Making IT Work for the People in your Business
At P1, we talk a lot about making sure that people are the first thing you think of when it comes to implementing technology in your business.
So, we wanted to ask – when was the last time you took the time to think about how you can make technology work better for your people?
When the technology in your business works, it makes for a happier and more productive team. And a happier, more productive team, means happier clients and a healthier business. Here’s what you should be doing to make sure your workforce are supported by technology, instead of being hindered by it.
Purchase high quality hardware
When it’s time for a new PC, laptop, or hardware accessories, it pays to purchase quality equipment, instead of just what’s on sale. There’s also a big difference in what’s available at a local retailer, compared to what your commercial IT provider can source.
Commercial IT providers like us deal in commercial grade equipment. This means we’ve seen and experienced the difference between domestic and commercial computer hardware. The build quality is better, the screens are brighter, the keyboards feel better and the features are more customisable and often include things like touch screens or inbuilt broadband that you won’t find on domestically available units.
When you buy commercial, you’ll also automatically get software like Windows 10 Pro, which is essential for many businesses (and much better than Windows 10 Home when it comes to a business environment).
The other very important thing that comes with commercial hardware is a 3-year warranty, giving you peace of mind that your investment is backed by the manufacturer. We’ve had many first hand experiences of domestically purchased hardware that carks it after 18 months and there’s simply nothing we can do about it as the 12-month warranty has expired.
So next time you’re looking at a new PC or laptop, talk to your IT provider to make sure what you get isn’t just an 18 month wonder, but something that will last you the distance, is more efficient over it’s life span and is a pleasure to use from day one.
Make sure software licenses and support agreements are current
Many businesses are reluctant to keep their software up to date and support for critical software or hardware in place. Why? The usual answer it that it’s expensive.
But if you avoid software upgrades and maintaining current support and maintenance contracts, it can come back to bite you. When the software doesn’t work, or the machine in the factory stops communicating with the server, you have nowhere to go.
If this happens, your IT provider will often be the first port of call and we will do what we can. But if it’s software or machine specific, we’ll need to contact the supplier for further support. If you don’t have the latest versions or current support agreements in place, it will lead to longer downtime, higher overall costs to the business and unnecessary stress for you and your staff.
Making sure your staff has adequate training goes hand in hand with up-to-date support agreements and software.
If you maintain good relationships with your software and hardware suppliers, you will often receive ongoing training and information about what’s happening with the software you use. You’ll also have an account manager who will support you when a new staff member starts and you want to get them up to speed in using the technology that makes your business tick.
Webinars, training guides and access to an expert via the phone or online chat can give you and your staff great support when you need it. It takes the load off you as the business owner or manager and your staff will feel confident and supported with the technology they use to do their job.
Have a reliable IT partner
Of course, the most common reason these things get overlooked is because you’re missing a key element in your business – a reliable IT partner.
If you don’t have someone you can depend on, the business owner, operations manager or other key staff member end up taking on the technology burden in the business while they’re also trying to do their own job.
The end result is short-term fixes, reactive decision-making and poor quality infrastructure. Then, when the load finally becomes too much and you do engage an IT provider, it costs you much more time and money to get the mess untangled.
So, if you don’t have a trusted, professional IT partner in your business, put it at the top of your to do list today. Speak to other businesses about who they recommend – it’s often not as big a commitment, or as expensive as you might think, and it means you can get back to focusing on growing your business and serving your customers instead of worrying about what IT challenges might fall on your shoulders this week!
Even taking action on just one of these things will help make your workplace a more productive and happy place to be. That’s just what happens when you put people first when it comes to the technology in your business.