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November 20th, 2013

Office365_Nov18_COffice 365, the popular cloud-based version of Microsoft Office, has a lot to offer subscribers. What many users may not know though, is that each version of Office 365 comes with Office Web Apps - the browser-based version of Office programs. Office Web Apps have fewer features than their full-version counterparts, but are none-the-less useful. Microsoft recently updated the Word Web App making it even more appealing to businesses.

Here is an overview of the recent functions updated in the Office Web Apps version of Microsoft Word

Updates to Word with Office Web Apps Because so many people work in teams these days, collaboration is key, and cloud-based services have really enabled this teamwork. Take for example Microsoft Word documents - if you were working on a document as a team, you traditionally each worked on your own versions which were shared amongst members and which would then have to be updated to a newer version. This makes it difficult to keep track of different versions.

With the Office Web Apps version of Word, users can work on the same document at the same time. The only problem is that the document has always had to be saved in order for the changes to show on all versions. This isn't the best solution where teams need to collaborate in a fast-paced environment.

Microsoft's answer to this issue was to introduce what they call 'real-time co-authoring'. According to the announcement, "You will be able to contribute and edit documents simultaneously in the Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App or Excel Web App. New real-time presence helps you see where your co-authors are working in the document so that you don't create conflicts as you edit."

You can also see any changes being made to the formatting and the text in real-time which can really help keep all members of the team on the same page, quite literally, with successful collaboration.

The second change introduced, specifically to Word Web App, is that documents are now saved in real time. This makes it even easier to work on documents as a team, largely because you will no longer have to keep track of versions of documents and worry about whether the changes or updates you have made are saved.

Finally, Microsoft also introduced enhanced editing features to Word Web App. This includes the ability to find and replace words in a document, format and style tables, and insert headers and footers.

With these updates and extended features, Office Web Apps, and more specifically the Word Web App, have become more powerful tools and many businesses should find these platforms more useful.

If you are looking to learn more about how you can use Office Web Apps in your company get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 5th, 2012

Collaboration is all around us. We see it on a daily basis in both our personal and professional lives. At work we cooperate with colleagues, managers, suppliers, customers and almost everyone we come in contact with at the office. It’s become so important that if businesses have employees who don’t mesh, their chances of success are almost non-existent.

Here are seven tips on how to improve collaboration within the office environment.

  1. Open communication. One of the keys to successful teams is the adoption and encouragement of an open communication culture. With this, teams are better able to grasp what’s going on within the company, and be more efficient contributors and team players.
  2. Use the right technology. It seems like there are a million different software and technology options out there. Some of the tools available offer some fantastic features and it’s easy to get sucked in by a flashy component. It’s important that when choosing a tool you pick one that meets your company’s needs and is easy to use.
  3. Collaboration tools must play well with others. It’s beneficial to select systems that can be seamlessly integrated with other tools and software used by your employees. If your solutions don’t work together, all parties won’t be able to work together.
  4. Employee learning is key. When you find the perfect tool to use, be careful to take time and learn how to effectively use it. Training for the users of the tool is equally important.
  5. Work hard, play harder. Teams and departments should step away from their computers and actually have face-to-face meetings at least once a week. These meetings should be a mixture of formal and informal, and offer employees a chance to come together as a team, unwind and share ideas. A team that can interact well will always work together with greater efficiency.
  6. Mobilize. The smartphone is here to stay and with each passing year the number of users grows exponentially. It’s beneficial to encourage the use of these devices, and look for mobile solutions that allow users to be a part of the group while out of the office. If you do allow mobile devices, be sure to establish a clear usage policy so employees know how and when they should be using their phones.
  7. Don’t just focus on internal collaboration. One of the most common mistakes companies make is that they focus on group participation within the business, but don’t provide adequate support for external interactions. Be sure you integrate tools that provide stakeholders with a way to connect and work with teams within the company.
With a team that interacts effectively you’ll see happier employees and higher profits: a win-win situation. If you have any questions regarding collaboration tools, or other ways to increase business value please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 2nd, 2010

phone keypadSmall businesses can now put VoIP to work for their business.

The same network that handles the flow of data such as web access and email can also accommodate voice as well. A few years ago, Voice-over-IP (VoIP), or Internet telephony, was touted as the next big wave in technology. For many businesses - especially geographically distributed ones - VoIP provides a way to dramatically reduce the cost of communications and maximize investments already made in their network infrastructure.

In addition to saving money and using resources more efficiently, VoIP lets employees be more productive and efficient by giving them the ability to receive and make calls anywhere with a data connection. VoIP also reduces the complexity associated with managing multiple networks and devices for communication. Companies can set up their office network so that each employee can use a single device, such as a computer or a smart phone, to handle everything from email, chat, messages, fax, and more. Finally, VoIP enables real-time collaboration when used with video conferencing and screen sharing applications.

All this used to come with a big price tag, but that’s no longer the case. With the great strides made in technology the last few years, VoIP is now easily within reach for many businesses - large or small. The range of choices include free, downloadable software that allows users to make free calls over the Internet from PCs or mobile devices, as well as services that can be used and accessed from your web browser, your favorite email service or software, and even old-school analog phones as well!

VoIP is certainly a technology that has come of age. It’s cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to use, and all businesses would do well to add VoIP to their toolset for substantial cost savings and greatly improved efficiency and productivity.

Looking for some guidance in adding VoIP to your toolset? Give us a call - we have answers!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
July 20th, 2010

Work no longer has to be a place your employees go at a certain time. Learn what technologies can enable your employees to get more done from any location, any time.

Lately there has been a trend among companies, no matter what size and maturity, toward the use of so-called “virtual” teams. Driven perhaps by rising office and energy costs, maturity of computing and network technologies, talent scarcity, or simply the opportunity to realize increased efficiency,  this has resulted in the adoption of flexible work arrangements for some employees including flexible time and working from home – or even from remote locations in different time zones.

Along with this trend has come the need to support this new way of working. A wealth of options exists—from virtual team spaces and online collaborative tools to more advanced communication devices such as smartphones and tablets. Here are a few examples.

For teams working at the same time but from different locations:

  • Conferencing applications—via telephone or video
  • Shared workspaces and whiteboards
  • Instant messaging
  • Wireless communication devices

For teams working at different times but in the same place:

  • Team rooms
  • Intranets

For teams working at different times and from different places:

  • Extranets
  • Virtual Private Networks
  • E-mail/Groupware
  • Message boards
  • Blogs and knowledgebase tools

With the right tools, work can happen any time and from any place. Interested? Get in touch with us and find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
August 10th, 2009

At the recently concluded Microsoft World Wide Partners Conference, the company gave partners a preview of upcoming features in Microsoft Office 2010 that could be very useful for small and midsized companies. Among them:

  1.  Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote 2010 now lets several people work on a document at the same time. Users of the desktop versions of the software will be able to send out a text link that will let anyone click on the link and use Windows Live to open the document and work on the live, with all parties seeing each others’ changes.
  2. Outlook 2010 will have a new feature which will allow users to ignore email threads, deleting everything in that conversation, including existing messages and any new ones that come in.
  3. PowerPoint 2010 will have a Broadcast feature will create a URL that users can share via e-mail or IM. Clicking on the link will let other users see a slideshow streaming directly from the author’s desktop.

To find out more about these new features, visit the Microsoft WWPC website.

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
May 31st, 2009

article_working_with_IMAre you avoiding instant messaging (IM) for fear that it will distract your employees and cut productivity? In fact, the opposite may be true.

What is IM?

IM is software that allows you to communicate in real time with other people who have the same software. It’s like email, but instantaneous.

IM was originally considered a way to stay in touch with friends and family, but lately it’s taken off in the workplace. That’s because IM offers a fast, convenient way for employees to interact with colleagues or clients in real time. In fact, many cutting-edge employers now encourage their employees to use IM instead of phone calls or e-mails.

Benefits include:

  • Increased productivity: Workers can remain at their workstations instead of walking across the office or picking up the phone to obtain information, and the need for time-consuming meetings is reduced.
  • Real-time communication with vendors and customers.
  • Connection of traveling employees through mobile devices.

Where can you get it?

While there are many free IM services available such as AOL, Yahoo!, Skype, and MSN, many companies now offer solutions specifically designed for business. We can work with you to determine the best solution for your specific needs

How to get started:

  1. Select a single provider.
  2. Expand services as needed. While basic IM may be adequate for some small businesses, others may benefit from expanded offerings, such as text conferencing, pop-up messaging, and email integration.
  3. Make sure your information is protected from external threats such as hackers and viruses.
  4. Create a usage policy to avoid internal misuse.
  5. Ensure that all employees know the rules and have installed the software on their systems.

To be effective, your IM application should be carefully integrated with your existing IT system and workflow. Give us a call today and we’ll help you through these steps to implement a secure and productive IM solution.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
November 24th, 2008

Collaboration_bigReading this article will give you an overview of tools and technologies that will help you and your teams collaborate effectively and productively.

Collaboration and teamwork can make or break a company. Long gone are the days when your employees could work independent of each other. In today’s market, if you want to stay competitive you need to use collaboration to the fullest. Thanks to various tools and technologies, this task is simple.

Which Basic Collaboration Technologies Are Right for Me?

Every business needs to use some kind of collaboration technique. In fact, there is no business in today’s world that can survive without basic collaboration technologies such as a company Intranet, email server, a fax/print server, or a time management functionality (for instance, electronic calendars). These technologies are so fundamental that most likely you have been using them for ages. So, as you might be surprised to learn that you are actually already using collaboration technologies but you just didn’t know it!

However, you may also be surprised to learn about additional tools that you may not be using today that will help improve your company’s collaboration efforts.
In addition to the basic collaboration technologies you have used for years, new ones are emerging all the time. Below is a list some of the most popular groups of collaboration technologies you can use in your day-to-day operations. To learn more about each collaboration tool, just click on each link to read our related articles.

  • Conferencing tools. Audio and video conferences become a daily necessity for many companies. No matter whether you use audio and video conferencing to communicate with your distributed team or with suppliers and clients from all over the world, these collaboration technologies can be very useful.
  • Document and application sharing. When many people work with the same document at the same time, it is very inconvenient when you have to wait for your colleagues to finish his or her tasks with that document, so that you can proceed with your work. Document and application sharing make that inconvenience history since it’s now possible for many people to work simultaneously on the same document.
  • Workflow and project management. Workflow and project management technologies will help you manage your business more effectively by minimizing downtime and increasing the performance of your employees through organizing tasks better.
  • Online collaboration. Even if you don’t have many (or any) tele-workers and remote workers, online collaboration tools are great because you can access them from everywhere and you can work at any time you please. Additionally, you can share these tools with your suppliers and clients and further improve your sales and customer service process.
  • Change management. Maintaining multiple versions of the same document is too much of a hassle, but not when change management technologies handle this for you. When you use these technologies, you can maintain as many versions of a document as you like, and all of them will be neatly organized and readily accessible.
  • Knowledge management. Knowledge is power, and there is hardly a company that will not benefit from a company wiki or other form of knowledge management system.

The collaboration technologies listed here are just a sampling of what’s available. There are literally hundreds of collaboration technologies and depending on your particular needs you may choose one or another. Of course, it is best if you can find an all-in-one solution, such as Windows Small Business Server (SBS), which includes many or all of the technologies you need.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
November 21st, 2008

“Lower costs and ease of use mean companies of any size can create their own intranets. Here’s how to get the most from this technology.

Seven years ago, INK, Inc., a pay-for-placement media relations firm, needed a way for its staff to quickly share information about potential opportunities for clients. E-mail was too awkward and restrictive, especially where images or video materials were concerned. The answer was for INK to create its own intranet.”

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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