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April 1st, 2014

Facebook_March31_AWith Facebook change is the rule not the exception. However, changes can be a challenge for business users to keep track of. One of the most common features that is changed or updated, is the algorithm that determines what content is shown on a user's News Feed. With many of the recent feature changes many business owners are commenting that it feels like they are being shoehorned into buy ads in order to reach their audience. While ads can be beneficial, one way to get your content in front of users is by improving your newsfeed performance.

There are many ways you can improve your News Feed performance and the best is to improve the reach of your content. Before we get into how you can do this, we should first describe what your Facebook reach is. Basically, your reach on Facebook is the number of unique users who see the content you post and your updates. When it comes to reach there are four actions you can take to influence it:

  1. Posting content on your own Page - This is commonly referred to as organic reach by Facebook.
  2. Facebook users interacting with your content - When users interact with the content on your Page e.g., commenting or sharing, this is shown in their News Feed, an act which Facebook calls viral reach.
  3. Sending users to view your content - This could be as simple as putting a link to your content on an email, or even on your website asking people to visit your Page. This is a form of organic reach.
  4. Paying to get content in front of people - This is using Facebook's ad services and paying to target your content to specific audiences, thereby increasing the chance they see and interact with it. This is commonly referred to as paid reach.
By combining these four actions together, you can get a picture of your overall reach. By increasing the reach of each post through the above actions you stand a higher chance of getting your content in front of other people. The more people who see your updates the higher the chance of interaction with your company on Facebook or through other mediums, including avenues of sales.

The question is: How can a company do this? Here are seven of the most effective ways to improve your News Feed and its performance.

1. Develop a strategy

The key to posts being shared is that they need to be useful and interesting to your audience. Take a look at your Page's Insights (Open your Page's Admin panel and click on Insights) to see what content has been popular with your followers. From there develop a content strategy that covers what content to produce, when it should be produced, and when it should be shared.

Take a look at the most popular posts and see when they were interacted with most. This will give you a good idea of when your followers are most active and likely to interact with your content - thus increasing reach and overall effectiveness of your posts.

2. Know your audience

This will take time and research, but you should be able to paint a pretty solid picture as to who your audience is. If you can define a few personalities or even target individuals, you can better come up with content your audience will be more willing to interact with, or be more receptive to should you promote it.

3. Let people interact with your Page

Some companies have allowed users to post content on their News Feed or even tag companies, having the post show up on the company's News Feed, only for the content to be trolling or negative. This can potentially harm your company brand and reputation.

While there is a chance of this happening, the benefits of allowing your fans and followers to mention you in their posts far outweighs the potential negative outcomes of a few. This is because when a user mentions or tags you in a post on their News Feed, their friends are more likely to see it too. In other words, this can be a massive contributor to your overall viral reach.

4. Be active after you post your content

Don't just post content onto your Page and leave it. If people are interacting with it by commenting then you should make an effort to reply to the comments. This shows that you are interested and responsive, and willing to communicate and create a dialogue.

Mentioning the poster using @username when you comment will highlight the name and post your comment on their News Feed, thereby increasing the number of people who view your original content and encouraging the commenter to return to your Page.

5. Don't be afraid to repost

If you have had successful posts in the past, don't be afraid to reintroduce them. You could try updating the content a bit if need be and reposting it. This will increase the chance of other users seeing content they may have missed and interacting with it. Just be sure to comment somewhere that this content is a repost. You could comment that it was popular in the past and you think it is still relevant to today.

Be sure not to recycle too often however, as this can be viewed as lazy and turn users off. Aim for one to two posts every couple of months.

6. Integrate successful posts with other aspects of your online presence

While there is a good chance that your posts will be seen on Facebook, try boosting this by sharing your most popular content on other mediums. For example, paste the link into your email signature asking people to check it out, or add a list of your most popular posts to newsletters. This will encourage more people to visit the content and even interact with it.

In order to tell what is working, use the information on your Page's Insight panel.

7. Don't be afraid to be innovative

If you hit on a strategy that works, that's great! But, you should not be afraid to try new ideas. If, for example, you see that captions on photo posts are becoming popular with your audience give one a try to see how it works. The key here is to be resourceful and always on the lookout for new ideas.

Looking to get more out of Facebook? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 28th, 2014

iPad_March24_AOne of the biggest, and arguably most useful, hardware trends is touch. It seems like almost every piece of new tech, from computers to tablets, and even to fridges or car navigation, comes with touch screens. The main way to interact with the majority of these devices is through the gesture, and if you have an iPad there are a number of important gestures you should know about.

Every new iPad, and many of the older ones, run the latest version of iOS - Apple's mobile operating system. For those running iOS 7, gestures are the main way you interact with your device. While it may look weird to people who don't use them, waving your hands around, spreading your fingers, and even pinching are normal to you!

One of the greatest plus points about gestures is that when used properly, they make it simpler to interact with your device; speeding up your overall productivity. So, if you are looking to increase productivity while using your device, you should know and practice different gestures. Here are six of the most important:

1. Swipe one finger from the top

If you place your finger on the top bezel (above the viewable area of the screen) and swipe down onto the screen you will open, or slide down, the notifications center. From here you can action notifications. When you are finished slide up from the bottom of the screen to close the notifications.

2. Swipe one finger from the bottom

If you place your finger on the bezel (below the viewable area of the screen) and swipe up onto the screen you should bring up the Control Center where you can control the important settings on your iPad. To close simply swipe down.

3. Swipe one finger down

Place your finger anywhere on the viewable area of the screen and swipe down. This will open up the Search bar where you can search for almost anything on your iPad, including apps, emails, music, and more. To close this bar, simply tap the home button, or tap anywhere on the screen other than where the keyboard or search bar are.

4. Swipe four fingers up

If you place four fingers anywhere on the screen you will bring up thumbnails that represent the apps that you have open. If you swipe up on a thumbnail, you will close the app.

5. Swipe four fingers left or right

With apps open, you can place four fingers on the screen and swipe to the left or right. This will switch to other open apps. You can swipe the opposite direction with your fingers to go back to another app, if you sweep to the left again, you should bring up a list of recently used apps.

6. Grab with five fingers

If you are in an app and want to quickly get to the homescreen place all five fingers on the screen and pinch them together. This will shrink the app into your home screen. You can open it again by swiping four fingers up and selecting it.

If you are looking to learn more about using your iPad in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic iPad
March 26th, 2014

Office_Mar24_AMicrosoft Outlook is an application included in the Microsoft Office Suite. While it’s most commonly used to access different email accounts e.g., personal and business, it also has other features, including calendar, contacts, and tasks. It also comes with a search folder that lets you instantly find messages that fall under certain criteria.

Outlook is one of the most popular email platforms allowing you to read emails from almost any account. The inbox is where the majority of your interaction with Outlook is, but the problem is that many users receive so many emails that it can be overwhelmed quickly. This makes it more difficult to find important emails, or separate the spam/less important emails.

One way to deal with this is by creating a customized search folder for important emails. This makes searching for vital messages easier as they are saved in a separate folder.

Default and predefined search folders in Outlook

There are three default search folders in Outlook and you can see them under “search folders” in the mail navigation pane on the left side of the window. These default search folders are categorized mail, large mail and unread mail. Categorized mail contains messages that are categorized by color.

The large mail folder is a search folder that includes messages that are over 100 KB in size. Unread mail, as the term suggests, contains emails that have not yet been read.

Predefined search folders are also available. These are existing search folders that you can add to the search menu, below the other folders. Some of these require that you enter specific criteria, while others do not. For instance, “mail flagged for follow up” does not require any criteria, while “mail with specific words” asks you to enter certain words that the message must contain to be included in the folder.

Adding predefined search folders can be done by following the steps below:

  1. Click File.
  2. Select New and choose Search Folder. The New Search Folder window will appear.
  3. Click on any of the predefined search folders.
  4. Select the option you want if asked for a specific criterion.
  5. Click OK.

Create a new search folder in Outlook

It’s also possible to create your very own search folder. You get to set not only the criteria, but its name as well. This makes it convenient to easily access important messages as you don’t have to browse through the inbox or various folders in your mailbox.

Here’s how to create a new search folder in Outlook:

  1. Right click on Search Folders in the mail navigation pane and click New Search Folder. You may also press ctrl+shift+p on your keyboard to make the window appear.
  2. Click Create a Custom Search Field followed by Choose.
  3. Enter the name of the new folder in the name field.
  4. Click Criteria and set your preferences to further personalize the folder and click OK.
  5. Click Browse and select folders to add in your customized search folder, then click OK.
  6. Select OK on the new search folder window and the new folder you created will be added under your search folders.
Messages in search folders will still remain in the original folders where they are saved. Even if you view the messages and delete the search folder, the messages will still be accessible in their default folder. However, if you select and delete a message in a search folder, it will be completely removed, even from its original folder.

If you have any concerns or feedback with regards Outlook search folders, feel free to get in touch and we’ll help you in every way that we can.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 26th, 2014

Office365_Mar24_AExcel is one of the applications included in Microsoft Office, Microsoft's suite of office productivity software. Microsoft Office applications can run on almost every system businesses use, including Windows and Mac. Excel is specifically used for creating spreadsheets, basic databases, analyzing data, and even simplifying management. Many spreadsheets can be a challenge to navigate. One way to make your spreadsheets easier to get around is to name the cells.

Like other spreadsheet applications, Microsoft Excel documents are based on cells that can be arranged into rows and columns. It is within these cells that data is entered when creating a worksheet for various functions including data management and computations, etc. Each cell in the spreadsheet has a corresponding name, which is identified by its column letter and row number.

For instance, the cell under column A that belongs to row 1 has the default name A1. You will see this in the name box, which is located on the upper left side of the spreadsheet, next to the formula bar. This name can actually be changed however.

Why name cells in Excel

As mentioned, the default name for each cell in an Excel spreadsheet is based on the relevant column and row. One of the reasons why you may want to change this name is to make it easier to find what you are looking for, especially when there’s a lot of information in a particular spreadsheet. For instance, if you name a particular cell 'Total', searching for this word is much faster than scrolling through the spreadsheet to find the correct cell or trying to remember its specific column and row.

This is also the case when creating formulas for computations. Instead of using the cells’ column letter and row number, it’s more convenient to use a name that you can easily understand. For example, naming one cell 'GrossIncome' and the other one 'Deductions' makes it easier for you to compute net income by subtracting Deductions from GrossIncome for the result.

Another benefit of naming cells is that it is easier for other users to understand. If you are sharing the spreadsheet or workbook with other colleagues or business associates, using cell names that are easy for everyone to identify reduces potential confusion.

How to name cells in Excel

Naming cells in Excel can be done in two ways. The first is by changing the name directly on the name box and the other one is by defining names under the Formulas menu. The difference is that when naming a cell through the define name feature of the menu you can select its specific scope.

This determines where the specific name will be recognized as having the same value, such as in the entire workbook or in a specific spreadsheet only. Changing the name in the name box will automatically determine the workbook as its scope rather than the whole spreadsheet.

Changing a cell name in the name box:

  1. Select the cell that you want to name.
  2. Go to the name box and type the name you prefer.
  3. Hit enter on your keyboard.

Defining a cell name:

  1. Select the cell that you wish to name.
  2. Click the Formulas menu.
  3. Choose Define Name.
  4. Type the name of the cell in the new window that pops up.
  5. Select the Scope.
  6. Click OK.
Remember that a cell name should not contain any spaces. The uppercase and lowercase letters R and C are also not available as cell names, since they represent column and row. Furthermore, aside from letters, the first character of a cell name can also be a backslash or an underscore. The rest can be a combination of letters, underscores, periods and numbers, which can be up to 255 characters.

If you have further questions about changing the cell name in Excel, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 25th, 2014

Web_Mar24_AIt's now common that when someone wants to find a business they first search on the Internet, looking for a business in their local area that can meet their needs. Because of this, it's essential that businesses of all sizes have a Web presence. The best way to do this is to create a website. The only problem with this is that many business owners lack the skills or the time to create and manage a website and instead turn to a webmaster for help.

What is a webmaster?

A webmaster is a person or company responsible for maintaining a website. In many small businesses, the webmaster will also be responsible for pretty much everything to do with the Web for that specific company. This might include ensuring content is written and uploaded, that the website is created and maintained properly, and even looking after SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Webmasters for small businesses are usually in charge of a company's entire online brand.

Because many small businesses operate on thin budgets, they often can't afford a full-time webmaster, opting instead to work with a company or consultant who may be looking after other websites as well.

There are a wide variety of companies out there that offer webmaster services specifically aimed at small businesses and if you are looking to pump up, or even establish your Web presence, you will likely turn to these companies for help. The question is, how do you pick the best for your business?

To help answer that question, here are seven questions you should ask any prospective webmaster.

1. Can I see your portfolio?

By asking for a portfolio of the webmaster's previous work you can quickly gain a good grasp of how technically competent that particular person or company is. The best webmasters should be able to readily share an in-depth portfolio that covers all manner of websites and technical skills.

It can also help to ask the webmaster for a list of their previous clients. If the webmaster is good, they will be more than happy to share a list of clients they have worked with in the past. If you contact these clients they can provide some extra feedback on the work they do.

More importantly, they will provide information on how the webmaster works. This is important as many webmasters don't work the usual 9-5 hours and may even be in a different timezone which you should be aware of.

2. What technology and platforms will you use to build and maintain my website?

There are so many different tools that you can use to build websites. From simple drag-and-drop tools to custom-made platforms that require months to code and build. Other platforms are easy to use while some require in-depth knowledge of advanced Web technology. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask the webmaster what platform they will use to build and maintain your website.

The webmaster should first ask what you want to do with your website, and give you options based off of what you want. They should also be able to explain what the platform is and how it is used, and even give you any available options.

In general, the webmaster should suggest a platform that offers modern tools and can be maintained easily, while still meeting your needs. They should also be able to explain in general terms how it works, and how they will update it.

3. What special features can you build into my website?

Before contacting a webmaster you should first consider what you want on your website. You are going to need to go beyond static pages with information and a few pictures - these simply do not work anymore. Maybe you want integrated videos, a shopping cart where customers can buy products directly from your website, a forum, blog or even rotating banners.

Ask if the webmaster can build and maintain these features. More importantly you should ask whether they have done what you need, have experience with the features, and how long they think it will take to integrate them.

4. Who will create the content?

This is an important aspect to know because some webmasters don't produce written content; leaving it up to the company to develop their own content. Others work with content specialists who create customized content.

You will want a webmaster who can integrate content that you create and possibly someone who offers the services of a content creator.

5. How secure will my site be?

An increasingly important question for many small businesses is about security, largely because small business websites have been increasingly come under attack by hackers. It becomes even more important when you have online stores, forms, or even portals where client information is exchanged.

A webmaster should be able to offer solutions that help keep your site and the information on it secure. Be sure to ask questions like how often they backup your site, where the backups are kept, and how they will keep your site secure from common security threats.

6. Who owns the site?

This is important, especially if you are working with a webmaster who is not an employee of your company. While it may seem like you own the site because you paid for it and are paying someone to run it, you should ensure that you actually do own it. The best thing to do is to ask the webmaster to verify who owns the site and the copyrights related to it.

If they are unsure, ask them to sign a copyright agreement to ensure that you retain ownership over your content and site.

7. How much will it cost and how long will it take?

Finally, this is probably the most important question you should ask. Some webmasters offer their services on an hourly basis, others on a weekly fee, and some on contract, etc. You should have a clear picture of how much you will be charged, and what services are included. This is important because many webmasters actually offer extended services that cost extra.

Beyond that, you should also ask how long the webmaster will take to build the site and how long they need to implement updates, changes, etc. This will help set your expectations so you know roughly how much time to give the webmaster to get their work done.

If you are looking to improve your website, or even establish a strong Web presence, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web
March 19th, 2014

BCP_Marc17_AA business without a DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) is like a circus acrobat without a safety net. The question is, are you willing to take that kind of a risk with your business? Considering how attacks to your business can come in many forms be it cyber, natural disaster or man made (among many others), it makes perfect sense to have an effective DRP in place.

While there are several facets to a DRP that are going to determine whether it will be effective or not, making sure that you’ve considered these 5 tips is definitely a good start.

1.) Commitment from management

Because the managers are the ones who will coordinate the development of the plan and be the central figures who implement the recovery plan, it’s crucial that they are committed to it and are willing to back it up.

They will also be responsible for setting an allocated budget and manpower to creating the actual plan. That said, it’s very important that they know the concept behind it and how huge of an impact a DRP can have on a business.

2.) A representative on each department should be available when creating a DRP

It’s unthinkable to believe that your DRP is well optimized when you haven’t had a representative from each department coordinate with you while creating the recovery program.

Considering how they themselves are the front line of your organization with the best knowledge about how their department works, it’s a huge plus that you should take advantage of when creating a DRP.

With the representatives on your team, you’ll be able to see things from their perspective and gain first-hand knowledge from those who do the actual work.

3.) Remember to prioritize

In an ideal world, you should be able to restore everything at the same time after a disaster strikes. But since most businesses usually have a limited amount of resources, you will usually have to recover systems one at a time.

Because of this, you need to have a hierarchy or a sense of priority when determining which systems should be recovered first. That way, the most important systems are immediately brought back up while the less important ones are then queued in order of their importance.

4.) Determining your recovery strategies

This is one of the main focal points of a DRP since this phase tackles the actual strategies or steps that you’ll implement to recover your systems.

When determining your actual strategies, it's important that you brainstorm and think about all the options that you have to recovering your systems. Don’t simply stick with the cheapest possible strategy or even the most expensive ones.

You have to remember though that the simplest strategy to implement is probably the best one. That is, as long as the simplest strategy covers the critical aspects of your system recovery.

That said, avoid over complicating your strategies as you might face unnecessary challenges when it comes to the implementation of the recovery strategy.

5.) Do a dry run at least once a year

Your DRP shouldn’t end with the concept alone. No matter how foolproof you think your strategy is, if you haven’t tested it you most likely have missed something important.

It's during the dry run phase that the need for extra steps (or the removal of one) are made even more evident. You can then start polishing your strategies according to how your dry run plays out. It would also be a good year to practice your plan each year and update it accordingly.

These tips will help you ensure that your DRP will remain effective should a disaster occur. If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to go about the process of creating a DRP, then give us a call now and we’ll help you with the process.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 19th, 2014

OSX_Mar17_AIsn’t it annoying when your Mac computer lags while you’re in the middle of a business transaction? Considering how you need to focus on what you’re doing, these lag times can block your thought process which can be very frustrating. If you’ve had enough of your slow Mac, there are some things you can try to speed it up.

Uninstall your old and unused programs

If you’re thinking that those old or unused programs aren’t hurting your computer’s performance since you haven’t been using them, you may be shocked to know that they actually can be one of the leading causes of a slow computer. These old programs despite being inactive, actually take up storage space which can cause your Mac to slow down.

This can really become a big issue if you’re running out of room on your hard drive because the less space you have available on your hard drive, the slower your computer will run. Try opening your Applications folder and looking for apps and programs that you no longer use. Simply drag them to the Trash and then empty it to free up space.

On another note, it would be a good idea to empty your trash on a regular basis, because items in the trash still take up storage space leading to a potentially slower computer.

Clean your desktop

Your Mac should run a bit faster if your desktop is clean. We don't mean go in literally clean the desktop, we mean get rid of the shortcuts, programs and files that you don't use. The more icons and stuff on your desktop there are, the slower your computer will run.

Instead of adding new icons, folders, files, etc. to your desktop try storing documents in the documents folder (Click any blank area on your desktop, press Go at the top of your screen and select Documents). Or, create a folder on your desktop for different images of files. Basically you want to minimize how much is on your desktop.

Use a program like Memory Keeper

What these apps do is help you free up more space on your computer by cleaning your computer’s memory. This is similar to the defrag option in Windows where the OS will essentially put files of a similar nature closer together in the hard drive, making them easier and quicker for the processor to access. To us, this means a faster computer!

You can get Memory Keeper free on the Apple Store, but be sure to contact us before you download it as we may have a solution that comes as part of your IT solutions.

Organize/clean your Finder and the files within

Just as you should minimize the files and clutter on your desktop, you should also minimize the clutter and number of icons in the main folders of the Finder. This includes the folders under each user, Downloads, Documents, etc.

It would not be a good idea to delve into the Utilities and Network folders as they usually contain important files that if deleted could cause your computer to stop working.

Upgrade your hardware

If you've tried the suggested tips above and your computer is still running slow, then your last resort should be to have a hardware upgrade.

We take this as the last resort as this may take more time, let alone cost a lot of money.

Consider upgrading your RAM instead of upgrading your processor since doing so is considerably cheaper.

It’s highly suggested to get a minimum of 2 GB of extra RAM but if you’re using some heavy duty programs like Adobe Photoshop, then a minimum of 4 GB RAM would probably suit you better. Before you do upgrade however, check with either Apple or us to ensure that your computer can be upgraded. By asking an IT partner like us, we will be able to better inform you as to what you can upgrade and how you can go about it safely.

Are you looking for more tips on how to speed up your Mac? Then give us a call now and we’ll have our team talk to you about how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
March 18th, 2014

Web_Mar17_AManaging data and databases can be increasingly expensive and hard to maintain. You have to think about storage space, quality and the accessibility of your data which on all accounts can be a bit tricky, not to mention impossible if you can't connect to it. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Through DaaS (Data-as-a-Service), you’re able to solve the many problems that you’ll have to face when managing data.

So what exactly is DaaS?

DaaS (Data as a Service) is part of the “as a Service” family. It is a type of service that allows data and databases that store data to be provided or accessible on demand regardless of the boundaries (organizational or geographical).

The data (text, video, audio, and images) is usually made available to the customers through networks like the Internet. The vast majority of DaaS solutions are managed by IT solutions providers who host the solution on their own servers. Businesses essentially rent space on these servers and the IT provider will manage the whole solution ensuring that solutions and the company's data and databases are working, secure and available on demand.

The easiest way to think of DaaS is that it provides businesses with cloud based databases and data.

How can your business can benefit from it?

While there are several ways that business owners have benefitted from DaaS, here are four of the most popular.

1. Quality of data

Because everything is stored in one place, duplicate and inconsistent data that’s being stored or trying to be stored in a database or on the service is usually easily caught, thus reducing the chance of duplicate data which could throw off reports, estimates and more.

This ultimately leads to higher quality data since almost everything is validated and you can avoid seeing different versions of the data which can be very misleading.

2. Global access

Instead of being able to only access your data in the office, with DaaS you are able to access it from any place where you have an Internet connection.

In case you can’t quite see how you can benefit from it, think about going on a business trip. Wouldn’t it be amazing if even though you’re on a trip, you can still access all of your data and even modify it or add more? Having global access with DaaS can help you with just that.

3. Increasingly seamless collaboration

Because your data can be accessed easily by your team members, collaboration becomes a lot more painless. Through DaaS, your members can access the data or updates they need regardless of where they are. They can then do their tasks accordingly and even update the data in real-time, ensuring people are all viewing the same data, regardless of whether changes have been made.

Since everyone on your team can access it, you don’t have to tell each team member about changes or updates, allowing you to save more resources.

4. Ease of system updates

If your data is stored in different offices, can you imagine how tedious it would be when it comes to updating your system? It gets even worse when different systems are used, and employees forget to update systems, leading to a potential increase in security breaches and data loss.

With DaaS, all you have to do is contact your DaaS provider, tell them about the updates that you want done and they update your entire system.

If you aren’t in the know, hearing about DaaS (although the service is enticing), can be quite scary. But, there is no need to fear it. We are experts in technology and can take the time to explain the ins and outs of DaaS and any other 'as a Service' as well.

Call us now and we’ll help you with your inquiries.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web
March 13th, 2014

WindowsPhone_Mar10_AMicrosoft's Windows Phone platform, despite being slightly behind in the Smartphone race between Android and Apple, is gaining traction among users. Especially since the release of Windows Phone 8.1, business owners are increasingly enticed to jump on the Windows bandwagon. Why you might ask? One reason is that there are several features that business owners love about the Windows Phone platform.

While there’s a plethora of reasons as to why business owners are moving to the Windows platform, these three powerful ones will give you a good idea of why people are making the shift.

Office apps, Lync and Outlook

Windows Phones have access to a number of Windows apps including the powerful Office suite which can turn your phone into a mobile office. By using the various Microsoft Office apps, you can share, access and edit your office documents all in one place. You can then sync all of the documents to SkyDrive, Office 365, or SharePoint sites after you’re done editing.

Are you a huge fan or avid user of Outlook tasks and calendar? If you are, then you’ll love how you can sync your Outlook tasks with your Windows Phone and have access to all of your messages, tasks and calendars at the touch of a button.

Beyond the core Office apps, there are also apps like Lync which allows for voice and video communication. Using Lync Mobile can be a game changer for your business. You can view your colleague’s availability, chat with individuals or groups through Instant Messaging, all from your phone.

Encryption and security

Viruses, hackers or malware can put you in a lot of trouble if left unchecked. Not only is it a good idea for business owners to make sure that their system is well optimized, they need to also make sure that their security is robust as well.

The Windows Phone has a trusted boot process that ensures only validated software runs, meaning that if software hasn't been validated by Microsoft, it won't be allowed to run. It’s also the only phone with native support for Information Rights Management that you can use for your business to protect critical and sensitive data.

Have you misplaced your phone before? If you answered yes, then you won’t have to worry as much if you misplace your Windows Phone as it has several layers of protection against that.

Here are some of the features that you can use:

  • Password or Pin
  • Remote wipe
  • Tools that you can use to find lost phones included in the Windows Phone management site

Have all of your contacts in one place!

The Windows Phone allows you to see all of your contacts on Hotmail, Messenger, Outlook, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google and all other compatible email accounts. If you’re a Skype user, you can also see your Skype contacts. The neat part is, you can customize your phone to show from which source the contacts are coming from. So if you want only the contacts from Facebook and Skype to display on your phone, you can customize your phone to show just that and disable the other sources like LinkedIn etc.

Once you tap a name, you can then see a consolidated contact card showing all of the information you have about that specific contact. This includes all the methods to communicate, conversations, recent calls and even their social media activity.

This feature is especially helpful when building relationships with thought leaders and the influencers in your niche. You can easily be updated on what they’re doing giving you some more insight on how you can implement their techniques in your business. Using this to study your competition’s activities is another effective way of using this feature for your business.

A lot of business owners are shifting to the Windows Phone platform and they’re right in doing so. The features mentioned above can give an advantage over the competition and help boost business to greater heights. And the best part is - we’re just on the tip of the iceberg with all the features that Windows Phones have to offer.

Do you want to know more?

If you want to know more about how you can use your Windows Phone to better your business, then give us a call now and we’ll help you.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 13th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Mar10_AToday's smartphones offer users a lengthy list of features, from Internet connectivity to barometers or even GPS, they really are a highly mobile computer. That being said, many of us still use them primarily to communicate. These days, the preferred method of communication is the SMS or text. If you have a new Android phone there are numerous apps that offer text messaging and it can be difficult to locate your texts at first.

On the vast majority of Android devices there is more than one app that supports text messages. Here is an overview of the apps and how you can find text messages on your Android device.

The stock 'Messages' app

On almost all Android devices, especially those that use what's called an overlay (the device manufacturer's take on Android), there is the stock Messages app. When you first set up your phone, this is the app that will allow you to view and send messages by default.

Most devices already have a shortcut to this app on your device's home screen, usually in the drawer at the bottom of the screen. It usually looks like a speech bubble or an envelope with the words Messaging below it.

  1. Tapping on this app will open your text messages allowing you to read, send and reply to any messages. If you can't find this app, try:
  2. Clicking on the Apps icon on the bottom of your phone. It is usually represented by two rows of grey dots.
  3. Looking through the apps that come up. You are looking for an app with any of the icons listed above, or is called Messaging or SMS.
  4. Tapping on the app once you find it.
If you like, you can press on the app's icon for a second or two and then drag it to your device's Home Screen in order to place a shortcut there.

Google Hangouts

On new Google Nexus devices - especially the Nexus 5 - you probably won't find a messaging app. That is because Google has eliminated it, instead turning Google Hangouts into the new text messaging app.

Hangouts started as the instant messaging platform of Google+ and was then introduced as the new version of Google Chat, and finally the messaging platform on Google devices. In other words, Google Hangouts is the one app for instant messaging and texts across Google's platforms.

If you have the Hangouts app installed on your device, your text messages should show up when you open it. If you can't find your messages/would like to use Hangouts as your SMS app you can do so by:

  1. Opening Hangouts and signing in (if you need to) using your Google account.
  2. Pressing the three vertical squares at the top-right of the screen.
  3. Selecting Settings followed by SMS.
  4. Tapping on SMS Enabled followed by Default SMS app in the window that opens.
  5. Selecting Hangouts.
Your text messages should show up within a few seconds in the main hangouts messaging screen.

Which should I use?

This is a question some users have asked, as it can be slightly confusing as to which app they should be using. The true answer to the question is either! The stock apps, and Hangouts both offer full text messaging capabilities, it really comes down to which you prefer. Some apps present SMS messages in a clear and easy to read manner which some people prefer over Hangouts, while Hangouts is preferred by others, especially Google users.

If you are looking to learn more about the features of your Android phone, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.