Endeavour have renewed as G-Cloud 11 supplier

We are pleased to announce that we have been renewed as a supplier to the Crown Commercial Service's G-Cloud 11 framework. We have been suppliers to this framework since 2015 and we are now proud to announce that from July 2019 we have extended the range of cloud hosting, software and associated services we offer under the G-Cloud 11 Framework. 

The framework allows all UK government departments, devolved administrations, local authorities, wider public-sector bodies, and arm’s-length bodies the ability to provision cloud services from a marketplace of approved suppliers such as ourselves who offer a comprehensive range of Microsoft based hosting, software and services under this framework.

For more information of the services we offer under the framework please contact solutions@endeavour-is.com

Endeavour awarded additional Microsoft Cloud competency

Endeavour awarded additional Microsoft Cloud competency

We are delighted to announce that Endeavour has attained the Silver Cloud Productivity Competency from Microsoft, demonstrating both our commitment and expertise in designing, building and extending Microsoft Office 365 and infrastructure solutions.

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Endeavour now offering cloud hosting, software and services under G-Cloud 9 Framework

Endeavour now offering cloud hosting, software and services under G-Cloud 9 Framework

Endeavour are proud to announce that as from 22 May 2017 we are able to extend our offering of cloud hosting, software and associated support, migration and development services under the Crown Commercial Service's G-Cloud 9 framework.

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We're on the move

The move to our new offices started today and marks the end of a very stressful few weeks where at one stage we thought we'd never get sorted in time. However with the help of some specialist clients and hard work from our staff we have now moved in. Hard to believe this was the new office 2 days ago and the finished result today.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make this happen!

Endeavour are official suppliers to the G-Cloud 7 Framework

Endeavour Information Solutions is pleased to announce that we have been accepted as a supplier to the G-Cloud 7 Framework.  The G-Cloud Framework is the UK government’s public sector cloud procurement framework which offers a list of approved suppliers who can offer the public sector a wide range of cloud solutions, platforms and services.  

G-Cloud 7 can be used by organisations across the UK public sector including central government, local government, health, education, emergency services, defence and not-for-profit organisations.

Endeavour’s particular offerings are released under Lot 4: Specialist Cloud Services and are broken down as follows:

Based in the heart of Belfast, Endeavour has established a strong track record of working in the public and commercial sector over the last 6 years and are currently working on projects with public sector clients in the energy regulation and education sectors.  Now being part of the G-Cloud framework we will continue with this work and be able to offer even more cloud based solutions to public and non-profit sector based customers.

For more information about the range of cloud services Endeavour can offer your organisation, please contact Lee Surgeoner at our offices on 028 9031 1010 or via email to solutions@endeavour-is.com

Windows 10 Questions & Answers

Windows 10 Questions & Answers

As you are probably more than aware July 29th is the date Windows 10 is released to the world and with that release Microsoft is changing the way it brings Windows to your PC now and in the future.  So with that in mind we at Endeavour Information Solutions have prepared a short Q&A guide for the forthcoming release.

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Windows 10 is coming soon

Windows 10 is coming soon

As you might have seen in the press already over the last week or so Microsoft has told the world that it plans to release Windows 10 on July 29th 2015.   There has been various amounts of positive and negative feedback about this latest version of Windows, some accurate and justified at the time and a lot not so accurate. So, with its release imminent, I wanted to give some of my thoughts about it and try and answer some of the basic questions non-techie people might have about it.

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Next generation web browsing with Microsoft Edge

This week is Microsoft's annual developer conference and as such Microsoft tends to use this conference as the setting stage to make a lot of announcements about things coming in the near future, and one such announcement has been the name of their new browser called, Microsoft Edge which will be coming as part of forthcoming release of Windows 10.

According to Microsoft, this browser platform utilises modern web content and security standards and is built for doing not just looking, with built-in note taking and sharing; a reading pane for no distractions; and integration with Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant on Windows Phone and Windows 10 devices.

You can get a quick glimpse of the look and feel of Microsoft Edge in the video below:

Doesn't look bad at all and just goes to show that this next version of Windows will have a few surprises in store and will not be your average Windows upgrade - we can't wait...

Why charities and non-profit organisations should consider using Office 365

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Every charity/non-profit organisation we have ever worked with over the years has been driven by a core set of values and objectives, which we believe fits in well with what Microsoft Office 365 now offers this sector, for example:

  • Fundraising:  As well as the everyday implementation and planning of projects, events and initiatives, the biggest task facing charities is fundraising. So with collaboration platforms such as SharePoint Online that comes as part of Office 365, organisations can create areas for ideas to be forged with a wide audience of staff, volunteers and 3rd parties that will allow them all to communicate, generate awareness and contribute towards these goals.
  • Communication & Collaboration:  This is essential in every organisation but it can be difficult for charities in particular especially when geography and diversity of roles is added to the equation.  Organisations need to protect their information and Exchange Online which also comes as part of Office 365 delivers corporate standard email with antivirus and anit-spam all to the highest level. Combined with SharePoint Online and Microsoft Office these platforms provide a familiar environment for staff and volunteers alike that will allow for ideas and vital information to be recorded easily and consistently on any device.  The collaborative nature of Office 365 also cuts across geography and language boundaries while keeping costs low. Since everything is on a secured and centralised platform, ideas, updates and operational information never slips through the cracks.
  • Measuring Performance:  One of key elements of any charity is the requirement to monitor how well their projects are going, and assess and evaluate their effectiveness. This usually means that there is a lot of data that needs to be recorded and processed within tight timeframes, all of which takes time and effort that take away from the organisation core values and objectives.  So with the various elements of Office 365 information and data can be sorted, organised and made more accessible to those who need it and when data is centralised and available for analysis, it’s becomes easier to gain insight in order to make more strategic decisions.
  • Social:  Is something that can really help with adoption and awareness and with Office 365 it can also help charities create a more social based environment while still ensuring that operational information and objectives are met.  This in turn can encourage volunteers who are not necessarily tuned into corporate processes to contribute to ideas and information that turn into delivering key objectives in a less formal way.
  • Keeping Costs Down:  This is at the core of every charity and non-profit organisation and with Office 365 under a cloud computing subscription model this is a reality.  No more expensive capital expenditure on network servers and service contracts or downtime that generates more costs from upgrades or the latest security threats. Microsoft take care of all of that from their own data centres while also ensuring your information is kept secure and more importantly private to you.  This means even the smallest organisation can have a complete disaster recovery plan built-in when they move to Office 365, on a technology platform that is upgraded automatically and encourages information management and task automation to ensure more can be done in less time, and who in todays busy information driven world doesn’t need more time in their day?

Making sure resources are where they are needed most! 

Microsoft as you would expect with a founder such as Bill Gates, is a company that donates and subsidises a lot of their software to charity, education and non-profit sectors and this is equally true of their attitude towards Office 365 pricing to these sectors today.  For example, charities and non-profit organisations that already have Microsoft Office and don't need lots of extra software licences can avail of Office 365 for free.  While others that want or need more functionality and extra software are also given considerable discounts that are a fraction of the normal costs given to a typical commercial business.  A summary of the costs and eligibility for UK based charities/non-profit organisations can be found here.

So at the end of the day charities that are able to adopt and take advantage of Office 365 will be driving more than just a culture of collaboration and efficiency; they will also be ensuring that more of their funding will go directly towards the causes that need it most and in these times of economic caution and budget cuts coming from every direction that is the real pay back for making the change.

For more information on how the Office 365 platform can help your organisation save on costs, improve communication and speed up processes feel free to contact us on 028 9031 1010 or email us at solutions@endeavour-is.com and we will arrange a demonstration for you.

New Year Resolutions

As we start this new year you are probably in post Christmas recovery mode trying not to think of the amount of alcohol or variations of Turkey you have consumed over the holidays and contemplating the various personal and business resolutions you want to achieve over 2015.

So with that in mind and to help you make a start "on the business resolutions anyway" here are a few suggestions to help you on your way and might even give you a night or two's better sleep safe in the knowledge that your business is better protected in the process:

1. Make sure you have a backup and recovery plan in place.  Not having this sorted out properly is still the number one reason businesses fail to recover from a disaster.  Bearing in mind that there are now new threats other than fire and theft to consider such as viruses that can encrypt and effectively destroy your data, regular backups with some held off-site preferable really is the number one priority.

2. Make sure you invest in some good antivirus software.  Again this is just a common sense thing to do these days but the main points we would make are that most antivirus software is good but that same antivirus software these days doesn't offer a silver bullet solution like it once did but more makes your PCs and networks safer, but not safe.  That takes the combination of such software and the next point below.

3. Make sure you and your staff know how to use internet and email responsibly.  Please don't misunderstand this point we're not suggesting you or your staff abuse the internet but there are plenty of scams and traps you can fall into if you are not careful.  What we mean that you should develop some simple rules for using the internet and processing email more safely.  For example, don't just open any email that comes in, click on its links or open its attachments and create a list of agreed safe websites with your staff that can be accessed and when they can be accessed.

We hope that these simple points will get you started and even if you only get around to implementing one of these in 2015 you will have benefitted your business and taken a little more stress out of your own life as well.

We hope you have a great 2015 and should you need any assistance with your IT systems please do not hesitate to contact us. We will meet with you and discuss your exact needs free of charge.

IT’s all systems go in 2015!

Lee Surgeoner, Partner with Endeavour Information Solutions shares some concerns for the local ICT industry going forward along with his thoughts on technology development and what businesses of any kind need to focus on in the next 12 months. 

We’ll start with a mild tale of caution.

The IT sector within Northern Ireland is fairly unique to say the least. On the one hand we have various companies from the US and further afield running their global IT operations from Northern Ireland and bringing with it much needed investment then on the other side there are a considerable number of local long- established IT companies that in my opinion have over the years really innovated and provided some of the best ICT solutions and services anywhere in Europe (although I might be slightly biased in that view) and these are the companies that I am concerned for and how they will be able to contribute to that same level over the next few years.

Our local universities produce some of the brightest and best students for this sector but I am concerned that we could start to lose that talent to these global giants who tempt them with offers of generous salaries and benefits and as a direct result our local IT companies just won’t be able to meet the expectations of the future IT professional.

I speak with some experience of this over the last year which has meant that we have had to take action. If left unchecked, this situation could get worse over the next few years and impact the ability of local IT companies to deliver such innovation and service in the future.

This needs to be considered today; from personal experience this has meant increasing our staff numbers, providing additional training and professional certification opportunities and offering more than just a job but more an opportunity for personal growth and development to ensure that we keep our brightest and best growing within our business.

So please bear this in mind, because if proposed changes to our corporation tax system do come into play during 2015, it’s fairly safe to say that additional foreign investment will increase, which although will be great news to our economy as a whole, it might come with a sting in the tail for those in the local IT sector who ignore the best asset they have - their people.

On the road to date!

In terms of business for 2014 this has been a surprisingly good year for growth across the UK with higher than expected growth in various sectors such as Professional Services, Manufacturing and Retail, all of which feed into the additional development and sale of IT products and services.

This is something I can confirm as one of those IT providers which has experienced this growth. However, as recent media coverage has shown it is unclear going forward into the New Year what the position will be in the next 12 months with economic experts saying things will continue as they are now while government is saying we need to be prepared for stormy weather ahead.

At the end of the day I am not an expert on the economy; all I can say is that new business has been at a constant level of growth and appears to continue with customers keen to take the complexity out of their IT systems and to take control of their ongoing costs.

And so what’s hot in 2015?

The hottest ticket in town is cloud computing which vendors of such services continue to push the boundaries of what is possible to be delivered as a service. New functionality comes out nearly on a weekly basis at times and certainly keeps IT companies like ourselves that embrace it, far from being bored.

When such solutions were talked about five years ago there was concern from a number of IT companies that it would spell the end of the traditional IT service provider – and in some cases they would be right; the companies that don’t embrace the opportunity and don’t adapt their way of working to meet the new world of cloud-based subscription computing will find themselves losing out to the companies that do.

You will be amazed at what can be achieved under a cost-effective subscription that is secure, dependable and expandable to meet very specific business need and that is a business that will continue to grow over the next 12 months. That is what innovative IT companies are focusing on for their customers and those are the IT suppliers that businesses will want to work with in the future.

If market analysis is to be believed, 2015 is the year where mobile device sales will out- perform traditional PC sales not only in the consumer market but in the business market as well. So if you are an app developer the opportunities in this market should be considerable.

And so what should the new business start-up of 2015 focus on?

Northern Ireland has a wealth of great businesses from all sectors that innovate and export their products and services to all corners of the globe.  A big part of that is the individuals driving these businesses forward with new ideas and raw determination, usually combined with the advice and support organisations such as Invest NI provide to help ensure their business ideas succeed.

So what I would recommend to any start-up is to focus on what you do best; that sounds really obvious, but what I mean is don’t let complexity rule your business.

Technology can get complicated so if there is one thing I would advise it would be to get as much of your technology needs from a vendor that provides the service online.  That will mean you can control your costs without a high start-up outlay and will be able to work from anywhere, which can be important when you are just starting out trying to grow your business.

For advice on how you can simplify your business IT operations you can contact Lee on 028 9031 1010 or via email at lee@endeavour-is.com