IT Essentials for Startups


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This is our IT Essentials for Startups workshop that we give at SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Business, Washington DC’s Chapter. This presentation covers the spectrum of IT basics for new or established small business owners.

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IT Essentials for Startups

  2. 2. KEEP THE OBJECTIVE IN FOCUS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) IS A CRITICAL ASSET FOR ALL BUSINESSES BUT CAN BE A CHALLENGE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES THERE IS A WIDE ARRAY OF IT SERVICES THAT NEED TO BE CONSIDERED, INCLUDING: WEB SITES INTEGRATED VOICE AND DATA PHONE SYSTEMS OFFICE NETWORKS E-MAIL ACCOUNTS DESKTOP AND POINT-OF-SALE COMPUTERS MOBILE DEVICES SMALL BUSINESSES USUALLY DON’T HAVE STAFF WITH THE WIDE RANGE OF TECHNICAL SKILLS REQUIRED TO SELECT, IMPLEMENT, AND MANAGE THE FULL RANGE OF TECHNOLOGY REQUIRED TO SERVE CUSTOMERS GIVEN THESE RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS, IT’S CRITICAL THAT COMPANIES KEEP FOCUSED ON WHAT IT SERVICES ARE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE BUSINESS AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT WAY TO OBTAIN THEM THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO HELP YOU KEEP THE PROPER FOCUS. INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES The primary message to take away from this workshop is that youʼre not going to be able to do all the things that are possible to be done. Information Technology has become integral to all aspects of running a business and itʼs also the factor that has allowed very small businesses compete effectively with very large companies. Even a one person consultancy can have a proactive web presence and provide services on a global basis. The real questions is Should it? To determine what IT services are appropriate for a company you need to maintain a very clear link between the capability of the IT service and the business value youʼll deliver to your customers by using the IT service. The other message to take away from this workshop is that you should learn enough to understand what the IT service does but donʼt try to do it all yourself. Most likely youʼll buy the majority of your IT services – itʼs too expensive to try to deliver these services with in-house staff. Plus, as the technology changes itʼs expensive to keep retooling and retraining. In todayʼs market there are many low cost options available (and some very expensive options). Itʼs critical that you understand what pou really need and how youʼll use it. You will have to prioritize your options.
  3. 3. CUSTOMER TO IT SERVICE LINKAGE CUSTOMER UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER BASE – ARE THERE DIFFERENT GROUPS YOU’RE TRYING TO REACH? SERVED BY ONE OR MORE BUSINESS UNDERSTAND HOW YOU’LL USE THE IT SERVICE – MARKETING, SALES, FINANCE, ADMINISTRATION, ETC. SUPPORTED BY ONE OR MORE UNDERSTAND THE LEVEL OF SERVICE YOU’LL NEED – AVAILABILITY (24X7, IT SERVICE WEEKENDS, ETC.), CAPACITY, CONTINGENCY PROVIDED BY ONE OR MORE DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF RESOURCES TO USE – DOING IT IN- RESOURCE HOUSE, RENTING STAFF, HIRING A SERVICE This is the linkage you need to have in your mind as you consider buying IT services. You may not write it down or make it very formal but you need to have this thought track down as you make decisions. You will be offered a wide variation in types of services, levels of service, and cost for services. There is no one correct answer for all companies, large or small. It all depends on how youʼre trying to serve your customers and what value youʼre trying to deliver. The critical questions to consider are What are you going to accomplish with the service? And How important is it? Once you understand that it will be a question of which set of IT services comes closest to matching your needs and at what price. You may find some low cost options (called free-ware or open source solutions) that can provide all that you need. Just keep in mind that many of these solutions will require that you do some part of the work (cleaning up files and doing backups for example). You need to understand how youʼll do your part of the work or youʼll end up with system crashes and dissatisfied customers.
  4. 4. ASK CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR EVERY IT SERVICE YOU CONSIDER, MAKE SURE YOU CAN ANSWER THESE CRITICAL QUESTIONS: WHICH OF MY CUSTOMERS WILL NEED THIS SERVICE AND HOW WILL IT SERVE THEM BETTER? WHAT WILL I USE THIS SERVICE TO DO? WHEN WILL I NEED THE SERVICE? WHAT IS THE IMPACT IF THE SERVICE IS NOT AVAILABLE? AS YOU COMPARE OFFERS FROM IT SERVICE PROVIDERS MAKE SURE: YOU LOOK AT COMPARABLE SERVICE LEVELS (FOR ONES THAT MATTER TO YOU) YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IS INCLUDED AND EXCLUDED FROM THE SERVICE (HELP DESK, BACKUPS, ADMINISTRATION, BILLING, ETC.) THAT PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING INCIDENTS AND ESCALATING PROBLEMS ARE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD, AND THAT YOU MAKE AN HONEST ASSESSMENT OF WHAT IN-HOUSE SKILLS YOU’LL HAVE TO PROVIDE. DON’T JUST ASSUME IT WILL ALL WORK PERFECTLY! Keeping the diagram from the last slide in your mind answer these two sets of questions for any IT service you plan to use. The question on the impact if the service is not available is particularly important. It helps you identify how vital the service is to your business and tells you what type of contingency plan youʼll need should it fail. As you customers get used to having a service available they will demand that it be there when they want to deal with you. This will determine what level of service is right for you. The questions for comparing service providers can be difficult especially since all service providers will pick different aspects of service to tell you about. If the service is critical to your business plan, push the service provider to ensure you understand the level of service included. For non-critical services try to pick levels that are “just good enough.”
  5. 5. TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP (TCO) THE COST OF PROVIDING A IT COMPONENT (A SERVICE, PIECE OF HARDWARE, SOFTWARE PACKAGE, ETC.) IS MUCH MORE THAN THE INITIAL PURCHASE PRICE OF THAT COMPONENT. THE TOTAL COST INCLUDES AN ACCOUNTING FOR THE INCIDENTAL AND SUPPORT COSTS THAT ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE FULL USE OF THE COMPONENT. THAT TYPICALLY INCLUDES THE STAFF TIME NEEDED TO: MANAGE THE COMPONENT, PROVIDE SUPPORT TO USERS WHEN THEY HAVE QUESTIONS, REPAIR THE ITEM WHEN NEEDED, AND Administrative PROVIDE MAINTENANCE AS REQUIRED. Continuity THESE COSTS ARE TOTALED FOR THE ENTIRE LIFECYCLE OF Maintenance THE COMPONENT AND THEN AMORTIZED AS AN ANNUAL User Support COST. Purchase Price WHILE A DESKTOP COMPUTER MAY COST LESS THAN $1,500 TO PURCHASE, THE TYPICAL ANNUAL TCO FOR A CAUTION: DESKTOP WILL BE ABOVE $3,000 EACH YEAR FOR MOST A MISTAKE MANY SMALL SMALL ORGANIZATIONS. COMPANIES MAKE IS OUTSOURCING TRANSFERS THE MAJORITY OF THE TCO TO UNDERESTIMATING THE COST THE SERVICE PROVIDER (THE SERVICE RECIPIENT STILL ASSOCIATED WITH PROPER MANAGES THE CONTRACT). MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF THE IT SERVICE. The only thing to understand from this slide is that thereʼs more than the cost of hardware and software involved in providing a service. Weʼve all had the experience of getting a new piece of technology that we couldnʼt make work effectively. For example, just look at the different types of remote control devices we have lying around the house. If youʼre going to get value out of the IT service youʼll need to consider all that goes into delivering that value. You need to total all that cost and divide it over the useful life of that piece technology. That will give you a valid method to compare what each of the different service providers are offering. You may not get exact numbers but you can make some estimates to determine which deal is better for you. You can make the assumption that youʼll do some of the work like making daily backups of data, but remember you also take on the risk of what happens if its not done.
  7. 7. INTRODUCTION INTERNET MARKETING BACK-OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY STAYING AHEAD OF THE GAME OFFICE NETWORKING INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Weʼll go through each of these in turn in the introduction section. *how technical is the group? *how big/small are the companies? *what topics are they interested in?
  8. 8. INTRODUCTION: MARKETING BUILDING A COMMUNITY WHY A WEBSITE? SEO/SEM SOCIAL NETWORKING STAYING IN TOUCH INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Why a website? This is an easy sell: doing business w/o a website is doing business w/o a business card. A website is the worldʼs portal to your company. People researching your company will go to your website _first_. Put your best marketing face forward. Here you also get to say what _you_ want about yourself and your company: manage your message. Lastly, FAQs: get rid of phone calls about store hours, directions, areas of expertise, etc. Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Marketing: getting found Nobody looks at the yellow pages anymore: everyoneʼs searching for your website. Social Networking: creating a circle of influence, bring people together, bring people to your website. Build a network Staying in touch: newsletters, RSS
  9. 9. INTRODUCTION: PRODUCTIVITY BACK OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY AND COST SAVINGS CRM (CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT) VOIP (VOICE OVER IP) MOBILE SYNCHING HOSTING, BACKUPS, OUTSOURCING INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES CRM, end to end management from when you first meet a person, to communicating with them as a client, when they become one VOIP: save on phone bills. Other VoIP services: virtual office, voicemail-to-email, fax-to-email, follow-me calling. MOBILE, work anywhere
  13. 13. BUILDING A COMMUNITY BLOGGING WORDPRESS MOVEABLE TYPE HOSTED BLOGS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Why blog: build a community; passive updates to your clients; update content–keep people coming back for more. Blogging is passive marketing: you donʼt send updates to people–people come to you. Your blog readers are interested in you already. You have a captive audience, and a vetted group of potential buyers. Focus: Blogging, and all parts of building your community, should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Your blog should be focused on one area: people who read your blog do so because theyʼre interested in the subject matter. If you find your blog starts to wander from weather phenomena to historical conflicts, you may need to rethink your audience. Business/ corprorate blogs are targeted, on-topic blogs intended to disseminate information about the specific business or topic. Youʼre welcome to wax philosophic all you want, however…on your personal blog! There are two ways to get started blogging: Run your own blog platform, or use a hosted blog. Blog platforms to run on your server: wordpress is the most popular blogging platform. Moveable type is a bit less popular but also well-established. Both are Free/Open Source. These let you do what you want on your blog. Hosted blogs: e.g. blogger, is the same platform as the wordpress mentioned above, but in a hosted solution. Hosted blogs are better suited for personal websites and have some limitations. For example, you cannot run google analytics (more later) on a blog.
  14. 14. BUILDING A COMMUNITY WHO BLOGS (AND HOW!) INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Everybodyʼs doing it! some examples: Southwest Airlines publishes a blog for employees and customers called Nuts about Southwest. Mike Arringtonʼs TechCrunch is one of the top 5 blogs on the web. Flickr keeps in touch with their fans with the Flickr Blog. Fox News uses to host blogs including GretaWire. WordPress powers blogs like the CNN Political Ticker.
  15. 15. BUILDING A COMMUNITY BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE WORDPRESS ENGINE (CMS) DRUPAL ENGINE (CMS) FROM SCRATCH: FRAMEWORK INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Wordpress and Drupal are two examples of Content Management systems. Both of these are Open Source, as are many others. Joomla/Mambo is another popular CMS. Although Wordpress is mostly known for its blogging engine, it is evolving into a CMS (Content Management System). Albeit less powerful than some others, itʼs a good system for a mostly static “calling card” website with a blog. We have done and seen some good-looking websites on Wordpress, and if your contenet is mostly static except for your blog, itʼs a good way to go. Drupal is a full-featured CMS. Drupal experts go as far as calling it an application framework. It is very powerful but needs more customization out-of-the-box. we build large community websites with Drupal. From scratch: initial cost savings but a long-term hassle. Hard to update. Unless effort is put into upkeep, sites built from scratch will soon become outdated.
  16. 16. BUILDING A COMMUNITY BE FOUND SEO SEM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are similar but slightly different concepts. We wonʼt delve into the nuances of their differences: they work together to do one thing: put you “above the fold” on google/search engines, or as close as you can to the top. Searching on Google is how people look for you, your services, etc. You donʼt want to be burried on page 57. Keywords: Youʼll also want to pop up near the top for keywords related to your business. Keywords are tricky: general keywords (e.g. “restaurant”, “lumber”, etc) are too generic…you will be fighting against thousands of other sites with similar keywords while people searching for the generic keywords may not be looking for a product you are providing. It does little good for a restaurant in DC to show up first on a search for “restaurant” when the searcher is somewhere in California. Tailor your keywords, monitor them, test conversions. Itʼs an ongoing process. Also, the keywords _you_ would pick for your site are not what your prospective clients may pick. Experiment with multiple keywords. Note under “local business results” we end up on the top Also our blog shows up as the first result in web results.
  17. 17. BUILDING A COMMUNITY SOCIAL NETWORKING FACEBOOK LINKEDIN TWITTER YOUTUBE RSS/FEEDS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Social networking website (facebook, linkedin) help your contacts and clients stay in touch with you. Facebook is more B2C and C2C oriented; Linkedin is tailored to business professionals. They help build a community around you and/or your business. Twitter and youtube help get the word out about your business and service. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) “feeds” help your audience keep track of updates to your website and social networks.
  18. 18. BUILDING A COMMUNITY EMAIL NEWSLETTER COMPARED TO BLOG WHY BOTH? GIVE VALUE BACK PEOPLE SHOULD WANT TO READ YOUR NEWSLETTER INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Newsletters and Blogs both get the word out. The big difference is that with a newsletter youʼre “pushing” information to your audience; with your blog, the audience comes to “pull” information youʼve published. * Different audience: some people may not be avid blog followers or users of RSS feeds and prefer the old-fashioned newsletter * People come to your blog because they like what you have to say. Reading your blog is “Free” * On the other hand, people “pay” to read the newsletter with their email address and inbox real estate. (both of these are valuable commodities these days) . Make sure youʼre giving them value for their investment
  19. 19. BUILDING A COMMUNITY S***!! AVOID GETTING SPAMMED AVOID SPAMMING OTHERS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Spam: another four letter word. avoid getting spammed: through your blog (Akismet is one tool) and through email (donʼt publish your email address: use a form instead) Avoid spamming others: blog comments should be relevant. Newsletters should be informative. Newsletters should always be double-opt-in and have an unsubscribe link. Double-opt-in: users verify their email address when added to a newsletter.
  22. 22. PRODUCTIVITY CRM (CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT) SALES PIPELINE/PROCESS TRACK CONTACTS, VENDORS, LEADS, CLIENTS MANAGE YOUR CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS MARKETING AUTOMATION, AND MORE… INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES CRM systems allow you to do all these tasks. Some packages allow you to add plug-ins or modules to increase functionality. CRM systems are tailored around a standardized sales process but have evolved to add company-wide functionality.
  23. 23. PRODUCTIVITY CRM TOOLS / VENDORS HIGHRISEHQ (FROM THE MAKERS OF BASECAMP) SALESFORCE.COM SUGARCRM (SAAS OR SELF-HOST) INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Some popular CRM tools. (like all other example tools in this slide show, we do not have any affiliation with these but can help you install them and get started using them). Highrise and SF are SAAS (Software As A Service) subscribtion-based services. SugarCRm has both a SAAS offering and a self-hosted option. SugarCRM and SF have extensive plug-in libraries HighriseHQ may not be extensible but its power is the trademark simplicity of the 37signals products
  24. 24. PRODUCTIVITY ORGANIZATION AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT EGROUPWARE MS SHAREPOINT BASECAMP (37SIGNALS) WIKIS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES tools to help organize your business, manage your projects, communicate with clients, share knowledge Egroupware: an Open Source project that incorporates shared contacts, calendaring, a wiki, file storage, ticketing system and much more. MS Sharepoint: Microsoftʼs browser-based collaboration and document management suite. Basecamp: mostly project-based group communications. Simple to use, allows to post files, messages, etc. but not a full back-office platform. Wikis: Several options, both open source and proprietary, hosted and as software. Above products incorporate wikis or similar functionality.
  25. 25. PRODUCTIVITY REAL TIME COMMUNICATIONS EMAIL: NOT REAL-TIME! IN PERSON AND PHONE: DON’T DISS IT CHATS: SKYPE, IM, ICHAT (ALSO GROUP CHAT) VENTRILLO INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Email is not real time. Acceptable response time is usually 12-48hrs. A lot of people expect quick responses these days however: if you donʼt get to email on a regular basis, consider adding a note to your email signature or an autoresponder to make people aware of your email reponse time. In person and phone: accomplish a lot, get the full attention of every party. chats: skype, IM: “instant” but nonintrusive communications. Video ability. Great for remote offices but also local staff, good for quick questions, impromptu meetings skype, IM, etc. offer group chats, like virtual meeting rooms. ventrillo: push-to-talk technology. Need to run your own server or pay for one. Not generally useful but can be handy for teams that need a lot of real-time communications.
  26. 26. PRODUCTIVITY VOICE OVER IP (INTERNET TELEPHONY) VIRTUAL OFFICE SOLUTIONS FREECONFERENCECALL(.COM) INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Virtual office solutions: route your calls to anywhere from anywhere. Have virtual mailboxes and greetings. Get your mail delivered to any phone or even your email. (did you need more email?) roll-over, follow-me calling call routing (menu system) voicemail-to-email.
  27. 27. PRODUCTIVITY MOBILE COMPUTING WIRELESS SYNCHING MOBILE NETWORKING WORK FROM (ALMOST) ANYWHERE. WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT. INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Synch your contacts, calendar, access your email through your cellphone/PDA. Ask chacha any question ( T1 speeds over wireless networks. Need a document at the office? services like to the rescue.
  28. 28. PRODUCTIVITY HOSTING OUTSOURCE! SERVER REQUIREMENTS? PACKAGE OPTIONS WEB HOSTING ; VPS ; DEDICATED INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES It doensʼt make sense for most small businesses to run their own servers. The days of sticking a tower in the closet and plugging in an ethernet cable have long been replaced by shared or dedicated servers in world-class data centers. These are cheaper. Server requirements: Multiple things to consider, work with your IT vendor. Define your requirements, then find a package: Packages: The packages small businesses are interested in fall in three categories: web hosting: this service is cheap but powerless. It allows you to upload some files, and in some cases run some common software. If your requirements fit within whatʼs available, this may be a good start for you. VPS: the next best thing to a dedicated server: you can do whatever you want to the server, but you still share the hardware with others. A user-friendly interface allows you to manage your own server, and a little help from your IT vendor can go a long way. under $100/mo Dedicated: you have your own dedicated machine, built to your specs. $150/mo and up.
  29. 29. PRODUCTIVITY EMAIL SELF-HOSTED? WHY? MS EXCHANGE GOOGLE APPS (AND POSTINI ) INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Self hosted: Your server vendor will likely tell you that email is included in your package. And you can easily configure email addresses through the server management interface. Resist the urge to do this! There are highly-paid people in the world whose job it is to manage email every day. Unless you can afford someone to spend 25% of his/her time managing your email server, outsource your email. Dealing with spam alone will turn you prematurely grey, let alone undeliverable emails, SPF records, client complaints, large attachments, quotas, archiving, routing, viruses… Outsourced options: MS Exchange: easier to integrate with other MS products Google: integrates well with most products. Incorporates Postini, a enterprise-grade archiving and messgeing
  30. 30. PRODUCTIVITY OUTSOURCING INSHORE NEAR SHORE OFF SHORE INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Outsourcing IT makes sense for small businesses, even if they can afford to hire a full-time IT staff member. The benefits of outsourcing include: * expertise and experience in diverse fields (servers, networking, databases, etc) * support * cost Inshore outsourcing makes the most sense: Hire a local company to design and host your site, etc. Can meet face-to-face, call locally at regular work hours, etc. Near-shore or offshore outsourcing can be cheaper but don't be fooled by the hourly rate alone: having remote teams requires much more time in project management, much moe detailed specifications and documentation.
  31. 31. PRODUCTIVITY BACKUPS! LOCAL BACKUPS (REGULAR FULL BACKUP OF YOUR COMPUTER) INTERNET BACKUPS (BACKUP IMPORTANT FILES REMOTELY) HOSTED SERVER BACKUPS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Backups are not a one-time thing, or a some-time thing. Create a simple backup plan and stick to it. Automate it, and test backpus regularly. Simplicity is key: if it's too complex, you won't do it. I like a two-stepped approach…things that are likely to happen (e.g. your computer crashes) should have a quick and simple remedy; things that are unlikely to happen can have a more time-consuming remedy: 1) Full backup for single-computer recovery Backup all your computers locally using a local hard drive and software, such as Apple's Time Machine for the Mac and a myriad others available for the PC. You can take a backup home once in a whle and start anew if you like, in the event of an office-wide failure. When you fix your computer, you can be back up and running without skipping a beat (minus the time it takes to restore, usually 2-10 hours). 2) remote backup of important documents for office-wide crashes. Suppose a power surge fries all your computers, and your backup drive. Then what? hosted backup services (examples include at $0.50/GB) will let you back important documents over the internet. You'll still skip many beats trying to reinstall all your software on your computers, but at least your important documents will not be lost forever. You will not want a full backup of your computer on these, but they are a great place to backup your important documents. These services, like email hosts, do backups right, and your documents will be available even after catastrophic events. Accidental backups: If your email is stored on a server, you won't lose it. If you synch your PDA, all your phone numbers will be there. If you use a hosted CRM/contact management product, your contacts and history will be untouched. All these technologies that enable the quot;mobile officequot; also mean that you have less to worry about in terms of backups.
  32. 32. PRODUCTIVITY E-COMMERCE IS YOUR PRODUCT “SELLABLE” ONLINE? INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES In brief: If you're selling widgets, it makes sense to sell online. If you're selling homemade banana splits or sushi, maybe it does not make so much sense to sell online. Does it solve a problem? does it make you more efficient? does it help your bottom line? Things to consider: * will your existing clients buy (or buy more) if you sell online? * can you attract a new client base by selling online?
  35. 35. DESIGN TRENDS: RETRO INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Over the next few slides we'll show some of the design trends we've noticed in 2007/2008. When designing your site, think about your client base, and the corporate image you want to portray.
  36. 36. DESIGN TRENDS: NOTES INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES the notes/handwritten designs seem more friendly and inviting, but also less business-like.
  37. 37. DESIGN TRENDS: GRUNGY INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES What else can we say about quot;grungyquot;? Again, it's about your audience.
  38. 38. DESIGN TRENDS: SPLATTER INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES half disco, half high-tech! It's loud, inspiring, action-oriented. But in a lava-lamp sorta way…
  39. 39. DESIGN TRENDS: BIG FONTS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES This design is for those who like it simple and to the point. If you want to publish hundreds of articles, this may not be the way to go. If you're a brochure site and want a clean site, this is it.
  40. 40. STAYING AHEAD DESIGN TRENDS BOLD IS BEAUTIFUL 1024 PIXELS WIDE DESIGN FOR YOUR CONSTITUENCY INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES * Websites are no longer screensful of text. Bold, crisp designs that make it clear what your next action is are quot;inquot;. * Monitors have grown as well…maybe not in inches but in pixels. More designs are 1024px now. But we still see some narrow ones, especially useful if you don't have a lot of content. * Who is your audience? Your design should be friendly to your visitors.
  41. 41. STAYING AHEAD GOING GREEN GREEN COMPUTING RESOURCES PAPERLESS OFFICE DIGITAL SIGNATURES (S/MIME) ADOBE, EMAIL INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES A few things can go a long way towards showing your clients that you care. (If you don't care, skip this slide). * double-sided printing. A few extra bucks on your all-in-one printer will let you print double-sided. ** goes well with recycled paper. * fax-to-email and other quot;paperlessquot; services save money and paper. * online and email communications over papering the town. * digital signature haven't caught on yet, and I'd leave them alone unless you and your client base is tech-savvy * encourage employees to metro, walk or ride! * consider energy usage, carbon offset etc. These may not do much to your bottom line, but quot;consciousquot; consumers may be persuaded to use you instead of a competitor. Success story: whole foods! But the consumers won't know what you do if you don't tell them: Let your audience know that you're green: Booze-Allen-Hamilton business cards say that they are printed on recycled paper. I get more and more emails with a signature reminder to quot;think before you printquot; this email. (I added one to my own email).
  42. 42. STAYING AHEAD ANALYTICS! WEB TRAFFIC (GOOGLE ANALYTICS) TRACKING RSS FEEDS (FEEDBURNER) ANALYTICS + SEO/SEM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Analytics let you track your online marketing efforts. * See where your users are coming from, how long they spend on your site, what they do there, and where they leave your site * Examine your site traffic and trends. * track video traffic as well through google analytics * link adwords to GA account, to see what keywords perform better. * Establish “goals” and “funnels” on your website to see if visitors are going where you want them to go.
  45. 45. OFFICE NETWORKING PHONE SYSTEMS TRADITIONAL PBX VOIP PBX VIRTUAL OFFICE PBX INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES traditional pbx systems need POTS or channelized lines. (1 T1=24 phone lines; break-even around 15-20 POTS lines). (POTS: plain old telephone service.) Most also need specialized hardware…a regular phone will not work VoIP pbx: great cost savings esp on long distance. some allow you to integrate traditional lines for redundancy. need specialized hardware. On-site PBX systems are expensive. Consider whether you need a system and why; whether a virtual office solution may work for you. Virtual office: great for distributed offices. Much cheaper. Works with any phone. great featureset, esp for those who work a lto with email (voicemail-to-email, fax-to-email, “Find me” feature, etc)
  46. 46. OFFICE NETEWORKING INTERNET CONNECTIVITY (FOR SMALL BUSINES) KEEP IT SIMPLE, SAILOR DSL AND CABLE VS T1 FIREWALLS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES keep it simple: or at least start simple. No need to pay up-front for complicated networks. Start with a connection and wireless/wired router similar to what you have at home. Upgrade systems and functionality when you need to. Dual load-balanced connections, for example, create more complications, hassles, and require more expensive hardware to do “right”. Get a DSL or Cable line…DSL and cable give you much better speeds over a T1 on downloads. However, upload speeds may be limited and in some areas DSL/Cable lines are less reliable. Firewalls: most wireless devices now come with a built-in firewall and most firewall features you can use. Exception here are requirements for VPN etc. A lot of people add VPN and heavy firewalls and sleep easy at night…but then email their passwords unprotected. Consider a security policy rather than throw hardware at a problem
  47. 47. OFFICE NETWORKING RESOURCE SHARING PRINTERS FAX MACHINES NETWORK SERVER/STORAGE BACKUPS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Printers and faxes, or preferably an all-in-one device are easy to share. I prefer ones that have Network capabilities rather than just a USB port. Network servers, although they are not necessary for small offices, are helpful in any size team; a small networked storage drive is cheap and can do the job. Itʼs important to build a culture around using the shared drive, and back it up “early and often”. We talked about backups earlier, and backing up “important documents”…the network server is a great place to keep a folder for documents that need to be backed up remotely. Better yet, back up the entire network server remotely…thatʼs where your important documents are.
  49. 49. COOL STUFF!!
  50. 50. JOTT.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES capture thoughts, create to-dos and reminders. access through your cellphone.
  51. 51. CALLWAVE.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES get an SMS transcript of your voicemail!
  52. 52. CHACHA.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES get an answer to anything over SMS
  53. 53. GUBB.NET INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES super-simple lists
  54. 54. MINT.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES analytics for your money
  55. 55. MAXEMAIL.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES more email! yay! (fax-to-email gateway). lots of people do this… and…check out the 80s design. would you use this or (next slide)
  56. 56. GRANDCENTRAL.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES also vmail-to-email and fax-to-email Full-featured “virtual office” provider
  57. 57. GOOGLE ALERTS INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Help monitor news related to your clients and your competitors.
  58. 58. CROSSLOOP.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Desktop sharing service makes it easy to help your clients and get help for yourself.
  59. 59. SNAGIT.COM INFAMIA GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES Screen capture tool on steroids, probably one of the most powerful screen capture tools on the market.