The recent flooding in South Carolina has brought the issues of disaster recovery back to the minds of many business owners. Disaster recovery it is not a one size fits all scenario. Most businesses have core data and functionality that needs to be back online quickly while other data and functionality may not be critical. When designing a disaster recovery plan it is important to consider data survivability and business continuity as well as insurance. Data survivability is the process of installing backup systems that will house data inactively while a business works to restore operations. This planning should include an offsite backup to one or more data centers preferably not in the same geographic region as the business. When this type of backup is in place the business data is stored periodically so that it may be retrieved if a physical machine or building is damaged. Companies such as… Read more!
It is official: 109 Wappoo Creek Drive, Suite 2-B is the new address for e-vos HQ! Now that the lease has been negotiated and the space is secure the real fun begins… Time for logistics planning!! During this phase it is easy to overlook a lot of seemingly small details that have a major impact on your business. Let’s start with the telephone calls: Call a contractor and schedule a time to walk through the new space to evaluate what work, if any, needs to be completed. (Note: Get ready for what can only be called The Great Paint Color Debate—I selfishly recommend making this a solo project. Just trust me on this one.) Call utility companies and schedule the date your service needs changed. INTERNET PROVIDER. (Your internet service provider may need you to schedule this several weeks before you move in…it is not like residential service. Forget this… Read more!
Moving is the worst…even when you are “moving on up like George and Weezie.” So many things must be considered and it can get overwhelming fast. In the event you have not guessed yet we are in the middle of this right now, so in an effort to help everyone ever facing this we have created a few checklists… You have decided it is time to move your office, but where do you want to go? Determine your budget (this is never fun) After determining your budget, create a TENTATIVE timeline (circumstances beyond your control WILL alter this…) Meet with a commercial realtor and start the space search (and try not to get discouraged when it seems nothing is perfect—one of the spaces that “would be perfect for you guys” ended up having more bathrooms than offices, complete with a Jacuzzis and wet bars) Negotiate your lease (this usually takes… Read more!
2006 was the last time construction was booming, banks were lending and low voltage wiring was of any concern. In 2006 the cloud existed in very few lives. The trendiest mobile phone of the year was the Sony Ericsson Z610i, the LG Chocolate was the most innovative phone and the biggest improvements to mobile phones were based on cameras and GPS. During the nine years since the last real estate boom technology has done anything except slow down, and as technology continues to progress the need to outfit buildings for data is drastically changing. The need for a high speed network has also increased due to the size of the data being brought into buildings through music and video streaming services, as well as the changes to telephone services. Because of these changes contractors need to understand how the specifications they require will drastically affect the end user of the… Read more!
Over the past few months we have seen an upward trend in the real estate market as residential and commercial properties have begun to move. The increase in sales has prompted many agencies to begin investing in customer relationship management (CRM) systems or tools. Two of the most popular CRM systems are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. The common goal of CRM systems is to help realtors drive more sales by staying organized and staying relevant with their contacts. In order to accomplish this the realtor inputs their contacts’ information into the system and then tracks correspondence and engagement over time. These systems are great until it is time for a relator to move to a new agency and the realtor realizes they do not own, or do not have access to, their data. A real estate agent’s well-being is determined by how many sales they are able to close each… Read more!
For a business to be successful in applying technology to fix a problem with automation or to increase productivity, it must be able to correctly identify the issue, isolate the issue, determine how the issue could be corrected, locate the correct IT solution and successfully implement the solution. Successfully identifying and isolating an issue requires a business to understand how and why the issue occurred. Determining a path to correct an issue does not require knowledge of IT, in fact it often requires removing IT from the equation altogether. Finally, locating and implementing an IT solution that is successful requires diligence, patience, and a team approach. Identifying and isolating issues requires a business to look at its past and determine why the issue arose in the first place. Small- and medium-sized businesses face many of the same problems during the initial growth of the company. Businesses that do not start… Read more!
Branding: who you are, what you offer, and why you’re different. This is the most important aspect of any business, and perhaps even more important for those of a more modest size. A professional business brand not only distinguishes your business from competition in a highly saturated market, but is the initial signifier of what your customer can expect; therefore, cannot just be haphazardly thrown together. Appropriate investment, both temporal and monetary, is crucial in regards to branding. Hesitation with this strategy can be common in small businesses where focus on other aspects of growing the business might be tempting and other tasks may be seen as a priority. Nevertheless, branding needs to refrain from being seen as a second thought and be at the forefront of any business’ development. Customers have a multitude of options in this day and age, and you want to be able to make a… Read more!
Microsoft developed a cloud platform meant to provide scalable IT infrastructure designed to handle the needs of enterprise business operations. However, the same cloud platform that was designed for enterprise clients is now available for use by businesses of all sizes. The most important services directly affecting small and medium sized businesses are Office 365, Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Azure. Office 365 offers clients the traditional Microsoft Office suite of applications inside a cloud environment which expands the collaboration capability. Office 365 improves collaboration within an organization through SharePoint and OneDrive. These additions to the Office suite make it easy for businesses to develop solutions tailored to their needs outside of any management software they are currently using. SharePoint can help automate business processes while OneDrive provides anytime access to documents and allow users to share documents with people inside and outside their organization. Hosted Exchange offers businesses the opportunity… Read more!
The number one way for small businesses to reduce their operating costs is to improve the communication between their internal personnel and departments. Most businesses try to streamline their systems but do not clearly understand what they must accomplish in order to do this and often times are led astray because they have misconceptions about how software they have purchased is actually being used. Rather than working on something abstract a business can streamline its systems by simply focusing on communication. Start by drawing the business from the customer’s experience pretending computers do not exist. Define every piece of information and the paper that would have to pass between departments for the system to work. After the entire system is defined using paper begin applying the technology the company is currently using to each point of communication. If the company cannot identify what is being used for a particular point… Read more!
The biggest mistakes surrounding cloud computing deployments stem from improper planning. The greatest advantage cloud computing provides a business is scalability. Scalability can only be achieved if there is a clear plan for scaling services up and down. Developing a scalable model starts with mapping each individual position based on the organizational chart. A list of tools or programs required for each position should be created to determine what cloud services are needed for each individual. This map gives the business a clear path for adding and removing individual employees as well as a per head cost of employees based on position. The next step is to determine what type of collaborative tools the business should deploy. In order to determine collaborative tools the organizational chart should be used to map out who needs to share data. Once the data sharing map is completed a business can determine which cloud… Read more!