Letting Go of Technology Can Be Liberating…

I have always embraced technology for the many advantages it brings to both business and personal life.  Plus, it’s fun!  Over the past couple of decades, I have burned through many generations of tech, usually with no small level of pride and excitement.

Our offices were home to multiple high-capacity servers that hosted our website, email, full Office suites and years of client and administrative files.

I took pride in toting around the biggest, hottest laptop available, ensuring that I had perpetual access to all of my files, full accounting capabilities, timekeeping programs and every other function needed to run a complete business from the seat of an airplane.

One down side, of course, was that all technology eventually fails.  It either becomes obsolete and must be replaced at a hefty cost or it flat our crashes and must be replaced at a hefty cost, which sometimes included gut wrenching loss of files and essential business data.

It was following our last big server meltdown that I saw the light and began to explore how to break this very disruptive, very pricey cycle.

I let go of the need to keep literally everything in our offices.  And I stopped spending ridiculous amounts of money on pretty boxes that would ultimately fail.  I began to enjoy new forms of technology.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Office 365:  Rather than maintain the expense and risk of hosting our company’s email, I have moved it all to the cloud via Office 365.  It doesn’t crash and costs a very reasonable monthly fee per user.  Plus, all emails, tasks, calendar items and contacts are instantly and perfectly synchronized across all of my devices.

SkyDrive:  Our Office 365 suite includes cloud-based SkyDrive, which means I can easily upload, access and create any type of Office file.  SkyDrive also allows for files to be shared and separate sites to be created for individual projects and clients.

Basic File Server:  Where we once had a very costly server, there now exists a simple PC with enough capacity to house files everyone in the company can access.

Basic Desktop PC:  My daily office computer is a fairly basic desktop PC.  It meets all of my needs, and, when it eventually dies, can be quickly and easily replaced. Redundant backups to external drives and the cloud take away risks of data loss.

Chromebook: When I’m out of the office, my ever present new love is a $199 Chromebook. It’s  light, fast and provides full access to all of my cloud-based files and programs.  It has enough storage for files I want to carry from time to time and offers the extra advantages of multiple handy apps and GoogleDrive.  Plus, if it falls in Lake Michigan tomorrow, I’m not out much.

ClickTime: Time reporting is an essential component of the public relations business. We constantly track our time for purposes of client reporting, budgeting and billing. I used to commit significant resources to the purchase and continual maintenance of time tracking software. We now use cloud-based ClickTime, which doesn’t break down, doesn’t require we purchase regular upgrades and provides first-rate functionality.

More in the Cloud: I’ve been working to physically let go of other business functions and move them to the cloud, including accounting, payroll, graphics and more.  If I can find more to move, I’ll move it.

Letting go of my company’s old approach to technology has genuinely been liberating.  I am constantly looking for more ways to improve our technological efficiency and welcome any advice you might have for how we can do a better job of it.

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