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[vox] [OT] Budget Surplus - How Do I Spend It?
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[vox] [OT] Budget Surplus - How Do I Spend It?



So, My boss's boss called me into a meeting yesterday to announce that
our organization has found $200k remaining in the fiscal year budget. 
That means it must be spent before June 30, or we lose it. The funds
must be spent on training, software, or consulting - No hardware or
other capital equipment.

As a consequence, I have until Monday morning to compile a wishlist of
all the stuff I think we ought to acquire. The list must include cost
estimates; and all costs must be incurred and goods delivered by June
30. 

Our organization (unfortunately) develops Windows-based software for
medical recordkeeping. Our front-end client is built in Delphi with a
back-end using either MS JET or MS SQL Server, depending on the
customer's needs. 

We have a development staff of six (located in Berkeley) and a help 
desk staff of eight, three of whom share office space in Sacramento 
with the rest distributed geographically around the US. Currently, the 
help desk staff is using Act! to manage its operations - non-optimal.
Organization policy is to use MS SQL Server for all data storage, 
wherever possible. However, there has been some recent interest on the 
part of our development manager, web designer, and other staff in 
using Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP for some internal operations. 

This brings me to my question: given these facts and criteria, what
recommendations for training, software, and consulting (with an emphasis
on open source and Free software, wherever possible) would you have for
our organization? Suggestions of specific vendors and programs are
welcome, although direct sales inquiries are *NOT*. 


-- 
Marc Elliot Hall		
P.O. Box 435
Shingle Springs, CA 95682
www.hallmarc.net
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