The Importance of IT Support for Business

The Importance of IT Support for Business

The need for businesses to constantly adapt and change has been present for many years and typically the successful businesses have been those that became used to adapting to change in their environment and continuously monitored competitors and trends to remain relevant.

Keeping up with technological trends and updates can be tough, especially in between managing your business and catering to clients. Once you start to adapt, it can be difficult to maintain it.

Having a team within the business that’s dedicated to IT support ensure that your business functions smoothly by immediately making repairs to your systems or identifying potential issues before they arise.

In addition to safeguarding your operations, a reliable IT support team keeps your business competitive and helps develop more streamlined operations. This leads to higher productivity for your business and more room for increased revenue.

It has been shown time and time again that customers prefer businesses with efficient and reliable systems and platforms. If a business is still using outdated and ineffective technology in their Products or services then they are bound to lose customers.

Let’s take a look at the main benefits of having an effective in-house IT Tech support team:

  • Effective Management of Data

Data management is necessary for any business. With Product inventory, incoming orders, unique customer data, and other important information should always be stored and managed efficiently and safely. With the help of a IT support team, managing your data becomes a streamlined process that can otherwise become very time consuming.

  • Improvements in decision making.

Some of the most important decisions within the business will be based on data backed insights. By conducting solid research and planning to gather useful data your team will need to use various technologies and tools to gather and store this data.

  • Expertise to solve technical problems

Errors and technical glitches are inevitable when it comes to using technology. Even in its most up to date version, a software can still encounter troubles along the way. If software essential to your business runs into an issue, it could spell disaster for your day-to-day operations. This is where an IT tech support team can help. They can save you valuable hours, instead of looking for online solutions for the fix, they’ll handle it for you as they are equipped with the expertise and ready solutions.

  • Extensive monitoring and analysis

Monitoring at every stage of the business is critical to success. Being bale to keep tabs on all internal operations and through analysis work towards the business objectives. The value of an IT support team is that they improve your overall quality control and internal auditing. As they are closely monitoring your systems and website, downtime is prevented or recovered immediately, minimising possible profit loss.

  • Top quality security and cyber security

As we have seen in the past with companies like Facebook it can be disastrous if your customer’s personal data is compromised or if any confidential technologies you have are jeopardised. IT support teams guarantee that your business’ online front and computer systems are secure from viruses and other online threats. They protect these by setting up antivirus systems, encrypting your data, and providing other security measures.

  • Top quality customer support

A major benefit of the IT tech support team is providing an improved customer support experience. With rapid response a customer’s query can be handled in a fast and professional manner. The support team can setup multiple channels such as phone calls, emails, social media bots, or even automated answers in your website. If you’re able to answer their queries immediately and on point, customer satisfaction goes up.

The IT technical support team is one that many businesses overlook the importance of, however having looked at the benefits they bring to a business and their operations, having an in-house Support team can be a big advantage to your operations. In this fast paced-world of today customers want responsiveness and effectiveness in their communications with businesses when facing issues.

Put your best foot forward so to speak and allow change for the benefit of customers and for the sake of your businesses future.

How to Become a Front-Runner in the Race for Talented Project Managers

How to Become a Front-Runner in the Race for Talented Project Managers

As a result of digitization and growth in global economies the demand for skilled project managers is expected to rise significantly. While this is projected to occur we have also been seeing downward trends in the amount of skilled project managers to meet the demand.

The talent crisis is real and organisations most valuable projects are at risk, it’s time to make talent acquisition and closing of the talent gap a strategic priority.

The talent gap is being worsened by the post- pandemic ‘Great Resignation,’ which has seen workers quitting their jobs in droves all over the world, and it seems that the situation will only get tougher.

Hiring managers within businesses find it easier to recruit people with critical project skills who are more successful at up skilling themselves for success. Their shown preference is candidates who show potential, have adequate levels of training and hold a whole host of diverse skills.

These are known as “Front-runners”

Front-runners are also shown to have have performed much better in terms of: revenue growth; customer acquisition and customer satisfaction. Making them invaluable to growing organisations.

They are no longer creatures of only scope, schedule, and budget. They are now – enabled by new technology – focusing on influencing outcomes, building relationships, and achieving the strategic goals set by the organizations.

In research conducted by PWC in 2021 the top skill identified by recruiters that many project managers lack is creative-problem solving. This skill is identified through questioning of high level managers to be the one sore spot in experienced project managers within organisations.

This is important to not as the project managers in training can take note of where their focus should lie.

The training of these roles is vital to their candidate’s success, because If capabilities aren’t aligned to organizational strategy. Then building up of staff isn’t going to get the attention it deserves. That’s why the number one barrier to developing project manager capabilities is that learning and development isn’t seen as priority.

This problem can be made even worse by the need to operate in a remote working capacity where many front runners are not able to develop power skills and business acumen skills while operating in a remote capacity.

What can we learn from this? Priority with organisational development and the successful training of the next generation of project managers must begin today. Prioritization must be placed on developing the right skills and mending skill gaps in their established work force.

All this together will allow for the role of Project manager to flourish and the front runners to set themselves apart in their career aspirations.

Building New Talent in Real Estate

Building New Talent in Real Estate

The COVID-19 pandemic has rattled human communication, the core of the commercial real estate business. Industries were challenged to digitalize as many aspects of work possible while realigning employees in the now often virtual work environment. Companies had to plan and provide an infrastructure that would enable employees to work effectively from home in order to priorities health and safety. Looking ahead, what does this tell us about talent needed in real estate?

The industry of Real Estate is undergoing a change like many other industries. With labor and skill shortages around the globe, now more than ever, agencies need to attract, develop and effectively train new recruits to succeed in the long term.

Technology in the future of Real Estate:

One key change that is taking place in the real estate industry Is the rise of technology. More and more real estate companies are going to have to become tech companies that happen to be in real estate.

With the way customers and prospects are researching and communicating with Real Estate Agents technology has become the backbone of this entire process.

According to the PwC report Talent Trends 2019, “organizations desperately need tech-savvy leaders and employees … who can harness innovative thinking, form the right strategies and apply the systems and tools that best fit the needs of the business.”

This need to train and recruit new talent effectively is creating a demand for skilled agents as well as those with the soft skills we often see in real estate agents:

  • Communication.
  • Active Listening.
  • Negotiation.
  • Patience.
  • Problem-Solving Skills.

These skills are typically what would make a successful Real Estate Agent. However while these skills are important Tech skills are rapidly becoming necessary as well. These skills can be taught early on in their careers to ensure that they under-go rapid growth and represent themselves and their businesses as a high quality professional.

Investing in the next generation of talent:

Investing in young talent is about imagining and building a more sustainable and connected city, with interconnected processes and procedures when dealing with clients.

The Real estate industry needs to start the process of training new skilled recruits as soon as possible however this is not the only change that is needed for the businesses in the industry to stay competitive.

With the Covid-19 pandemic it forced the Real Estate industry to undergo an adapt or die mentality. With many commercial real estate agencies closing down and the added difficulty of needing to solely communicate with prospects and potential buyers through digital means.

This shock of Lock-down and social distancing was an important lesson for those within Real Estate. Technology has enabled us to understand that ‘work is something you do, not somewhere you go’ is actually true. Hundreds of millions of people working from home, actually works.

Simply put the real estate industry needs to transform from being one that sells a product to one that delivers a service. It means that our customers no longer need what we have to sell. They don’t need an office to work.

The shift caused by the Pandemic:

The pandemic has shifted focus towards that of technology but it is important to note what technology lacks – this is where effectively trained recruits come in. The need for tech-savvy agents who have the soft skills of your typical agents are most valuable.

Being able to communicate effectively across many platforms and having the understanding of when to press a response from a potential buyer or let them think on it. All of these are very human skills and can’t be overlooked with these changes in the status quo.

Agencies that retain or hire agents who are not properly trained, well-versed in real estate rules and regulations may facilitate bad housing deals. This may lead to costly insurance claims.

The reality is that the real estate business is no longer just about real estate. That is just the starting point. Yes strong real estate soft skills are needed, but we need all the skills, talent and knowledge within our grasp to reach success.

The real estate industry needs to up its talent game, and deepen their talent pool. It needs to start with the customer, and work back from there. What does our customer really want, what represents added value to them, and how we can give them want they want.

This starts by asking what mix of skills, talent and technology do we need, to create, and run this process. Let’s start by training the right people with the needed skills. To ensure the industry grows and its people grow with it.

Lessons in Managing Remote Teams.

Lessons in Managing Remote Teams.

With changing times comes changing work environments. This as a whole has influenced the management landscape with many companies and teams moving to remote operations.

This means that whether you’re trying to quickly adapt to a remote management situation, or settling into the role for the long-term, the same fundamentals will need to be put in place to build solid communication, performance, and employee growth.

The process of adapting to the all remote style of management may feel difficult at first but as any good manager knows it’s our job to create a great place to work. It is so rewarding to have a productive team that is both flexible and independent while bringing diverse perspectives to the table.

Some steps to build your remote dream team:

Just like you would set up a designated section of desks or meeting rooms at the office, with remote teams you need to create a digital common space. A place to group together, access needed team resources and even participate in some conversations and light friendly banter.

This should go beyond a simple set of tools: It includes a shared set of expectations around how to use these tools so your team can work as one in these spaces.

Small mistakes can cause far reaching inconveniences, such as using @all in a team-wide messaging platform as it can affect a team’s productivity. It can be seen as the equivalent of standing up in the office space yelling out loud for immediate attention.

What are the 5 elements of an effective remote team?

  1. Synchronous communication: A chat tool like Slack can allow you to have a constant, real-time connection with your team.
  2. Digital workspace: A shared place where work happens, like Trello, so you can all have full access to project progress and assignments of who’s doing what.
  3. Video meeting space: An integrated video tool like Zoom or MS Teams that works smoothly to give your team face time together.
  4. Open document storage: Avoid storing closed files on your computer, and instead use a cloud-based shared document space like Confluence or Dropbox where everyone can access the files they need.
  5. A common calendar: A team calendar that shows vacation and holidays, important launches and due dates, and shared meetings so you can visually see everyone’s availability.

What are some steps to improving your remote team’s productivity?

Step 1:  Utilise regular 1-on-1 meetings, but keep them brief.

This level of communication is great as if you can set up 30 – 60min catch-ups you can check on on work progress and deal with any issues more directly than via messenger or email. 

Questions to ask during your one-on-ones:

  • Current urgent topics
  • Ongoing progress
  • Areas of growth and future goals – allowing you to dicuss performance on a on-going basis.
  • Keep a record of finished work and previous discussions to effectively trck progression.

Step 2: Provide one place that all requests can be shared and sent.

Communication is key, so is being able to locate information days or weeks later. Often this is difficult to do through the hundreds of emails many people receive. Providing a single place where communication is shared it ensures that as a manager you can effectively prioritize the work requests coming from your team and nothing is lost through excessive emails and messages.

Step 3: Foster a team dynamic of communication, health and fun.

Just like you’d have lunch, chat by the water cooler, or go out for special team-building activities in an office, all of these things can be replicated in a digital space.

Getting your team comfortable with virtual socializing is one of the most important things you can do to help your remote team be successful. Leading by example is the best way to get the ball rolling.

You can form a social committee and let people add and vote on different ideas to gauge interest and get a sense of participation. Once some programs, say a book club or movie club, are set up, you can then make a separate board to manage the events.

Step 4: Hire and onboard of new personnel remotely.

The process of completely hiring and onboarding a new employee remotely can be daunting but it is 100% possible. Ideally, even when everyone is distributed, you’d organize an onsite week to give them a chance to meet the team and build some in-person experience with the team, but that’s not always possible.

Employees starting in a fully remote setting, you just need to set up a clear structure:

  • Help your new hire settle into the role
  • Grow company knowledge and understanding
  • Empower them with the tools, info, and resources to get up-to-speed quickly

These are some practical steps and guidelines that can assist you in setting up a remote team that doesn’t just work together, but thrives as a productive unit no matter where they are.

Tips To Nail Your Internship

Tips To Nail Your Internship

Written by Elbie Liebenberg for W24

Getting an internship in South Africa’s job market is just as tough as landing a permanent job. Should you be lucky enough to get this opportunity, make the best of it. Here’s how:

Principal of Oxbridge Academy  Elbie Liebenberg says the first rule of being an intern is to take your professionalism to the next level.This means dress neatly and appropriately for the role, always be punctual, be willing to learn, and complete your tasks to the best of your ability, even if those tasks seem boring. 

Apply yourself in every task

Always show that you are interested in learning by asking questions, offering assistance, and giving input where you can. And don’t be afraid to speak up about your ideas.The more you contribute, and the more you complete tasks successfully, the bigger the likelihood that more and more work will be passed your way. By the end of your internship, you will have made yourself a useful part of the team, and employers may decide that you will be a valuable permanent addition.

“Even if that doesn’t not happen, you will be assured of a glowing recommendation, and you’ll have learned important skills that will stand you in good stead when going to interviews and when starting your first real job.” she says. 

Find a mentor 

An internship allows you to build professional relationships with people in your field, which means that even if you don’t land a position at the company where you are interning, your new contacts are likely to alert you to any suitable opportunities that arise in the industry. It’s also a good idea to find someone who has been in the industry or the company for a few years, who can guide you and advise you about your field and about those practical aspects you wouldn’t have learned about during your studies.

Ask for help 

A big mistake some interns make is to think that they are incapable or that they have failed if they are asked to do something and they don’t know how. Nobody expects an intern to be able to do everything that is thrown their way. Everyone understands that an internship is a learning curve, and that it can be quite overwhelming. So if you’re unsure of what it is you are being asked to do, get clarification and assistance straight away.

It is also important to remain open to constructive criticism and not to go on the defence, as this is all part of the experience.

Keep notes 

During your internship, keep notes of all the different tasks you have mastered and the contributions you have made to the team. When your time with a company nears its end, ask whether you may schedule a short meeting with the departmental head or HR.

Then use that opportunity to discuss what went well, and to ask for the leader’s insight and advice going forward.

It’s important at this stage to thank them for the opportunity, and to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the company, that you enjoyed working there, and that you would like to be considered for future opportunities should they arise.

Image sourced here.