These annoying devices can be a lifesaver when needing to get invoices and orders out, equally when they don’t work they get the brunt of a lot of abuse and sometimes a good kick-in, so why do they cause so many problems?
Well, our research has uncovered that the bulk of the issues come down not to the physical printer, but to the native Windows platform that’s being used to manage them. This is why you often hear people shouting about “my print job came out of the wrong tray.” Secondly, not enough investment is being made to ensure backup printers are available, which are ALWAYS ON and EASY to switch over to in the event of a problem.
The good news is, these two issues are easily solved and can help you from being caught short at 1am when you have delivery drivers waiting to get on the road. At Microbyte we promote a product called Printix to manage and control printers across your organisation. The way it works is by creating a transparent layer over Microsoft Windows which intelligently manages which printers you’re allowed access to and switches over accordingly. We already have several hundred users on the this platform and it’s been an absolute game changer.
#9 THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE
Now this can be a difficult one, and the end user is the one who suffers most. When there’s an issue with the IT it can be difficult to determine whether or not it’s the IT support company or the software company who should be contacted. It’s usually quite simple to determine who should be responsible, but when it’s the end user providing the diagnostic information they will often feel like they’re being passed from pillar to post with the IT support company saying its the software company, and vice versa. Believe it or not, this is so common, we could write a book on the subject with testimonials to boot!
However, we’ve developed a few key strategies to help tackle this ping pong effect, and reduce end users pulling their hair out:
1) Schedule in quarterly face to face meetings with your IT support company and software provider to determine where responsibilities lie and to define common fixes for common problems. This might seem like drastic action, but you’ll be amazed at how much time you will save with structured proactive meetings which bring vendors together. You’ll want to define reasonable expectations but also encourage the vendors to share knowledge for common fixes. At Microbyte for instance, we have a variety of FAQs and quick fix Task Templates for common issues with ERP systems; it saves everyone time and phone calls.
2) Help your software/IT support company by keeping track of recurring issues YOURSELF. Don’t just rely on the vendor to keep tabs of recurring issues. Yes they have all the information and data for these problems, but a second set of eyes will never hurt, especially when you consider they might have 10s or 100s of other clients all with their own IT issues, it’s more that a two way street, it’s a partnership, and all good partnerships need communication.
3) Where possible choose an IT company that has some sort of alliance with the main software you use. This won’t always be easy, but at the very least it’s worth trying to find a company that has experience with that particular type of software. Computers are not like cars, the parts are not always interchangeable, and having a support team on-hand that understands the nuances of a package and how it works within your type of business will be a lifesaver when it comes to staff stress levels.
#8 HIGH STAFF TURNOVER
This subject might be a little sensitive, but there is no point beating around the push, certain roles in this sector lend themselves to fast moving work with fast moving people, and this doesn’t always make things easy when it comes to managing all those users and their access rights.
Most IT companies ask for a bit of notice before they get a new user request to make sure they get it right, and it usually involves a lot of back and forth with questions like:
“Do they also need access to X?”
“Which computer is the user going to be using?”
“Have you contacted the CRM company to add a new licence?”
Yes, it’s relentless, and our research shows that even now a lot of companies do not get a consistent result when having users added or removed from the IT system.
So what can we do? Well the good news is, LOTS! At Microbyte we spend dedicated time on this very subject and have rigorous ONBOARDING and OFFBOARDING processes which are specific to the company we are supporting, and are validated regularly by someone onsite who actually knows how these things play out when they’re not done properly.
As a second stage on our pursuit to consistent results and efficiency, we are constantly developing dedicated Microsoft Forms for authorised personnel onsite to complete whenever they need a personnel change, and we make sure that every single bit of information is gathered at that point. No emails back and forth, and users getting frustrated because things are missing.
#7 SHARING EMAIL BOXES
A shared mailbox sure does come in handy when you need to communicate fast. Usually, more than one user can access the mailbox, provided they have the required permissions. These shared email boxes are centralised for sending, receiving, and sharing information.
With a shared mailbox, you get a single point of contact. Thus, you can easily segregate a department’s function into a functional email and shared folder.
What’s more, you assign and remove people easily while avoiding an overwhelming number of emails or unanswered questions.
Seems easy, right?
However, this does not always work out. For instance, when trying to access the mailbox, you can always encounter a synchronisation issue, usually, if your staff use older versions of Outlook or if the mailboxes are just too big.
Also, the issue of security can become a concern, thus before sharing a mailbox, you must determine:
- Who has access to the mailbox and do they have authorisation?
- How safe is the data being shared? And, is the dept. in question allowed to share it!
- What access level should be given to different individuals accessing the mailbox.
Shared email boxes also pose a significant risk to the users logged into the account. When remote bad actors take over the account, say through automated cracking/hacking, more of your users risk phishing scams, and it’s all downhill from there.
Shared mailboxes will always have a place in business, but it’s our recommendation to move away as much as possible to more automated processes by using platforms such as Microsoft Flow, as well as using CRM systems more effectively. A great many companies would actually benefit from a helpdesk platform such as Zendesk to manage communication rather than just sharing mailboxes.
#6 LARGE EMAIL SENDS
“Your Files Exceed attachment limits” Sound familiar?
Yes, every mailbox has its own email size sending limit; thus, if you want to send a large file, you risk getting “limitation” errors. Also, large email sends often have different load/rendering speeds and your recipients don’t have the same high-speed connection as yours; hence, a long-loading attachment may lead to irritation.
Additionally, for some email clients, a large email body may partially be rendered; hence, your recipients will only receive part of the information. Now, you do not have to worry about wasting time or resources sending emails to everyone on your list. Instead, you can use good file-sharing platforms like SharePoint or OneDrive, which have precise data expiration dates, and has security measures put in place by the security team, so not only can you share big files easily, but you can better control the security around your data.
While OneDrive is a more manageable platform, with a lot of free storage and easy organisation, Microsoft SharePoint offers a company-wide file and task management system. Therefore, you can expand your IT infrastructure in a cost-effective way while protecting your customer data through secure logins, MFA, and other benefits.
#5 SCANNING TO SOFTWARE
Businesses often manage their information by uploading them to secure digital storage spaces, which are within reach and easier to access. But how do you get the paperwork to the cloud or to your storage devices? The answer is, through scanning them. Scanners are essential devices at work.
They allow you to transform a physical document into a virtual one, making it easy to handle. So, if your company handles enormous volumes of data, scanning every page becomes a little taxing on employees, and frankly, inefficient. The problem comes when you have to sit at your desk with a flatbed printer, and go through the whole document, page by page while making changes before saving each section. And that’s not all; you, later on, have to sit and organize the files into a nicely prepared document before being able to use it effectively. Tiring, right?
Well, you’re right, and it’s time you upgraded. That’s why you need to automate your document scanning process as quickly as possible. and also avoid human error when processing thousands of paper documents.
With document processing software, you can minimise errors without backtracking or processing your documents again. The features on various scanning software allows you to process and classify data as it comes, saving you time and increasing your employee productivity.
There are several solutions out there that enable users to take charge of scanning in less tedious ways such as using Apps or software platforms such as AutoEntry which push the responsibility to the staff member generating the paperwork instead. For example you’ll be surprised how much time can be saved by employees taking pictures of their fuel receipts and simply emailing them to an automatic expenses platform.
We’ve proved it! Scanning issues are a top ten annoyance in IT support, especially for produce companies.