Why Have an Employee-Facing IT Help Desk?

Smiling customer support operator agent with hands-free device workingan employee-facing IT help desk

Staffing a internal Help Desk is difficult, why not outsource?

Traditionally, help desks are considered to be customer-facing services. Customer service help desks, exchange and return help desks, concierge service desks. But when it comes to IT, there’s a long tradition of internal employee-facing services instead. Even companies that don’t offer tech products to customers use plenty of technology on the inside. An internal IT help desk is the key to ensuring that each and every team member can handle their own workstations, devices, and work software on the fly — without interrupting the normal workflow of your business.

Employee-facing IT helpdesks have been a hallmark of the business world since the days of separate college internetworks and internal company email. IT help desks are older than the world wide web and have been necessary for as long as employees have been using computer workstations. And today, we’re here to highlight how an IT help desk can streamline any business, even those that don’t spend all day every day on the computer.

No Need for a Computer Whiz On-Site

Many businesses that do not focus primarily on technology (but still use it daily) rely on one or two IT talented staff on site. Your computer whiz is the person with enough IT background or DIY skills that they can solve most problems just by poking around the controls for a while. But not every team has one, and those that do often demand too much IT from someone who’s job is not defined as IT support.

Working with an IT help desk designed for employee-facing service is the key to no longer needing someone on your work team to have the incidental skills. Outsourcing your IT help desk can even mean saving money, as internal IT staff are highly priced in the current job market.

Supervisors Not Expected to Provide IT Fixes

When an employee’s computer, network connection, or work software stops working, the first person they usually call is their supervisor. Unfortunately, supervisors in non-tech industries are seldom equipped to solve more than simple and common technical hiccups. Not to mention, calling one’s boss for every email malfunction or connection problem is bad for business efficiency.

With an internal IT desk, your team members can call IT instead of their boss. The IT technician on the other end can quickly walk any employee through their technical problems or even take control of the computer remotely. They will fix things up quick and get the work back on track without any further interruptions to the workflow.

Staff Can Seek Solutions to Job-Unique Problems

Then there are problems that supervisors or the on-site computer whiz can’t solve because they are not common or easy. Issues that only come up in certain positions using unique devices, software, or tasks that no other role does. In these cases, technical problems can stop work all day as an employee tries to troubleshoot their unique problems or find someone who can.

However, your unique role employees are not alone with the help of an internal IT service. Technicians who specialize in business software are also great at figuring out solutions to not-so-common problems. This can get your team back on-task without losing hours to unusual technical challenges.

Network & Infrastructure Issues Solved Quickly

Finally, an internal IT help desk is key to keeping your entire office or non-office business online. Network and tech infrastructure are what all other computer-based processes are built on. Without your internal network and the workstations it connects, nothing would get done. Which is why infrastructure errors or network interruptions are so important to fix quickly.

An IT help desk can make sure your network is online from working with the local router to contacting your ISP (internet service provider) if necessary. They can also ensure that your infrastructure is up-to-date, defended, and repaired quickly should anything go wrong. This way, your computers stay online and your doors remain open no matter what happens.

Having an internal IT service for your company isn’t just something big corporations do. With MSP (managed service provider) outsourcing, you can have all the benefits of an internal IT help desk without the extensive cost of building a team of full-time technicians on staff. For more information about how an MSP can help you build the IT help desk services your company deserves, contact us today!

How VoIP Helps You Manage Remote Employees

Business people using VOIP to manage remote employees

Having a phone service that works whether you’re in the office or on the road is key in today’s work anywhere workforce

Remote work is not just a fad or a way to draw in new talent, it’s a new way of doing business. Many businesses who already had remote workers are now celebrating the mobile technology that is making remote work so much easier and more efficient. Many more businesses are taking advantage of mobile technology to offer new remote positions or offer once office-bound jobs to remote candidates. But managing remote employees can still be a challenge for the supervisors and team leaders set to the task. Fortunately, there are tools for that, too.

VoIP is one of the best tools any remote-team manager can have, uniting the entire team through a shared communication system that works no matter where or how your team members are connecting. Let’s take a look at how VoIP solves classic remote management challenges and makes remote work management easier than ever.

Find Me, Follow Me

Nearly every modern VoIP system comes with a feature known as “Find me, follow me”. This sounds like something a pet dog might do, but it’s really a highly useful way to keep in touch in the multi-device world we live in. Once, a manager trying to get in touch with a remote employee would have to call three or four different numbers, send an email, and leave voicemails if the employee isn’t at their desk. Not anymore.

With VoIP, you call one number and the find/follow feature does all that extra checking. The VoIP number then rings the employee’s desk phone. If they don’t pick up, it rings their home office phone, then their cell phone, then their home phone. It can then call the VOIP app on their laptop, then their tablet, then leave a message in email about a missed all. VoIP does all the tedious phone-tag of chasing down someone on the device or phone closest to the remote employee in question.

Scheduled Availability

VOIP can also know where your remote employees should be during the day and which device they are most likely to answer. Let’s say a remote employee works at home but also takes lunch, meets clients, or occasionally takes their children to after-school activities. By filling out their calendar and schedule properly, they can ensure the closest device to them is always the one that rings first.

As the manager, you simply call their VoIP number and the system does the rest. If the schedule says your employee is scheduled to be at lunch, it rings their cell. If they’re working, it rings their desk phone. If they’re traveling, it rings their laptop app phone instead. The schedule can save hours of time each year by calling the right device first.

Call Forwarding To/From Anywhere

VoIP’s device flexibility also makes it easier for managers and remote employees to connect from anywhere on either end. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling from your cell, computer, or desk phone. It doesn’t matter if your remote employee is on their laptop, cell, in a hotel, or at their home office. The VoIP number can connect to any device or computer running the app and to any phone number that has been connected. This enables the ultimate in mobile workforce so that managers and employees can both be remote, office-bound, traveling, or any combination at all.

Pings, Alarms, and Messages

VoIP an also enable managers to send small pings, alerts, alarms, and messages to their remote employees without a complicated hassle. Many VoIP systems connect to SMS messaging, allowing managers and employees to trade texts and live chat messages as well as audio phone calls. The VoIP app installed on any computer or mobile device can also be used as a cloud management platform, allowing managers to build schedules for their employees including alarms, alerts, and messages. You can even call your employee’s voicemail directly to use the voicemail-to-email feature as a way to dictate memos to team members.

Emergency Device Flexibility

Finally, VoIP is not bound specifically to the devices and numbers that the team sets up on purpose. Let’s say a remote employee’s laptop dies, their toddler drops their cell in the toilet, and their dog chews their home internet lines. They can still be reached via their VoIP number on a borrowed, public, or emergency device simply by installing and logging into the platform app. At home, on the road, or on business trips your team will can always get back in contact no matter how many of their own devices are out of commission because VoIP is cloud, not network.

As the manager, even you can take advantage of this flexibility. If the office power goes out, if you’re away on a business trip, or if you suddenly need to connect while on a no-phones vacation: any computer or borrowed device can become an extension of your VoIP number by installing the app.

VoIP is one of the best things that has ever happened to remote work and managing remote employees. If you need to be a communication hub between team members who do not always share an office, VoIP is the best possible way to keep track of your team and provide a universal way to stay in touch. For more information about how VoIP can improve your business’ communication efficiency, contact us today!

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Managed IT Service, Not IT Repair Service

Executive Optimizing Well Performance Via Apps - Managed IT Service

Is it time to partner with a managed service provider and get out of the break fix environment?

Small businesses need all of the core infrastructure that larger businesses do. Your business needs a marketing team, salespeople, financial and legal analysts, and a help desk. But depending on how small your business is, all of those departments might be yours. Take one of those loads off your shoulders with a proactively managed IT service. Here’s why the plan is basically built for small businesses, especially compared to traditional IT help.

1. Your business is in the field, not in the office.

If your business offers a service that isn’t on-premises like a restaurant, then you and your coworkers will be spending a lot of time traveling. Instead of the traditional office setup of a desktop computer, printer, and modem, you might have a tablet and a VPN. That mobility means you can’t afford to be locked in one place as someone shows up to investigate the issue and make repairs.

Managed service providers, or MSPs, provide remote monitoring and preventative services instead. They monitor (without being invasive) potential network outages, malware and cyber threats, and signs of developing problems in your computers systems. When you’re operating off the cloud and through dozens of different apps and websites, that’s the service you need.

2. Every business is global, even when it’s local.

One of the best things about the Internet is that it opened up the international playing field for small businesses. Even if you run a business by yourself, you can do business everywhere from the United States to New Zealand. Your customers can be anywhere without the fees associated with international shipping and communication from even just a decade ago.

But that also means your business is open 24/7. A midnight website crash isn’t just a small problem anymore: it means your website was offline during some of your customers’ most active hours. A traditional IT repair service won’t send someone out until the next morning. They might even wait until the next business day. But a 24/7 software-based service is on top of the problem immediately.

3. Cyber threats consider small businesses to be low-hanging fruit.

Hackers usually aren’t aiming at a specific target. Instead, they’re looking for easy targets that get snagged in their nets and which require the least effort to break into. Small businesses, unfortunately, are prime targets because you have a lot of useful information but not a lot of resources to chase them down with. So make sure your company’s cybersecurity is too strong to make your company a tempting target.

4. Stay light with software protections instead of hardware fixes.

When you own a small business, you probably don’t want all of the heavy hardware investments that larger companies invest in. You don’t need an arsenal of backup computers, and you don’t need a dedicated floor full of internal servers. As more and more tools become virtual, that means your need for a physical IT service diminishes, too. Look for online solutions such as antimalware programs, cloud subscriptions, and VPNs instead of traditional measures.

5. Pay according to your company’s size, not according to man hours.

When you schedule a window for a traditional technician to come to troubleshoot a problem, you’re going to pay a transportation fee and by the hour. It’s going to be the same rate that every other company is paying; it might even be lower because larger companies can negotiate prices. But with an MSP, you pay based on the size of the network you want protected, and that means your monthly expenses are easier to manage.

Go to SystemsNet to learn more about managed IT services and why it’s the best move your company can make to protect itself.

10 Benefits to Digitizing Your Business Documents

Digitizing your business documents shown with filing cabinet drawers on a computer screen

Reduce physical storage needs and documents readily available are just a few reasons to go all digital

Running a business is a constant process of optimization. Everyone wants to provide better goods and services, improve efficiency behind the scenes, and ultimately generate greater profits each year by lowering overhead and increasing revenue. However, if you’re still working with paper documents then your business is missing out on a major optimization opportunity. Digital document storage has come a very long way in the last 10 years and with the addition of the cloud to the available network infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to digitize.

Not sure about whether it’s the right choice? A lot of businesses are hesitant to change a major aspect of their internal process like how paperwork is managed for fear of damaging office efficiency. However, let us assure that once you make the switch to a self-organizing digital document management system, your efficiency will not only recover quickly, it will blow the top off your charts as employees gain back hours every week that would normally be spent filing, searching for files, or even just collating and stapling paper documents. Here are ten of the best benefits of going digital.

1) Reclaiming Office Space

How much space do paper documents take up in your office? A storeroom? Two store rooms and a supply closet? Then there’s the possibility of rented storage space for archived folders not to mention all the filing cabinets and in/out boxes taking up space in the employee office space. Once you’ve digitized, you might be surprised how much open space is created both in storage rooms, and on employee desks.

2) Saving on Auditor Fees

When the auditor comes to call, you pay their hefty hourly fees but they also expect you to bring them all the documents to be audited. With a paperwork system, this means paying them for the half hour or more per visit that your staff spends searching and fetching specific paper documents. All this paid-for time is regained with a document management system as your auditor can quickly and easily access everything they need in seconds, not minutes or hours.

3) Instant Document Retrieval

Speaking of fast document retrieval, how much time do your employees spend each week essentially shuffling paper or seeking desperately for misplaced documents? A single mis-file into an adjacent folder can cost hours of lost employee time, especially if you simply must have a specific copy or filled form. With an online document management system (DMS), files can be found instantly. Even if they’re in the wrong digital folder, a simple keyword or category search will quickly locate any specific document that’s needed no matter when it was scanned or how it was filed. Even mistakes can be fixed with a few clicks or taps.

4) Access from Anywhere

Running back to the office for a document is no one’s idea of a good day, especially when a project or deal was almost complete except for one missing sheet of paper. When your documents are stored on the cloud through a handy online management platform, they can be reached from anywhere. Employees and clients alike can log in and access any document they are authorized to view or edit making those last minute trips to the office for paperwork a thing of the past.

5) Cutting Edge Security

How secure are your sensitive business and customer documents? Do you keep them under lock and key in a filing cabinet, or more likely, do they sit on an employee’s desk for days or weeks at a time? While there’s a certain amount of security in physical documents, the best way to protect important data is to lock it away under the highest-tech procedures possible. With cloud document management, that’s exactly what you get.

6) Share, Collaborate, and Sign

When dealing with paper documents, the process of collaboration can be tedious and you can forget about collecting signatures quickly. Waiting on paper documents to be snail-mailed, signed, and returned or even delivered to and from via couriers can add hours, days, and even weeks to a project schedule. With online documents, you can quickly and easily share anything with anyone, invite them to edit the document with you, or shoot over a copy for a digital signature which can return to you in minutes if the recipient is ready for the transaction.

7) Open to Analytics

One of the most powerful tools any business can employ today is high-end computer analytics. AIs and similar programs can scan thousands of data points to produce interesting statistics like the average amount of time customer are active, the demographics of your existing customer base or the most popular account type. Once your documents are digitized, you could much more easily feed any information you have into an analytics program to get back useful business data.

8) Regulation Compliance Maintenance

Every business has to comply with regulations, whether it’s about how you store customer data or how you store leftover food. There are always documents to help you stay compliant and there is always an audit every year or so. Having a live, easy to access and edit documents not only make staying compliant easier, it also makes updating compliance with new rules and providing information to auditors go more smoothly.

9) Disaster Recovery Guaranteed

If something happens to your building or storage facility, so too does this thing happen to all your paper documents. Fire and flood can destroy them completely and even an earthquake can make it very hard to retrieve your paperwork and start again. With cloud-stored documents, you could disaster recover with laptops in a tent if that’s what it took and every document would be perfectly preserved for the purpose.

10) Green Without the Recycle Bin

The final benefit of digitizing those heaps of paper documents is the environmentally friendly aspect. Here is your opportunity to recycle reams, stacks, and mountains of paperwork and then never need to use up that many trees worth of paper again. You can stop buying pallets of printer paper and you can even tone down the big green bin in the office because from here on out, your paperwork will be made of electrons, not actual paper.

Digital transformation is something that every business and department is taking on this decade. Even if you are in an industry that traditionally works with physical paperwork, it’s important to digitize to back up, edit, manage, and secure your documents. For more information about the digital transformation and how your team can streamline digitization, contact us today!