Eating our own dog food.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we get excited by the benefits of a full set of the latest and greatest licences.  Did you know… and not a lot of people do know this; that your agreement only relates to the latest plus one previous version of the product.  So if you are running XP and Office 2003 – you are breaking the license agreement.  Well we are on Windows 7, we are rolling out Office 2010 and migrating our Sharepoint 2007 sites to Sharepoint 2010.  Did we worry?  No, we planned well in advance and we are experts in all of these technology spaces…. Camwood?  Sharepoint experts – well yes we are and we have been delivering business change consulting for over two years. We can even give you free consultancy on the Microsoft SDPS and BVPS programmes if you’re a customer with the right amount of packaged services entitlement on your Enterprise Agreement.  These programmes can even leave you with a fully working environment and it costs nothing!!  Come and see us at

You always need a giggle in IT

Over the past 20+ years in IT, users have done the most wonderful things that just made me giggle:  cutting down a 5¼” floppy disk to fit in a 3½” floppy drive; stapling a note to a 5¼” floppy disk with instructions to convert it; turning up to a training course and producing a folded up 8” floppy disk from their pocket that they want to convert; stuffing biscuits into the floppy drive because a colleague had setup a program to flash “feed me” periodically on the screen; when asked to insert the floppy and close the door, they’ve got up and closed the office door. Then with the advent of Windows came even more giggles: when asked to close the window, they’ve got up and closed the office window; when asked to click the mouse on the red cross, they’ve picked the mouse up from the desk, placed it on the screen and clicked; after a training session on Word, they’ve asked “So how do you type with a mouse then?” But my absolute favourite has been:  a user phones our Help Desk and one of our technical support guys answers the phone (a very loud Yorkshire man) – “I’ve got a problem in formatting a floppy disk” says the user, “Please explain your problem” says the technical support guy. “Well, I’ve taken the tray out, taken the paper out, put the disk in, put the tray back in and it won’t format”, “You’ve done what?” says the technical support guy. “I’ve taken the tray out, taken the paper out, put the disk in, put the tray back in and it won’t format … but it worked yesterday”.  It transpired that not only was the user trying to format a floppy disk in a printer, but it was a shared printer 40 yards down the corridor!! It just goes to show that no matter how well we think we’ve explained IT to users and clients, there will always be someone that might not have fully understood the explanation and/or understood it in a completely different way. Perhaps the phrase “… Use less jargon and more basic English …” should become embedded in our brains when talking to clients?

CIO Magazine names Camwood as one of the key 20 vendors CIO’s should watch

CIO magazine name Camwood as one of the 20 vendors CIOs should watch in 2010. Camwood  With Vista having been such thin gruel for Microsoft partners, concerns over old hardware, security and unsupported versions of Windows should override even the duff economy and make Windows 7 a popular choice. And with Win7 migrations likely to go from trickle to stream over the next year, specialists like Camwood stand to benefit by providing consulting services around deployment options, application porting and change processes.  Read the full article

App App & Away

Do your Windows XP applications fear Windows 7 like Superman fears Kryptonite? Do they go all wobbly at the knees in its presence? Do you? Well, brace yourself for a shocker – more ‘Kryptonite’ in the form of Citrix, APP-V, IE8, Virtual Desktops, Cloud have been identified and they are all staring down your application portfolio like a gang of bullies. This is not recent news – these heavies have been out in the field for quite a few years, just outside your window. Answer yourself this: do your Web applications react to Internet Explorer 8 like a Gremlin reacts to ‘bright light, bright light’? Do you? There is a sea-change going on right now with regard to applications, infrastructure, browsing and even more importantly, Office Data. Your apps are surrounded by hungry engines wanting to consume them and spit them out to your users. These engines are ready to serve you but only if you can tame them first. Are your apps robust enough to handle these new delivery channels? Hiding in a corner, quivering like a jelly will just not do. Denial is not a luxury that you can afford and that’s not just metaphorically, that is literally. The people from Gartner will back me up on this but there’s no room here for quotes or stats – ask around and you’ll get nods from heads with glazed eyes that all this stuff is true. Take Microsoft’s APP-V for example. It offers you an enticing little promise of application nirvana, where you could see your license costs shrink faster than a savings account with Northern Rock. How? By delivering your applications to the users that need them, regardless of where those users log in. Why tie your application to a particular computer and force the user to sit there when you could stream the application to that user on demand at any location? You’d only need one license per user rather than one license per ‘PC where the user might sit’. That’s a mighty proposition and could easily save you millions of pounds. It’s the same for your Web applications. They will work on IE8 but you might need to give a few of them a little pep-talk to coax them into their new home. What about your old Office Data files? Hmm…they may need a stiffer talking-to but with love, not anger! They will shape up for Office 2010 just fine. The price you pay? Preparation. Migration. You can’t get to nirvana without a good pair of walking boots, a map and above all the resolve and fortitude to cross a few fiery bridges and a few dark chasms – where would be the challenge in an easy path? So at Camwood we do stock walking boots and we carry a good line in maps too. Again, not just metaphorically but also literally – check out our blogs on the Three Peaks conquest and you’ll see that our people have been up and down real mountains, with real courage and real determination. On the metaphorical side we are just as adept – we can arm you with the necessary footwear and travel guides to go from Windows XP and IE6 to Windows 7 and IE8, for real, without becoming lost in a blizzard or falling off a ledge. We will make sure of this by handcuffing ourselves to you if you want. Your fall is our fall and we don’t want that! We aren’t claiming to be superheroes like the Man of Steel. We’re not even claiming to be common-or-garden heroes – we are plain folk who work hard to take good people and their faithful applications to pastures new. Pastures with a lot less Kryptonite strewn about!

Virtually Gift-Wrapped For You

At Camwood we specialise in Application Virtualisation but we also know that there are many other forms of ‘virtualisation’ out there, from Desktops to Servers to Network. Check out the link below for a pretty good article about how to conduct a Technical Assessment for Server Virtualisation. It’s well-written and pretty detailed. When you’ve absorbed the above article, you may like to come back here for a visit to learn more about how we integrate our own services into such virtual infrastructures.