Save Time & Money with Proactive IT Services

Save money and time

IT support services can be one of the largest and most unpredictable expenses within a modern business. Unexpected failures, mandatory upgrades and sudden staff changes can happen quickly and the costs can soon add up.

These factors are a part of the IT world and make IT departments costly, hard to manage, and difficult to budget for.

Switching your business to a proactive IT support provider (or managed service provider – MSP) can lower costs and reduce unpredictable expenses. Making the switch can cut down management overheads and reduce budgets to a fixed monthly cost. Here are some tips on how this can be done:

Reducing Infrastructure

It is common in many firms for tasks to pass through multiple devices before they can be delivered or shipped. Invoices, payroll, and deliverables are particularly the common culprits. When looking to improve efficiency and lower unnecessary costs, this is typically the first place to trim fat.

Instead of adding office clutter with more servers and devices, cloud resources can streamline these processes. Using cloud-based technology to do some of the same tasks as before typically adds more power and improves speed and efficiency.

Cloud-based services are usually faster and available to more users (both internal and external) at once. Files and services are easier to access and less likely to clog up the internal network.

Reducing the overheads associated with running internal servers is commonly a major bonus too. Eliminating associated costs such as ongoing maintenance, security, cooling and upgrades are some of the bonuses many firms receive.

Cloud technology has the power to simplify and speed up your entire work-flow while making large financial savings.

For most businesses, these savings can be put into critical areas of the firm where they can be better used.

Keeping IT costs predictable

In the world of IT, bad news is a fact of life. Systems failures and critical events will always happen eventually, it’s just a question of when. Virus attacks, malware, hackers, and hardware failures occur commonly and can take a single system or the entire network out of operation for days.

Proactive IT services focus on tackling these issues before they happen. Continuous monitoring of the systems can alert us of hardware issues before their symptoms even begin.

Antivirus, firewall, and security systems are also kept up-to-date every night to prevent threats from being exploited and data being stolen or held for ransom.

Reducing Downtime

IT failures that take your systems offline typically cost far more than the total repair bill to fix it as staff are sitting around waiting. Every minute your systems are unavailable is time spent not creating business income or value. The more staff you employ, the more the cost multiplies.

It’s important to consider the value of the business’s reputation on top of just downtime. Not having services available when clients or customers need them most can sour relationships. Your services may be the difference between meeting or missing a critical deadline. If your service isn’t reliable then clients may look at your competitors for a solution.

No Internal IT Hires

As every business owner knows, the cost of staff is far more than just their salary. Holiday pay, retirement, sick leave, training and downtime all must be factored into the total cost. Staff costs are the single biggest bill to pay, even in the smallest IT departments.

Proactive IT reduces staff costs down to a single lower cost bill that includes all your IT needs.

We train and manage our own staff to service and support your firm. By doing so, you get all the advantages of an IT department to meet your business needs without the overheads and management that are not central to your customer demands.

Proactive IT Services for your Firm

While IT and services are complex, expensive, and resource consuming; it doesn’t have to be for your business. Proactive IT services present a simple and cost-effective solution to meet your requirements.

We can slash your downtime, secure your business and keep on top of your infrastructure for one low monthly bill.

If you are in Adelaide South Australia please contact us on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au  to see if our Proactive IT Services are the right fit for your firm.

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How To Host and Run Better Meetings

Effective Meetings

Business meetings can be a double-edged sword. Often they are just as likely to rally staff and build momentum as they are to halt progress and kill productivity.

Productive meetings are key to keeping team members on track and everyone on the same page. A poor meeting is as harmful to the progress of a project as losing multiple members of staff.

Finding the right balance is essential for good business. Here are four tools and techniques to make sure that your meetings are not standing in the way of your business.

1. Streamlined Scheduling

One of the biggest hurdles to planning a meeting can be simply be booking or finding a space. Finding an available room, with the right equipment at the right time and place can be a logistical nightmare. Repeated emails back and forth to agree on the venue alone can consume hours out of the day.

There are technical tools available to help. Outlook’s scheduling assistant can be a great place to start. The office package is designed to help you find a time and place convenient for everyone.

The software is a key, but underused, component within Office 365. Simply adopting a scheduling assistant can cut down the time to plan a meeting from hours to minutes – especially when all the attendees are in the same company.

With everyone fully connected and on the same page, every meeting is improved from the first minute. The scheduling assistant can be found under New Items > Meeting in the Outlook home tab.

2. Bringing in Outside Help

Of course, not all meetings are internal affairs. Often, a successful meeting involves staff members from third-party organisations, clients and external consultants.

This is a prime area for technology tools to help. Tools such as FindTime (free for Office365 users) and Doodle both serve as scheduling assistants to arrange suitable times and locations to coordinate meetings with multiple parties.

The process is involves each party selecting available or desired times to meet. This process is done independently and based on priorities for each user. When everyone has added their input a mutually convenient slot can be found for everyone.

With modern technology there’s no reason to spend hours, wrestling over when and where to meet. Using the tools as they are designed to be used cuts out a huge amount of overhead cost from meeting planning.

3. Idea Capture

The most common complaint staff have about business meetings is the lack of available participation. Many show up but feel like audience members. When staff members feel their contributions aren’t valued, it can lead to a drop in morale and much deeper issues within the company.

Tools such as GoWall are changing meetings for the better and giving staff members a bigger voice. The site provides attendees with the resources they need to contribute to meetings without disrupting the flow.

The idea behind GoWall is very simple and highly effective. Concepts are communicated as part of a presentation or ongoing conversation and participants are free to contribute to an “idea wall” in real time. This shared wall contains ideas, contributions and notes from all participants that add value to the conversation.

Since the ideas are shared between all participants, everyone can be inspired to contribute. This simple concept helps all members to feel they have a chance to have their contributions valued and voices heard.

4. Worthwhile Meetings

Meetings can be a difficult topic in some workplaces. Some firms have had historic failures and huge losses in productivity as a result of too many meetings running overtime. In some environments, formal meetings have all but been banned already.

Using modern technology solutions, we can:

  • Put the productivity back into meetings.
  • Cut out the wasted time.
  • Get to the points that matter.

With these simple yet highly effective tools, we can build meetings that create and encourage productivity instead of hampering it.

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Buying Technology This Christmas

Christmas TechChristmas will soon be here. The latest devices and gadgets are hitting store shelves just in time to keep up with the rush. Social media, blogs, magazines, television screens and the web are brimming with advertisements and reviews of the latest technology you can buy.

Before you rush out to buy the gadgets you’ve been waiting all year for, consider a few important questions before handing over your hard-earned cash.

What Problem Do I Need Solved?

First, you must ask what problem you are trying to solve with a new piece of technology. The most important thing to consider is how adopting your new device will improve on what you had before.

Also remember that it is all not work and in some cases, a sleek new gadget or device for fun and play is ideal.

When you’ve answered this question, you should consider whether there is other tech or competing devices out there that can perform even better.

Is Being an Early Adopter Good?

Early adopters are people that can’t wait for new tech to be released, they wait in line on release day and pride themselves on having the latest gadgets as soon as they hit the shelves. If you recognise yourself in this description you are likely to snap up the latest devices the day (or very soon after) they are released. This eager anticipation, however, is not always the ideal way to get the best deals or the best gadgets.

Companies often rely on new product hype to give sales an early boost. Waiting a short time for the marketing and hype to subside, can save a lot of money.

As the honeymoon period dies down and initial sales fall, companies often mark down their prices to keep their devices attractive and sales high. As newer, competing devices get released, companies also cut prices to maintain strong sales figures. For the budget smart consumer this is an opportunity for a bargain. A device good enough to buy on launch day is well worth waiting for (especially at a cheaper price!).

Have You Read The Reviews?

With all the information available on the internet we have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of information at our fingertips. Often weeks before a product is released, reviews are written and posted to various websites across the web.

One of the best things you can do when considering a new device is to watch and read a wide variety of product reviews. It also pays to be cautious of reviews that are particularly glowing or too downbeat as they may be a paid for review by the manufacturer. Keep an eye out for middle of the road reviews that fairly weigh the pros and cons of each device.

Have I Found the Best Deal?

There are many ways to keep an eye out to make sure you get the best price on the device. If you can, monitor prices over time to see how they rise and fall to find the best time to purchase.

When purchasing online, many sites include a box to add a coupon code when you are ready to buy. It sometimes pays to jump over to Google and search the website name and ‘coupon’ or ‘voucher’ to see if you can find the coupon code. A quick search can save you as much as 10, 15, or 20 per cent on some purchases.

Sometimes companies send out offers to appeal to groups they want to market to. A companies Facebook page may get different offers or vouchers than its Twitter followers or newsletter for example.

It can pay to search around for offers and vouchers to get money off before you checkout. A quick 5 minutes search can potentially save you a huge amounts of cash.

Speak with a Friend or Colleague

Do you know of someone who has a good grasp on technology? If so ask them about what you are about to buy and what their thoughts are of it. They may even know of a another website or shop to purchase the item from that offers a better price and / or service.

Purchase in Confidence

If you have asked yourself these questions, done all your research, and found the answers you are looking for then you may well be ready to buy.

You can now do so with the confidence that you have done all your research and you are getting the best deal and gadget for your money.

If you are still confused then let us know and we can help take the stress out of purchasing new technology: Give DP Computing a ring on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au .

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Christmas Holidays Setup & Installation

Devices

The holiday season is upon us again. Advertisers have released their festive adverts and stores have dusted off their Christmas displays from last year. Most importantly, shopping centres have moved their latest and greatest devices to the front of the store.

There may still be work to do, however, before we can invite round family a little maintenance, updates and set-up goes a long way to ensure the holiday season goes without a hitch.

Sadly, not every device is ready to run straight out the box. Not every device even comes ready to interact with others when it’s first opened. Each new gadget comes with its own setup and new things to learn.

Often today, devices, toys and computers require extensive updates before they are ready to function. This commonly means large downloads and lengthy installation periods.

In previous years devices have been purchased for Christmas, only to be rendered useless waiting for updates while large numbers of requests crash the company servers. This can be highly frustrating and put a real dampener on the holiday spirit.

Here is how DP Computing can help you this season:

Setup New Devices

In the modern day simply purchasing a gadget doesn’t make it ready to use. Often they still need setup, updates, and extra steps to make it safe to access the internet too.

Bring your device to us and we can have it safe and ready to use the second you unbox it. We’ll perform initial setup, get it ready for the network, and install mandatory updates. By the time we’re done, your device will be the first one ready to use. For relevant devices, we can install additional features and software too: line of business software, MS Office suite, antivirus and security features and configure applications like email.

Whatever the device we can configure it to the way you want to use it.

Transfer Data and Retire Old Devices

Getting a brand new device can be fun and exciting. Before getting carried away with the latest technology, we must consider what happens to our old data too. Depending on the device there are any number of dangers and pitfalls to think about.

Replacing an ageing laptop or desktop computer with a brand new model has the inherent danger of what happens to the old data?

These computers typically use hard drive disks to store all their data. When disposed of improperly, hard drives are vulnerable to being removed and taken. These can often be read and copied by thieves looking to steal your data. Old devices containing data need just as much care and attention as new ones fresh out the box.

There are many cases where companies individuals have had important information stolen this way. In some cases the information has been used to access accounts, blackmail, industrial espionage and even identity theft.

Mobile devices typically have some form of data storage too. This may store applications or media that has been bought and paid for; but also data such as records and photographs that hold a great deal of value.

We can help transfer old files and data to your new device and safely dispose of your old one too.

We can ensure that every photograph, video, and bit of data is recovered from your mobile device or laptop so that you never lose a single file. We can securely wipe and even physically destroy old hard drives at your request. We strive to ensure you keep every bit of your old data and not a single byte falls into the wrong hands.

Troubleshooting

It sometimes happens that new technology has moved so fast and changed so much that it doesn’t play well with older devices already installed on your network. Sometimes it seems impossible to even connect certain devices at all.

Often simple configuration changes are all that’s required to introduce two pieces of technology successfully. With the right set of eyes and in knowledgeable hands the most complex of jobs can be turned into a quick fix.

If your goal is for a stress free, fun and relaxing Christmas season and you are in Adelaide South Australia please contact us on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au and we’ll get you up and running in time.

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Is IT Becoming a Burden?

Is IT becoming a burden?

In todays world technology allows us to accomplish more tasks faster than ever before. Paperless documents, remote collaboration and video conferencing have all lowered the costs and increased the speed of everyday business at an extraordinary rate.

As with most things, the benefits of modern IT does come at a cost. Consistent maintenance has become critical to almost every business. The IT department is now as important to the functioning of a firm as sales, marketing, or management. The advantages that come with modern technology more than outweigh the drawbacks – it is up to the business owner to balance both. In today’s highly competitive business environment the latest tips, tricks, and tools are essential to keeping ahead of the competition.

The Cost of Well Maintained IT

While good, well maintained IT is a powerful asset; poor, crumbling IT can quickly turn into a liability. Machines, servers and desktops need to be kept up to date with the latest operating system and security patches as a matter of priority and data requires consistent back-ups.

Poor security and data backup measures put both your own and your customer data at risk from attack. Regular security updates close vulnerable gaps, while backups protect valuable data. Strong security protects you against losing and / or compromising your own and your customers data.

Determining what is and isn’t good IT practice for your firm takes the knowledge of an experienced professional. Good security involves more than one managed system to protect your assets. Good data backup is ideally done daily, involving more than a single copy to both and onsite and offsite location. Without these basic steps, a business is as little as one glitch away from a complete critical failure.

Managing Internal IT

The IT demands of every firm changes on a near-daily basis:

  1. Software is often added, updated or removed.
  2. User accounts need to be added, removed, or changed.
  3. Permissions require modification to suit ever-changing requirements.
  4. Email addresses and aliases modified, created and modified.

Depending on the size of your business, the time requirement of regular IT changes alone is more than an individual or even some smaller IT departments can handle.

Many smaller firms deal with accounts, permissions, and software at an individual level. Wherever this is the case we generally see complications happening. Settings, software and services get lost and forgotten in the system and often cause cascading IT issues throughout the firm. User accounts are often left on the system months or years after an employee has departed which leaves security holes in the network.

For reliable and secure IT management, policies are needed to prevents bad systems. Proper IT management allows staff to get on with their work without technology getting in the way. Data is managed at a department level, accounts are removed for staff that depart the business and software is updated and installed by professionals. Using this approach the liability of the firm for IT failures is drastically reduced.

Managing IT Without The Added Burden

One of the major complaints about setting up well managed IT is the overhead that it adds to the firm. Staff costs, additional management as well as office space of an IT department is a daunting financial burden to add.

Staff costs alone can make building an equipped IT department prohibitively expensive. Qualified, dependable, knowledgeable IT staff demand a high salary and costly benefits. In addition, equipment costs and lead time to get up and running on your business systems drive the costs even higher. Some firms simply don’t have the space required to add an entirely new department to the business.

This is why, for many businesses, outsourcing is the most effective way to update their IT without increasing business overhead. Outsourcing provides modern IT for a simple, fixed monthly cost. Removing the distractions of managing an entirely new department allows the business to focus on doing the job they do best.

What We Do

By trusting your IT to us, we ensure that your systems are up-to-date, secure, working to their best ability and fully backed up. We can keep you competitive by allowing you to focus on running your business rather than worrying about IT issues.

Along with day to day IT management, administration, monitoring, and setup; we can assist your transition to the cloud (if appropriate for your bsuiness), setup remote working, and provide IT assistance to set up the latest technology that will enable you to succeed.

Allow us to help you do more than ever before. Bring your IT demands to us and we’ll provide you with the modern IT you need to let your business thrive. If you are in Adelaide South Australia please contact us on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

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Keeping On Top Of Your Workday

Organise your workdayIt is very easy to lose track of time during your busy workday. Often you can be running late before you know it and wondering where the time has gone. Luckily, there is range of technology solutions to help you organise your to-do list and help you get on top of your workday.

The Outlook Calendar

We are often guilty of spending the entire day stuck with emails in Outlook. In addition to emails, there are a range of features that can help you make the most of Outlook. With some simple tweaks, you will be able to manage your day like a pro.

The Outlook Calendar allows you to make quick changes, alter your diary, and update items on the go. The Calendar interface allows appointments to be picked up and moved to a different time or date with ease.

The biggest advantage Outlook has is the ability to access and update it from anywhere. With 2-way sync, appointments, meetings, and events can be updated anywhere and accessed everywhere – whether it be on your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. The days of no longer being able to check your calendar because you are not sitting in front of your computer are now long gone.

Today you can add events straight from your email and even invite others to events can be contacted with reminders automatically. You can even schedule your own reminders before the event too. Using your calendar to stay on top of your day has never been easier.

OneNote

The Microsoft Office suite includes OneNote, despite it not being as well known as other members of the Office suite (ie Outlook, Word, excel etc) it can be an indispensable tool that you shouldn’t do without.

OneNote acts as a virtual notebook to keep your ideas, projects, and notes in line. Using OneNote enables you to power-up your text with drawings and diagrams, tailor your projects with color coding, and record your thoughts with media clips all in one location.

OneNote is becoming the ultimate record keeping tool that you simply can’t go into a meeting without. Physical notebooks begin to seem like a relic of the past, limited by old constraints that no longer apply to a laptop or tablet with OneNote.

Microsoft To-Do

Powered by Office 365 is Microsoft’s To-Do application. To-Do offers a simple, straightforward to-do list that makes it easy to plan your day.

Whether planning your school work, business projects or keeping on top of your home life, To-Do is designed to boost productivity and make the most of your time. The simple interface makes it easy to use and the instant reward for checking of tasks makes it well worth your while.

To-Do sorts your tasks into lists, which are combined into a single day view. The view of your day provides a clear, clutter-free list of tasks to be done.

Being Office 365 based means that the application syncs with all your devices to give you access from anywhere. This empowers you to quickly add, change, schedule, and tick off tasks as you go.

Keeping On Top Of Your Day

Losing track of time is easy to do. It does not take too much before your day seems completely out of order. With the tools listed above from Office 365 and a tiny bit of planning, your days can become more productive than ever.

Being back on track, you will no longer have to spend your free time making up for lost time. Your spare time will be your own again and everyone will wonder how you manage to remain so productive.

Give these tools a try today and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

If you need help and are in Adelaide South Australia please contact us on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

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