Technology Trends

Recession Obsession

If you’ve been alive 10 years, you’ve been through a recession – the Great Recession actually.  If you’ve been alive 20 years, you’ve been through two recessions.  30 years on the planet will give you…you guessed it, three recessions.  Although recessions do seem to be cyclical, they don’t always happen every 10 years. Over the last 50 years, there have been 7 recessions.

Gas Lines and Baby Food Jars

RecessionThe ramifications of a recession also change over time. Being 53 years old, I recall my grandparents saving every coffee can, baby food jar, and plastic container to repurpose and use for storing things throughout the house.  As products of the Great Depression, they were raised to literally save everything.  I can also distinctly recall having to wait in long lines for gas during the recession in the 1970’s.  My father and I would park the car in line at the gas station and go to the nearby strip mall to kill time for two hours while we waited for the line to move.

Although not a recession, I recall Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market dropped over 22%.  I was working at a financial planning firm at the time and that was not a good day, and not just because it was Monday.

Dot Bomb Bubble Burst

In the early 2000’s, the dot com bubble burst, and turned into the dot “bomb”.  It seemed like anyone with a web-based idea was given millions of dollars in funding without having to show any DownGraphprofits (a scenario which still occurs today).  eToys.com, Webvan.com, Pets.com, and many more all wiped out almost overnight.

Most recently, we can all recall, if not relate, to the Great Recession that occurred in 2007-2009 when the housing bubble burst due to the subprime mortgage crisis.  The term “government bailout” became a major thorn, and the nemesis for many household brands.  Many are still recovering from this economic meltdown. However, the prosperity over the past 10 years has dulled some of the sting.

But, some are now warning us that the great run we have enjoyed may be slowing down, and we’re potentially headed for a recession.  Search Google for “Recession 2019” and you’ll find blue-chip names discussing the very likely possibility that a recession is looming.

Before it's too late!

CrisisI have owned a technology company, Fluid IT Services, for the past 17 years, and we felt the impact of the 2007 recession – but in an interesting way.  We provide IT solutions and support for small to mid-sized businesses, and the cost of our services is typically less than the cost of one full-time employee. Although we lost the clients who unfortunately went out of business, we gained new clients who needed to cut costs and couldn’t afford full-time IT staff.

We certainly had to cut costs ourselves and manage everything more tightly, but we were okay because our risks were spread sufficiently, and we provide a service that is “recession friendly”.  We continued to grow as the economy improved, but always with a keen eye on our market segment and the economy as a whole.

As the economic signs, signals, metrics, statistics, etc. started showing a downturn, we’ve used it as an opportunity to get our business in order.  It’s much easier to evaluate all your people, processes and technology-related costs, and make sure that your business is operating as efficiently as possible, before things go south.

Every company has and uses technology (IT) constantly. Most companies today wouldn’t be able to function without IT.  But, when times are good, costs related to IT (and other business functions) may not be closely monitored because sales and revenue can cure many ills.  However, it’s best to ensure your IT house is in order before the times get tough and budgets get tight.

Start by asking questions

An analysis of your current IT spend at a detailed level, may be as exciting as watching paint dry, but it’s crucial when dollars tighten. IT cost analysis can also be difficult. Even knowing which items to include when analyzing your IT spend can be confusing. I’ve found that it’s easiest to start by asking questions…

  1. What are my costs for internet, phones, software subscriptions, IT support, computers, etc.?
  2. What hardware needs to be replaced soon? How much will it cost to replace?
  3. What costs can be reduced or eliminated?
  4. What costs are a bare minimum to keep the lights on?
  5. When was the last time I evaluated all my contracts related to technology and what are the terms? Being locked into an expensive 5-year contract at the beginning of a downturn is no fun.

Good news...

We can help! At Fluid, we help companies analyze their IT costs almost daily. So, we already know where most of the IT costs are found, where the skeletons are buried, what is reasonable, and what is outrageous.  As a provider of outsourced IT services for small to medium businesses, we have to know these costs because we’re responsible for managing them in order to be a good steward with our clients’ hard-earned money spent on IT.

We also take it one step further by using a more proactive and strategic approach to IT. We will hope for the best, but also help you plan for the worst by discussing current and future business needs, goals and “what if” scenarios. Once we have this information, we can provide guidance on ways to cut IT costs and suggest solutions that will generate revenue, and specifically align with each clients’ business plan.

Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know and bring in experts to help you understand your costs.  It will reap rewards now and help you sleep better when economic conditions do change.  Feel free to call Fluid IT, we love this stuff!  Our main objective is to help people with their businesses and see IT in action!

Cybersecurity - "You can't handle the truth!"

I’m a guy who likes sports and movies, and my wife tells me that I’m constantly quoting sports analogies and movie tag lines. Guilty as charged.  So, why do I do that???  Because I can quickly state a movie quote or sports reference to explain a situation to someone, without having to spend an hour doing so. If I tell someone “you just fumbled”, knowing this person likes or understands American football, he or she will immediately know they made a mistake.  Notice how I stated ‘American football’ lest I confuse it with the round ball version and defeat the very purpose of my analogy.

ManYelling

The problem is, if I use my linguistic mojo on people who don’t follow sports or movies (yes, those people do exist), I not only don’t get my point across, I confuse them.  Many times, I get that tilt-of-the-head puppy look and then a nod, never asking me to clarify what I meant.  It’s surprising how many people never ask the question – I don’t understand, what do you mean?

This can be very frustrating and even a cause for escalating arguments and disagreement later.

To clarify, here’s an example of a recent conversation when discussing a company project…

Me: “We’re at the one-yard line!  It’s time to punch it across the goal line!” Colleague: “Got it!  You can count on me!”

A week later…

Me: “So that project was completed, right?” Colleague: “No, I’m still working on it.  I need to add some more detail." Me: “What!  I thought I told you and we agreed this needed to be done asap!? Like yesterday.” Colleague: “Oh, I’m sorry.  You didn’t tell me it was urgent.” Me: “I did tell you it was urgent.  Remember ‘the one-yard line’, ‘the goal line’?” Colleague: “Yeah I kind of recall something like that.” Me: “Then why didn’t you get it done??” Colleague: “Why are you yelling at me?  I have no idea what you meant.” Me: “Why didn’t you ask?

And the downward spiral continues.  The frustration level for everyone is extreme.  Worse yet, the project was not completed, and the company suffers.

I see this same scenario over and over again as it relates to technology and business – especially with cybersecurity.

Get serious about cybersecurity SecurityGuard

Articles are published every day stating how businesses aren’t taking cybersecurity seriously enough only to be completely ignored.

I constantly come across articles that give real statistics showing how businesses think they are secure, yet they have recently been breached or compromised!  How is that possible?  Why do businesses, led by extremely smart people, continue to ignore the very real threat that cybersecurity breaches and hackers can easily compromise their business’ livelihood?  Why do they continue to have incidents, and not learn from them?

Some studies show, many business owners rely on their insurance policy to save them instead of protecting their assets proactively.  I believe some of that is true, but I believe the real issue is a complete disconnect in communication.

The danger of miscommunication

MiscommunicationThere is a very real and dangerous disconnect in communication between business and IT!

I read an article recently that was trying to get businesses to understand the importance of cybersecurity and the importance of communication between IT and business.  Here is how the article begins…

 

ArguingDigital transformation is happening rapidly in every industry. As companies move toward software-defined infrastructures (SDI) connected to powerful cloud ecosystems, they can tap into the near-real-time intelligence from the data gathered from every edge of their business, helping to drive faster business decisions and changing the way they serve their customers.

Rapid transformation, however, without a solid plan, can produce cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As infrastructures go virtual, security models need to shift. To avoid serious risks and security management issues, companies need to identify challenges, strategize, collaborate, pilot, test, and evangelize. *

 

Did you have to read it twice?  Did you understand even part of it?  What exactly is ‘every edge of their business’?

“Trust me, Greg, when you start having little Fockers running around, you'll feel the need for this type of security.” Meet the Parents, 2000

Yes, I did it, I used a movie line from the great film “Meet the Parents” to make my point.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you have no clue what I’m talking about.  Business leaders have not seen the cybersecurity movie!!  They don’t understand a word coming out of your mouth (another movie reference).

Don’t allow technology to get lost in translation

LostTranslation

In all seriousness, business leaders have not taken the time and do not have the time to learn all the parlance of cybersecurity.  Yet, we keep pummeling them to death with cyber techno-speak.

The reality is, both business and technology leaders have a responsibility to their companies, their employees, and themselves to learn enough about each other to make the conversation relevant.  I can keep showing business owners all statistics. But, most of them still don’t properly plan for or budget for cybersecurity, and most will only do so after they’re hit with ransomware or have a breach.  But what is ransomware?  What is a breach?  What do they look like? What is the actual cost to the business now and in the future?

This is not a one-sided issue. IT professionals also need to learn how to translate technology jargon into terms that business owners can understand.

The same case can be made for IT experts making an effort to understand the language of business and understand the impact they are having.  When business owners and leadership speak in terms of EBITDA, CAPEX, OPEX, Life Time Value, Gross Margins, Net Margins, Cash Management, etc., they are speaking a language immediately understood within the group, but many times foreign to the IT group.

At some point, business owners, leadership, and even board members must work with IT experts to start taking cybersecurity more seriously.  Both parties must be willing to have an open dialog where each is not afraid to ask questions, educate and translate into terms each party can understand, to make better business decisions.

If you want to have a discussion regarding your business and how the cybersecurity landscape impacts your company now and in the future in a language you can understand, contact us! We will be happy to advise and educate you in this increasingly complex space.

May the force be with you!

 

* AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Vol 7

Are You Prepared for a Cyberwar?

We make it our business to protect yours. Former white hat hacker Joshua Petty will be presenting the unexpected sources of security threats and how to defend yourself. In light of the recent global ransomware attacks, this information could prove invaluable. We think you should be there.

Fortinet is the largest security appliance vendor, and when partnered with Fluid IT Services you know that your information is protected. The topics over lunch will cover simple ways to harden your infrastructure, how to manage your security with minimal effort, and arming your staff to become more security conscious.

Space is limited, so register today to secure your place at the table. We look forward to your participation.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 @12pm

Maggiano's Little Italy 6001 West Park Blvd.

What you can expect:
  • Security insights from the experts
  • Fine Italian dining
  • GOPRO giveaway with all the accessories to get you started

Register Now

Don't let bureaucracy slow down your cyber security program

Fluid Security FrameworkBusinesses don’t have the time, budget or skills to adequately cover and mitigate all the very real security risks that could take them out of business at any time.  Nor do companies want to hire full time staff just to manage security. In a new global report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies along with Intel Security, the importance of senior leadership supporting cyber security implementation is made crystal clear. Here's a great summary of the report from Help Net Security: Attackers thrive in a fluid market, while bureaucracy constrains defenders.

Fluid handles this by providing a comprehensive layered approach to security for the entire organization, creating a security fabric to cover it all – Security-as-a-Service.

It’s not a matter of if but when you will have a security incident.  Be prepared.  Be proactive. Be responsive.  Be responsible.  If you would like to learn more about Fluid’s Security-as-a-Service offering, please contact us.

 

5 Tech Trends Your Business Must Know

Technology moves at a fast pace, and trying to keep up with everything can be overwhelming. But there are some trends you must understand and plan for your business to survive. These five IT trends are impacting businesses in a big way. Here’s what you need to know -- and how you need to plan for them.

Security Blanket

Security is top of mind for every company. With the constant media attention on security breaches, hacks and deficiencies it’s been pounded into our brains.

Being aware is one thing.

Being protected and prepared is altogether different.

Providing comprehensive security, both physical and logical, for a company is challenging today. It used devices. There were also fewer software vendors, many of which had their applications running on company-owned infrastructure or collocated infrastructure in a single datacenter.

In hindsight, we had it easy.

Today, companies are using numerous software

  • Box or Dropbox for file sharing
  • Office 365 for email
  • SalesForce or Sugar for customer relationship management (CRM)
  • QuickBooks for accounting
  • Another for practice management or manufacturing
  • Another for document management
  • Another for voice over IP (VOIP)

You get the idea. It is not uncommon for even the smallest of companies to have six or more different vendors providing a line of business applications. As you might imagine, securing all these solutions in a consistent way that meets a business's requirements is a nightmare.

Aside from the normal security functions of data security, secure authentication, encryption, and ensuring all vendors stay current with their security practices, you have the added layer of business-specific compliance.

If you must be compliant with HIPAA, SEC, PCI, etc., then all vendors must meet those specific security requirements and prove it on a regular basis.

You need to have a blanket of security covering the entire business spectrum, including all vendors.

This is a new reality. Dealing with it proactively can save you a great deal of time, unnecessary risk and of course, money.

Vendor Sprawl

With the evolution of the cloud, companies are now using more third-party vendors than ever to deliver services, solutions and software. It’s not uncommon for a company to have six or more different cloud software vendors providing solutions for specific line-of-business needs.

It’s na

Companies don’t want to waste time and money entering data into systems two or three times. They want software vendors to integrate their solutions with each other and pass that data along, so there is a unified, authoritative source.

While many of the mainstream cloud SaaS (software as a service) providers have built-in integration with other applications, it only takes one or two to break the chain.

Once this happens, businesses have a critical decision on their hands:

  1. Go with a different solution that can integrate but lacks all the functionality they need.
  2. Pay the software vendor to build integration to their other solutions.
  3. Do neither and settle for duplicate entry because they can’t lose the functionality or can’t afford the cost.

Compounding this issue is the exponential speed at which new software solutions are being produced and the extraordinary amount of vendor transitions occurring through mergers and acquisitions. A great product with excellent customer support is now a part of 800-lb Gorilla Inc.

All of the sudden you’ve become a number with no support.

  1. Do you switch and go through the integration issues all over again?
  2. Is the new solution vendor stable?
  3. Will they be around 2-5 years from now, or will they be made obsolete by the latest innovation?

Another major challenge and headache is vendor management. How does a company manage all these vendors at the same time?

Many times companies are forced to use non-technical personnel for these tasks. Being non-technical, it’s all but impossible for them to know when a vendor is truthful and transparent regarding a legitimate technical limitation versus something that can be done, but they just don’t want to do it.

It’s more important than ever to have , even if they are also a third party.

Companies should have someone on their side, on their team (virtually or actually), providing advisory and vendor-management services to maximize the value of all vendors.

This also helps eliminate any finger-pointing that invariably happens when something goes wrong, and there are multiple parties involved.

Vendor sprawl is real, and it’s a challenge that should be dealt with strategically -- not as an afterthought.

User Behavioral Impact

If you have kids under the age of 25, you know -- they have literally grown up with technology in their hands.

It is typical for your teenager to know vastly more than you do about today’s technologies. My daughter is constantly telling me, “Arghh! Just give it to me dad and I’ll handle it.” And I’m the one in IT!

As our youth grows up in a world of multiple devices and countless apps (I think my daughter must have 10,000), the technology world is moving past us at blazing speeds. Through smartphones, tablets, iPads and wearables, the next generation of users are engulfed in technology from the time they wake until the time they put their heads down at night.

Immediate access to the new universe of technology has changed the way users behave and will continue to impact behavior in the future.

Can you imagine a millennial sitting at their cube waiting five minutes for a web page to load using a 1200 baud modem? No way!

As technologies have become more reliable, faster and ubiquitous, available anywhere at any time for any device, the demand on the IT infrastructure has increased.

Expectations for immediate technical support are no longer a luxury, but a requirement.

Users no longer want to hear about legitimate technical limitations. They want solutions, and they want them now.

User behavior will not only become more demanding, it will also become more complex because users will insist on access to all of their applications with a single ID and password (single sign-on).

Devices will work together, passing information seamlessly along with 99.999% uptime.

For older generations in the workforce, this will become increasingly frustrating -- and it will be career-limiting because it leads to a “keep up or get out” work environment.

The Advisory Gap

For IT to be of maximum value to any business, it needs to align with the business it’s supporting.

Knowing the top 3-5 business objectives for the next 12-36 months is critical. Without that knowledge, the IT staff will be in constant reactive mode, putting out fires.

Ensuring technology enables and drives the business will help create measurable value, rather than an IT helpdesk.

Having excellent IT support processes and t

All companies, regardless of size, should eliminate this blind spot by recognizing the value of IT strategy and planning. Adding it as a recurring element in their business will create value. Ultimately, IT should have a seat at the business strategy table.

It’s amazing to me that when I ask company business leaders what their top 3-5 business objectives are for the next 12-36 months, I get blank stares. Regardless of the size of the business.

After more prompting and pointed questions, I finally get some answers. They know the main objectives in their heads, they just haven’t articulated them.

Here’s the rub. If the company leadership can’t easily articulate their strategic business objectives, how can you expect the staff, who’s running all the operations, to know it as well?

The truth is, they don’t.

To address this problem and bridge the gap, companies need to recognize the value and need for an IT advisory-level service -- call it a virtual CIO -- and find a trusted, experienced resource that can provide it.

Without it, it’s akin to flying a plane with no flight plan. I’m not sure I’d want to be a passenger on that plane!

CIO-level advisory services should be a regular and recurring part of any business. Of course, a small five-employee company may only need a CIO-type review once a year. A larger company may need such services once a month to ensure IT stays ahead and aligned to the business. But without it, you're flying blind.

Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors

Like many industries, IT is very good at making colossal promises in their marketing material, websites and sales teams.

This is worse than ever before given the cut-throat competitive nature within IT today.

Every IT vendor out there is promising the world in order to keep that highly coveted dollar -- especially if it is recurring revenue.

Take Office 365 as an example. Microsoft is notorious for releasing products early and letting the public do its testing. Office 365, with the behemoth marketing engine behind it, makes a lot of promises, and it is a good product. But that doesn’t mean it will actually do all it says, do it well enough, or provide the performance and support a business requires. Setting up one new user in Office 365 is one thing. Migrating 100 user accounts from one email platform to Office 365 is an entirely different animal and not an overnight project.

With the explosion of web-based cloud software solutions comes an equal amount of promises. Have you ever heard this one: "Absolutely, our software will integrate with their software, no problem." Only later do you find it doesn't work as advertised.

The obvious problem is the business has planned their operational efficiencies and productivity (aka $$$) around that promise. When things don't go as smoothly as promised, it's the company business that suffers, often with painful consequences – lost revenue, lost customers, inability to add new customers … the list goes on.

For a non-IT-savvy person, seeing through the smoke and mirrors can be difficult, if not impossible.

Making matters worse is the nature of cloud software solution contract terms – “sign up for a 12-month subscription with a nasty termination clause.”

Once you find out all the warts, it’s too late. Not only from a monetary standpoint, but also in the chaos created in your business by making a change.

Having a senior IT person represent the company and thoroughly vet all the options (there are always more than one) can go a long way to avoiding this terrible scenario.

Are You Already Covering These 5 IT Must Haves?

The first thing you need to do to make sure your business is prepared for these five trends is to get your managers and IT team together for a frank discussion. Figure out which areas you might not be covering then creates a strategic plan to address them before they hurt your bottom line.

If you have any concerns or run into something you’re not sure about, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Fluid IT Services.

 

The Death of Software As We Know It

gravestoneIt’s true. Software, as we know it, is dying out. You might think I’m crazy since the software development industry is booming. I realize that we are inundated with more new applications for our computers, tablets and smartphones than we could possibly ever use – Apple alone has over a million applications available on the iTunes store that have driven 40 billion downloads as of January 2013. So how can I say software is dying?

When talking about the traditional ways consumers and businesses have purchased and used software, the landscape has completely changed and this has dramatic implications.

The Olden Days

It wasn’t that long ago that buying software meant first determining what software you needed, then going to a store or vendor to purchase the software, and finally returning to the office with a box containing a CD-ROM and instructions. You would load the software on the machine you wanted to run it on and boom, you were up and running. Many times, the licensing restricted the use of the software, so you could run it only on the machine in which it was loaded. If you had problems, you would call the vendor and they would walk you through troubleshooting, which sometimes required you to dig up that CD-ROM and reload the software.

Everything was physical and tangible; you could see it, touch it and know it was there.

Transitional Years

As the Internet grew in scope, the software industry changed. Now if you want to install software on a machine, you are most likely guided to a website with a link to download the software yourself.

For some this task can be intimidating – but when you ask the nice salesperson to give you a CD (media) instead so you can load it yourself, you’re often told, “Sorry, we don’t have CD’s anymore. You have to go to the website.”

This can be additionally frustrating if you know you have to download a giant bulk of software using a slow Internet connection. You have to literally plan this event around your family or coworkers to ensure you actually can download the software in its entirety before it “times out” or you get kicked off because others are also using your Internet service. I’ve known many businesses that run their big software downloads overnight in the hope they will finish by morning.

If you have a problem with your software after you have downloaded it, your nemesis, the evil software support technician, may inform you to download the software again from their website (remember there are no CD’s anymore). Really?! Are you kidding?! You don’t have another day to devote to downloading this behemoth again!

What happened to the good old days when you could have that beautiful, iridescent disc in your hand to load it whenever you wanted? Gone, baby, gone.

The Growth Spurt of Cloud-Based Software Solutions

Recently the software industry has spun yet again. Now we have cloud solutions, where you don’t download anything. Nada. There is nothing to load on the machine, it’s all “vaporware” up in the cloud. You are given a link to a website where you set up a user name and password; you simply log in and voila, you’re in business.

Sounds like a better deal than downloading software overnight, right? More and more software providers are moving to a cloud-only option for their software (known in techie terms as “Software as a Service” or SaaS) because they know if they don’t, their competition will and they will become obsolete. So why the big shift? Why are they all moving to the cloud? Aside from having to keep up with their competition, there are some real benefits to the software provider:

  1. Less cost than producing, shipping and maintaining physical media (CD’s, books, etc.)
  2. Easier and less costly to maintain – bug fixes and enhancements can be made one time rather than in mass production
  3. More reliability and uptime – software is contained in datacenters with built-in redundancy, scalability and performance
  4. Less cost in support – all the manuals are online, troubleshooting information is online, software is online… not as many people are needed to support the product

So what does this mean for us, the consumer and business user?  There are some real benefits, but there are also serious deficiencies.

Benefits of cloud based software:

  1. You can get to the software anytime, anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection
  2. You can work on software in the office, then leave and pick up right where you left off at home or in the hotel
  3. You can easily get upgrades and enhancements without having to wait on new downloads
  4. You don’t have to own any of the equipment required to run the software (servers, power workstations, etc.)

Deficiencies of cloud software:

  1. If you do not have connection to the Internet, you are out of business (think airplanes and in rural areas)
  2. If you have a slow Internet connection, the performance can be brutal and counter-productive (DSL or slow copper service is still prevalent just about everywhere)
  3. The support stinks! People have been replaced by blogs, links and countless hours surfing content with no option to call anyone. (This is a huge pet peeve of mine!)
  4. You may be forced to spend more money on better Internet service just to keep up and ensure your software performs satisfactorily

A Cloud-y Future

With any innovation or technology advancement comes growing pains and problems. The shift of software from CDs to downloads to the cloud has had its fair share.

But the future is clear. Software vendors will continue to migrate to the cloud and in doing so, stop providing and supporting previous forms of delivery. They must do this just to stay relevant. The days of personal delivery and white-glove service from software vendors are over.

That said, we need to continue to demand better service and support from software vendors because eventually that will be the differentiator. Those that provide great service will thrive while those that don’t will struggle. Instant-message chat-bubble conversations may work for some, but I still prefer to talk with a real person, ideally that speaks my language, who has the experience to solve my problems. It’s those businesses that most often get my business.

I don’t expect my parents to ever board the train to Cloud Software Land, but when I watch my daughter work with four applications at one time on her iPhone, iPad and Mac, all concurrently, I am reminded I’d better find a seat on the next departure. Because if I miss that train, I too will be left behind.

What Law Firms and CPA Firms Have in Common

How can we manage documents securely, collaborate and ensure we are using the correct version?  harvest_poster2How can we ensure we are tracking all our time accurately, without spending a fortune?

Small- to mid-sized CPA and law firms come to us with these questions every day. They may be drastically different professional industries, but they actually have many of the same IT challenges. They want to know how to improve productivity, efficiency, security and revenue.

Like most professional services firms, CPA and law firms must:

  1. Track time so they can bill their clients accurately
  2. Ensure they are not losing billable time due to poor systems or processes
  3. Manage their document security to meet client and regulatory requirements
  4. Find ways to collaborate more easily with their documents
  5. Be able to work from anywhere, on any device, at any time

And like many professional services firms, smaller CPA and law firms struggle with these core processes, but can’t afford the $50,000 solution the big guys use. So they end up using outdated methods to track time, compile data and produce invoices, resulting in a mad rush at the end of the month – and hoping they didn’t miss anything. They use email for sharing documents, and have no process for version control so there is no way to ensure that everyone is using the right document.

You don’t have to run your business like that.

What You Need

It is a known fact – if you don’t track time daily you will have errors and omissions, meaning lost revenue or embarrassing mistakes in invoices to clients.  You can also be open to legal issues in some circumstances.

And did you know that email is not secure? Even if you attach a PDF with a password, that email is not secure. An email creates a footprint on up to four computers before it arrives at its destination. The only way to secure email is through encryption, but that is not the best or most efficient way to share documents.

You can save your firm a lot of time, money and hassle with these technology solutions:

  • Easy-to-use time-tracking systems
  • Secure and reliable cloud-based document storage
  • Task management systems that integrate with time tracking and billing
  • Reliable and secure email
  • Disaster recovery plans
  • IT support

Why You Need It

We have spent a lot of time working with CPA and law firms, so we have seen a lot of nightmare situations first-hand.

  • Clients billed for services performed by a person they’ve never seen before
  • Confidential documents emailed with confidential customer data to the wrong person and unsecured
  • Thousands in lost revenue due to “lost time” because it is not entered daily
  • The wrong “final version” of a document sent to the end customer
  • Invoices delayed weeks due to the brutal process of gathering everyone’s time

If that doesn’t make you reconsider your technology solutions, this will. According to a recent survey from Decision Tree Labs1, 66% of service providers are losing 20 hours per month because people are entering time in multiple systems. And 61% of service providers are losing 20 hours per month because they are not accurate in capturing time.

Check Your Technology Checklist

Regardless of specialty, professional services firms need stable, reliable and easy-to-use applications to meet their core business functional needs – and Fluid can help.

Want to learn more? Block out your calendar on January 22, 2014, and join us to learn about the 10 technology trends law firms and CPA firms should pay attention to.

Register here and join us at III Forks Steakhouse in Dallas on January 22. Or contact us at 1-866-523-6257. We are happy to help.

 

1 The IT Service Provider Benchmarking Study, conducted in February 2013 by Decision Tree Labs on behalf of Autotask Corporation