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Do you feel as if your business technology is not quite as effective as it should be? Want to streamline things?
1) Know your processes and how the serve you
Write down what you do as if you were writing instructions for a new employee. Draw flow charts or pictures if you want. Now, think about what you would like to do better. Does anything take too long? Do you want anything to change? Use this information as a basis for deciding if a new technology purchase will help or if something else should be done. If there is a problem area for you, start there. You don’t have to do it all at once.
2) Explore the hidden talents of your devices
Consider any “gaps” you identified above that you feel technology can help to close. Do you know if your existing devices can fill those gaps?
Smart phones can run a huge variety of apps and it is quite probably that your phone can do much more than you think. A number of very useful apps for business are free or low cost. It is worth investing some time in browsing around the app store to see if you want to give something new a try. Can you use less devices if you have some of them doing more?
3) Know the settings
Also, know the settings on your devices and how to customise them as you wish. Sometimes a simple change can make a big difference, An IPad which persistently showed a time ten minutes fast was a perfect example. This was fixed by changing a setting to set the time automatically from the cellular network and the IPad now keeps perfect time. Consider using YouTube for free tutorials on aspects of your device and asking a friend if you have questions. Web sites such as www.whirlpool.net.au are also a valuable source of information but look for the independent user run sites where possible. Be wary of web sites with disguised sales pitches.
4) Get them talking together
Consider using cloud storage to enable you to access information from all your devices and all your locations. Make sure you password protect anything highly confidential and keep a local copy of anything important.
5) Build resilience in
Know the risks to your business and try to mitigate them as you go along. Design your processes and solutions so that they adapt to the likely situations which could interfere with your business. Some examples include a local supermarket with a generator in case of power interruption and a flood-prone cafe designed in a modular way so it can all be packed up, taken away and then brought back after a flood. Technology related examples including having a battery based charging dock or external battery for your phone.
6) Build security in
Keep your devices up to date. Make sure you have them set up to receive the regular security updates that most suppliers release and if you have security software, keep it up to date as well. Make sure your access point to the internet is secure – if you use wi-fi, set it up with a password.
7) Take advantage of the features of software
If there are things you want to do that are talking up a lot of time, it is worth checking if software and make them easier. For example, if you don’t like having to monitor two email accounts, you can usually forward one to the other. Be aware that your replies will come from the main account.
8) Keep up to date
Technology is ever changing. Check up on the latest developments in case something has changed that significantly benefits you. If you don’t have time to do this, keep in contact with some geeks or school age children, who spend ages researching this stuff
9) Know what you want
Don’t allow a store or provider to upsell you to something you don’t want and need keep things simple and always choose the simplest solution that meets your needs. However, this is not always the cheapest solutions as you may have a need for future proofing, which justifies a little extra effort and expense at the beginning.
10) Don’t be afraid to seek help.
If something is worrying you, discuss it with your friends or a trusted IT professional. If possible, make sure that he or she is independent, not acting on behalf of a vendor or solution provider. Don’t rely exclusively on advice from stores or vendor web sites.

Post a message on this site or find us on Facebook if there is anything you want to know, big or small. Check back later if you want to know more, as we regularly post tips and hints.

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