Tag Archives: mobile device

How To Make Your Smartphone A Mobile Office Workhorse

27 Jul 16
lverbik
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lady on smartphoneSmartphones are a workplace double-edged sword. On one side, they are mobile computers, capable of performing useful functions, and getting real work done. On the other, they can be a distraction: texting, web browsing, gaming and more. The temptation to goof off is real, but so is the productivity power.

The threat of off-task usage is often a major point against using (or having) the devices in the workplace. The trick to staying productive is not just having the willpower to avoid distraction, but also knowing how to get the most out of the device. Communication and boundaries must be clear from the get-go.

Using a smartphone when it’s appropriate:

As a second screen — When you don’t have the luxury of a second monitor, a smartphone can make itself useful doubling as a “second screen.” Use it as a companion to your desktop when you have several windows open and need ready access to e-mail or another document. Or use it while you step away from your desk.

Smartphones and tablets can keep us productive while we move—whether we are moving to a meeting across the building, or across town. It could be used to write or edit documents, check and respond to e-mail.

Voice/note/image recording — Record audio from a meeting or phone call. Some smartphones have an audio recorder built right in. Those that don’t can use a number of apps to get the job done, such as Cogi Notes & Voice Recorder.

If you need to take down a few notes, like the audio recorder, many smartphones have a note app installed. Alternatively, an app like Evernote can sync with other devices, meaning you have your notes wherever you need them. No more misplaced or lost notes!

Cameras are ubiquitous on smartphones. Take a picture of a whiteboard scribbled with the meeting notes, or grab a shot of documents for later use. A smartphone camera is particularly useful when you don’t have a scanner handy.

Document editing — Many mobile office suites, such as Microsoft Office Mobile (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) make creating and editing documents on the go nearly as easy as working on their desktop counterparts.

When you are conscious of the ways your smartphone or tablet can help in the workplace, it can make sense to use it in concert with a desktop computer. If using an additional device boosts productivity or efficiency, then the risk of distraction can be worth the reward. Smartphones and other mobile devices aren’t for every workplace. They have value, if you achieve a boost in productivity.

Going to be away from the office? Do it in good taste.

20 Apr 16
lverbik
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You’re productive and you like to receive replies promptly to your emails when engaging in business. No one has time to mess around. So when the weather warms up, with it comes the inevitable surge in out-of-office replies. This can be frustrating for your customers and downright bad business if you don’t handle it properly.

Going into this busy season of absent employees, it’s a good time to look at the right ways and the wrong ways to inform the world—and your coworkers—that you’re away from your desk and vacationing your cares away. There is an etiquette around this seemingly trivial aspect of email. Here are some tips:

  • Create calendar update. Make sure that you update your Outlook calendar to reflect the dates you will be away. Set an Out of Office status and a standing Appointment for those days that you are going to be absent so that coworkers can see your calendar and schedule meetings appropriately, knowing when you are and are not available.
  • Don’t blanket the company with your out of office reminders. Send The Outlook appointment containing your Out of Office status only to the people who will truly be impacted by your absence—your manager(s) and those you work with regularly. There’s nothing more annoying than getting daily out of office reminders, so make sure to turn that off.
  • Prepare your auto responder message. In Outlook, go to Tools, and then Out of Office. Fill in your message, as well as dates and times you will be away. There are also Address book rules that should be set so that you choose who receives your notification. For example, you do not want your Out of Office email to go to external parties, which would include spammers. For security reasons keep it internal.
  • Provide some pertinent details. You’ll want to include the dates you’ll be away, and when you will return. Also mention when you will be able to reply to their message. You may be able to check emails once a day or once a week while away, so let them know, but do not over promise on this point. The fact is that you may not be able to keep your promise so it may be in your best interest to include a name and contact information of a colleague who will stand in for you in your absence.
  • Keep the details to business. Nobody wants or needs to know what you’re doing on your vacation so don’t be a braggart and assume people want to hear about your lobster dinners or parasailing adventures. Just the simple stuff from point 4 above is all you need.

We’re happy to help you find better more advantageous ways to use IT in your daily business. Contact TechnoAdvantage today for help using Outlook or other ideas to make your company run more smoothly.

Is it Time to Go to the Cloud?

26 Jan 16
lverbik
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It’s a commonly asked question: Should we get a new server or go to the cloud? The answer differs, depending on who’s trying to sell you their services. So what’s the answer? Is there just one answer?

If you’ve maxxed out your old server and it’s coming to its life’s useful end, you have an important decision to make. Buying a new server and staying with a private cloud may be beneficial for a majority of businesses, but sometimes a public cloud may work best.

There’s one story, the word-on-the-street benefits of the cloud:

  • increased business efficiency and agility
  • save on IT costs
  • employees can access your company data easily wherever they are
  • easy file sharing, collaboration and conferencing
  • eliminate file backup worries
  • free storage
  • works from any device
  • cloud users enjoy higher revenues* according to a survey by accounting software provider MYOB

All true, the above benefits of the cloud may be best suited for:

  • startups
  • very small companies
  • virtual company
  • company with global locations
  • businesses with high internal IT costs
  • businesses who require mega computing power

But wait—here’s another story to consider. Most small and medium-sized businesses who make up the core of our country’s free enterprise system-the manufacturers, the service companies, the product distributors—these types with existing application housed on their old servers–are smart, savvy, and not switching to the cloud. They instead choose to buy new servers.

Why would they NOT choose the cloud? Didn’t the media world determine it was all-around cheaper and better for companies? The answer for a large segment of the business population—and possibly you—is no.

It’s a cost and ROI story. Established companies running their own applications are finding that migrating them to the cloud and operating them using cloud based applications is in fact too costly when all is said and done—oft times more expensive than the current situation. Companies who were surveyed and did so found that it came in at roughly the same price to switch over—about $100 per month per user. That was the 2013 price for a business to switch over its current infrastructure to one that is cloud based.

So what is the answer for you? Do your cost comparisons, start small and try some free and low cost cloud tools to get your feet wet, and use some free trials to see what may be to your benefit. And let TechnoAdvantage give you a cloud analysis to see if it’s right for you. You may find that the cloud is just too high in the sky so you’ll want to keep yourself grounded with good internal server and outside support from a company like us. Either way we’re here to help you make the wise choice for you.

What can hosted workspaces do for your business?

16 Dec 15
lverbik
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As our culture continually evolves more and more toward mobility and flexibility with the use of tablets, smartphones and notebook computers, business is happening all the time, everywhere, in places we never would have dreamed. Companies are implementing BYOD (bring your own device) policies to make it easy for their employees to maintain a productive pace after they leave the office. And there’s a growing trend emerging to make it work to a company’s advantage.

The concept of a hosted workspace involves a desktop environment situated on a remote server that provides a “virtual office” where employees’ own personal devices can be used to do business seamlessly and relatively safely. Users have easy access from their various devices, from virtually anywhere they may be—inside or outside the office.

It provides a nice little setup giving users a way to interact and work with all of a company’s data, applications and programs just as they would a traditional desktop computer environment—but without the stationary, cumbersome, and costlier machines anchoring them to workstations.

The hosted workspace means that, as a business, you are saving on equipment costs and the constant software upgrades that go along with these conventional setups. Hosted workspaces work and grow with you no matter what the size of your company.

If you fear less security with a mobile environment, your fears are unfounded. The opposite is actually true. Hosted workspaces are proven more secure—providing built in security features, including virus protection and secure cloud server storage for your data. And if you think about what you could lose should your security be breached in a traditional office computer environment, you’re looking at what can be a devastating loss.

So for many businesses, hosted workspaces offer the best advantages that mobile technology has to offer, while keeping your employees nimble and efficient—to do business anywhere. We think that’s a pretty cool idea. Contact us here to find out how TechnoAdvantage can help you craft your own hosted workspace.

Three of the Sweetest Mobile Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

07 Jul 15
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If you’re not paying attention to how much business is happening on mobile devices, it’s time to get your head in the game. With nearly 40 percent of internet usage occurring on mobile devices, not only is mobile marketing crucial to your business’s success, but understanding how your customers are using different kinds of mobile devices is just as important to tailor your approach. One study (sponsored by Google) showed that 67 percent of smartphone users said they are “more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly device.” These stats suggest that you’d be crazy not to be focusing on a mobile marketing strategy.

With that in mind, our first recommended tactic is Responsive Design. This is simply something you must do. It is a type of web architecture that makes your website content fluid and flexible to adapt itself visually on any device your customers may be using. So no matter whether that’s a smartphone, tablet, or the desktop, your website’s content—including text, images, forms–appears clean, easy to navigate, and pleasing on each device. Responsive design translates to “we care about how our customers experience us” and that translates to more business. This goes for not just your website but also your Facebook page, newsletter—any content you’re asking consumers to navigate. Make it friendly. Make it easy.

Facebook Mobile ads. With more than 680 million active mobile users, social media-wise, Facebook is pretty much king.  Since the majority of Facebook users visit it from a mobile device, it just makes sense that your mobile ad strategy would be your most important line of communication. With Facebook’s ever-refined algorithms, businesses can now target Facebook ads directly to mobile users—and they’re producing much better results than the ads that show up in Facebook’s right-hand column for desktop users. So this is one channel you want to funnel your budget into to get your share of the mobile Facebook crowd.

We also like MailChimp, a beautifully simple email tool you should be taking advantage of.  Small businesses, in particular, can benefit from its free plan in this easy to use platform that offers so much in the way of reaching your customers effectively. There’s no better way to inform your customers of company news, offers, contests, and other timely information. Mobile-friendly templates mean that your customers who are accessing their email through their smartphones—and most of them are—will get a functional and pleasant user experience. Another great point is that MailChimp integrates easily with third-party platform so you will be able to gather email addresses on social media sites and blogs—another great business builder.

At Techno Advantage, we’re not just “techies”.  Our goal is to bring you a wide variety of technology-related topics to help your business grow.  If we can’t help you with something, we know someone who can!

Stay tuned for the next installment.   We’ll be sharing more sweet suggestions in mobile marketing in upcoming blogs. Or if you’ve got a great idea to share or a discovery you made in mobile marketing, leave a description in the comments below.

Accomplish More On Your Mobile Device

01 Dec 14
lverbik
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Microsoft announced today that they have acquired Acompli, an email app available on iOS and Android. Acompli is designed to help you work faster and smarter with emails and calendars on your mobile device. The service works with a variety of messaging services including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Google and Yahoo. Unlike most systems that split email and calendar management into separate apps Accompli allows for both in a single app, all with keeping your most important email at the top.

Without an Outlook app available for iOS, this would seem to help close a gap in Microsoft’s mobile offerings.

“This acquisition is part of our company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices.” Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, said in a blog post.

This is not a new direction for Microsoft. Earlier this year the company released mobile versions of their office suite for iOS and Android. They quickly rose to the top of the app charts.

With email being so central to most people’s work lives, having a single, simple location to handle all of the various inboxes most users have, similarly to the role of Outlook on the PC, would make life easier for many.

Techno Advantage wants to help make your life easier by being your trusted IT consultant.  We are a Microsoft Certified Partner and can help you explore all the options available to you and your business.  Contact us today!