Technology can make real, positive contributions to your business.
We write a lot about cyber security at TMB. It’s one of those unavoidable subjects that needs to be addressed, because it’s so important. But let's be honest: it’s not exciting. Most of the time, when it’s working, you’ll barely know it’s there, and it’s designed to protect your business, not to improve it. As much as security matters, though, there are many other reasons to invest in IT – in ways you’ll notice every day.
Being able to do the things you normally do but more easily and faster is one of the main benefits of information technology. But even the most cutting-edge computers of today will be slow and out of date one day. That's why it's so important to plan hardware upgrades. All the time you’re waiting for a slow PC or server to do what you want, you’re wasting precious time. Quite simply, better hardware can facilitate more efficient working.
Business is all about people, and teamwork is as important now as it’s ever been. With the right IT solutions, you can dramatically improve the ease with which your people can work together and the effectiveness of their collaboration. That even includes remote workers, who might otherwise struggle to get involved in team tasks.
Office 365, for example, opens the door to real-time, collaborative editing. This does away with the need to send documents back and forth, or to share a copy that can only be edited by one person at a time. With Office 365, several people can all be in a document at the same time, and their edits will happen at the same time.
Businesses can also benefit from better task management, by using software such as Trello or Microsoft Teams. These both include a feature known as a ‘kanban board’. This involves virtual cards that have tasks written on them, which can be dragged into different columns to signify different stages in their progress. Kanban boards can be used to organise one’s own tasks, or they can be used by managers to assign jobs to team members.
If your work ever involves doing something repetitive on a computer, then you could probably benefit from automation. There are numerous ways to automate tasks, including IFTTT (If This Then That), a web-based solution that’s free for personal use but which also has user plans for businesses. Similarly, Microsoft has an automation tool called Flow, which also offers free and paid tiers.
Setting up the conditions to use these tools effectively may not be within every user’s abilities, though. Furthermore, the applications you use may not be supported. If you find yourself in that position, then you need to consider custom development. TMB, for example, has an in-house software development team, who can assist you with effective software automation .
Whether it’s brochures, websites, white papers, videos or blog posts, every business needs some kind of creative input. For some, it makes sense to hire an external company to take care of everything, but thanks to software like the Adobe Creative Cloud, any business can bring their creative endeavours in-house.
As well as the necessary software, you may need to invest in new hardware powerful enough to handle it. Be aware, though, that isn’t necessary to buy a Mac to do this kind of work.
Every business collects data – from the names and addresses of customers, to the number of products sold and the cost of overheads. It can all rapidly get out of hand, and with different types of data being stored across multiple systems in a variety of formats, it can be tricky to find what you want.
Business intelligence solutions take all that disparate information and turn it into something useful – something that can be standardised, searched through and cross referenced. This enables organisations to make more informed business decisions and acts as a single source of truth.
One of the biggest changes to enterprise IT in recent years has been the strong adoption of cloud computing solutions. These have transformed the way people work. Here at TMB, for example, I can be working on a text document using the desktop version of Microsoft Word. This is automatically uploaded to my OneDrive, and I can then continue working on it from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection, thanks to Office 365. There’s no need for USB flash drives (a potential security risk) or for me to email files to myself.
For some businesses, it can also make sense to do away with on-site servers, and instead use a cloud-hosted server on a service such as Azure or AWS.