All posts by SystemsNet Administrator

How to Run Your Business Without Hiring an IT Employee

Small business owner, woman in blazer, smiling, working in the IT industy with IT employees

Outsource your IT and get a staff of qualified techs for a fraction of hiring one internal employee

Today, IT professionals are in high demand, and the labor shortage makes it more than a little challenging to find one who can join the staff at small-business prices. Not when corporations are already hotly competing for every technician, admin, and developer on the market to fill their own in-house staff.

But that’s no need to worry. Fortunately for small business, the IT industry has you covered. There a wide variety of IT teams who work hard to provide outsourcing options in every manner of IT service you might need. This arrangement works for everyone, as the IT teams get to keep busy even when your entire network is running smoothly. Small businesses also get the IT support they need, when they need it, at small-business prices.

Today, we’re here to share a few trade secrets on how to get the IT support your small business needs without competing to employ your own on-staff IT employee. With a combination of the following services, you should have all or most of your IT bases covered.

Managed IT and Cybersecurity Subscriptions

Managed IT is the primary resource that every small business need to know about. Often abbreviated to MSP (managed service provider), what this means is an IT team that will curate your network, your software, and your cybersecurity for as long as your small business is subscribed to their service. Managed IT teams are there to be your outsourced IT department in many ways, but they also only deal with computers, software, and networks.

Rent Printers and Copiers with Tech Support Included

To cover that special equipment need, you can rent your printers and copiers along with other office equipment from a service that also provides complete tech support for their devices. Large-scale office printers and copiers often need a significant amount of IT support and maintenance, making supported rental far more practical for a small business team if you don’t have an IT printer expert on staff.  Just be sure that your rentals are with a company that offers full support of both the hardware and software required to keep your printers and copiers humming.

Full-Service Website Hosting

For your website IT, many small businesses benefit from working with a high-quality hosting provider. The company that provides your online server can also help you maintain and secure your website. The key is to look for a full-service package from a reputable hosting provider. Don’t be taken in by cut-rate hosting, as the services are often well below standard and the perks are non-existent. Realize that when you invest in a mainstream host like Azure, AWS or Digital Ocean that part of what you are paying for is the support of their on-staff IT to keep your website safe, secure, and even properly updated with the right supported hosting package.

Local Computer Repair and Refurbishing Services

Finally, for all your additional on-site needs, you can partner with a local computer repair service. These teams and workshops often specialize in riding to the rescue when you need them most. When a computer is physically malfunctioning rather than simply experiencing a software problem, local computer repair teams can make it right. Not only that but when your devices get old and it’s time to get new ones, these teams are often eager to buy the gently used computers and mobile devices from you and help you find a good price on new or like-new refurbished models.

Small businesses have a surprising amount of options outside of hiring on-staff IT to cover every one of your universal or unique IT needs. If you need managed IT services, security, or cloud communication solutions, then contact us today! We look forward to supporting your company with our shared technical expertise.

How VOIP Mobilizes Your Workforce

Business man in a car using VOIP to make and receive calls from the same number

Flexibility in an ever changing business environment is key to exceeding customer expectations

A lot of things have been said about internet phones, but the one thing we can all agree on is that VoIP is the single most mobile phone solution that has ever been introduced to the business world. Even in the age of cellphones, business professionals would have had to give out three or four numbers in order to work in the office, at home, and in the field. VoIP changes all that. VoIP allows employees to connect from any internet device answering and calling from the same number.

This simple set of features means that no matter where team members are, clients and partners can call just one number to find them instead of sorting through a list of numbers that might be the work, home, and mobile numbers. Instead of employees having to juggle multiple cellphones or connect in multiple ways, they merely need to log into the VOIP platform from any of their many devices. What this does, ultimately, is make your workforce incredibly mobile, seamlessly mobile. Let’s dive into the many ways this can work.

Customers Can Always Call the Same Number with VoIP

No matter where your employees are, customers always call the same number. If a team member is handling an account, the customer need only call one number to get their favorite account manager, If a team member is part of a service pool, they will be sorted calls from customers no matter their physical location or device when answering.

VoIP Makes Telecommuting a Seamless Experience

This means that telecommuting, when employees log into work from their home office, becomes a seamless experience as well. Employees are still part of the internal network. They can make and answer calls just the same as if they were at their desk in the office.

VoIP Makes Business Trips Easy

Likewise for business trips. Once an isolating and hassle-rich experience, employees on business trips can now connect smoothly back to the team and/or their clients as soon as they are set up in the hotel room. In fact, any quiet location with internet access will have them back online and virtually back in the office.

VoIP Keeps Employees in the Field Connected

What about team members who jet about town meeting clients and dealing with worksites? People who are seldom in the office or who often need to leave the office can also stay connected. In fact, your VoIP number doubles as a second active number on a cellphone so that cell numbers stay private and clients can call the same VOIP number whether the team member is in the office or out in the field.

VoIP Opens the Door to Remote Employees

For the same reasons, it is now much easier to integrate remote positions with VoIP because these distant team members can connect directly to the office’s internal phone system. They can pick up an extension, participate in a call service pool, receive call transfers, and be a part of conference calls just as easily as if they were based in the home office.

VoIP Makes Your Business More Accessible

Because remote work is so much easier to implement, VoIP also makes your business more welcoming to the physically handicapped who have an easier time working in their optimized home offices. Handicap accommodation in the workplace is not always the ideal solution. When an industry expert would make a great addition to your team except that they need to work from home to work comfortably, then a VoIP-powered remote position is the most welcoming accommodation you can provide.

VoIP Makes it Easy to Work From Multiple Locations

VoIP is also great for circuit-managers, business owners of multiple locations, and teams that move from worksite to worksite depending on the project. After all, your home office is wherever the phone rings, and VoIP allows your central business number (or numbers) to ring to any device that has connected. No matter where you are currently located.

VoIP Lets Parents Parents Work When Kids are Home Sick

Finally, VoIP opens the door for sick days, both for employees and sick children. When a team member is too sick to commute (or avoiding infecting team members) they can telecommute from home instead. And when an employee is perfectly well but must stay home with a sick child, they can connect and clock in several hours while the child naps in recovery or watches cartoons as sick children often do.

VoIP is a fantastic addition to any business as an affordable and versatile alternative to the traditional PBX. But its best function is to mobilize the workforce in more ways than can easily be enumerated. Even this list covers only a few of the many ways that VoIP makes it easier to connect from anywhere while maintaining a unified phone system. Contact us today to find out how VoIP can mobilize your workforce!

5 Reasons to Outsource Your Business’ IT Work

High angle shot of a group of outsourced IT agents working in an office

Outsourcing your IT department is cost effective, provides peace of mind that everything is getting done correctly, and allows you to concentrate on what you do best.

In the last twenty years, IT support has become absolutely mandatory for any business, no matter how small or niche. Your team uses computers, mobile devices, and a full stack of cloud-based software to streamline the work. Your website and server need to be secure and maintained. Your workplace internal network needs to be kept safe from hackers so that employee computers and client files are protected.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that every business under the sun needs an on-staff IT team, or even just one IT employee. In an environment where IT is required for every type of business, it only makes sense that IT outsourcing has become incredibly popular. From network security to website management, many companies are bringing in IT when and where they are needed without worrying about hiring in-house.

Let’s take a closer look at five of the leading reasons why businesses choose to outsource their IT.

1) You Don’t Have Enough IT Work for a Full-Time Staff Member

A large number of small businesses, simply don’t have enough ongoing IT work to keep a single full-time IT professional busy. Once your tech stack is set up and your network is secure, you only need to be checked in on a few times a year and have someone to call in case of emergency. The vast majority of outsourced IT comes from small businesses who partner with contractable IT teams. This partnership works well because you only purchase as much IT support as your business needs. At the same time, the IT professionals get to stay busy by helping dozens of companies with their setup and troubleshooting tasks.

2) You Are a Startup Without a Plan for On-Staff IT Yet

Many a startup also choose to outsource their initial IT and may continue to outsource for a long time. Even highly technical startups who may eventually staff their own team of IT will outsource at the beginning in order to get that launching momentum. An independent IT team can help a startup set up their initial computers, software, and security so that they can start selling and worry about hiring a larger team in-house later when the revenue is right.

3) IT Hiring Competition is Fierce

You may also have noticed that IT professionals are in incredibly high demand, pushing up the hiring price and employment packages that are standard for each job title. Larger companies that are big enough for their own IT teams are clamoring to hire the technicians and admins available, but there just aren’t enough to go around.

So why worry about competing to hire your own IT professional when you can outsource from the independents who have opted out of the dedicated corporate support lifestyle? In fact, by offering outsourced IT, these teams are making sure there is enough IT support to go around even with a limited pool of technicians and admins.

4) In-House IT is Covered, But You Need Website Management

Another interesting variation are businesses that do already have an in-house IT professional or an entire team, but with needs beyond in-house IT tasks. On-staff IT may have your network security, backups, and software stack maintenance down-pat but the most common outsourced task is related to the website. In fact, any IT professional will tell you that website security and maintenance is a somewhat separate skillset from server, network, and internal software maintenance. So it makes sense to outsource for specific website needs or projects that are outside the ken of your on-staff team.

5) You Temporarily Need IT Specialists to Rebuild Your Software Stack or a Big Project

Finally, there are instances when you need outside IT support temporarily for some big technical undertaking. Rebuilding your software tech-stack, for example, is a huge task that your company or even on-staff It may not be comfortable tackling on your own. Large projects that are extremely time-consuming like data transfer or a super-sized backup recovery project can also lead businesses to temporarily hire outsourced IT support. This allows your regular IT maintenance team to keep providing their everyday support while the outsourced team handles the huge load of technical work that is only needed for a short time.

Is your company considering IT outsourcing for the long-term, for a special purpose, or to tackle an oversized technical project? We can help! Contact us today to find out more about how outsourced IT teams can enhance your business functionality, security, and efficiency based on your unique company needs.

VoIP’s Role in the Modern Telephony System

Portrait of contemporary adult man smiling while using laptop to video call using VoIP

Switching to VoIP adds tremendous flexibility to your organization that is not possible with traditional phone systems

VoIP. UC. PSTN. SIP. POTS. The acronyms associated with the telecommunications industry have become so prolific that it’s a challenge to just sort through all the clutter. Loosely interpreted jargon also contributes to the confusion. In this post, we’ll attempt to work through the clutter and simplify the myriad choices that are available for today’s business environment.

To simply understand how one product or service intertwines with another can lead to conniptions. Just knowing where to start is a challenge even for larger enterprises with a deep bench. For smaller businesses, the experience of selecting the system that best meets the company’s needs is often an exercise in sheer frustration. The best place to begin your journey through the telecom landscape is by boiling it all down to the basics and building from there.

VoIP Integration Into Modern Telephony Platforms

We all remember Plain Old Telephone Systems(POTS). Although still in limited use, POTS is a dying telephony model. Advancements in digital technology have made VoIP-based platforms the standard with more robust platforms such as Soft phones and Unified Communications (UC) suites. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages involving price, implementation, maintenance costs, ease of operation, and the platform’s capabilities.

VoIP Soft Phones- These are essentially a virtual phone system.  Usually, they are apps that appear on a computer screen and mimic the capabilities of more traditional phones via a computer screen

Advantages

  • Greater Performance Over POTS (Plain Old Telephone Systems)- Soft phones are more powerful and versatile than traditional landline phones.
  • Enables office to stay connected to off-premises employees and vendors via VoIP.
  • More user-friendly for workers in an office setting.

VoIP-enabled Unified Communications (UC) Systems is a category of “as a service” or “cloud” delivery mechanisms for enterprise communications.

Advantages

  • Better prioritization of Information- Due to its improved functionality, UC offers multiple ways to connect to staff. According to data gathered by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a research consulting firm, 49% of user organizations save up to 20 minutes per employee daily by reaching workers on the first try via a UC solution.
  • It offers more tools for enhanced productivity. The platform includes communication tools like IM, voicemail-to-email, shared calendars, and direct fax to an inbox, that helps to integrate and consolidate your data.
  • The platform is engineered to function as a centralized communication system.  This allows for phone calls, emails, video conferencing, calendars, and the like to be accessible on one system alone.
  • Makes it possible to receive phone calls through a mobile phone, and by sending and receiving copies of voicemails on the computer. Essentially, it can communicate through a number of iterations encompassing the IoT’s arsenal of tools.
  • It becomes a conduit of mobile technologies that can more easily be used to organize work groups and improve productivity on-premises and off-campus. This means that virtual conference calls can be an important tool in the process of doing business. UC also saves employees and other business associates a great deal of time and wasted effort.
  • Scalability- The platform grows with your business. The system is an ideal solution for growing companies.
  • Cloud Solutions-Allowing for a mobile workflow that enhances efficiencies and retains the new generation of workers. This allows for remote work, hot-desking, improved collaboration, and the ability to work from their mobile phones and phablets.
VoIP Driven CX (Customer Experience) Systems

A CX System is most often found in a call center environment. It is a closed-loop system that performs where customer management is the primary function.

Advantages

  • Improves Customer Satisfaction
  • Manages all customer-centric communications
  • Integrates with CRM platforms such as Salesforce (collect data, create business analytics, etc.)
  • Delivers an Omni-Channel customer experience
About SystemNet

SystemsNet is an certified provider of comprehensive IT managed services encompassing everything from on-site support to hardware and software implementation. Located in Horsham, PA, our service area stretches across the tri-state area including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. 

For more information on how SystemsNet can solve your IT issues, contact us.