Category Archives: Business Value

Business Value

The key to viral content

BusinessValue_July22_CBusinesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly invested in social media. One of the reasons for this is because they have seen how content that has gone viral has helped increase the name and value of brands and spread a marketing message. Businesses looking to replicate this usually have no idea about how to go about viral marketing though. However, there are actually tips you can follow to make your content more likely to go viral.

If you are looking to create content that has a higher chance of going viral, there are a number of key things you should be aware of.

Why content goes viral
Before creating content that will hopefully go viral, you need to be aware of how and why content goes viral in the first place. At first glance, it would appear that this is determined simply on luck alone. In truth, however, although luck can be a factor this is only part of the reason. Content goes viral because it’s shareable. Think of the last time you were told about a viral video or ad. Chances are, you heard about it on social media, and if you didn’t the person who told you likely heard about it from there.

So, in order to go viral, content needs to be shareable, but not all content is share worthy. The question is, how do you create content that people will want to share? There are four factors you need to incorporate:

1. Content needs to be seen to be unique
The vast majority of viral content is unique, as it often offers something new. If viewers of your content get the feeling that what they are reading is something different, they will be, a) more willing to consume it, and b) more apt to share it, if they like it. An important reality to realize is that most content on the Internet is not wildly original – someone has done something like it before. Therefore, if you read an article or see a video that interests you, maybe try thinking how you can improve on this and make it more interesting, relevant and practical for your audience. The content likely won’t go viral world-wide, but it could go viral amongst your viewership, which is what’s important, as this consists of your customers and potential customers.

2. People share what makes them look/feel smart
There is a term associated with social media – social currency – that defines how a piece of content will make the sharer look. For the most part, content that makes the sharer look better, smarter and like they have something to contribute will be shared at a higher rate.

3. Content needs to be a trigger
In general, humans rely on triggers for action. These triggers are stimuli, like sight and sound that evoke memory and association with products. A good example of this in action happened during the 2013 Super Bowl, where the stadium lights went out for the better part of half an hour. Because it was dark, people didn’t know what to do. Oreo tweeted a picture that said, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times in less than an hour – going instantly viral. This was a clear message that it is highly likely that the next time this happens at a sporting event, people will remember Oreo. What Oreo managed to do was capitalize on a trigger – it’s dark, reach for an Oreo.

In other words, if you can create content that capitalizes on common triggers, there is a higher chance that your content will go viral.

4. Content needs to be consistent
It is important to realize however, that not all content will go viral; there is still some aspect of luck involved. To further improve the chances of your content going viral, you should strive to be consistent. What this means is posting on a regular basis and ensuring that whatever you post is consistent quality wise. If you do this, your content will come to be seen as valuable over time, and more likely to be shared.

If you take small steps to make your content generally more shareable, you will see the number of shares increase, bringing about more business, or at the very least cementing your brand image and reputation.

Looking for more ways to get your business name out there? Contact us today and we’ll share our ideas with you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

5 personal reputation management tips

BusinessValue_June25_CCorporate reputation is the focus of almost every business manager and owner. They know that if the reputation of the business suffers a negative blow, they could see lost business, profits, or worse. What they often fail to take into account though, is that their personal online reputation may be just as important, especially if they are the face of the business. Do you take steps to manage your reputation?

Here are five tips that can help you manage your personal online reputation.

1. Be a little vain
Growing up you were probably told that showing a high opinion of oneself isn’t a positive. However, when it comes to your online reputation, being a little vain and promoting your good points, especially in relation to your business, could help define how others perceive you. It is a good idea to visit the major search engines and search for your name – full name, nickname and any aliases and see what comes up.

Be sure to also look at the different categories of search. For example, look at Images, News, Blogs, etc., on Google. You can also set up a Google Alert which will notify you whenever new content mentioning your name is posted. You can do this by visiting Google’s Alerts site, entering your name in the Search Query box, setting how often you want the alerts, (we recommend once a week), and pressing Create Alert.

2. Secure your own little slice of the Internet
It is a good idea to try and buy your own domain name, e.g., www.yourname.com. You can use this to create a website all about you, where you place a personal blog, pictures, etc. If you maintain the site, you can also link it to your social media profiles. If you keep this updated and keep up momentum then you may see a boost in followers. The best part is that this can be fairly inexpensive. Even if you don’t launch a website straightaway, securing a web domain that is your own gives you options in the future, which you might want to use to promote aspects of your business, as well as yourself.

3. One platform to rule them all
There are a wide variety of websites dedicated to content. Sites like WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, etc., are all versatile and allow you to post nearly any type of content, or even create your own website. These sites usually allow you to link your personal domain name to them, so when someone enters this name they are taken directly to your content.

4. Get social
Social media is a powerful reputation tool, and having a personal profile in the same place as your business profile can be beneficial. Be sure to fully fill out your profile information and be as active as possible, sharing content you produce, find, or generally enjoy. If you want to really interact that it is worthwhile to be on the major social media platforms – Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Pinterest.

5. Follow one of the golden rules of the Internet
There are many rules when it comes to being on the Internet. One of the most important is: Watch what you put online. There are many stories of people sending an email, or posting a public Facebook post with content that is harmful to their reputation, when they intended this to be private.

In general, it’s worth remembering that with anything that appears on the Internet, even if it’s private, there is always a chance it will at some point become public. Therefore, you should think twice before posting anything that you definitely always want to keep private, or that could harm your reputation.

If you would like to learn more about managing your reputation, or that of your business, please contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Manage your online reputation – 5 tips!

BusinessValue_May29_CTo many netizens, the Internet is one massive popularity race. Companies and people alike take great strides to carefully build a brand and reputation that they feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, there comes a time for any business when they have to deal with a complaint. There are many warning stories of companies that have handled negative feedback and complaints poorly and seen their reputation tarnished. If you want to avoid a dent in your corporate reputation, it would be wise to manage your online reputation.

Here are five reputation management practices you can employ to better manage your online brand.

1. Don’t remove negative content
If you see a negative comment or post online it may be your first impulse to delete it. This isn’t necessarily advisable, as the main rule about the Internet is that nothing ever goes away. If you delete negative comments on a regular basis, customers could notice and this may lead to them losing trust in your company and ultimately, to lost sales.

What you should be doing is replying instead and encouraging any users who complain online or make criticizing posts to contact you directly, or through a more private medium like email. That being said, if you see malicious posts or content that is posted just to incite a negative reaction (trolling), there is nothing wrong in deleting. Just make sure to acknowledge this by posting a warning that states something along the lines of: “Please note, malicious content will be deleted.”

2. Address complaints promptly
You should have someone monitoring your online platforms for complaints or negative feedback, so that you can respond promptly. This will also show customers that you actually use your platforms and are willing to engage. If you do not take steps to address negative material, you could be sending the message that you don’t care enough about customers, which could drive them away.

3. Provide people with a place to complain
Being proactive is important when it comes to reputation management. Instead of waiting for complaints to be posted on various review sites, blogs or even social media, which are all out of your control, why not provide a place that you can control, for all types of feedback.

Having an easy to see form, forum or other similar area on your website, where customers can interact with you, could go a long way in helping limit where complaints pop up. If you are in control then you’re more likely to see complaints sooner and better able to answer them quickly too.

4. Ensure colleagues and staff are all on the same page
Two things that turn almost customers off of a brand are a company that isn’t organized and being told different things by different people within the same company. If you have more than one staff member managing your online reputation you need to ensure everyone is on the same page. If a client asks a question they should get one answer and if there is a complaint there should be one response or person handling it.

It is a good idea to establish how to deal with complaints, who will deal with them and when they will be dealt with, and communicate this with all staff, not just those handling your online presence. A unified procedure could go a long way in minimizing the harm negative feedback can cause.

5. Monitor online activity
We don’t mean monitor the activity of your employees, we mean take a look at the different communication channels used by your customers and the public at large. If your business relies on reviews, simply monitoring your own profiles and website isn’t enough. Many customers complain on review sites like Yelp, Ripoff Report, or their own blogs. Taking time to search for, and browse these sites could help you gauge the general perception of your company. If you see an increasing number of negative reviews for example, you know it is time to look at what needs to be improved.

Having a well managed online reputation won’t guarantee new customers will come flooding in the door, but it can help decrease customers from going out the door, taking valuable sales with them. If you would like to learn more about reputation management please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

4 apps that help you go green

BusinessValue_April30_CWhen it comes to the environment, almost every company takes steps to ‘do their part’ and try to do what they can to conserve, recycle or give back. Any steps taken to help the environment, or reduce a company’s environmental impact are seen as good in the eyes of stakeholders. The problem is, it can be hard to figure out how to start, or do more. One solution may be smartphone apps.

Here are four great apps that can help you and your employees make your company a little more green.

1. GoodGuide

GoodGuide is an app that can help you find out more about products. Utilizing a barcode scanner, it can provide you with information like where the product comes from, whether it’s safe and if it’s green.

With over 170,000 ranked products in the app’s database, it’s a great way to start learning about sustainable and environmentally friendly products. The only downside of this app is that it currently focuses on the US only, and there is no word as to when, or if, service will expand. You can download it to your Apple and Android device for free.

2. PaperKarma

While we are currently living in a digital age, we still get a lot of paper-based junk mail. This is incredibly wasteful, as most people just throw it away. PaperKarma is an app that aims to reduce or eliminate waste paper.

How it works is you take a picture of unwanted mail, the developers will then contact the distributor and ask that they stop sending mail to you. This app could go a long way in helping reduce the amount of paper your office uses, which will mean lower costs for you and less trees felled. It’s really a win-win. You can download it to your iPhone or Android device for free.

3. iRecycle

An important part of any green initiative is recycling. The problem is, it can be hard to find out what, how and where to recycle. iRecycle is an app that aims to set this straight. It provides information on how to recycle almost everything and the nearest recycle points to you.

The app also provides you with recycling centric updates, news and tips to help encourage you to do more. It’s available for Apple (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices for free.

4. greenMeter

If your company has a fleet of vehicles, you are probably always on the lookout for ways to make them more efficient. Whether it be switching tires used, driving at slower speeds to conserve gas or carpooling, finding a way to cut costs is important. greenMeter is an app that could help. What it does is use your iPhone’s accelerometer and manually entered data to assess your vehicle’s power and gas usage.

While driving, this app provides real-time feedback on how efficient your driving is and how much gas you are using. This will help you conserve fuel (as you can see when you are burning more than usual) which will reduce operating costs and negative environmental impact. It’s available for the iPhone and costs USD$5.99.

These are just four apps that can help your company go green. What other CSR initiatives do you take in your company? Let us know! And if you would like more tips on how technology can help you reduce your environmental impact, let us know, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

5 ways to reduce IT spending

BusinessValue_April02_CMost small to medium businesses operate on razor-thin margins, with managers and owners on the lookout for ways to minimize costs in hopes of maximizing the bottom line. There are many ways to cut costs, and one area to look at could be your technology. As you likely know, technology isn’t cheap, but there is always a way to keep expenses down.

Here are five ways you can reduce IT spending.

Backup everything
If your business is like most other small to medium companies, the majority of your important files are located on one server or maybe a couple of computers. Technology doesn’t last forever and the machine where you have your data stored on will eventually stop working.

When it does, you will have to replace it, and your files that were on it could be lost. The cost to recover them will be high. To minimize this risk, you should invest in a solid backup platform that runs on a regular basis.

Yes, this will cost money now, but would you rather have a copy of your systems and data from Yesterday which can be easily implemented when you have a problem, or would you like to pay to maybe recover year’s worth of data? Backups will save you costs in the long-run, not to mention the stress they will help you avoid.

Have a strict anti virus policy
The idea that your employees won’t download programs or browser extensions simply because you tell them not to is like telling a child not to eat candy; they are still going to do it. By simply having computers and devices accessing the Internet through your network, you are at risk. If your systems are hacked or infected, you can face lost data, high recovery costs or worse.

How do you minimize the chance of malware infections and the risk of being hacked? Antivirus software and security solutions installed on every computer that can be run from one machine are your answer. This makes it easier for you or your IT partner to ensure all of your systems’ antivirus software is up to date and scanning when it should be. This will minimize the chance of infection and keep costs down.

Document everything
As your company grows, you will start to use more technology. Over time, it will need to be replaced, and you likely won’t be able to afford replacing all your systems at once. This means that you will have to track down the systems, software, etc. that need to be replaced; which will take time and cost you money.

If you take steps to document all of your systems, computers, software, etc.; where it’s located; when it was implemented; who is in charge of it, etc., you will be able to track things down quickly when needed, thus managing your systems better. This time saving measure will cut your costs.

Look into a CRM/ERP/HRM solution
There are so many software solutions out there that can help you plan and run your operations. If you’ve been tracking employee data or planning using a simple spreadsheet, you could be getting more out of a tailored solution.

Solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or even Human Resources Management (HRM) can help you spot hidden costs or even plan more efficiently, which will reduce costs well into the future.

Look for fixed-price solutions
A major problem with all technology related systems is that predicting costs is nearly impossible. You simply don’t know when/if an important piece of hardware will fail. This becomes even harder if you don’t have expertise in tech.

One of the best ways to save money on IT costs is to outsource. Almost every IT provider offers flat-rate services that cover your systems and can ensure you maximize your IT investment. This makes budgeting for IT easier, as you know what your monthly costs will be. You can then focus on your business, and over time will see a decrease in IT costs.

If you are looking to cut your IT expenses, why not contact us. We may have a solution that will ease the budget burden.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Is IT outsourcing for me?

BusinessValue_March06_CIn the developed world, outsourcing is commonly seen in two very different ways: Employees see it as a threat to job security, while companies often see it as way to capitalize on less costly labor markets. There’s little doubt that many businesses could benefit from some form of outsourcing. Why not start with one of the areas many managers and owners feel least comfortable with: IT.

Outsourcing IT is a bit different than the usual outsourcing you get in factories, or support services. Instead of going overseas, you can partner with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in your local area. MSPs provide comprehensive IT management services which usually cover everything tech related.

Working with an MSP often has a direct impact on your bottom line, and can help make your company even more successful than it already is, or at least increase profits to get you there. However, there are many more reasons companies outsource. Below are our Top Five:

5 reasons why you should outsource IT

  1. Increased control of operational costs - Most MSPs group their services together into monthly plans, meaning you have one cost associated with the IT department. Overhead expenses such as staffing, overtime hours, and operational costs, as well as software licenses, etc., are all included in a flat monthly fee. This makes it easier for you to control IT related costs, while also saving money.
  2. Take focus away from IT, refocus on business functions - Technology is great and a necessity of running most modern businesses but it does break and become either worn out or outdated. Seemingly endless tech issues can take your focus away from key business functions. MSPs take care of all this, allowing you to re-focus your efforts and energies into running your business.
  3. Access to better resources – The best and newest tech is often pricey; well beyond the budget of a vast majority of small and medium sized businesses. This is further compounded by the fact that you likely can’t afford to hire the new employees needed to to run these systems either. MSPs can provide the latest tech along with the experience to support it, allowing you to get more for less.
  4. IT functions are beyond current abilities – If you are like most small to medium companies, you have a few staff who are designated as computer experts, even though that may not be their main role or responsibility. Or it could be the case that you and your colleagues simply lack the knowledge and experience required to run increasingly complex technical systems. The employees at MSPs eat, sleep and breathe tech, and can provide enterprise level IT support and knowledge.
  5. Reduced risk from IT failure - Technical systems are built to be robust. However, they aren’t perfect and will eventually fail. This could mean lengthy downtime, increased costs and lost data. Managed Service Providers reduce this risk by actively monitoring your systems and offering back-up services which will reduce productivity loss and lost business.

3 things you can expect from an MSP
There are a wide variety of MSPs, serving many industries, but there are three things you should expect from any MSP.

  1. Flexibility - IT companies have access to a wide variety of vendors, tech and resources. This means they should be able to develop scalable solutions that meet your companies needs as you grow.
  2. Product experts - The main business objective of an MSP is to provide IT services.To do this they need employees who know their stuff. To get the best, most hire staff with specific qualifications and certifications and experience with the systems offered.
  3. Long-run cost savings - In the short-term it is entirely plausible that internal staff are cheaper than a monthly MSP. Factor in the cost of purchasing technology, maintaining it, plus the cost of recovery, and the cost of retaining an internal IT team will skyrocket. Most companies you outsource to offer a flat rate monthly fee, and will be able to maintain your systems longer. This means lower replacement costs and increased uptime, which in the long run make outsourcing a viable, cost-efficient option.

If you are tired of IT problems and cost overruns, contact us today to see what we can do for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Tips on improving IT revenue. Part 3

Last week we posted part two of our three part article on how to maximize your IT savings and resources. Here’s a quick recap of what part two covered: The article looked at ways you can maximize resources inside your business by being switching to VoIP, investing in the cloud and working with an MSP. Part three takes a look at things you can do to save external IT costs.

Here are three ways you can save money or get the most out of your outward/customer facing IT resources.

Invest in a new website
The website is the new hub of your business and customers look to it for information and often expect it to be there. If you don’t have a functional website that provides your customers/future customers with what they need and want to know, there’s a high chance that you will be losing sales.

You don’t need a fancy website, just one that looks professional and represents your business. If you have a good website that is also optimized for search results, you can and will see your business show up higher in search results which means more exposure for your business.

This does seem a bit counter-intuitive – why spend money when you want to save it? However, having a website that appeals to your customers will increase the chances of both attracting and keeping new customers. If done in the right way, more eyes on your name means higher brand recognition. This in turn will lead to more enquires and potentially higher sales.

Get advertising social
If you have a presence on any social media platform, it could pay to invest in social advertising. The reason advertising on social media platforms has become so popular is that you can target the most relevant people for your product or service.

When it comes to marketing and advertising: If you can target people who are already interested in your service or product, you are more likely to see higher conversions and sales. With other mediums, like paper, tv, etc. the audience is too wide and the cost too great to make it worthwhile for most small businesses. Social advertising is vastly more economical and often more powerful.

We’re not saying you should stop all other forms of advertising, but you can scale them back, save costs, and invest in more targeted social advertising. If you pitch this just right you should see lower advertising costs coupled with higher real conversions.

Be a bigger part of the environment
Being environmentally conscious is a big deal these days. Customers like to see that the company they are doing business with takes steps to reduce their waste/carbon footprint. Looking at the numbers though, ‘going green’ can be quite costly, especially if you have a larger office.

The key to remember is that when it comes to greening IT related processes you should start with conservation. One of the easiest ways to conserve starts with reducing the amount of paper you use. Instead of printing out bills or receipts, why not email them to your customers? If you send faxes or print lots, why not look into a virtual solution. Who knows, you may even be able to get rid of that expensive printer.

Striving to reduce waste is only half of the battle. Environmentally positive actions are a perfect thing to brag about on social media. Saved 300 sheets of paper this week? Tweet it. Customers who are environmentally conscious will look favourably upon this and are more likely to remember you when they next need a service you offer.

There are many things you can do to cut costs and maximize your IT resources. What is your company doing? If you’re not sure, you should contact us. We can help ensure you get the best bang for your buck when it comes to IT.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Tips on improving IT revenue. Part 2

Last week we posted part one of our three part article on how to maximize your IT savings and resources. Here’s a quick recap of what part 1 covered: The article looked at ways you can maximize resources you already have by being an outside thinker, always looking around and using facts to help determine your actions. Part 2 takes a look at things you can do to save internal IT costs.

Here’s how you can maximize your internal IT costs.

Use VoIP and similar digital solutions
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been around for a number of years and many companies, large and small, have integrated it into their offices. Because VoIP uses an Internet connection to send and receive phone calls, there’s no need for expensive cabling and switchboards. Aside from lower overheads, many VoIP providers offer calling rates at a fraction of what most telephone providers charge. So, companies that make lots of long-distance calls can really benefit with VoIP.

While many businesses have integrated VoIP solutions, most don’t go beyond that. If you use a fax machine, did you know that you can either digitize that and ditch the fax machine, integrate it with most modern email programs or use your VoIP connection to transmit fax data.

If you have a sales force who is constantly on the road or giving presentations, why not look into a Web conferencing system. Many systems, like Microsoft’s Lync, allow users to hold conferences and share documents or presentations without having to leave the office.

Invest in the cloud
One of the hottest current trends is the cloud. Currently there are two major types of cloud operations: Cloud storage and cloud based applications. All companies need to store documents. If they go with physical solutions like hard drives, backup tapes etc., it can get very expensive, very quickly. Cloud storage allows you to store all your documents off site, often at a fraction of the cost of physical storage solutions. Beyond that, you will have access to your documents as long as you have an Internet connection.

Cloud based applications come in many varieties, with the most popular being based around the office suite, or a hybrid of storage and application. Solutions like Google Drive which takes Google’s office suite and combines it with a storage and sharing solution, is completely based in the cloud. The goal of Google Drive and other solutions, like Microsoft Office, is largely to provide a platform that enables easy collaboration and sharing at a fraction of the cost of more traditional solutions.

Integrating cloud based solutions can often times save you a ton of money, not only in operating costs but also long-term maintenance. As these services depend on a data connection and not sheer computing power, you won’t have to replace your machines in order to upgrade to new software. This means lower costs all round.

Work with an MSP
While this may seem counter-intuitive – why would a company want to pay to save money? Managed Service Providers (MSP) usually charge a monthly fee and offer a full service solution that aims to keep your systems running. Through preventative monitoring and ensuring systems are running, IT costs are often reduced in the long run. Beyond that, the chances of a major service outage are drastically reduced. Should anything happen to your business MSPs can have you up and running more quickly. allowing you to minimize potential downtime losses.

There are literally thousands of ways you can save money on IT and maximize your resources, and often experts like us can help you extend savings even further. So, why not give us a call and see what we can do. Also, stay tuned for part three of this article, covering how to save money on tech systems that your customers interact with.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

How to maximize IT savings – part 1

There are many different reasons people go into business. While money may not be a main motivation to start, staying in profit is how almost every business operates. A company’s ability to maximize profits is top of mind for many owners, however, when it comes to maximizing IT related functions managers are often at a loss. To help, we have developed a three part article on how technology can help influence the bottom line.

The first part of the article focuses on maximizing the IT resources you already have.

1. Be the outside thinker
The problem with many managers and business owners is that they tend to focus too closely on one or two key business elements. When it comes to technology this often means using only small parts of the technology available, while other parts are underutilized.

Therefore, it’s important that you take a step back every now and then and really look at the tech you currently use. This can be hard to do, especially when you are so invested in a business. It’s a good idea to consult with an advisor like a Managed Service Provider who knows how to get the most out of existing technology.

A lot of times outside help can really pinpoint areas where you can improve efficiency or reduce operating costs. In turn, this helps improve, or at the very least stabilize, your bottom line.

2. Always be looking around
What we mean by this is: Be proactive. Technology and related systems are always changing and advancing. Managers and owners who aren’t aware of the technological changes around them might see lower profits. This doesn’t mean just looking at your physical technology, it pays to look at systems related to the Internet too.

Take for example social media. It’s not going away and has been proven to be an effective marketing tool. The only problem is the service that’s popular today may not be so next year. To get the most out of a system like social media, you need to understand and be aware of it.

If you keep your finger on the pulse, you’ll be more informed about what’s going on, what’s coming up and what to do about it. If you spot something that you think will benefit your company, take the steps to integrate it. The interesting thing about most new technical advancements is that they are focused on making existing systems more efficient.

Don’t just be looking externally either, it pays to look at what tech your employees are using the most and why. If you encourage them to be open and showcase their ideas you’ll be surprised at what they come up with.

It’s being aware of both internal and external trends that can help you identify the next big opportunity to further your bottom line.

3. Facts should determine actions
This can be a tough thing to do, but facing the facts and current situation is incredibly important. If you don’t know where your company is at in terms of what technology is used, then any decisions you make won’t be effective and could end up harming your company. It’s a good idea to conduct an audit of your current systems.

What to audit:

  1. How many computers you have vs employees.
  2. What software each employee uses.
  3. How and what staff use the computers for.
  4. Level of technical integration of current technology.
  5. What systems and programs are used most often.
  6. Operating costs of technology.

There are many different aspects you can look into. You are basically looking to get a picture of where your company currently stands and if there are any systems/processes you could be doing better, or getting rid of. If you find problems you can take steps to fix them, or if you need help, contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

5 reasons not to fire your IT provider

When it comes to technology we covet the latest and greatest, often running out to snatch up that new iPhone or laptop. When it comes to businesses however, many are pushing their already aging systems to last longer. While this isn’t a bad thing – if they still work, use them – these businesses often let their service contracts lapse which could prove to be problematic.

Below are five of the more common issues businesses face when they decide to allow IT service contracts to lapse.

  1. Increased response and resolution time - The way almost every company works is they provide support to paying customers before they provide support to others. If your systems bought from a vendor three years ago crash, and you didn’t renew the support contract, you will be facing prolonged downtime and potentially high replacement costs which could be detrimental to your business.
  2. Poor implementation of updates - One of the main jobs of the IT provider is to ensure that all systems are up-to-date, or at the very least are running the same version of software as other systems. Without this valuable service, it is almost guaranteed that users will be running different software versions which could pose security and integration risks.
  3. Lack of diagnostic and analysis tools – IT providers often utilize robust diagnostic and analysis tools that can help determine what issues are causing problems. On the other end, many IT service companies are set up to be proactive, and will usually look for and fix potential problems. This business model minimizes downtime, which can be hard to do without a costly internal IT department.
  4. Reactive support - The proactive nature of many IT service providers really helps, but when you don’t renew contracts, your service will likely go from proactive to reactive. Meaning you likely won’t know anything’s wrong until it really goes wrong. So instead of systems being down for an hour for monthly maintenance, they could be down up to a week or longer. This is something no business wants.
  5. Increased hardware overhead - With a good service provider, your systems will last longer. This equates to lower hardware overhead over a longer period. Without them, companies will often see higher overhead due to having to replace equipment more often.

Yes, we agree, it can be hard to justify paying what seems like a high monthly fee to keep your systems running, especially in this difficult financial climate. However, the potential of both lost revenue from crashed systems and replacement costs often make IT service providers an integral and valuable part of your technical systems.

If you’re facing budget cuts, why not talk to us, we may be able to work with you to develop a plan that meets both your needs and budget.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.