Employee Engagement

It’s not unreasonable to think that a happy employee will be a more productive employee.  That’s kind of human nature, isn’t it?  If you’re recognized for your hard work and you’re praised for something that you’ve done well, that typically makes you feel good.  If you’re completely ignored, no matter how hard you work, or if you feel like your ideas aren’t heard- then you probably won’t experience a sense of self-worth in your position.  This is relevant in all aspects of our lives, not just when it comes to employment.  It’s easy to forget these simple truths of life when we’re caught up in the daily chaos and hubbub of work, so we’ve compiled a list of things that you should keep in the back of your mind to promote the type of engagement and productivity that you’d like to see from your employees and coworkers.

  • Share the wealth. First and foremost, we all go to work every day to make money to provide for our families and ourselves.  Do not lose sight of the fact that each and every person in every organization is primarily there to earn a living.  Don’t be too stingy.  Evaluate your employees regularly and understand if they’re underpaid or are lacking in benefits.  One of the quickest ways to alienate employees, lose their respect, and eventually have them leave you is by neglecting raises and promotions, especially if it’s obvious that business is on the incline.
  • Listen. When it comes to implementing new processes or considering going after new markets, get the ideas from your employees.  The people that actually do the processes every day are the ones that really want to be heard.  They want their ideas to be put in motion and they don’t want to be completely ignored.  Likely the easiest way to earn respect and increase employee pride and production is simply by hearing them!
  • Keep it fun. Even though we’re at work, we don’t want it to feel like work.  While that might be a wish and a pipe-dream in some situations, it shouldn’t be hard to offer some sort of fun incentive to promote internal competition.  Simply putting a gift card or convenient, dedicated parking spot on the line each week or month is an effective method of increasing production and employee participation.
  • Comfortable climate and atmosphere. Where possible, keeping working conditions comfortable in temperature and humidity can go a long way in promoting employee happiness.  If you’re in a 90 degree, 70% humidity environment for any length of time, you will likely feel hot, drained, and annoyed.

These are in no way the only ways to promote employee buy-in or engagement within an organization.  They’re just some of the easiest and most effective ways to build a good working relationship with your employees.  This guide is an excellent document to better understand the science behind employee happiness and the reflection that moral has on engagement and production. Happy employees are more productive employees – so put it at the top of your priority list.

Business Cloud Solutions

With technology evolving at an alarming rate, businesses of all sizes are being forced to morph their technical infrastructure to meet expectations of their customers, clients, and employees.  In order to beat out the competition, it is clear that the most successful organizations across all industries are moving toward cloud solutions to enhance their business practices and provide the best services and products for their client base.  If you haven’t considered migrating some of your infrastructure to the cloud, there is a really good chance that you’re already falling behind your competition because you’re missing out on some of the most available lowest hanging fruit to improve your business.  Consider these three easy-to-implement cloud solutions to make your company more mobile and the most efficient that it can be:

  1. Data storage in the cloud is more reliable than those network attached storage systems that you’re utilizing today.  Should your internet network fail, a hard drive on the NAS die, or too many people are tapping in to the NAS at one time, you’re going to be dead in the water and the productivity loss is exponentially greater with each passing minute.  Cloud-based storage options are often cheaper than purchasing expensive network attached storage units and far more reliable since data centers are almost always replicated in the event of hardware failure, power outages, or bandwidth increases.
  2. Server administration. If your critical servers are being supported in an external environment, out in the cloud, you’re going to have that amazing replication power at an affordable rate.  Live replication will guarantee that your organization will continue to plus along in the event of some sort of failure that you don’t even know about because the 3rd party data center will handle the situation.  This will take a lot of stress off of your internal IT group.
  3. Disaster recovery systems. In the event of a serious natural disaster, wouldn’t it be nice to have all of the critical data and servers off-site?  You can be back up and running in the matter of minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.  In the event that you get slammed by some form of ransomware and you’re locked out of your own files, wouldn’t it be sweet if you could just live-restore from backups in seconds or minutes instead of having to take down some piece of the infrastructure to recover the data?  In some cases, using a cloud software for backups and utilizing the recovery attribute a single time will save enough downtime to pay for the service for 6 months in contrast to relying on in-house IT efforts.

Simply utilizing these three solutions will make your business the best it can be.  The benefits of the cloud don’t stop with those listed above.  We can help you take advantage of the new-age technology that is available to you and leverage it to make your business the best it can be.  After all… It’s a guarantee that your competition is.

Learn more about our cloud services, or give us a call at (323) 454-1312.

Office Moves and Relocations

Expanding to new branch offices or relocating your existing office technology to a new location is overwhelming. There is so much to think about from your network to your phone systems.  We’ve helped a number of our clients successfully relocate or open a new office, some with extremely tight deadlines.

Watch video

This company had a two week deadline to move their existing office to a new location. LA Creative Technologies was up for the challenge!

Another example of successful office openings is the work we’ve done and continue to do with The Agency, a real estate company. We helped them open their first seven US offices, including the new Pacific Palisades location, and are currently working on three additional office locations for them as we speak.

If you’re opening a branch office… need to relocate your existing office… or are simply starting a new business, give us a call. We will be happy to help you through the technology planning to get set up and running as quick and efficiently as possible. We will be happy to help you through the technology planning to get set up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Cloud Communications for the Way Modern Business Communicates

The days of going to work, sitting behind a desk, and talking on your corded office phone are long gone. Thanks to the cloud, work is now something we “do”, not so much a place where we “go”. As files, data, and systems are now commonly stored in the “cloud” rather than on a physical device in your office, the ability to work and communicate from outside of the office feeling as if you are sitting next to your co-workers is possible. When you combine the possibilities of cloud communications with the increased use of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices – the result is improved communications and new mobile workstyles.

Employees of today’s businesses are working and communicating with one another from home, from the coffee shop, or from a client’s location. To remain productive in and out of the office, they need the ability to communicate and collaborate in real time with co-workers and managers with clear voice, chat, messaging, and video. Also, if you plan to keep your customers happy, you need to provide customer service via the communication methods your customers are already using – from social media to online chat, email, and phone calls.

Cloud-Based Phone Systems

One of the biggest innovations that have impacted the way businesses communicate has come through the introduction of VoIP and Unified Communications systems. These cloud-based communications systems use the internet connection to access company communications, which eliminates the need for the in-office phone system maintenance, management, expensive equipment, and costly bills associated with traditional office phone lines. When an organization switches to cloud-based phone and communications systems, they can take their calls with them even when they leave the office – and the door is opened to new features and capabilities that help employees do their job more efficiently. Unified Communications integrates a variety of messaging services including online chat, phone, audio, web, and video conference into a single user interface across multiple devices and media types.

Cloud-based communications systems give many advantages but they are not without challenges. Many companies experience choppy calls, garbled voice, or dropped calls – none of which are going to help you communicate! The right network and network management can resolve these challenges.

Can You Make Calls from Anywhere?

For businesses that have not yet moved to a Unified Communications system, you may be relying on your personal or business-issued cell phones to make and receive calls when you’re not in the office. Sure, this lets you make and receive calls from anywhere, but it’s not the same as having access to the company phone and online communications systems. Having multiple phone numbers is not ideal, and without the integration of communication methods, your productivity is not reaching full potential. The cloud makes it possible to connect a variety of communications methods and run your business from anywhere with the same level of communication as though you were sitting in the office with your team.

We Could Help You Communicate Better

At LA Creative, we help our customers communicate more efficiently with the cloud. We can manage cloud collaboration tools for you, so you can simply pick up the device of your choice and chat, call, or video conference with ease.  We’ll show you how to transform your business and make your cloud communication tools work for you to increase efficiency, reduce costs, provide recovery services, and scalability to meet the changing needs of your business. We can even combine these services with email monitoring and protection and backup and disaster recovery for complete peace of mind. Want to learn more? Give us a call – (323) 454-1312 – we’d love to find out what challenges you have and show you how to overcome them.

 

 

How Facebook Video Helps Grow Your Business

Brands like that FB allows them to target prospective and existing customers and clients precisely as well as offers great tools for analysis of video advertising on its platform.

Everyone knows what YouTube is, but, did you know that the number one platform that brands show video ads is Facebook (FB)? That’s right, the Facebook platform gets 8 billion video views each day (that is with a B). While that is for all video plays and not just brand ads, Facebook anticipates that in 2017 video ads will account for 15% of its ad revenue and earn $3.8 billion (also with a B).

Facebook Video

Why is Video Advertising So Important on Facebook?

Brands like that FB allows them to target prospective and existing customers and clients precisely as well as offers great tools for analysis of video advertising on its platform. Nevertheless, many companies, especially smaller ones are not using video ads. Some of the reasons for this include:

  1. The misconception that an FB video ad is too hard to produce
  2. The belief that FB video ads don’t offer conversion rates equal or better than other ads do

However, this is where these smaller businesses are led astray. If you haven’t begun using video as part of your social media outreach, it is probable that you are forfeiting a great opportunity. Following is why:

Facebook Gives You Access to Warm Leads

When you advertise on Facebook, you can target specific demographics or interests. Sure, not everyone you target will watch your video, but those that do are interested in what you say and may even be moved to click the call-to-action. These folks are keenly interested in your value proposition or especially enjoy your content – they are warm leads.

Facebook Lets You Sequence Your Ads

Unlike text advertising where your call to action might appear several times in one ad, Facebook advertising allows you to treat your advertising audience more gently. This is accomplished through video ad sequencing, with which you spend time letting your video ad audience the chance to get to know you a bit and for you to earn the audience’s trust. It might be 3 or 4 ads before you include a call-to-action. Ad sequencing allows you to create ads that put prospects into the sales funnel. These campaigns take place over days and not weeks or months. Of course, Facebook has metrics to show you how well your sequencing works.

People Who Use Facebook are Ready to Engage, Even with Ads

Brands know that if they want to make an emotional contact with prospects, Facebook is the best route. It makes sense since FB is a social media site people that visit it want to engage with friends, relatives, people with similar interests, and businesses that cater to their interests. This is one reason that FB excels and YouTube not so much.

Creating a Facebook video isn’t that hard. Many businesses produce their own videos using nothing more than a notebook computer with a camera. As engagement rates snowball, paid video ads can be produced professionally, although some smaller brands find that engagement has been best with self-produced Facebook video ads. The other concern affecting businesses not using FB Video Ads is the thought that more traditional ads generate more conversions. FB metrics prove this is a misconception.

For the latest information, news, tips and tricks regarding your IT needs contact {company} in {city} at {phone} or {email}.

Understanding The Focused Inbox

With Focused Inbox, Outlook is improving upon its email organization software, allowing your company to organize its messages more efficiently.

Focused Inbox

From sending formal company letters to making quick updates to delivering marketing material, email is essential to the modern workplace. Focused Inbox from Microsoft Outlook allows your company to organize its emails more effectively, prioritizing messages to ensure that you see the most important information first.

Focused Inbox Intel

Focused Inbox studies the history of your email use, taking into account the types of messages you receive, the content of those messages, and the users you communicate with the most. It then determines which emails you are most likely to read and respond to and places them on a centralized list. You can then switch between this list and another one, labeled “Other,” containing all of the emails that do not meet its standards.

Because no sorting algorithm is perfect, this tool gives you the option of moving messages between the Focused Inbox and Other lists. If a message appears in the Other list but is important enough for the Focused Inbox, you can move it to the latter; likewise, you can move non-essential emails that nonetheless appear in Focused Inbox to Other. Outlook will adjust its algorithm accordingly, improving the effectiveness of the tool over time.

Clutter Considerations

Focused Inbox represents a shift in Outlook’s strategy. Traditionally, it focused on determining which messages you did not need to see, placing those in a folder called “Clutter.” Focused Inbox, however, is designed to determine which emails you do need, separating them from emails you may want to read but that are not essential.

Outlook users may continue to use Clutter for the time being, though it will eventually be eliminated. Clutter users will receive a message with the header “Try the new Focused Inbox,” allowing them to transition with a single click.

Business Benefits

Focused Inbox has the potential to improve your firm’s productivity and communications by:

  • Enhancing The Essential– Because this product focuses on promoting information that is important, rather than downplaying information that is not important, it allows you to more quickly identify the messages that are most essential to your business. You can be confident that the messages you read are directly applicable to your needs, rather than merely not inapplicable.
  • Encouraging Email Overviews– Placing non-essential emails in a box with the label “Clutter” implied that they were, well, clutter, encouraging you and your employees not to look at them at all. Focused Inbox, however, implies only that other emails should not be your main focus. Your employees are still encouraged to look over the other emails in their spare time, and may thus find important information they would otherwise have discarded.
  • Advanced Adaptability– Focused Inbox quickly adapts to changes in your message flows, allowing you to maintain email organization when you take on new clients, begin working in new fields, or make other changes that affect your communications.

{company} highlights all new IT developments that could affect your {city} business’s communications. For more information on Outlook and other email platforms, contact {email} or {phone} today.

The New “As a Service” Computer Revolution

There is a revolution taking place in the computer industry that will effect IT for years to come. It started with the cloud and has grown to cover every imaginable IT function.

Every business has heard buzz about the “cloud.” What is it? – a single location in the Ethernet, a load of energy floating around the atmosphere, or perhaps the cloud is found in a satellite in the sky that is orbiting the earth? Nope, the “cloud” is none of these. The cloud is a place with many servers available for your company to lease monthly to host your data and programs. Providers of cloud services are sometimes called “server farms” as they have racks and racks of servers. However, the cloud now includes a number of services that are best described as being in the *aaS (*item as a Service) realm.

Managed IT Services

Now that the definition of the cloud is solved, the question to ask is why has cloud computing become such an important thing?

What Makes Cloud Computing So Great for Your Business?

As data collection evolved, a lot of data became “big data” and the amount became so large that the companies collecting the data turned to cloud providers to store the data until it could be analyzed. From this humble beginning, cloud services grew. The services provided range from storage only, to running a business entirely in the cloud. Following are some of the reasons why this is so.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Cloud providers have a smorgasbord of services available that range from safe and secure storage of data all the way to running an entire company on the cloud. The draw of software as a service is that your business is charged a monthly fee for the services from the cloud provider. In most cases, small and medium-sized businesses can arrange for services on a month-to-month basis without a contract. Of course, this leads to a subscriber to expect and receive top-quality services or they leave – giving client companies an edge in the relationship.

Software is not purchased when delivered in an “as a service” (*aaS) mode and instead of amortizing the cost of software it can be expensed as the monthly fee. Since your business needs to access the internet, even the smallest company needs computers, printers, Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections and the like. These are likely to be amortized as a capital expense. However, there is no need for servers and supporting hardware, and those costs too are part of the monthly fee – all of which is expensed as it occurs.

Security

Keeping a company computer system safe from malware and ransomware is an ever-increasing time-consuming task – with no guarantees of success. When you subscribe to an *aaS type of service there are normally loads of safeguards including:

  • Timely updating of OS and programs especially security patches
  • Software firewalls
  • Hardware firewalls
  • Backup and disaster recovery services
  • 24/7 support
  • More

Flexibility

Another advantage of using web-based *aaS services is flexibility to only subscribe to those services your business needs, and choosing not to subscribe to those you don’t. With *as a Service providers, you can add and delete services as needed which helps keep your costs down.

Speed

As new technology becomes available, deploying it on your own is slow and may not happen if your company recently updated its systems – at the very least, a cost-benefit analysis needs to be done. When using *aaS this is not the case and new technology is rapidly deployed.

For more information about using *aaS solutions contact us {company} in {city}. To contact us call us at {phone} or {email}.

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Wisdom Wednesday: Sifting Through Spam: Understanding The Dangers Of Junk Mail

Spam Email

Every day, businesses and individuals send over 205 billion emails all over the world. Though many of these messages contain valuable information, a significant portion of them are spam. Receiving or sending spam exposes your business to a variety of risks, including:

Ruined Reputations

Many firms are unaware that their email accounts have been compromised, sending spam to current and future clients and partners. This can quickly ruin your company’s reputation and make it harder for you to succeed in the long run. If clients and customers think you’re sending them spam intentionally, they will view you as untrustworthy. Even when they realize your accounts were hacked, they may conclude that you do not understand IT issues or take them seriously. Thus if anyone reports that you have been spamming them, you must promptly apologize and put a stop to the problem.

Malefic Malware

Be wary of spam messages that you receive, as they could harbor viruses, trojans, and other harmful programs. Malware can lock you out of vital programs, provide unauthorized access to sensitive information, or even crash your entire computer system. You should thus never open messages you suspect to be spam. If you don’t realize an email is spam until you have already opened it, do not reply to it or click on its links— not even to unsubscribe from the mailing list. The more you engage with spam, the more opportunities it has to transmit critical programs.

Subtle Scams

In addition to infecting your computer systems, spam writers also use more subtle tactics to cheat you. Junk mail may come in the form of a fake business offer, using the name and writing style of a real company that could be a potential supplier or partner. The scammer will try to convince you to pay them, supposedly for a service or venture that will help your business; if you comply, they will take your payment and leave you with nothing. To separate scams from real business propositions, look up the companies that claim to be sending the emails and contact them independently. If a company has no record of sending the message, the offer is not real.

Data Deliverance

Besides stealing money, scammers can also use spam mail to get you to hand over sensitive information. Phishing scams involve sending you mail under the name of a company or individual you trust, such as your bank, your health insurer, or one of your employees. The message will ask you to send over sensitive information that the company or individual would have access to.

In general, you should never send sensitive information over email, to begin with. If you do receive a message from a trusted entity demanding such information, contact them at a different address or meet with them to confirm their request. Never expose your business to phishing scams.

{company} strives to protect businesses throughout {city} from spam and all other risks. To learn more, call us at {phone} or contact {email} today!

Is the Simplification of Networking Going to Make Network Engineering Obsolete?  

With network automation simplifying the networking process, fewer network engineers are needed to provide the same level of support as before.

If you are a network engineer, it’s time to start thinking about what your IT skills are and how you can better hone these skills for the future. New technology and the simplification of the networking process are giving network engineers something to think about in the future. With more and more businesses relying on the cloud for networking purposes, there is no longer much of a need for a complex network in house.

Networking Engineering

The Job Shifts in Larger Corporations

While engineers working for large enterprises will find that networking is still a bit complicated and necessary, the work isn’t going to be about creating new network designs. Instead, the job will be focused on figuring out ways to automate the network and scripting. While engineers are still going to need to know about routing protocols and how to create an optimal network design for traffic flow, automation will make for much fewer jobs available to a large pool of applicants.

Skills to Learn Next

To remain competitive in an ever-changing field, it’s important to keep your skills up to date. You’ll want to focus on learning network automation and scripting so that you are valuable as an employee in the IT field. Also, it is recommended that you start learning about security skills, enhancing your base of knowledge as much as possible, so you have the skills that employers are going to need in the future.

Network Engineering is Becoming Obsolete

The trend is already starting, and the simplification of networking is only going to increase over time. Network engineering is quickly becoming obsolete, and those that don’t continue their education are going to be left behind. Staying on top of technological advances is going to give employees the edge over those who refuse to learn new techniques.

With the simplification of networking continuing to move forward, it’s only a matter of time before businesses no longer need a team of IT professionals to manage their current network. Eventually, the work will become automated, with networking being done by cloud-based providers instead of in-house. Automation is the real key to a decrease in the number of jobs that will be available, as those working in the cloud industry still need to do the work required to ensure those networks are running smooth.

Getting an education is and keeping up your skills is vital when you are a network engineer. Continue to learn new strategies, and stay up to date with technological advances as they come forward.

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