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We all had a wonderful time at the open house last week! Thanks a million to everyone who joined us. You made our night: there was a great turnout–clients, friends and family, colleagues from ShoreTel and Datto, and of course, the excellent staff from Al-Amir.
After ten years of doing what we love to do, it was very gratifying to come together with such a diverse group of people we’ve had the pleasure of supporting, interacting with, and being supported by.
Once again, it was such a thrill for us to have you there, and if you’re reading this now and weren’t able to turn up, we look forward to seeing you next time.
–Let’s take note of Corey Kennedy, a massively valuable member of the team, who shot these lovely photos.
There’s nothing like the power of new technology to destabilize a business: Tools designed to make life easier can just as easily lead to huge problems. To avoid being overwhelmed by unexpected shifts in technology, smart organizations strategically forecast potential issues and needs. By preparing in advance, they stay ahead of the competition and implement change in a structured, agile way.
Unsure of where to start? Here are some of the tech trends and needs that are likely to shake up your business’ IT in the coming year
Mobile: Americans now spend more time consuming digital media on a mobile device than they do on a desktop or laptop computer. This shift has already affected many businesses, and its impact will only grow. You might consider developing your own app or using a third-party app to promote your services. Many consumers also now expect mobile payment and account options. If nothing else, invest in a website that is responsive and readable on mobile devices. Advertising should be optimized, and make sure email communications and newsletters work nicely on smaller screens.
The cloud: Your business probably already relies on the cloud in one way or another, but a major move to the cloud can mean substantial savings on hosting costs. Moving to the cloud can also cut down on operational demands: Remote servers receive regular, automated updates from specialized professionals, so your team will no longer be responsible for maintaining on-site hardware. The cloud also offers benefits in terms of security, collaboration and remote access. Consider whether you might benefit from moving to the cloud and remember that many vendors and platforms are becoming increasingly cloud-based.
New technology: You may not know what The Next Big Thing is, but you know it’s coming. Smart businesses operate under the assumption that changes will happen. You may opt for valuable updates to your current tools or discover an entirely new trend breaking into the industry. Either way, be open to new technology and developments that will help propel your business forward. Adaptability and agility pay off.
Training: Once you’ve invested in tools for your business, make sure you get your money’s worth. One easy way to sink tech ROI is by failing to train employees to use workplace technology. Don’t assume that they will easily pick up or use new software. When you make a change or hire a new team member, train them. Webinars, automated courses or in-person workshops give your employees the knowledge they need to utilize technology, leading to increased efficiency and output.
Always remember that technology is meant to make life easier, not harder. And while today’s technology landscape is always full of surprises, there are also predictable problems. The demand for mobile, the cloud, new breakthrough technology and poorly trained teams can represent major stumbling blocks for any business if caught off guard. They also present great opportunities to add value and increase efficiency. Consider them when forecasting your IT strategy and budget for a significant competitive advantage.
Minimizing the IT growing pains at your business
You did it. Your hard work, skill and vision have paid off, and your business is now thriving. Launching a sustainable business is no small feat.
Growth, however, brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Many teams struggle to adapt their small, agile organizations to the demands of a growing customer base and increased profits. Reimagining infrastructure becomes a key priority, and within that, tech plays an essential role. Here are 10 things to keep in mind to minimize the growing pains when it comes your technology infrastructure.
Do your homework. Many business owners opt for the cheapest or easiest technology when they are just getting started. If that’s true for your organization, you could probably benefit from reevaluating your options. Now that you have a bigger budget and more complex needs, research alternatives and make sure you’re choosing the appropriate tech solutions. Don’t be afraid to speak with an advisor before making an investment.
Consider specialty solutions. As organizations grow, their staff often shifts from a small cohort tackling a range of problems to a synchronized team of experts. Technology should follow the same pattern. A spreadsheet may have been sufficient to track expenses or manage a customer list in the early days, but as your company grows it may be time to invest in a CRM or versatile bookkeeping solution.
Consider specialty staff. Don’t expect your other employees (or yourself) to know everything about your IT. It may be easier and more efficient to bring on someone who exclusively handles your systems. If you’re not ready for a full time staff member, consider hiring outside support.
Include technology in your budget. When a business is growing rapidly, it can be tempting to direct all of your funds toward development and marketing. An operation without strong infrastructure is not sustainable, however, and overworked or outdated systems could lead to disaster. Make technology an ongoing priority in your budget.
Find solutions that scale. Cloud-based platforms can easily scale up or down. Explore solutions that can adapt and increase capacity and features as your needs evolve.
Secure everything. Any business is susceptible to security risks and viruses, but the more valuable your data is, the more appealing it is to hackers. Now is not the time to skimp on security.
As you grow, simple data entry and other processes can become increasingly bulky. Large corporations increase efficiency by automating many menial tasks. Streamline where you can so that your growing staff can optimize productivity.
Evaluate your legacy systems. Part of growing is pushing beyond your comfort zone. Reevaluate your legacy systems regularly and determine whether their capabilities align with your strategy. If not, will an upgrade improve the situation, or do you need to look for alternatives?
Document and standardize. As your organization becomes more complex, it’s important to create standards and track developments on the IT front. Standardization simplifies and increases predictability for staff, and appropriate documentation lets the IT team resolve issues more quickly.
Watch the trends. You’ve made it this far in part because you’re quick on your feet and conscious of your market. Keep an open mind about the role technology can play as you grow, and pay attention to the technology solutions your competitors are using.
We are excited to announce the publication of our new video, which will give you an inside look at our unique, strategy-oriented approach to providing end-to-end technology services. Visit our homepage to view the video, hear client testimonials and gain insight from our president, Bryan Christensen, about how we partner with businesses small and large to help them succeed through technology.
You will also gain insight into our three primary areas of focus—communication systems, traditional network infrastructure and consulting. At CHR, we take a holistic approach to each technology challenge we help solve for our clients. Whether it’s using technology to lower your overhead or helping you build and maintain a stable, reliable and secure network that keeps your operations moving, we take pride in making it happen.
Curious about what it’s like to partner with CHR for your IT needs? Watch our video to learn how we can optimize your IT network—and your company’s overall success.