect with the best and brightest talent for their internship programs?

DuKate: Red Envelope Consulting has partnered with the Indy Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet to connect with local employers in Marion and surrounding counties and help with identifying student opportunities within their organizations. I am working with employers on how to attract early career talent and, most importantly, how to manage both the program and the student employees.

IIN: What can Indiana INTERNnet do for employers?

DuKate: Indiana INTERNnet hosts a web-based platform to connect employers with internship-seeking individuals. Employers can post unlimited internship opportunities at www.IndianaINTERN.net, review the extensive database of student resumes in numerous fields, and apply for EARN Indiana reimbursement.

Indiana INTERNnet also provides several resources for employers to develop or improve their internship programs, including Intern Today Employee Tomorrow: The Indiana Employer’s Guide to Internships.

IIN: How should employers get started?

DuKate: Employers interested in discussing options related to building or enhancing their internship programs can contact Red Envelope Consulting by visiting www.redenvelope.consulting/contact or emailing directly at chelsea@redenvelope.consulting.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog

Brinegar: We Commend INDOT on I-69 Route

i69The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced today that the preferred route for Interstate 69 section 6 between Martinsville and Indianapolis is the State Road 37 corridor. Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and Hoosier Voices for I-69 Chairman Kevin Brinegar offers his comments:

“We support INDOT’s decision that the State Road 37 corridor is the best alternative for completing the I-69 extension and it will be the best investment for Hoosiers. The corridor requires far less new construction than the alternatives, impacts the fewest homeowners and has the most consensus among all interested parties.

“We commend INDOT on the thorough selection process and the analysis used to come to this decision.

“While we’ve made much progress on the I-69 extension – most recently with the opening of Section 4 in Greene and Monroe counties in December – there is still much to be done from the Bloomington area up to Indianapolis. The state must remain committed to funding this important project and seeing it through to completion.

“In the not-too-distant future, I-69 will run continuously from Evansville to Fort Wayne and beyond. That will provide many more Hoosiers with better road access, leading to reduced travel time. And that also is very attractive for businesses, making Indiana an even more viable hub for companies and new jobs.”