As business owners, we all want to save money. We want our employees to get more done in less time. And we want technology that just does what it’s supposed to do. Let’s review three ways we can ensure we’re making the right technology decisions for our business:
- Understand that “free IT services” or “free software” often comes at a cost. Saving money in any way possible is a top priority for most small business owners, but when it comes to choosing technology, it pays to think through the downsides of free solutions.
A free software program may have the right number of the features, and seems easy to install, but getting it to seamlessly interface with your business applications ends up being a daunting challenge. In most cases, “free” also means you won’t have access to customer support when something does go wrong, and you’ll be on your own to fix any problems. A sound alternative to a “free solution” is to analyze the total cost of ownership of any solution. Consider that 52% of small and medium-sized businesses are adopting cloud services to outsource IT tasks like data storage, according to a recent SMB study. Some of the less expensive enterprise cloud solutions can be just as bad as a free download, or can still be too expensive for small businesses (like SalesForce).
- Choose IT solutions that can multi-task. Too often, small businesses fall into the trap of implementing technology that addresses only one specific task. For example, you may have needed the ability to share large files with customers or partners outside your company, so you signed up for a file-sharing service. In this case, free or not, choosing a “one trick pony” for simple tasks like file sharing might actually end up costing more in the form of lost productivity and frustration. In this case, you would likely be missing out on sophisticated collaboration tools such as full integration with your email and productivity applications that can take file sharing to the next level. Do your homework before choosing an application or service to accomplish a single task. Think through all of the related tasks and look for the solutions that allow you do more than one thing. Time spent understanding the options will bring long-term benefits. For example Dropbox is a popular app for sharing documents and photos across multiple devices. Microsoft SkyDrive offers the ability to replicate files on multiple systems, but it some of its features requires professional installation and support.
- Give yourself options. Smart business owners are like pro NFL quarterbacks; they want plenty of options. This is especially true when it comes to how you and your employees communicate with one another. There was a time when email revolutionized how people communicate at work, but today, your employees have plenty of options for communicating with one another depending on the situation. Communication with far-flung employees, clients and vendors can be expensive for many small businesses. Consider multiple solutions: Web-based teleconferencing services let large groups make video and voice connections, usually without special equipment – or sky-high phone fees. Reigning champ Adobe Connect is “the solution to beat,” said PC Magazine. Up-and-comer Fuze Meeting Pro offers innovative features like Fuze In for dialing-in late participants. Provide your team with options and you’ll benefit from efficiency and increased productivity.
Not sure where to start? Give GCInfotech a call to discuss the available solutions that would work best for your company. Together, we can make your business work smarter, faster and more efficiently.
As always, GCInfotech can walk you through the process, ensure your business has the least amount of disruption and set up a structure that will keep you running smoothly well into the future. Give us a call at 888.323.3066.