Time Saving Tech Every IT Manager Should Know About
Imagine this, the phone is ringing off the hook, you’ve got almost 20 new email notifications for support tickets coming in while you were in the bathroom. You have yet another meeting in 30 minutes discussing how to increase ‘operational efficiency’ where they will tell you that no, they will not allow you to hire any additional help desk personnel. Okay, maybe you don’t need to imagine because this is pretty close to what your day-to-day schedule actually looks like.
IT was never an industry for the faint of heart, but many organizations still treat their IT departments like the third-string players on the team despite technology’s ever-growing role in the workplace and its corresponding growth in responsibilities. This leaves the typical IT manager AND worker with impossible workloads and a terrible work/life balance.
Luckily, technological improvements don’t just make everyone else’s lives in the office easier – they also work to save IT a ton of time and effort. We created a quick list of tech innovations that can save your department hours of work a week so you can finally get a good night’s sleep without the stress dreams featuring the office printer.
BYOD MDM and MAM
BYOD (bring your own device) has been adopted by a ton of companies in the last couple of years as an effective cost-cutting measure, but it has collectively caused IT departments across the world more than a couple of migraines. Security breaches caused by lost devices, access issues, and more are a near-constant problem, especially in companies with hundreds or thousands of employees.
As a result, two primary solutions have been developed: mobile device management (MDM), which gives IT control over the device, and mobile application management (MAM), which gives the device access to company resources via applications. Both give IT departments the ability to add or remove devices from access to vulnerable company data at the touch of a button, so security breaches can be contained and solved in a few minutes rather than the days it usually takes to resecure everything after device loss or theft.
RaaS – Remote Network Access and Security Services
RADIUS servers act as access controls for office networks, letting IT departments limit what devices can connect to certain wired and Wi-Fi connections. RADIUS protocols have been around since the 90’s, so it isn’t exactly a hot new tech tool, but it has usually been an in-house project that IT pros have had to personally design, configure, and scale with the company.
RADIUS as a Service (RaaS) allows companies to outsource their RADIUS servers to providers to skip the time-consuming process of installing, configuring, and management. You can buy as many as you want, so scaling is a breeze, and the service gives you real-time control over which computer, laptop, or mobile device you allow on your private networks.
Despite being an office fixture for well over 30 years, printers have (in)famously not seen the same kind of leaps in functionality as other types of technology, leading many IT professionals to wonder as recently as 2020, ‘Why do printers STILL suck?’. There’s even a fun rule of thumb: "IT is generally interesting, rewarding work. Then there are printers."
Some relief from the printer menace may be here in the form of IoT (Internet of Things) printers and scanners, which introduce some much-needed innovations to old technology. IoT printers automate a number of troublesome tasks, including monitoring ink and paper levels, ordering more materials, and keeping track of scanned documents in a sequence so it can alert you if something has been missed.
Most importantly, they self-diagnose issues and send alerts to IT teams so they can proactively schedule service visits to nip problems in the bud rather than using the traditional break/fix model. This can potentially save IT departments hours of work per week diagnosing problems and businesses hours of downtime.
DIY Conferencing Audio - Stem Ecosystem
Video conferencing has revolutionized business communications and made the transition to remote work much smoother and easier. Setting up conferencing systems is no simple matter, though – traditionally, you need to either go through the expensive and lengthy process of integrating a room or go with a cheap, ineffective all-in-one option that torpedoes the benefits of video conferencing.
Stem Ecosystem gives you a third path – an effective audio solution that is simple to set up and highly scalable. Each conference room can be set up in minutes and remotely managed, so any downtime can be identified and fixed immediately.
Stem lets you mix and match devices, so you can create a custom solution depending on the size and shape of the conferencing space. Each device automatically tests its environment and shifts its settings to provide the best coverage possible without you needing to touch a thing, saving you time and effort that could be spent on more essential tasks or just getting a good night’s sleep.
Smart Postage Meters
Another technology that has been around for a few years that is finding greater importance in a post-COVID era is postage meters. As many B2C companies transition from focusing primarily on retail outlets to a hybrid model using direct mail, IT departments are being tasked with making sure that their companies can quickly and easily adopt postage solutions.
Smart postage meters connect to company mainframes to access order data and automate much of the work associated with direct mail, so workers previously trained in sending out large shipments can quickly adapt to the new system. The device creates a synergistic relationship between Sales, IT, and Operations that makes the process much easier and quicker for each, giving the company time to focus on customer support and building up its customer base.
Remote Access/Support Tools
While working from home is making most people’s lives easier, it makes providing tech support much more complicated for in-house IT teams who need to make sure each user can work efficiently. Simple issues that previously could have been handled with a quick walk over to the user’s desk now turn into disruptions that can last days, depending on their location.
IT teams are no strangers to remote access tools and their potential to save hours’ worth of time and money, but its application as a technical support tool has always hit a snag due to privacy and security concerns. Even if the issue can be solved with a couple of quick keystrokes with a practiced hand, most people have issues with giving others access to their personal computers.
With the meteoric rise of remote and hybrid work environments and companies adapting by providing workers with company-owned computers, the previous hesitancy towards remote support tools is gone. Technical problems that would have taken a frustrating 20+ minute phone call to fix can now be solved in 5 or less, leaving your team far less stressed and saving your company from lengthy disruptions in efficiency.