It seems that chaos surrounds us. Multiple phones, emails, things ringing and vibrating, people pulling at me from all directions, and I still have other duties that I need to get done. How is it that we can communicate effectively in all this chaos? I find that it requires a bit of self-discipline and taking advantage of technology that is available to me, and the storm is a little calmer.
One of the biggest issues that I face on a daily basis is getting others to respond to my requests, so that I may continue with a project. I cannot control their response, but I can be different when a response is required of me. Make a pact with yourself that you will return emails and voicemails within 24 hours, even if the response you need to give is negative or neutral. I have found that people respect that and return the favor. I also try to set clear expectations on both parties. When do I need to call back and what response is expected. And then do what I agreed to, whether it is to respond, or to call back.
Another method of clearing the chaos is to minimize where I have to go to retrieve communication from others. This term is commonly called "unified communication." I need to look for ways to minimize the portals I use and need to communicate effectively. Modern technologies let me get emails from multiple accounts, voicemails, video messages, texts and calendar events in one place. That way I don’t miss your communication, whichever medium you decide to use.
If you need help calming the chaos of communication in your business, give us a call. We can help.
Fall is here. The nights are chilly, the days are warm, leaves are colorful and falling, the fireplace is looking more inviting and the daylight is more precious. It doesn’t really look that much different than yesterday, but when you look at it compared to a month or two ago, it has changed dramatically. All of the changes of the seasons are constant reminders that business is changing, too.
We depend more and more on electronic data, less on paper, more on email, less on faxes, more on texting, less on talking. At times it is hard to fathom the changes that have ever so slowly crept into our lives, but they are constantly there.
One of the things that we see on the horizon is “the Cloud” and how it will change the way we do business. Proper use of it can begin to unlock your business from the brick and mortar that it is sometimes tied to now, but it is not an event, it is a process.
We believe that the migration to the Cloud is inevitable and that you can gain an edge on your competition by having a plan of how to best utilize it, or lose an edge by not utilizing it well.
Give us a call to help you map out a plan for your technological future. It can be the turning point you have been looking for.
2012 marks our 50th year in business.
You would think that I know our business inside and out. We use the processes I have set in place. We have many clients we have served for decades. We have vendors we have worked with for years and years. But I find that if I don't continually, objectively evaluate where we are and what is happening, that all of a sudden, we are behind and trying to catch up.
Things change. Technology changes, people change, the economy changes and with each of those changes, my business changes a little. I find that if I don't use the tools I have to objectively look at where we are and what it will take to get to where we need to be, that I end up being reactive instead of proactive. We end up being behind instead of leading the pack.
Many of the services we offer, help you monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your business information flow and back office processes. We can help you monitor your business and make positive changes that will help set you firmly on the road to success. You have to know your business to grow your business.
One of the major changes taking place in the phone system market is the transition to SIP trunks (phone service delivered over the internet) instead of traditional copper lines. So, we are often asked which is right for a particular client. The answer depends on several factors:
1. Contract - Are you under contract with your existing carrier? If you are, it may be unrealistic to switch carriers in any form right now. Find out your exact contract end date.
2. Usage - How do you use your lines, and in what volume. There is often differences in how the SIP providers bill as opposed to the traditional carriers, so this may work to your advantage and cause you to need fewer trunks (lines). Long distance is often included in the SIP provider's rates, so if you use a lot of it, SIP can be beneficial.
3. Internet connection - Remember that the SIP comes in over your internet connection, so you need to have enough bandwith to handle to expected call volume.
4. Portability - Although this is rarely the case, there are some traditional providers that refuse to "port" or transfer your number to other providers. You need to make sure that you can keep any important phone numbers.
These are the first items to look at in evaluating what type of phone service is best for your organization, but there are always others that are case specific. We have seen some very significant savings, from changes to SIP, but not in all cases. For an in depth analysis, call 423-266-3774.
Many of you may have heard the term virtualization in relation to servers or desktops. The concept is that instead of having one piece of hardware (server) that performs each function, we have multiple operating systems running simultaneously on one machine.
By properly designing the virtualization hardware, we give better performance during peak loads, without having to underutilize it during slack times. It also decreases risk of hardware failure by minimizing hardware usage. For instance, you may have a mail server, a file server, a domain server, and web server. The 4 together could easily cost over $20,000, and you have 4 different raid arrays to keep up and power supplies, and backup power, etc.
If we virtualize these servers, they still operate independently, but on the same piece of hardware. I can allocate harware resources by importance, and by time. So if the mail server is busy at night, I give it more processor and HDD capacity, while the file server may need it during the day. I have all the functionality I need, more flexibility, and for often less than half the cost of multiple servers.
If you would like to learn more about how virtualization might help your business perform more effeciently, give us a call! 423-266-3774
Many of us deal with power outages on a regular basis. These outages can result in down equipment, lost servers and ultimately lost production and clients. One easy way to avoid these issues is to have the right type of surge protector and/or battery backup on your systems.
Not all surge protectors are created equal. There are definitely differences that often make a lot of sense to buy. Reaction times, up time of the equipment plugged in, power isolation if there is a surge failure, are all things we reccomend to research fully before just plugging in something that says it is a surge protector. You may not be getting what you think you are.
If you would like help right sizing your battery backup and surge protection, don't hesitate to call us at 423-266-3774
Does it seem like being more mobile and more accessible are polar opposites? In today's fast paced business world it seems we are being pulled to be more places and yet still need to be easily accesible to our clients and co-workers. Losing either of these will negatively affect your business.
Fortunately there are many new technologies that make this former impossibility possible. Many of these are integrated into the newer phone systems and are easy to implement. Follow me features, mobile extensions, and remote phones all allow you to be connected directly to clients and the office in a seemless manner that allows both mobility and accessiblity. If you would like to learn more about how to maximize these features, call and speak with a telephony expert or drop us an email
Our hearts go out to those who lost family, homes and businesses in the recent storms around the Southeast. As we helped businesses recover, we again were reminded of the importance of a small business having a disaster recovery plan.
Some of the clients we helped, took a brief time to get back on track because they had planned for a disaster. Others took a lot more time, effort and expense, because they were unprepared. We never know when or where disaster will strike. If you are not comfortable with how prepared your business is for the next natural disaster, give us a call to setup an evaluation.
The cloud (having software assets accesible on the web) is fast becoming the way to do business. Even if you are not really comfortable with it, we predict that it will overtake your applications in the next few years.
The old business model of creating a software and then selling for unlimited usage for a fee is fast dissolving. The attraction of recurring revenue streams produced by software as a service (SAAS) models, and the flexibilty now afforded with common place high speed intenet connections, makes the future of single fee software bleak at best.
Microsoft has announced its beta of the Office business suite as a service. I predict that in the near future, this will be the only way they will market the product. $6 per month per user, accesible anywhere there is an internet connection, and even without a connection for a period of time.
Give us a call to discuss how you are prepared for this evolution and what impacts it may have on your business or to sign up for cloud services.
In an effort to keep up with continued client growth and provide the level of service our clients have come to expect, we have hired 2 new account managers, who will be in the field as soon as they have been adequately trained. Our rigorous selection and training schedule make it take a bit of time and effort to get people ready, but it is worth the wait. When you combine the skills of the people who are joining us and the experience of ACT, they will be "pre-seasoned" for you, giving you the continued confidence that the entire ACT team is backing YOU everyday.
In the electronic commerce world, knowing who your customers are and making sure you have the products and services they want becomes even more imperative than it is in the"real" world.
The corner grocery needs only to approximate what customers really want because the convenience factor brings in the business. But when you eliminate this advantage--when customers can go anywhere to get what they want--you'd better know what they're looking for.
Over the last 50 years, ACT has acquired a reputation for delivering unique and dynamic strategies that benefit the bottom line of businesses. ACT partners with you to assess your business needs then develops a customized strategic program of business service, coaching, consulting, and training to achieve your goals. Our high quality range of services are convenient and fit most budgets.