How to Cut IT Costs Through a Managed Service Provider

IT outsourcing company Toronto recently have realized that hiring internal staff to take care of the company’s technology infrastructure and to handle desk tasks is very costly. To solve this problem they have come up with many ideas on how to reduce the cost of operation of this firms while their services quality is increased and at the same time maximum profit is obtained. One of the major strategy that they came up with that will reduce cost is the use of Managed Service Providers. These Managed Service Providers are important in that they ensure that the firms have all the necessary IT support at a fraction of the cost. This consequently leads to reduction of the cost of the IT firms. In the following discussion we are going to look at the ways in one cut IT cost by using Managed Service Providers.

Cut IT Costs

Getting on a monthly retainer with your Managed service provider

Use of a monthly retainer has by far proved to be the best and easiest way to save money with the IT Managed Service Provider. It does this by ensuring consistency and stability in business and it is more preferred for small and medium sized businesses. It is an important way because it ensures that a firm has an ideal visibility on the future monthly technology expenses as compared to other means such has hourly pay or pay-per incident payment. With monthly retainer a firm is able to know its cost regardless of any problem that might arise within the month and calls to the respective Managed Service Providers are covered.
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Even Accountants Can Tweet Chat & Take Selfies

The social media sphere will have over 1.8 billion members by the end of the year. How then as busy accountant can you leverage social media to market yourself and you services? Also understanding the various pitfall that you could succumb to? First and foremost all professional must understand is an essential accounting marketing tool in 2016 and going forward.

marketing

PROS

Branding: – from the onset of creating a brand, to developing it, to exposing it and finally establishing brand loyalty. Social media marketing has been recognised for its ability to help develop figures to understand all these. Also ability to engage user offers real time response to the branding efforts.

Converting: – social media offers a wide platform to easily convince potential customers to be users of your accountancy service. The means to connect and communicate with potential clients is easy and allows for easy interaction to allow smooth conversations. With the highest means to conversion than any other marketing out there.

Customer service: – the type of customer service approach is more responsive, rapid and affective. Rather than phone calls or mail which may take longer and may not offer the same level of connection that social media sites can offer.

Feedback is instantaneous: – to understand the direction your brand need to go, you need customer feedback. With social media like twitter, and Instagram, clients can comment on a service they receive at the moment and help you especially if it’s constructive criticism.

Changing demographic space: – with more young millennials joining the workforce, so should accountants and their firms redirect their market efforts to social media which millennials understand and use often. This way you can tap into this big well of clients who really need accountancy services.

CONS

Blurred lines: – when does information you provide become too much. These is one thing all professional using social media marketing are grappling with since too much could affect customer response greatly.

Trolling: – these are established people who smear your brand and social media campaigns with negative responses. They have become very notorious especially and have been known to ruin one or two established brands.

Security vulnerabilities: – social media sites have been used bay hackers to penetrate peoples systems and acquire data information. Also some links provides could lead to you downloading malware and viruses that may corrupt your system and data.

Effectiveness: – sometimes due to the evolving nature of conversations on social media, you marketing effort could easily be drowned by the Nosie of unnecessary conservation. And also due to bombardment with comment and review you could ignore someone with a legitimate concerns or questions they have.

Deciding on platform(s): – there so many too choose from and each have as specific audience, conversation and usage. Hence if your accountancy firm can’t leverage on the best you could get lost. Though you may prefer Facebook to twitter you may find the decision to be detrimental in future.

It all trickles down to one fundamental question, how important it is to your business. But though you may question it effectiveness due the perceived question of how accountants’ can social media market it could really make the difference.

Vehicle GPS Tracking: How It Can Help A Business Succeed

vehicle GPS tracking

Vehicle GPS tracking devices have been in use in the business sector not only for its security features, but as well as a tool to boost the business operation and many managers can attest to that. For those who are new to this gadget or who is not quite familiar with its many great features, it is now the right time to explore the device and let it assist your work area for maximum profitability.

A GPS tracking device can be used to supervise a fleet business more efficiently. The device can be used to monitor driver safety, fuel cost, vehicle maintenance, customer service plus many others.

This list can start the ball rolling on how to maximize the use of vehicle GPS tracking devices for the business.

Initial Information

Every employee should be made aware of new GPS system and how to utilize it. The success of this program starts with this step. It is imperative that drivers are aware that the management will be getting statistics out of these devices like maintenance warning reminders, driver behavior stats, and fuel reports to improve your business.

Training through video

A good way to learn something is by seeing it. After everybody has been informed about the vehicle GPS tracker system, a video training must follow. This is to ensure that the drivers know how to operate the system. Over time, a new feature may be added and the system’s software may be upgraded. Drivers should also be made aware of such. It will be great if there will be representatives from the GPS company or its distributor to discuss the product in details, including their functions and features, to the drivers so every base can be covered.

Apply The Knowledge

After the training period, it is now time to check if the information has been absorbed. It is better to provide such an activity to ensure the drivers will be knowledgeable enough to maximize the vehicle GPS tracker system. Yes, the dispatcher can give instructions on how to deal with it when it is already being used in the real world, but it will be a waste of time for a dispatcher.

As an additional note, vehicles equipped with GPS trackers can also produce additional benefits such as:

  • Ensuring that employees deployed in the field will be complying to speed limits

  • If the drivers are aware of the GPS device, they will then be submitting an honest and truthful report about their work.

  • Employees will have less chance of having unauthorized breaks

  • Last but not the least, keep track of the vehicles all the time

The completion of the above activities can offer a bigger success rate for this particular investment. Furthermore, providing training to the drivers with the tracking system will ensure that everybody is well informed and will be ready to apply in the field. The success of a project is dependent on its participants, and this is no exception.

Software Asset Management: Learn The Basics

software asset management

Software asset management or SAM is the business application for optimizing and managing software. SAM best practices will help keep track of software so that the user will always know which asset is working on which computer.

Software asset managemen will ensure that the user has the right number of the licenses to avoid wasting time and money on unwanted software or run the danger of license noncompliance.

What is the importance of SAM?

SAM is important to a business that gives license to software because it helps to:

Reduce the Risks: SAM best practices assist in managing license compliance within the organization. An effective tracking and documentation of software licenses will lessen the risk of noncompliance. A better working environment is also created for the partners and employees.

Save Money: SAM reduces costs in many ways, helping to remove or relocate the underused software licenses and control the overhead connected with supporting and managing software

Stay Safe: A successful SAM program will lower the purchasing or downloading of software from unauthorized websites that may infect the computers with viruses.

Get Support: SAM will ensure that only licensed software will be entitled to support. Most of the companies do not provide technical support for those unregistered software.

Improve Productivity: The use product support, user manuals and reference materials will make the employees more productive. When SAM best practices are initiated, these resources will be managed effectively.

Benefiting from SAM

SAM doesn’t only lower the risk of noncompliance it also gives a lot of business benefits. Industry analysts approximate that the savings from SAM may reach up to 30 percent during the initial year and 5 to 10 percent every year in the succeeding years.

The Benefits of SAM will include:

Improved Productivity

  • Assurance that employees will have the software devices they need to be effective

  • Lessen the strain on IT with computerized SAM features.

Reduced Costs

  • No overpaying for software or paying for software that is not used.

  • Acquire tax benefits through buying software before the year-end financial closes.

  • Discuss bulk discounts with software providers, while knowledgeable about accurate information on licenses.

  • Lower the unexpected licensing expenses.

Enhanced Software Purchase License Management and Planning

  1. Knowing when software will be obsolete and need to be replaced, than automatically buy the latest release.

  2. Keep a working inventory record than a year-end tally.

  3. Always identify which software license is in use, including its location.

  4. Target the upgrades to lessen the hassle.

Develop a Software Asset Management Plan

  • After applying the SAM program, a plan must be developed for the ongoing SAM efforts.
  • Schedule for determining employee software needs to know which software employees will have to do their jobs, and which software must be installed elsewhere.

  • Training practices for particular software to help employees benefit the most from their tools.

  • Methods for safeguarding licensing documentation vs. theft or misuse.

Therefore, the SAM plan will clearly communicate the company’s software policies and dedication to conforming to the software license agreements.

Call Center Software Solutions: The Best Solutions Are In The Cloud

call center software solutions

There are lots of call center software solutions on offer at any one time. Different software boast of features which make they hope make them stand out from the rest. The differences in these software products make selecting the most appropriate a bit harder. In the process of trying to be as competitive as possible call center software solutions sometimes end up specializing in certain niches.

A problem usually arises when a contact center decides to get the best features of different software. At some point the contact center will realize that it is hard enough getting the best result from complicated call center solutions from a single supplier; cobbling together a suit of features coming from multiple suppliers is nearly impossible. The first problem will be software compatibility, and even if you get past that, there would be duplication and upgrade issues to contend with.

You can really think of a suite of call center solutions as much like a sports team. Each member or solution should work with each other toward the achievement of common goals. As such, the ideal set of call center software should really come only from one supplier. That way the updates are easier, you only deal with one software company, and the various solutions have been designed to work together. Thus there is little chance you will ever experience compatibility issues.

In choosing a call center software solution supplier, it is crucial to define the contact center’s requirements as clearly as possible. Your call center may take only inbound calls, exclusively handle outbound calls or a blend of the two; each variant would benefit from different features. For example you do not need an automatic call distribution feature for a call center that only handles outbound calls. The ideal choice therefore is to find a software product that specializes in your core activity. It would be prudent to choose a software solution with all the features you currently need and perhaps even allow for additional features you may need in the future; after all, it takes just one new contract for your requirements to change.

After you find an ideal software solution package, you’ll have to ensure everything works as it should. If you chose a stand-alone call center software package, you will have to procure servers and hire IT people to maintain both hardware and software. It goes without saying that the hardware should meet the requirements of your software; some software updates may require upgrading hardware. All that work may take your concentration away from your core activity.

Thankfully, there are many cloud-based call center software solutions to choose from. Here is an article which provides tips on negotiating a cloud computing deals. When you opt to avail of Software-as-a-Service solution from cloud providers you don’t have to buy hardware and software – you just pay rent on a pay as you go basis. You will not need to hire IT personnel, and you can ask for additional functions when you need them.

Maybe it’s time you tried looking for the ideal call center software solution from cloud service providers. That way they ensure each function in your software package work seamlessly with each other.

Optical Touch Technology, Its Pros and Cons

optical touch

There are numerous touch screens out there using many different types of technology, but few people know anything about optical touch technology. That may be because other types of touch screens are more widely used. Most touch screens we come into contact with use more popular technology such as projected capacitance, infrared, surface acoustic wave and resistive technologies – but that is not to say that ordinary people would know the difference. In fact many of us may have come into contact with optical touch screens without realizing it.

How It Works

Screens featuring optical touch technology use cameras to detect and determine the location of touches. Two or more cameras, usually four, are mounted on the surface of the glass or in the bezel. The mountings are normally at the four corners of the display and oriented toward the center. These tiny cameras emit infrared light which spread out in a plane across the surface of the display glass.

Once a finger or an object touches the screen, it breaks the infrared light. The camera works in tandem with printed circuit boards and software to determine the exact locations of touches on the screen. These are then recognized as data inputs and instructions.

When using optical touch technology, the term ‘touch’ is a bit deceptive; the screen pinpoints touch location once the infrared beam is interrupted. This means you do not really need to actually touch the screen to input instructions, though the distance is so small you’ll have a hard time doing it on purpose.

Pros & Cons

Let us start with the good qualities. Optical touch screens are multi-touch capable; models I’ve looked at had the capability to recognize 2 to 6 simultaneous touches. The calibration is stable so it only needs to be calibrated once and it’s done. The user does not need to actually touch the screen so there is zero activation force required. The resolution in optical touch screens is superb and it features a high level of optical clarity; vivid colors displayed on these screens can rival those on the best monitors. Optical touch screens are resistant to surface contaminants.

Optical touch screens are generally more affordable than infrared technology screens and are available in larger screen sizes. As overlays they can be used to upgrade existing passive LCD or Plasma display monitors. Input can be done using finger, light pen, stylus, and just about anything. These screens have plug & play capability; they do not require the installation of any software driver.

That said, bright light may interfere with these touch screens. They are also susceptible to ‘ghosting.’ The term ‘ghosting’ means seeing an image previously displayed faintly on the screen. It is an indication of relatively slow refresh rates and screen response times.

Uses Of Optical Touch Screens

These screens are usually found in large format displays in stores, information kiosks at trade shows, interactive displays in hotels and casinos, health care and medical institutions, way finding booths out in town or at conventions, and in corporate environments. An article on theverge.com describes the way a restaurant chain uses touch screens to help customers build their burger sandwich!

If you need an affordable large format touch screen in a not-so-bright location, you can consider one with optical touch technology.

Access Control Systems – An Essential Part Of Security

access control systems for monitoring

Whenever security is discussed, especially for commercial applications, access control systems are often deemed the most essential. You can have all the best alarms, sensors and surveillance equipment installed, but if people find it easy to come in and out whenever they please, you are not secure. Thus, most commercial establishments prioritize access control systems for monitoring to protect both physical assets and data.

The most basic form of access control consists of physical barriers and locks; perimeter walls, building walls, gates, entrance doors and locks fall under this category. Unfortunately, keys can get lost or copied, and miscreants climb up walls with ease. Without modern access control systems these physical barriers can give us a false sense of security.

Simple identification cards are issued and regulations are implemented requiring employees to wear their ID’s visibly clipped or in a lanyard while in company premises. However, regular photo identification systems leave a lot to be desired. They may identify the user through the photograph, but they cannot be tracked automatically nor can the access permissions be changed easily.

To overcome the limitations of simple photographic identification systems some companies switch to a biometric, magnetic strip or RFID based identification and tagging system. The advantages of these types of systems are many:

  • Ingress and egress can be tracked and recorded as to the identity of the person, areas accessed, and time and date of access.

  • It can be integrated with timekeeping systems to prevent fraud in logging of time worked.

  • It can be programmed to expire after some time (for limiting access given to guests),

  • It can be programmed to allow access only on specific times and days to bar employees from entering during non-working days or outside their shift hours.

  • Details of physical access can be defined with regard to zones, buildings, floors, and even which elevator the holder is allowed to use.

  • These ID cards are not easy to replicate making it a lot harder for miscreants to gain unauthorized access

  • When magnetic strip and RFID based identification and tagging systems are used, it is easy for the company’s management to reprogram the access permissions according to changing requirements.

  • Ingress and egress data can be used to study pedestrian traffic, average number of people in specific spaces, and even which employees try to enter areas they are not authorized to access.

  • Biometric, magnetic strip or RFID based identification and tagging systems may be used to control access to a company’s computer data network too.

Modern access control systems protect businesses from internal and external threats; employees are also safer as they are protected from intruders. While earlier versions of these smart identification systems did not have the ability to integrate the holder’s photograph, new ones now do; there is no need to issue separate photo identification cards. Organizations such as the Canadian Technical Security Professional Association continuously look for ways to further improve security systems.

In essence, unless a company has only a handful of employees, a modern access control system is an essential part of its security requirements.