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Technology to Improve Business Efficiency

Technology to Improve Business Efficiency

You’ve heard the phrase time is money. Getting projects done in less time means you have fewer hours to pay employees, or that those employees can get even more done with their time. The productivity of a business is often dependent on the technologies that their employees have access to. 

Business processes have become more automated with the tools and software that offices have available. Let’s look at how opening your company up to new technology benefits your company workflow and pushes your business goals

How IT Services Can Improve Your Business Efficiency Today

IT services can improve your business efficiency by giving your employees more access to information, analytics, files, collaboration, and communication tools

Digital Marketing Tools

Analytic tools support data-driven marketing strategy. Data strategy focuses on results and how marketing plans influence a company’s results. The more access you have to the information surrounding the data and results from your company, the more informed business decisions you can make with your marketing strategies

The same goes for your employees. The more access they have to digital marketing tools, the more information they have from the company’s data. This way they can make better decisions for the business. The more heads you have critically thinking, the better! The accessibility technology brings, gets you more critical thinkers on your team. 

Remote Workers

The modern workplace has gone through a lot of changes in recent years. More and more employees are working remotely rather than in-person at the office. Technology makes this possible with virtual and off-site technologies. Cloud computing technologies give you a safe space for shared company files and data.

Workplace productivity increases when you aren’t waiting on information from other employees. Logical workflow is driven by having accurate information and communication always available to employees. This way you have fewer employees twiddling their thumbs waiting for a report or for someone to answer a question. When you have systems and routines set up with workflow automation, everyone knows exactly where to find information and where to check up on their tasks.  

Collaboration

Easy collaboration and communication make for efficient management systems. A manager has access to the projects in real-time with cloud software. Employees can work together on one document and see changes in real-time without even being in the same office. 

Modern communication systems have given companies the flexibility needed to keep staff time efficient. The periods of time when a team cannot be together are still being used to work on projects. Video conferencing is the next best thing to in-person communication. Jumping on a quick call clears up any questions and keeps the projects being completed in reasonable amounts of time

Speech-to-Text Software

Speech-to-text software is an incredible technology solution. People can create notes from every meeting or conference. You can also record customer interactions. Text documents take up less storage space than audio or video files. They are also easier to scan and use to find quick information. 

Customer Experience

Proper hosting of your website allows for a seamless experience for your customers. You want your site to be loading quickly on each page. Hosting services should be a part of your customer relationship management because your website is where current customers will go to find answers. It is also where new customers may be first introduced to your company. This is your first impression, make it a good one! 

Efficiency within your company means you have more time to focus on your customers. Customer details can get the attention that they need. Your customer service response times are improved when you have fewer hoops to jump through with outdated technology. Efficiency from service-based technologies is the efficiency your customers will notice. 

Automated Systems

The more tasks you have automated the less money you need to spend on labor costs. If a business lowers labor costs, they can charge less for their product or service. This leads to more customers interested in the product and more success for your company. 

Routine system maintenance is essential for keeping your systems up and running and your employees never missing a beat. IT services work out bugs before you even notice them there. 

A Virtual IT Department 

Your in-house IT guy may not have access to all of the most recent advances that an IT service company has. Every moment an employee spends on technology issues is time wasted to spend on advancing your company. Keeping technology with the experts drives efficiency and gives you peace of mind that IT is taken care of. 

Properly managed IT allows you to maximize your profits and have resources for new technologies that boost productivity. Cybersecurity should also be woven into your business plan. If your information is not safe, then what else matters? 

Cyber breaches are devastating for a company and a security service will cover all the bases keeping your company secure and moving forward. With so many new technologies running businesses these days, it is harder for in-house IT to keep up with it all. This is why reaching out for IT services might be the best option for your business. 

The money saved with efficiency is used to grow your business and see more success. Don’t be turned off by the time it takes to start something new. Taking the time initially saves you so much time in the long run. Incorporating new technologies and services into your business only makes the business stronger and more automated. This gives you the time you need to focus on new business projects.

Getting The Most Out Of Office 365 Business: 16 Tips

Microsoft Office 365

You use a lot of different tools to run your business. You have one for talking with employees, schedules, meetings, sharing documents, and another for keeping track of assignments. Running a business is a complex production. Switching to Microsoft Office 365 could save you from needing so many different types of software, and it could save you money as well. 

Then once you are using Office 365 you want to make sure you are getting all that you can out of it to make your business run as smoothly as possible. 

Getting The Most Out Of Office 365 Business: 16 Tips

Don’t let the features go to waste. Here are 16 tips to get the most out of your Office 365.

OneDrive Cloud Storage  

OneDrive keeps your files in one place and allows you to easily share them and collaborate. Files sync between OneDrive and your desktop so you can access them anywhere. Cloud servers and physical servers can have access to documents. You can use the Share + function to attach files to emails as a shareable link. OneDrive is like that box of important things you have, but you can access it anywhere and everywhere with file sharing. 

Online and Mobile Versions 

Office 365 includes mobile applications. If your staff needs to work from home or while traveling, they can open files and apps from any device with an internet connection. No excuse not to be working!  

Microsoft Teams 

You can create teams and groups for specific projects. This helps you to maintain communication, share calendars, exchange files, and conveniently chat with the instant messaging tool. Microsoft is also working on ending Skype for Business and has upgraded Teams to include the Skype capabilities. This will let you have video conferences with teams. It gives you more productivity tools in one place. Team management becomes much smoother. 

Microsoft Planner

Microsoft planner allows users to assign individual tasks and give out due dates. This is even more helpful because tasks are seen by all the members of a group. This transparency allows for smooth communication making it easier for people to work together. You can exchange online tasks and rearrange who is assigned to what. You get an accurate timeline of events and clear communication of what is being done. No more, “I thought you were doing that!” and other miscommunications.  

Clutter Feature

There is a clutter feature on Outlook where Microsoft will pay attention to unread messages in your inbox. Once it understands your email preferences, it will sort your mail and your low priority messages will go to a clutter folder. This puts your important emails in a better view. It also eliminates those spammy, unwanted messages that you never open. 

Message Recall Function 

If both you and the contact you are emailing have Office 365, then you can recall an email you sent as long as it has not been opened yet. Something to have in your bag of tricks when you send something to a colleague after a frustrating conversation. 

OneNote

OneNote is basically a window to your sticky note-covered fridge, from anywhere. You can take notes, build to-do lists, and access them anywhere. This could become a virtual junk drawer. At least you don’t lose anything!  

Office Lens App

Now, this makes those notes you take even easier. You can use your smartphone to take a picture of a board or a sheet of paper, and turn it into a digital form. Office 365 takes that note-taking scramble down a notch. It also keeps you from losing important notes you might need later. 

Smart Look-Up

Users can highlight any word or phrase and use the Smart Look-up button to show a Bing search window to find out more about it. It’s so easy to double-check the search bar to make sure you are right when you guess the meaning of “blitzscaling.” Got to keep up with office lingo.  

Collaboration

You can share files to OneDrive or Sharepoint and instantly share them with co-workers. Edits will be shown to everyone in real-time, and you can keep tabs on all the changes. When you can’t be in the office together, this gives you no excuse not to join the party. Co-authoring documents and collaboration is a smooth process with Office 365’s collaborative features.   

SharePoint Views

SharePoint views allow you to divide lots of documents up into folders with more specific frameworks. Then you can view only documents within that criteria at one time. For example, if your business has multiple locations, you can divide documents up into those different locations. That way you are getting to the documents you need quicker. 

Sway for Slideshows

Sway offers many templates, background photos, and bonus features to make your slideshows more appealing. You know when your team is falling asleep in the meeting and can’t tell that you have changed the slide six times.

You can also import existing documents and start working with an outline to save a lot of time when using PowerPoint templates. 

Pin Documents to Taskbar  

Microsoft Office 365 allows you to create a shortcut to a document you regularly use. That way it is a quick click of a button away and you aren’t searching through your files every week. You put the important stuff front and center. 

Microsoft Office 356 Security 

Office 365 creates a safe firewall that protects your data from hackers. Microsoft has more security certificates than any other cloud service provider. It is important that you are keeping your company’s data in a secure place and Microsoft’s security features give you just that. 

 

When you are sharing a document with others you can grant them access, and then take away that access at a moment’s notice. Imagine giving someone a USB stick with important data and instead of letting them run around with it for the rest of their life, you can make it go away. This keeps important information close to home. 

Communicate Changes and Hold Training Sessions 

Fear of new technology is common. We want to continue using familiar tools when learning new methods and routines can be hard. Communicating the change to the new Microsoft software ahead of time makes the transition smoother if this is all new to your team. 

Hold training sessions to dedicate time to teach employees how the new tools are used. That way they feel comfortable diving in with them and communications are smooth. 

Lead by Example 

You get employees excited about the software and its benefits by using it yourself. You need to show them how it’s done. Make your weekly conference calls on Microsoft Teams (the new Skype). Create a shared word document and have everyone make edits. Show them how effective the collaboration is. 

You want to make sure you aren’t paying for any software that you don’t need when you already have Office 365. These features overlap with a lot of popular software that you don’t need to be paying for. 

Office 365 keeps updates coming so you always have the latest version available. You don’t need to have licenses to a new version every few years the way Microsoft software worked in the past. 

You have all of these tools and features at your fingertips. So use them! Keep your business and employees running as a smooth organization. The world has become a friendly place for remote work. Embracing technology and the Office apps can make that a flawless workspace. It also makes the time in the office more effective increasing productivity.

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Benefits of VoIP for Business

Have you been wondering about Voice over Internet Protocol, how it works, or the benefits of VoIP for business? Switching to VoIP offers many advantages to small and medium-sized businesses, mainly in the form of cost savings but also in other aspects. 

We’re going to take a look at some of the reasons you should consider using VoIP over traditional telephone systems, what VoIP is, and how this technology works. We will also give you a few pointers on how to choose a provider and plan that best fits your needs. 

Keep reading for more information. 

What is VoIP and How Does it Work?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a type of telephone system that uses computers and the internet to deliver voice and video communications to other users. Because this technology relies on the use of the internet, calls can be made and received from anywhere in the world; communication may also be made to cell phones, landlines, and other VoIP phones. 

Voice over Internet Protocol calling works by using traditional, analog voice signals and changing them into digital messages that can be sent through broadband connections. 

VoIP phones easily wire into your computer and internet with an Ethernet cable or you may choose to use the existing technology on your device to make and receive calls. While purchasing a dedicated VoIP or SIP phone is ideal, it’s not necessary as most traditional phone hardware can be used as a VoIP phone with a VoIP adapter.

Benefits of VoIP for Businesses

As mentioned, using VoIP allows for calls to be made and received anywhere in the world, to any type of phone. This fact alone gives businesses the benefit of flexibility and mobility; allowing for management to be productive while away from the office or employees to work remotely (saving on travel costs.)

To further improve the flexibility and mobility of your business, VoIP systems allow you to easily implement call forwarding. This allows any call made to your business number to be forwarded to your mobile device, preventing you from missing important conversations while still enjoying life outside of the office. 

VoIP systems also make scaling your business easy – adding a new user or removing one can be done by adding or removing a phone from your network. Business owners can also manage, maintain, and optimize their systems by logging onto the software provided by their VoIP service company, typically on the Web.. 

Because almost any traditional telephone hardware will operate as a VoIP phone, your business can save money by opting to keep the existing phones or by slowly integrating VoIP phones into your communications mix. When you do choose to purchase a VoIP phone, these systems are often less expensive than a traditional PSTN and have just as many (or more) features. 

The ease of adding new users combined with the ability to use your existing hardware helps businesses keep pace with increasing consumer demand and call volume. 

Switching to VoIP can improve the overall efficiency of your staff and business operations. This is often done through optimizing how voicemails and calls are transferred to other employees as well as the ability to share multimedia formats with other users during presentations or conference calls. 

Deciding to use VoIP over traditional phone systems can help you save money on your monthly operating costs and calling expenses because domestic long-distance calls are often included in the pricing. The use of the internet allows international calls to remain inexpensive, helping to further stretch your budget.

You can choose to purchase VoIP plans with a multitude of features, unlimited calling, and the lease of your phones – or you can choose a plan with basic features, limited minutes, and to bring your own system. Your monthly VoIP bill can be as inexpensive or as extravagant as you’d like, giving you full control of this operational cost.

Choosing a Plan and Provider to Improve Efficiency

There are a number of VoIP service providers who promise the lowest monthly costs, highest call quality, most features, or the best reliability. While finding a company that offers the best call quality, most features, and the best reliability may be an ideal solution, it usually comes at a price. 

Conversely, many companies that offer rock-bottom pricing won’t always be the best in other facets of service. 

To find the best plan and VoIP service provider for your business, you’ll want to determine the types of technology that are most important to you and consider how much call volume your business uses each month. For the amount of time your staff spends on the phone each month, consider looking at recent phone bills. 

A VoIP service provider should be able to help you find a plan to meet your calling needs while remaining cost-effective and within your budget. Ideally, your provider will own and manage their platform to ensure a high-quality user experience and to address any problems within the network. 

GroupOne is a managed service provider that offers Voice over Internet Protocol phone services. We own and manage our VoIP platform, allowing us to quickly respond to and take action with any issues that may arise. Additionally, should your team need any type of phone-related technical support, our staff is ready to help. 

If you are interested in VoIP for your business or learning more about the benefits of VoIP for business, contact us today for a consultation.

Navigating New Working Conditions in the Year 2020: How GroupOne Was Able to Help

No one anticipated how the novel Coronavirus could impact businesses in the United States and around the world. Many small business owners never expected that a virus from overseas would not only affect daily operations, but do so for an extended period of time, sending many employees to work from home. 

GroupOne was able to help their clients in the transition from a physical work environment to a remote one, helping with the initial set-up and providing support when needed along the way. 

Keep reading to learn how we worked closely with our partners and clients to ensure the continuity of business operations in the face of an unprecedented pandemic!

Transitioning to Cloud Services

At the beginning of 2020, many businesses were uncertain about whether they should transition to the cloud, which cloud platform was best for them, and if the cloud was truly secure. As the year and the pandemic progressed, GroupOne was able to help answer these questions. 

Transitioning to the cloud gives businesses and employees the accessibility they need in order to work from home. Additionally, this computing resource allows for collaboration on projects, easier communication, and the real-time saving of data. 

While cloud technology has been around for a while, business owners came around to the idea after consulting with our team of professionals to learn which platform would work best for them and how to implement it. 

Because GroupOne isn’t partnered with a single cloud platform, we are able to analyze a business to see what their internal workflows are, how they use computing resources, and identify the best solution available. Our partners were able to quickly implement the use of cloud computing with minimal problems and only a small learning curve as they adjusted to the change.

The adoption of this technology allowed our partners to continue business operations as normally as possible and know that their data was secure.

Lacking Hardware

Because of the pandemic forcing many employees to work from home, there seemed to be a shortage of everything office-related – from desks and chairs to important items like laptops, computer screens, and routers. 

When items such as these are in high demand, the prices usually increase. This can cause businesses to pay more for technology – if these items are even able to be found. 

Our clients who choose to lease their hardware from us were able to avoid this problem completely and instead focus on transitioning to remote operations.

Speeding Up and Securing Internet Connections

One of the biggest issues that working remotely can present is internet-related. Many employees will face slow internet connections, spotty service, or the inability to stay connected for an extended period of time. Additionally, security becomes an issue when connections to a workstation or cloud aren’t secure.

We understand that internet access needs to be fast and secure so we work with businesses to find the best possible solutions for this problem. Some of our partners have already given their employees business internet connections; others are considering this choice depending on what the next several months bring. 

Our team has helped businesses make these decisions by working closely with local Internet Service Providers to ensure the most cost-effective solutions. 

Fast internet is only half the battle – security is the other half. 

Because many devices and home internet connections are not secure, we offer our partners continuous monitoring of these networks as well as any business connections that may be used. Additionally, we were able to set up many of our clients with virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure the secure transmission of data from the employee’s home computer to the cloud.

These two services enabled businesses to ensure that their company and customer data remained secure without being compromised by cyberthreats and attacks.

Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol

When businesses began working remotely, many of them had to move their analog phone service over to an updated Voice over IP (VoIP) service to continue making and taking calls. Our hosted VoIP services allowed this transition to be seamless and allow our partners to continue providing customer service and making sales calls during the height of the Covid pandemic. 

GroupOne owns its VoIP infrastructure which means that all support needs can be taken care of quickly without major interruption to business, making this a great solution during remote operations, and after the virus when business operations returns to normal.

Covid-19: A Great Example of Disaster Recovery

Before people realized how real the threat of Covid-19 was and its impact on daily life, many small business owners were resistant to the idea of disaster recovery. Companies who chose to avoid creating a business continuity plan faced difficult repercussions and some had to close their doors. 

GroupOne was able to help our partners navigate the new remote working conditions in 2020, providing assistance with transitioning to the cloud, improving connectivity, and offering VoIP and VPN services. We gave our partners the IT support they needed in order to ensure the continuation of operations while quarantine orders were in effect. 

Our team is dedicated to finding unique solutions for each one of our partners and is excited to see what the year 2021 will bring in terms of the return to normalcy. 

If you’d like to learn more about how our managed services, VoIP, cloud computing, or IT support can help your business with a disaster recovery plan or while actively recovering from a pandemic, contact GroupOne for a consultation and needs analysis.

IT Consulting: Consulting Services

Ready to migrate your business data and files to the cloud? It’s important to keep your organization’s sensitive data safe and secure. The good news is that safe cloud migration is simple: here are the questions you should be asking to ensure you’re ready for the big move.

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Types of Managed Services / Looking at the Various Services and Security Options We Offer as an MSP

Ready to migrate your business data and files to the cloud? It’s important to keep your organization’s sensitive data safe and secure. The good news is that safe cloud migration is simple: here are the questions you should be asking to ensure you’re ready for the big move.

Business Benefits of Cloud Computing / Key Advantages and Best Practices for Today’s Cloud Products

Ready to migrate your business data and files to the cloud? It’s important to keep your organization’s sensitive data safe and secure. The good news is that safe cloud migration is simple: here are the questions you should be asking to ensure you’re ready for the big move.

5 Questions to Consider for a Successful Cloud Migration

Cloud computing is everywhere these days, and for good reason. From improving your business scalability to supporting flexible working practices, the benefits of cloud computing are numerous. However, before you move to the cloud, here are the five questions you should consider to make the transition as seamless as possible. 

1. Why am I moving to the cloud?

While it’s true that around 96% of businesses use some form of cloud computing solution, it’s still important to know why you’re choosing the cloud in the first place. Perhaps you want to reduce operating costs, improve data security, reduce the expenses associated with maintaining IT equipment, or speed up workflows. 

Whatever your reasons, understand what you hope to achieve from cloud migration before you get started. Maintaining a focal point will help ensure your money and resources are utilized where they’re needed most. 

2. What storage do I need?

Choosing the right cloud storage means choosing the appropriate storage for your unique business needs. Your IT service provider can help you with this, but when you’re researching cloud storage options, consider factors such as:

  • How often you’ll access the data
  • Who has access and editing rights to the files  
  • How large are the files and folders

To help reduce costs, you can always choose cheaper storage tiers for data you rarely use or archived files. Don’t rush into a cloud solution – make sure it’s the most cost-effective and functional package for your business. 

3. Am I migrating all business data to the cloud?

Chances are there’s no need to move all your business data to the cloud, at least not right away. To keep costs at a minimum, consider leaving historic data behind until a later date and only migrate the data you need on a daily basis. Migrating all your data can have a noticeable impact on your migration schedule and costs, so only move everything necessary for your business operations. 

If you’re unsure, always consult an IT professional

4. How do I minimize downtime and keep the business running?

It’s vital that you keep your business operations moving during a cloud migration.

Ensure that you keep personnel fully informed of IT changes and provide whatever training they’ll need to get up to speed on a new system. Review your data migration periodically to ascertain how long it will take to complete the process and identify potential downtime costs before they become realities. 

Your data is your legacy, make sure your IT provider has secured your data prior to migration.

5. How will I keep my data secure?

A recent study revealed that 64% of respondents worry about data loss and leakage from the cloud. Since you’re responsible for data security at every stage of the migration process, you’ll want to ensure that you encrypt data for the move. 

You should also ensure that you’re clear on whether any firewalls will hinder your access to the data once it migrates, and you should understand how you’ll manage access privileges if not all file permissions transfer with the data. 

Bonus tip: once you’ve completed your data migration, check the data to ensure there aren’t any corrupted files and that everything moved over properly. To this end, it’s crucial that you move data to the cloud in stages so you can troubleshoot any issues before they arise. 
Moving to the cloud is a big step, and without experience, this can be a daunting undertaking. Remember that your data is your legacy, and should always be in capable hands. For more information on cloud computing and devising a successful cloud migration strategy, contact the team today.

Cloud Computing: Is There Value for Your Company in the Cloud?

Cloud computing delivers hosted services over the Internet, including email applications, website hosting, and specialized software like Salesforce.com®. Software as a Service (Saas) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are both software services delivered via the Internet instead of installed on your computers. With cloud computing, you use someone else’s servers instead of investing in and maintaining the hardware yourself to run your business.

There are cloud services available for any business processes you have, and some businesses even move their entire operations to the cloud. There are also hybrid solutions if you have some applications or data that you want to stay on your property and manage others in the cloud.

Cloud services provide many business benefits, including cost savings, ease of scaling computing operations as your business grows, and extra data security.

How do you know if using cloud services is right for your business? Consider asking these questions:

1. Do you often have problems budgeting for technology purchases?

2. Do you struggle to manage your hardware and network?

3. Are you unable to implement mobility and manage changes to your infrastructure?

4. Do you find yourself wanting more time to manage your business instead of dealing with technology challenges?

5. Do you often wonder if your company’s technology and digital assets are secure enough, or worry what would happen if there was some disaster?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should look at what problems cloud computing could solve in your business.