Outsourcing Your IT Services

The term “IT outsourcing” is generally defined as the use of a third-party service provider to deliver IT- enabled business processes. Outsourced IT support services typically involve sub-contracting responsibility for some of the following processes:

  • application and software development;
  • data storage via cloud services; web development and hosting;
  • application support and management;
  • database development and management;
  • security;
  • telecommunications;
  • social media management;
  • technical support and help desk services.

Outsourced IT support enables both large corporations and small businesses to benefit from experienced IT guidance; remain up to date on technology; and have access to knowledgeable best practices. It’s simply not possible for a business owner to be an expert at everything. It’s a smart strategy to know when to hire an expert for certain functions that will enable you to keep your focus on moving your business forward.

We are based in Christchurch and aiming to be your Trusted IT Advisor.

Business Continuity Planning – Surviving a Disaster

If your technology stopped working, would your business stop functioning too?  Is your business totally reliant on the information stored on your computer systems or could you continue to deliver 95% of your products and services and catch up on the computer work later?  No matter which end of this scale your business is at, you will fare much better during a major technology outage if you plan in advance, before it happens.  This month we take some of the mystery out of Business Continuity Planning.

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is the process of working out how your business will continue to function during a disaster.  These threats to your business could include:

  • Fire
  • Burst water pipes
  • Burglary
  • Flooding (severe rainfall)
  • Earthquake
  • Influenza outbreak
  • Hardware failure
  • Software Failure
  • Internet outage
  • Tornado/Hurricane/Cyclone
  • Severed phone cabling
  • Security breach
  • Damage by disgruntled employee
  • Employee error
  • … And many more!

BCP begins with identifying the possible risks and the impact they would have on your business.  What functions would be affected if your main administration PC crashed?  How long could you be without internet access?  It’s important to evaluate the probability of these incidents occurring and the severity of their impact.  This will help you to determine which incidents are the highest priorities to be addressed.

Next, you look at how these risks can be prevented, or the impact of them lessened.  This could include copying data to a different site or having a laptop that has the same business-critical software applications as your administration PC.

Finally, you plan the actions that would be needed to help you respond when this incident occurs.  Do you need to go to another site to get a copy of your data or bring the laptop in from home?  Do you need to temporarily relocate to another site that does have internet access?  Can you run a paper-based system until you can access your computers again?  Think about who will be responsible for doing what and what resources they will need.  This also needs to include any third-party suppliers of your business, like your local Computer Troubleshooter.

Your Business Continuity Plan should be examined, tested and maintained on a regular basis.  This is to ensure it still reflects the changing needs of your business and also to make sure that the key parties within your business understand their roles in the process.

Whilst it may seem a little daunting, some forethought and planning will save you a lot of time, stress and money when things do go wrong.  Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about the best way to keep your business running smoothly if you’re suddenly without your technology.

Why Your Business needs to think ‘mobile’ to Stay Competitive

Google-phoneWith the rise of Smartphone & Tablets, small business need to think about their mobile presence and the mobile customer experience. With mobile search now accounting for nearly 40% of all internet search and a recent study revealing that 49% of tablet and smartphone owners are using mobile apps to find local information, the pressure is on to satisfy this growing market or you will miss out.

Mobile websites pages & mobile apps are quickly becoming a necessity for small businesses to stay competitive. The key functions of a mobile website or app is to directly generate income, to increase brand awareness and serve as a customer service channel that promotes your business. By adding portability and location targeting to busy consumers, mobile can support purchase transactions, deliver turn-by-turn driving directions, offer coupon deals and promote social media interactions. With one tap of the screen, a customer can call you directly resulting in actual customer engagement. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website or app in place, you might be missing out on 49% of a potential client base.

Step one for any business owner is to check the mobile experience for themselves.

The next step is to think like your mobile customers:

How to make you business more mobile friendly:

Customer Interaction should be easy and engaging. Enable the customer to arrive at the service they want in the fewest number of taps. This can make a positive impression on new customers who will become repeat customers. Check with your web developer that the mobile plug- in has been activated for your website.

Promotional Features should give customers the incentive to use the app by offering special discounts, deals and reward points. Promotions should increase sales and develop customer loyalty in the process. How does this look on a mobile browser?

Discounts and Location-based Features are the things consumers are always looking for with mobile apps. Consider combining these two features with a location finder and check-in process that presents the customer with a discount at your location. Check your phone number can be selected from your site to input into the smartphone keypad..

A Social Media Feature should be as “friendly” as possible. Facebook and Twitter integration can encourage real time interaction between app users and their friends and help your business develop a fan base on social media sites.

Will Your Business Be Left Behind?

The trend in mobile usage is growing at an unprecedented pace. Whether it’s on an iPhone, iPad or an Android, everyone is using these devices to connect, gather information, take action and spend money. In the recent past, creating an app was a costly proposition that placed it outside the budget of small businesses. This situation has clearly changed as more small businesses are using mobile apps to attract customers. Currently, there are over one million apps available via Apple’s App Store plus a variety of tools that enable businesses to create their own mobile app. Simply put, think of it as the equivalent of a website twenty years ago. With so many people using it, shouldn’t your business be a part of it?

Developing a mobile friendly website or app can be an overwhelming task for a small business owner. But the fact is that if you want your business to stay competitive, then it’s time to explore the advantages of mobile. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters a call and we will help point your business in the right direction.

Ex-Lease Computer for Sale on June 2013

Have you been thinking about upgrading your computer?

We have some more of the popular ex-lease Dell Computers ready to go.

 Dell Optiplex 960 SFF  Model: Dell Optiplex 960 DCCY Small Form Factor
 Price:  $400 +GST on Windows 7 Pro
 CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz
 Memory: 4GB DDR2
 Hard Drive: 250GB SATA
 Optical Drive: DVD RW (Slimline)
 Graphics Onboard Graphics
 OS: Windows 7 Pro (Installation Required)

* Limited stocks, these computers run out fast.

We can copy data from your old computer for nominal rates, please feel free to call to discuss the options with us.

We also have 19” LCD ex-lease monitors for sale at $95.00 +GST, or 20″ ex-lease LCD monitor at $100.00+GST.

Windows XP-Less Than A Year Left!

Windows XP has been a robust Microsoft Operating system since it was launched 12 years ago. Amazingly almost 39% of Microsoft users are still on Window XP. So when Microsoft ceases support for Windows XP on April 8th 2014 what is likely to happen?

After this date Microsoft will stop releasing patches and updates to the operating system which will increasingly make it venerable to hackers and viruses. So the Windows XP environment will slowly decline and become more susceptible to failure the longer you stay on it. It is also likely that new applications and hardware will not be made compatible with XP, so networking will become increasingly difficult and new peripherals impossible to connect.

The good news is that the upgrade path is proven for most non enterprise sized customers with Windows 7 now with 45% of the market, which means most common applications and hardware are firmly supported. Windows 7 is also highly regarded as a faster more efficient processing system which means when you upgrade you should notice a performance increase, some say up to 15 times faster!

Windows 8 is still in its infancy with a much smaller installed base. The different look and feel of Windows 8 has spooked many users to stay with the proven & traditional look of Windows 7. Unless you plan to synchronize on multiple devices it is difficult to see a compelling need to change.

The reality is that Windows XP users will need to upgrade their operating system over the next 12 months to ensure that they will remain on a supported Microsoft platform , however business should check networking, applications, and hardware compatibility before switching.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about how we can help you upgrade from XP and maintain your business continuity.