Outstanding Remote Support Tool13 Jan

I know this isn’t my normal domain, but I’ve recently started using a tool that I just have to recommend. Copilot is a remote support tool built by Fog Creek Software. It makes reaching out to work on someone’s desktop as painless as it really can be.

To start a remote support session, you simply login to your account on the Copilot website and enter the person’s email address. Then you click a button to install a little application and the other person clicks the link in their email. Within seconds you are viewing their desktop and able to work on their machine just like you were there.

I don’t generally do desktop support so I’ve signed up for the pay-as-you-go plan. This only costs me $0.25 per minute. There are also unlimited use plans starting at $19.95/month. Those plans allow you to setup computers you might regularly access with one-click access so you don’t have to get a new access code every time.If you ever need to access remote computer, I’d highly recommend giving Copilot a try.

IT Management

PMP Certification07 Jan

Here’s a post I just found in the “I forgot to push the Publish button” file…

This past week (actually late August 2008), I achieved the Project Management Institute’s highly respected certification – the Project Management Professional (PMP). Unlike many certifications, PMI places a priority on verifying that a candidate has sufficient real-world experience to justify the credential. Before candidates can even schedule the exam, they have to document over 4500 hours of project management activities and at least 35 hours of formal education in project management. There is also an ongoing commitment to learning which requires PMPs to complete at least 60 hours of professional development activities over a 3 year span. So I’m pretty proud of this achievement.

The PMI method for managing projects, outlined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), is extremely rigorous. Only the largest of projects would implement the entire methodology as described in the PMBOK. However, there are some great takeaways for smaller businesses. (more…)


5 Ways to Get More From Your Consultants26 Feb

As an independent IT consultant, I help organizations improve their businesses through the use of technology.  Most of my client engagements have been very successful.  But when things don’t go as well as expected, I like to try to figure out why so that I can avoid those pitfalls the next time. 

The easiest things to fix are those that I can control.  For example, forgetting to submit regular status updates to the right people or not getting enough information prior to the project to make an informed proposal.

But I’ve also found several things that businesses can do to ensure that everything works smoothly.  Regardless of what type of consultant you’re hiring, the following tips should help make your next consulting engagement more productive.


IT Management,Training

The Value of IT Certification28 Jan

IT employees require constant training and skill development opportunities.  It goes with the industry.  As a small business owner, if you have any hope of keeping IT employees around for any length of time, you need to understand this and come up with a strategy that fits the needs of both your business and your employees.

First and foremost, you may be struggling with the expense and value of training classes.  One of the big questions is always "Is certification worth it?"  This is a question at hiring ("This person has a ton of certifications, they must be good."), it’s a question when your employees want training ("Are they going to get this training and then leave?"), and it’s a question after the training when some employees may ask for a salary increase to recognize their new skills.

I’ve never put much stock in certifications myself.  But a couple weeks ago, I had an experience that may be altering my opinions on the subject.



How to Spend Money on IT Without Results23 Jan

I recently had a conversation with a small business owner here in Billings. Her business has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, and it’s obvious (from both a consulting and a customer’s perspective) that they need some help managing it. Luckily, the owner has realized this and is looking for some help.

But she’s moving forward in a manner that I see all too often. She’s going to spend money, time and effort doing things that are not going to help her run her business very much better.

How do I know this? Let’s look and what she told me her problems are and what’s she’s doing to fix them…


Contact Me

Granite Peak Systems, LLC
PO Box 80892
Billings, MT 59108
Tel: 406-672-8292


Since 2007, I have funded a Kiva account in recognition of my clients. Whenever I get a new client, or find a microloan that relates to the industries my clients serve, I contribute to the account. You can see my lender profile here: