Are you making IT work for your practice?
Ron Weatherup, Managing Director of Lugo, discusses how practice infrastructure is changing and how firms can take advantage of it, ahead of the ICAS Practitioners' Conference.
Not that long ago we were astonished that we could access information on someone else's computer without sharing a floppy disk.
Fast forward to today and the boom of cloud computing has meant that more applications than ever before simply require a browser to access practice or client information.
We've come a long way in a relatively short period and the speed of change seems to be getting faster.
Ensuring business IT continuity
Smartphones and work apps are now an essential part of office life.
We can't function without internet access, and if there's a phone line failure, the office practically grinds to a halt! With this changing reliance on practice technology, how can you ensure that your business keeps running smoothly?
Ultimately, business continuity is the responsibility of the owners and there should be plans in place for outages in normal service.
Failover internet connections are readily available for a single PC or network access to make sure services like the Payroll bureau keeps running smoothly.
More major threats to business continuity such as fires and floods are rare, however more mundane threats such as public transport strikes or severe weather that deny the workforce access to business premises can be catastrophic to business.
With the increase in BYOD (bring your own device), a lot of the workforce could potentially work from home. However, it's vital to review your business continuity plan to make sure it works.
Taking advantage of tech to increase practice efficiency
Technology has moved on and it is important that your procedures evolve alongside your IT.
Streamlining applications and data entry is a great way to make your practice more efficient. This reduces the rekeying of information, diminishes errors and frees up time to make staff more productive.
Another way to increase productivity is to reinvest in PCs, larger monitors and other new hardware for your practice.
The price of hardware is much lower than in the days of floppy disks. Studies carried out by the University of Utah, Microsoft and Jon Peddie (as reported in The New York Times) highlight several significant findings relating to using increased screen area, whether that's with a larger single or dual screen set up:
- Productivity increased up to 42%
- Tasks were completed 52% faster than on a single monitor
- Spreadsheet editing is faster on dual screens
- Mistakes were reduced by 20%
- On average, increased speed freed up 2.5 hours a day!
Step back and look at the bigger picture, I'm sure you could find ways that both you, and your clients, could make IT work a little harder for you.
I'll be talking about our changing reliance on practice technology and more at the ICAS Practitioners' Conference on 9 September 2015.