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.

Break-fixing into managed services from the NZ Reseller News

Graham Love talked with Simon Eskow at New Zelanad Reseller News regarding Computer Troubleshooters and how we and our services have grown and chaged over the years.

http://reseller.co.nz/reseller.nsf/news/break-fixing-into-managed-services

When the Computer Troubleshooters franchise launched ten years ago in East Christchurch, the business was all about the break-fix.

“We worked from our sitting-room at home,” says director Graham Love. “People rang, and we went out and fixed their computers. Many of our customers have come from where we’ve gone into their home computer, fixed it and they said, ‘I’ve got a business in town, can you come look at that.’”

It only took Love and his small team of technicians two years to build a managed services line of business. These days, Computer Troubleshooters uses Kaseya to manage 500 or so systems, with Shadowprortect for the backup and replication. And while he attributes growth to word of mouth and business references, he says it is crucial to keep to have he and his three technicians go out on home service calls, part of which includes using Kroll Ontrack for disaster recovery.

“We’re getting 30 to 40 customers new every month from word of mouth, and we try to convert as many of them to a managed service plan as possible,” Love says. “We get one or two a month interested, so we’re growing that base.”

Love says his company watches over 150 small businesses, 30 of them with “larger networks” with a total of 35 servers among them. The rest are what he classifies as ‘peer-to-peer’, meaning one or two workstations with an internet connection.

Computer Troubleshooters started using Kaseya and Shadowprotect within the last four years, but Love says he’s been with Kroll Ontrack longer. The company has seen a handful of cases where systems were destroyed, and the client was desperate to restore a surprisingly particular kind of file.

“One guy had a business and had his home laptop on top of his car and drove off, and it got run over by another car,” says Love. “And it had all the family photos on it and his wife was not a happy chappy. So Kroll Ontrack was able to bring that all back and the customer was happy with the price, happy with getting the files.”

It isn’t a problem that Kroll Ontrack is not a brand name among home users.

“The fact that it’s Kroll isn’t relevant or important to the customers,” he explains. “All we’re saying is we can fix it. You pay an assessment fee, then Kroll gives a report and the customer can make a decision.”

Hopeless cases can be sent to Kroll in Australia. One such customer had 80 percent of their data restored, but Love says it effectively rescued 100 percent the files that mattered to the client.

“That can cost around $1,500,” he says. “They can decide if $1,500 is worth their family photos or their wives’ pleasure.”

Recently the company has seen a spike in hard drive failures among his managed services customers.

“The technicians have replaced a record number of hard drives over the last four or five weeks,” he says. “It’s not any particular brand, and all we can think is that the agitation from two years ago and the thousands and thousands of earthquakes that we’ve had since has had some impact on the electronics.”

With a focus on managing customer data and disaster recovery, Computer Troubleshooters tries to emphasise to its clients the importance of having the right backup solution.

“They don’t listen,” he says.

Love says the company charges $30 a month to install and monitor systems via Kaseya agents, and add a solution in which the systems are backed with built-in redundancy through backing up the hard drive backup.

“Even with monitored managed services, what can happen is something can just stop working, and Shadowprotect does that occasionally where it hangs and nothing tells you it’s hanging,” he says.

But the point is, “People who back up once to tin are asking for trouble.”

A recent survey Kroll Ontrack conducted globally of 600 recent Data Recovery customers showed that 60 percent of them had a backup solution in place at the time of data loss. The backup solutions were either not current, or were operated improperly.

“Prevention is the best thing,” Love says.

By Simon Eskow

What Are Managed Services?

The term “managed services” is generally defined as the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities with the strategic goal of reducing costs while improving operational efficiency. A managed services provider typically refers to an outsourced information technology company that assumes responsibility for one or more aspects of a client’s IT functions. These responsibilities can range from a single specific task, such as managing network security or offering help desk support, to the complex management of running a client’s entire IT infrastructure. Most managed service providers bill a flat or nearly-fixed monthly fee benefiting clients with predictable IT support costs.

How Managed Services Can Immediately Benefit Your Business

Computer systems now form an integral part of most businesses’ ability to function. Can you remember the last time a computer crisis kept you from your “real job” – managing your business? It might be time to consider the immediate benefits of outsourced managed services for your business’ IT needs. Here’s a list of the top five benefits you can take advantage of by working with a managed service provider:

Control IT Costs by working with a managed service provider to create a customized IT service plan that suits your budget and the needs of your business. A service plan can help business owners reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service for their business. Plans can be customized by the number of support hours required or the level of monitoring and maintenance that is needed each month. Capital expenditures for equipment will be reduced in addition to staffing costs.

Manage Labor Costs if you do not employ IT professionals in your business, you likely have a designated “go-to” person in the office that handles the technology issues for everyone. You can eliminate the time this person is spending on IT issues so they can get more of their actual work done.

Quickly Implement New Technologies with the help of a managed service provider. Skilled IT professionals can save you both time and money with the efficiency of on-demand services. Also, a managed services provider will have a strong understanding of your business and your technology, allowing them to understand your technology needs as well as your budget. This will save you time in trying to understand new technology, and money you may waste on buying products you do not need or that will not work for your specific network.

Increase Efficiency and Stay Competitive through economies of scale. Most managed service providers can provide small to medium sized businesses with access to technology and expertise usually only available to large companies. Your managed services professional can assist you with identifying the products and services that would benefit your business and are available in an option that will fit your needs.

Security can require constant vigilance. Is your firewall up to date; are you protected against malware; do you audit your servers; are you using the latest customer transaction systems for credit, debit, e-checks and wire transfers? Outsourced security monitoring leads to less down-time, enhanced efficiency and greater profits for your business.

Be Proactive and Consider Managed Services Today

Are you ready to forget about those IT headaches? Whether you only have a few PCs, a network or more than one server, you are probably ready for a managed service provider. Computer Troubleshooters’ managed service experts can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. As a business owner, don’t you want to stay productive by focusing on the actual management of your business – not spending time fixing problems or worrying about what you will do if your systems stop working.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about how managed services can help to proactively manage your IT environment.