Technology is often heralded as the be-all, end-all of our existence. Upgraded smartphone models come out every few months. Fresh apps pop up every week. New methods of doing business—in the cloud, with Big Data, or on mobile point-of-sale systems—overtake old ones on a daily basis. Keeping up can seem impossible, especially for a small to medium-sized business owner stretched in a thousand different directions.
Yet there’s no denying that technology drives progress—and that progress can make your business thrive. Ever try to do your job or grow your business without a PC, a laptop, an Internet connection, an email account, or a cell phone? Not in the last decade. But at some point in time, everybody thought, “These are just fads.”
That’s why it’s critical to know how to make the current trends in technology work for your business instead of against it. We recommend the following 10 strategies to put you on a path to productivity and prosperity:
Trust Foresight and Training
1) Find an IT provider and business partner you can trust. This is the most important aspect of any technology-related strategy.
Working with someone that listens to your needs, suggests services that fit your budget, helps you meet short- and long-term goals, and provides proactive as opposed to reactive monitoring of your systems is imperative.
2) As Kenny Rogers said, “Know when to hold ‘em—know when to fold ‘em.” The allure of new technology can be hard to resist, but ditching an old program or piece of hardware and throwing money at “progress” is rarely the answer.
Make sure you maximize the efficiency of the solutions you already own (and know how to use) before you try something new. But also know how to recognize when an outdated program is putting you at risk and you need to move on.
3) Make sure your staff is properly trained and up to speed on technology guidelines. This ties into tip number two: new solutions often require substantial investments in staff training, so make sure you have the resources and bandwidth ready for such a commitment.
Also, getting everyone in your company on board with the same technology policies and procedures can reduce the threat of human error, digital retaliation, and other personnel-related security issues.
Built-In Benefits, Vigilance, and Time-Saving Tricks
4) Take advantage of the organizational benefits built into existing programs. No matter what device, operating system, or productivity suite you use, chances are that the calendar, contacts, file sync, and other productivity-boosting apps that come baked in can help you streamline your day-to-day life.
5) Be vigilant in the face of spam, malware, ransomware, and data breach threats. Nothing can turn a critical piece of technology into an unusable collection of parts faster than one of the security compromises that have dominated recent news.
Remember to never open attachments or unfamiliar emails, validate links before you click on them, always employ strong passwords, and treat network security with the utmost importance to keep your systems on the up and up.
6) Master keyboard shortcuts and other time-saving tricks. Whether you use Word every day, live inside Excel, or rely on PowerPoint to make your voice heard, the long list of keyboard shortcuts inherent to each program can help slice minutes—even hours—off your workload.
Similarly, prioritizing time management with multiple monitors, cloud storage, and other tricks can give you back more of the most precious commodity on earth: minutes in the day.
Policies, Procedures, and Protection
7) Implement a sound “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy. It makes sense that employees will work best on the devices that are most familiar to them.
Smartphones and tablets are to the near future what laptops were to the recent past, opening up a world of workplace possibilities. But smart management of those devices is also critical to keep your company and your data safe.
8) Protect your investment with backup and disaster recovery. You can’t make technology work for you if it’s not working at all, right? And you probably can’t get anything done if your data has bit the dust.
That’s why redundant, offsite backup and business continuity are necessary components of any tech strategy.
Outside Knowledge and Trusted Partners
9) Be open to helpful outside knowledge. Whatever your preferred source of fresh information (family member, colleague, networking circle, Google), acknowledge the fact that you don’t know everything about technology—and that even the savviest user can learn a lot from the abundant resources that surround us.
10) Keep your ear to the ground—or (even better) rely on a trusted partner to do it for you. Technology changes faster than just about any other aspect of our modern world.
Whether you like to stay abreast of new developments yourself or focus on client service and growth, just make sure that the pace of progress is put to work for your company.
The Final Word
At CMIT Solutions, we worry about IT so you don’t have to. Our combination of intimate local service, proactive solutions, and nationally-backed infrastructure gives you a competitive advantage. If you want to know more about our commitment to making technology work for your business, not against it, contact us today.