The Doors of Wisdom Are Never Shut

tds wreathIt began as just another Marketing campaign.  As all Marketing professionals know, it’s as important to serve your internal clients as well as your external clients.  For me, my internal clients are not just the members of my Trust Data Solutions team, but include all my co-workers and colleagues at our parent company, Texas Trust Credit Union.  Texas Trust Credit Union is located in five North Texas cities with 8 branches spread across 5 counties employing approximately 200 workers.

I caught the Christmas bug early this year and the Monday after Thanksgiving, I arrived at work at 6:00 AM with several tubs and proceeded to deck the halls of TDS.  It must have been this same spirit that ignited the Marketing campaign.  I suggested that TDS sponsor a Holiday Door Decorating Contest for our Credit Union co-workers.  The idea snowballed, we developed the guidelines, a prize was established, I created a nifty flyer to announce the contest, distributed the flyer, and then sat back to await the results.  A week later, I had a dozen departments and/or branches declare their entry into the contest.

On Friday, December 16th the judging took place.  This is where the fun began.  You see I am a loud, out-spoken, opinionated, animated fellow overflowing with ideas and strategies; i.e. your typical marketer.  However, I am the only team member of TDS that is not a software developer/programmer.  I often have to interrupt TDS meetings when acronyms are flown about and ask my team members to break it down for me.  However, on judging day I coaxed my COO and two Senior Staff team members to become Marketers for a day.  I coordinated our wardrobe and filled red Santa sacks filled with chotzkies to give away to our credit union brothers and sisters.  I coordinated our traveling route, announced our anticipated arrival to the participants, gave my new Marketing team a pep talk, slapped some reindeer antlers and elf hats on their heads and pulled our sleigh out of the parking lot.  I expected a fun day, but was unprepared for what awaited me.

As you know, if you work for a medium or large business with multiple locations, you can spend months or even years talking and emailing to fellow associates without actually meeting them face to face.  Occasionally you may see a picture or attend a companywide event but that doesn’t equal the pleasure and delight of meeting comrades face to face.  As we visited participating contingents I got to meet and chat with Kenda, Susie, Pat, Tonya, Janice, Robert, Juanita, Travis, Rita, Christi…the list goes on.  What a delight to spend some face to face time with these hard working individuals.

And the doors.  My God, the doors!  What an impressive display of creativity and ingenuity.  In my personal life, I am fortunate to work within the Dallas Theater and opera world where I am in awe of the staggering talent and the results of collaboration between artists both on stage and off stage in producing a singular piece of art.  I was just as overwhelmed with the creativity and imagination of my credit union brothers and sisters.  Their enthusiasm was contagious as they would describe to me how the theme of their door was established, how concepts were conceived and then embellished.  I could see the pride and the twinkle in their eyes as they identified elves which they photoshopped their own images onto or as they detailed the raw materials and methods they employed to make the snowmen so textured and unique.

And did you know that doors were three-dimensional?  The cowboy snowman had a bale of hay sitting beside him.  A tray full of cookies and milk was left for Santa.  Beautifully wrapped presents extended beyond the plane of a magically decorated Christmas tree. The use of space was very resourceful.  One display covered a wall full of doors.  A small nook was transformed into the night before Christmas complete with roaring fireplace, sparkly inviting gifts beneath the largest of a forest of golden trees.  It never occurred to me to under-estimate my co-workers, after all I didn’t know many of them, but I was completely blown away with the dazzling talent and innovative collaboration exhibited. What began as a marketing campaign seemed to develop into team building adventures which blossomed into accomplishments which were obviously constructed with time and care.

This is a contest and there is a friendly cash prize for the department/branch with the highest scores.  However, when you examine even the smallest of teams, the winnings, when split, will be modest at best.   While every department obviously wants to be proclaimed the winner, the smiles, pride and excitement I absorbed by mingling with my colleagues told me that the work, energy and time they devoted to this adventure was about more than money.  There was a tangible feeling of magic, spirit and fun overflowing.  It’s astonishing what can result from just a smidge of positive energy pointed in the right direction.   The victorious team will receive their prize today.  However, all the joy, excitement and spirit generated by these impressive Texas Trust posses have left me feeling that I just may be the biggest winner.

Visit our Facebook Page or YouTube Page to view the 2011 TDS Door Decorating Video.

The Doors of Wisdom Are Never Shut – Benjamin Franklin


Trust Data Solutions is Making Download History

Joe Consumer just bought his new computer or laptop, installed his favorite software and is ready to work.  Joe’s been working for a few months and then one day he gets a message that there is a new upgrade available for his software to download.  Download?  All Joe wanted to do is work.  How long is the download going to take?  How is it going to affect Joe’s computer?   Joe ignores the message and continues working on his planned tasks.

Another few months go by and Joe gets a similar message.  However, once again Joe ignores the new message and continues working.  Before he knows it, Joe is several versions behind on his software.  Joe’s computer is still working, but now he is wondering what all those upgrades included.  Can Joe still download them?  Can Joe skip from version 1.2 to version 4.3?  How much does the upgrade cost?  Has Joe lost his Customer Support because he hasn’t upgraded?  If you’re like Joe, you can continue to ignore software updates and before you know it; your computer is giving you messages about a new operating system.  A new what?

In the business world, upgrades aren’t that much different.  Software developers announce to their clients that there is a new upgrade available and the developer either provides instructions on how to upgrade to the newest version or offers to upgrade the client’s software themselves.  IT members are as busy as any other employee.  The IT member may see the upgrade announcement, and even plan on upgrading their software, but often continues working on their individual priorities and tasks.  Much like Joe and his personal computer, before the IT member knows it, another upgrade to the software has been released.  And like Joe, the IT member often puts off upgrading to the newest version of the software until one day he realizes he is several years outdated.

Agility is one of the many features of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.  Upgrades/enhancements are made more frequently and then all of the enhancements are pushed to the Cloud.  The result is that the next time a user logs into a Saas application, the enhancements are immediately available to him along with a message explaining the new features to the software.  Downloading upgrades and remembering to install them are now history.

Trust Data Solutions’ ORBE software follows the SaaS agility model.   One of our most popular applications, ORBE: Job File Scheduler was just upgraded, enhancements were pushed to the ORBE Cloud and ORBE: Job File Scheduler clients are enjoying these new enhancements right now.

The latest enhancements to ORBE: Job File Scheduler include:

  • Auto-update capability – allows the ORBE JFS Client to download and apply software updates on a customizable schedule.  We will normally push out updates on Wednesdays (if there are any), but your Client will not pick it up until a later time, to avoid disrupting your operations.  For most of you, the updates are applied at 2am on Thursdays, which typically shuts down the JFS Client for a couple of minutes.  If 2am on Thursdays is not a good time, you can change it to another time.  We have documentation of this and other tasks in progress. In the meantime, if you need help changing the update schedule, drop as an email and we walk you through how to do it.
  • Send Email Task – allows JFS jobs to send an email notification during the running of the job. This is useful for sending notification to key people regarding the start or completion of critical jobs.
  • Backup SQL Database – allows JFS jobs to back up an MS SQL Server database.
  • Restore SQL Database – allow JFS to restore a previous backup of an MS SQL Server database.
  • Outstanding issues – we addressed several issues, the most significant being an issue preventing the transfer of large files to Symitar hosts.

Coming soon:  The ability to backup and restore MySQL databases.

Find out more about ORBE: Job File Scheduler by emailing and scheduling a demonstration.

Remote Control

For most of my life I have struggled with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings or behaviors (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).  Some common symptoms include repeatedly washing your hands, hoarding items, repeated checking, counting, and arranging.  According to, many well-known celebrities suffer from some flavor of OCD including:  Charles Darwin, Howard Hughes, Billy Bob Thornton, Howie Mandel, Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio.  While OCD is considered a chronic disorder, many people find relief through therapy and/or medication.  I used a combination of both which lead to a significant reduction in my symptoms.

I was a “checker”; I had difficulties leaving places, ritualistically going through a checklist to make sure things were turned off, locked or secure.  At the height of my disorder, I usually budgeted an extra 20 minutes “OCD-time” before I would leave a location.  I can laugh at it now, but here’s one example of how I would pacify one of my obsessions.  I had a fear of fire and was always checking to make sure I turned everything off (the coffee pot, the oven, the iron, etc.), lest my house burn down.  At the risk of dating myself, remember the old answering machines with cassette tapes?  I used to call my house from work to see if my answering machine would pick up; my logic was that if the machine worked and I could leave a message, then the house hadn’t burned down.

It didn’t help that I am both a workaholic and a perfectionist.  Back in the day, I would make copies of my work to take home with me in case I needed to double or triple check on something.  Long before email became prevalent, my OCD had become quite manageable, but emailing myself some work would have been another efficient strategy I would have used to be able to ensure that the work I performed was without error.

If only Software as a Service (SaaS) applications were available 25 years ago, life would have been much easier for me.  A SaaS application allows you to log-in and access your work, anytime, from anywhere, using any computing device that has an internet connection including laptops, iPads and even smart phones.  The great news is that SaaS applications are not just for people who suffer from OCD!  Anyone whose business uses SaaS software can log in at any time from virtually any place and access the software.   Business travelers can login at a conference and download that killer presentation that is going to close the sale.   A CEO could wake up at 3 am with one of those inspired “Aha!” ideas; type them up and then save them in the Cloud.  You could be zip-lining through the jungles of Costa Rica when you remember a contract left unsigned, which you could remedy when you get back to your resort.

SaaS technology allows you to do the same work you do every day.  It’s the same tasks, jobs and applications but now you can launch your applications from the Cloud, perform your work in the Cloud and even save and store your files in the Cloud.

Of course, Remote Access is just one feature of Saas technology.  It does, however, segue way naturally into another subject which is even more important:  how SaaS solutions can be a key player in your Disaster Recovery Strategy.    And unlike traditional DR strategies, SaaS-based DR solutions are affordable and do not require customary costs such as hardware, installation, IT maintenance and labor.  Cloud technology is becoming a vital resource for Business Continuity Plans enabling client data security and network accessibility.

For more information regarding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder visit:

What Is Cloud Technology?

Change is inevitable.  Just as personal computers and the internet redefined business computing over the last 20 years, Cloud technology is poised to dominate the new age of computer usage.  It’s not unlike the evolution of the manufacturing industry, which has gone from huge warehouses full of inventory to on-demand delivery.

Cloud computing is the next step in the evolution of computing technology.  The goal of Cloud technology is to make the data and tools you need to run your business always accessible from anywhere in the world on any computing device that can access the Internet.

Understanding cloud technology (also known as Software as a Service or SaaS) is easy:  it’s the same jobs, documents, and files you’re used to using on your computer except all your work is performed and stored online.  Think of a high-rise apartment in which residents share the same infrastructure and services like security, but everyone manages and uses their apartment as they choose. “Cloud” is a visualization term that allows you to imagine a huge cloud of data floating on the Internet. Instead of using traditional software, which has to be bought, installed and maintained on every computer in your business, with SaaS software everyone shares a single software application that is customizable and flexible enough for all to use. Similarly, all your work documents can now be stored in the Cloud instead of your hard drive or servers.

Cloud computing is a better solution to run your business.    Instead of running and managing all of your applications yourself internally, your applications run on a huge shared data center.  It’s as easy as plugging in a lamp and turning it on.  When you use any application that runs in the cloud, you just login and start working.  It’s that simple.

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