Latest news, tools and tips from Cisco for your very own small and medium- sized business
Times are good. Your business is growing. In fact, you've outgrown your current space, and it's time to move premises. While the logistics of a move can be time consuming, it's also pretty fun. A change of scenery can revitalise your team, and a new workspace brings the opportunity to upgrade your office layout, furnishings, décor… and IT. Moving office is the perfect reason to evaluate how your business works and put new infrastructure and systems in place that will have a positive impact on your business.
Although you’re probably thinking a lot about your new digs, it's also time to think about where else your staff could be working from. The showroom? The road? A digital, mobile workforce is one that is more flexible, adaptable and quite often, creative, productive and satisfied.
Cisco research shows that too many Australian small to medium business owners aren’t taking advantage of the benefits presented by a mobile workforce, despite knowing how it could help. In fact, 9 out of 10 Australian business owners haven't harnessed telecommuting, meaning employees must still come into the office to work, rather than being able to work remotely. Making changes now will help your business take advantage of the future growth that mobility offers.
Technology can bring employees together, wherever they are, both inside and beyond your office walls. Once again, Cisco found that almost 80% of Australian business owners surveyed didn't have any collaboration software that allowed employees to work on documents together.
Videoconferencing solutions like WebEx and virtual meeting room software such as Spark means your teams can meet 'in person', saving time and money by eliminating travel, and allowing staff to share and collaborate on documents in real time. Communication apps like Jabber help your teams stay in touch through instant messaging, real-time status, desktop sharing and conferencing creating a whole new office ‘space’ that takes up no new space at all.
Cisco research found that network management can cause many small to medium businesses grief: In Australia, 70% of owners would like more IT expertise brought in to their business and just over 30% don’t have any IT resources at all. Network management has come a long way and is much simpler to use, whether on-site or in the cloud. But now is the time to make a change – your network is the foundation of your business, and choosing the right management solution could open up a whole world of flexibility and potential.
As your business grows, so does the amount of data it retains and processes. It’s vital to protect your customer details and other sensitive information you don't want anyone else getting their paws on. Plus, intrusions into your network can mean downtime while you’re offline, and more hassles while you clean up. The maths is simple: an investment in security is an investment in prevention, meaning you can carry on doing business, knowing your network is protected.
And while you’re counting desks, consider how much has changed. Long gone are the days when everyone needed a dedicated desk with a lumping great CPU next to them. A totally wireless office space means you can accommodate a range of workforces - part-timers, sales reps, consultants and contractors - and their devices. Of course, you need to ensure you protect your network, so instigating user identification, firewalls and other security measures that will keep up with your increasing demands is a must.
Curbing the costs of running your space means more profit. Energy expenses are largely the result of lighting, heating, cooling and computing, all of which could be controlled by your network. New technology makes this possible, giving you the unexpected benefit of greening your business while also saving you money.
So before you start packing boxes, take stock and think about reviewing your IT needs, both for now and in the future. Plan ahead before you move and your business will thank you.
Want some help from experts? Cisco partners are full of ideas to help you achieve your small to medium business goals. Post a project or idea and get customised solutions from people who really know their stuff.