Effectively integrating technology into your business is no longer optional, it’s a must.
The old business model where technology took a bit of a backseat won’t cut it in today’s landscape. For businesses to thrive, they need to take advantage of what’s out there and have the right systems in place.
Not everyone is a tech expert and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but there are services that can help. They’ll assess what you’re working with, make recommendations and set you up, so you can focus on running your business.
Local firm BoltonSmith are cloud and IT experts. They help organizations of all sizes with their daily tech needs, providing simple and affordable solutions for phone systems, virtual private servers and virtual desktops. They work alongside each business, enabling it to harness technology safely and securely, while minimizing downtime and technical issues.
The company helps everyone from Mom-and-Pop shops to Fortune 100 companies. While their services were in high demand before 2020, they’ve been working nonstop since the pandemic hit. Workplaces of every size are much more dynamic now.
“Before 2019, businesses essentially could pick what kind of workforce they wanted,” says Tristan Bolton, President. Everyone could go into the office or there could be a main office and some satellites. “Then 2020 came and forced the conversation in a lot of different ways. What we’re seeing now is companies want the flexibility to have their employees work remote or in the office, and more importantly have the same experience .”
They may want staff to be able to work from home a couple of days a week or have staff that have moved away and will be working fully remotely. Others may prefer to have employees in the office full-time. Companies want to be ready for every eventuality, yet have the work experience remain the same for everyone.
“It’s the fluidity that’s very new because that wasn’t there before,” says Bolton.
Of course the other big part of this is the tech tools themselves.
“For internal communications, when companies are talking to their staff, we tend to see either Microsoft Teams or Slack as the two big ones instant messengers people are using,” he says. “When it comes to communicating externally, with vendors or customers, we still see Zoom as the main one, but there have been some challenges with that solution, so we’re starting to see upticks in Webex, as well as people using Teams Meetings.”
There’s more demand for external boardrooms, as well as the smaller elements many of us didn’t pay so much attention to before. Suddenly we all care a lot about things like Wi-Fi strength, webcams, microphones and speakers, demanding better quality.
When it comes to communication and files, there has been a big move away from physical servers.
“Before, everyone would just have a server in the office. You’d store all your files on there, maybe you’d VPN in and get your files—and that would be slow if you were remote but that would be fine,” he says. “Now we’re seeing a big shift towards OneDrive or DropBox. A lot of companies are moving their files into these cloud-based systems, which is great, we’re a cloud company, we’re all for it. But there are a lot of other considerations, including the security.”
Harnessing the power of the latest technology can come with some unexpected benefits. For one, it can help you retain your current talent, as well as expand your talent pool; you’re no longer restricted to hiring someone who lives within a commuting radius of your office.
“It does flip a lot of the expenses of your IT from a capital expenditure, where you have to spend $5,000 or $20,000 for a new server, to an operational expense where you pay $10 a month per employee,” adds Bolton. As a company grows or contracts, it will have a good idea of the expenses it can expect.
Over the past year, they’ve seen changes in the requests they’re getting. From March until September, companies were concerned with keeping business going the way it was before. The attitude was, “We’ll keep handling the bumps, just get some laptops out and maybe scale up how we normally do things. We’ll just kind of grit through it,” says Bolton.
Since September, there was recognition that we have no idea when the end is, so companies wanted to know what the best platforms and tools out there were. “It’s far from a one-size-fits-all,” warns Bolton. The best communication tool for one business may not be the same for another. Is it important to be able to screen share, to do phone calls in that system, to have really good IMs back and forth? That will drive one platform recommendation over another.
The latest concern is security. If an employee has been at home working on her personal computer for the last nine months, is the company data on it secured? Backed up? What if there are medical records or legal records? The latest wave is recommending the products and tools that can keep files secure.
“We fix everything from ‘my printer doesn’t work’ or ‘my email doesn’t work’ right up to securing critical and regulatory files. Some have customers or staff globally, are mission critical and can never go down. And we do everything in between,” says Bolton. “You name it, we do it.”
It can seem like you’re faced with an onslaught of little problems and there’s certainly a learning curve that comes with all this change. But once businesses are in the cloud—BoltonSmith helps not only with the migration, but also the staff adoption and training—they tend to express a huge amount of appreciation and relief.
Learn more about BoltonSmith’s powerful, dependable and cost-effective solutions.