Do You Have an IT Business Plan?

Most small and medium sized businesses have a business plan and follow the guidelines to keep the company on track for attaining short term and long term goals. But does your company have an IT business plan? While a business plan can help company leaders stay on track for goals, an IT plan can help identify and execute ways that technology can help companies attain those goals. An IT plan helps identify areas of growth, improved or increased revenue streams and ways to use tech to stay organized.

 

Here are some components to consider when planning out what your Business IT Plan may look like:

 

  • Mission Statement – There should be a general statement of how the technology used by the company is meant to help reach goals. A list of potential benefits and uses of technology can help get all employees on the same page. For example, if one of the goals is to communicate better with clients and within the company, how will technology play a role in that goal?
  • SWOT Analysis – Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats analysis can help organize how technology plays a role in the day-to-day running of the company. What issues are out there that tech can solve or what issues are created by the use of tech.
  • Inventory – Take an actual inventory of hardware and software and see where gaps or redundancies exist. By looking as a team at what you have, you will be better able to see what technology you may want next year or a few months down the road. Or you may realize what technology is not longer being used by employees and thus can be removed. This is also a good time to review protocols for security and use as the company requires.

 

Need help planning your IT goals? Call M&H Consulting for an evaluation of your system and IT needs.

IT Jobs and Careers

With the IT market being so competitive, it can be difficult choosing or looking for the right job description that fits you and your experiences the best. This can be true for you whether you are a looking for an entry level job or are an expert in the field with multiple job experiences under your belt. Because of this we have decided to review some of many IT job positions that exist and the responsibilities they require.

IT Consultant:

An IT consultant works directly alongside clients (individuals and businesses) evaluating and researching solutions for any concern they may have about their own technology systems.

Cloud Architect:

IT professionals with this job title are in charge of monitoring a company’s cloud system and make sure it is organized and being maintained properly in order to prevent any data or security issues.

Software Developer:

These professionals are the creative geniuses behind the development of different applications and programs that help companies complete specific tasks. They can either work on their own or with a team and are in charge of updating and testing codes to ensure they work the way they are meant to.

IT Director:

These professionals are also known as IT managers and IT leaders. IT Directors are in charge of the evaluating the function of the technology used at a business and executing the changes needed to maintain a productive work environment.

System Administrator:

These professionals are also known as sysadmins. Their overall responsibility is to manage, support and troubleshoot servers.  

Tech Skills for 2017

As mentioned in our previous blog, the IT industry can be a competitive one, especially for those who are looking for an entry level job. Because of this, we have decided to share with you some marketable technological skills that could help you land an IT job in this New Year. If you find that you have many of these tech skills already, be sure to advertise them when attending job interviews.

Programming Skills:

Programming skills are a useful skill to have for software and application developments. Many companies that have applications or specific software also hire those with programming skills to help upkeep and maintain it.

Technical Support Skills:

By this we mean having the full knowledge of various software and hardware to be able to help other businesses and individuals with any technological complications. Being able to have such skill could help you sell yourself in many interviews since this type of job is the most in demand.

Analytics Skills:

If you are analytics certified, market it! This is just almost as important of a skill as coding/programming in the IT industry. Being able to know and understand how to analyze certain information is important in helping businesses determine the advantages and weaknesses of each company.

Cloud Computing Skills:

Because many businesses are switching to cloud computing to better save and easily access their data, being able to observe, organize, and maintain cloud services is a significantly useful skill. Many businesses with unique cloud computing services need to have a well organized service in order to be able to do work efficiently and cloud architects can help ensure that it gets done without complications.

There are many other skills not mentioned here that can help you land an IT job. Simply be prepared to know which ones could be the most important for the job you are interviewing for in order to stand out.

Preparing your Company for Technology Changes

Technology is always changing and advancing. It is safe to say that technological change is inevitable especially with the younger professional generation applying new software programs to help get their work done more efficiently. Because of these constant changes, it is crucial to develop a plan to help your business make a smooth transition into new technology changes.

The first thing you want to make sure you do is developing a plan to communicate the changes with all the staff within the business. Either the head of the business or the head of the IT Department would be the best to deliver the announcements of change.

The next step would be to train your project manager or hire a strong project manager to manage all the outside work while the internal IT works is being completed. They would have to be the point of reference for vendors, internal staff and consultants.

Once the changes have been made or are being processed, it is important to track the progress. The IT department should observe and make sure things are working as they should. You would also have to make sure that everyone fully understands how to use or work with the new advancements. The best way to make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows how to work with specific devices is to host a session for the staff that will go into details of the function.

If you are going through any specific changes in your company and need more extensive help on transitioning your company into new technology, contact M&H Consultant for guidance!

The Do’s and Don’ts of IT Consulting

With IT Consulting being a competitive market, there are many things IT professionals are willing to be flexible about without realizing the damage it may cause to their reputation. These include: lowering fees, taking on various tasks that aren’t of specialty, and more. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help guide IT professionals towards the right direction.

What you should do:

      Determine what your niche is before recruiting clients. The more specialized your work is, the more you’ll be able to market your unique aspects and land more customers.

      Network with businesses you would wish to consult in the future and other professionals to help build a clientele and reference.

      Before meeting with a client, write out a checklist of potential issues to discuss with them as a starter point and let them know who you will need to communicate and work with in the company.

      Set up a time and fee point up front to settle future conflicts.

      Set up an office space if working from home to help maintain focus.

What you should not do:

      Don’t hesitate to ask for contract status updates.

      Don’t feel uncomfortable raising your fees for future clients.

      Don’t take on whatever tasks regardless of the specialty it may require. This can ruin your reputation if something were to go wrong.

      Most importantly, don’t undervalue your work. Set your fees according to the work it will require.

Best Software for HR

Having the appropriate human resource software can make all the difference in managing the tons of HR duties, but with an abundance amount of HR software programs it can be difficult to decide on the right one for your business. Some HR professionals may use the trial and error strategy to help them decide on the program that they feel works best for them, but doing this can be costly depending on the programs you use and/or how many tries it takes you to find “the right one.” Now, various business professionals may find that some programs work better for them than for others. Because of this, we have decided to give our readers a guide on what to look for in an HR software program along with a list of some existing programs that have had positive reviews.

To understand what you need to look for in a program, you must first understand the purpose of HR software. An effective program should be able to:

-Handle all administrative work

-Keep records on employees and tasks

-Provide tools for finding and retaining quality employees

In order to have a software that helps with the appropriate HR duties there are certain features to look for when doing research on them:

-Employee self-service

-Application tracking and screening

-Compensation and Succession Planning

-Collaboration tools

-Payroll and Benefits

-Performance Management

-Analytics

-Attendance Tracking

-Mobile Accessibility

Here is a list of some human resource programs that have received positive reviews:

-Zenefits

-People Matter

-BambooHR

-Namely

-SumHR

Need help deciding on a software? Call M&H Consulting for further advice!

Technology Trends

There are so many technology trends that have been developing over this past year that it can be difficult to follow all of them. As a business it is important to stay up to date with such trends in order to stay connected with your clients and fulfill their needs. We are highlighting such trends so that you can keep up-to-date with your client’s interest.

Internet Everything

This trend has been brewing for many years, but has only just begun to feel obvious. We’re talking about everything being accessible and possible on the Internet. Today, not only are you able instantly get a taxi to service you at a click of a button and manage all your bank accounts through an app, you can even get multiple other services in a pay-as-you-go matter. There are car insurances and outcome-based healthcare services that are pay-as-you-go services.

Artificial Intelligence

This trend you have most likely noticed in mobile devices and new technological advances highlighted in the news. Not only can you talk to and get information from your cell phone devices through Siri or Cortana but you are also able to ride on self-driven vehicles and even get medical diagnosis strait from your mobile device.

3-D Printing

You have probably heard of the boy who used a 3D printer to create braces that actually worked and straightened out his teeth for a much cheaper price than the traditional invisible braces. More and more devices are being created at an affordable price thanks to the 3D printing technology. 3-D printing has brought many medical advances to reality such as surgical tools, organs, and even stem cells, to name a few.

Virtual Reality

This trend is something we all thought of as a possibility but never realized how close to existence it really was. We are now able to fully interact, almost all, our senses in technology such as these. These experiences combine physical, virtual and the electronic environment to help you feel like you are living within the virtual world. Gaming devices are expected to adapt this kind of technology into their systems in the near future.

New Security Regulations

Because of all the new technological software being developed, new security regulations are also being implemented to help keep users secured.

The Best Way to Recover from a Hack

In the past we have touched base on the basics on recovering from a hack. Although there are many ways to prevent you or your business from becoming victims of a cyber attack, some hackings can be inevitable. Because of this, we are providing you with more information on the best way to recover from a hack.

The first step in the recovering process is to search for find out what exactly happened. During this step, make sure to keep the following questions in mind:

      What happened?

      Where did it happen?

      How did it happen?

      Why did it happen?

      Who did this affect?

      What was compromised?

Once you have all the answers to all these questions, you will be able to fulfill the following steps.

The next step is to let your clients and other stakeholders, that may have been affected by the attack, know what happened at a reasonable time. Give them information on what occurred, how your company will be handling the effects, and what they can do while the situation is being taken cared of. Depending on the damages, you may also want to seek legal advice as a business on the best ways to do so. Make sure to send updates on what is happening behind the scenes periodically.

One of the important steps in this process is to scan all of your devices and systems. Pay attention to any suspicious behaviors and look through any suspicious files, including codes, traffic and Internet bandwidth.

Once you have officially cleared your devices from all the damages and the holes in your system, it’s time to secure your accounts. This includes all third party passwords that may have been connected to the account or software that was hacked. If a software was hacked, then all third-party programs/accounts connected to it will also be at risk.

The final and most important step is to implement a strict security management system in your business in order to prevent another attack from occurring again. Need help determining a security management that works best for your business? Contact M&H for this and any other questions you may have.

Expert Tips and Shortcuts

Don’t you love it when someone shows you a tip or shortcut that can make your day easier or your daily work go faster? We do! So here are some tips and shortcuts that you may know or may be new to you. Hopefully something will make your job easier/better. Enjoy!

 

  • Every website seems to use a different font and size. If you need to quickly change the size try this trick for quick zoom in or zoom out. PC: Ctrl + scroll mouse wheel or Mac: Apple key + plus sign; Apple key + minus sign.
  • Need to take a picture of your desktop for some reason?  Here is the shortcut for screen shots. Press the Print Screen (often shortened to “Prt Sc”) key, typically located in the upper right corner of your keyboard, to capture a screenshot of your entire display. Alternatively, press Alt + Print Screen to merely capture a screenshot of the active window. For Mac – In order to take a shot of the whole screen – Press Command (⌘)-Shift-3. For part of the screen: Press Command-Shift-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair pointer. Move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot.
  • Need spelling or grammar help?  For both PC and Mac – F7.
  • Need to refresh the page quickly?  PC: F5, or Ctrl +  or Mac: Apple key + R
  • Need to Add a Bookmark? PC: Ctrl + D   Mac: Apple key (see right) + D
  • Tired of searching for a file, application or document? Use this shortcut. PC: Window key + F   Mac: Apple key (see right) + F
  • Do you need to undo something that you have changed or written? Pressing Ctrl + Z will Undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this will undo it. These shortcuts can also be pressed multiple times to undo or redo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redo the undo. For Apple computers use Cmd + Z and Cmd + Y to undo and redo.

 

How to Fix a Jamming Printer

Imagine printing out some important documents at work and all of a sudden hearing the dreaded beeping sound of your printer being jammed in the middle of the print. Chances are that isn’t even the first time it’s happened that week. We have all been there! No matter what we do, it seems like the printer is constantly getting jammed. Because of this, we have put together some guidance on ways to fix your printer.

First thing you should do when your printer gets jammed is shut it down completely. Things will be moved around within the printer, this way you’ll be avoiding any electrical issues. Next, you would need to open every door or lever that leads or is connected to the paper path. Follow the path of the paper from the opening tray all the way through the output tray. This way, you will be able to see where the jam is occurring.

Many times, small scraps can be the cause of printer jams. Because of this, once you have followed the paper’s path, you should carefully pull out the paper while closely checking to see if there are any small scraps wrapped around. Also, when pulling out the paper, you should make sure to do it firmly and carefully towards the direction of the path to avoid any more jammed scraps or any mechanical issues. Once this is done, you should close all the doors/levers and restart the printer. It should automatically reset after this.

Once the issue is resolved, in order to prevent this from occurring again, make sure to only use one kind of paper at a time, make sure to reload the paper tray in the correct way, and verify that all the settings are set up in the correct way needed.

If the printer continues to jam, or doesn’t reset correctly, you may need to contact an IT professional like M&H to take a look and determine what the root cause of the problem is.