How managed IT services helps SMBs fire on all cylinders

What separates a good company from a powerhouse performer? How are some organizations able to consistently outperform the competition? Is there a quality that launches a select few to legendary status while others simply make ends meet?

The Excellence Factor

John W. Gardner is credited with saying, “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” If there’s a secret ingredient to success, that’s it – the pursuit of excellence.

While there are dozens of ways an organization can double-down on the pursuit of excellence, IT solutions are often an untapped resource. And yet, in today’s business climate few things make or break a company like how you use technology.

Your Untapped Resource

Each year, the SMB Group researches the most compelling technology trends for the next 12 months. Their 2017 report includes this stunning assessment: “72% of SMB decision makers say that technology solutions can help them significantly improve business outcomes and/or run the business better.”

If you’re looking for ways to make your business better, technology is an area you can’t afford to ignore.

Managed Services Make The Difference

One of the most powerful ways you can start giving yourself an edge is by working with a managed services provider.

In IT-speak, “managed services” simply means partnering with an industry professional for the maintenance and upkeep of your in-house network. Whether your company has a dedicated IT department or not, a managed services provider can help you leverage technology in ways that give you the upper hand.

Top 4 benefits of an MSP

A recent article from Forbes highlighted four specific ways managed services transform small and medium-sized businesses: “improved operational performance, reduced operational risk, cost avoidance and accelerated innovation.”

Said another way, managed services give SMBs a way to operate leaner while taking advantage of the very same technology tools big business uses each and every day.

And if cost savings and ROI aren’t enough to grab your attention, how about this? Partnering with a managed services provider will make your life easier, too.

The Managed Services Advantage

Working with a managed services provider is like calling in a superstar pinch hitter. You get all the benefits of the MSP’s expertise, but without the cost or growing pains of building out that level of support in-house.

The benefits are compelling. For example, consider the negative impact of network downtime. If your systems go offline, you’re dead in the water. Your people can’t work. Every minute you’re down is money out of your pocket.

When surveyed, over 40% of employees report a significant amount of wasted time due to technology related frustrations. It’s difficult to overstate the value of stability.

In contrast, a reputable MSP can ensure uptime. By taking care of updates and upgrades on your behalf, your MSP partner is actually solving problems before they have a chance to slow you down. Managed services keep you in top performance mode.

Wasted Time Stat

What’s more, managed services can be customized to suit your needs with ridiculous precision. As you grow, your MSP can facilitate equipping new employees with the right technology. If you need additional storage space, no problem. Upgrades can be handled by submitting a ticket. Whatever your IT support need, you’re covered.

If you already have IT personnel on staff, working with an MSP is still a smart move. The MSP can focus on the monotonous (but necessary) task of keeping your network up and running while your folks tackle more innovative (and ultimately, more profitable) projects.

Freedom to Focus on You

Partnering with a managed services provider is about making your life easier. That’s certainly the philosophy behind how we work at CCS Technology.

Your IT solutions should always feel like an asset. At work, technology tools should enable you to do your job without getting bogged down. And when you’re away from the office, the last thing you want is to put out fires because there’s been some kind of IT emergency.

CCS Technology clients get what all of us want: freedom.

orange rocket

Freedom to focus on revenue-generating projects instead of maintenance and upkeep. Freedom from the headaches of downtime. Even freedom to enjoy true work-life balance.

If you’re interested in experiencing that kind of freedom, perhaps it’s time to find out first-hand how managed services can benefit your business. CCS Technology can walk you through every step of the process. We’ll help you find the perfect balance between cost savings and innovation.

The experts at CCS Technologies are ready to hear how we can introduce you the freedom of managed services for your IT support.


Why a business continuity plan is essential

What can an ostrich teach you about business continuity? As it turns out, a lot.

In their book, “The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters,” authors Howard Kunreuther and Robert Meyer make the case that ostriches get a bum rap. The classic image of the big bird with his head in the sand gives the impression that ostriches deal with risk by ignoring it.

In reality, ostriches do a pretty good job of mitigating risk. They can’t fly, but they can run at amazing speeds. They can also kick hard enough to kill a lion.

The trick to disaster preparation is to approach it like an ostrich. Know where you’re susceptible to loss and counter those potential weaknesses with a solid plan.

Heads in the Sand

Three out of four small businesses have no disaster recovery plan at all. Unpleasant though it is, think about that for a moment.

There are innumerable things that can go wrong. Natural disasters are both unpredictable and potentially catastrophic. Fire can raze a building to the ground. Viruses can bring networks to their knees. A data breach can expose your entire system.

Disaster comes in all shapes and forms. No business is immune, regardless of size, legacy or location. And a lack of preparation can be devastating.

The High Cost of Downtime

Of the organizations without a business continuity plan, 90% permanently close their doors within one year of a disaster.

— Small Business Trends

The real killer here is downtime. Consider what it would cost if your business grinds to a halt. Just one day of downtime could leave you reeling for weeks, throwing off profitability and productivity for the entire organization. By one estimate, downtime costs small businesses up to $8,600 per hour.

— Aberdeen Essentials

Unfortunately, that’s just one aspect of the cost. Downtime also impacts employee satisfaction, which in turn impacts productivity. And then there’s your reputation to consider. How will your customers feel about you if given the impression that you aren’t reliable?

Business Continuity in Action

By contrast, organizations with robust business continuity plans stand out when others struggle. That’s because a business continuity plan allows you to bounce back, whatever the nature of the disaster. It’s a failsafe you hope you never have to use, but one that can literally save your business.

There are three advantages that come with a business continuity plan.

First, you’re protected against the losses associated with downtime. For example, employees can log in remotely, able to work even if your office isn’t accessible. Automated tasks continue to perform. Your customers aren’t left in a lurch, suddenly without your services. Instead, you’re able to continue doing business, even in the midst of a genuine crisis.

Second, your data is safe. Any solid business continuity plan will include some form of backup and recovery option. That means even if every hard drive in your office simultaneously stops working, you don’t lose a single spreadsheet.

Finally, you get the intangible (but powerful) benefit of peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about worst case scenarios. Rather, you’ll know that even if disaster hits, you’re ready for it.

Creating Your Business Continuity Plan

Developing the kind of business continuity plan that provides real protection takes some know-how. This isn’t one of those times a do-it-yourself approach will suffice. You want someone with serious credentials to walk you through the process, ensuring every base is covered.

CCS Technology knows disaster recovery. We’ll take the time to understand how your business functions. From there, we’ll put together a plan that takes into account every kind of contingency. Should the unthinkable happen, you’ll be in the best possible position: prepared.

Maybe it’s time to put together a business continuity plan for your organization. If so, we’re here to help.


Do you know the value of your CRM?

In 1989, a small-time collector was perusing art at a flea market. He ended up buying an uninspired pastoral painting, purely for the frame.

When he got it home, he removed the painting. He had no intention of keeping it. To his dismay, he discovered the frame was cheaply made and not salvageable.

But he found something else inside. Folded behind the painting was a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He could tell it was old, but he didn’t think it valuable. Then a friend urged him to research it.

As it turned out, the hidden copy was one of only 24 first prints of the historic document. In June of 2000, it sold at Sotheby’s for $8.1 million.

Hidden Value

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find a slew of similar stories.

The original Velvet Underground demo someone bought for 75¢. The 11th-century Chinese pottery bought for three bucks and later sold for $2.2 million. The Warhol sketch purchased for $5 that turned out to be worth an estimated $2 million.

Sometimes there’s immeasurable value right under our noses, but we don’t see it. For many small business leaders, that’s true of their CRM solution. If you think of your CRM as little more than an elaborate database, you could be one of them.

How Your CRM Can Be A Game-Changer

A CRM (short for “customer relationship management”) solution is a powerful, robust tool—if you know how to use it. Unfortunately, we’ve worked with plenty of SMB owners who are barely scratching the surface.

Below is a quick list of some of the powerful things your CRM can do that you might not know about.

Streamline the sales process.

The goal in sales is to convert leads to prospects and prospects to customers. A CRM helps with that process by providing a clear picture of where each contact is in the process. By reviewing previous sales attempts, you can determine what strategies work best, equipping your sales team for better closing rates in the future.

Close the right deals.

One of the challenges of sales is qualifying potential customers. The faster you can determine who is and who is not a likely to buy, the less time you have to waste pursuing dead ends. A CRM gives you a framework for making that call faster, ensuring that you close the right deals—for you and for your clients.

Know your market.

You can also use the data in your CRM to tease out trends and movements in your market. If customers are migrating from one kind of product or service to another, you’ll see it in the reports. If your business is seasonal, that’ll become clear, too.

Meet customers’ needs.

Cross-selling and upselling get a bad rap. Neither is inherently bad. It’s all about knowing what actually helps your customer base. The better your customer records, the more easily you can identify the products and add-ons that will help the most.

Manage customer communication.

When all communication is housed in one place, it’s much easier for your employees to deliver top-tier customer service. This is especially true in the moment, like when they have a customer on the phone. A CRM makes that extra insight possible across your team.

Personalize communication.

Automatic messaging can include order status updates, shipping notifications, and simple thank you messages. A CRM gives you the ability to automate each of these with some nice personal touches. That way your customers know what’s going on at all times.

Incorporate social media.

The most current CRM tools also incorporate options for social media contact. Given the marketing potential of social media, this is a must-have for small business owners. And a CRM makes utilizing social media—for everything from announcements to events to contests to customer stories—so much easier.

Let CCS Technology Guide You to the Perfect CRM

With all the CRM solutions out there, how do you find the one that’s best for your business? And once you’ve found it, how do you transition your current process over to the new CRM?

The easiest way also happens to be the smartest way—get some help from the experts.

The pros at CCS can take you through the whole process, ensuring you end up with the best possible CRM solution for your business needs. If you’re ready to unleash the power of a CRM, give us a call. We’re ready to help.