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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!

Hosting your own Microsoft Exchange Server: The Pros and Cons


Hosting Exchange in-house

Whether or not you should host your company’s Microsoft Exchange Server in-house depends on a number of key considerations. These include your company’s budget; data security concerns; and need for flexibility, just to name a few. With these factors in mind, let’s have a look at the potential pros and cons of hosting Exchange in-house:



The Pros

Greater control over your data

When you host your own Exchange server, your company’s data is under your company’s control and no one else’s. If you’re uncomfortable with a remote third party potentially having access to, and control over, your company’s data in the cloud, then you may want to host your server in-house.

Flexibility with your configuration

If you host your Exchange server in-house, you can configure it to your precise specifications. However, with a hosted solution, you will probably find yourself limited to the packages and options the host provides. Of course, they may offer a completely customizable solution, but this may come at a substantially higher cost.

Saving money on bandwidth

With an in-house solution, the emails and attachments your employees send one another will bypass the Internet, as long as everyone shares the same LAN. This can translate to significant savings on Internet bandwidth.


Large attachments, especially those that contain audio or video, may suffer a delay in transmission if your employees are sending them through a hosted Exchange server. In this case, every email attachment essentially becomes an upload or a download to your Internet-based server. Given this constraint, if your company’s communications are especially media-intensive, an in-house solution could save you time and frustration.

Using email attachments to store files

If you are hosting your Exchange server in-house, your staff can easily store files by adding them as attachments to their emails. However, this common practice is much more difficult, impractical and expensive when using a hosted server. After all, you are now sending your file attachments over the Internet, and storing them in the cloud, costing you bandwidth and storage space.

Less exposure to Internet outages

If you have an in-house Exchange server, any employees on your LAN can continue to send emails to one another during an Internet outage.

The Cons

Requires vigilance

A hosted solution will generally have systems in place for handling all the responsibilities, ongoing tasks and potential issues surrounding Exchange server management. These include handling outages; performing scheduled backups; updating your version of Exchange; and any number of other server-management tasks and concerns. On the other hand, when you are hosting your own Exchange server, your in-house or hired networking specialist will need to be vigilant to stay on top of all of these same issues.

Requires IT expertise

Hosting and managing your own Exchange server requires either in-house or hired networking expertise. If you don’t have the trained expertise in-house, be sure to hire a highly-qualified networking specialist or team in your area. However, only hire networking professionals that are specifically trained in setting up and managing Exchange servers. You will also want reassurance that your hired specialists will make themselves readily available to respond to any outages; answer any questions or concerns; and take the time to properly train any members of your staff that will work with your Exchange server.

Potentially higher cost

Hosting your server in-house will require an investment in equipment, setup, expertise, and maintenance. Depending on the size of your company, your chosen server configuration, and a number of other factors, an in-house solution could potentially cost more than a hosted solution. However, if you are saving money on bandwidth by hosting your server in-house, you might find that your savings can more than offset any potentially higher costs of in-house hosting.

Making your decision

Whether or not to host your own Exchange server is an important decision that depends on a number of key trade-offs. Before making your decision, be sure to carefully consider your need for control over your data; your budget; your access to in-house or local networking expertise; your employees’ use of large file attachments; your need for flexibility; and any other concerns you may have. Contact us to help you decide whether hosting your Exchange server in-house is right for you.

How ACT! Contact Management Software Can Build Your Business Credibility


Customizing Your Messaging Through Personalization and Segmentation

What helps your business attract customers? Chances are that based on your industry, your company has a very specific value proposition. But ultimately, that value proposition is worth little without a degree of credibility for your brand in the eyes of your audience.

In other words, your brand messaging needs to be both believable and authentic. When your potential customers comes across as less credible than one of your similar competitors, their choice will be easy. To prevent that from happening, you need to make sure your messages are relevant. It’s UnMarketing in action: promote your business subtly, not obviously.

Fortunately, building your credibility is far from impossible. To make it happen, though, you need a software that allows you to gather and organize enough customer and lead data to build more relevant messaging. In other words, you need ACT! Contact Management Software.

The Benefits of a CRM

At its core, ACT! is a CRM – short for customer relationship management system. The benefits of CRMs for businesses across industries range widely, but tend to come back to organization. Put simply, a platform like ACT! allows you to gather as much information as you can about potential customers in a centralized space.

The results, in many cases, are increased productivity and better marketing-sales symbiosis through a singular system. But at the same time, don’t underestimate the potential for increasing your credibility through the same functionality, as well.

Building a Reliable Lead Database

Through ACT!, you can build your lead database. You might have heard about inbound marketing, a promotional philosophy that has taken the internet by storm. It emphases organic lead generation by offering valuable content in exchange for signing up, rather than purchasing or sourcing leads for money.

Of course, you need a place in which to store your new leads. Given that only a quarter of the leads entering your database are actually sales ready, your CRM acts as more than just a pool for new leads. It’s the system through which you can slowly nurture them to become customers.

Customizing Your Messaging Through Personalization and Segmentation

At the core of ACT!, much like many other CRM platforms, is email marketing. You can easily send beautiful emails to every contact in your database. For the sake of your credibility, though, you shouldn’t. Instead, use the features available for you to maximize the relevancy of your messaging. You can increase your messaging relevance in two ways:

  • Personalize your emails. Use the software’s integrated personalization tool to substitute individual details about your leads into each message. From first name to company size, personalization will maximize your engagement rates.
  • Segment your audience lists. Instead of treating every potential customer the same way, consider segmenting them into relatively homogenous lists based on common characteristics. Now, you can build more relevant messages targeted specifically toward that segment’s needs and pain points.

Through this type of customization, your credibility will maximize. Put simply, a potential customers who signs up on your website expects messages that are not promotional, but relevant to their individual needs. A company who can deliver on that expectations quickly and effectively will incur significant goodwill.

Get Started in Implementing ACT!

To build your credibility, especially among new leads, you need to increase your relevance. The authenticity and quality of your messages also matters, but personalization and segmentation are vital first steps.

That, in turn, requires a CRM platform specifically optimize to accomplish your credibility goals. And as it turns out, that’s exactly where ACT! enters the equation. Through its contact management and email tools, you can build a marketing strategy designed to increase your credibility and grow your business. To learn more about implementing the software and optimizing your marketing efforts, contact us.

Ways to make your IT help desk more efficient


Your first stop to ensuring better service

While all departments in an organization work together towards a designated goal, the IT help desk is a crucial part of any organization. Depending on an organization line of work, the help desk and the Tech support form one unit or you can separate the two as well. However, in this case, we look at the help desk, and IT support as a single unit.

Help desk, is the first place a customer will stop to report any issue with a product from the company that is faulty. The response of the help desk personnel is fundamental in fostering good relationship between the customer and the organization for future business.

Ability to solve problems is essential for IT help desk personnel, since it is the first line of defense, when it comes to handling customer issues. The approach that help desk takes in resolving customer issues determines the growth of your organization or its fall. So, what are the tips to incorporate into such a platform to achieve customer satisfaction?

Assess and evaluate the problem level

Customer issues vary in urgency and complexity. The ability to assess and determine complexity of the issue presented by a customer, allows you to give correct guideline on resolving it. For complex and technical matters, you can refer the client to the most competent person in that area.

One wrong move on the help desk like trying to fix technical issues that you are not capable of handling, can backfire and make the issue worse. Hence, compromising help desk’s reputation and the organization as a whole.

Knowing the magnitude of the problem not only makes you an effective IT help desk professional, but it also allows you to give accurate guidelines to customers. Some issues do not need tech support to resolve. Knowledge of such solutions as video tutorials to refer to, is a bonus.

Gauge the customer’s technical know-how level

When it comes to tech savvy abilities, not everyone has the gift. You should first gauge and assess the expertise of the client before delving on the steps to resolving an issue. You should realize that what looks like a simple fix to you, becomes a tough aspect to understand for those without any knowledge on tech issue.

For a customer who is tech savvy, conversation becomes easy, and they will figure out things more quickly than those who don’t have the knowledge. Gauging the level of the know-how of the client determines the directions to give to resolve the issue.

Check for previous support tickets  

It’s common for customers to encounter similar technical problems when handling various gadgets.  Checking for previous support tickets from the customer gives you an upper hand on the issue.

With previous records, it will make it easy to resolve each client’s issues fast and more efficiently, since notes available, provide details on problems addressed. That means that you do not have to do full screening, since you already know the areas that need maintenance and checking.

Use of previous support tickets gives useful clues on the issue at hand and helps you fast-track the stages of resolution, to refer the customer to the right personnel. Quick response not only increases efficiency, but it also leads to enhanced customer satisfaction.

Being the first stop a customer makes, help desk means a lot to the organization. The implication is that a lot of time and resources are instrumental in making IT help desk the best department in the company for a greater good. That will ensure better service to customers and an increase in productivity at all levels of your business. Call us now for more information.