by Michael Cooch | www.everonit.com
As you probably already know, Everon now has two offices – one located in Boston, and the other located in the Denver-Boulder business corridor of Colorado. Having multiple offices creates exciting new opportunities, but also creates new challenges. Implementing the right technology tools can help you make the most of the situation.
As always, we believe that technology should be used to achieve your goals – not just for the sake of spending money on technology! In this case, we looked for technology that accomplished the following goals:
- Increasing communication
- Creating a sense of community
- Increasing accountability and control
Our experiences with both our own offices, and the offices of our clients have helped us to develop a list of the best technology tools for success:
- Success Factors – I believe that this web-based service (www.successfactors.com) may be the single most important tool any business could have. Why? Their tools allow you to create organizational alignment around performance expectations, measures, and compensation. Clearly defining your company’s goals and ensuring employees are all on the same page is difficult enough in one office, having two or more makes it a real challenge. Success Factors can help you make it happen.
- IP phone system – IP phone systems easily connect multiple offices, and are flexible enough to make adding and moving people very easy. We use a Shoretel system and highly recommend it, but I’m sure that there are others out there that will meet your needs as well. Having an IP phone system has saved us money, increased communication within the company, and made our lives easier in many other ways.
- Microsoft Exchange – Exchange is the market leading email management system from Microsoft. While its ability to handle email effectively is critical, I feel like the real noteworthy value is in the shared contact and calendaring features. Users are able to see everyone’s calendar, no matter which office they are in, saving a lot of time and hassle when trying to coordinate meetings, etc.
- Salesforce.com – If you have salespeople in multiple offices, you really need to implement a web-based sales management tool, like Salesforce. Keeping track of how salespeople are spending their time is always a challenge; an online system like this gives you complete visibility no matter where you or they reside.
- Webcams/Videoconferencing – When you have multiple offices, face time is at a premium. We have weekly company-wide meetings, and being able to see each other’s faces is a big boost in making those meetings more fun, personable, and effective. If you are on a strict budget, webcams can do the trick without hurting the bank. We project the images from the cameras up on the wall to make it more impactful. If you can afford to spend a bit more, consider a videoconferencing solution from Cisco or Polycom.
- Google Docs – File sharing made simple. If you have multiple offices and don’t have them all connected as one network, you’ll probably be looking for an easy way to share files. Google Docs is great for this. Google has created a very simple web interface that allows you to store and edit your Microsoft Office spreadsheets, documents and presentations. Accounts are free, and I don’t believe there is a storage limit.
- Message Labs Instant Messaging – A major downfall of having multiple offices is that you can miss out on the quick back-and-forth of real time collaboration. Using a group instant messaging tool can give you that sense of having everyone working in one room, even if you are miles apart. We’ve found that Message Labs is a great tool because of its management, security, and archiving capabilities.
Tags: business, communications, everon, everon it, everonit, google docs, instant messaging, IP phone system, message labs, microsoft exchange, resources, salesforce, small business, success factors, technology, technology resources, technology tools, videoconferencing, webcams