The modern perspective of productivity would not be possible without the use of collaboration tools. Some of them are so game changing that they can completely revolutionize the way you hold meetings, deal with clients, and manage in-house processes. We’ll discuss how you can implement collaboration tools that work for your business, as well as use them to overcome the many challenges you might face in a business environment.
Partner IT Blog
People have come a long way in a very short amount of time. The development of tools designed to make tasks easier have pushed people from hunter/gatherers across the known solar system in the matter of only a few thousand years. One way humans are able to do so much with seemingly so little is though ingenuity, but another is through consolidating management.
When people find new reasons to collaborate, it typically results in something positive. There is some new software that is now making collaboration easier, while still providing people the tools they need to stay productive. These collaboration tools are changing the face of business. Today, we take a look at them and how your organization can use these new collaboration tools to move business ahead faster.
The price of fuel per gallon is one of the many ways individuals are affected by the constantly shifting industry costs, and for those who commute to the office, it can become a considerable expense. For distributors, the changes in gas prices can be the difference between sitting on a gold mine or losing valuable resources. For the small distributor, changes in gas prices can make all the difference in determining how much it costs to truck goods across the area. How can smaller businesses take advantage of IT solutions to keep costs down while gas prices increase?
On the surface, you might think that customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are the same exact thing. However, they both have very specific niches for a business--particularly when it comes to managing organizational assets and interactions with consumers. Here are some of the specific situations in which you’ll find these solutions helpful.
It’s imperative that your organization’s software is managed properly. If you can’t do this, then your operations can suffer in the long run. While this might sound like a lot of work, software management isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you break it down into compartmentalized tasks. Ultimately, you can group it into three major steps: leveraging available assets, testing strategies, and understanding the software.
For the modern business owner or executive, making smart business decisions has become a necessity. Margins are small, efficiency is key, and if we were to be completely honest, business is a day-in and day-out grind. In the course of doing business much is made of cost reduction and curtailing inefficiencies that lead to wasted capital. Much is made of collaborative systems that allow for remote access. Much is made of protocol, process, and performance. With so many moving parts in every business, there has to be the “glue” that allows for cohesive actions to be taken. That “glue” is software.
Google Drive provides its users with a considerable amount of utility. However, when combined with extensions made for Google’s Chrome browser, users have the tools to make their use of Drive’s capabilities even more efficient. For this week’s tip, we’ll go over a few Chrome extensions that your business might find useful.
All businesses have certain software solutions that they need to keep their operations going. Be it an email solution or a productivity suite that you lack, your business is held back from ideal operational efficiency. The traditional way of acquiring these pieces of software can be holding your organization back, so we’ve come to you with a solution: Software as a Service (SaaS).
Whenever you install software on your computer, you agree to certain terms put in place by the developer or vendor. Even free software, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, have terms that the end-user opts into during installation. One of the most important terms business owners need to be aware of are those that pertain to software licenses; if you aren’t, someone else will be.
How Software Licensing Works
Software licensing is everything but simple. Developers determine where and how often you can install the software, whether or not you can modify or redistribute it, and other terms. Installing the software means you agree to these terms. Most commonly, these terms are designed to protect the developer from having their software shared and distributed without them charging for it. This makes sense, it’s theft.
Interestingly enough, there have been some pretty wacky terms snuck into the license agreements of some programs. One of our favorites is Apple expressly forbidding users from using iTunes to create missiles and nuclear weapons. While we hope our clients are not weaponizing iTunes, there is a much more realistic concern that business owners absolutely need to be aware of.
Negligence Can Lead to Huge Fines
Depending on the software, when you install it and “activate” it, the software might phone home to the developer to authenticate the license. If the software sees that it’s been recently installed or is currently active elsewhere, it might report back and not let you use it. Alternatively, it might not immediately reveal that it sees multiple copies in use. The developer might even give you some lenience (sometimes you can install a copy on your work PC and on a laptop). If you don’t understand the licensing, you won’t know until the cease and desist letters come in.
Typically, software developers are prepared to catch this and offer ways for you to purchase additional licenses (although not all the time). They might even offer volume or site licensing which will help you save money when purchasing software for all of your employees. While you need to be careful not to upset the vendor by mistreating your software licenses, there are even bigger threats to watch out for.
Beware the Audit Monster
Organizations like the Business Software Alliance (BSA) issues audits to businesses that they suspect are misusing software licenses. For example, if they think you are running the same license for Microsoft Office or Windows across multiple computers, an attorney representing them will send you a very stone-cold letter that you won’t like. To make matters worse, the BSA even offers thousands of dollars to whistleblowers who report their own organization and promise full confidentiality. Got any disgruntled former employees? Organizations like this love hearing what they have to say.
Failing these audits can lead to huge, out-of-proportion fines and in some cases, jail time. If you’ve received a letter from an organization like this, it is extremely important to reach out to a trusted IT advisor immediately, as well as your lawyer. It’s best to not wait for this to happen, and make sure your software licensing is in check.
How to Prevent Software License Mismanagement
Like anything related to IT, the best course of action is being proactive. Documenting your software licenses, including how many you have, who is using it, and where it is deployed is a good start. If your software licenses include expirations or other terms, it’s important to track those as well.
Understanding the rules is crucial. Software developers aren’t out to screw you over, they just don’t want their product being stolen. If a program is allowed to be installed on a second device, it typically means the user can install it on their laptop or home computer. This does NOT mean you can split the license up across two users.
Having your network audited regularly is a good practice. Your employees might think they are being effective by sharing software with coworkers. The intentions might be good, but the repercussions can be serious. Partner IT can work with you to audit your network and find issues like this, and help you resolve them if detected. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1300 968 748 to get the process started. We’re happy to be discreet, even if you have a trusted IT provider.
Often times, people can get distracted by flashy new features, and with technology, this happens more than anywhere else. Since IT grows at such an abnormally fast rate, end-users can be left in the dust if you’re not intentionally trying to keep them in the loop. In fact, it’s highly recommended that you implement IT solutions for your business that are not just effective, but also user-friendly.
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