Best practice IT setup for SMEs
Drive productivity through technology – just do it!
The new financial year is here! I know this is can be a stressful time for the accountants and tax people, but I wonder if the rest of us can use this milestone to think about new ideas and resolutions for working better, smarter, not harder?
Imagine a New Financial Year Resolutions movement where simple ideas and process augmentation help lead to a better working life.
To inspire your creativity and desire to work better, smarter, and not harder, here are my top 3.5 technology productivity tips. You can trial all for free – so all you need is a desire and perseverance to follow through.
Tip 0.5 – you need a good computer
Quite simply, computers don’t last. With the myriad of software updates, the operating power required by new applications means that you need to upgrade your computer at least every three years. So, if you have an old clunker, you need to consider replacing it, otherwise you will not necessarily benefit from my tips below.
To inspire you into action, if your company turnover is under $10 million, then you might be entitled to deduct the full cost of the computer in the current financial year. Which means that you will pay less tax on current year profits.
If you have a current computer, great – how about you buy a tablet? Tablets are a fantastic mobile device for note-taking, video conferencing and accessing information; plus they have a long battery life. These also qualify for a full tax deduction.
Tip 1 – Notetaking
Are you tired of taking notes in a meeting and then trying to find these notes six weeks later? What if you had an application that enabled you to take notes on your computer, tablet and smartphone, synchronise them automatically and be always available at your fingertips with google like search.
My favourite apps are Evernote and OneNote
Yes, it takes a bit of getting used to, but the productivity benefits are huge. Just give it a go for two weeks and you will be hooked.
Tip 2 – Personal Video Conference
We all have meetings and conversations with people all the time. Peer-to -peer video calls are so much better than endless back and forth emails. You can have a quick call with someone, see their reactions and deal with issues so much quicker and efficiently. Plus, you avoid all the misunderstandings and people drawing wrong conclusions from your quickly-scrawled emails.
My favourite apps are Zoom, Skype for Business and GoToMeeting.
But wait there’s more. These same applications also include multi-people conference capability. This means that you can run a meeting with a number of people from your office, other locations or overseas. These tools offer seamless interoperability across smartphone, tablet and computers, allowing people to connect from multiple devices.
Tip 3 – Collaboration
Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate. The lack of collaboration and communication seems to be a common 21st century business problem. This requires a little more effort to get going across the organisation, so my suggestion is to start small and pick one application and stick to it. Get the management team to blog and vlog via this tool and engage in two-way feedback. Your millennial staff will love it.
My favourite apps are Microsoft Yammer, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
The great news is that you can trial all of these applications for free, so give it a go today or tomorrow. However, my recommendation is to commit on Day One. These tools are not very expensive, and if you are going to use them for business purposes, you do need the paid features.