The act of “yak shaving,” also known as “bikeshedding,” is a specific kind of procrastination that can hold you back from getting the most out of your workday. This week’s tip is dedicated to explaining what this nonsensical phrase means and why it’s beneficial to keep your employees on track.
Integrated Business Technologies Blog
You can’t have a successful business without a little bit of productivity. Unfortunately, some office environments can have a negative influence on the way your employees get their work done. Take a moment to ask yourself this question: “Are you simply busy, or are you actually being productive?”
For the small business, being more efficient with resources can make a massive difference. In fact, it can be the difference between organizational sustainability and organizational failure. The bottom line is that, no matter how big or small they are, today’s businesses need to be smarter to compete. As a result, some businesses have begun to utilize data management platforms (DMP) in order to put themselves in a better position to understand their business, their market, and their customers. Let’s take a look at the DMP, and how it works to help businesses like yours be more effective.
All businesses are part of their respective markets, and depending on that market, the business will implement technology solutions designed to help them best cater to their business. However, you should only implement technology that can yield a satisfactory return on investment, or ROI. We’re here to help you get the most return on your investment as possible.
Technology has fundamentally altered the capabilities of businesses. Cloud computing has provided access to enterprise-strength computing at small business costs, and now IT providers are more able to provide value than simple repair-and-replace services. The name of the game is value, which is why the value-driven IT services of tomorrow are here to stay.
The modern office is filled with distractions, and that’s to say nothing about the everyday user’s life. With so many devices and notifications interrupting focus for users all over the world, it’s more important than ever before to have a strategy for how to deal with these issues and become as productive as possible in the workplace. Today, we’ll be discussing some of the biggest distractions in the workplace and how your employees can overcome them.
There is always going to be user error in the workplace. Even the best workers make mistakes sometimes. You naturally want to reduce these occurrences as often as possible, but for the purposes of training and whatnot, you want to assume the worst: that any worker, even the most dedicated veteran, could potentially make a business-ending mistake. Thankfully, there are ways you can make sure this doesn’t happen for your business.
Once thought to just be a cool feature of the Internet--or the entirety of the Internet to your Great Aunt Maddie--instant messaging has a long history on the web. In fact, one could argue that it was the first great Internet-based application. Today, we take a look back at the history of Instant Messaging and how your organization can use it to create a better business.
Data recovery can make your break your business’ continuity plan, and you absolutely cannot underestimate how important this is for the future of your organization. There are countless ways your business could lose data, and if you encounter even a single one of them, your organization could be put at serious risk. We’ll take a look at operational data loss and how your organization needs to strategize data recovery.
With the exception of a sole proprietorship, a business of any size relies on its team in order to function properly. As a result, this team needs to be able to work together towards a common goal in order to succeed. To accomplish this, collaboration technologies are becoming more and more common in office environments, and generally benefit the performance of the business in its operations.
Technology support can be one of the major pain points for businesses, and it’s not something that your organization wants to invest in without thinking about the details. Technology support as a service has a lot to offer when compared with the break/fix method. We’ll help you make the right decision by explaining why remote IT services are a major benefit for any business.
A solid business decision needs to be based on more than just a gut feeling. It takes quantifiable data to choose the right path for your company, leveraged in a process known as business analytics. Today, we’ll explore this process, as well as discuss a few ways you can use it to your advantage.
At every turn, it seems as though there’s another best practice or upcoming trend to learn and implement in the realm of business technology. Are you doing all you can to keep your company up to date, relevant, and competitive? Below, we review some of 2018’s biggest IT revolutions so far.
The Internet has made quite a few common processes easier, including buying and selling goods and even services. However, while e-commerce is experiencing extreme growth, it may not be the right fit for every business. There are a variety of considerations to balance out to determine if e-commerce is something that you should be leveraging.
There’s nothing quite like signing off on your first business space. It’s like officially saying, “My business is up and running. Visit my office today!” What’s even more exciting, however, is when your organization is growing so quickly that your business space becomes cramped or too small to grow unhindered. Either way, the way you set up your office is going to be an important part of running your business.
Organizations that have a workforce outside of their normal office location are presented with a unique challenge. In the case of remote employees, businesses have to figure out how to keep them connected to the workplace, productive with their time, and part of the organization’s culture. This week’s tip is dedicated to helping your organization’s remote workers become more successful--or, specifically, how you can help them be successful.
Computers need to be maintained in order to ensure that they are working as optimally as possible. It’s also known that technology solutions are prone to failure, be it from users making mistakes, deliberately ruining something in a fit of rage, or components simply failing. If you’re concerned about the wellbeing of your organization’s IT, then you need to rely on a technology specialist who can manage and maintain it.
Data backup has become an essential piece of the modern business’ computing infrastructure but the act of protecting data from being lost is centuries old. Before there was recorded civilization, there were humans writing on the cave walls and carving notches into bone to aid counting and other primitive mathematics. Today, we take a look at the history of backing up data, and how it has brought us to where we are now.
Stress is a reality of everyday life, especially in the workplace. Of course, different people find different things to be stressful, as well. Here, we’ll review some of the biggest sources of stress to be found in an office environment, and what some of the effects of this stress can be.
For any business to be successful, it needs access to the technology solutions that allow it to operate efficiently. Your IT team is responsible for ensuring that this access is not interrupted, which isn’t an insignificant responsibility. However, by clearly defining goals for your IT team to strive for, you provide a benefit to all members of your staff.
There’s no denying that digital records have quite a few advantages over paper documentation. Benefits of ‘going paperless’ include simplified search capabilities, more efficient storage, heightened security and automated backup capabilities. There are plenty of sources around the Internet that discuss making the switch to paperless documentation, but to keep your business documents safe, it is better to know what you’re getting into.
Using pirated software or abusing your software licenses for your business is heavily frowned upon. However, many software companies, in an attempt to protect their products, have unleashed a practice that can actually reward those who let it happen in the first place.
Selecting a managed service provider should be like selecting any employee. You need to make sure that your expectations are going to be fulfilled, and that your selection will be there when you need them to be. However, the criteria you examine your potential IT service provider by should be a little different than how you evaluate your other prospective team members.
While many different people open businesses, the primary reason that they all do so is to make money. A positive cash flow is essential if the business is to generate funds that support a cause or provide a decent living. However, to collect this cash flow, a business must have their invoices returned. As it happens, this doesn’t often occur in a timely manner.
As a managed service provider, we’re naturally going to be a little biased when comparing the positives and negatives between an in-house IT team and an outsourced approach. However, each has its benefits in the right situations, and each can have its downsides. Today, we’ll discuss each to establish which is the better choice for your situation.
How does your organization manage its mission-critical technology solutions? We know that most small businesses have some sort of trouble with this topic, either due to budget constraints or a lack of personnel. Either way, we know that there is a better way to manage your business’ technology, and it’s all thanks to an approach called managed IT services.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery planning for small businesses. According to FEMA, more businesses have business continuity plans than ever before. With so many SMBs looking to secure their future, there are still a few aspects of business continuity planning that today’s business need to comprehend. After all, there is more to it than just data backup. Disaster recovery is something that needs to be planned, practiced and updated.
How does your business communicate? If you are relying on a telephone solution that isn’t optimized to fit the specific needs of your business, you may be hindering your ability to stay efficient and cost-effective.
It’s time to face the fact that those times when your technology acts up, you don’t have the time to spare waiting around for the issue to just go away...you need to react. Many small businesses just don’t have the means to maintain an in-house IT resource to solve their problems. What if we can offer you a different solution.
When you talk about your employees, you hopefully often refer to them as a department, or a “team.” These terms often come with predetermined assumptions, with one of them being that the employees work together to accomplish something specific. However, it’s often not so simple. If your employees aren’t working together as a team, how can you fix this dilemma?
In the natural course of doing business, an owner/operator will have to face many difficult situations, but none of these situations are as difficult as asking them to determine whether or not to close the doors of the business for good. Many problems could cause a business to fail, but it has to hurt the failing owner a little more when the solution for the problem was not only within his/her reach, it was affordable.
No business owner likes to think about it, but every business needs to be prepared for the possibility of their data disappearing. Have you taken steps to ensure that, should some disaster strike, you will be prepared to dust yourself off and continue operations? Furthermore, are you sure that your preparations will be sufficient and your data will be preserved?
Providing outstanding customer service is a requirement to be successful in today’s business environment. If you ignore this valuable tenant of business, then you’ve got a competitor who will gladly jump on the opportunity to steal away your customers and prospects by offering better service. What steps is your business taking to make sure that your customer service is second to none?
When was the last time that your organization had an unexpected technology expense blast your IT budget out of the sky? Surprise issues that you don’t plan for could potentially derail your budget for months, or even years, depending on the severity of it. Having a clear idea of what your IT service plan covers is a great way to make sure that you don’t get hit by surprise billing.
What would you do if your business were suddenly struck by something which threatened its very existence? Do you have a plan to make sure that your business survives well past the expiration date assigned by natural disasters, hardware failure, user error, or hacking attacks? One of the most important parts of running a business is managing risk, and implementing a business continuity plan is a great way to focus on the preservation of your organization.
Not all companies are prepared to deal with the costs associated with downtime. Any situation in which your organization cannot access important information or can’t operate with efficiency is something which needs to be prepared for; otherwise, you risk more than you know. We want to help protect your business when it needs it most.
No one said business was going to be easy. One of the most frustrating aspects can be employee complacency. In fact, with the advent of the Internet and with more jobs trending toward service, you are finding that people are constantly looking outside their current organization for professional development. With employee turnover costing businesses everywhere substantial capital, retaining your proficient employees must be a priority.
Budgeting accurately for your long-term IT needs requires an intimate knowledge about technology and IT trends. Compared to other department budgets that are easy to compile by making a few simple adjustments to the previous year’s numbers, your IT budget must take into account the depreciation of your IT equipment for replacement purposes, as well as the cost of procuring the new, cutting-edge solutions that are shaping your industry. Do you have the technical knowledge to come up with an accurate IT budget? If you don’t, you’ll want to employ the services of an IT consultant.
One of the most effective methods to boost employee productivity is to encourage your workforce to work together in order to achieve their goals. Workplace collaboration allows multiple employees to combine their efforts and energies into a common project, adding value to the final product and often completing it more quickly. The benefits don’t end there, either. Here are some of the other advantages gained by encouraging collaboration among your workforce.
Whether you like it or not, millennials (those reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) make up a significant portion of the workforce. Appropriately leveraging their skills is going to become a big part of succeeding as a business, but millennials are known for their tendency to hop from job to job as opportunity calls. How can you keep your top millennial talent from jumping ship? You can start by offering the latest technologies.
So you’ve outgrown your office space and need to relocate. Congratulations on reaching this milestone with your business, but do you know what to look for in a new building? Finding the perfect setup can be daunting, especially if you don’t know what to look for. To help you out, here are four tips to make your transition easier.
How many hours a day do you work? Chances are that, as a business owner, you put in more than the average worker. Your team might put in the requisite eight hours, but you might find yourself putting in more. After all, working more hours means more productivity, right? Well… wrong. A recent study shows that eight hours of work, while revolutionary 200 years ago, is still too long to expect good work from your employees.
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, has become an accepted practice in the workplace, but only when it’s implemented properly. The fact remains that allowing workers to use their personal devices for work purposes has its benefits and disadvantages, and that you should only allow them to do so after they adhere to your company’s BYOD policy. Of course, this assumes that you actually have a policy, so let’s talk about how to set up a quality BYOD policy.
Modern office technology is breaking down office barriers left and right. With the proper tools, workers can perform their daily duties anytime, anywhere. This trend is prompting businesses to hire remote workers in order to find the talent they need without being limited by geographical location. Unfortunately, finding a good candidate for a remote worker is easier said than done.
Businesses used to paying up front for Windows may be surprised to learn that the newest offering by Microsoft, Windows 10 Enterprise edition, will have a monthly charge. For some organizations, this move may be enough for them to rethink how they buy and manage their software.
Let’s be honest; when was the last time you seriously went out of your way to take a day off from work? The corporate business environment often leads both business owners and normal office workers to overindulge themselves in their work. Plus, the mobile-first business model isn’t making it any easier to take time off, as you’re connected to the office no matter what. However, science is proving that it’s not just beneficial, but practically necessary, to take time off on occasion.
How did your last major IT initiative turn out? Were you able to get what you wanted implemented in an orderly fashion, or did it fail to provide a return on investment? You might be surprised to hear that half of the IT projects implemented by businesses ultimately wind up as a failure, and these numbers have been increasing over the past several years.
Business owners need to understand that employee engagement is just as important a part of running an organization, as keeping operations running at optimal efficiency. After all, your employees are the ones responsible for keeping everything moving forward, and if they’re not happy and fulfilled, it can affect the quality of your end product or service. A new study finds that even businesses that have good intentions about employee engagement have trouble guaranteeing that their efforts are effective.
It’s nice to do something and feel good that you’re the one doing the work. This DIY approach provides you the satisfaction that you’re doing the job yourself, and that you’re doing it right. If you’re the kind of person who gets nervous about others handling tasks, you fully understand how stressful it can be to have someone you don’t know or trust working on important initiatives; particularly working with your company’s technology.
Remember that blender you got last holiday season that you let collect dust in the closet for a month? Maybe you decided to open it to view the instruction manual, then put it away since you would never, ever, actually use it. The only thing is, now that you actually want to use the manual, you can’t find it. Thankfully, the Internet, once again, is here to save the day, in the form of the online electronic manual.
It’s time to be realistic and admit that the office can be an extraordinarily distracting place. Constant meetings and discussions, phones ringing, and emails hitting the inbox can all seem overwhelming. With so much going on, how can you get the most work done while still remaining in contact with your co-workers?
When it comes to technology, upgrading is part of the package. Despite this being a well-established fact, some business owners will delay upgrading for as long as possible, while others will upgrade as soon as the latest product is released. What’s behind a company’s motivation to upgrade or not? We can better understand this by looking at a study on why businesses upgrade their operating systems.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could provide your staff an over-the-top benefits package similar to what Google offers their employees (aka, “Googlers”)? For most SMBs, making Glassdoor’s annual list of “50 Best Places to Work” (a list routinely dominated by Google) is a fantasy; primarily due to the fact that the average enterprise operates within the confines of a strict budget. As the owner of an SMB, this reality often means making tough decisions and budget cuts.
Businesses always try to eliminate unnecessary costs, but printing isn’t necessarily everyone’s first idea of an unnecessary cost. With so much revenue being invested in paper, ink, and toner every year, just think of how many resources this can free up for your business if you could find a way to eliminate them from your budget. With the right technology solutions, you can easily cut costs on printing.
2015 was a brutal year for major corporations, as one by one they fell victim to hacking attacks. Major organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, and even the United States Office of Personnel became victims of major hacking campaigns. A fact that’s often lost amongst these details is that not all hackers use their skill for evil actions, even if they are still illegal.
You’re a small business, and as such, you need technology in order to keep your operations moving forward. Many organizations will refer to their services and products as “enterprise-level,” as if there’s a certain draw to them that wouldn’t ordinarily be there. Here’s what this term means, not just for larger businesses, but for your SMB.
Can you imagine how much easier it would be to manage your IT problems if you had a dedicated support team who you could always count on to receive calls and answer any questions your team has? This would technically qualify as an internal help desk, and they could potentially save you a ton of money and time in the long run. Why? Because your team wouldn’t have to waste time digging through complicated systems to find answers to their dilemmas.
Millennials may be looked down upon in the average workplace for a number of reasons that are entirely subjective, whether it be that they’re “spoiled rotten” or “just plain rude.” But in today’s workplace based around technology, millennials have a huge advantage, and have even given long-time CIOs a run for their money when it comes to technology management.
“Do you think this is a game?” In the past, a boss may have used this line to criticize an employee for not taking their job seriously. However, in today’s more creative work environments, many companies are using game mechanics to achieve their goals. This business strategy is called gamification, and it’s the most fun way to get work done.
Microsoft’s latest PC operating system arrived with fanfare on July 29th, and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews so far, but is it ready for your business? Let’s take it for a spin and find out.
Just because something is brand new doesn’t mean that there’s a market for it. Just look at Windows 8 to see what we’re talking about. It might have been a brand new operating system when it first came out, but it didn’t really take to users, who preferred the familiar feel of Windows 7. How do business owners suspect Windows 10 will affect the business world?
Everybody loves a vacation from work, but nobody enjoys the stress of catching up when returning from said vacation. It doesn’t have to be this way. By taking a few precautions, you can avoid ever again having to say, “I need a vacation from my vacation.”
It’s the goal of every IT administrator for every part of their network to run smoothly. Achieving this level of IT perfection is a beautiful thing that makes the job of everyone in the company easier. Unfortunately, all it takes is one component to fail for this dream of IT utopia to come crashing down.
One of the biggest challenges of running a business is attracting and retaining quality workers. To accomplish this, you’re going to need more than an old-fashioned “help wanted” ad. These days, you will need to offer what quality employees are looking for--a flexible workplace environment.
Facebook has come a long way. Originally designed as a networking tool to be exclusively used by college students, Facebook now has 1.44 billion active users, making it the world’s largest social network. Today, businesses take Facebook seriously and utilize it for their marketing initiatives. However, it’s still viewed as a time-waster by many office managers who restrict or ban employees from accessing it.
Big data analytics might be changing the way businesses look at data, but how much can be changed without a deeper understanding of what causes these trends? Your business model has everything to gain from understanding why and how big data trends come to be. In essence, understanding how the trends behind big data work is arguably more important than the statistics of big data itself.
As a business owner, you know that technology is a necessary, albeit unpredictable, investment. Your organization thrives off of it operating as expected, yet suffers when it doesn’t function properly. This is the primary reason why the idea of help desk support was first introduced. It’s an effective medium through which your employees can receive tech support when it’s needed most.
You’re surely aware of how valuable an asset social media is for your brand, but how much interaction are you really getting on your pages? No matter how many views, there’s always room for improvement. Well, you’ll be relieved to hear that even the large corporations don’t get too many hits on social media, despite the massive numbers in their favor.
Every business owner knows what’s expected of them when it comes time to onboard a new hire. When the training videos are all watched and the new employee is lined up to kick butt and take names, is that when your job as overseer ends, or is there more that you can do to get more productivity out of your staff?
When you send a subordinate an email, you likely expect that they will read it and comply with the message. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and messages, especially in organizations where email is used as the main form of communication between departments, slip through the cracks. To remedy lost correspondence, consider setting up an email archive.
If you’re looking to save some money on IT, outsourcing your company’s IT services is a simple and effective method. This concept has grown tremendously over the past several years, and the saved expenses are one of its biggest attractions. However, businesses sometimes decide that it might be time to backsource their IT.
When it comes to the workplace, people want more than they used to. It used to be all about the salary and decent working conditions, but that has significantly changed in the past decade. In order to attract the best talent and stay ahead of the competition, you want to provide optimal working conditions when possible. Thankfully, by providing your team with a few accommodations, it doesn’t have to be difficult for everyone to enjoy their workday.
Since the dawn of the Internet, email has been that thing you love to hate. Email was meant to be a dynamic tool capable of replacing the odd fax machine and postal mail. Today, some workers dread even opening their inbox due to how much time they have to invest in it. Some might even wonder if there’s a better way to go about their work day.
As mobile technology booms, employers and employees are learning how to best take advantage of using new mobile technology in the workplace (a trend known as BYOD). To be sure, there are several advantages that come with BYOD, but there’s still hesitancy for many businesses to fully adopt mobile technology due to a lack of trust.
Black Friday is widely regarded as the most competitive day for American retailers, and for consumers standing in line to take advantage of rock-bottom prices, the general consensus is that all of this competition is great for their wallets. In the same way, your business can benefit from a healthy dose of friendly competition.
There’s a value to having a neat and tidy office where everything is where it’s supposed to be. In addition to seeing a boost in productivity because you’re not having to fight clutter, you just feel good about working in a space that’s clean and orderly. These same principles of organization apply to your company’s network.
Every business owner knows how important data backup is to their company's continuity plan, and they realize that a disaster recovery solution can help save them in the event of catastrophe. However, some businesses think they are the same thing, and they are sadly mistaken. While they are similar, a backup is not a disaster recovery solution.
There is consistent conversation about the security of your data and the best ways to minimize the risk of losing it. At some point in this conversation the topic of mobile devices comes up. The general consensus is that the more places your staff can access their work, the more they can get done, and how could it not? With smartphones becoming as predominant as coffee mugs, and the nature of mobile devices that have the capability of hopping from one network to the next, how can you ignore that the devices themselves are a data-loss risk?
Everyone is well aware of how mobile technology is changing everything. Therefore, it's a matter of time before we see new tech drastically change the office layout. This is what's happening in forward-thinking offices with a trend called "hoteling." If your business enjoys mobile technology and you want to get the most collaboration out of your staff, then hoteling is right for you.
In days of old, skilled people of all crafts joined together to improve the quality of their lives and their products. These were called guilds, and they're not unlike small businesses of today; a group of like-minded individuals who come together to make the public's lives easier. Your business is no different, and at Integrated Business Technologies, we understand that.
Autumn is a time of change and tradition, and perhaps one of the most well-known is the return of football season. Previously, the broadcasting of local NFL games was restricted by the blackout rule, but a recent revocation of the rule could change everything. Whether you are a football fan or not, this decision to revoke the blackout rule could affect future decisions made by the FCC.
The Internet makes marketing your business much easier, but it's not that way for everyone. A restaurant in California has responded to the standard Internet marketing strategy with an out-of-the-box method of its own. David Cerretini, co-owner of the Italian restaurant Botto Bistro, has told his strategy to USA Today; "I want to be the worst restaurant in the San Francisco area!"
A business owner must understand the licensing status of their company's software, but this has grown more complicated since the inception of the Internet. If you feel like your employees, or maybe even your corporate culture survives off of pirated software or applications, or stuff you found "for free" online, then your business could potentially suffer from legal issues.
Civilization has passed through various ages, like the Stone Age, the Ice Age, Bronze Age, and so on. And now, we're progressing through another one - the Data Age. In fact, 90 percent of the world's data was created in 2013. With each new device and system comes an incredible amount of data that must be processed, stored, and catalogued. This is Big Data, and the way that your business works with this information will determine the success of your business in the Data Age.
Smartphones have revolutionized the way that we communicate with each other and increased productivity, but for some businesses, they are only making things worse. A perfect example of this is the restaurant business - in fact, one restaurant owner decided to take matters into his own hands, and has performed a study which examined their business before and after the mobile revolution.
Microsoft and Apple have been at the forefront of personal computing since the 1970s. The competition has caused partnerships and strain between the two companies and in the interim, created hardware and software that would change the world. Although the two companies will be forever linked, they both are betting on mobile, and for good reason.