What are the Best Maryland Businesses Doing Differently?
The complaint we hear most often from high capacity decision makers in an organization is that they face daily distractions from their core focus or their “A time.” We see this a lot in CFO’s and COO’s. They are not able to dedicate the time they need to the core mission of their organization, instead they are putting out fires—from employee issues to data breaches—and they in turn are just getting by rather than helping their organization to get ahead.
According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 14 seconds to get back to the task [after a distraction].”
Imagine this, you have blocked off two hours to get some crucial work accomplished. You spend 20 glorious minutes in full focus, until an employee of yours appears in the doorway, “do you have two seconds for a quick question,” they ask pleadingly. “Of course,” you say, as you minimize your document and give the employee your full attention. You end up speaking to this employee for fifteen minutes, and subsequently working on her issue for another thirty. By the time you get back to your original task, almost an hour had gone by and your “A Time” has all but been spent.
So why are we stuck in this spiral? Consider this, you wouldn’t ask your CFO to make uninformed legal decisions on something that has a huge impact on your business without ensuring they have a legal resource to turn consult but the same often does not hold true for other high risk decisions or areas of expertise. As the business and technology landscape changes, many decision makers find themselves struggling to keep up with the latest thing impacting their business. And the price of not keeping up can be immense—so why do we put ourselves through the stress and exposure to potential risk? The reasons vary from financial reasons to just not knowing what other options are out there.
We’ll walk you through some options and considerations so you can shift your focus back to fulfilling your mission and stop worrying about those things that fall outside of your company’s expertise.
First, what are some of the areas successful businesses have transitioned off their plates and on to a third party?
Rationale #1: I’m saving money by keeping these areas in house.
Based on the size and sector of your business, that may be true but consider these costs often left out of consideration.
Most employers look at the cost of an employee as their salary plus benefits but the less scrutinized costs associated with the areas outlined above can add up quickly!
- Technology. Areas such as IT and marketing can require complex technology from hardware to specific programs needed to manage the workload associated with their roles.
- Training. Fields such as IT, HR and Digital Marketing are ever changing at a rapid pace and the risk of not keeping up can often put your company in harm’s way from legal ramifications to lost business and downtime. Ongoing training is essential to just to keep up let alone master the evolving environment. Take the cost and burden off of your team and leverage a third party that specializes in these areas—their livelihood depends on staying on top of the changes and making sure their resources are not only trained but have mastered each area.
- Recruiting. There is a big price tag associated with finding and hiring the right resources. Whether it is a recruiting fee or the time you or your people devote to interviewing and onboarding, let that be someone else’s burden and use your time to move your core business forward.
- Management and Development. Your time commitment doesn’t end at on-boarding. The on-going management and development of that resource is a burden that falls on you or your highest capacity team members and that is keeping them and you from devoting more time towards your bottom line.
Rationale #2: It is difficult to find a third party resource I can trust.
There is no denying that it can be challenging to find the right fit for your organization when it comes to a third party partner. But once you do the confidence and peace of mind pays off in dividends. If you have an internal resource, chances are you had to invest heavily in filling that role, and as we mentioned above, getting them up to speed and continuing their growth. Plus, what happens when that resource is out sick, on vacation or has a need for longer term leave? You are left scrambling to find someone (who will likely be less qualified) to cover for them. For areas such as HR or IT, all it takes is one wrong move by your fill-in to have a huge negative impact on your business. Let’s say your head of IT is out of the office for the week and a data breach occurs? Can you take a chance on having a less qualified resource handle the fallout? If you outsource, find a third party solution that has multiple resources with the same level of expertise so you never skip a beat.
The most successful businesses eliminate distractions for their teams allowing them to focus on their core mission, outperform the competition and have a clear path for growth and longevity. Don’t get stuck in a never-ending cycle of just keeping up or worse, falling behind. Evaluate those areas that you can transition to a third party resource and you could have more time, peace of mind and greater expertise in essential areas.
Whether you rely on a partner or internal resource for certain areas of competency may depend on the size and needs of your organization. Not sure where you fall when it comes to IT? Check out this quiz:
Advance Business Systems helps organizations focus on their core mission by providing technology that can increase efficiency and effectiveness and services that eliminate the distractions that many organizations face.
The right resources and a plan are critical to an organization achieving and exceeding their goals. Advance provides services such as IT planning and support that will take IT off your plate, keep you from worrying about data security and position your business for the future.
Having the right business technology solutions in place, such as multifunctional copiers, interactive white boards and document management software, can greatly improve the flow of information through an organization.
Is IT a pain point at your organization? Whether you have an in-house IT representative or a third party resource, your company’s technology needs to be working with your company, not against it! Take our short assessment below to determine the technology resources your business needs to grow and succeed.
Learn about Managed IT Services from Advance
Determine which solutions are a “must-have” when deciding on a managed IT package.
Are you interested in how a comprehensive IT solution could benefit your business? Click here to browse our Managed IT homepage!
Managing IT has become an overwhelming task for many organizations as innovations in technology become more advanced, and the risk of security threat seems more likely every day. If you’re similar to the majority of businesses who are considering hiring a third party to manage their IT, you’re probably feeling in over your head. And you may even be currently living out one of three common (and dangerous!) IT environments at your business:
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Is your business’ back up and disaster recovery plan up to speed?
Your systems probably hold a few Terabytes’ worth of CRM and vendor data, billing and payroll history, legal and other documents. You generate vast amounts of new data daily. Yet, if you’re like 40% of small-to-medium sized companies, you don’t back up that gold at various points throughout the day. Or you assume it’s backing up…but you’re not sure.
If you’ve dodged a data disaster so far, consider yourself lucky. Roughly 40% of companies that cannot recover data within 24 hours of an outage shut their doors within 24 months (Gartner). What would happen to your business if essential data were wiped? How long could you continue operating? What would it cost to rebuild your systems and win back clients? How do you prevent a recurrence?
You may think your back up is doing its job, only to learn too late that your data wasn’t fully protected. Unless you can say with absolute certainty that your back up systems are right-sized and reliable, it’s time for a critical update. Here’s what you need to consider.
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Here’s everything you should know before moving your business to the cloud.
Ah, the cloud. You’ve heard it touted as the biggest IT innovation since the app, streaming and virtual reality goggles combined. Yes, it’s full of potential. Yes, it has plenty of pitfalls. No, you are not late to the party.
Cloud technology is, in many respects, in its infancy. Small-to-medium-sized businesses like yours are just discovering how the cloud can boost efficiency and security. They’re also learning that local hardware still has value.
The Cloud 101
The cloud is an internet-based way of computing, sharing, storing and protecting data. Everything is done online, so the work hub no longer revolves around hard drives and in-house servers. Even if your IT infrastructure is 99% local, using Microsoft 365, One Drive, Google Docs or Dropbox means you’ve already partially moved your business to the cloud.
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Everyone likes a good story, so let’s start with a dream scenario: Every morning your company’s sales team hits the road armed with a mobile arsenal of phones, tablets, and laptops. No longer tethered to the office, they’re free to focus on cultivating leads and delivering exceptional service to existing clients. They quickly become your company’s most effective CRM tool. Instead of logging hundreds of time-sucking miles a day between the office and appointments, they efficiently use public hotspots and Wi-Fi to upload orders, send RFPs and share sales reports. Your CFO is beaming. “More face time and remote work are sending productivity and orders through the roof!” he tells you. “The supply chain is humming. Revenues are way up. Clients are 100% satisfied. We are unstoppable.”
Sweet dream, right? Now let’s wake up to the ugly downside of unplugging. Sharing data over public networks leaves your company more vulnerable than ever to hacks, thefts, and breaches. Just one compromised email can leak proprietary information or reveal clients to competitors. One device enrolled in MS Exchange can experience a total wipe of all personal and business data.
If you’re not controlling what’s transmitted and to whom, you might as well send Evites to hackers. They know you’re vulnerable, and they will steal your data.
How can you fight back? With Mobile Device Management, programs that proactively control mobile devices and maintain data security outside the server room. It’s a dream solution that enables you to capitalize on mobile’s rewards while limiting the risk.
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In our digitally dependent world, a blackout of any duration can damage profits and client confidence. Yet 70% of companies, both with internal IT departments and those using hosted IT vendors, take a patchwork approach to managing their infrastructure. These businesses receive lackluster IT support at best, waiting for problems to occur and then scrambling to deal with the fallout.
Without constant monitoring, your servers – and your company – are vulnerable to everything from business interruptions to data breaches. It’s ineffective and costly. Your faulty IT support system distracts you from your goals for growth.
Technology should be used to facilitate business growth and productivity, not inhibit it. Here’s what it takes to safeguard your company’s IT infrastructure in order to maintain your current environment and set you up for future growth.
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In our younger days, we loved pretending to be firefighters.
Running a tech-dependent business can feel like the game never ended. We’re always rushing to put out the latest fire, only to see another one spring up somewhere else in the system. It’s exhausting, expensive, and inefficient.
A fully managed IT provider, like Advance, can take you out of firefighting mode so you can focus on growing your business.
Transitioning to our fully Managed IT Services frees you and your team from the time and responsibility required to run your company’s IT. We handle everything – from daily back-ups, to trouble-shooting and repairs, to strategic planning and upgrades. We continually monitor and capture utilization data, so you can make better-informed decisions earlier. We anticipate problems before they arise and address them before they threaten your business. And we can make sure that your infrastructure is right-sized now and poised to grow with you. Read more »
Cyber Monday is a wonderful thing – instead of fighting through the masses on Black Friday, those of us who value our sanity choose to purchase our holiday gifts at discounted prices from the privacy (and safety) of the Internet.
So, what is the issue, one may ask, with this apocryphal holiday? If you’re a business leader, the answer is right in the name: Cyber Monday. This is the one day a year that your employees choose to throw caution to the wind and purchase their kid some roller blades at half price- on your time and devices.
You know that this use of your company network is risky. But what exactly is it that you should be looking out for, and how can you protect yourself, your employees, and your business on this dangerous day?
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Over the past decade, we have seen mobile device usage continue to grow, both for personal and business use. In 2014 we rounded out the year with a massive 1.2 billion devices sold, up over 28% from 2013. With statistics like that, it has become clear that mobile is here to stay and the way of the future. Because of this, it’s time to start thinking about scalability and “mobile first” or “cloud first” before adopting new technology.
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