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3 Ways to Save Time and Money with Technology

Running a small business efficiently isn’t easy – every business in every sector share some of the same challenges:

  • Competition
  • Recruiting the right team
  • Cyber security
  • Effective time management
  • Attracting customers
  • Maintaining customers

These are times when nothing comes easy to any business – but with the help of technology these challenges don’t have to have such a drastic effect on the daily activities and workflow of your team. Rather than worrying about them, these obstacles can be tackled methodically and approached with careful planning. Let’s take a look at some of the tech tools that can help.

Cloud Computing

Small businesses can save valuable time and money by purchasing Cloud computing services rather than owning and operating their own IT infrastructure, and depending on your current on-premise IT infrastructure, you can save considerable space too! The premise of Cloud computing means that you only pay for what you use, allowing you to avoid the upfront costs of maintaining dedicated servers and hiring specialized IT staff – saving you a lot of money in the long term.

Cloud computing services vary, from basic file storage, all the way to artificial intelligence. It allows your team to collaborate and access data from any location on the globe, securely.

There are two main service models of Cloud computing:

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
  • SaaS (Software as a Service)

It is worth talking to an IT professional if you are unsure which is right for your organization.

Leveraging the Influence of social media

The power and influence of social media cannot be understated. If your business begins generating positive engagements with potential clients, then the rate at which the popularity of your organization can grow can reach lightning speeds. If you use the powers of social media effectively, its far-reaching connectivity can help you to target not only your local customer base but also perhaps the previously untapped resource of the international market.

The best thing about using social media platforms is their cost, or lack of, the most famous ones available on the market are free! There are also tools available that allow you to measure and analyze the performance of each of your social media marketing campaigns.

AI and Machine Learning

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. Some specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition and machine vision.

Machine Learning is a form of AI that allows your system to learn and improve from experience without being programmed explicitly to perform that task. AI focuses on computer systems that try to replicate skills that humans can do, whereas Machine Learning processes data, recognizing patterns in order to develop algorithms. In other words, AI and Machine Learning are progressive and will continue to advance.

In simple terms, AI and Machine Learning – if implemented, managed, and maintained correctly – can take the mundane tasks off the hands of your team, allowing them to better utilize their own skills.

In Conclusion

If you’re a small or medium business, especially a startup, take full advantage of the technology that will boost efficiency. Technology is an investment that will cut costs and make the work of your team more efficient.

.Contact us now to learn how mPowered IT can help your business.

 

How to Ensure Effective File Management – Microsoft Teams

Team Diagram with Teams

The world has experienced many changes over the last few years, and this has been mirrored in the work setting with a massive increase in remote working. This huge rise – due to the global pandemic – has caused the popularity of communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to grow into household names. Initially business owners were drawn to Teams by their need to implement a video conferencing solution to keep remote workforces connected, but they soon recognized that Teams is so much more than a video conferencing/instant messaging application.

Teams is a relatively new product to the Microsoft Suite of tools. Now regarded as one of Microsoft 365’s core platforms and integrating seamlessly within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Teams provides a base for the collaboration of your entire team, a place for sharing files, coordinating tasks, and scheduling meetings – it keeps everyone working from the same script, giving you the guarantee that everyone is working as efficiently to the same common goal.

Teams within Microsoft Teams

To use Teams effectively, you will first need to build-out a digital footprint of your business within the Teams architecture. Grouping access to files, folders, and other associated resources within Microsoft Teams all takes place within sections, identified as – yes, you’ve guessed it – ‘Teams’.

You can create Teams by functional departments such as Sales, Marketing or Purchasing, by client or by project – or any combination mix that best suit your requirements. How you do this all depends on the DNA of your business and how you choose to run things. To enable access, each team will have only appropriate users assigned to it, in the process keeping files and ‘the conversation’ related to that individual client, project or department ring-fenced to the users that require it. This ring fencing is important – you wouldn’t, for example, want a new trainee having access to a sensitive conversation/ file regarding an upcoming merger or perhaps regarding an appraisal of one of their colleagues.

A Channel is a subdivision of a team and a place for more focused conversation on a less broad subject. Channels can be made accessible to all team members, or you can choose to make an individual channel private. This is useful for implementing the ‘need to know’ principle.

When you create a Team within MS Teams, a corresponding SharePoint Site is automatically configured. Subsequently, creating a Channel within the Team will automatically launch a corresponding subfolder within the associated SharePoint site. In less technical terms, what you create within Teams is effectively mirrored within SharePoint, thus saving you the hassle of having to configure each platform separately.

The permissions granted within Teams are carried over to SharePoint. This means only those with access to a particular Team or Channel will have access to the corresponding file libraries within SharePoint.

Roles and Permissions – Managing Access to Your Files

Assigning ‘roles’ to individual members of a group or team is the easiest way to manage file permissions within 365. As Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are so heavily linked, assigning a role within Teams will affect an individual’s ability to access, edit and manipulate content in the corresponding SharePoint site. There are three types of role you can assign:

Owners

Owners have full administrative control. Within SharePoint, Owners can edit, add, and remove content, and also have the ability to manage access, change the site layout, and configure settings. They are usually the most trusted and highest ranked of your employees.

Members

Members by default are able to view, edit, and contribute to the contents of the SharePoint site. Members don’t have permission to configure the layout of a site or change any settings.

Visitors

Visitors are the ones with the most restricted access. They only possess the ability to view documents and other content on the site.

 

Teams and Channels – Keeping Collaboration Organized

Navigating your Files within Teams

It is simple accessing the associated SharePoint site once you create a Channel within a Team site.

  1. Click on the Channel and then navigate to the ‘files’ tab at the top of the Teams interface.

Navigating Files in Teams

From here you have a number of options for accessing and managing your Teams files.

Open Files within Teams

Clicking directly on your files from this location will open the document within the Teams app – either the desktop app or web variant. While this method is a quick and easy way to make changes to a document, the in-Teams versions of the Office apps usually feature limited functionality. You may want to open the file in an appropriate desktop app by clicking on ‘open in desktop app’ to get the full effect.

Opening Files in Teams

 

Sync Files to Your Local Storage

Always Sync your file storage locations to your computer, so you can access them when you don’t have an internet connection. Syncing effectively creates a backup. This can be done from within Teams by selecting ‘sync’ at the top of the files tab in the selected Channel.

Sync Files Teams

This makes the chosen file library accessible via file explorer at any time – regardless of whether you have an internet connection.

Files In Windows

 

Open File Libraries within SharePoint

Teams provides the option to open file libraries within SharePoint …

Open in SharePoint

 

Additional access management

In addition to Owner, Members, and Visitor classifications, SharePoint gives content owners the ability to define access permissions at folder and individual document level too. You can allow everyone access to the entire system but only have permissions on particularly sensitive files and documents. If you want to control access to a folder, navigate to the chosen folder within SharePoint and select ‘manage access’.

Access Management

A pane will then appear on the right of the window, allowing you to specify folder-specific access restrictions.

This same process can also be carried out for individual files.

Manage Access Individually

 

 

 

 

 

 

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