How Your Technology Company Can Help You Fix Inefficient Processes That Are Killing Office Productivity

Simplify

Image Credit: Paul L. Dineen

Process and procedure is an important part of any business. It is part of what helps ensure continuity of work and consistency of product. But what happens when the process you thought was helping you is actually hindering your business?

Typically, when someone creates a process, they set it up based upon what they think is the best way to perform the work. The problem is that unless that person thoroughly understands the technology involved, the outcome is usually more muddled and complicated than it needs to be.

And when a process is overcomplicated, it tends to drain productivity. Suddenly, the time you had to perform a bunch of tasks is reduced down to only enough to perform one task, and productivity goes out the window (through no fault of your employees).

While it may seem out of the norm and counter intuitive, having your technology company review your existing processes, particularly the ones that rely on computer systems and other devices to be accomplished, can ultimately save your business time and money.

Here are some examples of how your technology company could help you sort out complicated procedures.

Example 1

Your CRM software allows you to print forms and contracts, but not save them to the server. When your employee needs a customer to complete a form, they must print the form, then take it to the only scanner in the office, which happens to be in your office. Once the document is scanned, they must interrupt you to have you move the file from the folder on your computer, to a place where they can access it from their computer. Then, they must go back to their desk, locate the scanned item, move it to the customer’s folder, and forward it via email to the customer.

If your technology company reviewed this process, they would quickly discover that it could easily be condensed by adding PDF print drivers to the employee’s computer. Then, instead of printing and going to another room to scan, the employee could print form to PDF and save it right there on the computer without having to get anyone else involved, thus drastically reducing the time it takes to complete the process.

Example 2

Part of your process involves signing off on bills before your employee can pay them. The problem is, you’re often out of the office. So, to get your consent, your employee gathers the invoices and scans them and prints a copy for you to review during the day when you have time between appointments. Once you return to the office in the evening, you leave the stack of invoices with your notes on their desk for processing the next day.

If your technology company reviewed this process, they might recommend you take advantage of your existing Remote Web Workplace setup, and connect to the office via your laptop to review invoices, rather than bringing physical copies with you.

Additionally, they would help you setup a PDF stamp with your initials or signature, so that you could digitally sign off on the invoices. Once you are done with your review, you would simply have to send an email to your employee letting them know they can begin their process, allowing them to start their work the same day you reviewed the invoices.

These are just a few examples of how your technology company can help you think outside the box when it comes to processes.

So the next time you feel like you are going about something the hard way, or if you feel like your technology just isn’t working for you the way it should be, give us a call. We can help you find easy solutions to put in place to save you a lot of time and hassle, making your office more productive in the long run.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you simplify processes so that you have happier, more productive employees. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Computer Viruses: What You Can Do To Stay Protected

VirScan LogoIf you’ve ever had one, you know how frustrating virus can be. Not only do they take over your computer making it difficult to work, but they can do damage to files, send out spoof emails on your behalf, obtain critical personal information from your computer, and other scary stuff.

So how do you keep from getting viruses?

Keep Your Antivirus Software Updated

By running a trusted antivirus software for starters. Although it is simply not

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enough to just have the software loaded on your computer, you must also keep it updated.

Think of your antivirus software like a dictionary. When new words come out, do they automatically get added? No, instead a new edition is produced and distributed. (Okay, so this has changed a little a lot since the Internet, but you get the idea).

Similarly, when a new virus comes out, your virus software doesn’t necessarily know about them. Instead, it needs to be updated so that it knows that there is a new virus out there. Once it knows about the virus, it will know to look for it and will quarantine it if found so that it doesn’t impact your computer.

But, simply keeping your antivirus software up to date may not be enough. Sometimes you have to take extra steps to ensure you don’t get a virus.

Scan Files Individually Before Running Them

While it’s important to only download and run files from trusted sources, sometimes stuff happens and the person sharing doesn’t realize they have shared an infected file until it’s too late.

If you are unsure of a file, particularly if you downloaded that file from the web, an email attachment, or other source that could potentially be questionable, check the file before running it.

Sure, it may seem like an extra step, but typically viruses can’t get into your system until they are executed, such as by opening a file or installing software, so if you check your file before you even open it, you could be saving yourself a lot of work later. (*Note while executing is the typical way to “activate” most viruses there are many different types of viruses that operate differently from one another, so the actions taken to become infected may vary.)

Most of the time your files will probably be clean, but all it takes is one infected file to ruin everything. While you can use your existing virus scan software to scan individual files (most virus software has this option), sometimes you just don’t have the time to wait on software.

When this happens, there are other options, such as checking your files online, using an Internet virus scan built for scanning only files (as opposed to scanning your entire computer).

There are some great places online to scan files, but one site we like is VirSCAN.org. This free site allows you to upload as many files as you like, but there is a 20Mb limit per file. Simply upload the files you are concerned with, and scan them. VirSCAN will tell you whether or not they’re infected.

If the file is infected, DO NOT run it. Have your virus software quarantine and remove the virus. Or you can manually remove the virus if know how to view and delete system files, program files, and registry entries (potentially).

It’s important to keep in mind that while VirSCAN won’t replace your antivirus software, it is a good tool to use for spot checking files before you run them.

Using both an antivirus program and spot-scanning individual files, can be an effective strategy for ensuring your computer stays virus free.

Do you have a favorite antivirus software or website? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you keep your computers virus free. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Cool New Features in Office 2013

Office2013 Sky Drive Sync

The Sky Drive Sync is available for all the programs in the new Office 2013 suite.

Office 2013 has debuted for businesses, although it won’t be available to the general public until the end of January (*current scheduled release date). While it may look similar to recent versions, Office 2013 has made some changes and added in some cool new features that are sure to be helpful.

Last Location Feature

Have you ever closed a document, only to open it a day later to spend several minutes figuring out where you last left off? With Word and PowerPoint 2013, this is now a thing of the past, as the software automatically remembers where you left off.

When you open a document you’ve been working on, a little box will appear on the right that says “Welcome Back, pick up where you left off.” Just click the box, and the document jumps to where you were last.

PDF Editing

Word just got a whole lot more robust, thanks to the increased PDF editing capability features. In the past, if you wanted to edit a PDF in Word, you would have to convert it first, and then edit it. But the new Word can now do this extra work for you. To edit PDF documents, all you have to do is

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open them in Word, make your changes, and save your work. It’s that easy. No PDF editing software required.

Sky Drive Integration

It used to be that OneNote was the only Office produce to have access to the Cloud, but that’s not the case anymore. With Office 2013, any program can now sync to Sky Drive (Microsoft’s free large file storage service) allowing you to save your documents in the Cloud, and access them from anywhere.

Sky Drive integration is also what makes this next feature possible.

Syncing Across Devices

Now you can access your documents from anywhere, regardless of which device you’re using. Create a Word Document on your laptop, but need to edit

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using your tablet? No problem, as long as your document is synced to your Sky Drive account, you can access it from wherever you are, and whatever device you’re using. All you need is internet access.

This is just a taste of some of the great features available in Office 2013. Additionally, each software component within the suite seems to have some great changes that are sure to boost productivity (once you learn how to use those new features to your advantage).

*Note if you bought, or are planning on buying, Office 2010 between October 19, 2012 and April 30, 2013, Microsoft will give you a FREE upgrade to Office 2013. Click here to go to Microsoft’s site for more details.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you figure out the latest advances in software, and whether or not it is worth it to upgrade. (In the case of Office 2013, it is.) Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.