Business Technology in Omaha – 2017
The world of technology is ever-expanding, with practical applications in all areas of how we do business and for maximizing efficiencies in a business’s operations. Thus, the impact it’s already made is profound, and the possibilities for the future are exciting.
For every problem to solve or goal to achieve, there’s a solution to be found that involves technology. In narrowing the possibilities down to what we’re able to cover in just a few short columns, we’ll touch on what we consider to be some of the most impactful for businesses.
First, there’s the cloud, a term that many in the business world are already familiar, or have at least a vague understanding of what it means.
The cloud, simply put, encompasses anything stored offsite. Virtualizing your server presents the opportunity to save thousands of dollars just by having it in the cloud. It eliminates the need for hardware or software upgrades in your business and reduces the maintenance and support needed.
With more people moving towards the cloud, there has been a lot of innovations in that area in recent years, particularly for business use.
Cloud-based solutions, or Software As A Service (SaaS), have been around for quite some time. However, the recent trend is one of more small businesses leveraging them. This gives them access to valuable technology and tools while controlling cost. Technology no longer needs to be a major investment and can grow with your business.
With custom solutions like cloud storage, server hosting, offsite backups and security solutions to lock down remote connections, there are many different ways to take advantage of this tech innovation. There’s also colocation, a type of data center in which a business can rent space for servers and other computing hardware. Typically the colocation center provides the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security while the customer provides servers and storage.
Next up, if you’ve not heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) yet, you can be sure that you will soon. Getting ahead of the curve now should be part of your long-term business strategy if you hope to maintain a competitive edge.
The Internet of Things is here, and it’s opened up a world of possibilities. Presently, and moving forward, there are about 50 billion reasons to keep up on your technology products and services. Google ‘Internet of Things by the year 2020’ and you will find many articles on the ways it is expected to transform everything about technology, even as we know it now.
The Internet of Things, simply put, is anything connected to the Internet. An example of this is the ‘Smart Home,’ which applies to places of business in the same way. We now have the ability to adjust the thermostat, turn lights on and off, monitor security systems and more from a smartphone or other personal devices.
Smart devices are here to stay, and now you can work securely from anywhere too. Tablets, laptops, and smartphones are all tools now used for the mobile office. By creating a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, your company can access your own private, protected data from any device with internet connectivity.
The integration of technology, while oftentimes complicated and thus best left to the experts, can prove to be incredible once accomplished and put into use. Once you have it, you can’t imagine what life was like without it. Consider audio/visual technology as yet another example, and one that has been rapidly advancing too. Many businesses are looking for out-of-the-box thinking and engineering for huddle rooms/spaces, remote connectivity, video walls, digital signage, sound masking, and more. In order to achieve your goals for audio-visual systems integration, get a professional involved as early on in the design process as possible. This also holds true for most other technology that a business would want to incorporate.
Ease of use, flexibility, and scalability are all important across the board with any of these or other types of technology for business use. As others have mentioned, remote connectivity is the big one right now. People want to be able to log into their system to make changes and perform service-related tasks. The ability for clients, strategic business partners, team members or other guests to sit down in a board room and connect their laptop or table wirelessly to a video wall or screen display is desirable as well.
When it comes to technology in the workplace, as evidenced by all that we’ve discussed up to this point, there’s a lot of ground to cover. There are the devices you use to conduct transactions, to communicate with clients and perform critical tasks, to store and access your data, to research and analyze it, the cloud and connectivity, A/V for presentations and training, not to mention access to a bevy of apps and programs. Not to be left out, there’s even a host of building technology systems and devices that when fully integrated, can have a major impact on your people and their productivity in the workplace as well as minimizing your expenditures and asset protection.
“From a building technology perspective, there are a whole host of Building Management System (BMS) programs that effectively incorporate more advanced technology in the workplace,” advises Pat Killeen with Engineered Controls, Inc. “These will apply whether your building is new or existing, which for the latter would be part of a retrofit project.
Briefly, a few of our BMS technology offerings for commercial buildings would include:
Affordable integrated building control and automation systems that make your buildings smarter and more efficient by providing essential instrumentation and control.
Systems that make lighting much more efficient. Our lighting controls solution offers smart scheduling, presence detection, and photocells to ensure lights aren’t left burning in vacant areas and that lights are off in areas where there is already plenty of natural light.
Integrated security solutions to meet your every need. These include standalone and networked access control solutions, an intrusion detection or video surveillance solution or a fully-integrated security system.
Gas detection systems for parking garages and mechanical rooms with chillers and boilers. These are areas where safety is a concern and where people can become sick or even die if not ventilated properly.
The latest in parking gate controls and revenue generation system solutions for airports, education, event, healthcare, hotels & public buildings, cities and municipalities, office, and retail.
At Engineered Controls, our specialty is providing high-quality products and services that create efficient, safe, and comfortable building environments. To that end, if someone was looking to leverage technology to improve the energy efficiency of their facility, we have products and services that will do that. On the other hand, if someone is looking to protect their people and assets, we have safety products and services that do that as well. We have a team of engineers who create custom integration solutions to pull all of your building equipment into a common platform regardless of manufacturer.
When working with a building technology contractor, it is proper to choose a system that has the ability to be scalable as your business needs grow. Do not skimp on features of the equipment thinking that the lowest-priced option is equivalent. The axiom ‘You get what you pay for’ often applies. A good building technology partner will be able to explain the difference in the products available and is willing to inform you of your options. It is also beneficial to know the reputation of the building technology partner. Ask for credentials, experience, and references.”
Businesses not only have to be smart about adding and integrating technology, but also need to take into account what would happen in the event that something goes wrong. When that happens, it’s essential that it’s fixed quickly and efficiently. For that reason, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have become quite popular with businesses. This is an information technology (IT) services provider that manages and assumes responsibility for providing a defined set of services to its clients either proactively or as determined that services are needed.
Indeed, running a successful business leaves little time for sorting through technology problems. A company like Five Nines can act as your IT everything – team, research and development department, support desk, procurement partner, and vCIO. They’ll carry the risk and burden of managing your IT so that you don’t have to. Founded on an intense desire to solve problems and build long-term relationships with clients, Five Nines leverages technology to drive business success. Five Nines advises the best IT solutions for Nebraska-based businesses, offering Managed IT Services. Through its unique service model, Five Nines’ clients experience reduced costs, accelerated growth, and increased productivity.
Finally, websites, web presence, social media, and SEO are becoming more critical for businesses than ever. It’s just as important for someone to be able to find you and connect with you online as it is in person.
Especially with keeping your website up and running smoothly, oftentimes when businesses get sites designed, they are not informed of how important updates and added plugins are to keep them up to date and secure. It’s not just a have it built and you’re good to go forever type of thing. Therefore, it’s important that you team up with a professional who is proficient in the areas that apply, has plenty of working knowledge, stays up to date, performs regular checks and maintenance, and is good at troubleshooting.
As far as new trends that have gained traction, mobile-friendly website layouts are important now because Google ranks websites according to their ‘mobile score,’ meaning that it appears great on all mobile devices. This scoring, if higher for mobile, allows Google to rank the site higher in search results.
All told, technology should empower your business to achieve its goals. If it is holding you back, replace it with an alternative. Keep in mind, technology will not solve problems with your internal processes, but it can help those processes run more efficiently and consistently.
Start by clearly identifying the goals you wish to achieve (in order of priority), then seek out the tools and technology that will help you achieve those goals. Likewise, seek the advice of an expert who can answer your questions clearly and provide you with options. This should be a conversation, not a statement.
There are a lot of great, affordable options today. Many times when you upgrade it will come with cost savings down the line that will provide a return on investment.
One thing you can count on with technology for business use is that there will always be something new and innovative that will help you achieve your objectives. If you’re not ahead, you’re behind. Particularly in the tech industry, it’s a constant that nothing is constant. There are so many possibilities to explore, and a good starting point for anyone is to reach out to our local experts.