Blog

June 20th, 2012

My heading might appear to be a strange statement to make considering I run an IT company.  But I stand by it.  Let me explain:  Many small businesses I come across are initially hesitant to meet with me or my staff.  “But we already have an IT guy”, they declare.  And indeed they do;  It’s the owner’s son-in-law, or the guy from the computer shop across the road, or an employee’s brother who is studying IT at university, or the guy they called once from the yellow-pages.

In any case, they’re making the assumption that my company wants to become their “IT guy” when in fact that’s not our intention at all.  We aren’t the “IT guy”.  The IT guy is the guy they call when a computer breaks, or when email isn’t working, or when they want to know how to stop those damn pop-ups.   But I’m here to tell you that the IT Guy is a dying breed.

As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous and it penetrates deeper within core and critical systems and processes throughout small businesses, you don’t want to be relying on your IT guy.  He’s usually a whiz on computers, but he’s not necessarily full bottle when it comes to business consulting.

You see, the line between technology consulting and management consulting is becoming increasingly blurred.  Technology underpins and provides the tools for so many critical business functions that companies like mine employ business experts to provide true ongoing business solutions and services that fundamentally improve our customer’s businesses.   And small businesses really must engage in a long term partnership with a technology company that understands their business , first and foremost, if they truly want to maintain a competitive edge and be innovative.

If you don’t have a partnership with a technology company that understands business you’re likely to be left behind in the wake of your competitors.   IT companies are changing their business models to a more consultative partnering approach, and most are dropping the old fashioned adhoc break/fix type support altogether.  So if you rely on your IT guy there will inevitably be one day soon he’s not available to assist you when you need urgent support, and you might just find yourself up a familiar creek with-out a paddle because you don’t have a strong partnership with an IT company.  I believe the number of IT companies willing to answer your call to provide adhoc support will reduce as their business models shift to managed services with long term clients who look to them for business improvement, not just IT support.

So if you only have an IT Guy, do yourself a favour and make a committment to have a meeting with an IT company and be sure to talk to them with an open mind about how they can help you be a better business.

You want your PC fixed ‘cause it’s broken? – call the IT guy.  You want to make an ongoing and long term improvement to the way you do business?  – call your technology partner :)

August 15th, 2011

The advent of social networking these days gives smaller businesses a bigger voice in the market, allowing them to rise to a level nearly at par with their larger competitors and elevating the playing field to a battle of efficiency, cost effectiveness, and quality service rather than advertising and marketing budgets.

One of the most difficult challenges smaller businesses face is having a bigger presence in the market. While many of these companies offer good, quality services at much more affordable rates, they are many times overshadowed by larger firms that have bigger budgets to spend on marketing, advertising, and the like.

Things have changed, though, with the advent of social networking. What was once a simple, social, get-to-know-each-other tool between people on the internet has now evolved into a tool that small businesses can take advantage of in order to get their voices heard.

The gist of social networking for business is the simple concept of reaching potentially millions of people at a mere fraction of what is normally spent on advertising and traditional marketing. The wide reach of social media allows businesses to find their voices and showcase what they can do. The playing field then moves from an unfair balance of advertising budgets to a battle of service quality and value for money, as it should be and many smaller firms can compete effectively in this arena.

There are many ways to tap into the social networking phenomenon to boost your online presence and aid in your marketing. If you are interested in knowing more about this, please contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you in developing strategies that fit your specific requirements and needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
December 9th, 2009

With the launch of our new website comes the introduction of a simplified way to present our core services. We call it the Set You Free IT model:

syfitmodelv3

The model shows the four fundamental outcomes we deliver to businesses, how these build upon each other and what our core services are that help achieve these outcomes.

If I was to describe it in a sentence:

“Evolve IT helps optimise and manage core technology systems, which leads to staff working faster and smarter, helping to improve the customer experience which ultimately allows your business to further enhance and evolve.”

We’re passionate about seeing small and mid-sized businesses adopt fantastic technology solutions to drive success. And we think our new Set You Free IT model gives a clearer picture of the path Evolve IT can take you on to achieve it. What do you think?

Follow me on Twitter @claytonhm

Topic Articles
December 7th, 2009
Woman reviewing bills


We’ve recently been letting all our clients know the Small Business and General Business Tax Break finishes at the end of December.  So you only have a few weeks left to take advantage of this business tax incentive being offered by the Federal Government!

Eligible small businesses can claim an additional 50% tax deduction, and other businesses up to an additional 30%, for capital equipment purchased prior to the deadline. Read the latest press release here for more detail, and Evolve IT recommends seeking advice from your accountant or tax agent regarding eligibility.

Take advantage of the offer to get the technology you need now to help you:

• Reduce costs – New core technology allows you to do more with less, can reduce power costs and can lower the number of physical servers you may already have, creating a saving in ongoing support and maintenance.
• Work Faster and Smarter – New core technology can help provide your staff with the tools to perform their job better. From accessing information from anywhere, anytime to being able to collaborate on projects in real time.
• Improve Customer Experience – New core technology can provide an enhanced experience for your customers and provide you with a competitive edge.

Contact us now about making a strategic investment in technology whilst taking advantage of the Federal Government’s offer.

Follow me on Twitter: @claytonhm

Topic Articles
November 28th, 2009
Boy (11-13) wearing joke glasses, eyebrows raised, smiling

This post, originally titled “Don’t Rely on Your IT Guy”, was first posted in May 2009 on another blog I contribute to, Small Business Daily.  In the past 6 months I’ve received great feedback – primarily from other companies just like Evolve IT trying to highlight the value they offer to small business customers.  I also receive a number of requests each month for a link to the article, so I thought I’d repost it to perhaps make it easier for people to find, and hopefully to have a whole new bunch of people read and find value in the post.

Follow me on Twitter: @claytonhm

———————-

My heading might appear to be a strange statement to make considering I run an IT company.  But I stand by it.  Let me explain:  Many small businesses I come across are initially hesitant to meet with me or my staff.  “But we already have an IT guy”, they declare.  And indeed they do;  It’s the owner’s son-in-law, or the guy from the computer shop across the road, or an employee’s brother who is studying IT at university, or the guy they called once from the yellow-pages.

In any case, they’re making the assumption that my company wants to become their “IT guy” when in fact that’s not our intention at all.  We aren’t the “IT guy”.  The IT guy is the guy they call when a computer breaks, or when email isn’t working, or when they want to know how to stop those damn pop-ups.   But I’m here to tell you that the IT Guy is a dying breed.

As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous and it penetrates deeper within core and critical systems and processes throughout small businesses, you don’t want to be relying on your IT guy.  He’s usually a whiz on computers, but he’s not necessarily full bottle when it comes to business consulting.

You see, the line between technology consulting and management consulting is becoming increasingly blurred.  Technology underpins and provides the tools for so many critical business functions that companies like mine employ business experts to provide true ongoing business solutions and services that fundamentally improve our customer’s businesses.   And small businesses really must engage in a long term partnership with a technology company that understands their business , first and foremost, if they truly want to maintain a competitive edge and be innovative.

If you don’t have a partnership with a technology company that understands business you’re likely to be left behind in the wake of your competitors.   IT companies are changing their business models to a more consultative partnering approach, and most are dropping the old fashioned adhoc break/fix type support altogether.  So if you rely on your IT guy there will inevitably be one day soon he’s not available to assist you when you need urgent support, and you might just find yourself up a familiar creek with-out a paddle because you don’t have a strong partnership with an IT company.  I believe the number of IT companies willing to answer your call to provide adhoc support will reduce as their business models shift to managed services with long term clients who look to them for business improvement, not just IT support.

So if you only have an IT Guy, do yourself a favour and make a committment to have a meeting with an IT company (Microsoft Certified Partners are generally a safe bet) and be sure to talk to them with an open mind about how they can help you be a better business.

You want your PC fixed ‘cause it’s broken? – call the It guy.  You want to make an ongoing and long term improvement to the way you do business?  – call your technology partner.

Topic Articles
November 23rd, 2009

smbEntrepreneur Magazine’s Scott Steinberg shares in his online column Top Ten reasons why Small Businesses should use Windows 7. Among them: lower system requirements than Vista, better multitasking, and enhanced security. And while he says not everything is perfect (for instance, confusing multiple versions, and separate download and installs for email and calendar programs) he says “Windows 7 provides a welcome evolutionary step forward for the platform, significantly improving security, stability and everyday convenience.”

Also check out an online slideshow from bMighty.com which shows 10 Windows 7 Features SMBs Should Love which provides a more visual guide for businesses evaluating whether to upgrade to the new Windows Operating System.

Need help evaluating or migrating to Windows 7 for your business? Contact us today!

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
November 16th, 2009

smb_securityThe National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and  Symantec recently released the results of a survey they did as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month to assess the awareness and preparedness of small businesses (51 or fewer employees) in countering cybersecurity threats.

Some notable findings:

  • Only 28% have formal Internet security policies in place
  • Only 25% provide even minimal Internet use/Internet security training to employees
  • Those companies that do train spend less than 5 training hours per year on average
  • 86% do not have an employee focused on Internet security
  • More than 90% believe they are protected from malware and viruses

However:

  • Barely half of the businesses surveyed check their antivirus software weekly to insure they’re up to date
  • 11% never check security tools to make sure they’re current

For many, it seems, online security is simply not a top priority, falling far behind other issues such as meeting payroll and managing cash. But this is dangerous thinking, since more and more companies’ operations have become highly dependent on their IT infrastructure and the Internet for communications and business transactions.

How about your business? Is it secure? Call us today and find out how we can help.

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles, News
October 26th, 2009

twitterTwitter, the microblogging service used by CNN, Oprah and none other than President Obama seems to have taken the world by storm, and is fast becoming an indispensable tool for many small and midsized businesses as well

Twitter allows company owners to share short “tweets” or posts a maximum of 140 characters each to give quick, live updates to “followers” on the Twitter service. A few days ago, the Wallstreet Journal published an interesting article on how Twitter has become a life saver for many business owners in a crisis. One company used the service to update customers when their website went down because of a hacker. Another study from Warrillow, a consulting firm, says that small businesses are also using the service to search for deals and promotions online. In fact, according to the company, they use the service a whopping 7 times more than other social networks.

It’s interesting to learn the many ways that businesses are using services such as Twitter to their advantage. How about your business? Are you using it as well? Let us know!

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
October 19th, 2009

There are many different forms of computer support available these days, and this is no longer a linear equation of pre-paid hours and time based SLA’s. Whether you are a business owner looking for a new network support provider, or a provider looking to breathe new life into the way you service your customers, then you should read this article.

In the world of network support there is so much hidden stuff out there that the customer never sees that it’s important that we, as support providers, are alerting them to the fact that this service exists.

So what support do you need and what do you actually get?

1. Proactive Services

These are all the things related to the maintenance of the network. Proactive Services includes installing patches and upgrades, ensuring all monitoring is picking up faults and small issues that the client may not necessarily see and ensuring that backups is working and antivirus updates are being installed.

At Evolve IT we look at the amount of support calls required each month for a particular client and we analyse these numbers. If a client has an increasing number of calls due to failure every month, we look at this as a failure on our part. If this number diminished then this is good, as this means the client is experiencing more up-time.

“I am talking about genuine benefits based planning so that your clients can achieve actual goals…”


If the client is not calling this means that our proactive services are working perfectly by maintaining and maximising the up-time of the network.

As a potential managed support services client ask the vendors you are selecting what they do in the background and how they report this to you.

2. Account Management

Account Management is important for the client to get a handle on what it is that they are paying for. As stated in the last point, if we are truly doing our job perfectly then the client should never call.

But what happens when it comes time for renewal of the service? A client that is never spoken to will turn around and say “Well, we never call you, so we are not continuing the service”.

And there is no point in pulling out these figures only when you are bringing up the renewal of a service contract either – that is just bad service.

Monthly Account Management meetings are important so that your client knows what is being done in the background to ensure that they are experiencing the maximum up-time that they can from their network.

3. Network Planning

What are you doing to improve your clients network infrastructure?

I am NOT talking about selling here. I am talking about genuine benefits based planning so that your clients can achieve actual goals such as increase collaboration ability, hands free backup, or faster VPN connections.

These plans need to be done regularly and the client needs to know what is proposed to enhance the goal.

For example – if my client came to me and said “we need to have a space where we can all work on a document together and have a person in charge of it like a project” then obviously the suggestion is SharePoint, however this means nothing to the client.

But what if I said “there is a solution by Microsoft which enables the company to have their own virtual workspace called an Intranet. Everyone has their own site and teams can have sites too, like an internal website. Instead of having products on these pages though, each one is a workspace which enables more than one person to work on a document at the same time and a moderator who can approve changes and control document versions as well”?

This is less techie, enables the client to actually understand what I am talking about and I am not selling them a product – I am providing a solution to a problem.

4. Business Planning and Advice

Noe this is something that you can offer your clients if you have savvy people as Account Managers or business owners that meet with the clients regularly.

At Evolve IT we have business planning meetings with our clients to ensure that we are working with them towards their business goals. If there are ways that technology can help the client move forward then we can suggest and scope and the client can budget this into the business plan.

“Now the receptionist can also have a business building capacity part time and the business isgoing to see immediate advantages and long term cost saving and improved revenue as aresult of one little change”

For example I have been working with a client recently who has been using an old custom built Access database to capture their customer information over the last few years.

This client wants to become more efficient and have their staff increasing productivity without increasing wages or hours worked. Looking at the processes involved in capturing information it became obvious to me was that they need to breath new life into the way that they capture the customer data and use it within the business.

So now we are moving to an improved Customer Information System which is going to automate processes and leave more time for the staff to do their jobs. Now the receptionist can also have a business building capacity part time and the business is going to see immediate advantages and long term cost saving and improved revenue as a result of one little change in the technology behind the way that they work, not changing the way they work itself.

This is what I see as the difference between good service and fantastic service in the field of IT support. Layers of support, not merely restricted to computers and switches, but an investment in the business of the people we are supporting. If we help all of our customers grow, then they will always be our customers.

If you want some more information on this, just flick me an email

.

Topic Articles
October 15th, 2009

Every time I move house I realise how much “stuff” I have. You know, it’s the stuff that lives in boxes in the closet, and under the bed, and in the garage. Stuff I just shift from one location to the next even though it has no immediate purpose. Yet I don’t want to throw it out.

But in this decade, more than ever before, the stuff we accumulate and carry around with us extends beyond physical possessions and in to the realms of the digital world. From music and video to bills and tax records, the amount of digital data we store is growing exponentially.

This applies just us much in our work lives and our businesses. Think about the last time you changed jobs, or even just bought a new computer. Even though you may have a company server and tend to store most formal work related data there, I’m willing to bet you still had a bunch of other “stuff” on your computer that was copied off separately. Stuff that you don’t use much, but can’t be without.

>>Read the rest of this post on Small Business Daily.

Looking for an Online Backup Solution? Evolve IT can provide it! Check out our Managed Online Backup Service brochure, or contact us today on 1300 85 88 99.

Topic Articles