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08/31/2005 - Romney & Associates Offers Small Business Services

Romney & Associates is the only designated Microsoft Small Business Specialist in Spokane. According to Robert Romney, Principal, this is a new Microsoft certification designation, and Romney & Associates worked hard to get there. Required were hours of training and the requisite exams. Romney & Associates is a technology planning consulting firm and is located in the Amman Building at 1516 W Riverside in the Browne’s Addition tip of the Terabyte Triangle.

Romney has more than twenty years experience in enterprise level technology hardware and software. Romney & Associates has been in Spokane for the last four years, and refocused on small business about two years ago. As a technology consulting firm, Romney specializes in assisting companies (with between five and fifty workstations) to develop long range plans for their technology needs. Then Romney helps implement the plan to meet the company’s goals.

A technology plan for a client begins with an executive summary – an overview for the highest level of company management. This is followed by the specific and pointed findings and recommendations that are reached through talking to “just about everybody”, and then matching the technology needs to the company’s business plan.

After needs have been assessed, Romney creates a management plan for the middle managers who will carry out the work. The plan is in phases and includes a detailed plan of action for each phase. The plan includes the order of tasks to be accomplished.

The plan also includes all specifications including what products and what hardware, right down to the peripherals. This section can be used as an RFP (request for proposal) and sent directly to vendors for bids. One difference in the Romney plan is that installation service is required along with the hardware. Then Romney himself does the acceptance testing to be sure that the hardware meets all requirements before final payment is ever made.

Spreadsheets including all costs are included in the Romney plan. Network diagrams, systems, procedural manuals – all mission critical documents, including policy and procedures -- may be part of the Romney produced technology plan. It’s all spelled out in the “letter of engagement”. “When we sign a client,” says Romney, “we want to keep them for life.”

Romney chose to become a Microsoft Small Business Specialist because of Microsoft’s new small business server that “is very powerful, low cost, and, when properly set up, the server automatically takes care of a laundry list of small business needs.” For a software cost of about $600, the Microsoft Small Business Server will provide remote access, shared Internet, automatic backup, database, e-mail, collaboration tools, Web server, and fax. The small business server has some advance capabilities like enhanced spam protection, built-in disaster recovery, and access to data from anywhere. Romney will see to the coordination of software with hardware, and then will manage the system if the client wishes.

To let more small business people learn about the Microsoft small business server, Romney formed the Spokane Small Business Server User Group (SSBSUG). Membership is free and the group meets at 5:30 the second Thursday of every month and is open to anyone interested in small business technology. The group meets in the conference room of the Amman Building at 1516 W. Riverside. Call Bob at 455-8173 for more information. Romney & Associates also publishes a free monthly newsletter.

To learn more about Romney & Associates, visit www.romney.com.

Billie Moreland
 
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