Business Communication and Collaboration Apps

Communication is key in the business world whether it is relaying critical information to employees or staying up-to-date with clients. In order to maintain adequate communication, no matter who with, having a proven method or protocol can assist greatly at work. In this blog, let’s continue examining how technology can help you communicate better.

What type of communication do you use now: email, instant messaging or phone calls? Is it working or does it need to be streamlined to make communication more effective? If you are looking to enhance your communication or develop new strategies to stay in touch, consider these advancements on technology to help guide you along the way.

  • Slack – This app is one of the most popular ways for internal teams to collaborate. Slack features chat rooms organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. Files, groups, and members are all completely searchable, making it easy to pull up previous conversations. It’s available for web, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. [slack.com]
  • BaseCamp – If you need to maintain regular communication with clients BaseCamp may be a viable choice. It is designed to make it easy for people in different departments within a company to share files and collaborate on projects. By consolidating internal communications, project management, and client relations in one place, it provides an efficient and streamlined solution for managing a variety of internal communication and collaboration needs. Basecamp’s discussion boards eliminate the need for complex, hard-to-navigate email chains by consolidating discussion about a subject in one place. It also manages tasks and to-do lists for staff members. [basecamp.com]
  • DialMyCalls – If your business prefers to alert customers of upcoming events, appointments or due dates DialMyCalls may be the method for you. Many businesses use DialMyCalls to send out important notifications to employees, or to remind staff of upcoming events, meetings, or due dates. It’s also useful for reaching out to employees to cover shifts when someone gets sick or needs to miss work because of a personal emergency.

Tips for Using Personal Devices as a Business Device

For many small businesses financing is tight, especially during those first five or so years. Owners and managers are always looking for a way to increase productivity and raise revenue all while differentiating the business from others in your field. Finding ways to use personal devices to promote your business is key to making it through the lean years. Having a smart mobile strategy can help you manage security, data management and upkeep. Here are some clever things to think about when using your personal devices for business.

  • Keeping an Eye on Costs – Obviously if your company is trying to reduce costs, managing the multitude of devices can get overwhelming. Maintaining an inventory of your mobile assets is critical because, if you don’t know what devices you have in your organization, you won’t be able to keep track of your bills and spending, both for wireless service and for hardware. Have a set employee be the point person who keeps tabs on wireless bills, maintenance and any issues that come up.
  • Establish a Company Mobile Policy – Consider coming up with some set standards about usage for personal vs business use. This should include a policy for things such as: installment of Apps, security for business data, social media use, and a policy to report abuses and problems. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy should also be set before employees can use a personal device for work related purposes. The Human Resources department – or a specialist if you are a small company- can review with your employees problems such as sexting, mobile harassment and driving while texting.
  • Data Management – One critical piece that can not be ignored when it comes to using data on personal devices is the management and protection of the business data you are accessing. Make sure your business data, such as contacts, pictures, files and financial information are backed up at a separate site and have security methods in place. This applies to information that could be lost or stolen if the device is taken or lost.

The Benefits of Multifunctional Printers

We are a society that demands immediate gratification and major multitasking abilities. Our smartphones allow us to have a phone conversation all while surfing the web. Our laptops work at lightening speed and can run multiple programs at once. We expect our technology to work fast and to do multiple jobs at once. This is why many companies find multifunctional printers to be such an asset to their business. Multifunctional printers, or MFPs, combine the capabilities of up to four devices: printer, copier, scanner and fax, into one piece of equipment. Let’s examine the many benefits of this device and some caveats as well.

  • Money Savers – What business doesn’t like to save money? MFPs offer the capability of gaining multiple equipment functionality at a far smaller cost than the combined price of many devices an MFP replaces. Although the purchase price for an all-in-one printer may exceed that of a traditional printer, the overall cost typically remains less than purchasing multiple machines. In addition to the savings associated with the original purchase price, maintaining one device costs less than maintaining multiple devices.
  • Space Saver – Obviously fewer devices means less space being absorbed in your office or home. For many small businesses that rely on setting up shop in a small space this can be a lifesaver. Most models now are compact thus freeing up valuable real estate on counters and in workrooms.
  • Reduction of Waste – MFPs use one set of consumable supplies for all their output options which translates into less waste. Since the machine uses the same ink/toner cartridges, it saves on buying multiple brands and, thus streamlines usage and recycling. If your company is hoping to reduce waste of electricity the MFP may be a good choice. One MFP uses less electricity than the host of devices it replaces.

Although MFPs can offer considerable advantages, they are not without their downsides as well. When you meet multiple office needs with one device, you run the risk of losing access to multiple office functions if your MFP develops problems.  For example, a problem with an ink or toner cartridge may prevent you from printing, copying and receiving faxes. Another disadvantage of a multifunctional printer includes the potential lack of quality when compared to single function devices. For example, the fax machine on a multifunctional device may not offer the same magnitude of features as those offered by a standalone fax machine. If you have questions about what kind of printer might be the best for your business talk to the experts at M&H Consulting.

 

The Importance of Network & Office Evaluations

When you think of the word “evaluation,” what comes to mind? Perhaps when you think about evaluations you think about anxiousness, annoyance, or maybe tediousness. Sometimes evaluations can bring all those thoughts and feelings when thought of, but it does not have to be this way. Computer network evaluations and employee office evaluations are very important and can help prevent many issues.

Network Evaluations:

If you are not already aware of what network evaluations are, it is the process of assessing a current network’s infrastructure, system, software, security and implementation.

Out of the two evaluations, this one is the more expensive one. The reason for this is because having this type of evaluation done can be very time consuming and requires the time of IT managements and a key business personnel in order to do it. But, if this could be overlooked, there are a lot of issues that can be prevented by this process.

Performance:

By doing this evaluation, you could prevent any future performance issues. With this you could find any areas that may need improvement and address them ahead of time. You could also find that, maybe this network is not beneficial for your growing business any longer and could help decide what you would want an upgraded network to do for you.

Security:

Security issues are a huge problem for any business especially if the company works with confidential data. If there were ever any security problems it could become expensive to correct, and it could cost the business their customer’s trust.

According to Smallbusiness.chron.com, the Department of Homeland Security believes this kind of evaluation to be so important that they allow requests for free evaluations.

Office Evaluations:

Office, or employee, evaluations are done in order to measure job performances. This type of evaluation can be extremely helpful and beneficial for the business.

Performance:

By handing out employee evaluations, you would be forced to face difficult situations that need to be dealt with ahead of time or in a timely matter. This way, by the time of the next evaluation, all the major issues have already been dealt with and under control.

Motivation:

Being honest about the evaluations and addressing the strengths and weaknesses of an employee, you could help keep your employees motivated. By doing this, you could also set future performance goals and objectives for them in order to help them stay on track with work.

At first, getting these evaluations can seem as a long tedious, and sometimes expensive process, but the benefits for these issues can be much greater than the initial annoyances.