Monthly Archives: February 2016


Five Benefits of a Mobile Workforce

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Today’s economy focuses a lot of attention on controlling labor costs and business expenses. It seems natural to extend and bring the functionality of the workspace directly to mobile workers. A mobile workforce offers many benefits, in terms of an employee being able to work anywhere and in terms of mobile technology. Here are the top five best reasons to employ a mobile workforce.

Increased productivity.

Studies show that mobile employees are more productive outside of a traditional office setting. Applications for smartphones and tablets further improve the efficiency and effectiveness by enabling workers to take the office with them. There’s no need to wait for an employee to return to the office to create an expense report or to lose valuable working time while riding in a taxi or waiting for the airplane.

Many managers are faced with the challenge of meeting staffing requirements and getting the right person in the right place, at the right time, at the lowest possible cost. Employing mobile employees can help meet this demand. Virtual services and applications make it possible to approve time sheets on the road, schedule meetings from out of state, or attend a meeting when out of the country.

From a pure productively standpoint, downtime becomes uptime with mobile employees. Key tasks can be taken care of during times that may otherwise be lost productivity. The gain allows employees to free up and utilize more minutes and hours of the day, which results in an increase of revenue, productivity, and company performance.

Real-time access to data.

Having real-time access to data and information gives your company a competitive edge and enables mobile employees to be more responsive. By leveraging wireless devices and the latest software, companies can empower their workforces with access to data when and where it’s needed. Having access to data in real-time improves your ability to respond to business demands, enables managers to gain increased visibility into workloads, and facilitates better customer service.

Increased visibility and streamlined workflow.

Mobile technology not only benefits workers, but it supports internal departments as well. Human resources, accounting, and corporate travel are some departments that benefit from having access to data. Having more visibility into data, especially data from employees, facilitates a deeper insight into employee business expenses and spending habits. In turn, more visibility into specific data will save your company money. Organizations now have the knowledge to take proactive steps to reduce overall costs through faster processes and improved communications polices.

Reduced security risks.

Companies are incorporating mobile devices into their infrastructures to reduce security risks. In the past, employees who traveled frequently did so with a laptop. A laptop is a prime target for theft, leaving your company’s data vulnerable. The real cost when a laptop is stolen is not the amount of the machine, but in the exposure and risk associated with lost data.

Mobile technology can help prevent losing valuable data. Mobile devices have a more secure platform and help protect important data when mobile employees are traveling. Most mobile devices have the ability to store only a limited amount of data. That data can be removed from the corporate network or scrambled if the mobile phone or tablet is reported stolen.

User Convenience.

Employees can benefit from mobile applications by having access to core enterprise systems to get the job done. Mobile initiatives offer opportunities for greater flexibility to an organization’s workforce. This equals greater employee satisfaction, more work-life balance, and increased retention rates. Employees can perform the required tasks for their job whether in the office or at home. There’s no need to wait until he or she is in the office. Both the employee and the organization can benefit from a mobile workforce.

With the modern workforce requiring always-on connectivity, more companies are turning to mobile enterprise applications and a mobile workforce to enable employees to take the office — and access to their critical applications — with them.

The digital revolution has radically transformed what a traditional office looks like. Acres of boring cubiles are long gone, replaced by a mobile, distributed workforce who is no longer tethered to one location. Mobile business applications for mobile employees are not just a nice-to-have, but have become necessities. With the ability to be more productive, creating a better work-life balance, and managing expenses, it’s easy to see the benefits of a mobile workforce.



8 Benefits of Virtualizing Workstations

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Virtualization is quickly becoming normal practice for many organizations. The benefits to virtualizing workstations are many. With so many benefits, it’s no surprise as to why virtualization is catching on.

Before delving into the benefits of virtualizing workstations, let’s define virtualization.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is imitating a physical machine set-up on an operating system. It’s like taking your desktop and running it on another computer. This computer, called a host, can run many desktops and laptops at the same time, eliminating the need for expensive physical equipment. Virtualization utilizes server hardware to run desktop operating systems and application software inside a virtual machine. Users access a virtual desktop using their existing machine. This eliminates hardware upgrades and enables users to switch between operating environments.

The Benefits

Now that we know more about what virtualization is, let’s take a look at the benefits.

1. Cost

Virtualization lowers administration and operating costs. By some estimates, the costs are lowered by 70 percent. Operating costs include repairs, staff to handle repairs, and replacing outdated equipment. There’s no need to purchase additional office equipment, including larger desks to hold a desktop, which also saves on cost.

Virtualized machines are significantly cheaper to run as well. This helps save on average 97 percent on energy bills. Since you’ll save on energy costs, you’re also being more environmentally friendly. These savings can be reinvested into the business for other projects.

Hardware costs are also significantly reduced with virtualization. Instead of buying a room full of workstations that will be delivered around the office, you’ll only need one system with redundant power supplies, a UPS, high-performance storage, and high-bandwidth networking to deliver hardware to all users.

2. Server Consolidation

It’s not unusual to have a 10:1 virtual to physical machine consolidation. This means that 10 server applications can be run on a single machine. In the past, to run 10 server applications would mean needing 10 machines. Server utilization is optimized and legacy software can maintain old operating system configurations while new applications are running. A server supporting more virtual machines will likely take more memory and other hardware, but it will use little or no more power and no additional physical space, reducing utilities costs.

3. Management and Administration

Virtualized machines are simple to manage from a central server. Policies, security updates, and changes to applications can all be managed in one place. It also reduces the number of issues logged, but decreases the need for more IT staff. The less people touching the machines, the less mistakes are made.

 4. Testing and Development

Using virtualized machines enables rapid deployments by isolating the application in a known and controlled environment. Unknown factors can be eliminated. Server crashes that used to require hours of reinstallation can now be done in moments by simply copying a virtual image.

5. Problem Solving

When problems do arise, they can generally be resolved from the data center. There’s no need for IT staff to run to the actual machine to solve the problem. Images can be accessed from any connected workstation and a user experiencing the trouble can simply go to another workstation to access their data and applications while their workstation is worked on.

6. Bring Your Own Device

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is becoming more popular. Virtualization gives you all the capabilities to support employees bringing their own device to work. A simple extension can allow corporate data to be kept separate from personal data for security purposes.

7. More Security

With desktop virtualization, data never leaves the computer room, unless you give permission for files to be copied to a remote workstation. This helps with reliable backups, protects intellectual property, and keeps data more secure.

8. Centralized Patch Management

Managing patches is an IT nightmare. Some programs and antivirus software can be configured on individual workstations to update. However, there are other applications, like Java, that need to be manually downloaded and installed. With a virtualized workstation, all machines are hosted on one server to make it easy for your IT staff to ensure all patches are updated quickly.

A virtualized desktop environment comes with so many benefits that it’s hard to ignore. The ease of implementing and managing virtual machines reliably and securely is one of the greatest benefits. With virtualization so economical, it’s a viable solution for many companies, large or small.


Top 5 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

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On average, employees spend approximately five hours every day at their desk. This is time companies are paying for, but often the results of employee’s work verses time spent in the office don’t match up. Even those employees who appear to be the most productive can use a little help in getting more out of each day.

If you’re concerned about employee productivity and are looking for ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and engagement at the office, here are some tips to help. Following these tips can lead to a happier workplace, which results in an increased ROI.

Set Goals

In order for employees to grow, they need to know the expectations. When establishing a measurement system to determine if employees are productive, managers need to set clear rules and expectations. Managers need to have regular check-ins about goals and progress. For example, goals may include a 10 percent increase in sales and five percent less time spent on entertainment websites. There should be a plan in place for employees who may be falling being or not meeting deadlines due to unproductivity. An employee may be spending too much time on non-work related websites or there may be too many distractions. By identifying where the employee is struggling, employers can help individuals work to reach their full potential and grow professionally.

Be sure to offer regular, helpful feedback to employees as well. Feedback should encourage, not discourage. It doesn’t always need to be positive, but feedback does need to be thoughtful.

Loosen Up on Internet Restrictions

It might sound counterproductive, but relaxing on Internet restrictions may help employees be more productive. Many employers overly restrict Internet use at the office. This may be out of fear that company-owned computers and time will be misused. However, there are so many resources available online that can make tasks easier for employees.

Social media is a good example of this. Marketing on social media is becoming increasingly more important to help businesses grow. It’s also a great place to keep up-to-date with competitors. When used correctly, employees can be super productive with social media and Internet use.

Use the Cloud

The benefits of the cloud have been proven to save time and money, while increasing employee productivity. Cloud technologies are faster to deploy, cost less than on premise technologies, and require minimum technical know-how to manage. These benefits let employees focus on growing the business, instead of learning new technologies.

The ability to access files anywhere also increases productivity. The cloud lets people work faster and smarter. Instead of leaving a meeting or rushing back to the office to finish a project, employees can access files and databases on their mobile device.

The cloud also cuts back on endless emails, missed phone calls, and the inevitable frustration that comes from both. Collaborating on the cloud cuts out the need to email pieces of a project back and forth. Employees can collaborate in real time. Employees can also give constant updates to their supervisors and receive immediate feedback, opening up the lines of communication.

Consistently Measure

Measuring productivity to increase ROI is similar to using sales and marketing data to increase sales. For example, if you want to increase sales, you have to understand the source of current sales. You have to measure, experiment, and improve in order to increase ROI.

The same is true about employee performance measurement. You have to see the entire picture. Asking “How has productivity improved from last month” is much more effective than just asking if productivity has improved. The reporting numbers, and the data used to report the numbers, must be clear in order to know where improvements need to be made.

Account for Brain Breaks

Understanding and monitoring employee productivity is important, but it’s also important to remember that everyone is human. It’s not feasible to expect employees to be 100 percent productive 24/7. Acknowledge that everyone is human and we all need a break from time to time. Daily breaks, as well as vacations, have been proven to help the brain function better.

If you’re looking to boost productivity, remember that employee engagement matters. Most employees want to be a part of a team, to feel committed to something. Developing and maintaining a consistent management approach that helps employees feel needed and useful is a key link to the productivity process.