Staying Current with New Technology Trends in Your Business
The only thing constant about technology is change. The constant changes in our tech-driven society can make staying current with technology rather daunting for a business, but getting behind can be even more troublesome down the road. Keeping your company in the loop with the latest-and-greatest technological advancements for your industry can keep your business growing smarter and more efficiently every day. We talked with some savvy, skilled tech companies in Omaha to gather some information that we hope will help you understand not only the importance of keeping up with technology but help direct you to some of the best-qualified professionals in Omaha to help you accomplish that.
Don’t Get Left Behind
With all of the information exchanged and stored in the virtual world today, things like security and compliance, Cloud hosting, and disaster-recovery services, are a must for every company’s online strategy. That’s where TierPoint comes in, providing comprehensive IT (Information Technology) support. With a national footprint that includes more than 40 data centers in the country—including two in Omaha—TierPoint delivers a wide range of production and disaster-recovery Cloud solutions with an emphasis on private, secure environments. They also provide professional services for data center and Cloud migrations.
“Technology shifts are happening so rapidly that it’s forcing organizations to rethink how they do things,” said TierPoint Regional Vice President Rod Peterson of Omaha. “It is either adopt to remain relevant or be left behind. With some exceptions, the winners are the IT professionals who make the shift away from being technologists to leveraging their IT savvy to solve business problems.”
Rod explained that COVID accelerated some distinct trends in technology, both for businesses and individuals. The work-from-home trend has burgeoned beyond anybody’s wildest imagination, and it is here to stay. With fewer employees working at business sites, the entire IT landscape is changing.
“With this, we are experiencing a couple of key shifts,” Rod said. “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is off the charts, so we accelerated the launch of our managed VDI solution—and customer demand has been very high. Corporate real estate is shrinking, which includes internal (IT) data centers. This comes with significant cost savings, which is forcing the outsourcing of production data centers into colocation or to a Cloud solution.”
While there is no lack of information about IT solutions available online, don’t try to do it alone. The only way to become an expert is repetition, so it is crucial to bring in the professionals, especially considering how dramatically Ransomware and other cyber-attacks are increasing. Protecting your data and infrastructure to secure your online presence is a necessity, and TierPoint offers a managed firewall service to protect customers from cyber events. It’s not something that most businesses can do in-house, and Rod offers an analogy to explain why hiring IT professionals is so crucial.
“I like to use the airplane analogy,” Rod said. “An airline company is in the business of moving people or products, and that requires pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, and countless people who never touch the planes to run the company. Do any of them build their own planes? No. That is an entirely different skillset and not something they do every day, so they rely on those who do. The complexity and rapid changes in IT are much the same way, making it advisable to leverage consultants, contractors, VARs (value-added resellers), and the like to help with IT strategy. Working backward from the business problems that IT needs to solve, you eventually identify the full requirements to help architect the optimal solution. TierPoint built a Professional Services team a few years ago and it has become a strategic differentiator for us over most of our competitors.”
True North Technologies is always at the forefront of mobile app and website development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), branding, and digital-marketing services in the region. They customize every technology plan to fit each client’s industry-specific needs, including everything from a basic strategy to a comprehensive package. In the end, it’s always about giving each individual client a voice and an open line of communication with their unique clients.
“By adding product lines, we are really giving people the tools they need to thrive,” said True North Owner Renee Sobotka. “We love what we do, and it shows! We know our industry like the back of our hands, and there’s no challenge too big or too small. We dedicate ourselves to every project we take on, and every customer is unique. That’s why we customize each of our plans to fit your needs exactly. Whether it’s a small strategy or a comprehensive effort, we’ll sit down with you, listen to your needs, and prepare a customized plan. We help your business communicate clearly with effective messaging that resonates with your customers.”
Maybe the best thing about working with True North Technologies is that you don’t have to be technologically inclined to understand what they’re doing and how it is going to help you.
“We strive to help others through technology by making the process simple,” Renee said. “Even the least-techie business owner can tackle the mobile world with our help. We love helping others find their True North. We will listen to your unique business needs and produce a strategy to position you for success. You need tools to compete with larger corporations and franchises of the world.”
With the changes in how people do business since COVID-19 struck, it’s more important than ever for businesses of all types to build a meaningful online presence. That means building a strategy that can adapt to change without missing a beat.
“What the world is seeing is that businesses that are able to adapt and become more mobile, whether that’s with an app, online ordering, or putting more effort into being found online through SEO, are performing far better than competitors that are doing nothing different,” Renee said. “Even companies that are not traditionally considered an e-commerce business are doing better by focusing on building their SEO or growing their online presence through social-media marketing.”
When it comes to marketing and technology, Renee encourages business owners not to be afraid to ask for outside help. When you do, ask for recommendations and to see a portfolio of their work before you hire them. Spend some time talking to them about your brand, who your customers are, and what their ideas are to engage with your customers. Ultimately, you are hiring a marketing company to help determine what your online voice is and how they plan to execute that voice.
“True North Technologies believes in the idea that marketing matters and that valuable marketing should be available to any size of business,” Renee said. “We create affordable custom apps available on the Apple and Google Play stores, and we believe that website and marketing efforts should bring our customers a cost-effective return-on-investment and deliver measurable results. In order to accomplish all of this, we hire really smart and empathetic individuals who are capable of working hard and taking excellent care of our clients.”
Security, Efficiency, and Agility
Scantron Technology Solutions Business Development Manager Adam Ward said the most prominent trends in business technology today are those brought about by the pandemic—the need to work securely and efficiently from home. They also need a full suite of IT services and experts available to help in cases of emergency. Omaha-based Scantron Technology Solutions provides IT services available in various packages and a la carte, so they can combine the exact tools that will work best for each individual client’s needs.
“Our services include general managed IT services and consultation, Cloud solutions, managed IT security, managed print, escalated helpdesk, endpoint protection, and managed hardware, including our new Device-as-a-Service model,” Adam said. “Cloud solutions are becoming more of a focal point for businesses that need to be agile in today’s remote-worker climate. Scantron has helped hundreds of customers achieve this since March of 2020, and we continue to adapt to meet future threats and changes. We have a nationwide team of Scantron-employed field service technicians ready to help businesses and institutions of any size across the country.”
While most people recognize Scantron as a scanner-and-forms company that integrates deeply into their memories of taking tests in school, today they position themselves as a trusted technology advisor that works to align their services and technology with their customers’ business goals. One of Scantron’s greatest areas of expertise is their industry-leading proactive set of managed IT services that develop and change with the IT industry as opposed to reacting to it. They have a customizable solution for all verticals and provide services for many Omaha-based companies.
Modern industry is all driven online and by social media, so companies that don’t adapt to new technologies are likely to have a difficult time when facing forward-thinking competition. That said, technology for technology’s sake is not good, either. Scantron helps businesses strike a balance, with expert staff dedicated to researching and developing new products and offerings. Having a technology mindset means that a business understands that change is a constant and, if they stop adapting to change, they will fall behind in security, productivity, and/or profits. Adam offered some words of advice to business owners about the importance of staying current on technology, including cybersecurity.
“Making the correct investment in IT technologies and developing a healthy, secure online presence is critical for all 21st century companies,” he said. “Do your due diligence and get opinions from locally based companies. While some managed IT vendors may be able to service nonregulated industries, there is a special challenge when dealing with verticals like financial, medical, and education. Our experience dealing with regulators will help you implement a solution that keeps your business ahead of coming cybersecurity threats and unexpected situations.”
The Difference Between Success & Failure
High-quality websites are nothing short of a MUST for businesses in this day and age, but sometimes it seems out of reach due to costs and maintenance. That’s where Huntrex® Create & Connect comes in. They recommend three primary avenues for reaching customers and potential customers to stay current and relevant online—social media, a website, and SEO. They can help your business develop an effective, efficient, affordable website and online strategy and provide you freedom from the complexity of running and maintaining it to work for you.
“We provide businesses with quality, responsive websites at a price tag they can afford,” said Huntrex Founder and CEO Mitch Hunt. “From strategy to launch, we lead the entire site-construction process. Following site launch, we remain committed to maintaining the site, providing support, and helping with updates. We consider our clients to be family, and we want to make websites pain-free—and maybe even enjoyable—for business leaders.”
The websites that Huntrex builds are easy to update and they launch through a web-based “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” editor that makes sense to even those who are not tech-savvy at all. They will provide personal training to your staff to use the editing program and they’re always available if you ever run into a spot where you need help. What’s more, Huntrex is continually applying new technology to your website so that your clients always experience optimal results, security, and reliability. Change is at the heart of technology, and Huntrex helps you keep up with it.
“We live in an age of rapid technological change,” Mitch said. “Your school-aged great grandmother would have regarded today’s technology as pure science fiction. Devices, cars, houses, and even contacts, are becoming smart, and these connected devices are here to stay. Businesses also must market to the consumer’s location, which is increasingly fragmented, so the traditional computer is no longer the primary avenue of going online for many people. Phones, tablets, and now televisions, Alexa, smartwatches, and even your new fridge are all channels to access information online.”
Huntrex has the solution. Their responsive websites automatically sense the size and capabilities of the device accessing your site to give customers a tailored website experience. All websites today should be optimized for desktop, tablet, and phone. Huntrex websites are not only responsive but are adopting new technology, such as Progressive Web Apps (PWA) to give websites an app-like experience on select devices—and COVID-19 has made these technology upgrades more important than ever before.
“Businesses knew the importance of online marketing prior to COVID-19, but given the current restrictions, an online presence can be the difference between success and failure,” Mitch explained. “Beyond presenting information to customers, business websites should be easy to use, be optimized for every device type, provide up-to-date information and notifications, and engage with customers through features such as online booking and ecommerce. If a business hasn’t updated its website in years, it likely provides a less-than-optimal experience for customers and needs a full redesign.”
Browsers and search engines are even beginning to penalize websites that don’t employ current security, technology, and usability practices. Huntrex websites use the latest technology and maintains it to ensure ongoing future compliance and success. In the end, Mitch sees Huntrex as a business advocate, in addition to a professional website service. They are primarily concerned with equipping businesses with customized web solutions that respect company goals and enhance the customer’s experience.
In this increasingly digital world—intensified by restrictions that came with the COVID pandemic—it’s more critical than ever that businesses invest in technologies that make them more competitive. The great thing is that you don’t have to be tech-savvy to keep up because Omaha is home to some pretty superb technology companies and experts that can help you build a communication network with customers and potential customers.