Is Your Company Getting the Most out Of Its Information Technology?

January 20, 2016 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Technology is designed to make things easier. Whether you are streamlining internal processes or trying to improve customer experience, properly investing in the right technology can be crucial to the success of your business. Periodically, you should take the time to evaluate whether you are getting the most out of your current technology or if there is room for improvement.

Upgrade Hardware on a Schedule

The simplest way to compartmentalize information technology is to separate it into two manageable categories: hardware and software. When it comes to hardware, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Always make sure you back up vital information. There are many cloud storage options available, like Mozy, which can save you money and frustration when problems arise. Additionally, it can be immensely helpful to upgrade or replace hardware on a schedule. This will allow you to save money because it is more cost-effective to upgrade your hardware all at once, as opposed to incrementally upgrading or repairing your hardware because of malfunctions or setbacks. Upgrading on a schedule also allows you to keep more easily track of the various warranties associated with your hardware. Additionally, you can often get a discount for bundling equipment together.

Open Source Software

When it comes to software, it can seem a little more complicated. Fortunately, there are many helpful resources online to help you make decisions. While the needs of your business may require specialized software, there are several basic programs that everyone should know about. Many businesses use Microsoft Office, which contains programs like Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, among others. New versions of Office often make changes to improve function and convenience. However, if you are working from home and want to save money, OpenOffice is an excellent open source option. OpenOffice is designed to do just about everything that Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint do and is compatible with those programs. If you are looking for a free, high-quality alternative to Microsoft Outlook, there's Mozilla's Thunderbird, which has most of the same features of Outlook and an integrated search system that some experts prefer to Outlook. Another free option for generating word documents and spreadsheets is Google Docs. Google Docs also enables you to collaborate on files with other Google users. All Google Doc files are saved in the cloud which means your work is secure.

Paid Software: The Essentials 

Although open source programs and services continue to offer useful, high-quality experiences for users, there are still some necessary programs that require money. One example is Intuit's QuickBooks Pro. QuickBooks is generally accepted as the standard financial management program because of the efficiency and ease with which you can perform necessary tasks. Another service worth spending money on is security. Avira Antivirus offers a free package, but the superior protection that comes with the paid versions is worth the cost. Finally, consider investing in a Virtual Office from Servcorp. There are many advantages to having a virtual office, but the IT support included in every package will help you set up your IT and solve problems as they come up. 

Whether you work from home or in an office with an IT department, technology is fundamental to the operation of your business. Make sure you are getting the most out of your information technology so that you can be as productive and efficient as possible.