Is it Time to Simplify Your Office Tech?

Some tools can complicate more than they help. Get tips on simplifying your office technology suite.

At their best, tech tools can make work easier and more efficient — and these days, there seems to be a new IT option for just about everything under the sun.

At a certain point, though, too much technology can make life complicated for users. It all leads to too many passwords to remember, too much time spent learning each system, and too many different vendor contracts to sort out, among other things. When that happens, your business could manage more effectively by paring down the tools and systems it's using.

Here are some of the most common areas that quickly get overcomplicated, along with some tips on how to streamline:

1. You Have Too Many Collaboration Apps

Collaboration tools are particularly helpful for businesses with remote staff or multiple locations, as they help keep everyone in touch throughout the workday. But if you find that you're using one solution for, say, instant messaging and another for your conference calls, users may also find it tricky to learn multiple systems. This can also make it unnecessarily difficult for them to collaborate — or, worse, it can result in communications snafus that sap office productivity.

A cloud-based, unified communications system can bring all of a company's collaboration tools together under one umbrella, allowing your users to keep in contact regardless of where they are and what device they might be using. Many of today's unified communications systems integrate with office productivity suites and CRM (customer relationship management) software, extending the value of your technology investment even further.

2. Your Security Tools Are Too Complicated

A lot of businesses have security tools in place that are way too complicated for their needs, don't integrate well with other key systems, or both. These systems typically flag security alerts for you with complicated notification messages that are hard to interpret and even tougher to act on.

In such cases, it's difficult to tell if you're properly protecting your company's data, let alone getting a good ROI from your IT. You may want to switch to a more comprehensive security solution that helps you understand your vulnerabilities at a high level and gives you clear insight on how to address them. That way, you can spend less time scratching your head over jargon-laden reports and focus instead on strengthening your cyberdefenses.

3. Your Mobile Devices Aren't Managed

Mobile devices make life much more efficient for office professionals, often boosting their workplace productivity. However, it's important to carefully manage how these devices connect to the company network. A free-for-all strategy where individuals access their work however they like can lead to confusion — especially when they use different apps or tools on their devices — as well as security issues.

Streamlining mobile usage under an official BYOD (bring your own device) policy can help keep everyone safe and on track. That may involve clarifying which apps are to be used to access business data, and to ensure that every device has appropriate security protections in place. Mobile device management software can help your company securely manage and monitor these devices and their connections to company resources.

Technology may be getting a little complicated as it spreads throughout the business, but fortunately there are many solutions available that will bring order to the chaos. It's always wise to do a little technology cleaning on a regular basis as well. With a little foresight and initiative, you can simplify your office tech so that it continues to help your business. Just make sure you do your research before investing in a new solution to ensure that it covers the functions of the multiple solutions you want to replace.