Falling Out of Love with your IT Service Provider?

How to repair the relationship and avoid the "7 year itch"

Falling out of Love With your IT Service Provider

Most of the companies I work with have an existing IT Service Provider. Their role is to help support their network and assist in making IT decisions.  Coming from that background myself I know this relationship can be invaluable to a growing company. Especially in times of trouble.

I have also found that just because the relationship has been long term, it does not mean that it is necessarily a thriving or healthy.  Like a bad marriage sometimes these relationships continue because “it’s just easier” than making a change.

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Office 365

Features to lower cost and improve security

ThinqOutLoud Office 365
I bet when you think about Office 365 you think about e-mail.  It is the service that Microsoft used in launching the service and is the primary reason people buy Office 365, but the service goes way beyond email.  There are three primary flavors of Office 365 and the comparison of features can be found here, but I want to focus on the features of the Business Premium version which is $150/year per user ($12.50/mo.).  At the end of this article I will show you an ROI that proves it is one of the best deals around.

6 easy steps to better IT security

Take the keys out of the door for hackers

ThinqOutLoud-6 Steps to Better IT Security

When you leave your house to go shopping I am sure you lock your door on the way out. You may even set your alarm. Once at the mall you lock your car and maybe park under a light if you know it will be dark when you leave. Simple steps to make sure you keep the things you care about stay safe. So the question can be asked, if you keep your personal life safe shouldn’t you follow the same approach for IT Security?

There is an old saying “Security never goes out of style” and no matter what the latest technology trend might be security is always part of the conversation. Your company is responsible for a number of different types of sensitive information. Common items include personally identifiable information about your employees, your organizations financial information, customer data and your organizations intellectual property just to name a few.

Do you know the difference between a CIO and CTO?

For a long time I didn't

ThinqOutLoud-Difference between CIT and CTO

Early in my career I thought the role CIO (Chief Information Officer) and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) were interchangeable positions. It did not take me long to come to understand that each role is different and the importance of each role is rooted in the user community it serves.

While both roles are C-level, it is not uncommon for a CTO or CIO to shift into one or the other over the course of their career. The primary distinction between the two roles is pretty easy to understand.  The correct title is based on the person’s interaction with the business, the technology, and its clients.

Do you Need a Software Sherpa?

A voice from the outside can help save time and money

ThinqOutLoud-Do you need Software Sherpa

One of the most difficult tasks for a company is choosing a new software or SaaS application. Especially when that software is mission critical to the business. It becomes that much harder when you have more than one person involved in the selection process.

This endeavor usually includes a bunch of software demos, many spreadsheets tracking the features and benefits, and sales collateral from all the vendors all over your desk. Very quickly the whole process can become a blur with each software package resembling one another. Opinions come from all sources… family, vendors, and even your close competitors will offer their two cents on the subject.  But do their suggestions even fall inline with your need?

The first “S” in SaaS should stand for support

Is help available when you need it?

You have taken the plunge.  You have moved a mission critical application to the cloud.  Hooray!  Now its time for ease of use, access from anywhere, anytime and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).  This is going to be great….until its 10 PM and you run into an issue that requires assistance.  Will your new Software as a Service (SaaS) provider be there to help you find your way?

SaaS Support | ThinqoutLoud

The good news is that many of the SaaS providers really understand that when you need help, “YOU NEED HELP”. Support is easy to access via chat,  FAQ’s and support forums, even phone to address the need for immediate support.  Others have gone one step further by creating a video library to show users how to perform a number of the common tasks found in their software, the ultimate in intimate self-service while keeping the do-it-yourself feel.

Three Great CRM Options that Won’t Break the Bank!

There are numerous options for CRM in the marketplace today.  There are a few options that are geared towards small business.  ThinqOutLoud has trialed the following CRM packages and each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Each of these applications are capable of lead tracking, pipeline management and customer life cycle management, but they each bring a different approach to that process…and varying price points per user.

 

Pipedrive 

An easy to use CRM system that allows the user to easily enter and track prospects, tasks, and deals.  The system has easy to use dashboards that are customizable to each user providing multiple data views.  Simple email integration allows the end user to use familiar tools like Outlook, while capturing critical communication in the CRM.

It includes integrations with a number of applications for marketing, email campaigns, analytics and service desk.  An easy to use mobile application puts data at your fingertips when on the road.

Pros: Easy to use, integrates with popular applications, customization options to meet the needs of any company big or small, activity workflow with email and push notifications, goal tracking, company specific domain.

Cons: No Social Media Integration, Basic CRM-customization is required to mirror many competitors’ standard features.

Pricing Starts @ $12/user per month