Tis’ the question of the season: “How can I be more productive now so that I can spend more time with my family this holiday season?”
For many of us, work-life balance is a difficult task to master. During the holidays, this balance can feel even more difficult to manage. Every one of us has an ever-growing “to do” list that needs to be completed each and every day. Any project or task that requires extra work can cut into precious time that could otherwise be spent with loved ones.
Unfortunately, the IT world is ever-changing, meaning those who strive to stay up to date with the latest trends and technology can end up compromising personal time. So how can you be more productive before the holidays hit, to ensure that well deserved family time isn’t spent on the clock? The answer is simple: plan, prepare and streamline.
Here are five tips to help you streamline your IT System in the hopes of giving you back some much needed (and deserved) personal time this holiday season.
1. Optimize Your Network:
As simple as it sounds, many small to medium sized businesses are not currently utilizing servers to house their data. Using the outdated peer-to-peer network method, these companies don’t realize the amount of extra work it is creating for the IT team. Housing this system leads to workstation access failures, data loss, increased virus or spyware problems, or even irregular internet connections. Utilizing a peer-to-peer network is generally best only if you have five employees or less.
In the case that your business has more than five employees, the client/server method is better suited to handle your needs. Don’t let server sprawl and platform dependencies prevent you and your IT department from contributing to your organization’s goals. Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small and midsize business, take control of your IT infrastructure and cut capital and operating costs. Increase IT service delivery and business continuity without limiting your choice of operating systems, applications or hardware. Also, know that by keeping mission-critical data on a server, it is much easier to backup documents daily, saving you time and drastically improving the security of your files.
Estimated Time Returned to you: 15 Hours
2. Integrate the Cloud:
If you are using older, compartmentalized organizational methods, migrating to the cloud will drastically decrease time spent and funds necessary for data storage. If you have yet to build your infrastructure, consider deploying a cloud solution where you can avoid the high upfront costs of hardware. If you have an on-premises solution, know that hardware costs do not stop after the first build, especially if you plan on growing as a company. When you grow, the amount of storage will grow which drastically increases the amount of funding and time needed to implement. With a cloud solution, data storage is scalable meaning storage space grows as your business grows. In addition, the pay-as-you-go model in the cloud means you pay for the storage you need and use; no more, no less.
In addition to data storage, cloud-based services for everyday use (emails, calendars, security services, Office 365 products, and unified communications) can all be streamlined in the cloud. You’ll also be able to enjoy the flexibility of accessing data from anywhere and from any device, saving you a trip to the office this holiday season.
Estimated Time Returned to you: 40 Hours
3. Unified Communications:
Do you spend a meaningful portion of your day on the phone? What about your sales/HR/marketing teams? For most businesses, the answer is yes. For something that consumes so much of our time at the office, how is it that many businesses have not replaced its aging PBX system yet? You’re not only paying more, but you’re also missing out on some game-changing communications features by not upgrading to Voice Over Internet (VoIP) or Hosted PBX.
For instance, when you receive a voicemail, you can also receive an email that has that exact voice message. Traveling for the holidays? Enjoy being able to check your voicemail where ever you are in the world.
You’ll also gain the ability to outsource voice and data to maximize the productivity of your human resources team. Additionally, impress your marketing and sales teams by enabling them to track particular performance to specific lines. Use “find me, follow me” features to ring multiple lines at once and never miss a call again.
Then to add the cherry on top, rest easy, knowing that you are rid of costly, on-site hardware that you have to manage.
Estimated Time Returned to you: 5 hours
4. Upgrade Your Hardware:
If you are running outdated hardware/technology it is not only hurting your productivity, but negatively impacting revenue, customers, and your reputation. Older systems are slow, take longer to boot-up, and more prone to failure. Upgrading to a newer system will limit the amount of time you and your IT team spend troubleshooting, and an enhanced system will lead to an enhanced customer perception and experience.
Estimated Time Returned to you: 25 hour
5. Outsource IT:
Short on IT staff? Need to focus on more important initiatives? You don’t have to do this all alone!
There is a lot that goes in to setting up and running an intelligent business data network. Examples include configuring new servers, maintaining software, mitigating downtime, keeping hackers out of the network, adding/removing new users, and preventing virus infections only scratch the surface. You can easily leave these technical challenges to someone else, with IT Managed Services from a service provider like Otava who has seasoned experts to address all of the above. Free yourself up to focus on core competencies, not frustrating IT projects.
Estimated Time Returned to you: 10 hours
Implementing the 5 tips above is enough to give you back 2 and a half weeks of your time- time you can spend with your family this holiday season. Optimizing your IT environment will not only save you time; it will allow you to be more productive, less stressed and better prepared for any issues that may arise. When you decide to turn these tips into action, what better way to understand the impact of these trends than to chat with a Certified Otava Representative. Like most of us you’re probably well on your way to 2019 planning. Looking to better align your technology with 2019 key initiatives? Schedule us for a 30 minute strategy session before the year’s end!