Author: clgcetus

“I’ll have a Large Stuffed Crust Meat Feast Laptop Please…”


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I am very fortunate in my role having the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of Vendors, Partners and Customers at various events and hearing their thoughts on the market and how “I.T.” is driving competitive advantage in a wide variety of sectors.

It was at a recent round table event I found myself asking when does a company go from being the producer of a product or deliverer of a service to being an “I.T.” company!

There does of course have to be a product that enables the organisation to transact business but through using I.T. in a strategic manner and encompassing it as part of the core strategy the product does not have to be market leading to become a market leader!

Dominos – Pizza company or I.T. company?
I believe a case can be made they are an I.T. company. I have to confess I am more of a Pizza Hut fan when it comes to the quality of the Pizza… BUT I tend to order Dominos on those lazy Friday evenings… WHY? Because it is Dominos who communicate with me at 15:00 on a Friday afternoon via text and email planting the seed of a pizza for dinner, it is Dominos who have the easy to use app that tells me at what stage in the preparation process they are, it is Dominos I can see the delivery driver driving down my road so I know to lock my dog outside before she goes ballistic at the door bell…. Through offering an excellent and easy to use convenient service by leveraging I.T. Dominos has, in my opinion, the better offering despite a lesser quality Pizza.

Uber – Taxi service or I.T. company?
Again I believe the case can be made for I.T. I had years of standing outside Walkabout in Birmingham trying to flag down a black cab in the freezing rain only to be gazumped by a nimbler taxi flagger…. The revolution of Uber has made that process so simple and more orderly…. The end product is still a taxi home , the process of getting home has been made far less stressful and far more convenient by leveraging existing GPS technology on existing smart phone technology to offer a better taxi service.

It is now more important than ever to look at go to market strategies from multiple angles and having a look at how putting technology at the forefront of a strategy can help:
– Increase your customer reach
– Improve your customer experience
– Drive greater margins through automation
– Improve the efficiency of business processes
– Rejuvenate a struggling product
– Quickly launch a new product
It will be well worth the investment in time.

Cetus are well placed to have these conversations with any type of organisation as we have a blend of highly skilled Technical Architects and Innovative Management Consultants who spend their days having art of the possible conversations with existing and potential customers to help them be more successful.

Challenge us to show you how leveraging I.T can help shape the strategy, improve the efficiency and grow the profitability of your organisation.

tomTom Barnes – Regional Sales Manager London and South
Tom works with new and existing customers to understand their business objectives and discuss how technology can help translate these into outcomes.

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The Passionate Fishmonger


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I enjoy fish. In fact I really enjoy fish. Like many Brits I consider Fish & Chips to be our national dish; but would I consider myself ‘passionate’ about fish? More importantly, do I believe that anyone can be truly passionate about fish?

I found myself pondering the above during my drive into work one day. As is frequently the case, I passed a fishmonger’s van; on which they proudly proclaimed ‘People – Passion – Fish’. Now I’m clearly not a fishmonger, but I found myself questioning wether they were truly passionate about fish. Was the van driver deep in thought about fish while he drove down the motorway? If I rang them, would the receptionist have to interrupt her musings on the benefits of fish to take my call? I suspect not.

And so, not long after my new found insight into fish & passion; I found myself in the position of having to sum up Cetus Solutions with three words. Clearly ‘passion’ was off the agenda: overused, vague and misunderstood were just three very good reasons to avoid that particular appellation.

We’d reached this position because we had decided it was time to clarify “what Cetus do” as part of a rolling refresh of our marketing messaging under the stewardship of Claire Gibson, our then new Head of Marketing. With this goal in mind, Gary (our Sales & Marketing Director) and I locked ourselves in a room with nothing but a whiteboard and our wits to guide us. We were prepared to spend all day in there if that was what it took. In the end, we found our three words in just under 45 minutes. Not because we couldn’t be bothered, but because describing Cetus in three words was surprisingly simple.

We decided that our words should describe not what we do, but how we do it. They should encapsulate the experience of working with Cetus from our clients’ perspectives; to give a sense of longevity in our approach to relationships; and to recognise that what we do is a highly transformative process. At the end of the short session we had our three words on the whiteboard; we looked at each other and agreed that (a) that didn’t take as long as we’d expected and (b) we liked our new words. These three words are now a central part of our outbound and inbound marketing messaging; providing clients and colleagues alike with a touch point for what to expect when we engage with them. They are:

inspire. transform. together.

Of course, we’re as passionate as any fishmonger here at Cetus; but we believe that our customers want something more than that. Some of our clients have been with Cetus for almost all of 15 year history and they, perhaps better than anyone else, can attest to the accuracy of our chosen three words.

Directors-9619Paul Kiveal – Business Development Director
Paul works with business leaders, helping combine strategic objectives with innovative technical solutions, developing inspirational new IT platforms that transform the way technology powers organisations.

Citrix Summit Tech Series – Smart Deployments


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It has been two month’s since I attended Citrix Summit and the amount of cloud conversations that we are having with our customers has rocketed. The majority of which are hybrid cloud / multi cloud conversations; or customers that have started the journey and are now looking to increase performance or management. 

Citrix Cloud is really resonating with our customers – both large and small. I will pen a blog specifically on this subject later in the month, but today I want to touch on two features of the Citrix portfolio and show how they are enabling our customers to make the transition to cloud hosted desktop and application delivery.

The first element of the Citrix solution that I wanted to cover is Smart Scale. Smart Scale is a component of the Smart Tools set that comes as part of Citrix Cloud. It allows the Citrix administrators to intelligently control the power state of the virtual desktop estate based on the required usage.

Let’s consider it in the context of a 500 concurrent user deployment for a typical 9am – 5:30pm company in the UK who wants to move to Azure. Without Smart Scale (or a lot of static manual work) they would need to pay Azure costs for 500 virtual machines for the full 744 hours a month, on the presumption the month has 31 days. Now think about how many hours are those desktops actually providing user services? Consider 2am in the morning, or perhaps on a Saturday afternoon whilst the match is on…! Using Smart Scale we can power down (and therefore not pay for) desktops that are not in use, and power them back on as needed to meet demand.

 Let’s talk through the math…
No Smart Scale:
500 virtual machines x 744 hours per month = 372,000 hours of cost per month
With Smart Scale:
The requirement is only 136,200 hours of cost per month!
That is with 10% of the desktops on 24×7 (37,200 hours) and 90% of desktops on 10 hours a working day with assumed 22 days per month average (99,000 hours)

As you can see, the power of Smart Scale to save costs – over 60% – when hosting desktops in the cloud is a very powerful enabler.

Now let’s couple this with the second element of the Citrix Portfolio that I wanted to talk about – Citrix Workspace Environment Management or WEM (yes another acronym sorry!) WEM is based on a late 2016 acquisition from Citrix of a company called NorSkale. 

I will write a review on WEM as whole at some point, however for now I wanted to focus on one key area – resource optimisation. WEM provides the ability to reduce RAM and CPU usage within a virtualised desktop environment by up to 70%. If we consider this reduction again in terms of costs when hosting desktops in the cloud (or on premise) we can get more users on that Azure instance type and further reduce costs.

If we combine these two technologies with the rest of the Citrix portfolio then we can start to significantly reduce costs and help our customers make that move to the cloud a reality, while maintaining end user performance and business security at the same time.

Want to hear more about this, Citrix Cloud and all the announcements from Summit? Come to one of our free update events – run by Cetus & Citrix SE’s, where you can network with peers and see how Citrix are delivering on Cloud, Security and User Mobility in 2017.

robRob Sims – Senior Solution Architect
Rob helps customers to understand their business challenges, and guides them to leverage technology as a mechanism for change.

Citrix Cloud: The Coping Mechanism for Digital Disruption


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In most organisations at least one commonality exists; nobody likes unnecessary complexity. And, perhaps contrary to many stereotypes, least of all the IT department. So much so, many organisations that I have spoken to recently have prioritised simplification and automation among the highest business objectives for 2017; in order to increase their businesses agility, improve their ability to react to changing requirements and demands, and to speed up the time to value when delivering IT initiatives. 

This comes as many businesses are admittedly struggling to keep up with the constant pace of workplace change, innovations in technology, and the increasingly digital landscape in which we operate. Whilst business leaders recognise the value that digital presents including; improved productivity, effectiveness, engagement and profitability; standing in the way of achieving these objectives is complexity.

As a result, many find themselves in a state of digital disruption, with the organisations failing to react to changing workplace landscapes, user demands and organisational pressures quick enough to sustain a competitive advantage in challenging markets whilst maintaining the level of security required in today’s modern workspaces.

In addition, for many organisations it is becoming increasingly complex for their IT department to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with vast amounts of different applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, both known and unknown security threats, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable user and business demands.

This is where Citrix Cloud comes in. Citrix Cloud is a secure, evergreen SaaS like control plane that unites and integrates all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a unified administration, user experience that overcomes the challenges presented by the digital landscape – delivering workspaces the way you want that are “Secure by Design”. It has quickly become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management of your secure digital workspace in the process.

In Jan 2017, I was fortunate enough to attend Citrix’s annual partner conference, Citrix Summit, and saw first-hand how and why Citrix Cloud is going to be a game changer for businesses in 2017. Quite simply, Citrix Cloud enables customers to cope effectively with digital disruption by removing complexity and empowering IT departments to say yes.

Over the past few weeks we have been running a collaborative series of workshops with Citrix SE’s to share insight and recommendations with organisations about preparing for the transition to Citrix Cloud and Hybrid Cloud strategies. Due to the positive feedback from these sessions, we have added a number of additional dates for April. So if you would like to explore the features and benefits of using Citrix Cloud services, understand Citrix’s vision and roadmap for 2017 – including their strategic alliance with Microsoft “Better Together” – then we would love you to join us at one of our upcoming events.


REGISTER FOR OUR UPCOMING EVENT:
Citrix Cloud: The future is Cloud, and the future is now.
Join us at one of our upcoming events where we will share insight and recommendations about preparing for the transition to Citrix Cloud.
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Tuesday 4th April – London Paddington
Wednesday 5th April – East Midlands Airport

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Claire 3Claire Gibson – Head of Marketing
Claire is responsible for connecting businesses with valuable insight and information from the industry in order for informed decisions to be made in relation to their IT services. 

5 Reasons to Consider Citrix Cloud


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Citrix are rapidly moving towards a cloud-first strategy, with Citrix Cloud providing a single control plane to manage and access all Citrix technologies in the cloud. This has become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management your secure digital workspace. If like many, you are assessing where certain workloads best reside, here are 5 reasons we recommend you consider Citrix Cloud…

Unified workspace experience
Citrix’s Cloud strategy is very much a reflection of their core strategy; to build the world’s best integrated technology services for secure delivery of apps and data. Citrix Cloud helps unite and integrate all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a more unified administration, delivery and user experience. 

Adapt to changing demands
Today’s workforce are increasingly mobile – using an increasing amount of devices, from a multitude of locations. However, it is becoming increasingly complex for IT to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with multiple applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable demands. A cloud-based strategy helps to solve these problems and in the process reduces complexity, and provides a simple way to deploy and manage secure mobile workspace solutions. This is where Citrix Cloud comes in to help you at any point in your cloud journey… 

Flexibility across any cloud
For many businesses, supporting a multi-cloud IT strategy continues to be a dominant trend with 82% of businesses stating that they have a multi-cloud approach across private, public or hybrid cloud environments. Citrix Cloud gives you the flexibility of choice. You are able to host your apps and data on any cloud or infrastructure platform you choose, whilst having the ability to leverage a common management plane across all Citrix environments. 

Faster time to value
Citrix Cloud is arguably the fastest way to deploy Citrix technology, taking just hours as opposed to weeks to deploy. Essentially, Citrix Cloud is a cloud management service uniting multiple Citrix products. The cloud service is operated by Citrix, and contains all of the management functions that ordinarily would have had to be installed and provisioned separately. The value is that Citrix has already deployed – and integrated – these services into Citrix Cloud so in many cases, all you need to do is activate, configure and deploy them to deliver a secure digital workspace solution. 

Simplified management
Using Citrix Cloud is intuitive. The idea is for you to spend less time learning, integrating, installing and managing – and instead focus on other more important, or strategic IT projects. This approach means reduced infrastructure, centralised control, and SaaS-style updates, which in turn contributes to lower administration cost and complexity. In addition, by simplifying management across multiple Citrix locations, you are able to optimise performance, data sovereignty, compliance and network latency.

Earlier this year at Citrix Summit, the launch of Citrix Cloud Accelerator; a comprehensive set of transition and trade-up offers for customers who own existing XenApp or XenDesktop licenses was announced for those who want to move to Citrix Cloud. If you are  considering Citrix Cloud services as a strategy for your business, there really is no better time…


REGISTER FOR OUR UPCOMING EVENT:
Citrix Cloud: The future is Cloud, and the future is now.

Join us at one of our upcoming events where we will share insight and recommendations about preparing for the transition to Citrix Cloud.
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Claire 3Claire Gibson – Head of Marketing
Claire is responsible for connecting businesses with valuable insight and information from the industry in order for informed decisions to be made in relation to their IT services. 

Citrix Summit Tech Series – HDX . NOW & .NEXT


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Sitting in the airport on the way home from Citrix Summit, I found myself mulling over all the cool announcements and updates that had been shared and how exciting being a Citrix mobile workspace architect will be this year. So I thought I would start a blog series and cover some of these topics. Over the next few weeks keep tuned for an architects view on what’s new and exciting from Citrix in 2017.

My core ethos for virtual desktop and application delivery architectures are easy to follow;
deliver an amazing end user experience and be simple to manage.

After this the rest seems to take care of itself (with the right amount of thought and planning) but its these reasons that keep me coming back to Citrix and in delivering the first ethos the HDX protocol is key (and king). Now there are many aspects of HDX that would warrant putting pen to paper but its ability to deliver on the visual elements are what the user will see every time they interact. So let’s have a look at what’s going on here and to start I think a recap on the last 6 months and XenDesktop 7.11 is needed.

HDX.NOW
So HDX.NOW (my term not Citrix) has had some very nice updates in the XenDesktop versions since 7.6 that enable choice for the admin and deliver exceptional end user experiences. Specifically though before 7.11 we had two main (not limited to) protocol modes, but had to make a choice as the session started on which to use, these were known as:

  •  264 (Thinwire Advanced or SuperCodex)
    Great for Video playback and delivering a great user experience but at a cost of CPU on the server side VDA
  • Thinwire+
    Great for more static text environments. Great on server side VDA resource and great for older or low powered end point devices.

With the release of XenDesktop 7.11 we have a new mode known as Adaptive Display v2 that removes the need for administrators to make that upfront choice. This new mode is simply activated by a policy allowing HDX to run Thinwire+ by default and then switch dynamically to H.264 when it detects moving images within the users session or application. This can be seen in the image below, red and blue are ThinWire regions while the green videos will be rendered by h.264.

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This really cool advancement ensures maximum server side scale, least network bandwidth usage and the best end user experience regards less of content type. Delivering on both my primary ethos at the same time! For more info on this see this Citrix blog.

It’s not just for video that HDX.NOW is providing an amazing user experience. Checkout the video below I recorded at Summit with the amazing guys in the Demo Sandbox.

What we are seeing here XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro, Windows10, Nvidia GRID and a Raspberry Pi for the end point, delivering seamless 3D graphics.

HDX is working over only 5Mbps of bandwidth and delivering full screen real time 3D rendering with smooth and responsive interactions (even with me trying to master a 3D space mouse for the first time), HDX reduces the image quality during motion and then builds back to a pixel perfect lossless image when you stop moving. This build to lossless technology allows precise movements in high powered applications with zero quality loss when viewing.

These are just two great feature of the HDX.NOW that showcase some of the power HDX is delivering to customers right now. Now you might think that with such amazing results from the existing HDX protocol that Citrix would sit tight and rest for a while, but this is not the case.

Spending some time with the product guys for HDX revealed what they are calling HDX.NEXT, a complete and revolutionary upgrade to HDX that will be available in the next release of XenDesktop. Having watched demos of XenDesktop running HDX.NEXT over 250ms latency and 1% packet loss I can say the results are amazing. Quicker in most tests that a fat client PC, quicker video response, quicker file transfers and smoother graphics, it’s a game changer for virtual desktops for sure.

On top of the amazing performance increases we also get a 60% (yes sixty) reduction in bandwidth usage and a small increase in server density!! Simply incredible news. Don’t believe me see the results from LoginVSI testing below.

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The continued improvements in HDX over the last few years have ensured the solutions we deliver continue to meet our customers end user demands and keep the ICT teams delivering on the original promises of the solution. The world of end user computing is ever changing and the demands on bandwidth and datacenter server capacity ever increasing, HDX is fighting back and remains a core component for delivering our ‘Better than a PC’ experience.

Want to see this and all the announcements from Summit? Come to one of our free update events, network with peers and see how Citrix are delivering on Cloud, Security and User Mobility in 2017.

robRob Sims – Senior Solution Architect
Rob helps customers to understand their business challenges, and guides them to leverage technology as a mechanism for change.

Citrix Summit 2017


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This week I attended Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit – in Anaheim, California. As a specialist Citrix Platinum partner, we attend the event each year to ensure we are primed to inform our customers about the latest updates, announcements, vision and roadmap. You can register here to hear Cetus and Citrix deliver the very latest updates from Citrix Summit. 

The event kicked off with a vision keynote which allowed the senior leadership team at Citrix, lead by president and CEO Kirill Tatarinov, to offer perspective on industry transformation and position Citrix’s vision for helping customers leverage innovation and strategic partnerships in 2017 to achieve business objectives and outcomes.

Throughout the entirety of the keynote, tech talks and the numerous breakout tracks, Citrix’s strategy was clear and consistent. To provide integrated technology services that make apps and data secure and easy to access, and as a result help organisations of all sizes achieve the speed and agility necessary to grow and succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Within the content, some key themes emerged and took predominant focus in my opinion; Citrix’s Cloud Strategy, the strategic partnership with Microsoft, and integration of solutions (in terms of user experience and administration).

Citrix’s Cloud Strategy
There is no hesitation that Citrix are rapidly moving towards a cloud-first strategy, with Citrix Cloud providing a single place to access all Citrix technologies in the cloud. It’s quickly becoming the fastest, simplest and most flexible way to deliver Citrix technology to any device over any network – therefore a very interesting and attractive update was the launch of Citrix Cloud Accelerator; a comprehensive set of transition and trade-up offers for customers who own existing XenApp or XenDesktop licenses and want to move to Citrix Cloud. Also made available is a XenApp on Azure Cost Calculator, which is a tool that Cetus can help you use to provide you with a complete set of cost estimates for deploying Citrix XenApp on Microsoft Azure. In addition, a new Citrix Ready HCI Workspace Appliance Program was launched that enables hyper-converged appliances from hardware and storage partners to connect into Citrix Cloud.

Strategic partnership with Microsoft
Over the past year, Citrix and Microsoft have built the foundations and now Citrix are stepping it up a gear to further accelerate their joint innovation.

– The integration of Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway with Microsoft Intune
Citrix unveil the integration of NetScaler Unified Gateway with Microsoft EMS. Together, Citrix and Microsoft joined forces to deliver to our customers a solution that offers conditional access for mobile users.  Conditional access delivers an added level of security for mobile users which helps customers protect their on-premise resources

– The launch of XenApp Essentials and XenDesktop Essentials
Available in the Azure Marketplace, XenApp Essentials and XenDesktop Essentials make it easier for customers to accelerate secure app delivery and cloud-based Windows 10 VDI, empowering IT to align apps and desktop services with business needs, while delivering the superior experience, reliability and value associated with XenApp and XenDesktop.

– Collaboration between Citrix & Microsoft on Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)
The expanded Citrix partnership with Microsoft includes powerful collaboration to significantly enhance value for Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) customers with Citrix capabilities for delivering enterprise-grade productivity combined with device and data security managed over the network. This Azure-based Citrix solution for EMS will include micro-VPN capability for secure, identity-based access to on-premises applications on EMS managed devices, providing the most comprehensive mobility solution available in the market. In addition, later this year, the solution will also include versions of Citrix market-leading productivity apps, such as Secure Mail and Secure Web that customers will be able to manage with EMS.

Wrapping up this blog for now on the note of integration. At this years Summit there was a big focus on integration of solutions, from both an end user experience and an administration perspective, echoed in a joined up product strategy. To find out more, and hear what we feel are the most pressing updates, make sure you register for our update events, taking place in various locations throughout the UK.

REGISTER TO HEAR THE VERY LATEST NEWS FROM CITRIX SUMMIT
Citrix Cloud: The future is Cloud, and the future is now.
Register for one of our upcoming events where we will share insight and recommendations about preparing for the transition to Citrix Cloud, and provide the latest updates and announcements straight from Citrix Summit.

Claire 3Claire Gibson – Head of Marketing
Claire is responsible for connecting businesses with valuable insight and information from the industry in order for informed decisions to be made in relation to their IT services. 

 

Rugby Union… Who is more important the Forwards or the Backs?


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Spending the afternoon with some old school pals the conversation led onto rugby (as tends to happen with the group)…with a Kiwi, an Irish man and some Englishmen in the group when the question of who the best player of all time comes up there is always heated debate. The destructive running of Jonah Lomu, the legendary game control of Brian O’Driscoll, the boot of Jonny Wilkinson – the argument goes round and round and finally the conversation leads to the unsung heroes…

The forwards that set the whole platform for enabling some of the poster boys of international rugby to succeed… Richie McCaw, Brian O’Connell and recently for England Maro Itoje all come out as those stalwarts of the pack that put the team on the front foot. Without securing the ball, making the hard yards and carrying out lots of unseen work the back line will not function. To the none expert pundit (like me) a lot of the work of the pack in rugby is in fact “invisible” yet without it the output of scoring the points would not happen and quite often these players will have the game of their careers by being “invisible!”

This week I was away at a conference where the main topic of conversation was around IT infrastructure… The debate of on premise, or cloud or hybrid infrastructure solutions was an area of keen debate and the desire to have easily manageable infrastructure solutions that can be deployed and scaled quickly without disruption, in other words, made “invisible” to the business and customers was taking front stage.

This did get me thinking of how a direct comparison can be drawn between the unseen work of the forwards in rugby to a well-managed and deployed IT infrastructure. Taking the comparison one step further, the applications that are delivering the core business function to the end user can be compared to the back line that are kicking the points and scoring the tries. It is all too easy to blame the pack in rugby for not getting the service out to the backs and this is why the Tries are not flowing freely. When applications are running quickly and as they should no thought is put into the infrastructure that they are running on, it is taken for granted, it is invisible and yet when things start to creak and groan all end users become experts and point the finger firmly at the IT team and their infrastructure.

In the modern world of IT infrastructure the customer has a great deal of choice as to what shape that platform takes: traditional on premise servers, converged infrastructure, hyper converged infrastructure, private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud… there is no blanket right or wrong answer it is making sure you have a full understanding of what platform / platforms you need to deliver the correct service to the end users (or try scorers) is in place to maximise their productivity and success.

When Cetus first engage with any customer they spend a great deal of time discussing and helping set up your pack…With knowledge and experience across the breadth and depth of infrastructure solutions Cetus are perfectly positioned to help you make sure the decisions you are making now are the best for your business. We can help you ensure you can continue to offer an excellent IT infrastructure to ensure your business applications are running to optimal performance to help the business deliver its key goals (or score its Tries.)

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Our agile infrastructure solutions are built on the pretence of making IT infrastructure invisible – giving you the ultimate flexibility and scale to respond rapidly to your changing business needs and demands. With the intention of lowering risk to your business and lowering your total cost of ownership – allowing your IT team to focus on important business initiatives and driving innovation throughout the business, knowing that their infrastructure solution is ready for anything.
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Take a look at our Agile Infrastructure solutions

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tomTom Barnes – Regional Sales Manager London and South
Tom works with new and existing customers to understand their business objectives and discuss how technology can help translate these into outcomes.

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Future Decoded – The Microsoft Security Story


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Change has been the only constant in 2016 – with Brexit, and a change of prime minister, notably creating a great deal of noise and uncertainty around the future of the UK economy. With 44% of UK business leaders indicating their current business models will not exist in 5 years and predictions intensifying that we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, it is increasingly apparent that as businesses we must understand change, explore transformation and adapt in order to avoid extinction.

So, it came as no surprise the key theme of Microsoft’s annual UK event Future Decoded was centred on digital transformation. Whilst Microsoft’s core mission remains unchanged – to empower every organisation and every person to achieve more – the first day of Future Decoded focused less on the things we know that Microsoft do consistently well – providing rich user experiences, suites of applications, and intuitive interfaces, and instead cemented their strategy around security and proved how Microsoft are enabling business and digital transformation.

But it wasn’t just Microsoft’s strategy around security that took centre stage. During one of the opening keynotes, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, formally launched the government’s new National Cyber Security Strategy, which sets out decisive action that we will be taking to protect the UK economy, the privacy of British citizens, whilst encouraging and equipping industry to prevent damaging cyber-attacks.

The Chancellor recognised that cyber security is one of the greatest threats to business around the world – with the global cost of crimes estimated at in excess of $445 billion. However, the Chancellor predicts that this new strategy underpinned by £1.9 billion of investment will position the UK as one of the safest places in the world to do business – perhaps a compelling reason for businesses to remain in the UK instead of fleeing in the aftermath of Brexit.

“If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do the digital business,” The Chancellor said, “Trust in the internet and the infrastructure on which it relies is fundamental to our economic future.”

With data the currency of today’s world, a predicted 1 million new devices coming online per hour by 2020 and Microsoft opening UK data centres that deliver world-class reliability and data residency earlier this year, I was interested to explore how Microsoft’s security strategy has evolved. I was not disappointed.

During a breakout session, Microsoft illustrated exactly how they have upped their game, and integrated their products to create a solution which is seriously cool, effortlessly delivered, and oh… it’s available today when using EMS, Intune and Windows 10. Sophisticated security built on principles around user ‘identity’, facial recognition and multi-factor authentication, and integrated access and control policies, resulting in a solution that presents itself as simple, seamless… and can be completely self-provisioned by any end user (seriously it looked idiot proof… perhaps even I could replicate the demo – perhaps that’s a vblog for another time!)

Security has been one of the many, and important, focus areas at Future Decoded. Make sure you follow Cetus Solutions on LinkedIn, where over the next few days I will be posting additional blogs around some of the product announcements and updates, forward thinking around big data and AI, workspaces, Skype for Business, and migrating to Windows 10.

Claire 3Claire Gibson – Head of Marketing
Claire is responsible for connecting businesses with valuable insight and information from the industry in order for informed decisions to be made in relation to their IT services. 

The Sat Nav Got Me Lost!


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I recently loaned my mother my car to take some friends away for the weekend, I showed her how to put an address into the sat nav and sent her on her way… When she (finally) returned I asked how her weekend was and if the car was ok and I was a little surprised by her response.

“It’s useless… it got me lost, I should have gone in my car, I wish I had my map” which was fully supported by all her friends who continued to berate my car…. my surprise was two fold… firstly how did they get lost with a sat nav and secondly how the sat nav had now led this group of people to say how useless my whole car was.

In my job I rely on my sat nav and use it to guide me around the 20,000 miles of business travel I take on each year and I can honestly say it has yet to fail me. This got me thinking, how can this intelligent woman not see the benefit of this fantastic technology….

The answer; a poorly managed roll out of the technology by the individual pushing the technology on her (in this case me…. her son.) This one, initial poor experience has led to my mother swearing blind she will never use a sat nav again and disliking the whole vehicle!

This got me thinking of just how important that first user experience is in all walks of life and especially in the world of IT. The success or failure of any technology project is judged when it is rolled out to the end users or customers, the whole solution has to work and work well… if there is a slight hiccup that will be the focal point and getting back on track is like navigating spaghetti junction.

The leading edge technology, advanced security and huge time savings your new IT solution delivers are all insignificant if that end user experience is not close to perfection. Ensuring that initial user experience is positive enables the most valuable marketing tool of word of mouth to spread and ease the transition to the new way of working.

At Cetus we focus a great deal of our time engaging with customers before any technology decisions have been made… ensuring we get a true understanding of what you as an organisation are looking to achieve and we can then discuss how technology can help you get there.

Once the technology and project has been decided the impact on the user base becomes the priority and focusing on the least disruptive and easiest transition for the end users is at the heart of the project. The Cetus implementation methodology is tried and tested and is one that has saved many project and programme managers a lot of sleepless nights (or wrong turns!)

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Book your Business Case Assessment.
Our proven Business Case assessment methodology allows us to work with clients, at an early stage, to provide recommendations on how your IT environment can be improved, in order to enhance user experience and provide additional benefits for your business.
Book your business case assessment today

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tomTom Barnes – Regional Sales Manager London and South
Tom works with new and existing customers to understand their business objectives and discuss how technology can help translate these into outcomes.

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