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4 ways to maximize your business technology

Dawn Kirchner-King joined Armstrong Building Products in 2015 as their CIO.

She described the company as “a black-hole cost center,” where company leaders didn’t know how to maximize the use of their existing business technology. Dawn changed that.

She used tactics like standing meetings and proven project management practices to increase employee output and boost company efficiency. She also improved the Armstrong Building Products’ CRM suite, streamlining processes and enhancing the company’s customer service capabilities.

Essentially, she used the resources she had in order to help strategically grow Armstrong Building Products.

You don’t have to be a multimillion-dollar company to get the most out of your business technology. But you do have to use IT solutions strategically to grow your company. Part of that is making the most out of what already have.

To help you maximize your current resources, we’ve created a list of 4 different ways you can get the most out of your existing tech.

1. Implement automation

A great way to increase efficiency using your existing business technology is to harness the power of automation.

Even with the advancements in machine learning and robotic process automation, there are some jobs robots will never be able to do. Closing deals, brainstorming ideas, and developing company culture will always require human collaboration.

However, automating simple processes saves your employees time and allows them to focus more energy on mission-critical projects. Automation also reduces errors in tasks like data entry, posting to social media, and sending standard email replies.

2: Use dual monitors

While it may seem like a simple suggestion, giving each of your employees a second monitor increases their productivity by 20-30%. Why? With two screens, employees don’t have to spend time continually switching between different documents and browsers to enter data or compare information.

If your employees spend 3 minutes per day switching between documents, a second monitor can save them 13 hours of work per year. Multiply that number by every employee in your office, and you’ve saved yourself days of work.

Most monitors aren’t that expensive. Spending $100-$200 on a second monitor for every employee has the potential to save you thousands of dollars per year, every year.

Plus, if your employees have a work laptop, a video cable can easily turn their desktop into a second screen.

3: Train your employees

Training is a necessary expense. It’s an investment in your company’s growth. When your team is using your business technology correctly, they’re more efficient. The more efficient your employees are, the more productive they are. The more productive your team is, the easier it is to grow your business.

Training employees will greatly reduce the amount of time you’ll spend fixing policy and process-related mistakes down the line. Plus, it’ll boost your network security. When your team employs security best practices, the less likely they are to accidentally compromise sensitive information.

That being said, effective training is an ongoing process. It’s not something to do once a year. Your policies and processes will change. And as business technology evolves, you’ll use new solutions in your company. Employees need to be trained every time there are new policies, processes, or technology that affect how they perform their job.

It’s best practice to have the materials you went over in training accessible at all times. That way if your team needs a refresher, these resources are readily available.

4: Test your backups

Testing your backup methods regularly may seem obvious. However, many business owners don’t and suffer negative consequences later.

Downtime costs businesses up to $8600 per hour. It’s no surprise that 93% of companies that lost their data for more than 10 days filed for bankruptcy within a year.

Hardware fails, employees accidentally delete crucial documents, and rolling blackouts happen. If your data isn’t backed up, any one of these disasters has the potential to destroy your sensitive business data and your company’s reputation. Plus, if you can’t get back up and running quickly, your competition is more likely to edge you out while you play catch up.

That’s why it’s critical to test your backups often. We recommend testing your backups on a monthly basis at the bare minimum. You should also perform restore tests whenever you install a new application, or when an application is updated or patched.

To make sure you don’t forget, you can automate your backups. Some solutions even let you do this without interrupting employee productivity.

Using business technology to gain a competitive edge.

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There are many simple things you can do to get the most out of your current business technology. This list is a great place to start. If need further assistance, a business consultant can help you strategically get the most out of your IT solutions. And they can help you pick new, cost-effective technology that will drive your business forward.