7 Tips for Using New Technology to Benefit Your Business

Technology makes it possible for businesses to adapt to their environments quickly. For example, imagine a new player in the market who produces items that are similar to yours. In this case, customization would benefit your business greatly because it would differentiate your goods from your competitor’s products. In this case, a new packaging system with customized graphics printing, barcodes, and printed information would be an excellent idea. Online verification of the product’s authenticity would be a differentiating factor as well.

Here are 7 tips for using new technology to benefit your business.

  1. Invest in a chat-bot platform

A chat-bot refers to a computerized program that conducts conversations with real people. These conversations can be auditory or textual. Most companies use them for customer support services including answering calls from their customers or responding to their queries on social media. This program benefits your business in various ways including the reduced need for hiring many customer care agents. Another advantage is immediate and targeted responses to queries from your clients. Investing in chat-bots helps you when it comes to improving the quality of these conversations. You can even use them for generating leads for your business in addition to building brand awareness.

  1. Transfer Your Files to a Virtual Data Room (VDR)

VDRs refer to online repositories of information. More specifically, organizations use them for storing and distributing documents. The benefits of VDRs include increased speeds when uploading files, improved management of these files, and enhanced levels of control over them. Another advantage is added convenience because workers can access the documents stored in VDRs from their PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Review interfaces and test support services before you select a VDR. Check the pricing as well for hidden charges.

  1. Opt for a Physical Security Information Management System (PSIM)

PSIM is ideal for schools, factories, casinos, stadiums, and malls because they require security structures that are rigid and effective. These structures include closed-circuit cameras, fire alarms, fraud detectors, and alerts for cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, managers handle them separately making it easy for criminals to target them individually. PSIM integrates all of them. Doing so enhances coordination among the people who are in charge of these structures. Centralized management of logistical, safety, and security concerns is possible when increased levels of coordination are a reality in your business.

  1. Templates for Your Video Wall Are an Excellent Idea

A video wall refers to multiple screens mounted next to each other on a particular surface. In most cases, people place them on an actual wall so that it looks like one big screen. You may have seen them in newsrooms behind news anchors or malls as they advertise discounts and sales. The effectiveness of this technology is indisputable. More specifically, people notice it wherever it is. They examine it for a while and take note of the message it contains. Enhancing this impact on your customers is possible if you use templates for your video walls. These templates will help you organize your videos so that it looks like a beautiful mosaic image or a carefully crafted collage.

  1. Set Priorities When It Comes To Data Mining

Businesses receive an enormous amount of information from their clients. The data that your company collects is valuable if you use it correctly. More specifically, discovering patterns in it and using these patterns to your advantage is possible. Start by differentiating consumer groups. Then look for trends in shopping habits. Search for hidden possibilities of making an additional profit and finally, create predictive models with the data that you have mined.

  1. Invest In Time Tracking Software

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published shocking statistics on time management within most businesses in America. For example, did you know that managers waste more than three hours a day on delaying with interruptions? Did you also know that miscommunication contributes to 280 lost hours annually? You can recover this time through tracking software. It will keep people on track so that meetings end on time encouraging people to communicate concisely and directly. Time tracking software would keep managers on their toes as well so that they limit interruptions as much as they can.

  1. Use Technology to Create and Present Reports to Your Stakeholders

Reporting is critical for any business because keeping consumers, suppliers, and investors informed increases their interest in your company. Unfortunately, compiling reports is a tedious task because it takes time. It requires resources as well including human labor. Using new technology helps you when it comes to limiting the use of these resources and the time taken to compile reports. Go for technology that supports dynamic dashboards, advanced filters, and real-time summaries. It should have pre-packaged reporting mechanisms as well in addition to campaign analytics.

Our guest blogger for this article was Mia Clarke. Mia is part of the content and community team at Userful.com, experts in all things video wall and display solutions. When Mia is not spreading the word about video walls she is often found discovering the great outdoors, walking or cycling.

Outsourcing vs Proactive IT Support – What Is the Difference?

Outsourcing Vs Proactive Support

Outsourcing has become a dirty word. It implies that you are taking jobs and work offshore or giving up oversight over a key part of your business. Proactive It Support or Managed Services (or MSP – Managed Service Provider) is the complete opposite of that and is a local solution. Your business already looks for help in various places, hiring consultants, agencies and other contractors, all so that you can focus on running your business. Proactive IT is simply another of those specialized services, designed exclusively to help with your technology needs.

A True IT Partner

Our team act as partners dedicated to achieving your business success. We are able to analyze your strategic needs to tailor IT solutions specific to your business requirements. We work hand-in-hand with you to design, implement and maintain your IT and keep you involved at every step of the way. We will also be up to date on industry news and where relevant can apply it to your business so you don’t lose your edge. When new software versions are released, we can help you make informed decisions about whether to upgrade, stick with current version a little longer or switch to an alternative. You will have a true partner on your team that’s always looking out for you and your business.

Better Results

Since our team get to know your business so closely, we are able to ensure all your tech support and maintenance is handled quickly and without disruption to your daily running. You will be able to keep your employees on task while our experienced technicians work through the issue, often remotely so the response is quick and disruption is kept to a minimum.

Visible and Accountable

Unlike standard outsourcing where you lose control of certain elements and are left to hope for the best, Proactive IT Services are completely transparent. You can get reports on the status of your computers or networks, the number of support tickets we’ve answered and exactly what we’ve been doing to keep your technology up and running. This level of visibility also means you’re able to see IT trends across your business and make strategic decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.

It Is A Local Solution

All of us have called a support number and found ourselves stuck in a frustration loop with an overseas call center. It is almost the entire reason outsourcing has earned a bad name. Our Proactive IT support service is actually a local service, a real-life business near you who employs local people and supports the local economy. Keeping your IT support nearby means you can get the tech assistance you need, with local knowledge, and customer service standards that make the process easier.

You Stay Protected and Prepared

Part of any Proactive or Managed IT service is to ensure your computers, network and digital devices are secure against threats. This means updates, patches, scans, tweaks, backups and system maintenance are all done for you. Your employees no longer have to worry about making time for these tasks and you don’t have to worry that they are getting skipped and opening up your systems for possible attacks. This level of proactive support ensures problems are stopped before they can occur and your business is able to keep on functioning. If anything ever goes wrong, your IT provider will have prepared disaster recovery and continuity plans so that you are up and running asap.

It Is Cost Effective

With Proactive or Managed IT, you will be able to reduce infrastructure costs very quickly as your IT partners are able to recommend better, faster solutions such as cloud storage and mobile technology. Instead of replacing hardware and software when things break, your IT experts will present plans with multiple cost-saving options and strategies. These can often extend to licensing and training too. Productivity improves as the technology begins to work with your processes and employees, not against them. Predictable costs are important to every business, which is why Proactive or Managed IT is the right choice. You’ll know your monthly expenses are capped, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive surprises.

Considering Proactive or Managed IT? Then reach out to us today on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

How to Get the Right Tech for Your New Business

getting the right tech

Congratulations on starting your new business! Costs can easily escalate and tech is often one of the bigger expenses. Just the sheer number of technologies available can overwhelm and confuse you. The latest tech has amazing features you didn’t know you needed, and suddenly your budget has gone skywards!

So how do you get the tech right for your business, without all the headaches and drama?

Do You Actually Need It?

Using a cloud application may mean you can skip the big server purchase and the ongoing maintenance costs of a server. Many line of business applications will have a cloud option that allows you to get all the benefits without the big upfront expense. So before you make the hardware purchase, look at what applications you require and whether a cloud version will suit your needs. You may be able to start with a basic package and expand to new versions as your business grows.Things to consider include: do you require remote access, will you need collaboration, do multiple users require access. This level of detail can be overlooked and causes expenses to spiral.

Get Professional Advice

It is easy and cheaper to ask friends and family what their recommendations are, but there are many more factors to consider than just their personal preference. Of course you can trust their input but they may be speaking from a consumer perspective, basing their recommendation on brand loyalty or on how another business does things (which may not be the best business model). As every business is different and matching the correct technology with the business can save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

Buy Business Grade

The majority of computers and laptops you see in the big department stores are not up to business standard. They are designed for home users to perform quick tasks and not run a full 8 – 12 hour (or more) a day workload. Business grade systems have additional features that your business needs, plus longer warranties and better support. Even attached peripherals like network switches and printers are built to a higher standard, to last longer and perform better.

Prioritize Flexibility

Businesses grow and evolve during their first few years and the last thing you want to do is go out and buy new tech, playing catch-up and cobbling together an assorted mismatch of devices. Your new technology should be as flexible as your business, which means making purchasing decisions based on business strategy and not just on price. Perhaps this means instead of workstations for employees, they may only need tablets or rather than having a fixed point of sale system, you might choose mobile checkout devices so your staff can assist customers on the go. These two examples highlight how easy it is to commit to certain tech because it is ‘what you do’ but later discover you’re locked into a certain way of doing business. Trying to change business processes down the line impacts productivity, efficiency and culture in a big way, so we recommend buying with your future success in mind.

Choose A Trusted IT Partner

During your initial set up and growth, you will need an IT partner who can not only help with your purchase strategy but support you through any problems as they occur. That is the difference between a partner and a supplier, a partner is committed to driving long-term business success for you.

You can call on your partner and know they are immediately up to speed with your business, they know how IT can help leverage your competitive advantage and which critical systems they should focus on.

Getting good technology in place shouldn’t be seen as just an expense. It improves your productivity and allows you to serve your clients and customers better while enjoying consistent growth.

If you need an IT partner to help your business grow, give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Traveling With Technology?

Business trips can be stressful at the best of times. Whether you’re off for an overnight visit to a client, a few days for a training session or a longer business conference there are certain things you need to keep in mind:

Be careful with free WiFi
Many hotels have free WiFi along with libraries, cafes, bookstores and other public areas. Unfortunately, that convenience can come at a huge cost. The wireless network you use to check your email while relaxing with a latte could be operated by someone up to no good or even have been taken over by a hacker.

Using a VPN can help as well as only using secure websites (make sure the sites you visit have the little HTTPS lock).

Connect via your cell phone
The wireless networks in hotels are notorious for being slow or insanely expensive. You may find that you can use your mobile as a wireless Internet connection. This means that you connect your laptop to your phone via WiFi or cable and piggy back on its mobile internet connection. Most carriers and phones allow this – but not all. Importantly, if you’re in another country it can also be worthwhile getting a local sim card for your phone rather than paying expensive roaming charges.

Don’t forget power adapters
You’ve seen it before…people asking to borrow your charger and huddling around in groups until their device has enough juice to get them through a few more hours. Remember it is only funny when it happens to other people so make sure that it doesn’t happen to you. Be sure to pack your correct power adapters and cables, along with any plug/voltage converters required to match where you are going. It is also worth carrying your USB charging cables on your person or carry on luggage, as many planes and airport shops now offer a place for you to plug in for a quick boost.

Have plans for being offline
Sometimes you simply can’t get online, which will do you no good when you’re checking into your hotel and all your booking details are tucked safely away in your email acount. You can print out essential travel and business details on paper, but if you have a lot or don’t want to carry them, you can also save them to a document on your phone or computer. Emails can be copied and pasted into a MS Word document, or you can print them to PDF by pressing Print > Save to PDF (or similar). Many apps also have an offline mode that allows you to store the information on your computer, including Evernote and Netflix.

Need a tech checkup before you go away? Call us today at 08 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

3 Tech Tips to Help Business Owners

Tech Tips for Business Owners

1) Don’t cheap out on technology

Unsurprisingly, a techology newsletter is advising you to invest in tech, but bear with me for a minute. Technology is becoming the backbone of all businesses, yet we still see people who try and get by with the bare minimum investment and maintenance. And by ‘see people’, we mean they are our most frequent repair and data recovery clients.

When businesses take shortcuts with their technology they will always get higher failure rates resulting in more downtime with employees sitting around doing nothing. Some businesses only think short term rather then thinking of the overall higher costs that old technology causes.

2) Consider a commuting policy

With better technology and the rise of the NBN here in Australia, remote working isn’t just a possibility now, it is beginning to be an expectation. Yes it is not applicable for every job but there are a lot of computer tasks in your business that could possibly be done from home. Even if you offer a split week with 1 or 2 days at home and the remainder in the office can be a huge boost to your workplace productivity.

Remote employees can be more efficient without the distractions of the usual office carry on (birthday cakes, general chit chat etc.) leading to fewer absences and they tend to stay in the job longer. From an employee perspective, they don’t need to waste time commuting, get their work done faster, and generally feel happier and healthier.

 

3) Embrace cloud computing

Many of your existing software packages have a cloud version this will allow multi user support, backup and synchronization benefits. The owner, remote workers, mobile staff, accountant and book keeper can all view the same reports without anyone having the trouble of sending out separate copies.

Cloud technology is also perfect for collaboration using software like Evernote or OneDrive. You and your employees can think of ideas while out, make notes on a mobile device and have it all synced perfectly back to the office. You can even have a file server in the cloud so you can access your documents whenever needed.

Contact us to discuss other ways in which your business can unlock multiple possibilities that will make your days run smoother, your business more profitable and put you miles ahead of the competition. Call us now on either 08 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Free Windows 10 Mini Course

Windows10For almost a year now Microsoft has been promoting (and even pushing) a “Get Windows 10 Free” upgrade to every PC running Windows 7 or 8. The upgrade has been very controversial due to Microsoft’s aggressive tactics – a lot of our customers have found themselves “upgraded” to Windows 10 without permission!

All that will end soon, as on July 29, 2016, the free upgrade offer will finish, forever (really). So should you take advantage of this free offer while you still can?

This is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation – there are quite a few computer models which aren’t fully compatible with Windows 10 – if you upgrade you may find your mouse,  network or say printer doesn’t work quite right anymore. And a few (very few) applications that run on Windows 7 won’t run properly on 10. (The good news is if you decide you don’t want the upgrade it’s easy to revert back to your previous Windows if you do so in the first 30 days after the upgrade).

But overall the new Windows 10 has had mostly positive reviews, and it’s designed to be more secure and more cloud-and-touch-friendly than Windows 7 without being as shockingly different as Windows 8. Plus Windows 10 will be supported by Microsoft for the foreseeable future, where Windows 7 will become unsafe to use in 2020 (and
Windows 8 in 2023). If your hardware is in good shape then taking advantage of the free upgrade may save you from buying a new computer for a few more years.

Windows 7’s support ends January 2020,  Windows 8’s ends January 2023. Windows 10, if kept updated, is expected to last long after 2025.

Still, after the debacle that was Windows 8 and Microsoft’s pushiness with the free upgrade many people are hesitant to upgrade. So if you want to learn more about Windows 10 and what it’s like to use BEFORE you upgrade, we’ve got a deal for you. Our partners at Bigger Brains are allowing us to post their “Windows 10 Essentials” training course right here on our website for you for FREE until July 29 (Click the screenshot below).
free windows 10 training

If that is not enough we even have another Windows 10 Tutorial video which you can check out here on Youtube:

Check out the award winning free course HERE. And for a full year of Bigger Brains training, including courses on Excel, QuickBooks, Outlook, Gmail, HIPAA and 50 more, ask us about our $79 special!

What’s So Good About Windows 10?

MS Windows 10 has just been released. We have written this blog and produced some videos to help you decide whether to upgrade to Windows 10.

To get a great feel for the new operating system, check out our Windows 10 Tutorial and Windows 10 First Looks & Impressions video.

 

While no computer program or operating system is perfect, Microsoft is getting a lot of things right with Windows 10.  Some of the highlights include:

  • The return of the Start menu Many of the folks who experienced the previous operating system, Windows 8, were very put off by the Start screen, which highlighted “metro-style” apps and live tiles. In Windows 10 Microsoft have brought back a more familiar style start menu in the lower left corner of the screen.  It is a hybrid between the Windows 7 start menu and the Windows 8 app-driven start screen. It is highly customisable and makes it easy to access most things you need on a daily basis. If you love the start screen though don’t despair as Microsoft gives users the option of using the new start menu or the Windows 8 style start screen. 
  • Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.  Cortana is a bit like Siri, Apple’s voice-driven assistant.  In Windows 10, Cortana will be available on every device – phone, tablet, desktop and laptop.  You can essentially talk to your computer to perform searches or access information on your computer. Cortana learns about you and will start to use what she knows to offer increasingly relevant information when you ask for it.  
  • Microsoft Edge, the new web browser.  Windows 10 introduces Edge the new web page browser. Edge is very minimalist compared to Internet Explorer. There are no toolbars, icons and settings to get in the way of viewing various web pages. Internet Explorer can still be installed in Windows 10 for users who must use it for compatibility reasons. You are also free to install other web browsers, like Google Chrome or Firefox.  
  • Virtual desktops – Users will be able to set up multiple desktops on their Windows 10 computers.  For example, you can set up a desktop with all of your work-related icons and a separate desktop for all of your personal items.  Another use might be to set up a different desktop for each user in your home, rather than separate accounts for each user.  
  • Free upgrade for the first year.  For users who are running Windows 7 (service pack 1) or Windows 8.1, Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for the first year after it is released.  If you don’t upgrade within that year you will have to buy the operating system.  

Should You Upgrade to Windows 10?

While I believe that Windows 10 will be successful for Microsoft, I would strongly advise you not to upgrade straight away once it is released. The initial release may still have some bugs to work out which may cause issues on your computer.  It may be better to wait a few months for these to be worked out.  

When you do decide that you want to upgrade, here are some things that you will need to do first:

  • Make a complete backup of your system.  If something goes wrong during the upgrade process, you want to have a way to restore your computer to the way it was before the upgrade.  The easiest way to do this is to use the built-in tools with Windows 7 or 8 to create a system image on an external hard drive.
  • Install all of the latest updates on your operating system.  It would be best to run Windows updates on your system prior to an upgrade to be sure that you have the latest security and system patches.
  • Make sure that your current software and hardware is compatible with Windows 10.  Everything may run just fine on your current system but it may not run smoothly on Window 10.  Microsoft will release a compatibility tool which will inform you if your hardware and software will work with Windows 10.  We recommend that you install the latest device drivers for your computer (particularly video and network devices) prior to upgrading.  
  • Be sure to back up your data.  In addition to a full system upgrade, it would be wise to create a separate copy of your critical data (documents, pictures, music, videos, etc.) prior to upgrading. You should be doing this on a regular basis anyway.

Upgrading your operating system is a daunting task for most users.  If you are in Adelaide South Australia and feel that this is beyond your technical ability, we encourage you to give us a call. We will be offering a special Windows 10 upgrade service to our customers beginning in early August.

Can I return to Windows 8 / 7?

If for what ever reason you don’t like Windows 10 you can revert back to your operating system if you did an upgrade install.  To do this follow these steps:

  1. Click StartSettings or type Settings in the search bar.
  2. Click on Update & Security and then the Recovery section on the left hand side.
  3.  Then under the Go Back to Windows 7 (or 8) heading click on the Get Started button.
  4. Then follow the prompts.

Note: you may lose data and or programs so remember to backup all your data.

 

If you have any questions please leave a comment below and we wil try our best to help you out.

Top Ten Small Business Technology Trends for 2013

Top 10 Small Business Technology Trends for 2013

Top 10 Small Business Technology Trends for 2013 eBook Cover

 

Top 10 Small Business Technology Trends for 2013
by David Perkovic  and Chip Reeves
48 Page eBook in PDF format.
Click on the this link for your free copy of our 48 page eBook on the top technology trends for 2013.  Let us know below in the comments what you think? Chapters  include:
  • The “Tablet  Effect”.
  • Touch Everything (Windows  8).
  • We Reach The  Clouds.
  • Video Everywhere.
  • E-Learning.
  • The Battle Of The  Ecosystems
  • IT Vendors Become IT  Partners
  • Outsourcing Made  Easy.
  • Its an Appy, Appy  World.
  • Spam, Spyware,  Viruses.
  • + 5 actionable steps for  each chapter.

Download it today to get a head  start start on your competitors!