iPhone Running Slow? Speed It up with One of These Tips

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Let’s face it, iPhones are amazing devices. But even the sleekest, most powerful iPhone can succumb to the dreaded slowdown. Apps take forever to load and scrolling feels sluggish. Pretty soon, simple tasks become frustrating ordeals.

If your iPhone has gone from speedy sidekick to sluggish snail, don’t despair! We are sharing some easy tips to get your iPhone back in tip-top shape.

Give it a Restart: The Digital Power Nap

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised! How long has it been since you’ve turned off your device? Just like us, iPhones need an occasional reboot. Restart your phone. This clears temporary files, closes lingering apps, and frees up memory. It’s a quick and easy way to give your iPhone a much-needed refresh.

Clean Out the Digital Clutter

Our iPhones can become digital packrats, hoarding photos, videos, and apps we no longer use. Do you really need all those selfies? This clutter can slow things
down. Take some time to declutter your digital life.

Photos and Videos

Review your photo and video library. Delete blurry pics, duplicates, and anything you don’t need anymore. Consider using cloud storage services like iCloud Photos or OneDrive. These store precious memories without clogging up your device’s storage space. Many also have an automated upload feature when you snap a new pic.

Unused Apps

Be honest, how many apps do you use daily? Identify apps you haven’t touched in months and delete them. This frees up phone storage space. It can also reduce background activity and improve battery life.

Offload Unused Apps & Keep Data (iOS 11 and later)

This nifty feature lets you free up storage space by keeping an app’s data while deleting the app itself. When you need the app again, you can simply download it without losing any saved data.

Remove Unneeded Podcasts

Many podcasts download to your device without you realizing it. This allows you to listen without a direct connection but can fill up your device fast! If you listen to several podcasts, they all can be taking up valuable space. Review your iPhone’s storage and remove unnecessary podcast downloads.

Tame Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh allows apps to fetch new content. This happens even when you’re not actively using them. It can be helpful for staying up-to-date but it can also drain your battery and slow down your phone.

Review your Background App Refresh settings. Turn it off for apps you don’t need constantly refreshing in the background.

Not Every App Needs to Know Where You Are

Many apps constantly track your location. They do it even when you’re not using them. This location tracking can drain your battery and impact performance. Review your Location Services settings. Restrict access for apps that don’t need constant location awareness.

Reduce Motion Effects

Apple’s fancy motion effects include things like app parallax and zoom animations. They can be beautiful, but they can also be resource-intensive. Turn off iPhone motion effects. This can free up processing power and make your iPhone feel snappier.

Update Your Apps and iOS

App and iOS updates often include performance improvements and bug fixes. Make sure you’re running the latest versions of your apps and iOS. This ensures
optimal performance and security.

Disable Automatic Downloads

Automatic app and iOS updates are convenient, but they can sometimes happen at inconvenient times, slowing down your phone. Consider disabling automatic downloads. Update apps and iOS manually when you have time and a good Wi-Fi connection. Make this a recurring task on your calendar. These updates are important for security, so you don’t want to forget them.

Nuclear Option: Reset Your iPhone

If all else fails, a factory reset might be necessary. This wipes your iPhone clean and restores it to its original settings. It can be the most effective way to clear out bugs that might be causing slowdowns.

But be careful with this nuclear option. Before doing a factory reset, be sure to back up your iPhone. Also, sign out of iCloud. This ensures you avoid losing important data.

Check Your Battery Health

A degraded battery can also contribute to slowdowns. Head to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. Here you can see your iPhone’s maximum battery capacity. If
it’s below 80%, your phone might be throttling performance to conserve battery life. In this case, consider replacing your battery for optimal performance.

Follow these simple tips. They’ll help you diagnose the cause of your iPhone’s sluggishness as well as get it running smoothly again. A little maintenance goes
a long way in keeping your iPhone happy and fast!

Need Help with a Smartphone or Tablet?

When your smartphone isn’t working right, it can be a real pain. Don’t struggle. Get help from the pros. Our team can diagnose internal and external smartphone issues as well as help with tablets, laptops, and other devices.

Contact us today to see how we can help.

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9 Tips for Setting Up AI Rules for Your Staff

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool. It can enhance the productivity, efficiency, and creativity of your staff. But AI also comes with some challenges and risks. Businesses need to address and manage these to use AI effectively.

Establishing clear and ethical guidelines, or “AI rules,” for staff interaction is essential. Otherwise, you may not know when AI is being used for business data. Employees may also be scared to use AI without direction. This can leave them missing out on incredible time savings.

64% of businesses expect AI to increase productivity.

In this article, we will share some tips for setting up AI rules for your staff. These tips can help you harness the benefits of AI while avoiding the pitfalls.

Define the scope and purpose of AI use.

Before you introduce AI to your staff, you need to have a clear vision. Know what you want to achieve with AI. As well as how it aligns with your business goals and values.

You also need to communicate this vision to your staff. Explain how AI will support their work and improve their outcomes. This will help you set realistic expectations and avoid confusion or frustration.

Establish ethical principles and guidelines.

AI can have significant impacts on your staff, customers, and partners. As well as society at large. So, you need to ensure that your AI use is ethical, fair, transparent, and accountable. You can do this by developing a set of ethical principles and guidelines. They should reflect your organizational culture and values. As well as follow relevant laws and regulations. You also need to educate your staff on these guidelines and track their compliance.

Involve stakeholders in the decision-making process.

AI rule-setting should not be a top-down process. Involve key stakeholders, including employees, in the decision-making process. Gather insights from different departments and roles. This helps ensure that AI rules are reflective of diverse perspectives. This collaborative approach enhances the quality of the rules. It also fosters a sense of ownership and engagement among staff members.

Assign roles and responsibilities.

AI is not a magic solution that can replace human judgment and oversight. You still need to have a clear division of roles and responsibilities. This would be between your staff and the AI systems they use.

You should define who handles the following AI system tasks:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance
  • Auditing
  • Updating

You should also define who is accountable for the outcomes and impacts of AI use. Ensure that you support your staff with training, enablement, and change management.

Provide training and support.

Empower your staff with the skills necessary to work effectively alongside AI. Offer comprehensive training programs. They should cover the basics of AI technology. As well as its applications within the organization and guidelines for AI interaction. Providing ongoing support ensures that employees feel confident. As well as capable in their roles within an AI-enhanced environment.

Ensure data security and privacy.

AI systems often rely on vast amounts of data. As such, emphasize robust data security and privacy measures. Clearly communicate the steps taken to safeguard sensitive information. Adhere to data protection regulations. Establish a robust cybersecurity framework. One that protects both employee and organizational data from potential breaches.

Put a feedback loop in place.

Create a system for gathering feedback from employees about their interactions with AI. This feedback loop serves as a valuable mechanism. It helps with identifying areas of improvement and refining AI rules. As well as addressing any concerns or challenges that arise during implementation. Actively listen to employee feedback to foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Review and update your AI rules regularly.

AI is a dynamic and evolving field. It requires constant adaptation and improvement. You cannot set up your AI rules once and forget about them. You need to review and update these rules regularly. This is to ensure that they are still relevant and effective. As well as aligned with your business goals and values. You also need to evaluate the performance, outcomes, and impacts of your AI use. Use this information to make adjustments as needed.

Encourage a growth mindset.

Foster a culture of curiosity and a growth mindset within your organization. Encourage employees to embrace AI as a tool for augmentation. But not a replacement. Communicate that AI is here to enhance their capabilities and streamline processes. It allows them to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their roles.

Get Expert Guidance with an AI Transformation

AI can be a game-changer for your business. That is if you use it wisely and responsibly. By following these tips, you can set up AI rules for your staff. Rules that can help you leverage the power of AI while minimizing the risks.

Need an expert guide for a digital or AI transformation? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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14 Helpful Tips for New Year Digital Decluttering

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These days, our lives are intricately woven into the digital fabric. From emails to photos, documents to apps, our devices store tons of information. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the sight of an endless inbox or app library.

As the new year begins, it’s the perfect time for a digital declutter. A clean and organized digital environment can help you improve your productivity. It also reduces stress. Here are some practical tips to help you declutter your digital space.

1. Start with a digital inventory

Before diving in, assess your digital landscape. Take stock of your devices, accounts, and digital files. Knowing what you have is the first step toward effective decluttering.

2. Focus on your most-used digital spaces

You don’t have to declutter everything at once. Start with the digital spaces that you use the most. Such as your email, cloud storage, and social media. These are the places where digital clutter can accumulate. As well as affect your performance and well-being.

Also, focus on your primary devices. Like your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Decluttering these devices will have an immediate impact on your daily life.

3. Organize your files and folders

One of the best ways to declutter your digital space is to organize your files and folders. Create a systematic file organization structure. Use clear, intuitive folder names and categorize files logically. Use color coding to quickly identify specific subjects. This makes locating documents easier and prevents clutter from accumulating.

Delete or archive any files that you don’t need anymore. Back up your important data to a cloud service or an external drive.

4. Clean up your email inbox

Your email inbox can be a source of stress and distraction. Especially if it’s overflowing with unread or unwanted messages.

To declutter your email inbox, you can:

  • Unsubscribe from newsletters or promotional emails that you don’t read or need.
  • Use filters or labels to sort your emails by sender, subject, or priority.
  • Archive or delete old or irrelevant emails.
  • Set up a folder or label for the current year, quarter, or month, and move your emails there.
  • Refresh your email signature and make sure it has your correct information.

5. Clean up your social media

Social media can be a great way to connect with others. But it can also be a source of digital clutter. Especially if you have too many accounts, posts, messages, or notifications.

To declutter your social media accounts, you can:

  • Delete or deactivate any accounts that you don’t use or need.
  • Unfollow or mute any accounts that don’t add value to your life.
  • Clear your message inboxes and delete any spam or unwanted messages.
  • Delete or archive any posts or photos that you don’t want to keep.
  • Adjust your privacy and notification settings to suit your preferences.

6. Review your subscriptions

Another way to declutter your digital space is to review your subscriptions. You may have signed up for services that you don’t use or need anymore. Cancel any subscriptions that you don’t need. These may include streaming services, membership sites, cloud services, or mobile apps.

This decluttering move can help you save money besides streamlining your digital environment.

7. Review and delete unused apps

Apps can clutter your device and drain its resources. Review your apps and delete the ones you seldom use. Keep only essential applications to optimize device performance.

Old, unused mobile apps can also pose a security risk. If you’re not using the app, it’s likely outdated. Update any apps that you’re keeping to properly secure them.

8. Clear your desktop and downloads folder

A cluttered desktop and downloads folder can hamper productivity. Move files to appropriate folders and clear your desktop. This creates a clean, distraction-free workspace. It can also speed up your computer.

9. Secure your digital identity

Review your online accounts. Delete unused accounts and update passwords for security. Consider using a reputable password manager to enhance your online security.

10. Evaluate your digital habits

Reflect on your digital habits. Identify time-wasting activities and limit them. Set boundaries for social media and focus on meaningful online interactions.

11. Create digital detox days

Set up specific days for a digital detox. Disconnect from screens. Engage in physical activities and spend quality time with loved ones. Regular digital detox fosters mental well-being.

12. Streamline notifications

Excessive notifications can overwhelm and distract. You may feel like you’re not getting anything done because of constant interruptions. Customize app notifications, allowing only essential alerts. This minimizes distractions and enhances focus.

13. Invest in digital tools

Use productivity apps and tools. Project management apps, note-taking tools, and calendars help streamline tasks and enhance efficiency.

14. Practice regular maintenance

Digital decluttering is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process. Schedule regular maintenance sessions to keep your digital life organized and clutter-free.

Need Help with Data Management Solutions?

Here’s to stepping into the new year with a clear, focused mind and a more organized digital life. We can help you keep your data under control. We offer effective data storage, backup, and management solutions.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.


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11 Ways to Responsibly Get Rid of E-Waste at Your Home or Office

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In our tech-driven world, electronic devices have become indispensable. But with constant upgrades, what happens to the old gadgets? They tend to pile up and eat up storage space. But you can’t just throw them in the trash. E-waste poses a significant environmental threat if not disposed of responsibly.

E-waste is a term that refers to electronic devices that are no longer useful or wanted. These include things like:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Printers
  • Cameras
  • TVs
  • and more

E-waste can contain hazardous materials. Such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. These can harm the environment and human health if they are not disposed of properly.

E-waste comprises about 70% of toxic waste. People only recycle 12.5% of it.

So, what can you do to responsibly get rid of e-waste at your home or office? Here are some tips.

1. Understand What Makes Up E-Waste

E-waste includes old computers, smartphones, printers, and other electronic devices. It also comprises batteries, chargers, and even cables. Understanding what makes up e-waste is the first step towards responsible disposal.

Most people simply aren’t aware of what e-waste includes. This is a big reason that most of it ends up in landfills. Which is not good for us or the environment.

2. Reduce Your E-Waste

The next step is to reduce the amount of e-waste you generate in the first place. This means buying only what you need. Also choosing durable and energy-efficient products. As well as extending the lifespan of your devices by repairing them when possible.

Before buying a new electronic device, ask if it’s necessary. Can more than one person share a company tablet, for example? In some cases, everyone in a family or office might not need a duplicate device.

3. Explore Recycling Programs

Many electronics retailers and manufacturers have recycling programs. Research local options. Retailers often collect old gadgets, ensuring they are recycled or disposed of properly. These programs are convenient and eco-friendly.

Here are a couple you can check out:

4. Use E-Waste Recycling Centers

E-waste recycling centers specialize in disposing of electronic devices safely. They dismantle gadgets, recycle valuable components, and dispose of hazardous materials responsibly. Locate a certified e-waste recycling center near you for proper disposal.

Here are a few sites where you can find recycling centers:

5. Consider Donating or Selling Functioning Devices

If your old devices are still functional, consider donating them. Many charities and schools accept functional electronics. Or you can sell them online through reputable platforms. This gives gadgets a new life and reduces e-waste.

Make sure you properly clean data from old devices first. You don’t want someone having access to your online banking app or all your family photos. Keep on reading for tips on doing this properly.

6. Dispose of Batteries Separately

Batteries, especially rechargeable ones, contain hazardous materials. Many retailers and recycling centers have dedicated bins for battery disposal. Always separate batteries from other e-waste for proper handling.

7. Try Manufacturer Take-Back Programs

Several electronic manufacturers offer take-back programs. When you buy a new device, inquire about their disposal programs. Some manufacturers take back old gadgets, ensuring responsible recycling or refurbishment.

8. Opt for Certified E-Waste Recyclers

When using e-waste recycling services, choose certified recyclers. Look for certifications like R2 or e-Stewards. These certifications ensure that the recycling process meets high environmental standards. As well as data security protocols.

9. Educate Your Office or Household

Awareness is key. Educate your office or household about the importance of responsible e-waste disposal. Encourage everyone to take part and follow proper disposal methods.

10. Repurpose or Upcycle

Get creative. You can often repurpose or upcycle old electronics. Turn an old computer monitor into a digital photo frame. Use smartphone parts for DIY projects. Upcycling reduces waste and adds a touch of innovation.

11. Encourage Manufacturer Responsibility

Support companies that take environmental responsibility seriously. Choose products from manufacturers committed to sustainable practices and responsible e-waste management.

Make Sure to Secure Data Before Disposal, Sale, or Donation

Before parting with your devices, wipe all data. Otherwise, you could become the victim of cybercrime. It’s not unusual for criminals to troll dumps for old electronics. Remove all traces of your data to keep yourself protected.

Use reliable data erasure software. Or consult with an IT professional to securely wipe information from old gadgets. Data security is crucial even in disposal.

Get Help Backing Up & Cleaning Devices

It’s important to both back up and remove all data from devices before you get rid of them. We can help with expert data migration from the old device to the new one. As well as thorough data cleaning to ensure all information is removed.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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Handy Tips to Optimize a Dual-Monitor Setup for the Best Experience

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Two monitors are often better than one when it comes to getting things done efficiently. A dual-monitor setup can significantly enhance your productivity. This is true whether you’re a gamer, a creative professional, or an office wiz who loves to multitask.

A study by Jon Peddie Research found that dual displays can increase productivity by 42%. But it’s not as simple as just setting up an extra screen.

It’s common for people to feel “off kilter” when trying to work from two monitors. They may even find it harder despite having more screen real estate. The cause is usually the setup. They either have the screens positioned wrong or aren’t optimizing the settings.

We’ll dive into some dual-monitor setup best practices. These should help you improve your two-screen experience and take it to the next level.

Best Practices for a Great Two-Screen Setup

1. Match Size and Resolution

Before you jump into the excitement of a dual-monitor setup do some matching. Make sure your monitors are well-matched with each other. Try to use monitors of the same size and resolution. This helps to avoid any jarring differences in image quality or screen real estate. Your eyes will thank you for the consistency!

2. Get the Right Cables

Picture this: you’ve set up your dual monitors, and you’re all excited to fire them up. But your cables don’t fit the ports! To avoid this headache, check your device outputs and inputs to ensure you have the right cables on hand. HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI are common options. But verify which ones you need for optimal performance.

3. Positioning is Everything

Now that you’ve got your monitors ready to go, let’s talk positioning. Placing your monitors correctly can make a world of difference. This is true for both your comfort and productivity.

Ideally, arrange them side by side, keeping the top edges aligned. Adjust the angle to reduce neck strain, and make sure the distance is comfortable for your eyes. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in front of these screens.

4. Embrace the Extended Desktop

It’s tempting to mirror your displays and have the same content on both screens. But that’s not the full potential of a dual-monitor setup. Embrace the extended desktop feature. It allows you to have separate content on each screen.

This means you can work on a document on one screen. And browse the web or handle email on the other—double the productivity!

5. Focus on Taskbar Tweaks

A cluttered taskbar can quickly turn your dual-monitor setup into chaos. Keep things organized. Set the taskbar to display only the active applications on the screen they’re open in.

Steps:

  • Right-click on the taskbar, go to “Taskbar settings.”
  • Open “Taskbar behaviors”
  • Adjust the setting, “When using multiple displays, show my taskbar apps on.” Set it to the taskbar where the window is open.

No more hunting for the right window across two taskbars.

6. Leverage Shortcuts

Did you know that Windows has some nifty window-snapping shortcuts? Use the Windows key plus the left or right arrow to snap an application to one side of the screen. It will fill exactly half of it.

This is perfect for comparing documents. As well as writing while researching or watching a video while working. It’s a productivity boost that you won’t be able to live without once you’ve tried it!

7. Gaming in Style

If you’re a gamer, a dual-monitor setup can bring your gaming experience to a whole new level. Many modern games support dual monitors, allowing you to have an extended field of view. This is especially true in racing and flight simulation games. Just remember to adjust your graphics settings accordingly for the best performance.

8. Mastering Multitasking

Multitasking is where dual monitors truly shine. For example, you can have your design software open on one screen and your reference images on the other.

Writers can have research materials on one screen. With their writing software on the other. The possibilities are endless. It’s like having a productivity superhero at your disposal! Explore workflows that make the most of both screens.

9. Tame the Cable Chaos

Dual monitors mean double the cables. If you’re not careful, it can quickly turn into a cable jungle. To keep things tidy, invest in some cable management solutions. Such as adhesive cable clips or cable sleeves. Your setup will look cleaner. It’ll also be easier to make changes or upgrades in the future.

10. Don’t Forget the Ergonomics

As you immerse yourself in your dual-monitor world, remember to consider ergonomics. Ensure that your monitors are at eye level. And your keyboard and mouse are at a comfortable height and angle.

Good ergonomics can prevent strain and discomfort. This allows you to enjoy your setup for longer without any aches or pains.

Need Help with Hardware or Software Setup?

Why struggle with hardware or software setup? Come to the pros to save time and avoid frustration.

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These Technologies Can Help You Run Your Small Business Better

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Small businesses face many challenges, but technology can offer solutions. Digital tools can help small business owners simplify operations, increase efficiency, and enhance productivity.

There are many tools available, from innovative software to cutting-edge hardware. The right technology can give small business owners a competitive edge.

However, finding the best options can be daunting. Buying apps just because someone recommended them may not work for you. You need to identify your needs and optimize your solutions.

What are the main obstacles that SMBs encounter with cloud use? According to the 2023 State of the Cloud Report, they are cost management and security. The report also revealed that 47% of SMBs lacked resources and expertise.

We can assist you in selecting the best tech for growth and ROI. Let’s start by looking at some game-changing technologies. These tools can transform the way you run your small business.

Revolutionary Tech Tools for Small Business Owners

Searching for ways to streamline processes, improve communication, or elevate customer satisfaction? Look right here for a range of technology tools designed specifically for SMBs. These solutions possess the power to revolutionize your business’s triumph.

How Cloud Computing Enables Scalability and Flexibility

Microsoft Azure Flexibility and Scalability

Cloud computing enables businesses to store, access, and manage their data more efficiently. Small businesses can benefit from apps like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, which offer enterprise-class features that were previously exclusive to large companies.

Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are examples of other cloud-based solutions. They offer scalable and flexible computing power to small business owners, who do not need to invest in expensive on-premises infrastructure.

Some of the advantages of cloud computing are:

  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Smooth data backup and recovery
  • Increased accessibility

These features allow you and your team to work from any location and at any time. You can use the cloud to run your entire office, including your phone system, document storage, accounting, customer management, and more. The cloud offers cost-efficient solutions for small businesses of all kinds.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

CRM software is essential for delivering outstanding customer service in today’s competitive market. CRM platforms such as Salesforce and HubSpot help you centralize customer data and track interactions more effectively. You can also manage customer relationships better with CRM software.

Spreadsheets have their limitations. They require a lot of manual work and are prone to errors. They also lack collaboration features and can cause miscommunication or missed opportunities.

CRM software can enhance your sales process, marketing campaigns and customer support. You can learn more about your customers’ needs and preferences and customize your offerings accordingly. This will boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Tools for Smooth and Effective Teamwork

Small businesses need efficient collaboration, especially when their employees work in different locations or remotely. Collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace enable this. They offer real-time communication, file sharing, and project management solutions.

These platforms unite teams and allow for smooth collaboration, effective task assignment, and streamlined workflows. The apps have features like chat, video conferencing, and document collaboration. These tools keep your team connected and productive, no matter where they are.

E-commerce Platforms for Online Sales

Small businesses can benefit from the growth of e-commerce. They can access more customers and generate more income. They can use platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce to build and run their online stores.

These platforms have everything a small business needs to succeed online. They have flexible designs, safe payment options, and easy inventory control. These features help small businesses create a strong online brand. They can offer products or services to customers anywhere.

Using Data Analytics to Make Better Decisions

Data analytics tools are valuable for any business. They can provide insights that inform decision-making. Small business owners can use platforms like Google Analytics and Microsoft Power BI to collect, analyze, and visualize data from various sources.

With data analytics, you can track website traffic, customer behavior, and sales trends. You can also identify opportunities, optimize marketing strategies, and make data-driven decisions. Data insights can help you grow your business.

Data analytics gives small business owners the power to understand their target audience. It also helps them spot areas for improvement quickly. They can then make smarter business choices.

Ask Us About Our Cloud Support to Boost Your Bottom Line

Technology can transform your small business by making your processes faster, your customers happier, and your efficiency higher. But it can be hard to figure out how to use it effectively. You don’t have to do it by yourself.

Let us help.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat about optimizing your cloud efficiency and costs.


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These 5 Small Business Tech Trends Can Fuel Your Growth

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In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses have more opportunities than ever. Many of these call for leveraging technology to their advantage. Embracing the right tech trends can help businesses compete. It enables them to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and fuel growth.

But it can be confusing knowing which routes to take. Most small businesses need to choose the route that is going to bring the biggest return.

Below, we’ll explore five small business tech trends. These trends have the potential to drive success. As well as propel your business forward in an increasingly competitive market.

1. Cloud Computing: Expanding Possibilities

Cloud computing has emerged as a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. And some believe small businesses are among the most benefitted. 82% of small to medium businesses report reduced costs after adopting cloud tools.

The cloud offers many benefits. It’s a cost-effective and scalable solution for data storage, software access, and collaboration. By migrating to the cloud, small businesses can save. They cut the need for on-premises infrastructure. This reduces maintenance costs and gives enhanced flexibility.

Also, cloud-based tools and platforms enable teams to work remotely. This can promote collaboration and improve productivity. Working in the cloud offers access to real-time data and apps from any location. This enables small businesses to make informed decisions faster. They can also respond to market changes with agility.

2. Artificial Intelligence: Automating Efficiency

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the way businesses operate. This year alone, ChatGPT has completely transformed many business apps. We cannot overstate AI’s potential benefits for small businesses.

AI-powered tools and algorithms can automate routine tasks. Such as data entry, customer service, and inventory management. This frees up valuable time for employees to focus on higher-value activities.

Chatbots, for instance, enable small businesses to provide 24/7 customer support. All without the need for more staff or paying overtime hours.

AI also empowers businesses to gain actionable insights from vast amounts of data. This helps them optimize processes, personalize marketing strategies, and enhance customer experiences.

Embracing AI technologies can give small businesses a competitive edge. It does this by boosting efficiency, reducing costs, and improving decision-making.

3. E-commerce and Mobile Commerce: Expanding Reach

The rise of e-commerce and mobile commerce has opened up new avenues for small businesses. They can now easily reach a global audience. Using websites and apps, companies can sell anywhere at any time.

It’s easier than ever to put up a secure payment gateway and take payments online. These “plug-and-play” e-commerce sites and apps can create a seamless user experience. This allows small businesses to build trust and encourage repeat purchases.

Businesses can easily understand customer preferences by leveraging data analytics. They can also optimize inventory management and personalize marketing campaigns.

By embracing e-commerce and mobile commerce, small businesses can grow quickly. They can extend their reach beyond geographical boundaries. As well as tap into new markets, thereby fueling growth opportunities.

4. Data Security: Safeguarding Trust

As businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies, data security becomes paramount. Small businesses are just as vulnerable to cyber threats as larger enterprises. This makes it essential to prioritize data security measures.

46% of all data breaches impact businesses with less than 1,000 employees.

It’s important to put robust cybersecurity practices in place. This includes things like:

  • Encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Regular data backups
  • Endpoint protection
  • Identity and access management
  • Advanced threat protection

Additionally, two more tactics to proactively manage risks include:

  • Staying informed about emerging threats
  • Investing in employee training

Customers value businesses that focus on their data security. A strong security posture can instill trust and confidence. This leads to long-term customer loyalty and positive brand reputation.

5. Automation and Workflow Integration: Streamlining Operations

Automating business processes can significantly streamline operations. When small businesses integrate workflows they save time and money. Workflow automation eliminates repetitive manual tasks. It also reduces human error and enhances efficiency.

Think about integrating various systems and applications. Such as customer relationship management (CRM), project management, and accounting software. Integration can end silos and ensure seamless information flow across different departments.

Other benefits include:

  • Enabling better coordination
  • Fostering collaboration
  • Optimizing resource allocation
  • Improving productivity
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction

Small businesses that leverage automation and workflow integration gain a competitive advantage. They operate more efficiently and deliver superior experiences to their customers.

Take an Important Step Toward Digital Growth

In today’s digital era, small businesses have a ton of tech tools and trends at their disposal. But it takes guidance to know what to do and how to do it.

While embracing cloud computing, AI, e-commerce, data security, and automation can help. To stay competitive small businesses need a clear and affordable path. One that makes sense for their business goals.

We can be your digital transformation guide.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat about tech solutions to fuel your growth.


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Have You Tried Microsoft Universal Print? (Learn What It Can Do for You)

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In today’s digital workplace, printing remains an essential function. This is true for just about all businesses. But keeping up with your print infrastructure can be a time-consuming task. One printer down can mean work comes to a standstill.

Another issue is keeping up with all those printer drivers. If firmware updates aren’t done, vulnerabilities exist. One unprotected printer can cause an entire network malware infection.

Microsoft has come up with an answer to streamline print management. This solution is called Microsoft Universal Print. It offers a modern answer to age-old print problems.

Looking to improve how you handle document printing? Do you wish you could avoid printer problems? Below, we’ll explore the benefits and features of Microsoft Universal Print. We’ll also help you discover how it can enhance your printing environment.

What Can Microsoft Universal Print Do for You?

Microsoft Universal Print leverages the power of Microsoft 365 and Azure. It eliminates the need for complex on-premises print infrastructure. Here are some of the ways that it can improve your document handling.

Simplifying Print Management

Microsoft Universal Print eliminates the need for on-premises print servers. Print management becomes more simplified and all in one place. Organizations can centrally manage their printing needs from the cloud.

This ease of use removes the need for complex print server configurations. As well as driver installations and print queue management. This results in significant time and cost savings.

Seamless Integration with Microsoft 365

A key advantage of Universal Print is its seamless integration with Microsoft 365. It works in tandem with Azure Active Directory. This ensures a secure and authenticated printing experience for users.

This integration allows users to print from any device, whether it’s a Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device. There’s no need for complex setup or driver installations. It simplifies the printing process. It also enhances productivity for employees working across different platforms.

Flexibility and Scalability

With Microsoft Universal Print, organizations gain flexibility and scalability in their print activities. It supports both modern and legacy printers. This allows businesses to leverage their existing printer fleet.

Universal Print enables easy connectivity. This is true whether it’s a local printer or a network printer. As well as management through the cloud. Additionally, it offers centralized control and monitoring of printers. This makes it effortless to scale up or down based on business needs.

Streamlined Printer Deployment

Deploying printers across an organization can be a time-consuming task. Microsoft Universal Print simplifies this process. It does this by providing a centralized portal for printer management.

Administrators can easily add and configure printers. They can assign them to specific users or groups. As well as manage printer settings from a single interface. This eliminates the need for manual configuration on individual devices. Which can be very time-consuming and fraught with issues. It also ensures a consistent printing experience across the organization.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

A big benefit of using Microsoft Universal Print is its security capabilities. Print security is a critical concern for businesses, especially in today’s threat landscape. Microsoft Universal Print enhances security by leveraging Azure Active Directory. It’s used for authentication and access control.

It also supports secure print release. This means that sensitive documents are only printed under certain circumstances. Namely, when the authorized user is physically present at the printer.

Moreover, Universal Print integrates with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This gives organizations even more capabilities. They can enforce security policies and manage print-related settings from a centralized location.

Insights and Analytics

Understanding print usage and optimizing print infrastructure is essential for efficient cost management. Microsoft Universal Print provides insights and analytics that help organizations gain visibility. They’re able to see print usage patterns. As well as track printing costs and identify opportunities for optimization.

With detailed reporting and analytics, businesses can make informed decisions. Reporting enables better print resource allocation. As well as the implementation of strategies to reduce printing costs.

Is Microsoft Universal Print for You?

Microsoft Universal Print offers a modern and efficient approach to print management. It streamlines the printing experience for organizations. It also eliminates the need for complex on-premises print infrastructure. There are also important benefits from the boost in security.

But is it for you?

We can help you understand the full capabilities of Microsoft Universal Print. Including the costs versus the benefits. Whether the solution is for you will depend on your printing needs. Extra factors to consider will be how often you print and your number of endpoints.

Get Cost-Efficient Technology Answers

It’s not easy to make software decisions on your own. That’s why we’re here to help! We can sit down with you to discuss your current infrastructure. We’ll help you evaluate solutions, like Microsoft Universal Print. Then, we’ll tell you straight up what makes the most sense for you.

Give us a call today to chat about your technology needs.


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How to Create Insightful Dashboards in Microsoft Power BI

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Data visualization is a powerful tool for communicating complex data. It presents it in a simple, easily understandable format. But it is not enough to simply create a graph or chart and call it a day. To truly make use of information, it is important to create insightful reports. Reports that effectively communicate the story behind the data.

Insightful reports help decision-makers understand key trends and patterns. As well as identify areas of opportunity and make informed decisions. If analytics graphs and bar charts are only telling part of the story, it can lead people to wrong decisions.

Creating holistic and insightful reports requires the use of several data points. One tool that enables this is Microsoft Power BI.

What Is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence tool. It allows you to connect many data sources to one dashboard. Using Power BI, you can easily model and visualize data holistically.

The platform has over 500 different data connectors. These connectors can tap into sources such as Salesforce, Excel, Azure, and more. Users can leverage pre-built report templates to save time in creating data-rich reporting. Teams can also collaborate and share dashboards virtually.

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Tips for Designing Great Data Visualization Reports

Getting started in Microsoft Power BI entails:

  • Signing up for the software
  • Connecting your data sources
  • Using its tools to create report visualizations

But creating great reports goes beyond that. Below, we’ll go through several tips and best practices for getting the most out of your Power BI output.

Consider Your Audience

You should design reporting dashboards with the end user in mind. What is it that this audience wants to see? Are they looking for bottom-line sales numbers? Or do they want to cover insights that can help target productivity gaps?

The use of clear and concise language and effective visualizations are important. These help to highlight the key takeaways from the data. Customize reports to the audience’s level of technical expertise and business goals.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Many times, less is more. If you find that your dashboard looks crowded, you may be adding too many reports. The more you add, the more difficult it is to read the takeaways from the data.

Remove all but the most essential reports. Look for ways to include different data sets in a single report, such as using stacked bar charts. Dashboards should show important data at a glance, so do your best to avoid the need to scroll.

Try Out Different Chart Types

Experiment with presenting your data in different ways. Flip between bar, pie, and other types of charts to find the one that tells the story the best. When building a new dashboard for your organization, get some input. Ask those who will review the reports which chart type works best for them.

Get to Know Power Query

Power Query is a data preparation engine. It can save you a lot of time in developing insightful reports. This engine is used in Microsoft tools like Power BI and Excel.

Take time to learn how to leverage this tool for help with:

  • Connecting a wide range of data sources to the dashboard
  • Previewing data queries
  • Building intuitive queries over many data sources
  • Defining data size, variety, and velocity

Build Maps with Hints to Bing

Bing and Power BI integrate, allowing you to leverage default map coordinates. Use best practices to leverage the mapping power of Bing to improve your geo-coding.

For example, if you want to plot cities on a map, name your columns after the geographic designation. This helps Bing identify exactly what you’re looking for.

Tell People What They Are Looking At

A typical comment heard often when presenting executives with a new report is, “What am I looking at?” Tell your audience what the data means by using features like tooltips and text boxes to add context.

Just one or two sentences can save someone 5-10 minutes of trying to figure out why you gave them this report. That context can get them to a decision faster. It also helps avoid any confusion or misunderstandings about the data.

Use Emphasis Tricks

People usually read left to right and from top to bottom. So put your most important chart at the top, left corner. Follow, with the next most important reports.

If you have specific numbers that need to stand out, increase the font size or bold the text. This ensures that your audience understands the key takeaways.

Use can also use colors to emphasize things like a “High, Mid, Low.” For example, a low level of accidents could be green, a mid-level in yellow, and a high colored red. This provides more visual context to the data.

Need Help with Power Bi or Other Microsoft Products?

We can help you get started or improve your use of Microsoft 365, Power BI, and more. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about leveraging this powerful platform.


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How to Use the New Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams

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Scheduling appointments is a common activity. Salespeople often set up virtual appointments to answer questions about a product. Software companies allow people to schedule live demos. Telehealth therapists allow clients to book video sessions.

Those are just a few examples of some groups that are going to love a new Microsoft Teams feature. Virtual Appointments was recently added to the platform. It adds a new meeting style tailored for engagements with customers.

Have you’ve been using Teams and a different online appointment app? This new feature will streamline the experience.

What Is Virtual Appointments in Teams?

Virtual Appointments gives you an all-in-one meeting platform for customer engagements. You can schedule, manage and conduct B2C meetings in Microsoft Teams.

This new feature brings together the scheduling component with the video conference interface. Anyone with the link can join the virtual appointment. They do not need a Teams account.

The power of Microsoft’s scheduling app, Bookings, connects to Teams. This makes the Virtual Appointments function as seamless as possible.

Some of the features below will be available with any Microsoft 365 plan. Some are available with a premium plan.

Teams Virtual Appointments Features

Manage Scheduled Appointments

You can see your scheduled appointments in a single view. Manage cancellations and time changes easily.

Send Customized Confirmations & Reminders

You can send customers a customized message via SMS or email. This personalizes the experience for them. You can also use automation to give that personal touch without having to send each one manually. Automated appointment reminders are another time-saving function.

Customized Waiting Room

Add a personal touch to your virtual engagements. You can customize the Teams waiting room. You can use themes and logos to brand your business. You can also chat with attendees while in the lobby waiting room. This is helpful if your current appointment is running a little long. You can let them know you’ll be right with them.

Meeting Follow-ups

You can send meeting follow-ups after a virtual appointment. This helps you reduce the time it takes to send any promised follow-up information. You also keep all details in a single place. This makes your client communication trail easier to follow.

Organization & Department Analytics

How effective are your appointments? It’s hard to know if your demos are resulting in sales if you don’t have a good tracking system. It’s also important to have visibility into customer appointments across the organization.

You can do this with a premium analytics feature. It gives you helpful reporting. The reporting provides insights into B2C virtual appointments in all departments.

How to Use Virtual Appointments

To start using Virtual Appointments in Teams, admins must set up a few things. Note, they must be a Bookings admin to access these settings.

Create a Calendar

In the Virtual Appointments app choose to “Create a calendar.” You can find this option on the Home tab.

Larger organizations may wish to create different calendars for different departments.

Add Staff

Next, add staff members. You can add up to 100. You will also need to assign them a role. Once you’ve added your staff, you can view their availability in both Teams and Outlook.

What’s another nice thing about using an integrated platform like M365? It’s the cross-app compatibility. Your calendar syncs across apps.

Create Appointment Types

You’ll next set up your appointment types. You can choose from these two options:

  • Scheduled: You schedule the day/time. The system adds this information to the email confirmation.
  • On-demand (Teams Premium): Customers can choose when to meet from your booking calendar.

Set Up SMS Notifications (If desired)

If you choose to use SMS notifications and have the right Teams plan, you can set this up next. This allows you to easily send appointment confirmations and reminders via text message.

Note: Attendees currently need a valid U.S., Canadian, or U.K. phone number to receive the SMS notifications.

Link Forms (If desired)

If you would like your attendees to fill out any forms, you can link them now. Virtual Appointments allows linking up to four cloud-based forms. These would be forms you have created in Microsoft Forms.

Publish Your Booking Page

If you want to give customers the ability to book on-demand appointments, take this next step. You will need to publish the booking page. You do this on the “Manage” tab of Virtual Appointments. Select “Booking page,” and turn on “Publish booking page.”

Get Help Using Your Microsoft 365 Tools More Effectively

Microsoft 365 is a platform with many possibilities. Often, companies aren’t using all the features they could. As a result, their team may be less effective. They could also be wasting money on apps they don’t need.

Are you interested in help supercharging your Microsoft 365 experience? Give us a call today to set up a meeting.


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7 Customer-Facing Technologies to Give You an Advantage

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Customers look for convenience. In today’s world that means technology that makes their life easier. From webforms to POS systems, you need to keep the customer experience in mind in all you do.

When people aren’t happy with their experience interacting with a company, they leave. And their experience might not have anything to do with your products or services. Maybe they found it hard to navigate your website. They may have a question, but no one was around to answer it.

Customers expect you to make it easy for them to do business with you. Companies that do that, reap the benefits. Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that aren’t.

Technology is key to converting website visitors into clients. It’s also key for keeping customers happy and returning to buy again.

Where should you focus? Below are several ideas for all business budgets.

Cloud Forms

Are you still emailing forms in Microsoft Word to your customers? Using cloud-based forms makes the experience much better. Your customer doesn’t need to save a form to their computer and remember to email it back. Instead, they can follow a link and fill out the info online from any device.

Moving your forms to the cloud makes it easier for you as well. The form data comes in automatically. These systems also collate forms and provide analytics.

If you use Microsoft 365, then you already have a cloud form tool. Look for Microsoft Forms in your available applications or visit Microsoft’s site.

Digital Signatures

Experts expect the use of eSignatures to grow by 69% by 2024. The ability to digitally sign documents means more contracts get signed. People don’t have to print out a form, sign it, then scan it back in. Any of those activities could mean a bump in the road.

Printers run out of ink. People have trouble with a scanner they rarely use. The list goes on. Any problem can mean a customer rethinks signing a document that you need.

Using digital signatures streamlines the process. You can handle the transaction online. You also ensure you have a legally binding signature.

Smart Chatbot

When someone makes a buying decision, they often have a question. If they don’t have a quick and easy way to get an answer, they may go elsewhere.

Chatbots are really smart these days. If you program them right, they can answer a large percentage of repeat questions. They’re there 24/7 on your website ready to help in a moment of need.

Many customers actually like them. About 68% of consumers are happy using helpful chatbots. They say they like that they get a fast answer from a bot. This isn’t always the case when customers send an email.

SMS Notifications

SMS notifications are another type of technology that can improve customer experience. Emails have become flooded with junk mail. When someone needs to know about a shipment or purchase, they often prefer it by text. This way the message isn’t missed.

Think about implementing SMS notifications for important customer alerts. Make sure you have an opt-in and opt-out method. It’s also a best practice to let the customer choose which alerts they want to receive. Such as payment notifications, sales, or shipping details.

Business Mobile App

People have been in a transition from websites to apps for a while. Of course, the internet isn’t going away, but apps are gaining ground. A big reason for this is the rise of smartphone use.

Smartphone searches are overtaking web searches. And when people are on a mobile device they prefer apps over websites. Studies show that mobile users spend 90% of their time using apps, and just 10% using an internet browser.

Think about implementing a mobile app for your business. This can make it easier for customers to do business with you. It also gives you more marketing and service capabilities, such as push notifications.

If you’re on a tight budget, you could start with a “wrapper” app. These are solutions that take your existing website and transform it into an app.

FAQ Kiosk

For retail stores, having an FAQ kiosk available can provide a positive experience. It can allow customers to get questions answered quickly. It could also help them look up sales and coupons.

Service businesses can also benefit by using this digital tool. They can use it for commonly asked questions. They can also use it to direct clients to staff offices.

VoIP Phone System

You might think of your phone system as an internal piece of IT. But it’s also one of your most customer-facing technologies. The experience people get when they call is a vital part of how they view your business.

VoIP phone systems give staff the flexibility to help customers anywhere. This is true even when away from their desks. They also enable things like group ring, auto-attendant, and voicemail to email. All these features make for better caller interaction with your business.

Get Help Planning Your Technology Roadmap

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The Pros & Cons of Tracking Your Employees’ Every Digital Movement

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Since the pandemic, employers around the world have needed to change. They’ve had to shift how their employees operate. Remote work is very much here to stay. Organizations and employees can both benefit from the work-from-home and hybrid work revolution.

Cost savings is a driver for supporting remote work. Employee morale and productivity also can be higher when employers grant this flexibility.

A majority of organizations support some type of remote work. Statistics show that:

  • 16% of companies are completely remote
  • 40% support hybrid office/remote working
  • 44% don’t allow employees to work remotely

While there are benefits, there are also challenges to this new environment. Employers worry about the cybersecurity risks of remote teams. Managers can find it more challenging to make sure employees are doing what they should do.

The remote and hybrid work environment has led to the rise of employee monitoring tools. These tools have mixed reviews from employees.

What Is Employee Monitoring Software?

Employee monitoring software tracks digital movements. This can include everything from general clock-in clock-out tracking to taking screenshots of an employee’s computer several times per hour.

Tracking tools like Hubstaff and BambooHR track many activities on a person’s computer. The information is then sent in a daily or weekly report to the company.

Items that these tools can track are:

  • Time clock
  • Keyboard activity
  • Keystrokes
  • Mouse activity
  • Websites visited
  • Screenshots of the desktop
  • Apps used and how long in use

The most invasive of tools can even track the sounds and video of the employee. Tracking can be visible, so the employee knows about it or hidden from the employee. It depends on the tool used and the ethical considerations of the employer.

This type of monitoring can benefit an organization worried about “productivity theft.” But it can also alienate good employees and torpedo morale and trust. We’ll go through the pros and cons to weigh before you set up this type of system.

Pros of Activity Monitoring Tools

Helps Managers Understand How Employees Spend Their Day

One feature of many tracking tools is the ability to track time by project. This helps managers understand where employees are prioritizing their time. Knowing how much time employees spend on a project helps with ROI projections.

Reduces Non-Work Activities During Working Hours

One thing that employers worry about with remote employees is that they will waste time. A manager doesn’t want to pay someone only to find out the employee spent half their time on Facebook.

About half of monitored employees spend 3+ hours per day on non-work activities. When employees know that their boss is monitoring their app usage, they’re less likely to goof off.

Can Be an Easy Way to Track Time for Remote Workers

Smaller companies that work with fully remote teams may find tracking tools convenient. Employees or freelancers can track their time at the click of a button. Employers can put an hour-per-week cap on time. They can also manage payments automatically through the app.

Cons of Activity Monitoring Tools

Hurts Employees’ Morale & Productivity

Many employees feel they are put in a cage when monitoring is introduced. Morale can plummet, which takes productivity along with it.

Instead of focusing on work completely, various thoughts go through employees’ minds. Such as, “If I think about this problem too long, is the tracking going to give me a low productivity score?” Or “What happens when I’m on the phone with a customer and not moving my mouse around? Will the tracking make it look like I’m not working?”

Some of the feelings that employees can have when monitored are:

  • Betrayed
  • No longer trusted
  • Loss of company loyalty
  • Hurt
  • Treated like a number instead of a person

“Activity Monitoring” Doesn’t Mean Productivity

Many of these tracking tools send employees and employers “activity reports.” These reports simply look at keyboard and mouse activity during a specific time.

But what if the employee must solve a workflow issue and needs to use their brain, not the mouse? What if a salesperson is on the phone with a customer, not using their keyboard? Zoom calls bring a similar quandary. If you’re in a Zoom call, your mouse and keyboard aren’t being actively used as they would if you are typing.

Yet, the activity report doesn’t include this information. It will simply give a score of x% based on keyboard and mouse activity. This could make an employer think a worker was goofing off when they were actually working hard.

Costs Organizations Good Employees

Nearly half (47%) of surveyed tech employees stated they would quit if their boss tracked them. Employers implementing monitoring can alienate good employees and make them feel untrusted. They can also feel unappreciated.

When you relegate everyone to a number of keyboard strokes, you constrain creativity. Good employees often stay with companies where they feel appreciated and can grow. Once that’s gone, they’re likely to leave.

Finding a Balance

A few things to think about when finding the right balance between tracking too much or too little are:

  • What do you really need to track?
  • Should you treat all employees the same?
  • What do your employees think about monitoring?
  • Are you trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist?
  • What features are unnecessary that you can turn off?
  • Is the tool giving you accurate data related to productivity?

Get Expert Advice on the Best Tools for Your Business

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Align Your Team to Company Targets with Microsoft Viva Goals

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You often hear the words “digital transformation” and “collaboration.” But what do they actually mean? What do they mean for the day-to-day of running your business?

Collaboration can’t happen without shared goals. When departments are siloed and unconnected, priorities can conflict. People are doing their best but may not be moving in the same direction.

Digital transformation is simply the use of technology to better reach business goals. This encompasses moving from analog ways of doing things. Transitioning to tools that are more automated and connected.

Microsoft has been at the forefront of digital transformation and collaboration. Its Viva platform drives an improved employee experience. It does this by use of AI, automation, cloud connectivity, and more.

In this article, you’ll get an overview of Microsoft Viva. Then, we’ll dive into one of the newest Viva offerings, Viva Goals. We’ll explore what it does and how it can help your company meet its targets.

What Is Microsoft Viva?

Microsoft Viva is a line of employee experience applications. These connect to the Microsoft 365 platform, and especially Microsoft Teams. The apps act as add-ons that can build on your organization’s digital capabilities.

There are currently seven apps within the Microsoft Viva line:

  • Viva Topics: Allows organizations to harness knowledge and experience. It serves up relevant topics from the company knowledge base from keywords.
  • Viva Connections: Gives employees a personalized and connected newsfeed. The company newsfeed serves up important news, conversations, and tools.
  • Viva Learning: Consolidates employee training apps. Makes it easy for employees to gain new skills from inside the MS Teams application.
  • Viva Insights: Improves employee well-being and corporate culture. Uses data-driven insights to provide productivity and well-being recommendations.
  • Viva Sales: Reduces the data input needed from salespeople. Serves up helpful lead interaction recommendations.
  • Viva Engage: Cultivates personal networks and community. Fosters engagement and knowledge sharing.
  • Viva Goals: Enables clarity and alignment of corporate goals.

The Viva line expands what businesses may traditionally see as “software.” It creates a connection between Microsoft Office and M365 apps. It also focuses on the people, rather than the tool. Microsoft designed Viva applications to use AI. This makes work easier and gives visibility into actionable data points.

What is Viva Goals?

Viva Goals is one of the newest Viva applications from Microsoft. It connects teams so they’re moving toward a shared set of goals. Employees align, whether someone works in the accounting department or customer support.

Business leaders can look at Viva Goals as a way to solidify company objectives. They can then tie these objectives to meaningful targets for each department.

Viva Goals
Image from Microsoft

For example, say you have a corporate target to provide exceptional customer support. This goal by itself is generic. It doesn’t connect to what teams need to do to make it happen.

In Viva Goals, that target can have directives for various teams. Such as customer support reducing ticket resolution by 8 hours. This brings goals to a meaningful level and allows organizations to track progress.

Here are the key value-adds of using Viva Goals.

Aligns Your Team to the Same Goals

Viva Goals puts company goals and targets in a tangible form. There is a definition of success for teams and individuals. Work outcomes are directly connected to company-wide objectives.

Everyone is on the same page, rather than departments pursuing different targets. With alignment, companies can more easily reach their goals.

Maintains Focus on Goals

Viva connects to other M365 apps, making it easier to gather data insights. These insights help leaders more easily see goal progress.

Employees stay focused on goals. This is because goals connect to their daily work targets. Rather than being something they hear at a company event, goals get infused into the workflow.

Focus on Goals
Image from Microsoft

Integration with Teams & M365

The integration with Teams keeps goals front and center. Employees get recognized for meeting targets and helping the company achieve its goals. This keeps everyone engaged and moving together.

Progress towards goals isn’t kept on a spreadsheet on someone’s cloud drive. Instead, stats on goal achievement live in tools used daily. When goals remain visible, organizations have a better chance to achieve them.

How Do You Get Viva Goals?

If you want to subscribe to Viva Goals as an add-on to your M365 plan, it is currently $6.00/user/month.

For the entire suite of Viva applications, the current price is $9.00/user/month.

Questions About Microsoft 365 or Viva Goals?

Digital transformation with tools like Microsoft Viva is a necessity if you want to keep up. Old ways of doing things are giving way to the cloud, AI, and machine learning. We can help you navigate that territory. Give us a call and schedule a consultation to learn more.


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