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3 managed services to drive business productivity

Many businesses do not completely understand all that managed IT services include. What are managed services, and what do they do? In basic terms, it consists of any ongoing service support related to your business’ IT.

But don’t think that means managed services lack specific, sensible approaches that benefit business productivity. Working with a qualified Managed Service Provider (MSP) has countless solutions that raise productivity. Meaning you can focus on your business mission instead of fixing your technology. 

We’ve put together a list of three managed services that will raise your business’ productivity and explain how it works. The results might surprise you.  

Network security to reduce downtime 

Cyberthreats are on the rise, and the risks affect companies of every size and industry. In fact, almost half (43%) of all cyberattacks target SMBs. Despite this, many SMBs lack a professional, guided approach to their network security. Without this security framework, businesses are at risk of downtime and lost productivity. 

Malware and ransomware attacks are becoming more advanced, and social engineering is becoming more and more sophisticated. All it takes is one employee to click on a phishing email and infect your network and put you in a data ransom or data loss situation. 

These situations could cost your company more than just downtime. The average ransomware attack costs a business $100,000 due to downtime.  These attacks can also damage your reputation with clients and even cause legal repercussions for your business.

Having a qualified MSP handle your network security drastically reduces the chance of a cyber risk that will affect your company. Additionally, given the costs of downtime and data loss, it will positively impact your bottom line. 

Backup services to prevent data loss

Modern businesses live and die by their mission-critical data and systems. In reality, 60% of SMBs that lose their critical data close up shop within six months. Traditional data backup approaches leave significant exposure to partial or complete data loss due to a lack of redundancy. 

If you’re not backing up your data offsite or in a cloud-based platform, you’re sitting on a ticking data loss timebomb. Your business is one disaster away from total data loss. 

Even if you manage to restore from your backups using outdated processes, the recovery process will take far longer than if you leave your data backup to an MSP. That’s because most MSPs will help you develop a quick and efficient business continuity plan as part of your data backup strategy.

When your systems go down, or hardware fails, you’ll get back to work with far less downtime and incurred costs.

Your data is your business, and you should protect it accordingly. The right MSP will be an expert in protecting and backing up your data. They can reduce your potential for downtime while preserving your productivity and reputation in the process.

Total network management and support for streamlined systems

Troubleshooting causes a significant loss of time. Combining network management services with an in-house team can free up their time dealing with other issues pertinent and specific to your individual company needs. 

By hiring an MSP to manage your network and provide 24/7 IT support, you benefit from professional guidance and problem solving from qualified IT engineers. They specialize in the exact kinds of issues that infiltrate networks like yours. 

This allows your team to focus on business while monitoring and eliminating potential problems from behind the scenes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. 

Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to network management. 

Determining if an MSP is right for you 

Whether you take a hybrid approach by outsourcing some tasks to an MSP while keeping others in house, or deciding to outsource all your IT needs to an MSP,  this professional guidance can help your business become more productive. 

It can also protect you from an array of potential productivity and downtime issues before they happen. 

Where that balance falls depends in large part on the specifics of your business, your budget, and your approach. Determining the right solution means identifying the gaps in your IT efforts and where you need to improve. 

Regardless, the first step is arming yourself with the right information to make the best decision. 

Your Guide to a Successful ERP System Implementation

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is changing the game for organizations looking to improve and organize their day-to-day business processes. The trouble is, while there are many benefits to ERP, a badly executed strategy can make or break your commercial success. 

When an ERP project fails, it’s often down to poor implementation – here’s what you should know to prepare your business for ERP and ensure its successful integration into your organization. 

What is ERP? 

ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is a “catch-all” term for business management software that automates some or much of an organization’s day-to-day activities. These activities can include: 

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Product planning and development
  • Manufacturing 

Since around 64% of businesses use ERP to improve their business performance, it follows that the ERP solution you implement must be efficient and tailored to your organization’s individual needs. So, how do you ensure your ERP works for you? 

ERP system installation: a step-by-step guide

To get you started on your ERP journey, here are our top tips for a successful ERP implementation. 

1: Define your goals

Every business is different, which means there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building an ERP solution. Decide what you need from your system – whether it’s inventory management, or lead capturing, etc. – and prioritize your ERP search based around these needs. If you need help narrowing down your priorities, an MSP can help with this. 

2: Do your research

Once you know what you need from the ERP, have a look at the companies and the software available in your budget range. Don’t rush into any decisions and ask as many questions as you need to make your decision. The right consultant will be more than happy to help you choose the perfect ERP for your needs.  

3: Backup your data

If you have data stored across different products and platforms, back it all up so that you don’t lose it if it’s corrupted upon migration to the new system. Make a list of where all your data is and where it’s coming from so that you can keep track of it all. This is also a good time to review your cybersecurity and ensure your key business data is properly protected.

4: Set up a timeline

Decide when you want your ERP system to go live and plan your implementation process accordingly. Always leave time for setbacks and set aside a budget for “unexpected” costs so that your budget doesn’t hold up your implementation schedule. Review your progress regularly and take action if you’re falling behind.  

5: Test the system

Test every aspect of your ERP solution before it goes live. This is the only way to spot any real-time problems and solve them before they affect your business operations. Create testing procedures or scripts for as many scenarios as you can think of, and you’re well on the way to error-free ERP implementation when it goes live. 

6: Train your employees

Even the best laid ERP system is hopeless if your employees don’t know how to use it effectively. Make sure you train your staff on the new system and ensure they know who they can ask for advice. It’s a good idea to appoint a dedicated point of contact for any problems, particularly for the first few months. 

Conclusion

The right ERP solution can help you reduce your manpower needs and improve your bottom line, all while increasing your overall business efficiency. For more information on ERP software and how to choose the right solution for your organization, contact us today.

The 6 biggest benefits you’ll get from an ERP system

At some point, you’re going to want to look into ways to make your business more effective and streamline your business process. You’re going to want it to be cost-effective, and able to withstand any future changes to your business. You also want it to meet the specific needs of your business, to focus on your strengths, and identify and remedy any weaknesses.

That’s where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system comes into play. ERP management can integrate all of the different aspects of your business including purchasing, planning, inventory, sales, marketing, budgets, and human resources. 

Before installing such a system, you’ll want to ask yourself how the benefits of ERP can best serve your business needs.

1. A better view of your business process

Many companies suffer from not being able to look at all of the different aspects of their business, how they’re operating together, and then determining if what is happening is working in the company’s best interest. Decisions become more difficult. Efficiency drops, as do profits.

By centralizing business data–sales, inventory, resource allocation, and others–you can improve the “big picture” of your business to determine where bottlenecks or other problems may lie. You can uncover what conditions might be leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Armed with this information, you can determine which departments might be able to enhance their performance, reduce repetition, or improve their supply chain. Streamlining your business process will lead to a more efficient and productive business.

For mobility advantages with a centralized system for accessing information and business applications, your employees have an easier time conducting business in the field. Orders are placed more efficiently, inventory information is more quickly available, service calls are streamlined, and more.

2. Improved cooperation

While a certain amount of autonomy among the various departments within your business makes good sense, sometimes it can block communication. By centralizing how data is collected and shared between departments, you can reduce wasteful, repetitive procedures and ensure that everybody is working with the same up-to-date information.

When you add cloud computing with shared resources, you can also step up your company’s collaboration game. Projects get completed more quickly and employees have immediate access to information, no matter where they are physically located, as long as they have a secure Internet connection.

3. Enhanced inventory control

ERP systems are particularly useful when it comes to keeping track of inventory, orders, supply chains, and services. Every item and resource can be followed from start to finish. This controls situations in which orders get lost or shipped incorrectly, or when manufacturing gets held up from lack of supply or people-power.

Nothing gets lost in the shuffle. This saves you time, money, and aggravation.

4. Greater customer service

With an effective enterprise resource planning program in place, customers should be able to place orders more easily and even track the order’s progress themselves. They will know who to contact and how, should issues arise or they wish to amend their order.

ERP can be used to oversee customer interaction, information, and history. This means sales teams are better equipped to interact with customers–even preparing solutions for customers before the customer is even aware they’re needed.

5. Stronger security and regulatory compliance

Some businesses turn issues such as security and regulatory compliance into a “fix it when it becomes a problem” sort of scenario. This can end up being expensive and can lead to unwanted downtime. It would be better, perhaps, to have these issues addressed and handled at the very start. That’s something an ERP system can do.

Network security protocols, firewalls, encryption, and other IT issues related to keeping your data safe and your communications protected can be set up when creating your ERP system. If regulatory compliance is prioritized at the beginning, you save yourself headaches later.

6. Scalability benefits

ERP software systems are not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. Rather, it can be customized to fit the unique needs of your business and, better yet, adapted to meet the changing needs of your business over time. There is no risk of starting over again in a few years after your business grows or changes focus.

Users of your ERP system can be added or removed as your staff changes. Inventory and services can be adjusted to fit the evolving nature of your business. In short, the scalability and flexibility of an ERP system can serve your needs for the long term, while delivering savings by reducing installation costs of a new system every few years.

Implementing an ERP system

There are many reasons to implement an ERP system. Most come down to improving the efficiency of your business process, the productivity of your employees, the effectiveness of your customer service, data and communication security, and adhering to a managed budget.

It’s important to do your research on ERP system providers and insist on one who treats you as a partner, understands your business’s unique needs, and feels invested in your success. At Appsolute, we are keenly interested in how we can help best express your business through technology. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how we can do that.