By Lanrex on 10/11/22 12:18 PM
It’s challenging to be across the ever-evolving cyber security landscape when you’re a small business with time and resource constraints. This makes it even more challenging to get clear on what kinds of measures and systems you need to have in place to help minimise potential cyber security threats.
Even so, making sure you have a cyber security plan in place is one of the best ways to help protect your team, customers and your business. Luckily, having an awareness of the importance of cyber security measures is the first step toward better understanding the cyber security landscape.
4 cyber security risks to manage
Let’s uncover the cyber threats your small business needs to have awareness of, to help you stay informed as well as gain a better understanding of what you can do to safeguard your business.
1. Phishing scams
Have you ever heard about someone receiving an email or text that they thought was legitimate but was actually from a person pretending to be someone they knew? This is a phishing scam, and is one of the most frequent types of cyber security threats. Phishing scams are popular with cyber criminals, as it’s easier to trick someone into clicking on a malicious link than it is to break through a computer’s defences. Luckily, they are also straightforward to prevent.
What you can do to protect against phishing scams:
- If you think a message or text might be from a trusted organisation (such as your bank or a supplier), use an official contact method you can trust.
- Search for the official website or phone number. Don’t use links or contact details in the message you have been sent in case they are fraudulent.
- Ensure your staff is aware of this cyber security threat, so they can identify and prevent phishing attempts.
2. Ransomwear infections
Ransomware is malicious software that prevents access to computer systems or files unless a sum of money (a ransom) is paid. It basically turns the power of encryption (designed to protect your files) against you by taking your files hostage. This means you might get locked out of important documents, spreadsheets, photos and videos, and other sensitive files. Plus, an infected PC can spread the ransomware to other devices on your network.
What you can do to protect against ransomwear:
- Frequently backup sensitive and important data.
- Turn on automatic updates for your operating systems, software and apps.
- Use multi-factor authentication when you can.
- Secure devices (including servers) and any internet-exposed services on your network.
3. Personal laptops, tablets and smartphones
If your team uses personal devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones to access company information and applications, it’s important to have protections in place. While it’s convenient, this influx of personal devices brings an increased risk of viruses, hacks, and data leaks. In fact, each device that can access company information is an additional endpoint that cyber criminals can try to breach.
What you can do to protect personal devices:
- Control access privileges to company data.
- Delete company data and remove access from a device when a staff member leaves.
- Invest in endpoint and mobile protection.
4. Sensitive information
Data and the devices that data is on, is now constantly in motion and on the move. Laptops can be stolen, tablets get lost, and phones are sometimes left in taxis and planes. Whenever those items go missing, the business data on them is at risk – whether it be confidential business data or customer information.
What you can do to protect your sensitive data
- Put in place access controls for digital files and folders.
- Make sure passwords are not shared between team members.
- Remove access, delete accounts and/or change passwords when an employee exits the company, or if you change providers.
Better protect your business from cyber security breaches
When you’re busy taking care of business, handling IT needs for a small business can fall by the wayside amid all the other responsibilities. Fortunately, there are comprehensive cyber security solutions available that, once implemented, can help to reduce the likelihood and impact of some of these common cyber security threats.
When you’ve got your security handled, you’ll have additional time to focus on growth, innovation, and to find more ways of creating value for your clients.
Ready to get your cyber security handled?
Ready to find out if your small business has the required measures in place to manage the current cyber security landscape? Register today for a complimentary cyber security audit and let’s get started. Together we will review your IT infrastructure, access any key threats or vulnerabilities, and recommend implementing strategies and solutions that can significantly reduce your risk of compromise.
By Lanrex on 8/09/22 5:40 PM
Lanrex, a leader in I.T and managed services for over 35 years, is proud to have been named a finalist for the 2022 ARN Innovation Awards, an award which celebrates innovation and excellence across the technology sector in Australia.
It is a distinct honour to be a finalist out of more than 480 nominees that were considered for the award, and we are excited to see how far our cutting-edge I.T solutions can take us in the coming years.
Lanrex has always been an organisation that is committed to delivering technology solutions with a difference. We strive to be at the forefront of innovation and offer our clients the very best in I.T managed services.
This award is recognition of our commitment to delivering innovative solutions that make a difference to our clients' businesses.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our employees who have made our success possible by working tirelessly to deliver the high level of service our clients have come to expect from us. We would also like to thank our clients for their unwavering support. We could not have been nominated for this prestigious award without you all.
We are looking forward to the ARN Innovation Awards ceremony and we hope to bring home the award.
Thank you for your support, and congratulations to all the finalists!
Image by ARN via www.arnnet.com.au
By Lanrex on 17/08/22 4:54 PM
Businesses are experiencing profound changes as employees’ transition to hybrid work environments following COVID-19. Hybrid work environments are about adapting to how teams work best and creating experiences that reach everyone. The future of work will centre around how people connect with secure, smart technology.
In response to the pandemic, cloud-based and AI-powered networking technologies are the driving force behind business recovery plans as they begin to take shape.
According to a global survey of 2,400 IT decision-makers (ITDMs) commissioned by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, Network as a Service Adoption is set to accelerate by 38% within the next two years as businesses adapt to COVID-19.
To learn more about how Aruba is helping to architect the Hybrid Workplace, watch this video now.
Whatever type or size of business you run, Lanrex are confident that you will benefit from our expertise. Learn more.
By Lanrex on 17/08/22 4:53 PM
Australian businesses must fight back against the rising sophistication and frequency of cyber threats such as ransomware.
The prospect of a ransomware attack strikes fear into the hearts of many business owners – with good reason.
For 2020-21, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported that it had received more than 500 ransomware cybercrime reports, a rise of 15 per cent. Such attacks involve criminals hacking into a business’s computer systems and locking up devices, files and data until a ransom is paid. In what is being called “double distortion”, the fraudsters are increasingly also threatening to release sensitive data or information about businesses to the world.
Just this year, at least seven Australian businesses were reportedly hit by the same ransomware, known as REvil, that shut down operations at meatworks company JBS Foods. Many more attacks go unreported, highlighting the importance of taking the following measures to protect your business.
1. Stay alert to possible attacks
Ransomware and malware attacks often occur because of simple errors within businesses, including employees clicking on unexpected attachments in phishing emails and operating unpatched systems. So, the imperative is for staff to receive basic training about cyber threats and to be cautious when dealing with external parties. Part of that education should be around better knowledge of email and mobile platforms that could be exposed to cybersecurity threats, while conducting regular reviews of data systems is a must.
2. Ensure you have backups of key technologies and data
The key bargaining tool for ransomware attackers is seizing control of a business’s critical technology and then trying to extort the operation for its return. However, if a business has independent or off-site backups of files and data, it minimises the threat from the fraudsters and gives the business more options in the event of an attack.
3. Insist on multi-factor authentication
A smart way to increase business resilience and reduce the threat of phishing and malware is using multi-factor (MFA) or two-factor (2FA) authentication. This means your business requires additional information on top of a username or password to grant access to systems such as Office 365 and Google app administrator accounts, as well as virtual private networks and remote desktops. Fingerprints and codes sent through text messages are common additional forms of ID.
4. Have a plan in the event of an attack
Taking a head-in-the-sand approach to ransomware attacks is fraught with danger. In addition to backing up data, business owners and managers should have a blueprint if the worst happens and fraudsters do target their business. One obvious question that needs answering is whether you should pay a ransom or not. The ACSC advises against paying a ransom because it does not guarantee that a victim’s files will be restored, and it does not prevent the release of any stolen data. However, the circumstances for each business may be different and a well-considered response is essential.
5. Get an independent assessment of your risk exposure
Last, but not least, think seriously about getting an independent technology expert to identify any network weaknesses in your business. Smaller firms, in particular, may not have access to internal technology expertise, and external consultants are more likely to be up to speed with the latest ransomware and cybersecurity threats. Given that British IT security company Sophos has revealed that the global average cost to fix a ransomware attack is about US$761,106, getting expert help is likely to be money well spent.
Ransomware attacks are one of the biggest threats for business owners and managers. So contact us today to get advice on how to protect your operations from cyber threats.
By Lanrex on 5/07/22 4:05 PM
As some of you may not be aware, Core Technology Partners has officially merged with Lanrex. Moving forward, we will be offering I.T managed services under the brand name “Lanrex”, dropping the name “Core Technology Partners” altogether. However, you can still expect the high quality of managed services that Core TP is known for.
The merger was successfully completed on 22nd April 2022.
Lanrex is a managed services provider founded in 1987. They have been a leader in I.T and Managed Services for thirty-five years.
The merger brings together over 30 years of combined industry experience, as well as strategic vendor alliances, strengthened service offerings, and enhanced project services capabilities.
Most importantly, the merger means that our leadership capabilities will also be improved, allowing us to come up with even better solutions to address the constantly evolving I.T challenges faced by SMBs.
We are excited for this step forward in executing our vision for growth as outlined in our V/TO (Vision, Traction Organiser). Initially, members of the current Leadership Teams will form the new leadership team. We have come together and created a combined V/TO (Vision, Traction Organiser) - with a single unified set of values.
Both organisations have relocated into new corporate headquarters, located at Suite 1.03, Level 1, Talavera Corporate Centre, Building C, 12-24 Talavera Road, Macquarie Park, NSW, 2113.
By Lanrex on 25/06/22 4:43 PM
IT security policies are the foundation of an organisation’s overall security program. They exist to educate employees and guide behaviour, in addition to protecting the business and adhering to compliance regulation.
Without a proper security policy in place, you’re putting your company’s physical and digital assets at risk of various threats. This is one of the reasons why many successful SMBs have developed and implemented comprehensive IT security policies. To add to that, most successful SMBs go out of their way to regularly update their policies to make sure that they can still combat evolving cybersecurity threats.
If you still don’t have an IT security policy in place for your organisation, follow these best practices for developing one with your IT service provider.
1. Identify Roles and Responsibilities
First, figure out who currently has access to critical data, infrastructure, and applications. Note your findings and then assess whether or not each person needs the access they’ve been granted. Then, you can begin to limit or reinstate permission to access sensitive information and assets. For example, system administrators should have access to things that contractors should not. You want to make sure there will be no uncertainty about who has access to what.
2. Define Data Retention Parameters
You’ll also need to implement a document retention policy. These types of policies are especially important in certain regulated industries that require specific retention parameters. Defining a data retention policy is critical because there’s an increased risk of data being stolen or compromised when it’s kept beyond those defined dates.
3. Verify Robust Encryption Technology Is Being Utilised
Setting standards for encoding your information is another important part of a security policy. Implement high grade encryption technology to secure data stored in the cloud, and use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption technology for data in transit.
To make your security policy even stronger, ask your IT service provider to look for a data protection solution that uses private key encryption (PKE) technology.
4. Involve Staff in Policy Creation
Try to involve your staff in policy development, including those outside of IT. Making the process more collaborative and transparent for everyone has its advantages. For example, when staff are made to feel they are part of the policy creation process, they are more inclined to understand, accept, and follow the guidelines that are put in place. Furthermore, they can provide helpful insights on what’s needed to improve security within the organisation.
5. Adhere to Compliance Regulations
When developing a security policy, be sure to meet your industry’s compliance regulations. Certain industries are more regulated than others, but you should always stay informed about any pertinent regulations and make sure your security policy addresses all issues necessary to help your SMB stay compliant.
ATO, the Australian Tax Office for example, has five record keeping rules about what records you must keep and for how long. An IT service provider can help you determine what backup and storage options best suit your business to fulfil this obligation, especially in case of any system failures.
6. Set Clear Penalties for Non-Compliance
Cyber security is not a joke. A single instance of non-compliance can put your whole business at risk. Be sure to set and communicate clear penalties for any staff member who doesn’t comply with the security policy. These could be anything from formal warnings to dismissal, depending on the severity of the offence. By having a set process for dealing with non-compliance, you can ensure that everyone takes the policy seriously and that there are consequences for not following it.
Developing a Strong Cyber Security Policy with Lanrex
With cyber crime becoming an increasingly serious threat, it’s not a question of if businesses need security, it’s a question of what level of security they need. Keeping this in mind, you should reach out to your IT service provider about data security to make sure your business is properly protected.
It’s also important to start educating your employees about the importance of cyber security as soon as possible because new cyber threats emerge every day. Be proactive and start talking about it now instead of waiting until after your company experiences a severe data breach or malware infection. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us to explore Lanrex’s cyber security solutions today.
Congratulations Jodie Korber, Managing Director at Lanrex on becoming a finalist at ARN Women in ICT Awards
By Lanrex on 15/06/21 8:30 AM
ARN is proud to announce the finalists of the new-look Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA), housing a record-breaking number of submissions in what will be the largest celebration of female excellence within the technology channel across Australia.
Representing the entire Australian ecosystem, 205 finalists (185 individuals and 20 companies) make the shortlist from a pool of 120 organisations and more than 340 nominations, spanning partner, telco, vendor and distributor businesses.
“ARN congratulates Jodie Korber, Managing Director at Lanrex on becoming a finalist in the Innovation category for the Lanrex 4 Stage Essentials,” said Cherry Yumul, vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at IDG. “We applaud your standout contribution in helping to set an industry benchmark for female achievement across Australia.
“This year WIICTA has generated a volume and calibre of nominees never been seen nor conceivable before. This is an encouraging sign of a positive trend that gender diversity is high on the corporate agenda of more and more businesses in Australia.
“Not to tick a box or meet a quota but evidently to bring in alternative viewpoints for problem-solving and different leadership styles for competitive advantage, in turn delivering better returns.”
Reflective of a diverse technology network, candidates range from large-scale consultancy giants and global system integrators (GSIs) to emerging start-ups in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, alongside leading managed service providers, born-in-the-cloud players, specialist solution consultants and boutique digital agencies.
Within this standout group of finalists, female leaders are located across the entire country spanning multiple states and territories, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
All career stages are in the spotlight from graduate-level entrants to well-established CEOs, in addition to inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and technical experts, as well as talent rising through the ranks and consistent high-performing individuals. This is also supported by both individual and company champions of D&I initiatives.
Collectively, WIICTA in 2021 stands tall as the leading forum for setting the industry benchmark for female achievement across Australia.
Shaped by the feedback of more than 50 leading female technology executives, WIICTA – now in its 10th year of running – will honour the channel across eight categories, spanning Innovation, Technical, Entrepreneur, Graduate, Rising Star, Shining Star, Achievement and D&I Champion (Company and Individual) awards.
The winners will now be selected by an executive panel of more than 150 industry judges – acknowledging creativity, innovation and excellence – before being announced at a celebration lunch at Hyatt Regency Sydney on Friday 23 July.
Women in ICT Awards website: https://www.arnnet.com.au/wiicta/
By Lanrex on 18/11/20 7:45 AM
Ransomware is now considered a fact of life in today’s cyber security landscape, but that doesn’t mean SMBs are protecting themselves from a potential ransomware attack or even know it’s a possibility. Often, users only recognise a ransomware threat after it’s too late. In February 2018, according to Osterman Research and Barracuda there was one phishing attempt in every 3,331 emails and one piece of malware for every 645 emails. And falling for one of these emails can be costly.
According to IBM’s Data Breach Report 2021, the average cost of a ransomware attack is $4.62 million (up from $4.44 million in 2020), and the average breach lifecycle is 287 days (up from 280 days in 2020). This means that not only are ransomware attacks becoming more expensive, they’re also taking longer to resolve.
SMBs need to start protecting themselves from the growing threat of ransomware. Becoming educated about the threat of ransomware and learning these important tips is an important first step.
1. Put Technical Safeguards in Place
As a best practice, have an intrusion-prevention system and security software running on your computers. This should include antivirus software, firewalls, and spam filters. Then, make sure all security patches are up to date, and deploy new patches on a regular basis.
It’s also critical to have a backup solution in place and frequently test the backups running on your systems to make sure they’re working properly. If you’re hit with ransomware, you’ll want to restore operations as quickly as possible, and having a recent backup to recover from will save you both time and money.
2. Ransomware Training
Even with technical safeguards in place, it’s employees who are ultimately at risk of exposing a business to ransomware. User error, such as clicking on an infected online advertisement, pop-up window, or attachment in a spam email, is often to blame for inviting ransomware into a computer. Therefore, educating your employees and system users is the most important line of defence.
Talk with your employees about ransomware and educate them on what it is and how they can help defend the business. Try getting the whole staff together for a training session and bring lunch to make it a Lunch-and-Learn event.
As a best practice, you should require all new employees to complete the training and offer it on an ongoing basis to avoid information being missed. If you don’t have the resources to put this type of training together, talk to your IT service provider. They should be able to run a program like this for you or provide other educational materials.
3. Provide Examples to End Users
The most effective way to educate your employees on ransomware is to show them examples of what it looks like, so they’ll know the warning signs and be able to identify a suspicious message or attachment before they click on anything. For example, you can share with them a Phishing Quiz, which includes examples of infected and legitimate emails and provides explanations of how to tell the difference.
Once ransomware has infected a computer, a message is displayed on the screen letting the user know their machine has been compromised.
It’s helpful to share this type of information with employees as well so that, even if it’s too late, they’ll know to alert management and ask for help.
4. Encourage & Respond to Feedback
Oftentimes, employees will find less secure workarounds to accomplish their tasks because the company’s systems are too restrictive. Maybe they feel they can get their work done faster if they bypass the company firewall to access a website that’s been blocked or download an application that isn’t allowed. Or maybe they’ll save sensitive files to a personal USB drive because they can’t access them from home or on their mobile device.
Encourage your employees to come to bring these types of concerns to your attention so that you can work together to find solutions that will meet their needs without compromising security. In order for your employees to feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns, you need to set up an open-door policy and foster an environment where feedback is always welcome.
How Lanrex Can Help
Lanrex connects businesses with the right technology to ensure they can safely navigate the changing landscape. Lanrex’s three cyber security packages provide all the basic protection plus the option to choose additional security features that give them the right fit for their cyber security needs.
Contact us to explore Lanrex’s cyber security solutions today.
By Lanrex on 10/11/20 9:57 AM
With massive data breaches making headlines on a regular basis, it’s hard to ignore the fact that data security is becoming increasingly important. Unfortunately, there are still far too many SMBs that don’t understand just how serious the threat is—and that can be dangerous.
The IT Security Threat to SMBs
Recent research demonstrates that the growing cyber security threat isn’t a trend that only affects big, national companies. It’s just as serious—if not more damaging—for small businesses to not be prepared, because data breaches and cyber attacks are real possibilities for them.
According to Ponemon Institute’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity, cyber attacks affected 61 percent of SMBs in the past 12 months, and the number of data breaches reported each year continues to climb.
If that’s not alarming enough, on average, these companies lost more than 9,350 individual records as the result of a breach.
Educating Yourself and Your Employees
Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle. If you own a small- to medium-sized business, you need to learn and be aware of current cyber threats, so you can fully protect your organisation. It’s also crucial to share relevant cyber security information with your employees, so they understand their part in helping keep the company safe.
Security is all about protecting data and preventing data loss, which used to only mean protecting your data from natural disasters and general user error. But now cyber security is an even bigger threat to companies than ever before, and you need to make sure you’re adequately prepared to deal with it, if it does happen.
The preventive steps you take can mean all the difference to the survival of your organisation.
Bad habits are hard to break, and that’s especially true when it comes to small businesses and cyber security. After all, it’s easy to think “that will never happen to me,” and let things slide, but this could end up creating real security problems that can be difficult to overcome.
Here are a few common errors you should try to avoid:
1. The Post-It Full of Passwords
Take a walk around the office and you’ll likely find at least a few desks with Post-It notes full of passwords stuck to the bottom of a computer monitor. Yes, it’s convenient, but it also provides easy access to sensitive information to people who shouldn’t have it—like disgruntled employees or a thief during a break-in.
The Fix: Explain to your employees why this is a bad idea, and give them some ideas on how to manage passwords safely. It might also be worth investing in a password manager site or app that stores encrypted passwords online. This can be a real lifesaver if your organisation tends to work with many websites and applications.
2. Outdated Operating Systems
Technology plays an important role in every business, but it’s often not the priority. That’s how things like updating operating systems slip through the cracks or get ignored until they become a serious security threat. For example, do you still have systems running on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003? Failing to update your operating system can be a serious security vulnerability, making you at greater risk of more advanced cyber threats.
The Fix: If you’re still running outdated operating systems, it’s time to transition to something more secure. A managed service provider can help you migrate your current system to a more secure platform, keeping track of critical updates and patches going forward so your system always stays up-to-date and continues to run smoothly.
3. Non-Existent or Old Security Software
Just because you’ve invested in a firewall or installed antivirus software does not mean your system protection should end there. If you don’t keep up with software updates and patches consistently, you aren’t nearly as secure as you think.
The Fix: Find out if you have the subscriptions and updates you need to keep your firewall and antivirus software as updated and as secure as possible. Many security apps come with a free trial period that is set to expire. Failing to get a subscription after can put you at risk. It’s also a good idea to reach out to a managed service provider who can oversee your security software and ensure you always have the latest version going forward.
4. Old Employees Still Having Access
Lax password policies and passwords that don’t expire create another security concern for SMBs. If you don’t set passwords to expire regularly, there’s a good chance a number of former employees still have access to your system. That doesn’t necessarily mean any of them will do something malicious, but why take the risk?
The Fix: Set up a solid password policy, and have passwords expire every 90 days. Yes, employees might think it’s a hassle at first, but the improved security will be worth it. While you’re at it, teach your employees the best practices for choosing a strong password that’s easy to remember but hard to guess.
How Lanrex Can Help
With as high as 81% of all cyber security breaches happening to SMBs, you need a managed service provider like Lanrex who can help you identify risks to your business, guide you in creating an effective cyber security strategy and be with you step by step to help you respond and recover.
Contact us to find out more about Lanrex’s cyber security solutions and how these can help you grow your business securely.
By Lanrex on 30/10/20 2:39 PM
A cyber attack can cripple any business no matter how big or small. Nowadays, 60% of small businesses that experience cyber attacks can suffer long-term damage, with many of them going out of business within six months.
One cyber threat that is increasingly damaging to businesses today is malware, which can invade and disable critical computer systems, networks, and other IT devices.
In this article, we’ll explore what malware is, the types to look out for, and what any business can do to protect themselves for getting infected with malware .
What is Malware?
The term malware translates quite literally to ‘malicious software’. It's an all-encompassing term that includes viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware, adware, and generally any software that is used to obtain sensitive information without a user’s consent.
Malware disrupts computer systems in a variety of ways, such as by restricting access, encrypting files, corrupting data, stealing personal information, or slowing the system down.
Malware can infiltrate your system through unsecure downloads, email attachments, advertisements, or any type of security vulnerability in a system. After an infection occurs, a system may continue to function but may slow down and start to show signs of the attack, such as more pop-ups and random display messages. In some instances, spyware will continue to thrive in your system without ever being noticed, unless you have a good security software installed.
It’s important to stay updated with the latest security threats.
Types of Malware You Need to Know About
- Adware - A type of malware that displays advertisements on your computer and collects data about your browsing habits without your consent
- Keylogger - Malicious software that tracks the keystrokes on a computer and transmits the data to another location so it can be used to detect usernames and passwords that are typed on a computer.
- Ransomware - A software that locks a computer and retains control until the user pays a certain amount of money.
- Rootkit - A type of software designed to open a backdoor into areas of the operating system that are not supposed to be available, masking its presence while doing so. It is used to deploy other types of malware.
- Spyware – A software designed to steal user data such as website logins and passwords or proprietary information and trade secrets from machines it has infected.
- Trojan – A malicious software that seems legitimate but contains other software that attacks the system in some way after tricking a user into activating it.
- Virus – A type of malware that attaches itself to an application and then spreads to other programs and computers on the same network through an infected host file, causing a variety of damage when the application is run.
- Worm – A software that infects a computer and then replicates itself from system to system on its own without the help of a host file.
Protecting Your Business from Malware
The key to protecting your business from malware is to use a layered security approach that ensures there are no gaps in your security that can allow cyber criminals to get through. It’s essential to take a close look into your current security software to assess any gaps and evaluate how effective they are. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of your company’s workflows to determine the need for encryption, firewalls, authorisation levels, and password management.
Most cyber criminals take advantage of software vulnerabilities in outdated software, so businesses must continually update their systems to ensure they have the latest security patches that can address new and emerging threats.
Lastly, nothing works more effectively than ensuring everyone in your organisation is made aware of security threats that are damaging to any system. Regular staff training on cyber security threats and best practices goes a long way in helping them dealing with phishing emails, social engineering methods, and proper password protection.
Let the team at Lanrex help you craft a solid cyber security strategy to ensure your business stays on top of emerging threats.
Get in contact to explore Lanrex’s cyber security solutions today.
By Lanrex on 4/08/20 2:29 PM
Bright & Duggan is Australia's market leader and employer of choice in the strata and property industry. Established in 1977, they have experienced significant growth from just two employees and a home office to over 200 employees across multiple locations. They've spent 40 years developing and customising products and services to meet customers needs and have established a unique portfolio that now includes over 2,000 schemes ranging in size from two lots to estates with over 1,600 lots.
The Business Need
“We needed to invigorate our thinking and see technology as a requirement for the success of our business.”
—Bright & Duggan
Technology had not been front of mind for Bright & Duggan. IT was viewed as a business cost and the company used domestic grade equipment purchased from places like JB Hi-Fi rather than investing in Enterprise solutions. However, buying it cheap ended up producing more cost and risk to the business as it impacted productivity from downtime caused by server crashes. This led to 3–4 hours of downtime on each occasion and added lost hours for maintenance, with staff largely unable to work. With important data not being backed up, this posed a huge risk to the business.
Overall, there was a general lack of understanding about IT and the opportunity for positive impact at Bright & Duggan. Whilst they had three full-time team members dedicated to IT, their overall approach was simply not best practice. The lack of asset management meant there was no visibility or performance management of hardware and software infrastructure. The team at Bright & Duggan were running old software versions, which impacted performance and put the business at risk of not meeting data and security compliance.
Having to deal with different IT platforms, various software applications, and the lack of cloud solutions made it difficult to collaborate across multiple locations.
Bright & Duggan’s lack of IT investment impacted their overall performance, which limited them from meeting their growth demands. They had simply outgrown their current system which was time-consuming and led to costly infrastructure maintenance.
Bright & Duggan needed to develop an overarching IT strategy to build a truly integrated property network for their group. This entailed documenting a group strategy, which included key stakeholders, business units, brands and operation managers. This can help bring people on the journey to enthusiastically support the strategy. They also needed to establish a clear direction for their IT strategy to increase profitability and market share and create a unique differentiation for Bright & Duggan as a brand.
Bright & Duggan had to consolidate technology into one platform to modernise it and keep it relevant. A tech audit was undertaken to create a diagram of the current infrastructure and solution and create recommendations. With the efficiencies of one platform, Bright & Duggan were able to remove the risk from outdated, non-compliant software and hardware and leverage best-of-breed technology for better competitive advantage.
Bright & Duggan were dedicated to offering a positive and consistent customer experience, which was unrivalled by competitors. To improve sales outcomes and streamline redundant processes, new opportunities needed to be captured and well-defined. Bright & Duggan had to modernise their comms capabilities for their customers and capture all communication and scheduling in one system, which then enabled them to respond to customers in a timely manner and minimise complaints for delayed response times. They wanted to capture customer satisfaction in real-time, measure and reward staff success and resolve issues before they escalated.
Employee Engagement was also another core focus for Bright & Duggan. They wanted to reclaim the work-life balance in their industry by providing their staff with a fully functioning mobile office so they could work on the go. Bright & Duggan also wanted to develop and attract a team of A Players and supply them with the necessary tools and connectivity to excel at their jobs. They also wanted to create a portfolio dashboard that would enable their team to manage their own capacity proactively and forecast customer demands and schedules to match team capacity.
Lastly, Bright & Duggan wanted to continue with their acquisition strategy to grow and diversify their national property network.
Lanrex used its proven 4-stage Business Diagnostic approach with Bright & Duggan and ran Tech Workshops with stakeholders and team members to produce a technology vision, with findings and recommendations that were linked to Bright & Duggan’s business objectives.
Lanrex was able to consolidate all the multitude of IT components and requirements to connect them into common themes and business initiatives such as:
A Modern IT Platform
- Business systems operating from the latest version.
- Specialised software implemented to manage HR processes as well as customer relationship management processes.
- Standardisation of technologies in each office including phone system, wireless access, network connectivity and end user devices.
- Centralised repository for documents and emails.
- Annotation software for online documents.
- Ability to capture electronic signatures.
- Compatible hardware such as dual monitors, touch screens, etc.
- Reliable and fast scanning facilities.
- Replace paper communication with online communication e.g. emailing levy notices.
- Streamlined workflows to support paperless work practices.
- Online Web conferencing software, to make it simple and cost-effective to collaborate online with colleagues and customers. Participants can view the same screen as the host or examine selected documents.
- Online Video conferencing for boardrooms by taking advantage of the cameras that are now built into most office computers and nearly all mobile devices, and face-to-face video calls and group meetings without leaving the office for more effective collaboration. The technology can also be used for webinars, training and presentations.
- Office/mobile phones, that enable team members to solidify relationships, coordinate schedules and privately discuss issues and concerns.
- Microsoft Office 365.
- Anywhere Access - The combination of devices, software and management tools that provide the function and capability for employees to perform business functions from any location, at any time.
‘It sounds simple but it was when we were able to get email and access to other tools we needed on our mobile devices. It was a small change that had such a big impact on our work life balance. It meant we could respond quickly to customer issues without having to rush back into the office to sort it out’.
As a result, Bright & Duggan’s teams can now work on the go, making collaboration much easier across multiple locations. They now have the scalability they need for acquisition growth and are enjoying greater efficiencies across the organisation from using just one IT platform.
Bright & Duggan reports that they now have consistency in the whole team experience with the same platform, making it easier for them to train their employees on the new system, so they can use it effectively. With Lanrex as their MSP, IT support was no longer reliant on one internal person and they now have access to a specialised IT team for support.
Lanrex helped Bright & Duggan create a disaster recovery plan and better control over their IT security, so that in the event of a disaster, they would have the capacity to manage the impact of any significant threat to the business.
“Before our investment in IT and working with Lanrex, an occurrence like COVID-19 would have been severely detrimental to our business. Our business would have ground to a halt. Instead we were already remote working and able to operate as business as usual.
Fast forward to COVID-19, we were able to respond rapidly to deploy our entire business to remote working. With Lanrex as our outsourced IT Helpdesk we had the added comfort knowing they were ready and available to help our team directly with any issues.
Although you need to invest money to look after your IT properly, cost savings were achieved in our reduced downtime, and the reassurance of Business Continuity. We were losing business productivity of at least 15 business days a year in downtime due to IT issues. When you add up our staff salaries that’s more than a million dollars a year.” — Bright & Duggan
By Lanrex on 24/03/20 3:57 PM
The COVID-19 epidemic has brought on a revolution in workforces today as social distancing calls have made teams adapt to a remote work arrangement. As a result, many team leaders and managers have adjusted to working from home and managing remote team members.
This can pose a few challenges for those who may have not done this before. If this is you and you find yourself in unchartered waters, here are a few tips from Lanrex to boost efficiency and help make things run a little smoother for your team.
- Communicate Effectively
One of the biggest changes from an office to a remote work setup is not having the ability to round up the team in person for your usual stand-up meetings. Rather than walk straight over to someone’s desk to check up on a project, all communication will now be done via email, chat, or video conferencing.
This is why it’s important for you and your team to set up some ground rules as to how to stay connected and continue talking to one another even through chat.
With social distancing, it’s important to ensure team members don’t feel isolated and the lines of communication always remain open.
Here are some apps that have worked well for remote teams:
- Instant Messaging — Microsoft Teams, Slack or Skype
- Video Conferencing - Microsoft Teams or Skype
- Phone apps - WhatsApp
- Project Management — Trello, Slack, Monday
It’s important to note that meeting structures will have to be adjusted in a remote work setup so be clear with your team on how to ensure everyone is across projects, deadlines and tasks. Flexibility is the key and if one method does not work for some, it is important to find ways to address this and provide alternative options.
- Keep Collaborating and Engaging
It is crucial for managers and team leaders to continue fostering an environment where the team can reach out to one another, ask questions and stay engaged even if it is off-site. Luckily, today’s technology offers a myriad of tools that can be used to promote engagement through group chats or video calls created in Microsoft Teams, Yammer Slack or Skype.
Having a daily check-in which can be done either as a team or one-on-one via video goes a long way to strengthening that connection you have with your team.
Daily stand-ups and WIP meetings should also be set up virtually to give your team the same structure that they may have been used to at the office. It is important to set up a schedule for this daily or weekly to ensure the team has a structure to follow where they can share ideas and contribute no matter where they may be based.
When your team dials in, they can take turns presenting and sharing screens or they can also make use of a dedicated channel to pin their ideas to. This should allow everyone to comment, give feedback and ask questions as needed. This can be done through a quick call via Microsoft Teams or Skype.
Celebrating daily and weekly wins through these activities give you the space to boost employee morale and remind them that their efforts are appreciated.
- Facilitate Meetings Better
While remote meetings can be fun, keeping everyone engaged and focused on the agenda can be challenging when done online. This is why having a clear agenda outlined ahead of time and choosing a dedicated facilitator to take the lead is crucial.
Create a shared document that people can access to add their notes in.
Ask people to contribute to the agenda and raise concerns if needed.
Remind everyone to mute their microphones during the meeting to minimise distracting noises
As much as possible, ask everyone to turn on their videos to continue connecting with everyone.
Although this may take a bit of an adjustment, it gets easier the more you continue to stick to these best practices every week.
- Keep Life & Work Separate
The key to successfully maintaining work-life balance at home and maximising productivity is by having the right focus at hours of the day when you should be working.
Adopting an ‘at-work’ mindset means setting a time when distractions should be avoided and when you should be taking breaks. As a manager, you should emphasise this with your team so everyone can work on the same rhythm and avoid burnout.
As majority of businesses have shifted to a work-from-home setup, you’ll also need to consider how some team members will have to contend with children and other family members at home. Consider how some team members may be working in the same room as their partner or child. You’ll need to consider this and help your team establish a work area where they will not be interrupted to maximise productivity.
- Manage Expectations with Your Teams
Managers need to set realistic expectations with their team in terms of work. This includes setting clear guidelines on the scope, target dates and deliverables for each task or project that they may be working on. By stating what the goals are and the reasons behind them, your team is in a better position to understand what success looks like.
Lanrex: Empowering Remote Teams with the Right Technology for Success
A lot is going on in the world right now and teams are adjusting to a completely different environment whilst working from home. However, by implementing these guidelines and setting clear expectations with your team, you can help make the transition of working from home easier.
If you want to make sure your team is equipped to handle the demands of telecommuting, get in touch with Lanrex today.
By Lanrex on 14/11/19 6:46 PM
An employee clicks on an email from their bank — they need to download new credentials. Suddenly, their system is frozen. And just as suddenly, your system is frozen. The new credentials were malware, sent by a cyberattacker, intended to look like an authentic banking email. Since your employee’s device was plugged into your network, your entire network has fallen prey to ransomware.
What’s your next step?
If you’re like many ransomware victims, you’re now in the position of having to either lose much of your data or pay tens of thousands of dollars in ransom.
Cybercrime is currently costing the Australian economy $1 billion a year and is expected to cost $6 trillion globally by 2021. The costs aren’t the ransom alone: it’s also going to take time to recover your data.
Employees can make mistakes. They are more likely to make mistakes if they aren’t aware that they’re making them. Cyber awareness has to be baked into a company from the top down, and cybersecurity training has to be thorough, consistent, and up-to-date.
If employees don’t know what to look for, they can’t identify threats — and there’s only so much a cybersecurity solution can do.
Here’s why security awareness training is so critical.
The Business Case for Employee Cybersecurity Training
Often, training is only completed as employees are on-boarded or sporadically when security events occur. This is not frequent enough. There are many benefits to regular employee cybersecurity training.
Through regular cybersecurity training, employees can both identify and react to threats. Reaction time matters: the faster a threat is identified and mitigated, the less damage it can do.
Employees will feel a greater level of awareness regarding safety and security measures. They will be more confident in managing their security because they know the company’s security protocols.
This will improve the way employees relate to their computer systems. Rather than shying away from computer-intensive tasks, they will feel confident and capable.
Ultimately, regular cybersecurity training has the following impact on business:
- Achieve better uptime. Data breaches and disruptions can take your business down for hours. A single data breach disruption can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue, depending on how reliant the company is on its network to continue processing transactions and information. The fewer data-related events, the more uptime the company can achieve.
- Reduce costs and overhead. Every data breach, no matter how small, is expensive. You will be able to reduce IT costs and overhead by protecting your data. Teaching your employees proper security will also reduce the amount of time your IT team needs to spend on tasks such as removing adware or malware from systems or resetting lost and forgotten passwords.
- Control and protect the organisation’s data. An organisation’s data is everything today, but it can be on hundreds or thousands of devices. With the Internet of Things and mobile device management, organisations need to be even more protective of the data that they are in charge of. A combination of employee training and technology is a powerful way to control and protect data.
- Adhere to internal policies. Internal policies keep the organisation safe from major security events. It also keeps the operations from moving slowly. Consistent internal policies will prioritise both efficiency and security.
- Comply with all relevant laws and regulations. Many industries are facing data privacy laws and regulations. A violation can lead to millions of dollars’ worth of fines. Security training helps with laws and regulations as well as security.
- Contain threats. When threats do emerge, they need to be addressed immediately. An organisation that can secure and contain threats immediately is an organisation that will not suffer an excessive amount of damage before mitigating the threat.
Implementing cybersecurity training is a step towards building a better and sustainable culture of security.
This is more than just about reminding your employees to regularly change their passwords. As Tim Ferris says, “Culture is what happens when people are left to their own devices.” Therefore embedding a culture of security means helping your employees understand and embrace their role in keeping your organisation safe.
Topics Covered in Cybersecurity Training
Cybersecurity is growing more complex every day, and security awareness training has a lot to cover. This is one of the major reasons that cybersecurity training has to be handled regularly.
Amongst other things, cybersecurity training covers:
Corporate Data Responsibility
What responsibilities do employees have to protect the company’s data? What responsibility does the company hold to its clients, vendors, and employees? Underscoring the importance of company data responsibility helps: it gives employees a sense of accountability and a measure by which to gauge the seriousness of the security efforts.
Today’s documents can include a large quantity of personally identifiable information, confidential data and intellectual property.
Employees should understand how to manage their documents, including how to securely share them. They should be able to identify issues that may indicate that something is wrong: if documents are loading slowly, go missing, or are being accessed by unauthorised persons outside the organisation, consideration needs to be given that there could be a problem.
Data Incident Reporting SOP
What do employees do when they identify an incident? If an employee isn’t told what they should specifically do during a data incident, they may worry that they aren’t doing the right thing. They may hesitate to notify anyone of the incident, or they may assume that someone else has already taken care of it.
When it comes to security, reporting is critical: many data breaches and disruptions are ignored and consequently can get worse.
Employees today often have it drilled into their heads that they need to create long, complex passwords. Still, they tend to reuse passwords or use similar passwords because it’s simply easier to remember. Employees need to be given tools such as password managers and password generators if they’re to be expected to manage their passwords securely.
Authorised Software Downloads
Employees will often download and install software that’s meant to make their job easier, such as a PDF viewer that’s lightweight and easier to use than an internal PDF viewer.
While this solves a problem for them immediately, it can open up a company to substantial risk. Third-party applications are one of the most common sources of data breach and disruption. Employees should be directed to only use the authorised software packages.
How to Identify and Report Cybersecurity Threats
Do employees know how to describe a threat when they see one? Simply having the language and terminology needed to adequately describe a threat can go a long way toward resolving it.
Email, Internet, and Social Media Policies
Quite frequently, cybersecurity events are caused by poor email usage, web browsing, and social media. Attachments can be sent through email and social media, and files can easily be downloaded from the web.
Employees need to be aware of the threats, as well as the hallmarks of these threats. If they compromise a personal device, such as a laptop or a smartphone, they run the risk of compromising a network of devices.
Computer and Mobile Device Mobile Device Policies
More employees than ever are using their personal devices for work, which can be beneficial. It improves a company’s efficiency by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, it can also present some security risks, as an employer can never know how secure an employee’s personal devices are.
Through rigorous mobile device management policies, it becomes easier to secure an employee’s devices.
Social Engineering and Phishing
Social engineering and phishing thrive on employees being in the dark about their company’s security policies.
A social engineering attack begins with an attacker, who can look like anyone, using great social skills to interact with an employee. The attacker would gain the employee’s confidence so they could acquire company information only employees would know.
Phishing, on the other hand, is a kind of social engineering that uses email or malicious websites to acquire personal information. In March 2019, Evaldas Rimasauskas pleaded guilty to wire fraud after helping to orchestrate a scheme that misled tech giants Facebook and Google into paying him more than $100 million over the course of two years. The scam involved sending phishing emails to employees from a fake business Google and Facebook do business with Taiwan-based Quanta Computer.
There is no business too large or small for these scammers, therefore all employees should be educated on the signs of social engineering attacks and phishing emails.
The First Steps: How to Make Your Team Care about Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity matters. But your team will probably be focused on getting their jobs done. Often, IT security can seem to present a barrier to their jobs, and they may not properly understand how important cybersecurity is to the business. Training doesn’t just tell them how to secure their systems. It tells them why they should.
So how can you get started?
Both new staff and those who have been in the company for some time need to go through a standardised cybersecurity training. With this, third-party training is ideal.
When training is done internally, there can be gaps that remain because there is no one to notice them. Further, business processes and the culture of security can drift over time because there is no external reinforcement. Training has to be regularly updated, which is something that internal staff often don’t have the chance to do. A third-party that specialises in cybersecurity training can help.
Finally, gamifying employee training helps get the message stick. By rewarding cybersecurity trained employees and departments that go without major security events (or finding security events), you can show that the company truly does value improved security and that it values the employees who are trying their best.
Most businesses run under a false sense of security. They assume that because they haven’t yet experienced a major security issue, they won’t experience one at all. But it’s just a matter of time. Every company, regardless of how small or how large, is vulnerable to major security events. The best thing you can do is prepare.
Through regular cybersecurity training, you can ensure that all of your employees are on the same page and that they are committed to helping keep your organisation safe. You can prevent costly, time-consuming data breaches and data disruptions from occurring.
Ensure you have the right technology and your staff have the right training. Contact Lanrex today to learn more.
By Lanrex on 14/11/19 6:33 PM
Modern-day companies revolve around their data. But with that data comes responsibility. Your company likely archives large amounts of information: data about customers, bank accounts, intellectual property, and more. When this information is stolen by an outside intruder, it’s known as a data breach.
Data can be exposed in several ways. It can be uploaded to other servers and systems, shared on the dark web, or used for identity theft.
Today, there are entire companies dedicated to hacking into organisations and breaching their data. They reside in other countries and are generally untouchable; they can continually attempt to crack into businesses because there are no repercussions for them.
This has led to some highly publicised data breach events. In May 2019, Canva reported a security event, which impacted an incredible 139 million users.
This morning we’ve been alerted to a security incident that enabled access to a number of usernames and email addresses. As soon as this happened, we remedied the issue and alerted the authorities. To be overly cautious, we’d recommend changing your password.— Canva (@canva) May 25, 2019
Usernames and email addresses were breached. The Australian consumer-facing digital design store subsequently urged it’s clients to change their passwords to protect themselves.
And it’s not just businesses that are at risk. In December of 2018, a Victorian government employee directory was reportedly accessed, revealing the information of 30,000 employees. This data breach leaked emails, job titles, and work phone numbers — all information that could be used for phishing attempts and social engineering.
But what do these types of data breach mean for a business?
Major Implications of a Data Breach
Data from 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM Security and Ponemon Institute.
Many businesses aren’t concerned about data breaches until they happen. It’s something that they might think about occasionally, but not something that they feel they need to protect against.
A major data breach can happen overnight, leaving a company struggling to recover. What happens then?
A lot of expenses. Here are just some of the expenses that are usually attached to a data breach attack:
- Fines and penalties. If your security isn’t up to the standards required within your industry, you could be facing serious legal issues. Government agencies are cracking down on the fines and penalties issued to companies that are negligent with their security measures. Some industries, such as legal fields and medical, have additional security requirements.
- Ransom. Ransomware will lock down your system and your data until you pay the (generally untraceable) ransom. If you don’t pay the ransom, you can’t access your data. Your only option may be a full restore from backup. Without data, you may be unable to operate your business. Small businesses are more frequently targeted as they are typically less cyber security aware, do not have the same level of protection that a large enterprise may operate (although these large enterprises are themselves still not immune) and have a heavy reliance on immediate access to their data. The ransom amount can range from tens of thousands up to millions of dollars.
- Investigation costs. When a data breach occurs, you need to investigate what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. These investigation costs can be considerable as it requires complex levels of digital forensics. The more complex your network is, the more expensive this will be.
- Insurance issues. Your cybersecurity insurance should pay out in the event of a data breach or data attack. If you don’t have cybersecurity insurance, you may need to pay out for these costs upfront. If you do, your insurance premiums may increase.
- Recovery costs. You will need to recover your data and fix your technology, which requires a significant amount of labour and additional expenses. Your recovery costs will vary depending on the depth of the breach.
- Lawsuits. Customers, vendors, and even employees may sue your company for having their data breached. This is especially true if your company was negligent in handling their data, but even if you are not ultimately responsible, you will still have legal fees associated with defending your case.
- Revenue loss. Your primary revenue loss will be due to downtime when work and resources are affected. If you rely significantly upon your systems for things like transactions, you may have a significant opportunity cost. Ultimately, a data breach is more than just data theft; it’s about the costs that are associated with it. The average cost of a data breach in Australia is $2.13 million, for an average of 19,800 data records.
- Brand damage. Negative press about data breaches can lead to losing existing clients and difficulty in securing new business. It may require investment in marketing and advertising capital to recover and strengthen your brand. In the meantime, it’s difficult to continue building momentum when you’ve lost potential business. Rebuilding trust will take time, both among clients and key stakeholders.
Grow Your Business Securely
The cost of a data breach is significant, but you can protect your business through proactive security management.
By regularly auditing your security solutions and upgrading to newer solutions, you can grow your business securely and avoid the worst scenarios surrounding data breach attacks. Even if a data breach does occur, having better technology and business processes will help to reduce the costs.
Not only do you need thorough cybersecurity training for your employees and your IT personnel, but you also need next-generation cybersecurity solutions. Modern cybersecurity solutions can leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify potential data breach attacks.
Cyber-attackers are now using highly sophisticated solutions which are being constantly refined. All businesses need to be able to turn their technology against them.
When you have your data stolen, there’s nothing you can do to “get it back.” While you may still have data on your side, the data is already out. It can be replicated thousands of times and spread far and wide. Your customers, employees, vendors and key stakeholders may have their data exposed and have no control over their personal damage.
To avoid the situation entirely, businesses need to have cybersecurity procedures and processes in place. Discover how Lanrex can help you grow your business securely.
By Lanrex on 9/09/19 4:23 PM
It is not uncommon for many NFPs to operate their Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) processes from simple spreadsheets or a loosely connected combination of tools. This will work but only up to a point.
As the organisation grows, this basic approach becomes more difficult to manage and typically creates unnecessary complexity and can lead to mistakes.
Transitioning to a fully-fledged CRM tool may be a disruptive experience for your organisation. But when done right, it can lead to lasting improvements that will help to drive the results you need.
A well-designed CRM will provide your end-users with a powerful new tool that will dramatically impact the way they work by allowing them to work smarter, not harder.
However, getting to this point can be challenging without a clear and effective strategy.
Here are eight core points that NFPs frequently overlook when choosing a CRM.
1. Not Knowing Why They Need a CRM
One of the more common mistakes companies make in choosing a CRM is not knowing what they need from it and how it can improve their overall operations. Without first defining the ’why’, you may opt for a solution that is overly complicated or implement a CRM that is not used to its full potential.
As a result, you may end up investing a significant amount of time and money on something that does little to improve process efficiency and could, in fact, create more problems than the solution was originally intended to solve.
For best results:
- Make a list of all the problems you need a CRM to solve.
- Expand that list by including priority key features that you need.
- Weigh that list against each CRM on an individual basis.
- Take advantage of any free trials that may be available, thus allowing you to run tests to make sure you’re getting something that aligns with your objectives and the immediate needs of your end-users.
2. Having No Organisational Plan for CRM Implementation
Before setting up to deploy a CRM, it is vital to ensure that all processes are aligned with your organisation’s long-term goals and business strategy.
Successful CRM adoption within your business must be underpinned by a carefully considered implementation. META Group reports that without an effective implementation plan, 90% of businesses will not be able to show a positive return on their CRM tool.
Finding the right CRM is a process that entails finding a solution that works best for your organisation and understanding how you can deploy the specific CRM across your organisation to achieve the results you’re after in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
Knowing these two key points beforehand is crucial to your success. Outlining how you can successfully implement the system throughout your organisation to minimise disruption is imperative before jumping straight into it.
3. Not Understanding End Users’ Needs & Failing to Involve Them in the Process
It doesn’t matter what type of organisation you’re running or what goals you’re trying to accomplish; if you’re investing in something that will cause a significant disruption to end-users, you need to involve them in the process.
Before looking at serious candidates for potential systems, ensure that you understand your end-users’ needs and pain points. Conduct surveys and have discussions with them and make them a critical part of the process. Consider not only what any particular CRM will do for your organisation, but the impact on your end users. If they have questions and concerns, make it your priority to address them.
By putting your end-users at the centre of this initiative, you will be able to choose a solution that meets their needs in as much as yours. In turn this will greatly improve user adoption.
4. Rushing to Get “Out of the Box“ Too Quickly
Many non-profits choosing a CRM make the mistake of being “oversold“ on the out-of-the-box functionality of the solution, without understanding if there is a specific need to make adjustments or customise.
They often commit to an ‘off the shelf’ solution that doesn’t necessarily meet their business needs or growth. A CRM’s functionality needs to act as a solid foundation upon which something larger and more impressive will be built.
Every NFP is unique and solutions that work for others may not necessarily be what you need. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a CRM solution that aligns with your business requirements.
5. Choosing a CRM That Cannot Scale
Another common mistake involves choosing a solution that may work perfectly today without considering your future needs and requirements.
The right CRM solution should be able to grow with your organisation. Choose one that fits your needs and, at the same time, gives you the flexibility to evolve and re-align solutions when necessary.
Your infrastructure should always be considered a “work in progress“, and your CRM solution needs to be capable of expanding to meet any new requirements that arise — regardless of what or when they happen to be.
If your CRM can’t scale, it will quickly stop propelling your NFP forward and potentially hold you back.
6. Only Thinking of Social Media Integration as an Afterthought
According to a recent survey on consumer behaviour, 67% of consumers have interacted with a business through social media.
In an effort to be more donor-centric, you need to be actively listening to and engaging with your target audience, and the right CRM solution will help you do just that.
If one of your goals as an NFP is gaining valuable insights and creating lasting relationships with your donors, using a social media CRM tool and integrating it into your overall strategy is crucial to drive success.
7. Failing to Embrace a Cloud-Based CRM Platform
Established non-profits in particular, often assume that any solution they invest in should be local rather than cloud-based. Many of them are hesitant to fully adopt a cloud-based CRM because of security concerns.
This is a common misconception because the level of security in cloud service providers today is much higher when compared to local IT. They also provide automatic back-up and data recovery plans to ensure you have the reliability, mobility and security you need to truly scale your organisation.
8. Not Worrying about Breaking Down Silos until It’s Too Late
Don’t invest in something that is going to live in a vacuum. A CRM is about to become a powerful cornerstone of your non-profit organisation, but to unlock it’s full potential, it needs to be properly integrated with your current systems.
- Your other standard organisation apps
- Any productivity apps that your end-users rely on
- Other critical functions of your organisation such as email
- It should also have an open API so that you can continue to deeply customise and integrate your CRM into other areas of your organisation moving forward.
If you fail to properly integrate your CRM with the rest of your infrastructure, you’ll likely end up with more roadblocks that can create further problems along the way. Any critical insight will continue to be locked off from various areas of your organisation, and people will be unable to act on it — thus putting you farther away from your goals, not closer to them.
Getting the Right CRM
Your growing NFP organisation and your constituents deserve the right kind of CRM to manage data. Spreadsheets will eventually become burdensome and ineffective. .
Whether you are a big or small organisation, the right CRM can help you nurture donor relationships better, build new relationships effectively, and achieve data integrity, amongst others.
These are the types of benefits that the right CRM platform allows you to enjoy, provided that you pay attention to the common mistakes that we’ve discussed above.
If you’d like to find out more information about avoiding risk and learning from the mistakes that nonprofits choosing a CRM often make, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss in detail, don’t hesitate to contact Lanrex today.
By Lanrex on 24/06/19 2:14 PM
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make usually involves assuming that any tech-related issues are actually people-related issues.
You've spent a significant amount of money providing your employees with the latest and greatest that modern IT has to offer, yet your general productivity levels have stalled out. Obviously, this is a problem with the person using the tool as opposed to the tool itself, right?
Some tech-related issues are obvious, like a broken server or out-of-date software. Others, however, are less so. Yes, you may be dealing with a "people problem" in the literal sense in that your productivity isn't as high as you need it to be. But that's just a symptom. It's not the disease. The issue hidden underneath is technology-based and it's likely having a bigger negative impact than you realise.
Dealing with hidden tech issues is common in every industry. The key to mitigating risk from these areas involves knowing as much as you can about what those issues really look like.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind.
Hidden Issue #1 Your Technology is Preventing you from fully scaling your Business
This type of issue is most common in businesses that are experiencing rapid periods of growth. Your company is getting bigger, but the technological infrastructure at the heart of it all wasn't really designed with that express goal in mind. So even though the conditions of the business are changing, the tech itself isn't, thus creating a series of interconnected problems that are only getting worse over time.
Below are some of the ways this type of hidden tech issue manifests itself:
- A general lack of communication, particularly in remote areas. Communication and productivity may be fine in your main office, but collaboration with satellite officers or even employees who telecommute is essentially impossible.
- A lack of access from multiple devices. People have all the tools they need to get their work done, so long as they're using a desktop or laptop computer. If they try to work from home on a tablet or even a smartphone, things are needlessly difficult and complicated.
- Your older software was never designed to integrate with some of the newer systems and solutions that you're taking advantage of, and it shows. Employees need to spend time coming up with frustrating workarounds to get various programs to "talk" to one another, which consumes time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Thankfully, solving this particular issue is straightforward — it simply requires a careful and thorough review of your existing business processes. Overall, the technology you use in your business is supposed to support the way your people like to work. They shouldn't have to change their workflows to make up for the limitations inherent in the technology.
But the problem is as your business continues to expand, their roles and workflows naturally change.
If your technology remains stagnant and designed to support the organisation you were instead of who you are now, even simple tasks become cumbersome. By taking the time to better understand the state of your infrastructure, you can properly align your tech needs with your business strategy so you can enhance productivity across the board.
Hidden Issue #2: When Your Technology is Unable to Meet the Needs of Your Staff
Different studies have been conducted over the years that outline just how pressing of an issue employee disengagement really is. Disengaged and frustrated workers, for example, cost the United States economy an estimated $550 billion per year as they have a 60% higher rate of general errors than happy, engaged workers.
One of the major reasons that employees become disengaged in the first place is when they feel like they don't have the tools necessary to do their jobs correctly. They know what they need to do but struggle to complete simple to critical tasks and grow frustrated as a result.
Signs of this particular issue usually include but are not limited to ones like:
- You're constantly dealing with broken servers and hardware assets go down on a regular basis. This means that your employees literally cannot be productive. Every minute of downtime is a minute that your business is losing money.
- Data goes missing at the worst possible time. Your internal systems are confusing and restrictive. Employees literally cannot find the information they need to complete their tasks every day.
Most businesses can solve this issue by conducting a total technology audit of their current infrastructure. This alone can help generate an almost unparalleled level of visibility into your technology that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
If you have a total understanding of your current tech situation, you're in a better position to identify the opportunities present that you might not be taking advantage of. But more importantly, you're also able to identify the challenges that exist that are causing dips in productivity and frustrations among your workers. By then, you can essentially double down on everything that is working and fix what isn't.
What you're left with is an infrastructure that is optimised to maximise your existing assets for greater performance over the long-term.
Hidden Issue #3: Your Technology is Making You Lose Money
More than anything, your technology should be viewed as a revenue generator. Yes, staying ahead of tech trends and making sure that you're always using the latest IT requires a significant capital investment. But when leveraged properly, these IT assets should enhance productivity -— creating a positive ripple effect that impacts the quality of work your employees are doing, the amount of work they're able to complete and, ultimately, your business's revenues.
If your IT only ever seems to cost you money and doesn't seem to generate anything in return, this too is another sign that things aren't going quite the way you think. Usually, businesses deal with problems like:
- Inflexible systems that are unequipped to support business growth as it continues to evolve. There are areas of growth present and opportunities to be taken advantage of but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find them.
- Your systems never have a chance to generate positive returns because you're always dealing with costly upgrades. You're constantly putting out money to upgrade physical assets so they never have a chance to positively impact your bottom line.
- You're always battling with risks of physical damage to old, on-site servers. You know that if something were ever to happen to your servers, your business would essentially grind to a halt. But you're not in a position to do anything about that.
To solve this problem, you need to consider the bigger picture and re-think your IT strategy, if one is present at all. A successful business cannot afford to consider IT as an afterthought.
Technology is not a "cost of doing business". In a lot of ways, it is your business. Or at least, a core component of it.
Once you know what your larger business strategy is, you're in a better position to understand the ways that you can leverage technology to support it. There will naturally be certain gaps that exist between your specific objectives and your ability to accomplish those goals. And those are the gaps that you should be trying to fill with technology, allowing your people to work "smarter, not harder" whenever they have the opportunity.
But you should also understand that there's no one right way to create an IT strategy. Every business is a bit different, which means that you need to look for ways to apply technology within the context of your own unique business.
Once you have that level of insight and understanding, you have everything you need to solve these and other hidden tech issues that you're experiencing.
The Lanrex Approach: Getting Your Business Ready for the Future
At Lanrex, we believe that while technology is undeniably important to the modern business, it's also ultimately just a platform. What that platform can do matters less than what it can do for you.
This is why we've made it our mission to help clients leverage IT to create better business outcomes over the long-term. Not only do we regularly partner with organisations of all types to help them perform thorough and accurate technology audits, but we can also review their IT strategy and assist with the optimisation of their business processes as well.
Many of our clients choose to outsource some or even all of their IT functions to us entirely for these reasons. These include not only the procurement of equipment but also connectivity (think: the Internet and unified communications), IT support, project delivery, and more.
In the end, we help people eliminate the tech problems that are holding them back so that they can take full advantage of the tech solutions that will drive them forward.
If you'd like to find out more about how you can solve your hidden tech issues and enhance your workplace productivity, or if you just have any additional questions you'd like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, contact Lanrex today.
Sick of Failing Tech? Lanrex’s 4 Stage Business Diagnostic Can Help Make Technology Your Business Advantage.
By Lanrex on 24/05/19 2:21 PM
In other words, your organisation is totally unique unto itself - which means that you need to throw out the idea that there is some "one size fits all" approach to technology. Your long-term business strategy was built with your unique context in mind, and the same needs to be true with regards to the way technology is incorporated into that strategy.
Whenever a new client chooses to partner with Lanrex, we always try to convey this simple yet important idea as early and as often as we can. The right IT infrastructure can absolutely empower your business by putting your strategy first, by supporting your customer, and by allowing you to both address today's challenges and better prepare yourself for the ones tomorrow might hold.
In an effort to truly make technology your business advantage, you must acknowledge that nobody does what you do quite like how you do it.
The wrong IT infrastructure is ultimately just a bunch of noise. Not only will it NOT empower your business... it will likely end up holding you back.
This is the type of thing we work hard to change at Lanrex, and today we want to show you how to do it. It's actually a lot more straightforward than it sounds - it just involves four basic steps and a steady, helping hand by your side. The four steps to make technology your competitive advantage are:
- Focus on Your Business Strategy.
- Ensure Employee Engagement.
- Conduct a Total Technology Audit.
- Best Practice Benchmarking.
Step 1. Focus on Your Business Strategy
Before you even begin to develop your larger strategy for technological transformation, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- Where are you playing, and how will you win?
- What will your organisation look like in three years, compared to how it looks today?
- Where, specifically, do you see your business in five years within the context of ideas like expansion?
All of these are questions that only you can answer, but once you've done so you'll have a better understanding of the types of things you need to be thinking about before you even bring up the subject of technology.
Even though your digital transformation is going to end with technology, it can never begin there. Your transformation should support and empower these qualities for the absolute best results.
Step 2. Ensure Employee Engagement
Any type of technological transformation always requires a complete buy-in from every last member of your organisation. This begins with the leaders at the top, yes - but if it doesn't also extend down to the most recently hired employee on the front lines of your organisation, any project you're thinking of pursuing is doomed before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Of course, that's not to say that digital transformation is the only reason to focus on empowering your employee engagement. Far from it. Consider the fact that, according to one recent study:
- Teams that are highly engaged tend to show profitability levels that are about 21% higher than those who are not.
- Another recent report revealed that a full 89% of all human resources leaders agree that engaged employees are one of the keys for successful outcomes.
- Employees who feel like their voice is both heard and valued are as much as 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work.
Employee engagement is an important part of how you make technology your business advantage because it once again gives you an opportunity to answer questions like these:
- What, specifically, is being required of your employees on the front lines?
- What, if anything, is currently getting in their way?
- What tools do your employees need to more effectively do their jobs?
- How can you use technological transformation to provide those tools?
In the short term, strengthening employee engagement will absolutely help with transformational buy-in. In the long-term, it will make you a more productive, more profitable organisation capable of doing better work on the other side of that transformation.
It's a simple investment in your workforce that can pay dividends for a generation if you do things properly, which is why it's such a key part of this process.
Step 3. Conduct a Total Technology Audit
Any journey requires intimate knowledge of both an origin and a destination - and a digital transformation as significant as this one is certainly no exception. To put it another way, once you know where you're trying to go, you also need to recognise where you're starting. Only then do you have a chance to connect those two points in the most efficient, cost-effective ways possible.
This brings us to step three of making technology your competitive advantage - a total technology audit. You need to think about things like:
- What your current situation looks like from an infrastructure perspective.
- Where the opportunities that you should be taking advantage of are located.
- The challenges that currently exist that are preventing you from capitalizing on those opportunities.
At Lanrex, this is one of the many techniques we employed when we assisted a specialist underwriting agency in the creation of a new IT strategy that could help them scale and grow as their business continued to expand across Australia. After making sure that we had a thorough understanding of all of the company's important issues and requirements, we were able to come up with a system that not only supported the singular entity of the business during expansion, but that also supported and empowered its employees and their online trading platform that itself is used by more than 650 brokerage houses across the country (and counting).
None of this would have been possible had we not taken the time to understand what their technology looked like, so we could get a better understanding of what it needed to be. There are countless examples of great IT strategies that businesses of all types can learn from, and the one thing they share in common is that none of their architects skipped this critical step.
During this process, you must have a solid understanding of what your current technology situation actually looks like. At that point, you'll be able to identify those best practices that can help you maximize your existing assets for greater performance.
You'll also be able to learn more about the new assets you need to implement to push your entire business further down the line towards success moving forward.
Step 4. Best Practice Benchmarking
The final step of this process involves best practice benchmarking - something that again involves processes that are unique to your organisation and what you are trying to accomplish.
Now that you've identified your goals, you're in a better position to honestly reflect on how you rate in certain key areas. You now know what "leading" actually looks like, so you'll have an easier time identifying whether you're doing so yourself. This speaks to how you're doing in relation to your competitors, yes - but also how you're doing internally when referencing how you're utilizing your systems, assets and even operations.
The only way you'll ever be able to improve is if you know what improvement actually looks like. You need to define "success" BEFORE you strive for it, or it will be a bit like trying to hit a moving target. Success isn't just external - there are always room for improvements internally, too.
The Lanrex Approach
At Lanrex, these are four key steps that we believe in deeply - to the point where we've made them each core pillars of our Lanrex 4 Stage Business Diagnostic. As a functional process, it's designed to uncover precisely where technology connects to your business. In a broader sense, it's the starting point we need to not only audit your existing infrastructure against every industry best practice available, but to also develop the actionable, insightful and forward-thinking plan that is perfect for you and everything we hope to accomplish.
How Our 4 Stage Diagnostic Works For You
After partnering with you we make sure we understand what your unique business strategy actually is before we even think about talking tech. We'll then use our extensive internal technology setup and optimization experience to help you get everything in order as far as employee engagement is concerned.
When UES International grew faster than their technology. Lanrex's strategic focus ensured they were able to scale safely.
Then, we'll take the lead with your total technology audit - helping to identify all the best places to focus on maximizing all of your existing assets for an even greater performance and return on investment than ever before. We'll finish everything off with best practice benchmarking - something that will truly show you where you stand so that together, we can help you get to where you're going.
We have data reflecting businesses of all shapes and sizes AND their optimum tech systems, assets and operations. All of this is data that we are ready and willing to leverage to your advantage.
How The 4 Stages Have Helped Businesses Like Yours
It's something that we've done for businesses all over the world time and again - like when we helped a rapidly expanding company turn slowing servers, unreliable backups and low team productivity into a brand new IT infrastructure. Not only did this allow them to enjoy a clean slate and leave all those problems in the past, but it also gave way to a competitive advantage that serves them will do this day.
We also leveraged these principles when we assisted a charity group and their cancer support experts as they successfully relocated the entirety of their IT infrastructure. By breaking what would typically be a daunting process into these series of four manageable, actionable steps, we successfully installed and migrated the client's IT system and infrastructure to their new office without any type of significant disruption to speak of.
How You Can Make Tech Your Business Advantage
These are just a few of the real life examples of these four core steps in action. Rest assured, there are many more. But in the end, remember that if you truly want to make technology your business advantage you often need to let the technology itself be your guide - and having a valued partner with years of industry experience like Lanrex certainly doesn't hurt, either.
If you'd like to find out more information about using technology to create a competitive advantage for your business, or if you have any additional questions you'd like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don't delay - contact Lanrex today.
By Lanrex on 18/04/19 10:48 AM
When people think about innovative technology in a professional environment, they usually picture some sort of seismic shift that represents a massive disruption to the way things are done. The first time your office got a personal computer was likely one of those watershed moments. Suddenly, everything was separated into just two categories: before the computer and afterwards.
But most of the time, innovation is far smaller in scale than that. One day, everyone starts bringing their smartphone to work — something that doesn't seem too out of the ordinary at the time. The next day, people are communicating and collaborating like never before from a device that we now recognise as a portable supercomputer. It all started in a subtle way but the long-term impact of that innovation was enormous.
This effect is being seen again in the present day, as more and more examples of innovative technologies are finding new homes in offices and business environments around the world. But for every obvious way that IT becomes a much-needed adrenalin injection to your productivity, there are others that could easily be missed if you aren't paying attention at just the right moment.
Here are the four surprising ways innovative technology can boost productivity in your workplace you need to be considering:
- Letting AI fuel Automation.
- Use Social Networks for Less Emails.
- Innovation & Problem solving through VR.
- Work less with IoT.
The Era of AI-Fueled Automation Has Arrived
The technology behind artificial intelligence may be sophisticated, but the idea at the heart of it all is straightforward. It refers to the development of computer systems that can take tasks that would normally require human intelligence and perform them without employee interaction of any kind.
This can include but is not limited to things like visual perception, translation between languages, speech recognition, and even decision-making.
Yammer and Slack are just two of the many examples of solutions that can help you fully leverage AI to your advantage. For the past few years, Slack has been using AI to help automatically determine which of the 70 or so messages users get a day on average are the most important. Yammer operates in a similar way, helping people determine what needs their immediate attention (and what doesn't) and is even making gains in terms of sentiment analysis.
Audiences were shocked when Google revealed their eerily human sounding AI virtual caller.
If your workers are able to offload certain time-consuming, menial tasks to these types of programs, their natural engagement levels with their job will increase. Not only does this help build morale, but it's likely to increase productivity levels as well.
One recent study revealed that highly engaged teams within a business tend to be about 21% more productive than average. Those businesses also have to deal with about 28% less internal theft — this means you can enjoy significant savings on all office supplies that have a tendency to go missing as well.
As an added bonus, your employees will also love the fact that they will never have to worry about running late to a business meeting ever again. They can simply use an AI Virtual Caller to buy them enough time to make it into the office before managers even realised there was a problem to begin with.
How AI boosts productivity:
- AI is a powerful yet simple way to automate certain time-intensive administrative tasks so your employees can focus on more important things.
- As your employees’ jobs get easier, their engagement levels with your business tend to increase.
- Studies have proven time and again that engaged employees work more productively than those with low or even average levels of engagement.
The Relationship Between Social Networks and Engagement
Over the last decade, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become a nearly ubiquitous part of our lives. But a lot of people still don't realise that they have the potential to have just as strong of an impact on our professional lives as they do on our personal ones.
Tools like the aforementioned Slack and Microsoft Teams can be leveraged to create social networks that exist entirely within your organisation. Even at its most basic level, this can reduce the need for unnecessary emails because communication can play out as a fluid, natural conversation instead of a series of back-and-forth messages.
Both Slack and Microsoft Teams offer voice and video calling in addition to text-based messaging, have huge file storage limits per user, and can be easily integrated with hundreds of apps that you're likely already using as well.
If work-based conversations become as easy as they are frequent, your employees are much more likely to collaborate with one another on various projects. That not only improves the overall productivity levels in your office, but the quality of that work will rise as well.
Likewise, employee buy-in isn't something you have to worry about as people are already familiar with how a social network works in a larger sense. Plus, once you show them how easy it will be to organize those Friday Happy Hours, adoption will more or less take care of itself.
How Enterprise Social Networks boost productivity:
- Office social networks bring the same communication and collaboration benefits that we've been enjoying in our personal lives for years to our professional ones.
- Conversations become much more fluid and organic, as opposed to the cumbersome back-and-forth messaging offered by email.
- As collaboration increases, productivity increases as well.
Virtual Reality: Boost Both Innovation and Problem Solving
Another example of a technology that can significantly increase productivity in the workplace is virtual reality. Many organisations have been using it to help with the training and onboarding of new employees — a trend that is only going to increase as time goes on.
Imagine if you were running a construction company and you could train an employee on how to use a crane without actually putting them in physical danger. Or if you could suddenly provide hands-on experience to new workers in a wide range of different costly situations without actually needing to spend the time and money to recreate those situations in the real-world environment.
A construction worker undergoing training for a high-risk scenario.
Virtual reality can even open the door for a new level of experimentation, allowing your employees to see problems from different angles in a way that lets them try out new techniques that may have otherwise been impossible.
Not only does this application of virtual reality allow you to save money on training, but you're also leveraging more effective procedures (and potentially far safer ones too). As the quality of your training increases, so do the skills your workers bring to their jobs. At that point, the only place their productivity can go is up.
VR also has a number of fun implications for your office. Instead of leaving the office whenever they need to take a break, your workers can instead use their VR headset to experience any environment they'd like in stunning detail. Their senses won't be able to tell the difference and you don't have to worry about someone clocking in late after lunch.
How Virtual Reality boosts productivity
- Virtual reality, when applied properly, can have an appreciable impact on the ability of your employees to innovate and solve problems.
- It's a great way to improve your training procedures, creating lessons that are more effective and (in many cases) safer.
- This is a perfect opportunity to inspire meaningful change and allow people to see things from different angles that they wouldn't normally have access to.
The Internet of Things is Finally Ready for Prime Time
For years, we've been hearing about the impending onslaught of the Internet of Things — a series of billions of devices that are all connected to one another, creating and sharing data at all times. Not only has the IoT officially arrived, believe it or not, the increase in productivity it has brought with it to the workplace may have actually been understated.
Take something even as simple as note taking, for example. Instead of dividing your attention between the person speaking in a meeting and your pen moving across a piece of paper, let your virtual assistant take all the notes for you and send them straight to Microsoft Docs, Evernote or another app.
The IoT will also be a huge benefit in terms of resource management. Not only can employees better manage their schedules, tasks and project deadlines, but it also allows employers to have more visibility than ever into how work is being done in business.
You can see which projects tend to require the most physical resources, making sure everything is allocated ahead of time to avoid costly delays. If you're a fleet manager, you can see which drivers are taking the most efficient routes and which ones may need a bit of additional attention.
The IoT is also helping people create safer workspaces too. Safety cameras and even access control systems can help preserve the security of your physical environment and specialised sensors built into the devices themselves can help ward off issues like malware and any sort of informational theft.
At this point, the Internet of Things can practically do it all — even serving as a duly elected office temperature monitor. Data can estimate the best possible temperature at any given time so your employees will spend less time fighting over the thermostat and more time behind their desks where they belong.
How IoT boosts workplace productivity:
- Many of the major benefits of the Internet of Things for businesses are less about anyone major change and are more about a series of smaller ones.
- Virtual assistants can take notes and send them directly to any program you'd like.
- Smart cameras and access control systems are a great way to improve physical security.
- The IoT is also invaluable for resource management, particularly as it relates to the allocation of physical assets and staff workloads.
Today’s Innovation: Paving the Path to the Future
In a nutshell, any one of these reasons would be compelling enough for anyone to start embracing the advantages of innovative technology with open arms. But when you consider that a few subtle IT adjustments can allow you to leverage all of these and others at the exact same time, you arrive at the core of modern ingenuity.
To put it another way, business leadership will love that employees can now do more with less, while employees will love the ease at which they can organise the occasional Happy Hour daily or weekly with colleagues. Truly, it's the definition of a win-win situation.
As an industry-leading provider of a wide range of Microsoft products like Microsoft Teams and others, the team at Lanrex understand the true power that innovative technology can bring to the table when leveraged properly. At the same time, however, we also believe that technology is ultimately just a platform. What that platform can do in a broad sense matters far less than what it can do for you — which is something we've spent years helping organisations maximise efficiency.
If you'd like to find out additional information about how innovative technology can increase productivity in the workplace or if you have any additional questions you'd like to discuss in a bit more detail, contact Lanrex today.
By Lanrex on 10/04/19 9:41 AM
Since its initial release in June of 2011, Microsoft’s Office 365 has grown from “just another productivity suite” to one of the dominant tools in its category available today. Thanks to the way it integrates with cloud-based services, it has opened a series of incredible new doors for businesses in terms of productivity and collaboration alone.
Still, organisations that have been hesitant to make the jump into the cloud have been equally weary about embracing the next generation of Microsoft Office. In truth, there are a number of incredible benefits that your business can get by migrating to Office 365 that you likely aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else.
Out of the various options, we believe that the top 7 benefits of migrating to Office 365 are:
It Empowers Your Ageing Infrastructure
Integration With The Tools You Already Have
You Can Work Anywhere, Anytime, No Exceptions
It’s Scalable with your Business
Security + Control = Peace of Mind
Safety In High Cloud Availability and Data Redundancy
1. It Empowers Your Ageing Infrastructure
One of the most significant benefits of migrating to Office 365 has to do with how it allows you to save not only time but money with regards to your ageing equipment. As an infrastructure ages, costs tend to skyrocket. What you used to be able to accomplish with one solution now requires two or more. Even simple things like video conferencing become laborious and intensive.
The Girl Scouts of Colorado is just one example of an organisation that saw these benefits firsthand. The staff was able to accomplish a wide range of tasks just by migrating to Office 365, like:
Reducing the number of servers they had to maintain from ten to five, with three of those being virtual
Execute calls and web conferences without the need to go beyond Office 365.
Embrace instant messaging and other collaborative tools like remote desktop that allowed employees to communicate with one another and share files without requiring them to set up a VPN tunnel
In the end, they were able to save approximately $100,000 by making the jump — especially when you include staff time needed to set up and maintain alternatives.
With a skilled managed service provider (MSP), migrating to Office 365 does not require a complete overhaul of IT but an optimisation of existing infrastructure. The Girl Scouts of Colorado saved $100,000 by migrating to Office 365 this way.
2. Integration with the Tools You Already Have
On a basic level, another major benefit of migrating to Office 365 is that it works seamlessly with the tools you’re likely already using. If your business relies heavily on Microsoft Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Publisher, and other solutions, you don’t have to worry about relearning everything all over again.
These tools will still continue to work, and thanks to the cloud-based nature of Office 365, you can even take the results you can achieve with these tools to the next level.
Migrating to Office 365 increases the efficiency of existing software so you can dramatically improve productivity.
3. Work Anywhere, Anytime, No Exceptions
The most obvious advantage of migrating to Office 365 is that it provides web-enabled access to just about everything. Documents, email, contacts, calendars — everything can be accessed anywhere, at any time, on any computer, smartphone, or tablet that you happen to have handy. This comes at a significant advantage for companies offering flexible work arrangements to their employees.
Carpool Agency had always used mobile solutions, but after implementing Microsoft Teams and the Office 365 productivity suite, productivity dramatically increased. The increased flexibility boosted staff morale and, as a result, improved the efficiency of the agency.
Microsoft Teams, and the rest of the productivity suite can enable positive productivity and cultural shifts in your team.
4. It’s Scalable with Your Business
Office 365 is also highly scalable, allowing it to continue to grow and evolve as your business does the same. With Office 365, you pay for what you’re using — this means everything from embracing new solutions to adding on additional data storage as you bring on new employees are both effortless and highly cost effective.
When Japanese innovation agency, Dream Factory experienced unpredicted success with a major project, the growth led to critical infrastructure gaps being exposed. Previously, they employed several different IT systems to help them grow, but these proved only temporarily successful.
Office 365 provided Dream Factory with the scalability and flexibility they needed, while also managing to reduce overhead costs involved with managing their own systems. Now they are poised to help manage the radical success of their project and prepare for the next venture.
How Office 365 Helps:
Office 365 allows you to pay for your individual business needs, meaning nothing is wasted and everything is used. Dream Factory used Office 365 to manage an unpredicted radical high-growth project with major success.
5. Security + Control = Peace of Mind
Office 365 is also highly advanced in the realm of security. With Office 365 you get the same protection for documents, networks, and emails that’s used by the biggest enterprises in the world. Microsoft data centres further manage your data stores and are certified to meet industry standard certifications.
Built-in tools allow you to control file security on a granular level, allowing you to set permissions by employee or by their role in your organisation. Not only do you see who has what data, but you can also actively change their permissions, giving you complete control and transparency.
And if a mobile device with Office 365 connectivity is ever lost, you can wipe it remotely so that this data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
How Office 365 Helps:
You get world-class data security and are able to completely control and set the transparency of your company’s data.
6. Safety in High Cloud Availability and Data Redundancy
Two key benefits of working in the cloud with Office 365 is availability and redundancy. This means that you are able to access all data on the cloud as you wish, bypassing delays from server mishaps, technical breakdowns or severe disasters (e.g. fires, power outage, extreme weather etc).
This significantly decreases the possibility of suffering catastrophic data loss to the point where any particular file or collection of files would not be able to be recovered.
How Office 365 Helps:
Through Office 365’s cloud storage system, you get access to data when and where you need it while safeguarding your data in case of extreme unexpected events.
7. Maintenance-Free Operation
Speaking of high availability, Microsoft also guarantees 99.9% uptime and 24x7 online and phone support to all users. This, coupled with the guaranteed maintenance of all Office 365 servers, provides your organisation with the technology it needs without having to worry about unexpected disruptions at the worst possible time.
How Office 365 Helps:
With Office 365, you get 99.9% uptime and up to 24x7 online and phone support so you know all your important work is accessible no matter what the circumstances may be.
Empower Your Organisation’s IT with Office 365
As you can see, Office 365 is more than just a simple productivity suite. Gone are the days where the functionality of Microsoft Office worked in silos, trapped in a series of disparate applications that did well on their own but failed to rise as a completely productive set.
With Office 365, you get a comprehensive collaboration and communication tool that enables you to do your best work, anywhere, and at any time so you can work smarter, not just harder.
Office 365 empowers your employees and your entire organisation to be in the best possible position to improve business performance and outcomes across the board.
If you have any additional questions about the major benefits of migrating to Office 365, or if you’re looking for strategic insight into how you can better apply technology to accomplish your business objectives, contact Lanrex today.
How cancer support experts CanTeen narrowly escaped a tech breakdown by successfully relocating their IT
By Lanrex on 27/02/19 11:00 AM
There have been 138,281 cancer cases diagnosed in Australia in 2018. But in spite of this rapidly growing number, there is no way to ever fully prepare you when cancer strikes. This is why cancer support groups are a much-needed respite for individuals who find themselves or their family members facing cancer.
CanTeen is a charity group that supports young people dealing with a close family member’s cancer or their own. Through CanTeen, they learn to explore, deal, and come to terms with their feelings about cancer. The support group gives them a safe space to cope with these difficult emotions and helps them connect with others their age in similar situations. CanTeen also offers young cancer patients with access to specialist treatment teams.
At the heart of CanTeen and everything they do are the young people affected by cancer who need support and also offer their very own to others just like them.
CanTeen relies on the generosity of the community to continue its vital work, which also includes leading-edge research into dealing with the emotional and social impacts of cancer and aims to gain a true understanding of young people’s behaviour when cancer does happen to them.
The Business Need
To better cater to the needs of their community, CanTeen has endeavored to relocate their Sydney CBD office to Newtown. This involves cutting over to a new wide area network (WAN) and relocating their IT infrastructure to a new data centre.
Fully relocating your IT infrastructure and implementing network changes and reconfigurations can be a daunting prospect, especially if you only have one system administrator as your only resource. To make it even more challenging, logistically, the IT infrastructure move and switch over had to be completed overnight as CanTeen had no backup equipment in place.
Vlad Semenikhin, CanTeen’s Systems Administrator, issued a select tender to three companies who were chosen from recommendations by CanTeen’s Citrix account manager.
Based on the responses to the tender and the presentations which were provided, Lanrex won the business to facilitate the move.
Vlad and CanTeen’s management team were both impressed with the level of professionalism and can-do spirit shown by Lanrex and it’s team towards their specific requirements. After the decision was made, Lanrex won the bid as the “suitable candidate.”
For its part, Lanrex conducted a complete risk analysis prior to the commencement of the CanTeen’s IT system migration. All essential risk mitigation was clearly and thoroughly documented. Documentation was also provided outlining Lanrex’s approach to the project.
The move was scheduled for a Friday evening with the aim of having all systems available for the Monday morning return to work.
The pack-up commenced at 6:00 pm, the move began at 9:30 pm, and all systems were successfully back online at 2:00 am on Saturday morning, without any untoward issues.
Through Lanrex’s experienced team of professionals, CanTeen’s IT system and infrastructure was successfully installed and migrated to their new office without any significant disruption to the business.
CanTeen continues to work with Lanrex on a number of projects including the upgrade of their Citrix environment from XenApp 5.0 to 7.6. This is a type of upgrade and overhaul of their IT environment which includes a brand new build.
Since CanTeen’s current IT environment was still using outdated 32-bit architecture and a Windows 2008 server, the change was long overdue.
CanTeen’s new hardware in the data centre with increased storage now provides greater efficiency and productivity.
Future projects include updating the CanTeen CRM, a move to Office 365, and changing from tape backup to backup to disk.
As CanTeen’s system administrator noted, working with Lanrex has given CanTeen a fresh start and has enabled them to continue reaching out to others who need the help of their support group.
Along with the smooth and timely relocation, Vlad was impressed with the way Lanrex performed saying,
“They were very good throughout the move. They are very willing to assist and they are always upfront and straightforward in their approach.”
To Vlad, working with Lanrex has been an overall smooth and positive experience and one that he would recommend to anyone else who may need the same level of support to empower their business to scale.
The future of SMBs: Discover 5 of the most disruptive technology trends affecting Small Businesses in 2019
By Lanrex on 13/02/19 4:56 PM
If 2018 is anything to go by, 2019 will be an enormous year for SMBs. Technology looks set to disrupt more and more industries and no one really knows what's coming next. We put together a list of the most disruptive tech trends that SMBs need to be aware of.
Download the Infographic here: Lanrex Biggest Tech Trends For Small Businesses in 2019
Our purpose at Lanrex is to help SMBs make their technology a business advantage. We want to simplify the tech talk, and implement technology that means business.
If you have any questions about the future of tech and your business, we would love to hear from you.
Jodie, Managing Director of Lanrex.
By Lanrex on 24/01/19 10:30 AM
AgriRisk was established in 1989 as one of the first specialist rural insurance brokers in Australia. The business has always paid special attention to client relationships, personal service, and targeted advice to a range of agricultural operations from large corporate and supply chain agribusinesses to the smallest family farms, seasonal contractors, agronomists, rural professionals. and supply chain businesses.
With three locations in Australia, AgriRisk offers crop and general insurances and also specialises in difficult, complex risk solutions for larger corporate agribusinesses in the non-traditional insurance market.
The Business Need
As a small to medium business, AgriRisk realised very early on that technology wasn’t their core strength. They understood that they required specialist knowledge to achieve the best results. For many years they have outsourced their IT requirements while still keeping the necessary infrastructure in-house.
In order to remain current and ensure they have the best possible solutions for their business, AgriRisk has always had a regular audit of their IT systems done by an independent consultant. It was when an audit revealed unsatisfactory issues, AgriRisk decided to look for an alternative provider.
High on their list of requirements was a provider who partnered with “best of breed” companies — a Microsoft Gold Level partner with solid hardware partnerships and networking solutions such as Cisco. Their IT provider also needed to be proactive and stay current with IT trends. They found all of these requirements in Lanrex.
AgriRisk’s Key Challenges
Having several office locations was one challenge for the business but what was more pressing was third-party specialist applications essential to AgriRisk’s operations, such as their main insurance broking platform. This application must always remain compatible with the overall IT operating environment.
IT Support & Consultancy Solution
Lanrex provided IT support and consultancy to AgriRisk, managing their day-to-day operations, reporting and resolving any issues which may arise, and giving advise on updates and improvements.
Regular IT audits have been done and since their partnership with Lanrex, no irregularities or issues have occurred. All AgriRisk staff have access to Lanrex should they experience any IT problems, which are duly recorded and included in monthly reports to AgriRisk’s Financial Controller, John Anderson.
Due to the widespread locations of their clients, AgriRisk staff members are often mobile — using tablets and smartphones to access pertinent information while on the road. Not only do they need access to AgriRisk systems, but they also need access to a range of insurers, depending on the type of insurance coverage required by the client, for information and to provide detailed quotations.
Key Outcomes & Results
The high level of service provided by Lanrex to AgriRisk is key to the longevity of their partnership, which commenced in 2008.
John Anderson commented, “Lanrex always employs good people who work hard to solve any issues, no issues are hidden away, and they are always upfront. Lanrex is proactive, discusses futures, and actively participates in where you are heading.”
Even though all staff can access their IT support, John receives monthly reports so he remains fully briefed.
The Future for AgriRisk
While cloud computing hasn’t yet been on the AgriRisk agenda, it is part of their future thinking and will depend on key applications being enabled for that environment and Lanrex will be a part of any move to the cloud.
John is happy with the Lanrex partnership and would happily recommend them to others.
“They don’t take things for granted, they keep up-to-date and they understand where key IT players are headed. While we don’t want to be crash test dummies, we don’t want to trail behind either. We are happy to take on something new when the service is proven, it must be reliable.”
By Lanrex on 9/01/19 9:58 AM
Established in 2004, DUAL Australia Pty Ltd is a specialist underwriting agency providing innovative insurance solutions for small to medium enterprise. DUAL specialises in accident and health, financial lines, general liability, and marine insurances. The agency also underwrites exclusively on behalf of Lloyd's, a name synonymous with insurance which has an S&P rating of A+ since the late seventeenth century.
DUAL has implemented an online trading platform enabling brokers to obtain instant quotations and bindings 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is regularly used by over 650 broking houses across Australia and resulted in more than 30,000 policies being transacted every year. Employing more than 80 people DUAL, has four offices across Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.
The Business Need for DUAL Australia
The SME Team within DUAL work with brokers on a day-to-day basis on new business opportunities. Prior to January 2016, a review of their current processes highlighted areas which could be improved, particularly the recording of phone conversations, email, and meetings with brokers. They required a more comprehensive reporting method and the implementation of an efficient workflow tool.
DUAL Australia’s Key Challenges
A number of issues had to be addressed such as:
- The ability to record and track activities done by the SME Team to realise new business opportunities
- A more efficient means of updating business opportunities recorded in Excel spreadsheets and MS Access
- The lack of a centralised database containing information about all the brokers the SME Team worked with
A Workflow Strategy Solution
Lanrex was already engaged by DUAL to provide its IT services and were consulted by Frances Land, the SME Team Leader for a possible solution to address DUAL’s revised operating requirements.
To ensure Lanrex had a thorough understanding of the important issues and requirements, DUAL’s SME team worked closely with Lanrex during the implementation, testing, and quality assurance phases.
Lanrex proposed the use of Microsoft Dynamics to help the SME Team, who needed a workflow strategy tool.
Of the services provided by Lanrex, SME Team Leader Frances Land points out:
“It is a fantastic system which meets our needs and Lanrex has provided a great response to any changes we required.”
The SME Team is now able to—
- Store and access all information about its broker firms, broker contacts, and opportunities from a centralised database
- Help managers seamlessly assign and manage opportunities
- Track and view the progress of business opportunities online using the Dynamics dashboard and via various reports
- Record their own activities using a simple interface, which also enables them to monitor their own performance.
Key Outcomes & Results
Microsoft Dynamics is integrated with DUAL’s online quoting system which provides the opportunities for the SME Team to then work with the relevant brokers and track any subsequent activities.
The solution was implemented in January 2016 and was proven to have the flexibility required to meet the needs and expectations of DUAL. The big win has been in DUAL’s new ability to establish effective workflows for the SME Team to increase their efficiency and improve their results.
The interaction with Office 365 has provided substantial integration of tasks, eliminating double handling and reducing operational errors.The Dynamics dashboard with features open to all users has also stimulated healthy competition among the team members.
Frances Land complimented Lanrex on their professionalism.
“Lanrex has a really good positive attitude. They are helpful and never short of a recommendation. We do insurance, not IT, and Lanrex has a very high level of expertise.”
The Future for Dual Australia
There’s more to come from Lanrex and Dual Australia’s partnership. Lanrex is working on a number of projects with DUAL Australia to enhance and improve not only their IT but to expand this with their overall business strategy.
By Lanrex on 18/12/18 11:26 AM
As the year comes to a close, many are looking forward to see how they can prepare themselves for whatever 2019 will bring. While some are worried, many are excited about what new technologies are going to revolutionise their businesses for the better.
If 2018 is anything to go by, 2019 will be a year of great change. We believe being on top of these trends is crucial to sustained success, that's why we have done the hard work for you and created a comprehensive list of Lanrex's biggest tech trend predictions for 2019.
Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season from everyone here at Lanrex!
Jodie, Managing Director of Lanrex.
By Lanrex on 4/12/18 3:45 PM
Every few years, technology advances to a place where it is once again possible to transform your service organisation from a cost centre to a profit centre and into a virtual powerhouse overnight. Oftentimes those changes start small, with a series of trends that may not look like much on their own. However, when taken together, they represent the type of positive disruption that comes along once in a generation.
2019 is certainly shaping up to be another one of those years and we're not even there yet.
In fact, there are a number of critical field service technology trends that are nearly ready to "pop" that you should absolutely pay attention to as we move into the new year and beyond. If you don't want to count yourself among the 20% of companies who will fail in their digital transformation this year, now is the time to pay attention.
Innovation Doesn't Just Drive Field Services. It Drives Everything
Maybe the most important field service technology trend to watch out for in 2019 is also one of the most broadly defined: a constant need to find new and unique sources of innovation around every corner.
In many ways, this trend has less to do with any specific type of tech and more to do with how those resources are being applied to an organisation on a fundamental level. Even when you consider a solution as sophisticated as Dynamics 365 for Field Services, it's now within your reach to effortlessly accomplish things that were literally impossible just a few short years ago.
Based on that, customer expectations are changing, and your business needs to change with them. They no longer want you to do what they expect as well as you can. They're eager for you to give them something they never knew they wanted in the first place, which is why any opportunity you have to drive service innovation is one worth exploring.
With so many great technologies available, you're truly limited only by your own imagination. Rest assured, that is a very exciting position to be in.
The Era of Automation Has Arrived
Another major field service technology trend that you'll need to stay abreast of has to do with a constant push into the world of automation. With automation comes the need for greater soft skills in technicians, but that isn't necessarily something to be feared.
Automation is your perfect chance to do more with less, increasing the volume of work you're able to get done without increasing your headcount along the way.
Plus, you need to consider the breakneck pace that the industry itself is continuing to change right before our very eyes. Staying ahead of the curve is difficult when the curve is constantly changing, but by relying on automation you can make your change management processes easier and more efficient than ever before.
There are certain types of technologies that overlap with this core idea like artificial intelligence and data analytics.
But regardless of the technique you use, the end result is always the same: you're getting more for your technology budget and you're reaping the benefits of a streamlined process and better decision-making along the way.
Stop Selling Services and Start Selling Outcomes
Maybe the most important trend to pay attention to is a shift in how we think about field services to begin with. We've reached a critical mass in terms of what an organisation is able to do and instead, the competitive advantage of the 21st century is born out of how they're able to do it.
To put it another way, you need to stop selling services in the most literal sense of the term and start selling based on the value those services generate.. You need to become a true customer success organisation by making use of predictive and proactive engagement techniques.
Field services organisations can no longer afford to wait for a client to have a problem, at which point they then step in and solve it. They need to take proactive steps to stop that problem from happening in the first place. Data analytics will once again play an essential role in this process, as will advanced customer relationship management tools.
This again underlines the need to rely on a solution like Dynamics 365 for Field Services that can pull all of your data together under one roof, making it available to every member of an organisation regardless of where they happen to be. Whether someone is in the office or in the car on the way to a client's location shouldn't matter — all data should be available everywhere, at all times, no exceptions.
Preparing for the Future, One Trend at a Time
At Lanrex, we understand how important it is to operate at the top of your field. It's not just about becoming the best. True success over the long-term demands that you achieve that status and keep it, which itself requires you to be as proactive about field service technology trends as possible.
Almost more so than any other industry, field services organisations cannot afford to grow stagnate. Your customers care about your ability to innovate and find new ways to make their lives easier every day, which means that you need to care about these things too.
If you'd like to find out more information about all of the most important field service technology trends to watch out for in 2019, or if you'd just like to find out more about how a trusted partner like Lanrex can help you implement Dynamics 365 for Field Services to transform your business from the top down, contact us today.
By Lanrex on 18/10/18 2:14 PM
Digital transformation is a broad term that can mean many, far-reaching things. But the start of the process is only as complicated as you make it and it is something that can absolutely work to your advantage if you play your cards right.
Yes, you're going to be making many changes to the technological foundation of your company. Yes, you're going to experience a sometimes significant level of disruption along the way. But the process itself is nothing if not logical. Provided that you start out on the right foot, you'll find that it's far more straightforward than you likely thought it was going to be and the rewards will be worth it.
Getting started with digital transformation on those terms isn't necessarily the most difficult task in the world, and luckily CEO of Lanrex and expert in technology for business, Jodie Korber has outlined the three key steps you need to take before a digital transformation.
Strategy is the Key to Digital Transformation
For the absolute best results, any digital transformation efforts should begin earnestly enough, at the strategy level. In other words, you need to be able to adequately answer the following questions before you proceed:
- What does the term "digital transformation" mean to this organisation?
- What does it actually look like, meaning what steps do we need to be taking?
- What benefits are we going to get that we don't have access to now?
- Why is it important to take these steps at this particular moment?
If you can answer those questions, you should know which direction you’re headed to — and at that point, you more or less have everything you need to get started.
"Digital transformation is about redefining a business strategy and delivering customer value, all based on the potential of digital technologies," says Jodie Korber, CEO of Lanrex.
But to get to that point, you need to have a clear understanding of your strategy as it exists today so that you can see the impact of changes in real time. You can't make any meaningful change if you don't know what change looks like, which is why beginning at the strategy phase is so critical.
The Boots on the Ground
As you begin to build out your strategy, you need to make an effort to speak to key stakeholders to understand where the problems with your current infrastructure really are. It's one thing to look at analytics and say "since we implemented X, we haven't seen the benefits in productivity and communication we thought we would." It's another thing entirely to know why that is the case.
To arrive at that insight, the solution is simple: all you have to do is ask.
Engage with all key stakeholders and find out how your current technology impacts them on a basic level every day.
- What problems are they encountering?
- What workarounds have they developed?
- What do they wish was different?
- What's preventing them from working smarter, not harder?
As you begin to speak to more and more people, you'll get a better idea of certain gaps in your existing strategy. Find out as much as you can about the problems that are on everybody's minds. What common areas and themes do these problems share?
"Digital transformation begins not with the technology, but with your business itself," adds Jodie Korber. Within the context of this particular discussion, your business and your people are one and the same.
A problem is just a question you haven't figured out the answer to yet, but the answer absolutely exists. This information shouldn't be something to be apprehensive about, it should be empowering and it should lead your way through the darkness of change. As your digital transformation is in large part designed to fill or outright eliminate those gaps, the shape that your transformation will take will more or less begin to reveal itself over time.
In terms of problem areas, "you need to identify and tackle the root causes" said Jodie Korber. "Without viable solutions built on actionable information, these problems will only repeat and compound."
The Art of Current State Documentation
Next, you need to further cement your image of where you currently stand by conducting a thorough current state documentation. By having your current business processes heavily documented in a logical and accurate way, it's far easier to evaluate key problem areas for process improvement across the board.
Not only will this once again give you a better idea of where you need to be by highlighting where you currently are, but this current state documentation will pay dividends all across the digital transformation process too.
- It'll significantly help reduce the time needed to communicate with both internal and external parties during transformation, for example.
- It'll virtually eliminate the possibility that two people will be doing the same job without realising it.
- It's a critical document that reduces the time, the effort, and the ultimate cost associated with digital transformation.
Plus, it's something that you can always refer back to in order to guarantee that you're moving in the direction you think you are. If you know where you've been and where you're trying to get to, you know how long it will take you to get from "Point A" to "Point B." At that point, it doesn't matter how long the process takes — it's going to get done, you can guarantee it.
Digital Transformation: Invest in a Better Tomorrow Today
At this point, you've done more than just get started with your digital transformation efforts. You may already have a clear roadmap outlining exactly where you're headed and, more critically, how you're going to get there. At this point, success is truly no longer a question of if but when.
If you'd like to find out more information about getting started with digital transformation or if you have any additional questions about what a solution like Dynamics 365 might bring to the table throughout this process, get in touch with Lanrex today.
By Lanrex on 18/10/18 1:43 PM
Do you find yourself working in a more "traditional" workplace — one where collaboration is often slow and laborious? It's a question that a lot of business leaders are asking themselves these days and luckily, it's also one with an easy answer.
If the aforementioned question describes your situation, the problem isn't your people. It may be the technology they're being forced to use. In that type of situation, implementing a collaborative communications model will do more than just transform your workplace from a technological point of view. It will help your employees work together, faster, and smarter than ever before. It's an idea at the heart of digital transformation for many organisations and because of that, it's one that you'll want to pay attention to.
The process itself, however, is not as simple as flipping a light switch. It's one that must be thought out, calculated, and heavily considered at all times. Therefore, if you really want to increase your team's productivity with technology, there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind.
1. Everything Begins With an Inventory
If you truly want to increase your team's productivity with technology, the first step you have to take involves defining what "technology" means to them to begin with.
People tend to develop their own unique ways of doing things when given enough time and more often than not these days, those ways involve various applications that allow them to work smarter, not harder. Therefore, the first step towards a successful digital transformation involves finding out what technology your team members actually like using and, more importantly, why.
- Let them tell you in their own words about why something works and what a positive difference it makes.
- Take all of this into consideration when you're making decisions moving forward. Really think about and examine the net benefit that someone gets from a particular app or solution.
- Why is it meaningful to them?
- What does it allow them to do that they wouldn't otherwise be able to?
- What would happen to them if it suddenly weren't available anymore?
Along the same lines, you also need to identify any workarounds with technology that your own team members are currently experimenting with. A workaround is something that one of your users might do — no matter how small, to get the technology to work for them instead of against them. They're essentially tricking a solution to do something it wasn't necessarily designed for or to make it easier to use, in a way that benefits them all the same.
The importance of this rests with the fact that users who create workarounds are really helping to illustrate a shortcoming with an existing solution, one that you can fix by way of digital transformation. Observe your users performing actual tasks in their work environment with a particular solution. Look for any unusual ways that the solution is being used and ask yourself "what are they trying to achieve or avoid?"
If that workaround legitimately gives them a net benefit, ask yourself how you can take that information and use it to build a better product in the future.
2. New Technology Doesn't Just Appear. It Must Be Discovered
Next, research any new technology that might be available that A) closely aligns with what your team members are trying to do and how they need to do it, and B) is legitimately better than whatever they're using right now.
Office 365 for Business, for example, is a lot more than just a productivity suite like the versions of Office we've all grown accustomed to using over the years. In many ways, it's an innovation engine and one built to empower communication and collaboration across the board.
The same is true for something like Dynamics 365, which is a state-of-the-art customer relationship management tool that can be of particular use to field services organisations in particular.
But the point is that you can't just wait for these new solutions to fall on your lap — they're not going to. You need to be proactive which requires doing as much research as possible.
3. Everything Depends on Implementation
Once you know what you need to do and why that's so important in terms of digital transformation, the next step is also the most obvious one: implementation.
To that end, you have two key options. You can choose to go with the Big Bang Method which entails doing everything all at once or the Phase in Approach, which lets you slowly make these critical changes over time. The former method is disruptive but fast, while the latter is less disruptive but naturally takes longer.
Nobody can tell you which of these two methods is the best for you. Only you can make that determination based on what your people need and, most critically, when they need it. Again, solicit their opinion and weigh the pros and cons together. If you truly want to increase productivity with technology, you cannot be making decisions in a vacuum. They're the ones who are going to be affected by your choices so let them have a say in the matter.
The Arc of Change is Powerful, Indeed
Technology is a platform just as everything else. If collaboration in your workplace is slow and laborious, it just means that your platform isn't the right one for the job at the present time. With the right changes and a thoughtfully considered digital transformation strategy, there's truly no limit to what you can accomplish together.
To find out more information about how to improve your team's productivity with technology or to get answers to other essential questions you may have, contact Lanrex today.
By Lanrex on 24/09/18 10:41 AM
In every industry, digital transformation is rapidly shifting what’s possible for businesses. Organisations that want to operate at the very top of their field need to embrace digital change. In this blog, we’ll explore how Dynamics 365 for Field Service can help businesses to digitally evolve. We will outline how it can help you:
- Optimise resources and schedules
- Improve communications
- Use advanced tools on-the-go
- Take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT)
Optimise Resources and Schedules
Above all, field service organisations need to be able to match the resources at hand to the organisation’s service demands. This means managing schedules, timeframes, and workloads, so that resources are utilised optimally.
Dynamics 365 for Field Service offers resource scheduling optimisation (RSO) to make sure resources are allocated in the most effective way possible. This automated scheduling tool takes into account the skills, locations, durations, travel time, and priorities of your team and helps you schedule these so that you meet your objectives in the most efficient way. Not only does this help you fit in more appointments, you can also improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.
The ultimate goal is to have technicians able to assist customers on time, the first time with the right skills needed to get the job done. This is how you can deliver the most value to your customers. What’s more, drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to manage resources and schedules in real time.
Your technicians need to be able to access information and easily communicate with colleagues and customers to do the best job that they can. From accessing customer information to overcoming unexpected obstacles to crowdsourcing expert knowledge from colleagues, quick and easy communication can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a dissatisfied one.
With Dynamics 365, your technicians have access to everything they need to get the job done, including contacts, customer references, bookings, customer assets, maps, work orders, and much more. Even better, their colleagues are just a few clicks away. Technicians become much more effective this way.