New Communications Solutions to Move Your Business Forward

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on how your staff communicates. Email and telephone have long been staples in this regard, and these solutions come packed with features like file storage and instant messaging. With more organizations taking their businesses on the go, these businesses are trying to take advantage of applications with the ability to integrate with their real-time messaging apps. Enter: Slack and Microsoft Teams, two solutions that hope to change the way business communications work.

What is Slack?

SLACK is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge.” It takes all of the great features of enterprise email solutions and combines it with an instant messaging program for a single comprehensive interface. This type of combined solution is great for making communication much more efficient and manageable. Slack is hosted in the cloud, so it is available on any device that can access it, as well as drag-and-drop file sharing.

The bottom line is that Slack is used for collaboration amongst your employees. A user can set up a chat feed (think forums) determined by their responsibilities within your organization, complete with custom notification settings for each chat they are involved with. This gives a single worker a custom interface for each of their roles, allowing them to be productive on multiple fronts. Project management is also a major part of using Slack, as each project can have its own feed. Individual departments can be equipped to work on individual parts of each project, streamlining processes considerably.

Perhaps the biggest part of what makes Slack so effective for productivity is the countless productivity apps that Slack can work with. It can connect with Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Twitter, Asana, WordPress, Mailchimp, and so much more. Slack can give your organization the ability to work faster than you’ve ever imagined. Slack can be used for free, but an enterprise edition is also available for a small cost per user.

What About Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a chat and collaboration platform that can help your organization streamline communications and project fulfillment. Compared to Slack, Microsoft already has a major foothold in the business productivity environment with their Microsoft Office 365 offering. Teams basically ties all of these apps together, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Power BI, all in one easy to use interface.

Since Microsoft Office 365 is already used so much, this central hub can be a great way to change the way your organization manages itself. You can streamline access to files, take advantage of internal sites, and leverage dashboards, all controlled through Office 365. There are over 70 connectors that can help your Enterprise Office 365 offering provide value, including GitHub, Evernote, Mailchimp, and Salesforce.

Does your business need a communications management system? KiteTech can help. To learn more, reach out to us at 855-290-KITE.

 

Traveling with Technology

Packing for trips can be frustrating because there’s always the chance that you’ll pack either too much or too little. This is especially true if you have multiple devices that you might be tempted to bring with you. It’s important to remember that you don’t always have to bring each and every device you own every time that you leave the office or go on a trip. We’ll help you make sure that you don’t overpack technology whenever you go on a trip.

Devices

It’s no question that employees can be far more productive when they travel than any time in human history. This may involve bringing the technology they depend on to airports, train terminals, bus stops, and hotels. Sometimes they take their eyes off of their bags momentarily only to find them misplaced or stolen. This also means that any data stored on their devices is stolen as well.

To keep this from happening, it’s critical that business professionals try to limit how much technology they take with them on business trips. Tablets and laptops can help individuals get more work done while on the go, but can be a big target for thieves. Many devices, like Netbooks, smaller Chromebooks, and the Macbook Air can be both portable and powerful solutions to your organization’s flexibility needs.

Beyond these solutions, many smartphones also are great for staying in communication and being productive, as well as for entertaining yourself in the interim. Even phones that have been around for a couple of years are loaded with features that let you get more done in a smaller,more compact device. In fact, the average smartphone in 2018 has just as much computing power as the average laptop, so you will have no shortage of ways to get work done.

The latest Samsung smartphones include a device known as the Samsung Dex, which is basically a dock that provides computer-like performance for your smartphone when it’s hooked up to a monitor. While it makes for an exciting concept, Microsoft has also tried to achieve this to save their smartphone development. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, but the point remains that these devices are far too strong and flexible to be limited to just social media.

Connectivity

Some of your staff might travel for work, so it’s extremely important that they have access to technology that helps them with work. Thanks to locations that have wireless access like Internet cafes, connectivity is less of a problem than it’s ever been. This doesn’t mean that the networks are secure as you need them to be, though. Data is easy to steal while it’s in transit, so you’d best be thinking about implementing a virtual private network to shield data from prying eyes. Basically, a VPN provides an encrypted tunnel to send and receive data, making it the most secure way to stay productive while out of the office.

There are also conferencing applications available that can be utilized to keep teams connected while out of the office. Your staff can remote into a meeting so that they don’t miss a beat, and there are all sorts of cloud-based collaboration environments available for file sharing. It might be the traveler’s responsibility to ensure they can remain secure, but you can at least provide them with the tools to help them stay productive.

Does your business need help with remote access technology or collaborative solutions? Give us a call at 855-290-KITE.

 

Tip of the Week: Your Productivity Doesn’t Depend on the Internet

It is an expectation for the modern business to rely on the Internet in order to complete its daily function. As a result, anytime there is an Internet outage, many employees may find themselves lacking purpose or direction. However, a lack of Internet doesn’t have to mean a lack of productivity. For this week’s tip, we’ll review some ways your staff can be productive without an Internet connection.

Keeping Things Organized
Office clutter happens. It is the natural side effect of a team being focused on getting task after task completed. If the files on your local network need some reorganization, or the workspace itself needs a little TLC, an Internet outage provides an ideal time to tidy things up a bit.

A tidy workspace will benefit the organization as a whole, as well as each employee. After all, the fewer distractions that an employee has on their desk, the easier it is for them to stay focused (and the easier it is for someone else to find a resource should that employee be away from the office that day).

Furthermore, it is much easier for one to find things in an organized closet or cabinet than one that has everything thrown in and piled up without any rhyme or reason, which translates to saved time. Using the time that the Internet is down to go through your storage and organize it will allow you to achieve an important task without sacrificing another.

If you can still access your internal network’s data storage, an Internet outage also presents the opportunity to reorganize this storage space as well. Using folders to organize the files on your desktop into a logical system of categorization will also help you to find them later when they can be used to achieve something.

Team Building
While technology has enabled businesses and their employees to experience greater connectivity than ever before, this has also contributed to the seemingly opposite effect of creating some barriers between team members as well. After all, it is much harder to build the interpersonal relationship that develops into the synergism that you want and expect from your team when most of their communication takes place through a screen. Additionally, this synergism will often have a positive benefit when collaboration is part of your team’s responsibilities. Therefore, it only makes sense to encourage the development of these interpersonal relationships when the Internet doesn’t allow for typical workplace duties to be completed.

As they wait for their Internet access to come back, your team can hold meetings that don’t need the Internet in order to be run. These meetings could even be relatively simple brainstorming sessions where new ideas can be shared freely. Alternatively, you might encourage your teams to reach out to departments they don’t often do business with in order to get to know the other people who work alongside them.

This can benefit management as much as it benefits the workforce. If you and the rest of your management team reach out to employees with the intent of getting to know each other better, you can better shape your management style. By doing so, you encourage your employees to be more engaged and communicative, and you can personalize your approach to each employee for the highest impact.

Mobile Devices
While there are times that an improperly used mobile device can be a detriment to office focus and productivity, there are also times that these devices, leveraged properly, can be your best bet if you want productivity to be preserved. Mobile devices provide the chance that, if your business’ Internet should fail, your employees could continue their work. With the right proactive planning, your workforce could continue their tasks through the use of their own mobile data, with reimbursement dictated by a Bring Your Own Device strategy, or on a device that your company provides.

 

Microsoft SharePoint Makes Team Collaboration Easy

Businesses are taking advantage of new tools every day to make sure that their projects are handled in the most successful way possible. One of these tools is Microsoft SharePoint, which can eliminate many of the major pain points of project management. Regardless of what type of business you run, we’re confident that Microsoft SharePoint can be a valuable asset for your organization.

In case you’re unfamiliar with SharePoint, it’s a browser-based method of collaboration and document management. You can either host it on your own premises, or in the cloud so that you can access it anywhere. It’s one of the enterprise-level solutions offered by the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite. Basically, it provides project team members with a place to view information or collaborate.

Create Your View of Success

There is always going to be a goal for your projects. SharePoint is designed to help an organization meet the specific goals of that project, and it can do so by providing you with a measure of success as defined by the individual project goals. The best way to find success with SharePoint is to always keep your definition of success in mind, but never change it. If you meet your goals, you want to view it as a success. SharePoint’s most incredible benefit is that it can help you build efficiency, and defining success accurately is the best way to make this happen.

Properly Use SharePoint for YOUR Business

Knowing what your business will use SharePoint for before implementation is key to your success with the program. Your SharePoint platform will inevitably contain a considerable amount of content. The question, however, is if your project has enough content to justify using SharePoint as a platform. It’s important to work with an IT service provider before going all-in on a service like SharePoint.

Train your Staff

SharePoint is an incredible tool that you’ll want to use to store content, deploy applications, and provide custom access to all of your services. It’s the ideal way to provide each of your project managers and resources with everything they need to do their jobs, but only if they know how it works. It takes significant training to make sure that your employees know how to complete their tasks. Doing this ensures that your organization can be successful with SharePoint.

If you want to find out more about SharePoint or other Office 365 products, give us a call at 855-290-KITE.

 

3 Reasons That Remote Monitoring and Management Is A Good Choice

The businesses of today rely on technology in order to function, which means that their technology needs to be in top shape. However, this requires a sizable time commitment, something that most businesses will have trouble seeing through. Help comes for these businesses in the form of remote monitoring and management.


What Does RMM Do?


Remote monitoring and management is just about what it sounds like–a business has their IT monitored for issues, which means that these issues can be spotted and dealt with before they have an adverse effect on that business’ systems. Since this process is completed remotely, there’s no need for the managed service provider (or MSP) to send a technician for an on-site visit.


Improved Insights


One of the most useful results of RMM is the high quality of insights and data you are able to collect, including which threats are most commonly detected by your solution. This data allows the MSP to ensure that you are prepared to deal with these threats, potentially thwarting an event that could have caused serious downtime… or worse.


Preparation


In addition to working to keep threats away from your network, an RMM also helps to ensure you are ready for when an issue does slip past. Through data collection, you will be alerted and a ticket created whenever an issue is detected in your systems and your MSP will get to work to resolve it. If your MSP’s IT professional can, they will mitigate the problem and maintain your productivity–or at the very least, begin to identify and resolve the issue at hand.


Predictable Pricing


As one part of a managed service offering, RMM comes with the benefit of a fixed price. We rely on your trust to deliver our services, and we find that a single, honest price helps to foster that trust.


This has just been a brief sample of how RMM can bring your business benefits. To find out more about RMM and how it can help your business, give us a call at 410-356-3113.