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Streamlining Technology to Reduce Complexity and Improve Productivity

 

Smooth lines with a gleaming reflection and razzle-dazzle lights seem to convey the promises of technology, but in the current era we seem to be gridlocked. The trend now is taming the contagion and returning to solid business processes.

The 3 biggest challenges for mid-sized companies are: clutter, discovery, and curiosity. Those that thrive will become experts in streamlining technology, while remaining vigilant in following new trends.

Amazingly, the common ratio today is one server for every 3 employees. Just factor in the planned obsolescence for equipment, along with the layers of software. Coupled with the required maintenance, this old paradigm represents a high cost of doing business fraught with significant risk.

The new trend is to distribute the risk of technology infrastructure in the cloud. E-mail and files are hosted on Office 365. The corporate website is at a major registrar like Network Solutions. Line of business applications are hosted by the manufacturer. The concept is resiliency, as not all services could be unavailable at any time regardless of the status of your physical site.

There are specific exceptions for every scenario, but for Office 365 alone there is conservatively a 35% savings over 10 years. The savings also does not include the additional maintenance and support of on-premise infrastructure. Other cloud solutions tend to follow in a similar favorable cost structure while offering more security and features.

At just $120 per user per year, the productivity features of Office 365 offer 5x the value of traditional hardware and software for a fraction of the cost.

Typical cloud migrations are approximately 4 – 8 weeks per business unit from planning and implementation to follow-up testing and training. Another passive benefit is escaping server upgrades going forward. Desktop projects are the mainly the few ongoing projects customers must keep current after getting to the cloud.

To further help with strategy, customers can subscribe to Directions on Microsoft, as well as evaluating Partners on Microsoft Pinpoint. Note, only Microsoft Gold Partners should be selected for Cloud Solutions in 2015 as Silver Partners were grandfathered into the program with no experience or training requirements.

If you check the Office 365 Roadmap, you’ll find the Microsoft is releasing nearly 4 dozen new features and products annually with no added cost.

This is a similar mindset for Windows 10. Like no other time in the past, there will not be another version of Windows and updates will be released on demand rather than on the second Tuesday of every month. The upgrade is also free for licensed Windows 7 & 8 customers.

Two factor authorization is the growing trend to have easier passwords and virtually eliminate security hacks. Password complexity becomes unnecessary. For instance, after entering your password, a six digit code is texted to your phone.

At no monthly on-going cost, the user accounts on your corporate network may be linked or synchronized with the cloud. Having a single password everywhere improves productivity for staff and reduces help desk call for IT.

New cloud features like Clutter for Outlook promise to reduce e-mail volume by 25% per user. A savings of just 15 minutes per day amounts to an extra 100 hours toward more important tasks over a year.

Other examples include Delve. Have you ever tried to remember who you worked on a project with and what documents and messages you used? That’s what Delve does for you.

No one gets back to the network consistently to have their devices updated and protected. So the answer is Microsoft Intune that protects all of your devices whenever you connect to the Internet for malware, Microsoft updates, third-party updates, and any custom device policies.

Most customers also struggle with VPNs and terminal servers. An alternative today is eliminating the frustration and server for just $39 per user per month with RemoteApp on any type of computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Finally, technology is accelerating exponentially and it’s important business leaders and management staff stay abreast of current technology for competitive advantage with continuing professional education like Experience the Possible.

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