After operating for more than 15 years, and with ‘Continuous Improvement’ amongst our core values, Grassroots IT has evolved over time and we have used a variety of applications and programs to run our business along the way. When selecting the right application for use, we have various criteria front of mind – such as integration with other applications, budget, productivity, ease of use, alignment with our business goals and maintaining a competitive edge.
To give you an idea of the technology services we use, let us walk you through the main business applications we use on a daily basis to help achieve our business goals.
Communication, Productivity & Collaboration
Over the years, we’ve experimented with various different platforms to accommodate our documentation, file sharing and productivity needs as a team. In the past, we have used Slack for messaging between team members, Trello for planning, and Skype for Business for video conferencing, just to name a few. However, in recent years, we have consciously chosen Microsoft 365 as the best integrated platform for our growing team for communication, productivity and collaboration.
Since its release in 2011, originally as Office 365, Microsoft’s array of cloud-based Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) products provide integrated business solutions, through a subscription model, that are automatically updated and cloud hosted. Microsoft 365 is a stable and capable online business platform, including many applications that integrate easily and allow our remote team to connect and collaborate on projects across three different time zones. So if you’re looking at managed office 365 we’d highly recommend using it.
Our most commonly used applications in the Microsoft 365 collection are Teams and Yammer for team collaboration and communication, the Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for productivity, SharePoint and OneDrive for file storage and sharing, and Planner and To-do to manage tasks.
If you’ve been following our blog posts, you’re no doubt aware of our deep love for Microsoft Teams. There are a whole lot of reasons to love this application! If you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, Teams is included as part of the suite, and it’s been created as a one-stop hub for collaboration by integrating Microsoft 365 services within Teams. We use Teams for our daily huddles, project group chats, team updates, file sharing, task tracking, and a lot more. Not only can you streamline Microsoft 365 services with Teams, but other third-party services can be integrated as well.
For our quick start guide to Teams, go to: https://blog.grassrootsit.com.au/four-quick-how-to-videos-microsoft-teams
For Communication, Productivity and Collaboration, we use and recommend the Microsoft 365 suite, especially Microsoft Teams.
Cybersecurity is more than just anti-virus software. In order to keep our business safe from cyber threats and attacks, we partner with Sophos to provide a full cybersecurity solution for us and our clients. If you’re looking for cybersecurity Brisbane, we’d recommend utilizing Sophos for your needs.
Sophos Endpoint Security
Sophos provides the latest in fast and reliable cybersecurity protection, integrating services and physical devices to prevent malware, ransomware, exploitations and viruses from infiltrating our business network.
Sophos uses “synchronized security” to coordinate endpoint protection, network, mobile, Wi-Fi, email, and encryption products so that all the elements are sharing information in real time and responding automatically to incidents. As part of their service, Sophos also provides helpful insights into the growing cybersecurity threat landscape.
With such rapidly changing technology and methods of cyberattack, a cybersecurity strategy is imperative for your business.
As part of our Cybersecurity strategy, we use and recommend Sophos.
Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)
In order to manage our client data and interactions with existing customers, we have been using a CRM called ConnectWise for over ten years.
ConnectWise is the platform we use to manage our relationship with existing customers, to manage and administer our helpdesk ticketing and service delivery, and to monitor performance. This platform also allows us to automate routine tasks, to keep track of client contact details, and to control billing procedures.
For our customer relationship management software, we use and recommend ConnectWise.
We love using ConnectWise, but this particular CRM is specific to the IT industry. When you are assessing a new CRM for your own business, we would recommend asking the following questions:
- What is our most important goal for this CRM?
- What features are must-haves for our business?
- How regularly are the features updated to stay current?
- What other tools/apps does our CRM need to integrate with and is this possible?
- What metrics will we track in our CRM?
- Will we outgrow this CRM at any point?
- What type of customer support can we expect from the CRM company?
- How will we get our team to adopt the CRM?
- How much training will our team require to use the CRM?
- What is our budget for the CRM?
- Do we know any other companies who use this CRM?
- Is the CRM known in our industry?
We once worked for a large organization in the hotel industry that shifted to a new CRM, making the decision primarily based on price. This CRM program was not well known in the hotel industry. What the business didn’t factor into the decision is that many employees joining the hotel had already been trained on the industry-standard CRM and this new software required all staff to be re-trained, thus incurring huge training costs. The CRM also had minimal customer support available.
So, while the business may have saved money on installing a lesser-known CRM program, in the longer term it was an expensive choice based on the training expenses and downtime due to lost productivity.
Sales & Marketing
HubSpot is an extremely powerful marketing platform with a variety of sales and marketing tools integrated within a central application.
After many years of stringing together various marketing applications, such as Mailchimp to run our email newsletter, we started using HubSpot in 2017 and it has provided us great flexibility in how we manage our sales and marketing activities.
We utilise HubSpot to run our social media calendar and email marketing system, manage our marketing contact database, create and publish blog posts, enable web chat conversations, track leads and sales opportunities, and measure metrics through the reporting functions. Even after using HubSpot for over three years now, we often feel like we’re only skimming the service with what it can do!
While it’s certainly not the cheapest of options, one of the best features of HubSpot is the incredible support offered to all clients. There is an extensive 1:1 integration program with a consultant to ensure HubSpot is set up specific to your business needs, as well as ongoing training and support along the way. HubSpot also has many resources and a training academy available online to all users.
As a Sales and Marketing platform, we use and recommend HubSpot.
With the rapidly and ever-changing nature of technology, we regularly need to assess whether the business applications we use are meeting the needs of our business. We understand that the tools and IT services that may have been effective for us 15 years ago may not be as effective today, which is why we always stay vigilant to what’s available and ensure that we are using the technology that’s the best fit for our organisation and our business goals. With the launch of the cloud, we have been able to reap the benefits of cloud-based systems and services that are often also powered by AI technology.
All of these tools and services add convenience and power to our daily operations that allow us to focus more on delivering the best solutions that drive meaningful change to our clients.
Ready to take your use of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 to the next level and create positive change in your business? We can help! Reach out to us to know more about how we can build these solutions together.