Many Cultures, One Team

Many Cultures, One Team is an essential aid for anyone who leads, is a member of, consults with, or supports global teams. Starting from the premise that the concept of team is culturally bound, Catherine Mercer Bing provides guidance for improving team function and performance. Drawing on her extensive experience in supporting global teams, she challenges team leaders and members to reflect on their cultural assumptions – to improve their cultural metacognition – and provides key advice concerning engagement, productivity, and human process interactions on teams.

Global competition is fierce, and the timeframe within which businesses maintain their competitive advantage is now counted in months rather than years. One important source of competitive advantage is human behavior. Team leaders that manage the subtle, but powerful, forces of group dynamics and culture achieve better business outcomes. Team leaders that fail to identify and manage these subtle forces in real-time risk having their plans thwarted.

In this excerpt, Bing provides an introduction to culture and explores how these variables guide people actions and reactions. Understanding one’s own culture and the impact of culture on the actions of others is essential for effective global team interactions.

Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Technics Publications, LLC, from “Many Cultures, One Team” by Catherine Mercer Bing. Copyright © 2015.




Six Benefits of Hosted Desktop for Remote Workers

Flexibility to Work Anywhere

Hosted desktop gives employees the freedom to get their work done on any device – inside or outside the office. They can connect to their virtual desktop using their office or home PC, tablet, laptop or smartphone to access work files, emails and more.


Competitive Hiring Advantage

The current generation entering the workforce expects to have the ability to use their own devices whenever they want or need to. A flexible BYOD plan attracts these younger workers, offering a competitive hiring advantage for companies seeking new talent.


Move CapEx to OpEx

Hosted desktop eliminates capital expenditures (CapEx) for new servers and moves to a predictable, monthly cost. This makes CFOs happy because they can classify the cost as an operating expense (OpEx).


More Devices at Less Cost

A hosted desktop strategy allows a company to support more devices without additional cost. The subscription-based model eliminates licensing waste and means the company only pays for actual users.


Keep Confidential Company Information Secure

With a service provider-hosted desktop, the office desktop is kept completely separate from other personal applications and data on the mobile device. This keeps critical work files safe and sound by storing them in a secure, central repository off the local device’s storage.


Control User Permissions

Administrator can set permissions that restrict end users from downloading unapproved documents and applications to their PCs.



Local or Hosted? Weighing Your Options for the Private Cloud

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and judging by the continued interest in private cloud solutions, it is fair to say that the sky is always bluer on the other side of the cloud, as well.

Cloud providers have made no secret of the fact that they can deliver advanced IT services at a fraction of the cost of in-house infrastructure, but for organizations that have invested millions, if not billions, in their own data centers, it isn’t just a simple matter of dumping the old for the new. Rather, many CIOs are asking themselves: If a third-party provider can deliver IT more cheaply and effectively, why can’t I?

This is one of the reasons why private cloud adoption is about to undergo a dramatic shift over the next year or so, says Technology Business Report. According to the company’s latest research, the percentage of private clouds delivered by third parties is showing a steady decline – from 70 percent to 65 percent in the past year – while in-house clouds are on the rise – 30 percent to 35 percent. At the same time, however, the group notes that while the private cloud market is due to grow by about 15 percent per year through 2018, spending at individual organizations is on the decline due to the low cost of open, public cloud services.

This does not necessarily mean that the enterprise is losing its taste for internal private clouds, however. Rather, it is more likely an indication that once a critical mass of data center infrastructure is shifted to a cloud footing, it becomes more scalable and flexible and therefore reduces the need for continual investment. As InfoWorld’s Howard Baldwin notes,the advent of software-defined networking (SDN) clears the last hurdle to a fully virtualized data environment, allowing organizations to finally bring the benefits of cloud computing to mission-critical applications that must remain firmly shielded behind the enterprise firewall. In this way, the enterprise can field a mix of public, private and hybrid architectures and then easily shift workloads to the appropriate tier through an integrated, universal management stack.

Meanwhile, cloud providers and even application/service developers are making it easier to deploy private clouds almost instantly using appliances optimized for key functions. For example, MobileSmith, a provider of specialized mobile app development platforms, recently launched the MobileSmith Pod appliance that allows enterprises to maintain cloud-based service and development without using a traditional third-party PaaS architecture. The device sits inside the firewall where it can oversee the integration of applications with internal data sources without risking exposure to public infrastructure. Essentially, it provides a rapid private cloud deployment model that fosters key mobile support services like native app development, even for those without advanced programming knowledge, as well as secure end-user management, push notifications and real-time content updates.

Still, the biggest dig at private clouds from the public cloud sector has always been cost. Security is a non-issue, they say, because the same security apparatus that exists in the enterprise can be deployed on the cloud, and public services can mount a wide range of architectures featuring various levels of isolation, reliability and flexibility to equal anything that an individual enterprise can muster, all at less cost. However, as Network World’s Brandon Butler points out, some are starting to contest that notion. Firms like Plexxi and Piston Cloud Computing estimate that, on average, once the public cloud budget hits $7644 per month, it may be time to invest in a private solution – depending, of course, upon the workload, the state of legacy infrastructure and a number of other factors. The key, they say, is weighing the higher upfront costs of the private cloud against the longer-term costs of perpetual leasing of public services, particularly as data loads increase.

All of this indicates that the enterprise will have to do a tricky dance when it comes to finding the right balance in the cloud. If anything can be said with certainty, it is that continual monitoring and assessment of needs and capabilities will remain the order of the day as cloud infrastructure makes the transition from emerging trend to the established mode of IT operation.



Five Tips for Taking Control of Cloud Chaos

Gain Visibility into Apps

It may seem simple, but the first step an organization should take is to understand which apps its employees are actually using. Individual employees often use cloud apps outside of IT’s control, and business units purchase apps without alerting the organization as a whole. It’s necessary to get a handle on which apps are being used across the entire organization.

Cut Down on Cloud Spending

While many organizations initially turn to the cloud for the cost savings it can enable, they often end up wasting huge amounts of money on unused cloud app licenses and outdated contracts with cloud providers. Think of all the licenses held by employees that have left the company, and all the cloud contracts that haven’t been re-negotiated in years – all of that adds up to wasted resources. It’s also important to take the extra step and double-check the accuracy of charges from cloud providers to avoid spending unnecessary money.

Take Control of Cloud Licenses

As the organization delves into its cloud usage, it should identify and eliminate unused and unknown cloud licenses. It should also cancel any instances of multiple contracts with the same cloud vendors (for example, the sales and marketing departments could both inadvertently have contracts with the same provider, such as Salesforce).

The organization should negotiate current cloud contracts to make sure it’s getting the best deal, and make sure to re-negotiate these contracts in the future. In doing so, it’s important to ensure that rates are in accordance with purchase volumes.

Centrally Manage Cloud Usage

Once the organization understands which apps employees are using and where money is being spent, it should create a central portal from which this can all be managed. Central management of cloud assets and expenses will significantly reduce the complexity of managing cloud contracts, and help to eliminate duplicate contracts.

Consider a Third-Party Provider

If the process of managing cloud apps today, and on an ongoing basis, seems like a lot of work, the organization should consider turning to a third-party provider that can provide an objective assessment of cloud usage. This oversight can help the organization realize the best possible value from its cloud investment.


The exponential growth of cloud computing has raised concerns about how rapidly enterprises are adopting cloud technologies while ignoring or struggling to monitor and control the associated expenses. As organizations evolve and grow, employees turn to hundreds of cloud computing services without expressed permission from the enterprise. The combination of various business units deploying cloud technology separately from other departments and the misconception that it’s not necessary to involve an enterprise’s IT department in the cloud application adoption process has resulted in misallocated expenses, lost efficiency and poor policy enforcement for enterprises.

A recent eye-opening survey indicated that the average enterprise uses more than 450 cloud apps, and this figure proved to be nine to 10 times greater than the average corporate IT team estimated. Another survey revealed that 30 percent of software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps were being used outside of IT’s sphere of control. These results paint a startling image of a chaotic cloud atmosphere, where employees in need of solutions fail to adhere to IT policies or, in many cases, are acting in absence of an IT policy.

Without visibility into the wide variety of cloud apps employees are using every day, organizations face an array of problems– such as potential liabilities, security issues and hidden costs. In this slideshow, Tangoe describes five ways that enterprises can take back control of the cloud chaos.



How to use your Cloud Assistant

by Nicole Brizuela

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Adminstrative Based Examples

You need to confirm appointments for the week. Simply instant message or email a list of tasks to your Cloud VA (Cloud virtual assistants) via our Cloud VA platform. They call the appointments and note who is confirmed and who must be rescheduled. They upload or scan-to-cloud or emails the list back to you or even updates your calendar online, if you’re using a mutually accessible calendar program. They can even reschedule appointments as needed.

You need directions to a meeting or seminar. Your Cloud virtual assistant can make the call, obtain the directions and either calls or emails those directions to you.

You need a schedule for the meeting times and dates, your Cloud virtual assistant can verify the information for you without taking up your precious time on the phone.

You have routine paperwork that must be filled out on a daily basis. Simply message your Cloud virtual assistant with the information or scan-to-email or scan-to-cloud your hand-written information to your Cloud virtual assistant. They enter the info into your standard form and emails to the proper location.


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Research Based Examples

You need a hotel conference room for a seminar. Call or email your Cloud virtual assistant and ask her/his to do the research. The Cloud virtual assistant contacts several hotels in the area to find availability of the date, size, and specifics of the seminar.They can then obtain written quotes from the hotels that can accommodate the request. They review each quote for completeness and reports the findings to you for final decision.

You want to purchase office equipment. Simply call or email your Cloud virtual assistant with the request. They call several vendors, obtain pricing information, and emails the information back to you for the final decision.

You are interested in researching a topic online for an important proposal. Your Cloud virtual assistant can do a keyword search and list the appropriate websites/findings back to you. Or, s/he can dig deeper and pull out necessary information from the websites s/he finds.

You are preparing a property search report i.e. RPData plan and need further information before a listing presentation or sales pitch. Your Cloud virtual assistant can contact or log in to possible advertising outlets on the Internet, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, RP Data etc. and acquire information on pricing, publishing dates, publishing deadlines, payment policies, etc. All information is compiled into a report for you to review.



I have nothing but positive things to say about the advantages of outsourcing and using Cloud virtual assistants – to certain parts of my business, especially if it saves my business $100,000+ a year in overhead expenses.

My company is based on customer service. We have many sales agents across dozens of offices; the amount of follow up, administration work and correspondence required on sales staff was preventing them from earning their real potential and value by wasting their time on non-income producing activities. Using Cloud virtual assistants enabled our sales team to increase their sales volume due to the time saved on administrative based activities which our Cloud virtual assistants happily do for us now.

The benefits of using Cloud virtual assistants for administration support, database management and a host of other tasks, are multi-fold, beginning with reduced and/or eliminated costs in salaries, taxes, insurance and on-site employee benefits.