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Why IT Causes You Headaches, pt. 7

Your Tools Don’t Work Well Together! 

There are several common issues that we see as a Managed IT Services Provider. 

At times we identify issues within our processes and use it as an opportunity to improve. Often we will find a new and better tool solution via a webinar, conference, or vendor product demo. But the most common issues we see relate to pain points we hear by talking to prospective customers—and we hear many of the same things repeatedly. Through this series of blog posts, we will examine some of these common items and talk about how you can deal with them. 

Many have heard the idiom “the only constant is change”. This is especially true in the IT world. With advancing technologies, updates to software, and many products competing for the same space, the sea of change is alive and well when it comes to computing. This applies to many (essentially all but the most niche) businesses and non-profits and can easily lead to trouble or inefficiency when different aspects of an IT architecture don’t “play well” with the others. 

Some examples of this have been highlighted with the push to work from home, including with business, non-profit, and education entitiesOver the past months as institutions have adjusted to a new reality, MSPs have talked extensively with prospects and customers about streamlining systems that are otherwise incompatible (or at least compatible in less-than-ideal ways).  

As a Managed Services IT Provider, Certified CIO is responsible for maintaining efficient workflows and helping IT work for a business and its staff. Fixing integration issues (and planning and advising to properly avoid them in the first place) is an important cog in the wheel of IT. 

In one hardware-based example, a business had an employee using a home machine but was required to log in to a terminal server for certain tasks for security reasonsThis meant that each time that cluster of tasks needed to be completed, the employee would open the remote desktop, perform MFA logins, and work on the applicable tasks. However, in the changeover, these became lost minutes for the employee with the constant shifting of windows and multi-system logins. At times, this also resulted in multiple points of data entry. 

One alternative was to use the terminal server exclusively, but this unfortunately was a lackluster solution due to limitations of the terminal server. Additionally, when logging in directly to the terminal server, the employee was slowing down other employees and creating a larger issue. While upgrading the server would be a solution, this was not an option at the time. 

A simple but effective solution was to provide the employee with a company PC to use at home. This did have an associated hardware cost, but also increased productivity. If the employee, for example, was roughly losing an average of 12 minutes a day with redundant logins, this adds up to an hour over a week, a half day over a month, and 6 days over the course of the year of lost working time. 

In a software-based example, a business was using an external software product that was poorly integrating with Microsoft 365 Sharepoint. As a result, company shared documents were having a tough time remaining synced and the employees were waiting to review/edit documents. By rearranging software workflow and removing certain portions from the offending software, Certified CIO was able to increase productivity of the entire office. 

In an education scenario, an institution was having difficulty properly integrating their primary education software with the virtual aspects of Google classroom. This was a simple system update fix, as the bug had been identified by the software company and patched. 

Many of these solutions are simple, on their face. However identification is sometimes an issue. The “IT guy” may be ingrained in his/her ways, be too busy to analyze the issue, or simply be unaware it is happening. Many SMB’s leadership, unfortunately, have fallen behind with keeping track of tech issues from an employee’s standpoint. We urge you to survey your staff and see how IT is working for them, whether remotely or in a more traditional workplace scenario.  If you or your SMB are having issues with your hardware or software integrations, LET US KNOW! We’d love to help get you working more efficient, and with less hassle. 

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