Tag Archives: mobile

How To Make Your Smartphone A Mobile Office Workhorse

27 Jul 16
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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.

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.

Running your business on relics? Time to think of cleaning house.

15 Sep 15
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You’re small, nimble, and don’t need the latest and greatest expensive technologies—we get that. It’s costly. It’s time consuming to research the stuff. You may not even know what exists out there. However, some of the old technology you’re still hanging onto to run your business may be costing you more money than avoiding a new purchase is worth in the long run. And you may be unwittingly blocking new profitable opportunities.

Now might be the time to embrace new technologies as you purge your office of the relics. So what are these old technologies you should think about getting rid of? Consider moving away from:

  1. Big old honkin’ desktop computers. They were once the standard, just like landlines. We all know what’s happened there. You no longer need these clunky space hogs that chain your employees to their desks. Today’s business is done on the go. Give your employees the freedom to get the job done anytime anywhere. Today’s laptops have all the power, speed and affordability that desktops had. There’s no reason not to make this change.
  2. Mobile phones for your business. To be clear: Mobile phones for your employees—yes, great. Paying for them—no, don’t. A more cost-effective and preferred route is the “Bring Your Own Device” policy. Most businesses today are doing this—and savings thousands of dollar each month. Don’t forget to protect your business with a written BYOD policy.
  3. Purchasing localized software. Used to be that businesses would buy software they needed for any old computer function: word processing, image/ graphics, accounting. These often came bundled in expensive packages along with a lot of crap they don’t need but were paying for.  If this is the way you’re still doing it, consider a move to Software as a Service (SaaS). You pay only for what you need and it’s stored on the fluffy white cloud. Many of the networks, platforms, and software you need are available as a service with more being added all the time.
  4. Using portable onsite storage exclusively. Backing up your valuable data with physical onsite storage devices has its place—external hard drives, flash drives, CD burners. They make sense for a lot of situations. But if that’s your only line of defense against data loss, you are putting a lot at risk. If a device fails or is stolen or damaged, you’re in trouble. Wise is the business owner who employs the cloud or offsite storage to back up his or her data.  There’s an efficient and cost-effective way to combine the best of both onsite and offsite data backup that will give you peace of mind.

Get in touch with TechnoAdvatange for more ways we can help your business flow with the best IT solutions.

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
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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!

Feeling Overwhelmed by Technology?

23 Jun 14
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If so, well…..you’re not alone.  Many small business owners feel they have very little resources to help them navigate the vast tech landscape, according to a recent study.

The report, from Brother International Corporation and non-profit SCORE was conducted by Wakefield Research and covered 500 small business owners with fewer than 100 employees.  It revealed that 64 percent of small business owners still feel “overwhelmed” when it comes to technology.

Small business owners feel they have no one to turn to for tech guidance.  The majority have no dedicated IT support.  In fact, the study shows that 59 percent of those surveyed said there are “insufficient resources” available in small business communities to help them.

 

The team at Techno Advantage prides itself on being a top quality, outsourced, on-call IT department.  We are constantly looking for ways to serve and educate busy small business owners on IT related matters.

To help you feel less overwhelmed, here are 5 Tech Tidbits for small business:

1.Don’t scrimp on technology

Your business relies on your communication channels not breaking down.  Computer and network glitches can cost you financially.  Hone your business processes to understand the technology you do and don’t need and then get a second opinion.

2. Get in the cloud

Data space can be a huge issue for small businesses.  But you don’t need to purchase expensive kits to get around this.  Many small businesses are opting to outsource data storage or choosing to use a free service.

3. Make sure you’re mobile

Business won’t wait for you to be back in the office.  Smartphone and tablet are rapidly overtaking desktop use in the workplace.  The workforce is more mobile than ever and your business practice needs to reflect this.  Ensure you are contactable and can do your transactions on the run.

4. Security is key to tech success

Have a strong password policy and know what data needs protecting.

5. Get the right support

Don’t outsource your tech to someone you can’t get hold of in the middle of the night.

The team at Techno Advantage wants to be your small business IT resource and partner (yes, even in the middle of the night).  If you’re one of the many small business owners who feels overwhelmed by technology, why wait?

Call and speak to Jay and his team now!