COVID-19 has permanently altered the business landscape. Companies unwilling to adapt to the new reality have suffered or closed while those who embraced the challenge have grown—or even thrived. From doctor’s offices to barbershops, delis to high-rise offices—the companies left standing a year later likely harnessed the power of modern IT solutions to communicate, develop new sales strategies, and deliver products and services efficiently.

Some of these changes will solidify into permanent features of the modern business landscape in the coming decades.

Get Comfortable in the Cloud

There were some growing pains and funny moments those first few months on Zoom or Microsoft Teams as people learned to navigate these platforms, many for the first time. We’ve all probably experimented with backgrounds, kept the camera off to hide our bedhead during that early morning meeting, or finished an eloquent sales pitch only to realize we were muted.

The fact is, though, as awkward as the transition was at times, videoconferencing, team chats like Slack and Teams, and cloud storage and document sharing solutions like Microsoft Sharepoint are likely here to stay. They allow a greater degree of flexibility and productivity for many businesses. In addition, office space can be reduced as more employees work remotely at least some of the time. The likelihood of lingering health risks and future pandemics will probably also require businesses to remain adaptable.

The businesses that fully utilize these tools and innovate their business around them will gain an edge over slow-to-adapt competitors.

 The Diminishing Returns of Traditional Marketing

During the last year, sales and marketing teams had to adapt. Traditional face-to-face interactions, meet and greets, afternoon tee times with clients, and other forms of outreach became impossible. While Zoom and Teams can get the job done in some cases, marketers of the future need to innovate solutions now that allow them to connect with the right clients on the right platforms with the right solutions.

Where once personal relationships and face-to-face interaction were vital to attracting and retaining customers, the virtual landscape of the coming decades will demand better services, competitive pricing, and verifiable results. Marketers who fail to stay ahead of the trend may very well lose their most valuable client to a competitor offering more than just a familiar face.

A Smaller World

The Internet has been shrinking the world, and specifically marketplaces, for years. But COVID accelerated the speed of that trend. The talent pool has expanded from the local city to the world. Employees who used to be required to live near the office can, in some cases, branch out further or stay connected while traveling. Solutions like VoIP even allow remote workers to answer work calls from their own phones.

In addition, the speed of information coupled with the ease of communication and growth of big data are creating opportunities in every industry in the world. IT solutions unlock the potential for any business—large or small—to expand their reach into the global marketplace. Those that do will be rewarded with creative solutions to traditional problems and new revenue streams that only a year or two ago may have been inaccessible.

Does Your Business Have the “IT Factor”?

Many businesses are still adapting to these new realities. While there is a degree of urgency necessary, you are not alone if you are in that position. Simpleworks IT offers managed IT solutions for small-to-medium businesses making the transition into a digital marketplace. Contact us today to learn more about our services and the benefits of using a managed service provider.

Ekahau — The Solution to Your Wi-Fi Connectivity Issues

Highspeed Wi-Fi access is not a luxury for 21st century facilities—it is a requirement. But access alone is not enough. Every user, whether on a phone, laptop, tablet, or smart device, expects a minimum amount of speed and uptime. In an office, a lack of connectivity can cost money. Connectivity issues in a school can cause curriculum interruptions, loss of productivity, and needless frustration. In a health care facility, lives could even be at risk.

If your facility has Wi-Fi connectivity problems, Simpleworks IT has the solution: Ekahau.

What is Ekahau?

Ekahau is a hardware and software tool that scans a building to determine the optimal wireless access point (WAP) locations and signal strength. This powerful tool generates Wi-Fi heatmaps that help certified Ekahau technicians find dead spots in an existing network. Ekahau is also able to upload a building’s blueprints to assist in the onsite selection of WAPs for a new building or network. The system can even adjust for building materials and other variables.

Put simply, Ekahau improves your facility’s Wi-FI connectivity.

Who Benefits from Ekahau?

Most facilities experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity problems turn to an in-house IT department or managed service provider. The trouble is that many times these professionals are not trained to set up Wi-Fi networks. Without Ekahau and a properly trained and certified technician, network troubles will likely pop up. Often an IT technician will simply boost the signal of a problematic WAP, which actually makes the problem worse. Then, if another WAP is installed, the problem may become even worse still. Proper signal balance, WAP location, and room placement are vital for networks handling more than a few devices.

Put simply, Ekahau can help most businesses experiencing wireless access issues.

The Ekahau Team You Need

Simpleworks IT has a certified team that specializes in Wi-Fi heatmapping, troubleshooting, and installation. If your network is experiencing the issues that so many other facilities are, contact us today! We will send an experienced specialist to your location, create a Wi-Fi heatmap and customized network plan, and make the changes needed to resolve your Wi-Fi connectivity issues. It’s not worth losing another minute of productivity or pulling out another hair.

Put simply, if you want to improve your facility’s Wi-Fi, Simpleworks has the solution.

 

Ready to turn the page on 2020? No matter what business you are in, you faced unprecedented challenges during the last year. The businesses that survived—and even thrived—had to adapt. Remote collaboration, sales, and customer service are here to stay. But is that enough? What else can you do to grow your business in 2021 amidst the continuing complications of COVID, uncertain economic pressures, and high levels of unemployment?

Embrace Remote Technology

Everyone is now acquainted with Zoom, Skype, Teams, or some other remote streaming platform. But just having access to an app may not be enough—at least not to distinguish you from your competition. For many businesses, the inability to interact face-to-face with clients, prospects, and teammates disrupts normal best practices. Here’s what you can do to embrace the new normal:

  • Upgrade audio capabilities so you can communicate clearly
  • Consider what background will best represent you and your business
  • Turn on your video or webcam for every professional interaction
  • Ensure your home or office has adequate Internet connectivity
  • Train every employee on the fundamentals of Zoom, Teams, and other popular platforms

Think Outside the Office

Successful businesses in 2021 may find that reducing or eliminating office space is now a cost-efficient option. While changes to your operation will present challenges, the new remote office environment can also offer new opportunities. Here are some of the benefits:

  • An expanded talent pool for new hires who may not need to live in your area
  • Greater flexibility for employees to complete projects and collaborate from anywhere
  • Face-to-face sales and customer service
  • Expanded training and outreach opportunities including webinars and online conferences

Protect Your Digital Spaces

COVID wasn’t the only plague infecting our world in 2020. The largest information breach in history took place as well, compromising many government agencies and corporations. Your online data and privacy are too important—especially in the new digital office environment—to leave vulnerable to attack. Every virtual office needs to address the following:

  • Password protocols and multifactor authentication
  • Firewalls, antivirus, and antimalware
  • Using virtual private networks (VPNs) when sharing information online
  • Phishing scam avoidance
  • Security updates and maintenance
  • Data backup and recovery

Simpleworks—Your IT Partner for the New Digital Workspace

Simpleworks IT in Colorado Springs is a leading managed IT services provider. We offer an array of services and packages for small- to medium-sized businesses who want the benefits of an in-house IT team without the overhead. The transition to digital office space has been challenging for many businesses, but you aren’t alone. Get in touch with Simpleworks today and learn more about how we can help your business thrive in 2021.

 

 

In a year that brought suffering to every community in the world, perhaps no group has been hit harder by COVID-19 than assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. Not only are residents disproportionately affected by the virus, but they have also found themselves cut off from their families and friends.

However, thanks to Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing software, elderly residents in assisted living facilities and nursing homes can stay connected to their loved ones. This requires, though, that their facility have the necessary infrastructure and support needed to keep them connected. At Simpleworks, we are deeply concerned about the quality of life of the seniors in our community and want to reach out to administrators of assisted living facilities to offer our help and support.

Connectivity—A Requirement in the Post-COVID World

Nearly every assisted living facility and nursing home has Wi-Fi connectivity. But just having Wi-Fi available is likely not sufficient. Residents are spending much more time streaming video to keep in contact. More streaming requires more bandwidth. If your facility is not keeping up with the demands of its residents, there are several possible issues:

  • Insufficient bandwidth from the Internet provider
  • Inadequate router
  • Poor area coverage
  • Outdated technology

Many times, facilities assume that if they have slow Wi-Fi, they must need more bandwidth from their provider. But this is often not the case. The most common issue in a multi-user environment is the router device itself and its deployment.

Simplify Connectivity for Seniors

Simpleworks specializes in setting up Wi-Fi networks that ensure every user has the bandwidth he or she needs to have the best quality of life possible. Our certified technicians can assess the Wi-Fi connectivity issues at your facility, install appropriate devices where needed, and train or assist staff. We also offer managed IT services if your facility would benefit from additional IT support.

To do our part to help a vulnerable population in our community, Simpleworks would like to offer a free network evaluation to all assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the Colorado Springs area. All of us need to stay connected – we can help.

Contact us today about scheduling your free network evaluation.

Stay safe!

 

“My IT person just quit! What should I do now!?”

If you haven’t said these words yet, just wait – it’s a matter of time.

For small businesses and organizations, finding and retaining IT talent is a huge expense and time commitment. The technology industry is a highly competitive career field and talented IT professionals want to be continually challenged and educated. If your business is relying on one or two IT professionals to keep your tech working, you will encounter the loss of a trusted employee.

What’s most important is that you realize this is really an opportunity for your business, not a loss. Yes, it’s true that you’re being forced to reevaluate your IT department. And, most likely, you didn’t put this into the budget. But, in business, unexpectant things happen. As a business owner, now is your chance to survey your company’s current and future IT environment, align it with your business plan and engage the right people to help you plan, deploy and support it.

3 Critical Services to Look for in a New IT Provider

When your IT person leaves or must be replaced, you lose more than just someone who can fix your workstations. You lose the institutional knowledge that person holds of your network. More important, you lose a trusted resource.

If you are using the loss of your IT member as an opportunity to position yourself for growth, what should you look for in a new IT partnership?

  1. An IT person or provider who will be able to map out your IT infrastructure and report to you what’s being done correctly and what needs improvement. Essentially, your new IT provider needs to be able to quickly understand your current technology and what needs to be done with it to position your company for growth.
  2. Someone who can make the transition smooth. Moving from one provider to another can be bumpy. But the right IT provider will make it simple by collaborating with your departing person or provider to seamlessly transfer control and knowledge of your network.
  3. A provider who will lead you to the right solutions for your company – no more and no less. Rather than going without needed technology or encumbering yourself with technology you don’t need, partnering with a managed service provider with knowledge of your industry will give you the resources you need to get your IT investment just right for your business.

These critical services are crucial to be an effective IT provider and should be expected of any managed service provider (MSP) you engage.

How IT Can Grow Your Business

Businesses of all sizes need well-planned and -maintained technology solutions. That’s what we provide our clients.

Upon engaging with a new client, we immediately assess the business’ current IT, note areas of success and improvement, and present leadership with a report on their IT’s standing. During this process, we work with your current IT person or provider to make the transition simple. We then work with company leadership to align IT with their business strategy. Using our knowledge of industry standards and best practices, we offer technology solutions customized to the business’ needs – no more and no less – that position the business for growth.

Simplifying Your IT with Simpleworks

Our mission is to make business technology simple. We simplify your IT. It’s right there in our name. Your technology simply works when you partner with us. We view partnerships as long-term relationships with our clients. We’re invested in their success because it’s our success.

We aim to serve our clients as a trusted partner and resource for all their information technology needs. If you’d like to learn more about how we can become your trusted IT team, contact us online or by phone at 719-476-0444.

We don’t often think of it this way, but our technology providers are rather intimate with our businesses. Indeed, technology touches almost every area of our businesses – from allowing us to check our work email from our phones to securing our most confidential information. Our IT, and, thus, our IT providers, have access to the most important areas of our businesses. That means you need to be able to trust your IT provider and depend on them to be there for you when you need them most. It’s not altogether different from getting married.

However, like most relationships, it can take a while to find the right one before settling down for a future together.

6 Signs Your IT Provider May Be Wrong for You

Your IT provider will send signals about the value and future they place in your business relationship. Some will be subtle and some not so subtle:

  1. Recurrent downtime
  2. Never seeming to be able to solve the root cause of issues
  3. Leaving you on hold for support
  4. Nickel-and-diming you for every service
  5. Not helping you align your IT with your business goals
  6. Never calling to check on your IT and your needs

Don’t let your feelings get hurt. They probably treat all their clients the same way. It’s not you; it’s them.

At the same time, you don’t want to become complacent. If you’re not getting the service and proactive IT planning that your business needs to grow, it’s time to move on.

Finding the Right IT Provider for Your Business

The first thing to realize when searching for a new IT provider is that you get what you pay for. If you aren’t willing to invest in your technology, you’ll keep falling for poorly performing IT providers. Remember: the time you spend struggling with inadequate IT is time you could be spending improving your business and readying it for growth.

Once you’ve committed to investing in your technology to help your business grow, don’t fall for the first managed service provider (MSP) you meet. Do your due diligence first. Here are a few key things to consider as you search for a long-term IT partnership:

  • Talk to your peers about their experiences with IT providers. Industry peers are often great resources for insight into how an MSP performs on a daily basis. They can also help you identify MSPs you might want to begin talking to. Don’t take their word for it, though. Trust, but verify.
  • Identify your business’ needs and goals. The only way to effectively align your technology with your business plan is to review and plan ahead for the technology you’ll need. For instance, if you’re planning to hire new employees, you’ll need to also plan for more laptops, more storage, more licensesand other technical considerations.
  • Communicate your needs to prospective IT providers. Does the provider clearly understand your business goals and explain how their technology solutions will help you achieve them?
  • Look for industry-experienced MSPs. IT providers with experience in your industry, especially if you’re in a regulated industry, gives you a leg-up as they already know the requirements you must meet to comply with laws and regulations.
  • Can the provider secure your network and most confidential data? Whether it’s intellectual property or personally identifiable information, hackers are interested in the data that companies store. Your potential IT provider should be able to clearly explain how their solutions protect your business from cyberattacks.
  • Reliable, tested disaster response and backups. Any MSP you seriously consider should have experience developing disaster response plans and ensuring your backups are tested on a regular basis and working. Your backups are your last resort in the event of a disaster or cyberattack.
  • Experienced and expert staff. Does the IT provider have a strong, talented technical team with industry experience, certifications and quality toolsets for managing, tweaking, adjusting and proactively monitoring your IT environment? It should.
  • Verify. As we noted above, you should verify the information you gather by contacting the provider’s other clients and references to get a better picture of how they work.
  • Reporting and metrics. Make sure the IT provider can provide you with regular reports on their metrics for success in serving your business. An honest self-appraisal indicates an honest provider.

Comparing IT Providers – It’s Not Always Apples to Apples.

By starting your IT provider search with the questions above, the answers will help you narrow the field to those providers that better match your business. At Simpleworks, we’ve simplified managed IT from start to finish.

Our new Simple Technology Solution takes the mystery out of IT contracts:

– No hidden fees.

– What you see is what you get.

– Your IT investment is predictable.

– Our program automatically scales with your business’ needs.

Ready for a Simple Technology Solution?

When you partner with us, we completely handle the transition and employee training. We also coordinate with your former or current IT provider, so you don’t have to do anything.

If you’d like to learn more about simplifying your IT, contact us here or call us at 719-476-0444.

 

At Simpleworks, fall is a time of new beginnings. We have two major announcements to share with you on our new beginnings:

  1. Our new website is now live, check it out!
  2. Your invited to our Open House!

This relaunching of the Simpleworks brand is focused on conveying our message of “Simplicity” to you – our clients, friends and Colorado Springs neighbors.

Our office, located on Garden of the Gods Road, has been redesigned with a client-first focus.

We are so excited about these new changes that we want to invite you to check them out at our Open House on Friday, September 14.

Open House – 5 Reasons to Attend

  1. Our own Chef Josh will be serving fresh homemade street tacos
  2. Cold beers and refreshments on tap!
  3. Check out our client-focused Technical Assistance Center (TAC)
  4. Discover our secret to providing IT rapid response for our clients
  5. Meet the team that keeps IT simply working for so many Colorado Springs businesses.

Going Local: Simply Colorado Springs

Simpleworks’ mission to support our local businesses is in our DNA. We embrace this philosophy in both work and play – including how we cook. Our own, Chef Josh (aka Joshua Brambila, Simpleworks’ General Manager), is prepping and serving homemade street tacos at our Open House event.

We are excited to host you and show off how we make managing your IT simple for you. Come for the food, stay for the tours and get to know the team.

Client-Focused: Rapid Response

Our remodeling project provided an opportunity for us to reinvent how our team supports our clients. For example, each technician has three monitors on their desks. Two monitors are for daily tasks and monitoring of our clients’ network environments. The third monitor is dedicated to each tech’s open tickets and responses. We strive for a 60-minute meaningful response on support tickets. This third monitor provides our team continuous visibility into our client’s needs and keeps client resolution top of mind.

TAC: Where IT Monitoring Happens

Our Technical Assistance Center (affectionately called the TAC) is the where the team performs our continuous, proactive network monitoring. We probe and discover probable IT events that could develop into issues if not addressed. By staying ahead of problems, we offer our clients strategic IT direction while ensuring reliable network performance.

Tours and Meet the Team

An open house would not be complete without friendly guided tours of our new facility, tour highlights are the TAC, our inventory cage and the break-fix area where we rack, test and stage equipment prior to deployment. You’ll have the chance to meet the monitoring techs behind the scenes that keep your network running smoothly.

Simple Managed IT Services

The relaunching of our website and remodeling of our office space is part of our overall goal of providing our Colorado Springs clients worry-free IT management services. We strive to be easy to work with, easy to connect with, and easy to understand. Our proactive IT monitoring services provide you with technology that simply works – so you don’t have to worry about IT. This allows you to do what you do best: growing a business and living life.

You’re Invited – Please RSVP

Please join us for our Open House on September 14. This is our opportunity to thank you for being our client, friend or neighbor, plus it’s a great excuse to have fun and learn more about each other.

Not every company has an IT infrastructure and budget large enough to justify full managed services of their environment. And some companies are only looking for a little help in supporting their environment. Nevertheless, nearly all companies rely on their IT to keep business operations productive and profitable. Simpleworks understands that small businesses require operational IT, but may not have the budget or need for a dedicated IT support staff. The solution is our hybrid managed service package.

Our Hybrid Managed Service

Our Hybrid Managed Service package gives you many of the benefits of having full-time IT support without the overhead. We will provide the following automated services:

  • Patching
  • Identification of old or problematic patches
  • Antivirus protection
  • Proactive monitoring
  • Automatic remediation and repair of common problems

In addition to these services, hybrid managed service clients will have access to our support ticket service, which operates 24 hours a day. Our support staff can diagnose any IT-related issue and give you an estimate for service.

Why Simpleworks?

Simpleworks is southern Colorado’s leading IT and managed services provider. Our IT professionals regularly work with business owners who need customized services based on their needs and budget. Give us a call or email us today to find out more about our managed service packages and how we can help you to remove the stress of unexpected IT issues.

If your business is like most, you can’t function without your phones. But it’s not just phone service that you need: voicemail, transferring, eFax, hold queues, and other features may be necessary for you to conduct business efficiently and productively. Then there’s the cost of these features to consider. Thanks to advances in digital technology, you have a range of different business communication solutions to fit your needs, your size, and your budget.

Common Business Phone Problems

Phone problems can be debilitating and costly. But it’s not only the loss of service that’s problematic—unreliable voicemail, malfunctioning hold queues, or connectivity issues could all be trying your customers’ patience and reducing your revenue. In addition, your internal communication could be suffering as more and more employees work remotely or travel for business. Plus, the phone service you have now could be costing you more than it needs to. And the actual hardware you’re using may be failing or out-of-date.

Business Communication Solutions

The technology available today has more features and reliability than ever before. Your communication system begins with the hardware: handsets, headsets, conference phones, mobile devices, etc. Then there are a number of different unified communication solutions to fit your needs and budget:

  • Hosted PBX: A simple, cost-efficient solution for small businesses with less than 50 users. We will install the system on a virtual private server (VPS), which can be managed by your internal IT team or Simpleworks.
  • Magnavoip: Our preferred hosted handset solution. Magnavoip is a feature-rich, cost-effective service for up to 500 users.
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) with Cisco Call Manager Express: A great solution for business with 250 users or less. Cisco’s VoIP system is affordable, customizable, scalable, and simple.
  • Microsoft Lync: The most comprehensive unified communication system on the market. Microsoft Lync is VoIP enabled and also provides instant messaging, video calling, screen sharing, and much more. It is cutting edge, versatile, and dependable.

Simpleworks Has You Covered

Simpleworks, a communication solution company, specializes in fixing communication problems so you can focus on your customers, not troubleshooting technical issues. We sell, install, and manage phone systems as well as unified communications services like VoIP, Magnavoip, and Microsoft Link. Give your local Colorado Springs IT and communication support team a call, and we’ll find a solution that fits your needs and your budget.

 

Nearly every business today relies heavily on information technology. Computers, Internet service, servers, phone systems, email, data storage, and calendars are all necessary for most businesses, large or small. We generally don’t realize how much we rely on our IT, in fact, until something goes wrong. But a disruption to any IT system can mean a serious hit to productivity, and even lost profits. Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions are put into place, IT systems will malfunction from time to time. These disruptions strike without warning at any time, day or night.

Simpleworks understands how vital it is that companies stay up and running, which is why we offer a 24/7 IT support service. Whether you have a system-wide crash on a large network or trouble with an individual computer, we have an IT specialist standing by to assist.

Superior 24/7 IT Support

Simpleworks offers a wide range of troubleshooting and repair services 24 hours a day. We have expertise with both Macs and Windows-based PCs, hardware and software issues, as well as connectivity and communications problems.

Beyond their expertise, our Colorado Springs computer support team is efficient, friendly, and professional. We understand how vital it is to keep our clients’ IT systems fully functional, so we tackle every problem as if it was our own—promptly and efficiently. This dedication to the needs of our customers is why we are the most trusted IT support company in Colorado Springs.

How Our 24/7 IT Support Service Works

All you need to do is submit a ticket to our 24/7 computer support team at support@simpleworksit.com or through our automated phone system. You will then receive a response within one hour. Our technician will diagnose the problem and may be able to assist remotely. If not, we will come to you. If you are a larger company, you may want to set up a contract with us that includes 24/7 computer support. If not, we offer an hourly rate to cover your specific emergency.

Don’t Let Your IT Down!

Don’t spin your wheels trying to troubleshoot a problem yourself or let your IT problems lead to a loss of productivity or profits. Give the pros at Simpleworks a call today so we can get your back up and running!