When a small business first starts out, the IT department is pretty often the office techie and Dr. Google. For a while, you cobble together everything from free apps including antivirus and firewall, bookkeeping and accounting, even productivity and video conferencing. You know it’s limited, and while it gets the job done, sometimes the gaps in interoperability are huge. Then you might have an IT contractor, or maybe even hire someone full time to manage your software and hardware. If you’re still pinching the pennies by using freeware or “freemium” apps, you might not be getting the best performance for your business. There’s one question that you have to ask as the gaps between what you need your software to do and what the free stuff can do get bigger.
“What are these gaps actually costing us?”
The answer could be a lot of money, a lot of lost time, and a load of payroll hours. Gaps in what you need versus what you have are not just white spaces, they’re actual holes in your operation that might be eating budget. Those budget losses are probably preventing you from growing your business, communicating effectively, and encouraging your staff to get on top of little problems before they turn into big problems. With IT, which depends on accurate and timely communication, it’s critically important to get rid of inefficiencies and the gaps in communication and security that ensue.
Saving Today – Bloating Tomorrow
It might start imperceptibly. Maybe you’ve noticed that your apps don’t run as fast as they once did, or your tablet cuts out in the middle of an important Skype talk with your project lead. Downloading an update, patch, or an upgrade doesn’t fix the problem as well as it should, and then you can’t seem to get the app to work with your other apps. You now have the Walking Dead equivalent of software. Inefficient software isn’t just an annoyance, even the US Navy sees it as a security vulnerability. It’s time to make your software work, and the cloud is going to help.
Working with a reputable cloud company is a great step towards closing the gaps, but cloud-based software might be the best way to permanently close them. Yes, even InfoWorld has concerns that mirror business’ concerns about cloud security, but as businesses look to squeeze every penny, and retain talent at the same time, the public and private cloud is booming. With everything from storage, to office-productivity suites, to business video conferencing software for IT, there’s not only an app for that – there are loads of apps for that. Whatever the concerns about the security of the cloud, the response is far nimbler than counting on your Admin to police update and upgrade compliance.
Going cloud for video conferencing is a case in point about Box vs. Cloud. Not all that long ago, video conferencing was hosted on a server in-house (of you could afford one), the software and systems were often proprietary, and had little interoperability as manufacturers tried to box companies in. Your average meeting attendee needed to be an IT person to operate the software and hardware. With the cloud, and an application accessed from a room, or a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, you can have a meeting anywhere, with anyone, with all the content you need.
Yes, they do. Implementing cloud based software gives you a chance to do something about it, especially when it comes to getting the whine turned into work. Miscommunication is one of the big gaps that productivity can fall into, and once one miscommunication is allowed to stand, it’s almost like watching a crack spread across the windshield of a car. From a small, barely perceptible nick, you can grow a crack that renders the structure unstable and hinders your inability to see the road. Improving communication by bringing everyone into the room is a way to make sure that communications are accurate and timely. This is especially important in the case of a workforce that is distributed over a wider geographic area, such as lots of telecommuters, freelancers, or multiple office locations.
Inefficient communication and productivity are directly linked. You’re not only dealing with low morale in your workforce, but probably among your customers and clients, too. If that’s so, you probably will lose customers to competitors to better communicators. Change can be difficult, and there are always people who are going to say, “But we’ve always done it that way!” Bringing your IT section – even if it’s just the office techie – into these discussions will probably let you know ways to economically bring your workplace up to date, and video conferencing can also open whole new paths of communication to your customers.