3 Ways to Improve Project Management from Our PM Expert

Whether you use a project management (PM) software that doesn’t quite fit the needs of your company or you’re winging it without a solution, project management is a crucial piece to your business that can’t be overlooked. That’s why we’ve asked our project management expert to answer the most common PM questions, give us more insight into the importance of a reliable project management software, and teach us how we can improve our existing solutions.

What is project management software and how will it impact my business?

Project management software is a comprehensive solution designed to give your team more visibility, control and access to your business projects. You’re able to track time, organize tasks and projects, and identify gaps that are impacting your timeline and budget.

A study by Hive found that 77 percent of high-performing projects use PM software. By adopting a project management software or finding a solution that fits your business needs, you’ll make a stronger impact on the success of your projects. You’ll be able to quickly identify gaps and roadblocks in your processes, easily reassign tasks to alleviate hold-ups and – for some software solutions – track the time spent on a project within your task so that you can properly bill for the hours worked. This helps your business work seamlessly and effectively.

How do I find the right PM software solution for my business?

There are a lot of tools in the market for project management. From the free programs with limited features to the per-user options that give you unlimited access, finding the right project management software for your business requires more than throwing darts at a board.

First, you need to analyze your needs. If you’ve never implemented a PM software before, you’re starting with a blank slate. If you already have a solution that isn’t quite fitting your needs, where has your previous software failed? Identify what you need and what your goals for this solution are, then do extensive research finding a tool that accommodates those needs. A managed services partner can be your biggest asset when it comes to leveraging vendor relationships and identifying the most secure software option for your business.

How do I know if my project management software is working for my business?

Whether this is a question you’re asking before or after adopting a software program, the answer is still the same – is your PM solution helping you meet your goals? If your team struggles to stay on track and adhere to a strict budget, is your software doing that? No two software solutions are the same, and how you use your PM solution greatly impacts the answer to this question.

Some solutions don’t include time tracking. While there are other applications that you can use for this purpose, if your main goal is to have a solution that helps you send out appropriate billing, then you would be disappointed with a software solution that doesn’t offer time tracking capabilities.

Improving your existing software or finding a project management software on your own can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. To get help in finding the right solution for your business and for more advice on how you can improve your existing software, contact us today.


trending tech gifts

5 Trending Tech Gifts Rated from Practical to Ultra Cool

What’s more challenging to you, buying gifts for people who like to have all the cool stuff or shopping for those with more practical tastes? We all know people on either side of the spectrum, though most are somewhere in the middle. How do you get the right gift for each of them?

To make your shopping a little easier, we’ve rated five trending holiday tech gifts by how cool they are. We’ve even created a coolness scale for them, from one ice cube for the most practical gifts to five ice cubes for the ultra-cool. Regardless of their coolness rating, each of these gifts is hot right now, and that’s a good thing.

One Ice Cube

Nest Learning Thermostat

By programming your thermostat for you without any instructions, the Nest Learning Thermostat makes your life so much easier it’s actually a little bit cool – and that’s saying a lot for a thermostat. Nest pays attention to when you raise and lower the temperature, so it can take over the task of programming itself for you. For all the practical people you know, Nest is a very smart gift.

Two Ice Cubes

Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi

You know that moment when you make yourself nice and comfy with your laptop or tablet and then realize that you have no WiFi in that part of the house or yard? Give someone on your list the Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi and they will never have that experience again. Each node covers 2,000 square feet. Additional nodes can be daisy chained together to achieve 100 percent WiFi coverage.

Three Ice Cubes

Amazon Echo Show

The second-generation Echo Show raises the coolness factor with a 10.1-inch HD screen, premium speakers and video call capability. Alexa awaits every command, from turning lights on and off to playing your music to showing you recipes, photos, movies and much more. Eight microphones allow Alexa to hear you even when music is playing. Echo Show is a gift many people don’t realize how much they’ll love it until they have it, and that’s pretty cool.

Four Ice Cubes

Xbox or PS4

Sure, these gaming systems have been around for a long time, but so many people play games on other devices that when they finally get a chance to play on an Xbox or PS4, the first words out of their mouths are usually, “This is cool!” Playing Fortnite on a big screen Full HD or 4K TV is eminently cooler than playing on a phone or laptop. Plus, the gaming system doubles as a streaming device for the TV. Everyone wins.

Five Ice Cubes

iPhone XS

How do you make the coolest phone even cooler? Leave it to Apple. Upgrades to face recognition security and speaker sound quality top the list, along with new color choices. Those inclined to having phone accidents will appreciate that the iPhone XS can handle a deeper and longer fall into water. On screen, the dynamic range has been boosted 60 percent, which means the darks are darker and the lights are lighter. Still the ultra-coolest.

Our Gift to You

We also have one very cool and extremely practical gift, just for your business. We will come to your office to evaluate and report on how well your current technology is serving your business. No fee, no obligation – it’s on us. Contact us today.


tech investments blog

4 Investments to Make in the New Year

Gartner estimates that in the coming year, technology budgets will grow by 2.8 percent. It’s not shocking when you consider that budgets have been increasing each year for the past decade – and there’s no evidence of it stopping anytime soon.

As technology changes and adapts to growing needs, we’re finding new and better ways to strengthen our operations and secure customers’ confidential information. But, what trends will the coming year bring and how can you use them to your full advantage?

Here are four investments you can make to improve your business next year:

Enhance Your Setup

Most businesses think you need to completely revamp your infrastructure and processes to improve your productivity, but enhancing your workforce is sometimes as simple as adding a second, third or fourth monitor. A study by Fujitsu Siemens Computers found that additional monitors can increase productivity by 35 percent, making it one of the easiest – and most cost-efficient – ways to improve productivity and ROI.

Train Your Team

As cybercriminals become smarter at disguising viruses and scams, your team needs to be smarter too. Phishing scams are difficult to identify, but by training your employees on how to recognize threats and investing in a multi-layered security solution, you can keep your customers’ confidential information safe and eliminate the risk of downtime, data loss and interruptions.

Upgrade Outdated Tech

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2010 by January 2020. Outdated technology is not only detrimental to your productivity, but it creates gaps in your defenses and allows cybercriminals to exploit bugs in your systems. By upgrading your technology, you can ensure your operations are efficient and safe.

Migrate to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud isn’t just the popular thing to do, it’s normal and – most importantly – necessary for improving storage space, reducing operating costs and streamlining operations. From hosting files and applications like Office 365 to expanding storage with virtual and hosted servers, the cloud provides a variety of solutions that can be customized to fit your exact needs.

Don’t go into the new year unprepared. By investing in these trends and more, you can be ready for anything the new year has to throw at you. Contact us today for more information on how we can improve your existing IT solutions and keep your business safe from cyber threats like phishing scams and the dark web.


digital ethics and privacy policies

3 Strategies for Conquering Ethics & Privacy

From implementing blockchain to securing data with encryption and disaster recovery solutions, protecting your business’s and customers’ confidential data is crucial to strengthening your reputation and ensuring privacy. But, as more companies come under scrutiny for their data policies, it’s important to understand where digital ethics comes into play for your business.

Digital ethics involve the moral decisions that are made in regard to the virtual world. Are you collecting data without users’ permission? Are you selling that data to the highest buyer? What you do with the confidential information you’ve collected contributes to your digital ethics.

Understanding digital ethics can be overwhelming – but these three strategies can help you stay on top of it:

Monitoring
You should monitor everything – from internal technology usage and system security to how users are visiting your site. By analyzing this data, you’ll gain insight into your team and customers, including if they leverage technology for its intended use or if they navigate/utilize tech in unexpected ways.

By monitoring your security, you can ensure your customers’ and business’s confidential information is safe from threats like cyber criminals, natural disasters and disgruntled employees. A multi-layered security solution including data encryption, threat detection software, disaster recovery plans and other security initiatives provides a holistic approach to protecting your data from all angles.

Transparency
Being transparent about what information you’re tracking and how you’re using customer data is essential to building trust and strengthening your digital ethics. If you think to yourself, “I don’t want my customers to know I track that,” then you may have discovered a digital ethics issue.

Transparency isn’t easy, but it plays a critical role in creating trust between your business and customers. Knowing what does and doesn’t violate your customers’ privacy is key to navigating digital ethics.

The Right Balance
Walking the fine line between being helpful and being intrusive can be challenging. While your customer data collection may have the best of intentions – improving their experience, reducing their time talking with customer service, reminding them of products they have left in their cart – it doesn’t always strike the right chord. By creating a value alignment that shows the value to customers as prominently and clearly as it does for your business, you can create a win/win scenario.

Algorithms for personalizing experiences and collecting and exchanging data don’t have to feel more intrusive than supportive. By implementing these three strategies, you can find the perfect balance that works for you and your customers. For more information on how to deploy a multi-layered security solution that keeps collected data safe, contact us today.