5 Ways to Cut IT Costs

Businesses are always looking to save money – especially considering the current climate. So, how can you save IT costs without compromising quality or performance? Here are the best five ways to start saving money;


1. Communication Review  Communication_Review

A review of your phone and internet bills can often reveal many unnecessary expenses — unused lines, old internet connections or even plans that might now be much cheaper!

2. The Cloud the_cloud

Moving all or even part of your business to the cloud can help save money. Email is often the first aspect small businesses move the the cloud as it’s an easy process and there are many benefits — cost, availability and flexibility.

3. Predictable Expenses Predictable_Expenses

Fixed price arrangements are an excellent way to reduce costs. Predictable expenses month to month can help keep your cash-flow in check and stress levels low.

4. Virus Protection Virus_Protection

Virus cleanups are costly and are one of the biggest time and productivity drains on a business. Prevention is the best cure. Installing a centrally managed and monitored AV solution is the easiest and cheapest way to curb virus issues and catch them before they cause any real damage.

5. Proactive Maintenance Proactive_Maintenance

Paying your IT provider to perform proactive maintenance on your network may seem counter-intuitive when it comes to cutting costs. However,  over the lifetime of your equipment, you will have fewer problems and business critical issues can be caught before they cause any downtime. Monitoring and preventative cleanups are the core of proactive maintenance and are often cheaper than you’d expect.


Elevate can help you cut IT costs — get in contact with us today and see where you could be saving money!

 

 

Lenovo: 58 Awards and 17 New Products at CES 2017

Lenovo was the brand to watch at CES 2017 and closed out the Las Vegas based expo with 58 awards and multiple new products.

“Our approach to innovation is to ensure we’re constantly evolving and understanding how technology is infused within every individual, business and home,” said Gianfranco Lanci, president and chief operating officer, Lenovo. “We’re dedicated to understanding our customers and will never stop creating better experiences, whether PCs for work, play or gaming, next generation AR/VR innovation or within the smarter home.”

Blending Work and Entertainment as One

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A premium PC experience with the ThinkPad X1 family

The next generation of ThinkPad X1 products are committed to uncompromised innovation and embracing the needs of the evolving consumer, who now blurs the line between work and personal PC use. Customer feedback, insight and experience has pushed Lenovo to truly understand what matters most to users and match those wants with its products.

The 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon, available in classic ThinkPad Black and a new silver color, is the lightest 14-inch business notebook, weighing just 2.5 pounds and packs a 14-inch IPS display into a new sleek 13-inch form factor. Now offering up to 15 hours of battery life for extended time away, the X1 Carbon has been redesigned to include ThunderboltTM 3 ports, super-fast LTE-A Wireless WAN and WIFI CERTIFIED WiGigTM options that deliver superlative performance and connectivity. Feel protected from cybercrime threats with enhanced security features. A fingerprint sensor with a dedicated chip that handles biometric processing helps secure and simplify the Windows Hello logon experience with a new face recognition Infrared camera.

Also available in the new metallic silver, the updated ThinkPad X1 Yoga is flawlessly flexible and adapts to its users’ needs offering true multi-mode capability and can deliver stunning colors and absolute blacks on the only 14-inch notebook with an OLED screen. A redesigned rechargeable pen and improved ‘rise and fall’ keyboard complete the improved experience. Alongside it is the ThinkPad X1 Tablet, continuing to impress with its lightweight, modularity and serviceability. The device has unique modules that offer port expansion and up to 5 hours* of additional battery life, and an integrated projector option making it easier to go from creation to presentation.

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Work-life integration with the Miix 720

The ultra-chic Miix 720 Windows® detachable includes the features needed to work smarter, combining an ultra-crisp 12-inch QHD+ display and precision touchpad-enabled keyboard with up to 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor and Thunderbolt™ 3, the fastest port available on a PC today.2 When it’s time to hit the road—or your next meeting—you can simply remove the keyboard to instantly transform the Miix 720 into a feature-rich touchscreen tablet. Paired with a multifaceted Lenovo Active Pen 2,3 the Miix 720 is ideal for effortless note taking or bringing creative concepts to life.

When it’s time to relax, the integrated infrared camera with Windows Hello™ facial recognition allows you to settle in for an evening binge-watch session of your favorite show—all without the hassle of having to recall or re-type your password. The up to 150-degree tablet kickstand easily adjusts to your preferred viewing angle so you can ensure an evening of comfort and entertainment.

Game Better with Lenovo Legion

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Lenovo has steadily built a community of gamers that help the company better understand which features gamers value most. To meet the evolving needs of the gaming community, we’re launching a new gaming sub-brand, Lenovo Legion, to provide our customers the products, community engagement, and immersive experience that drive their passion for PC gaming. As part of the new Lenovo Legion brand, we are unveiling our first offerings that embody the modern gaming experience: the new Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop and Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop.

Two powerful gaming laptops designed for mainstream and enthusiast players, the Lenovo Legion Y720 and Y520 laptops offer gamers state-of-the-art technology to allow them to fully immerse in the game. The new PCs allow for a greater gaming experience in every sense—powering VR through the latest NVIDIA® graphics, better sound with Dolby Atmos®, and increased performance with the latest 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor. Lenovo’s new gaming line is about addressing our gaming community’s demand for a superior gaming experience with a premium, next-generation PC gaming products inspired by gamers’ needs.

Different Enables a Smarter Connected Home Experience

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Making Smart Technologies Accessible

Bringing great smart home experience to more households and making the technologies more accessible is one of our big goals in the connected world. After conducting a series of studies on consumers’ pain points and needs, Lenovo designed the Lenovo Smart Assistant, a new mainstream digital personal assistant, with Amazon Alexa cloud-based voice services. Built in collaboration with Amazon, the elegantly designed Lenovo Smart Assistant recognizes users’ voice commands to conduct web searches, play music, create lists, calendar reminders and much more. And because Alexa’s brains are in the cloud, it means she’s always getting smarter. The Lenovo Smart Assistant is also designed to run Lenovo smart home devices, as well as scores of existing third-party products to expand user options.

Lenovo Smart Storage, rounding out our mainstream smart home offerings, is a secure digital storage solution with massive—6TB—capacity, dual-band wireless access and multi-device auto-sync capabilities. Designed for security and P2P (peer-to-peer) access to stored media like photos, music and documents, Lenovo Smart Storage offers users quick control of data and files. Its integrated facial recognition software can organize an entire photo library based on faces with high accuracy.

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Taking Control with the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller

With the explosive growth of internet-enabled smart TV, we built Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, a state-of-the-art wireless keyboard and mouse that fits in the palm of your hand and dramatically improves not just the way homeowners connect to their PCs, the web and displays, but re-defines the very notion of how a compact, Human Interface Device (HID) should look, feel and function. The keyboard area doubles as a Windows 10 gesture-supported, multi-touch capacitive touchpad—meaning that users can type like a normal keypad with their thumbs or glide their fingers across the surface like a touchpad.

Unlocking AR/VR Experiences with Phab 2 Pro Apps

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The world’s first Tango™ enabled smartphone, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is now available online and on shelves, unlocking unique mobile AR experiences for smartphone users all over the world. As the consumer smartphone device for all Tango app developers, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro offers the optimal Tango experience for a wave of new apps. To enable Tango, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is equipped with a set of sensors that capture 250,000 measurements a second, processing information through motion tracking, area learning and depth sensing. The apps that use this technology are now opening up a wave of new AR and VR experiences in the areas of shopping, games, interior design and education. These include apps such as iStaging, Matterport and Hot Wheels Track Builder. Decorate and map your own interiors, film yourself with holograms or transform your home into a virtual playground—learn more about Tango’s new app experiences here.

Lenovo is dedicated in the Android and Chrome space, with the successful launch of the Lenovo Yoga Book and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro in 2016. Lenovo will continue focusing on products such as the Yoga Book; Chromebooks; and on the Tango technology with AR/VR devices.

Five new ways to reach your goals faster with G Suite!

One of the core promises of Google Docs is to help you and your team go from collecting ideas to achieving your goals as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why last month Google launched Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides — with machine intelligence built right in — to help your team create amazing presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time it used to take.
Today, Google are introducing five new time-saving features designed to speed up and simplify the way you work, so you can focus on bringing your team’s ideas to life.


1. Spend less time figuring out who owns what with Action Items
According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, employees spend about 20 percent of their work week — nearly an entire day — searching for details internally and tracking down colleagues for answers. This can be especially true when a document is full of ideas, requests and comments, making it difficult to get a clear sense of who’s responsible for what.
To help keep your projects moving, when you type phrases like “Ryan to follow up on the keynote script,” or “Andrea to schedule a weekly check in” on desktop, Docs will intelligently suggest an Action Item to assign to the right person, thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP).

 

 

You can also manually assign an Action Item to someone in the Docs, Sheets and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning their name in a comment and checking the new Action Item box. The assignee will get an email notification and see the Action Item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

 

 

 

2. Spend less time searching for the files that need attention
Once Action Items have been assigned, it’s easy for team members to identify documents, spreadsheets and presentations that need their attention. The next time they visit Docs, Sheets, Slides (or Drive) from their laptops or mobile apps, they’ll see a badge on any files with Action Items assigned to them, plus any unresolved suggestions that others have made to their files.

 

 

 

3. Spend less time building questions with smarter Forms
Since its launch in 2008, more than a billion questions have been asked in Forms, allowing it to identify common patterns, like question types and the response options that usually go with them. With the help of neural networks, Forms can now predict the type of question you’re asking and suggest potential responses for you to choose from, giving you back about 25 percent of the time you used to spend creating a Form.
Let’s say you’re planning an all-day event at the office and need to know which day works best for your team. When you type “What days are you available next week?” Forms will intelligently determine that “Checkbox” is the ideal question type, and generate related response options that you can add one by one or all together.

 

Also debuting today is a top-requested feature from G Suites business and education customers — the new “File upload” question type. Your respondents can now upload files from their computer or Drive — all of which are neatly collected for you in a new Drive folder. Note: This feature is only available for G Suite customers in Forms shared within their organization.

 

 

4. Spend less time typing with a set of new voice commands
Last year, Google launched Voice typing in Docs on the web to help you capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, they’re adding more ways to format and customize content with commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.

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5. Spend less time switching between apps to get things done
Be as productive and collaborative as possible, regardless of the tools you choose to work with. Google have partnered with Slack to make it even easier to work with Google Docs files. With a click of the “+” button in Slack, you can bring files from Drive directly into a conversation with your team, or create new Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from Slack.

 

 

With the introduction of Explore, and other updates to products that build in machine intelligence, taking back time spent on mundane, repetitive tasks will only get easier with G Suite. Now, you can focus your energy on creative and strategic work, not busy work.

To learn more about G Suite contact Elevate!

 

Original Source – Google: The Keyword

Outsourcing your IT

outsourcing_it

If your business or organisation is considering outsourcing some of its IT needs, it certainly isn’t alone. From outstanding financial benefits to customisable integrated services, an outsourced IT arrangement can complement your business operation in a variety of ways. Why? — because it works and it’s undeniably cost effective. If you haven’t made the switch yet, here’s what you need to know.


Costs

Companies that outsource IT services will save money on major expenses as IT providers have access to distribution channels for hardware and software with volume discounts. Your IT provider can help cut back on the equipment it needs to operate which translates to reduced maintenance expenses. Labour costs are also reduced through the proper utilisation of technicians based on skill set.

Scalability

No matter what size business you run, you’ll be able to contract for the services that your business requires. A scalable IT services plan allows you to customise the level of support you need (and want to pay for) from your service provider.

Expertise

Whether you operate a fleet of trucks or provide financial services, your business has its own business to contend with. Your IT provider, on the other hand, specialises in IT. They are the experts in the field and will provide you with the reliable expertise you need to support your business whatever its size and industry. By outsourcing your IT you now have access to dedicated IT professionals as an extension of your team.

Solutions

When you contract with a high-quality IT service provider, you’ll have access to state-of-the-art solutions that can drive your business forward. From enhanced communication services to cloud-based storage, you’ll be able to adopt any and all IT solutions that are beneficial to your business.


If you haven’t thought about outsourcing your IT needs, now is a great time to consider your options. To find out how a customised IT service plan can complement your business, contact Elevate today!