Always Search For Better Technology-Based Solutions

You might be a small business but you are not limited in scope. You have the power to reach out to everybody in the world and that’s exactly the mentality you should have. With modern technology there’s nothing that’s out of your control. Perhaps the biggest concern small enterprises have is the fact that you could be technologically behind the larger corporations. This is true in a sense because multinational companies often build their own internal software or hire the absolute best in their field. Then they often design software that is only relevant for their business and with this clear advantage they are able to keep their noses in front of smaller businesses. In this sense, you are potentially in a race to overcome them in the field of technology-based solutions for your business.

Project organization

Project management is where productivity can either die or thrive. For a small business productivity is not something that can be taken for granted as you need each employee to be worth their weight in gold. Where the confusion of who is doing what and what is needed to be done for each task occurs, is at the online level of task allocation and the chain of completion. You should always be on the lookout for the latest project or task management software both in the free to use category and the subscription based style. Look for the general task management software but also the specialized interfaces that have been designed for your industry alone. The features are always more important that the usability as the latter can oftentimes be subjective but lacking features can hinder your productivity rate.

Fault in the line

Software is prone to errors and thus technology can never be relied upon. Don’t expect all your employees to understand the inner workings of each software their use to fulfil their roles either. That would simply take too much time of learning and experimenting rather than completing projects. So hire a company with professional Computer IT Services that offers proactive monitoring of your technologies. Whenever there is a fault in the line, such as a corrupt file that is refusing to open, an update that potentially has malware, this team can detect it for you. Catching a problem early, you can help employees continue on their roles by fixing a coding error much quicker.

Supply chain management

Working with so many different suppliers can get confusing. Quality control can leap out of the window when you don’t have full control of the supply chain. You should always be searching for industry specific supply chain management software. Even more so, search for sector specific software which can narrow down exactly what your supply chain needs are. Include your managers in this discussion as they will be the people who will be using it in their daily tasks.

Never stand still and be content with your software selections. Small businesses have the pick of the lot as free and paid software solutions are available for supply chain management and project organization. Employing a team to check up on the status and health of your software greases the wheels and keeps the ship moving through the waves.

Time is Money: 4 Types of Products to Add in Your Business for Improved Efficiency

Efficiency is vital to your business and its productivity. With efficient processes, you are able to save time without having to sacrifice quality. If the policies and procedures set in place cause employees to spend lots of time trying to complete a task, this will result in a loss of productivity for the business as a whole. Thankfully, there are emerging technologies that can help not only save your company time, but also money and energy as well. Here are four types of products that would benefit your business with improved efficiency.

Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software allows you and your employees to effectively record hours for payroll, billing, and operations in general. It captures time spend on work assignments and provides an insight on projects that eat up a lot of your employees time. The software lets you analyze and break down time consuming tasks into smaller, more productive tasks that can be completed faster.

Entity Extraction Software

Entity extraction software, also known as named entity recognition and entity name extraction, it a technique that identifies and classifies key elements from text to pre-defined categories. It takes unstructured data and compiles it into structured data that is now machine readable and available for easy retrieval. Structured data makes it easier to understand the data contained in documents, files, spreadsheets, web pages, etc.

Business Cloud Solutions

The cloud is a centralized location on the internet that stores data and files, making it easier to access them anytime from any location. The cloud consists of cloud storage, cloud backup, software as a service (SaaS), and cloud hosting. Since the cloud doesn’t require expensive hardware for your business, it reduces the need for additional expensive of on-site equipment. The cloud also automatically updates data and files stored, which is another added timesaver.

Business Messaging Software

Messaging software offers your business an advantage to using traditional email and messaging. They provide a single location where you and your employees can utilize text messages, video chats, private chats, screen-sharing, and email messaging all in one centralized app. Messaging software also allows for you and your employees to stay closely connected in real time from different locations across the country.

Simple solutions such as these allow your business to flow more effectively and efficiently. From a business standpoint, it just makes sense to implement procedures that are of benefit to the business and employees productivity as a whole.

Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2

5 Reasons for Businesses to Move to a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Information technology is evolving with each passing year, and only the forward-looking companies will catch up on promising innovations and integrate them into their operations early. One of these breakthrough technologies is the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), also known as hyperconvergence. In a nutshell, hyperconvergence is a virtualized IT architecture that combines crucial data components into a single, unified software platform, including backup, networking, storage, computing, protection, and more.

Although the concept is still to gain the traction and recognition it deserves, the technology is expected to rise in popularity in the years to come due to the numerous benefits it brings to enterprises. Let’s take a look at what hyperconvergence brings to the table, and how it can help you run your company from a highly-sophisticated and centralized piece of software.

Consolidating cross-department workflow

The first major benefit of a hyper-converged infrastructure is the ability to bring various functionality features such as compute, storage, and networking under a single virtual architecture. This means that you can consolidate wide area networks, eliminate duplicates, and manage backup storage from a centralized location, and with a great deal of automation and efficiency to boot.

With a streamlined workflow architecture such as this, you can easily transfer virtual machines between entire data centers in your company, and of course, different HCI appliances. What this means for your company as a whole is that back-office applications such as inventory, HR, accounting, reporting, quality control, and CRM systems can all be managed in the virtual realm.

Increased data protection

Data protection is one of the most important elements of a high-functioning and effective IT infrastructure. Hyperconvergence is a grand step forward for data protection and infrastructure resilience, as it offers a complete data recovery toolkit to keep your business safe. The software additionally allows you to back up your data on a public cloud storage platform if need be.

Another vital advantage of a hyper-converged infrastructure lies in higher infrastructure resilience. Given the fact that the data is not stored in a single location, but rather scattered across multiple nodes and even entire data centers in different locations, there is no way for the entire system to give out at any given point. If an entire HCI appliance goes offline, other data centers and nodes will ensure that you maintain performance and retain control of the data at all times.

Flexible and scalable growth

Traditional IT infrastructures based on manual computing and decentralized architectures are notoriously difficult to scale, especially in a rapidly growing environment. The innate lack of flexibility of these systems requires you to provision, configure, and finally implement computing power and storage capacity. On the other hand, innovative cloud computing platforms that are both hardware and software-based are built on hyper-converged infrastructure and offer easy and intuitive scalability through automatic capacity expansion.

You can simply attach a new HCI appliance into the hyper-converged infrastructure to achieve this, all without having to go through money-wasting downtime as you would with a legacy system. Instead of spreading compute and storage capacity across multiple separate functions, every HCI appliance is a self-sustained environment you can easily upgrade in small increments – effectively maximizing efficiency and accurately scaling your infrastructure.

A cost-effective solution

Increased revenue is not the only measure of success in the modern business world, as cutting operational costs and minimizing financial leaks are also vital elements of long-term solvency. Unlike traditional infrastructures, hyper-converged architectures have a low entry cost because of their streamlined requirements for equipment. Complemented with high virtualization on all fronts, the cost-effective nature of this solution becomes clear.

While legacy infrastructures required the components to be physically replaced in order to give way to new, more powerful hardware, hyperconvergence allows the business to add new features seamlessly and limit on-site IT for better cost reduction and higher long-term sustainability. Nevertheless, some form of on-premises oversight will remain for the foreseeable future.

Automation at its finest

Automation within traditional infrastructures has always been wishful thinking rather than a possibility, especially in complex enterprise systems entailing the use of multiple systems and various hardware. However, hyperconvergence is a software-defined data center, which means that all of the essential services and features such as storage, compute, and servers are managed within a virtualized infrastructure. This high level of centralization makes the automation of certain tasks a distinct possibility for the first time.

Before the creation of the hyper-converged infrastructure, IT needed to procure and integrate hardware from different sources – a problem that hyperconvergence eliminates by creating a cohesive computing environment. This directly influences the efficiency of the infrastructure, allowing you to automate tasks and cut upkeep costs significantly over the long run.

In conclusion

The hyper-converged infrastructure is the way of the future, and it’s rapidly weaving itself into the modern business world. By integrating hyperconvergence into your business structure and eliminating legacy systems, you can achieve higher efficiency and performance while elevating data protection and ensuring responsive scalability that will aid the further expansion of your business.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Key 21st Century Tech For Your Business

It doesn’t matter whether your small business is focused on importing the latest aerodynamic ball bearing, providing accountancy services to SMEs or building an eBay empire, you will need to move with the times if you are to succeed. One of the main reasons companies fail to expand and instead see their business vision begin to crumble is because they are resistant to change. To thrive, you need to welcome new initiatives, working methodologies, and software. Take a look at these vital pieces of technology that every startup, new or established, should be chomping at the bit to obtain.

The Cloud

Rather than looking up and admiring the cumulus that you see above your head, the cloud that you need to consider is one that will revolutionize your business. Your office should be a digital workplace, where people can upload and download necessary documents, images, and files from the virtual environment; namely, the cloud. This online storage function means that you no longer have to worry about USB sticks or your hard drive. Instead, your staff team can all have access to these documents at the same time from virtually anywhere on the planet. This increases productivity, leads to fewer hardware issues affecting work streams and increases collaboration.

Workplaces are no longer rows of desktop cubicles. They are open plan, foster teamwork and water-cooler moments, and are designed to encourage collaborative ways of working. It makes sense that technology would echo this ethos.

CRM Software

While you are keen to utilize the millennial’s platform of choice and have a well maintained Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram grid, how well do you know the customers that you drive to your site? CRM software or Customer Relationship Management, analyzes the traffic to your website. It will focus on their buying habits, the products they look at most on your site and the referral that led them to your company. This can aid you in constructing a nuanced and targeted marketing campaign when launching a new product. CRM software is the perfect technological solution to try and maintain customer loyalty and expose your brand.

Payroll Automation

While it may seem a little random to include a piece of software that completes a business function that you can do yourself, the automation of payroll can free up a ridiculous amount of your time. At least half a day can be spent on this mundane administrative task. Working out 401(k) considerations and tax allowances can be mind numbing. Instead, you could invest in a software package that periodically sorts out payroll for you. This leads to fewer chances of human error, looks more professional and allows you to work on more pressing areas of your strategic vision.

Being your own boss is thrilling, and you want to become a market leader in your field. The effort you have put into launching your company cannot go to waste. Don’t be one of the eighty percent of startups that fails within the first eighteen months of trading. Welcome change and embrace new technologies and your business will thrive.

Don’t Dilly Dally About Data

Do I need a cloud server or should I use a hard drive? Is it worth hiring a data management expert? What type of security do I need? What penalties are there for not remaining compliant? These are just some of the questions that are probably swirling around your head when thinking about data issues in your company. You probably think that you have time to ponder these and make the right decisions, but you don’t.

You may not know that nearly one-third of all companies on the market will be exposed to a cybersecurity issue at some point this year. That means if you haven’t already made the right decisions your data could already be vulnerable. You don’t want that, so let’s look at the ways that you can prevent it. You need to make snap decisions here as soon as your business is on the market or even before.

DO Use A Cloud A Server

You have probably been toying with the idea of either hiring or buying a cloud server for your company data. It’s time to stop thinking about it and start doing it. While some people like to point out the security holes in cloud servers, they are nothing compared to hard drives. Someone can hack into your hard drive from their home in minutes if it’s connected to a network. Or, they could just walk into your property and walk out with all your customer data. With a cloud server, it’s far more complicated because then the data is kept off-site.

When you are thinking about cloud servers, do make sure that you research different companies rather than opting for the first one you find online. Quality of service can vary dramatically here.

DON’T Think Your Industry Is Special

It isn’t, and this is a big mistake that business owners are making right now. It is true to say that some companies need to worry more about data than others. For instance, if you work in the medical sector, you need to make sure that you are remaining HIPAA compliant and you can learn more about that on sites like www.nahs.co. But, all companies are held be similar data guidelines and regulations. In Europe, for instance, The GDPR recently came into full force. This impacts every business with ties to Europe, and that brings us to our next point.

DO Hire An Industry Expert

If companies should learn one thing from the new GDPR it’s that data laws can change fast. You can learn more about the GDPR on www.cio.com. While companies were given two years warning here, it still wasn’t long enough for some businesses to get in shape before the strict penalties were imposed. That’s why you should hire a data compliance expert. They can help make sure that you do remain completely compliant and that your business is up to date with changes to the law.

We hope you find this information useful and start making quick decisions on how to protect your business from data issues right now.

 

 

Empowering Your Employees: It’s The Ultimate Investment

You’re one in a million! Few people would have the gumption and self determination to quit the rat race and carve out your own niche for yourself in the fast paced and ultra competitive world of modern business. Moreover, none could do it with the same flair, panache and expertise that you have. Yet, amazing as you are, you’d be the first to admit that you can’t do it alone. Your fabulous employees have been with you almost every step of the way. When things have been at their worst you’ve always known that you have a fantastic team that you trust and can fall back on. You respect, love and appreciate your team and you want to make sure that you keep them. But while you enjoy their respect and admiration, these alone will not prevent them from straying into the arms of your competitors the moment they stop feeling valued.

This is why employee empowerment is so important to SMEs. Fortunately, there’s a great deal you can do to make them feel more valued and empowered. Some of it is simply a matter of good practice, like ensuring a safe and pleasant working environment for them some will require some upfront investment. But while entrepreneurs tend to be a little gun shy when it comes to racking up overheads, empowering your employees is an investment that will continue to pay dividends for years as your employees take you to dizzying new heights.

Give them the flexibility they need to achieve work / life balance

Some employees will have young families. Others will care for sick or elderly relatives. Some will have disabilities which you need to bear in mind. For many reasons you may need to be a little flexible in your working practices to enable them to work remotely from home every once in a while. This can be done fairly easily and with a modest outlay thanks to solutions like Vertex who offer Cloud Computing Solutions For Businesses. This empowers your employees by giving them a cloud based desktop filled with secure copies of their emails, apps, and data to enable them to do their job anywhere. Allow your employees the opportunity to do their job well while honoring their other commitments and they’ll reward you with loyalty.

Keep your distance, yet always be there when they need you

Nobody likes bosses who are relentless micromanagers, always standing over them, scrutinizing everything that they do. Not only is micromanaging dangerous and a potential impediment to productivity, it’s rarely the best use of your time. Give your employees some space yet give them the guidance and support they need when they need it and they won’t disappoint you.

Give them a voice

A hearty “thank you” is good. A competitive incentives structure is even better. But there’s a difference between making your employees feel like valued collaborators and making them feel like well paid slaves. Make sure that they always have a forum in which to voice their ideas, suggestions and objections. This can be anything from a suggestion box to a Facebook group.

Deny them an opportunity to make their voices heard, however, and they’ll wonder how much you really value their input.

What To “Tech Away”? To Build Or Buy Your Computer Infrastructure?

When pushing forward as a dynamic entrepreneur, there are so many different aspects to keep a handle on. For most of us, technology is quite an alien concept, and, because there is such an importance on having the right server package, as well as an inappropriate IT infrastructure in place, it can seem like quite a big expense. So, either the topic of outsourcing comes to mind, or, whether you can harness the appropriate balance in house and build your own IT infrastructure. This is something that lots of people now do to build your own, or is it better, and cheaper, to buy?

To build…

Building your own IT infrastructure, whether it’s a server or a vast system, requires a lot more prior knowledge, of course. But in building your own server, there are many different things you have control over. In terms of how you are building the system, you will have the final say over every aspect of the system. From the circuit board design, all the way up to the data capacity, which is great in terms of wanting to save money. Building every little aspect of the system does require the best people on board. If you have limited assistance at your disposal, you will have to put more money into finding the best people for the job. This can be an expense upfront, but it can be worth it further down the line. In addition to this, by having the appropriate staff members on board that have this finite knowledge, you can utilize their unique skills when you want to expand the business. This does sound quite complex as a startup opportunity, but this is why so many of them outsource to external companies…

To buy…

To buy the server, or even to outsource to an external company, means that you have, to an extent, relinquished control over your IT infrastructure. While so many IT support companies make their living supporting startup companies, this means that you are in capable hands. Lots of these companies provide servers that are scalable depending on the success of your business. They can also provide 24-hour help, which might not be possible if you decide to build a server in-house. And while you are paying for this service, lots of these providers can charge through the nose, but some are cheap, depending on what you want out of your IT infrastructure. This begs the question, what do you want from your server? You have to crunch the numbers, especially if you are after considerable results from your tech.

But, in conclusion, this is why so many businesses decide to outsource in the first place. It’s simply, a solution that they don’t have to deal with in house. But, this does mean relinquishing your control to an extent. If you are an entrepreneur that has the overall vision of everything under one roof, this can be a fly in the ointment. So, you need to ask yourself if you can make sacrifices now to make room for this  infrastructure that is purpose built, or if you need to get the business up to a certain level and so, outsourcing becomes the only option. Budget is always the big takeaway from these issues, and you need to check the figures first.