Posts Tagged 'Technology'

Tag Cloud

A tag cloud. You may have seen them? They are these floating words next to a web page or blog.

How would you describe a tag cloud to a non tech savvy client or relationship? What is their purpose and how would you use them?

Your comments are encouraged.

Software – Should you upgrade?

 

Upgrading software can be both painful and expensive:  the learning curve of new features can slow you down and the monetary outlay can make you scratch your head!

There are the costs: of purchase, the consultant, the training, the training materials, the resulting upgrades of software that work WITH this software such as add-ins, etc.

Upgrading as you go means you are not left behind and future upgrades are incremental instead of horrific.

So what to do?

I recommend you always upgrade mission critical programs that run your business.  Examples might include your CRM system, tax software or your planning software.  Optional upgrades might include email software or office applications such as word processors. 

However, make sure you upgrade anything that is no longer supported by the authoring company.

I am a big fan of staying as current as possible, but you might consider waiting for the first round of patches or hot fixes so you stay away from the “bleeding edge.”

Also evaluate the competitors’ products during an upgrade cycle.  If you are not really happy with your current tool, then it is time to consider changing vendors.

Guide: Software upgrades are generally a positive, adding capability and productivity.

Action Item: Strongly consider upgrading carefully.  Mission critical applications are usually a must purchase.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Tech Spotlight on: Network Attached Storage (NAS)

 

With this Guide, I will begin a new discussion centered around the use of technology in the practice of the professional advisor.  I will cover the basics to expose some of the options available for you to run your practices more efficiently.

This Guide will focus on hardware and specifically a device called a NAS (pronounced NAZ) – Network Attached Storage or in some older circles, Network Appliance Servers.

Here is what Wikipedia says about them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage

Put simply, a NAS is a low-cost shared hard drive.  It requires NO PC.  It just plugs into a hub or switch or port on your router (could be your wireless access point).

These devices are wonderful for central file storage to be shared by staff. Any office document like a word processing file, a spreadsheet or a PDF can be saved on the NAS.  One would normally place several folders on the NAS just like a PC and then store the appropriate document in the proper folder.

You do not need a VERY tech savvy worker to set one up.  After plugging it in and turning it on, you access it through a browser and set up security/user rights for each of the folders, allowing some to be private and others to be public.

Simple drive mapping in Windows would then allow each user to attach to the device.

And then there is cost.  Well, these devices are pretty darn cheap!  Here is a link to several examples at Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/y88khxv

Prices start under $200 and go up from there.  In my office we have used products from Linksys, Seagate, Snap and Buffalo.  Each has performed as advertised with no failures or issues.

They can be used as primary storage or backup for PC’s and servers.  They are small, light and can be carried off-site easily (good and bad news). A NAS at home is a great way to share files with your family.

Guide – A NAS is an inexpensive, easy to use, reliable way to share files on a network.

Action Item – If you currently have an office where you are emailing each other files all the time or are using peer-to-peer networking to share files, consider a NAS.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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