Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Decided To Use A Data Center? Central Wisconsin Is A Smart Choice. Here’s Why

CyberOne Data

As a business owner, determining the right location for a data center is no small feat. There are innumerable factors to consider but there are a few that stand out: operating costs, capital costs, electrical and ISP reliability, natural disaster potential and the general business climate. Let’s look at each of these in more detail to see why central Wisconsin was our choice.

Operating Costs

While insurance, lease payments and ISP connectivity are considerable, one of the highest costs to a data center is energy consumption. It’s no secret that Wisconsin has some of the coldest weather in the United States. In fact, on average Wisconsin ranks 43rd for average temperature in the 50 states. How does that translate to lower operating costs for a data center? Simple. Less data center cooling means less electricity being used. And less consumption of electricity for cooling purposes means lower bills (full disclosure: I may be oversimplifying the argument but you get the point). Taking advantage of the climate for cooling purposes is a no-brainer.

Capital Costs

A study conducted by advisory firm BLS & Co. estimated that a 250,000 square foot data center built in Central or Northeast Wisconsin would cost roughly 21% less than the same facility in Chicago. While CyberOne Data is nowhere near that size, it was evident that the capital expenditures required to open in Port Edwards were far lower than the likes of Chicago, Minneapolis or Detroit for example. And believe me when I tell you there are significant capital costs to consider; a backup generator, a clean agent fire suppression system, three-phase power connectivity and the associated electrical components, uninterruptible power supply units (UPS), server hardware, racks, switches, PDUs, construction and permits (and this is NOT a complete list mind you).
Electrical and ISP reliability

The electrical utility for CyberOne Data serves nearly 1.5 million customers across Wisconsin and Iowa. With nearly 4,000 employees and over $3.3 billion in operating revenue for 2016, the utility is strong and the service is reliable. They’re optimization plan for “continued modernization of the power grid, upgrades to the gas distribution system and optimization of the generation fleet” reinforces that notion. 
When it comes to ISPs, Wisconsin has numerous long haul and interconnected fiber networks as well as dark fiber providers. The state is home to 85 incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and 169 competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). And while CyberOne data is carrier agnostic, we do currently have multiple connections from both regional and national carriers. 

Natural Disasters

In a risk of damage from natural disasters article published by The Insurance Journal in 2014, property data and analytics firm CoreLogic developed a tool called the CoreLogic Hazard Risk Score (HRS) which gathers data on multiple natural hazard risks and combines them into a single score ranging from 0 to 100 (low risk to high risk respectively). The overall score indicates risk exposure at the individual property and location level. Data used in the analytics represented nine natural hazards: flood, wildfire, tornado, storm surge, earthquake, straight-line wind, hurricane wind, hail and sinkhole. So how did Wisconsin fare? At 37th on the list, only a handful of states scored lower. If an organization is conducting comparative risk management for natural disasters, this data supports utilization of a data center in Central Wisconsin, especially when considering business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

Business Climate

Central Wisconsin is hungry for new business and starving for technology. CyberOne Data is working with technical colleges, chambers of commerce, and technology driven alliances to help make that happen. Economic development incentives and the factors described above strongly influenced our position to establish a Tier II data center in the middle of the state. But it honestly goes further than that. Market research, one-on-one discussions, community outreach, site visits, anecdotes and an overall positive “vibe” fortified our position to establish CyberOne Data where and when we did.

CyberOne Data is a Smart Choice for Your Data Center

So what does all this mean to a prospective buyer looking to invest in the use of a data center? I could go on and on with the typical sales spew but I won’t. The bottom line is that the combination of all these factors I’ve discussed above, coupled with significant market research, drove our business decision to offer ultra-competitive, affordably priced, colocation racks, dedicated servers, virtualization solutions, storage servers, backup servers and disaster recovery solutions in a low-disaster, stable, and seasonally cool area of the country. We made central Wisconsin the location for CyberOne Data our choice and we believe you should too.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Chamber Membership: A Nice Bonus for Employees

Chamber Membership: A Nice Bonus for Employees

If you’re a chamber member, you may not give a lot of thought as to what that means for your employees but there are a lot of benefits for them as well.

1.    Lunch and Learns

Chambers host Lunch and Learns and other seminars on topics such as social media and personal branding. These topics can be worthwhile for your employees. You can even use it as a free or inexpensive form of professional development.
Don’t assume your employees know about these perks. Circulate the learning schedule among your employees. This is an effective way to get even more value from your chamber membership. Many younger employees are looking for ways to boost their skills and these sessions are a quick and easy source for learning.

2.    Discounts on Events

Another benefit your employees may not be aware of is discounts on tickets to chamber events. Oftentimes, the chamber offers discounts to members on their event tickets. Speaking of discounts…

3.    Member to Member Discounts

If your chamber offers member to member discounts you want to make sure your employees know about them. This can be a considerable cost savings to your employees and a nice perk you can pass on when someone joins your company.

4.    A Way to Meet People in the Community

If you recruit outside of your community and bring people in from other towns or states, they may wish they knew more people in town. Sure, you can introduce them to other employees but it’s nice for them to get to know people outside your company as well.
For people from your community, the chamber offers them an opportunity to brush up on their networking skills, which is critical to professional development.

5.    The Ability to Shine

Another benefit of chamber membership for your employees is a golden moment where they can shine. This may be the chamber picking up a social media post of theirs, the chamber accepting a guest blog from them, or a speaking opportunity to showcase what they know. This gives your employees a time to shine as well as represent your company proudly.

Some business owners only use the chamber membership themselves and forget to tell their employees that they can use it as well. There are many reasons that it benefits you to do so, but one that is important to your business is getting your employees out in the community. It not only gets your name out there but shows that your company and company culture think community involvement is important. This is the type of thing that makes a big impression on customers and potential customers who begin to know, like, and trust you when they see you contributing.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

17th Annual Downtown GRAND Affair

You are invited!
17th Annual Downtown Grand Affair
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Heart of Wisconsin celebrates the gorgeous autumn season with music, food, children’s activities and more! The festivities will be located on West Grand Avenue and adjacent side streets. All types of vendors are accepted including arts and crafts, antiques, food and farm market produce. Another opportunity is to participate as a Grand Affair sponsor. Get your business front and center with an Autumn Sponsorship or support your community from the slide lines with a Fall Sponsorship.

Event Highlights
Arts & Crafts
Live Music & Food Vendors
Beer Tent
Car Show
Farmers Market
Kids Activities

New this year!
For only $1.00 you can take home your very own Grand Affair Can Koozie.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

5 Ways a Chamber Membership Can Balance Out Seasonal Business

If your business is seasonal, it probably feels a lot like feast or famine. You may love your seasonal crowds but hate the fear you won’t last long enough to see your next one. Seasonal businesses or businesses in towns with a seasonal draw struggle with year-round consistent revenue. While you might not ever achieve revenue equality throughout every month, a chamber membership can help you see a little steadier monthly income. Here’s how:

1.    A Chamber Is Often the First Place Visitors Stop

Many visitors are conditioned to stop in at the chamber or the visitor’s bureau for information. While a chamber may answer questions about all businesses, it gives preference to its members. Being a chamber member can cause you to make the short list when the chamber staff are asked to give recommendations.


2.    They Host Cash Mobs

Chambers often host cash mobs for members. A cash mob is an event where the chamber invites people to visit a business on a pre-arranged day. Those patrons agree to spend a set amount of money (or more) at the business. Sometimes the event takes the shape of a lunch mob for a restaurant.
The chamber always informs the business ahead of time and some business owner choose to offer specials for the mob. They’re a lot of fun, particularly when the location is kept secret until a few days or even hours before the event. It’s a terrific way to get people to try a business or to help a business that is struggling in the off season.

3.    They Provide Learning Opportunities

If you can’t balance out the monthly revenue, you can use your quieter times for additional learning that will improve your business. One of the first places you should look is your local chamber. They provide inexpensive (and sometimes free) learning for members on topics of interest, anything from social media to email marketing.
Learning more about these things can help you balance out your sales by bringing in more customers or expanding outside of your area. A ski town business may not make much in sales in May but if they can sell their products outside of the town through the Internet and digital marketing, they can flatten out those dips in revenue.

4.    The Chamber Markets Year-Round

The chamber is working to bring tourists to your area and improve the economy year-round not just in your high seasons. They are often assisting local businesses to find new angles to approach shoppers and visitors. Being a member of the chamber not only gets you referrals and featured in their business directories and lists but it also gives you a say in the direction they are taking. Your business voice can be heard as a member of the chamber.

5.    They Attract Industry

Chambers also work hard with economic development partners to bring large businesses to town. This means more jobs and skilled labor. Both things could equate to more business for you during the off season. When the number of inhabitants of your town increases, the number of potential customers for your business does too.
It can be difficult to make it through the slow seasons if you’re a seasonal business or a town with a busy season. Joining the chamber can provide you with many opportunities to help level out those revenue valleys. A chamber membership is a small price to pay to know it will help your business make it through another season.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.