Alan Ritchie, managing director, PC World Business, looks at how you can solve some of the biggest IT frustrations in your business.
According to research by data recovery company Mozy, over 40% of employees say their work PC is damaging their efficiency. Out-of-date technology can certainly impact productivity levels, as well as put SMEs at risk of losing important data. It therefore comes as no surprise that staff often cite IT as one of their biggest work frustrations. However, there are simple steps business owners can follow to ensure their employees can work as efficiently and as flexibly as possible. Here are my top tips for alleviating the most common IT frustrations.
Out-of-date operating systems
Many small companies are understandably eager to maximise the return on their existing technology investments before committing to further IT spend. Plus, many companies are reluctant to upgrade because they are happy and secure in the usage of their current systems.
However, out-of-date operating systems can result in wasted time, as well as security risks. For example, they can be incompatible with documents received, meaning employees are unable to view or download key information. Running old software can also increase the risk of data corruption, potentially causing the loss of critical data.
There are a number of benefits of regularly upgrading to new operating systems. Software updates can enable employees to complete tasks quicker, and can also increase data security. For example, Windows 10 provides innovative cloud document protection, as well as built-in protection against hackers, malware and viruses.
Maintaining and updating software will reduce the cost of operations and repairs – freeing up budgets and encouraging growth.
Old and slow printers are another common source of frustration in the workplace. According to recent research by Adobe, 83% of employees feel that their productivity at work is hampered by outdated ways of working with documents.
Printing takes time, even when jams don’t occur or machines don’t break down. Plus, they also incur huge costs for businesses. It therefore comes as no surprise that an increasing number of businesses are choosing to go paperless. With so many devices on offer, managing a paperless business is easier than ever. For example, tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy or Microsoft Surface Pro 3 are easily transportable and can be taken to meetings instead of bulky print-outs, saving time and resources.
There are also a wide range of apps available, allowing businesses to cut down on printing. For example, apps like Evernote and LogMeIn enable entrepreneurs to access, share and sync data across multiple devices, providing the ability to work from anywhere, and eliminating the need to print documents for meetings and while travelling.
However, businesses who still depend on printing can take advantage of eco-friendly printers to ensure reliable and affordable printing. For example, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-8510DWF uses 80% less power than other printers.
Lack of IT support
Many businesses, especially start-ups and SMEs, do not have an in-house IT department. This means it can be stressful for employees when things go wrong, and can often be a time-waster if they have to wait for problems to be fixed.
However, employers can easily alleviate this by setting up a remote IT management system from a third party supplier, such as PC World Business. This is a great way to ensure your business keeps moving. It gives a company a full time network of experts who troubleshoot, fix network problems and give advice and assistance either over the telephone or by directly accessing and controlling your computer screen. Employees can be set up to work remotely, meaning although they are offsite, networking services will still be fully functional and support from experts is only a phone call away.
Being tied to the desk
A lack of mobility, caused by out-of-date technology, can be frustrating for employees. It is therefore unsurprising that mobile working is an increasingly popular trend being implemented by businesses across the country.
There are a huge range of laptops, tablets and smartphones now available that easily enable employees to work flexibly and connect with the office while they’re offsite. Ultra-mobility laptops, which range from 11.6 to 13.3 inch screen sizes, are compact enough to carry with you but have a large enough screen to comfortably view detailed documents. For example, the Lenovo Yoga range offers laptop and tablet functionality, ideal for employees who are regularly out of the office.
Cloud computing can also help businesses economise and allows employees mobile access to company data. The cloud uses a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data. For example, Knowhow’s Cloud for Small Business service provides customers with secure and regular backing up of data and allows for easy access from anywhere in the world.
These are just a few examples of ways employers can overcome the most common IT frustrations. When updating technology and processes, it’s important to remember that each business is different. It’s therefore worth spending time planning and researching, as well as seeking help and advice from a small business IT specialist.