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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Voice over Internet Protocol Is a Cost-Effective Telephone Solution for Almost Any Business

Running a business isn’t getting any cheaper–in fact, it’s only getting more expensive. This drives businesses to save as much as possible on operations and business-critical applications. One of the best ways to cut out unnecessary costs is to implement software solutions that spread-out costs over a span of time. You too can take advantage of the cloud to gain access to critical communication solutions.


One of the most important parts of communication is a phone solution, and that’s where Voice over Internet Protocol comes into play. VoIP can help you reduce the costs of communications for your organization in many ways, including hardware costs, fee structures, and mobility.


Hardware Costs


Hosted VoIP can be a great way to take full advantage of your phone solution without all of the troubles associated with it. Telephone lines can be a pain to install during the implementation process, but more than this, it can be expensive. You can use your business’s Internet connection to bypass all of this work, adding new users on demand without running new wires or rearranging your office.


A hosted VoIP system also takes advantage of completely removing the PBX hardware required by most traditional telephone providers. In fact, the PBX system itself can cost as much as several thousand dollars per user. Even a small PBX rollout could become a considerable investment compared to the rather modest expense of a hosted VoIP solution.


Fee Structures


The largest expense for a telephone system is how many minutes are spent while communicating. Consider how much cost your business accumulates in long distance calling every month. Even though most of your calls will be made to local organizations, it’s likely that any long distance minutes accumulated will be a major expense. Just think–if you got rid of this, you would be able to actually make some headway in reducing the overall costs of your telephone system. Hosted VoIP offers a way to accomplish this.


On the other hand, your Internet service is practically mandatory to keep business running, and it doesn’t cost all that much compared to traditional telephone services. You can just purchase the service speed that you need and eliminate unnecessary costs. VoIP service rates are also quite competitive compared to traditional telephony. Add in the value of having someone else manage and maintain the system, as well as a monthly payment per user, and you have a spectacular addition that offers your organization scalability and flexibility.


Mobility


Perhaps the most important part of VoIP is the ability to add mobility to your phone system. Traditionally, your landline is unable to move from desk-to-desk without considerable trouble. On the other hand, VoIP offers mobile applications that you can find in the Android and Apple app stores. These mobile solutions allow your employees to pick and choose how they stay in touch with the office. These applications can also be run over Wi-Fi, and can take advantage of a virtual private network (VPN) so that they can be as useful as possible for saving your organization capital.


If you are itching to try out a new mobile solution, we recommend considering VoIP. To learn more, reach out to Kite Tech at 410-356-3113.

 

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10 Ingredients To A Winning UCC Strategy

There is one thing that superior customer service, employee satisfaction, and overall productivity have in common: Communication. It’s the backbone of any company’s structure. With so much technology developed to improve the way humans interact with one another, businesses have begun to use technology to achieve a level of customer satisfaction and understanding that has never been reached before.

To do this, businesses call upon a unified communication and collaboration (UCC) strategy to encompass all the aspects their business needs to grow in the digital age. These are ten common elements that you might find included in a UCC.

Instant Messaging (IM)

When it comes to preferred methods of communication, instant messaging has been popular among individuals since the days of ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger. Since then, it’s proving to be useful as part of business communication strategies. It allows simultaneous and group conversations and immediate delivery/response. Are you concerned that instant messaging will prove a distraction for you and your team? Don’t be. 83% of employees reported being as productive or more productive with instant messaging than without. Companies who are already using IM in the workplace have cited work-efficiency, team collaboration, and email volume reduction as the top three benefits experienced after adopting instant messaging.

ChatBots

When programmed and executed properly, a ChatBot can be an effective communication tool for a business website. Most commonly associated with a popup, instant message-like blurb, ChatBots combine the use of human and artificial intelligence to improve the customer service experience. Chatbots serve a few basic functions.

Encourages Engagement: One of the main objectives of a company’s website is persuading visitors to engage or interact with the site using calls-to-action. ChatBots can be looked at as a call-to-action that follows the user as they navigate through the site, offering information and assistance.

Boosts Conversion through Personalization: When a user engages with a ChatBot, they’re going to give you an idea of why they’re on your website. This information can be utilized in a few ways. Not only will you learn how to personalize your sales approach for the visitor’s company but you’ll be able to track and evaluate user behavior on your site. This allows your organization to gain insight on what types of content are most valuable.

Improves User Experience: Practically every business has a list of frequently asked questions or requested information. With a ChatBot, you can set it so that certain responses are triggered when a website visitor uses certain keywords in their conversation. The ChatBot can then use that information to find the answers visitors are looking for, easily.

Discussion Forums

Another approach to simplifying a user’s search for information is through a discussion forum. For most businesses, forums offer a way for clients and prospects to collaborate with their peers, as well as, allowing your team to address issues, concerns, comments, and suggestions when needed. Rather than a direct ask/answer session between you and a single prospect or client, making and using forums are a great way to nurture sales and drive revenue by establishing you and your team as thought leaders.

As with ChatBots, discussion forums give you just as much information about your target market’s behavior and demographics as they are able to learn from the information about your products and services they find there.

Videoconferencing

Even though some primitive versions of the technology have been around for decades, video conferencing has really become practical over the past five years. Improvements in technology and higher Internet speeds allow clear audio and visual communication, in real time, from anywhere in the world.

A few statistics to consider when making a decision about video marketing for your MSP:

  • 96% of survey participants agreed that Video Conferencing improves productivity. (IDG Enterprise Video Conferencing Trends in 2016)
  • Companies that use video conferencing see a 30% reduction in travel costs. (IDG Enterprise Video Conferencing Trends in 2016)
  • Up to 37% of an employee’s work day consists of attending meetings. (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Podcasts

Look at it this way: A podcast gives you the opportunity to cohesively educate or address a topic you know your audience would benefit from with less opportunity for interruption. The benefit of offering this type of ‘on demand’ content gives listeners flexibility to listen to your message in its entirety, as they see fit. Additionally, many people listen to podcasts exclusively through headphones, forging a deeper connection with the contents of the program. For those of you considering a podcast, here’s some essentials you should have ironed out when you begin planning your podcast.

  • Topic
  • Length
  • Frequency
  • Format
  • Distribution

Project Management Software

When it comes to project management, the majority of businesses make use of at least some type of business management software for a variety of tasks including planning and monitoring of project development, information centralization, simplification of exchanges, transparency and visibility. The right project management software can encourage collaborative work and organization among the team, as well as improve performance and effectiveness.

  • 77% of companies use project management software.
  • The most used features are document sharing, time tracking, email integration and Gantt charts.
  • 66% of organizations use project management software to communicate with their clients.

Collaborative Software

“If you’ve got development centers all over the world, you’ve got a sales force out with the customers, the fact that tools like Skype [and] digital collaboration are letting people work better at a distance—that is a wonderful thing.” – Bill Gates

Considering the popularity of the Microsoft Office productivity suite and the G Suite, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the concept of collaborative software. These popular apps are just a fraction of the software available that allows multiple users to work on a project or document simultaneously, in real time. Many also include their own instant messaging and video conference software. Considering the number of employers who allow their employees to telecommute or work remotely, collaboration software resources are integral to keeping your team connected and in sync with one another regardless of where they’re actually located.

Enterprise Social Networking

Despite what the name implies, Enterprise Social Networking has some great benefits for businesses of any size. The premise of enterprise social networking is that a company uses social media to develop their business both internally and externally. Public facing social media can be used as a way to seek out businesses that might benefit from their services or offer raw materials needed for a fraction of the price as a local distributer. Additionally, many businesses encourage employees to use social media to be a brand ambassador – promoting your business through company culture and audience engagement. This trend continues to grow as more businesses are deciding to take a risk and engage with their target audience on social media.

In terms of a UCC, businesses can choose from a variety of applications and software that improve internal collaboration and communication, driving productivity and streamlining processes. Luckily, many line-of-business applications are now being built with enterprise social media platforms as a component.

Email

Last but not least is email. Businesses no longer see it as a mere method of exchanging a message with a person or group. It’s now viewed as the primary record of more than three-quarters of business related correspondence.

Businesses often call upon an archived email to remind them of a transaction. In the event of a lawsuit, companies have been penalized because of failure to produce email records that corroborated one party’s version of the events.

When including an email platform into your UCC solution, you’ll want to make sure that your email is secure, has searchable archives, can be accessed easily on mobile devices, and integrates with your other software and applications when possible. Many offer the opportunity to archive emails in the cloud, as well as locally.

The number of businesses that are seeking a unified collaboration and communication solution has grown significantly over the past several years. As technology continues to evolve, so will the way businesses communicate. Would you like to learn more about how a UCC can enhance your business communications? Call us at 410-356-3113.

 

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