The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Vendor Management Can Save You A Lot of Time and Money

Vendor Management Can Save You A Lot of Time and Money

When was the last time you actually had a decent experience working with a vendor? Depending on who you are trying to contact and work with, it can either be an extraordinarily pleasant or an extraordinarily painful experience. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to work with vendors at all? What if you could just contact a trusted resource who could handle everything for you? Well, you’re in luck; that just so happens to be what vendor management is all about!

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3 Mantras to Live By for Everyday IT Success

3 Mantras to Live By for Everyday IT Success

With so many technical terms to know and processes to understand, one might think that the only possible way to take care of your IT infrastructure is to hire professionals to monitor and maintain every aspect of it. While there is certainly a lot of truth to this statement, and working with professionals presents a ton of value, it doesn’t take a genius to implement small, common-sense practices that can compound over time.

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3 Ways Your Business Can Avoid or Minimize the Impact of Downtime

3 Ways Your Business Can Avoid or Minimize the Impact of Downtime

The phrase “time is money” is something that you hear a lot, especially in the business environment. While this might be applied in small ways, such as employees taking one or two minutes longer on their breaks or leaving early for the day, the major issue with wasted time manifests itself in much larger and more unpredictable ways. The true silent killer of businesses is downtime, and you need to be aware of its impact on your organization on a holistic level.

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Lessons Learned from the New Normal

Lessons Learned from the New Normal

It’s been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In business, this is more evident every day as organizations have to deal with all sorts of different problems. How business leaders react to those problems ultimately makes the difference between beleaguered results or success. Let’s take a look at three lessons business leaders should be learning from recent events. 

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Are You Having Productivity Problems? Here are Some Possible Solutions

Are You Having Productivity Problems? Here are Some Possible Solutions

Productivity is the core measurement of your business’ ability to complete the work needed to bring in revenue and to keep that work up consistently. Amazingly enough, most businesses experience similar productivity problems over time. What can a small and medium-sized business do to right the ship when productivity is down? Today we explore some ways to do just that.

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Tip of the Week: Making the Most of Google Keep

Tip of the Week: Making the Most of Google Keep

The Android platform has various tools and applications available to assist users in keeping themselves organized and productive. One of these applications, Google Keep, offers particularly significant benefits. For this week’s tip, we’ll be going over some ways that you can use Google Keep to help “keep” track of the cornucopia of important information you need to process and retain.

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Tip of the Week: Five Ways to Manage Your Email Effectively

Tip of the Week: Five Ways to Manage Your Email Effectively

Email—it’s a business tool that we all use and rely on, but (if we’re being honest) it can be a pain to manage properly. Unfortunately, this can also depreciate the value of the solution to its users. To help prevent these problems, we wanted to share a few tips to assist you with your email management.

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Business Analytics 101

Business Analytics 101

Business analytics are a growing field, as all businesses can see benefits to their operations through the optimized performance and decision making that these kinds of analytics enable. Let’s go over business analytics, and how they can be used to your advantage when applied to your technology.

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How to Ensure Your IT Resilience

How to Ensure Your IT Resilience

How confident are you that your business could survive a data disaster of any size and scale, from a single misplaced file to a complete loss of your entire onsite infrastructure? Being prepared to recover from any version of events is key to your business’ success. Let’s discuss this concept, which is widely known as IT resilience.

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Small Businesses Face Hard Work Getting Back to Normal

Small Businesses Face Hard Work Getting Back to Normal

It isn’t exactly business as usual, but things are beginning to resemble the reality we all knew before COVID-19, thanks to the use of cloud services as a means to continue processes while social distancing is still in play. However, some businesses may still be reluctant to embrace them.

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Tip of the Week: How to Efficiently Use Chrome in Android

Tip of the Week: How to Efficiently Use Chrome in Android

Productivity is a huge priority in any business. This makes it crucial that all tasks can be picked up and put down as efficiently as possible. With mobile browsing now playing a major role in most users’ lives, the version of Chrome for Android devices is a very utilized tool. With these factors in mind, we’re sharing tips to make your use of Android Chrome that much more efficient and productive.

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Tip of the Week: Make Email Simpler

Tip of the Week: Make Email Simpler

A strong email solution can bring a great deal of continuity to a business. If it is mismanaged, however, it can quickly become a major pain point. Today, we thought we would go over a couple of ways that you can use your email platform to boost productivity, rather than waste time with it.

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Efficient IT Goes a Long Way

Efficient IT Goes a Long Way

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing businesses to rethink their operational strategies, many businesses have had to make a quick digital transformation. Many businesses have accomplished this before the stay-at-home orders, but with employees working from home, we thought this was the perfect time to take a look at four tools businesses can use to improve their work-from-home strategies. 


Analysis, In Real Time

Making prudent and qualified decisions is more important now that it has ever been before. To be able to make informed decisions, many SMBs are looking to their analytics platforms. By being able to look at how aspects of your businesses are functioning in real time, you can quickly change strategies that need to be changed in order to keep your business running efficiently.

Additionally, many analytic systems can be structured near the edge of an organization’s computing network, giving them more insight into how data is flowing in and out of their network.

Other benefits include:

  • Managing location data - Directs decision makers’ strategies by determining the relevant data for multiple locations.
  • Anomaly detection - Helps decision makers detect outlying data sets to avoid impulsive decision making. 
  • Improved marketing - Assists decision makers to make decisions based on demand when it otherwise wouldn’t be noticed.

Voice Over Internet Protocol

VoIP is one of the most useful tools for teleworkers. It provides strong communication options, highlighted by an enterprise-grade telephone system, for pennies on the proverbial dollar. Additional available options that can help remote workers such as instant messaging, text messaging, and audio and video conferencing make VoIP a powerful tool for businesses looking to sustain levels of productivity with workers out of the office. 

Automation

One of the best tools for cutting costs is process automation. A lot of businesses are trying to effectively identify processes within their workflow where they can automate mundane or repetitive tasks. By having the type of consistency automation brings to these types of tasks, businesses can utilize their human resources on more revenue-building assignments.

Tasks that can be automated include:

  • Tasks that involve moving information around
  • Frequent and mundane, but necessary tasks
  • Tasks that frequently interrupt focus on business-critical tasks

Making the investment to automate parts of your business will assuredly save your organization money. Best yet, by automating these tasks now, once operations return to normal, you will keep seeing the cost savings you do today. 

Online Sales

There are a lot of businesses that have implemented some semblance of ecommerce prior to this event, but if you haven't, or if you have a limited ecommerce platform, you could see a major bump in revenue from investing in your ecommerce platform. In retail, companies are seeing double and even triple times the sales through their ecommerce solution than they did only a few short weeks ago. Prioritizing your online sales will go a long way toward keeping revenues up while your storefront is closed.

For the small business these can be lean times. Knowing what technologies and strategies to implement will go a long way toward getting you through this period. For more information about technology and how it can work for your business during the COVID-19 period, call The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938. 

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VoIP is a Great Tool for Remote Work

VoIP is a Great Tool for Remote Work

Social distancing has more or less confined many to their homes, and so many people have begun to adopt remote working to stay busy and to keep their workplaces operational. One way to assist these activities, VoIP (or Voice over Internet Protocol) is a massively helpful tool that many businesses use. Here, we’re going over why this is.

We’ll begin by reviewing the current situation.


As COVID-19 continues to make the workplace too risky to spend time in unless it is absolutely necessary, many people have committed to isolating themselves in their homes. Fortunately, we have the technology today that allows work to still be done in this situation. Thanks to the capabilities of VoIP technologies that lean on cloud solutions, remote work and collaboration become possible.

Let’s explore how:

Remote Work is Easier with VoIP

If they’re going to work from home effectively, your employees will need the tools for the job, just like they would in the office. This includes a workstation, whether it's a laptop that travels with them or a workstation capable of accessing their resources remotely. It could also include a desk phone, which is something that is much more difficult to transfer from location to location, or at least, it once was.

VoIP now allows for this, as it runs the phone through the Internet instead of a separate dedicated line. Thanks to VoIP, your employees can make business calls with the same number they have in the office, without needing to be in the office itself. Software on their workstations, or an application on their mobile device, gives them access to their calling capabilities--along with many other features--even from home.

VoIP Offers Secure Information

Furthermore, it isn’t as though your employees will no longer need to discuss business operations as they are working from home. Communications will still be critical, but residential services just aren’t secure enough to freely talk about these matters over the phone or even a personal Internet connection. Efficiency just isn’t worth sacrificing your security for.

VoIP can help you to mitigate these challenges. By using a VPN (virtual private network) in tandem with your VoIP solution, your conversation will be shielded by a tunnel of encryption.

VoIP Plays Nicely with Other Collaborative Solutions

Many VoIP platforms will incorporate additional communication tools, such as video conferencing, to increase their functionality. Conferencing allows you to have a face-to-face discussion with the other parties involved. This can help reduce the isolated feelings that many remote workers can develop, on top of improving the quality of your communications.

Find out more about VoIP solutions and how you can adopt them yourself! Give The Connection, Inc a call at (732) 291-5938 today.

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Work and Fun Don’t Have to Be Mutually Exclusive Concepts

Work and Fun Don’t Have to Be Mutually Exclusive Concepts

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, as the saying goes, but is this really useful advice if you’re trying to keep Jack, Jill, and the rest of your team engaged in the workplace? As it happens, it is! Let’s explore how you can use gamification to your business’ benefit.

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Your Business Processes Are Everything

Your Business Processes Are Everything

The word “procedure” can easily be perceived in a negative light nowadays. It just sounds so… rote… compared to the exciting and dynamic buzzwords that so many “thought-leading, influencing, social media innovators” today toss around. Now, we don’t mean to disparage these personalities - we just want to emphasize that these innovations rely on a foundation to support them, and these foundations are based on business procedures and processes.


Let’s look at why even the most innovative businesses depend on their procedures to operate - and how a procedure can be properly created as well.

Why Processes and Procedures Matter to Businesses

If you were to list the most important qualities that a business should have, would your list include consistency? It really should. After all, if Client A, B, and C each paid for the same service, doesn’t it stand to reason that all three of them receive the same quality of service? Consistency can go a long way to support your client retention, your productivity, and any of a variety of other internal and external business considerations. Therefore, it only makes sense that establishing processes will work to your business’ benefit. 

There are a variety of ways that they can do so, for that matter. For instance, they can…

  • Help improve your business’ efficiency
  • Optimize internal and external communications
  • Minimize confusion in your operations
  • Secure accountability in your workflows
  • As mentioned above, better ensure consistency in outcomes

… so it only makes sense to invest the time it will take to standardize how your business completes certain tasks. Consider, for a moment, the modern fast food franchise.

Slight cost and menu changes aside, going to a fast food restaurant on one side of the country should be effectively identical to going to one on the other side. This is largely because there are essential processes that take place in the kitchens.

The moment a server starts to put together an order with a customer at the front counter, a screen in the back shows the order being constructed. This allows the team in the back to start putting it together, keeping the communications between the front and back teams effectively seamless. Each person back there has their own task - whether it is to cook the meat, start building the sandwiches, or finish them and send them to the front.

As a result, it isn’t unheard of for a finished sandwich to reach the customer less than a minute after they have placed their order - in fact, that’s the goal - and that is exactly how they expect it to be.

Now, while your business almost certainly has very different goals and services than a chain burger joint, there is no reason that you can’t experience similar benefits to your operations by implementing standardized procedures as well.

What Makes a Good Process

Now, this may feel like we’re getting a little into the weeds here, but not all processes are necessarily created equally. To make sure that your process is worth the time spent to formalize it, it should feature four qualities:

  • It can be repeated - There isn’t much use in a process that only applies to a specific scenario or can’t hypothetically be repeated indefinitely. A good process can apply to a variety of circumstances, and be used more than once

  • It contributes value - Any process you design should have a purpose to each step… there should never be any “busy work” involved in one of the included tasks.

  • It has a clear beginning and an end - Every process you develop should have a defined starting point, where something signifies that the procedure should commence, as well as a conclusion, where no further action needs to be taken. Each step between these points also needs to be easy to differentiate from the others.

  • The process can evolve - Of course, you aren’t going to (or at least, shouldn’t) continue using the same tools and solutions indefinitely, which will at some point impact these processes. Your processes should be able to accept these impacts without your clients seeing any ill effects.

Use Automation to Power Your Processes

If there is any issue that every business is subject to, it’s human error. Regardless of how perfect and refined your procedures are, there is always the risk that the end user will miss a step - like when the fast food worker forgets to put the pickle on your sandwich.

In your business, however, the consequences are probably a little greater than a missing crunch.

That’s why many businesses have embraced the use of automation to enhance their business processes. Not only does automation bring about the benefits we discussed above - the improved efficiency and accountability - it also helps you avoid human error at key points in your processes. Additionally, it frees up your employees to accomplish other things, perhaps related to that same process.

There are many different solutions designed to help with different tasks, and they can all play a role in your automated processes. The Connection, Inc is here to help you determine what is best for your business’ efficiency.

To learn more about how we can help you automate some of your processes, or about the other benefits that we can provide for your organization, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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How Our Help Desk Benefits You

How Our Help Desk Benefits You

You’re likely aware that we have a Help Desk for our clients to leverage, but not all companies handle their support the same way. Here, we wanted to share a few reasons that we are confident that our approach to support is better for our clients.


This is, in part, thanks to the tools we use. While they are intended to make our jobs easier, the result is ultimately improved support for you. What follows are a few of the features that help us, help you.

Improved Organization

In most businesses, there is no shortage of requests received from their clientele. Rather than requiring an employee to record and organize all of the information that one of these requests contains, businesses today can leverage an automated process to create their tickets. As a result, these requests can be delivered to an appropriate resource faster, without the risk of being overlooked, lost in email, or incorrectly scheduled by a human being.

Furthermore, with help desk software assigning tickets to a particular resource, you are less likely to encounter instances of multiple resources attending to a given issue, which adds to the confusion and can slow down the process.

With our help desk, a ticket is generated for us once you submit your issue, and it is assigned to one resource for them to take point on it, bringing on other resources for assistance, but generally remaining your sole point of contact. As a result, all communications and updates can be found in one place, keeping us all on the same page.

Flexibility

There are a lot of ways that you can reach out to us - from our website, emailing us directly, or calling us. This not only makes it easier for us, as we can be sure that there is always some way that our clients can reach us, it also assists you.

Consider it - what if your VoIP system was on the fritz? Or your email wasn’t working? By ensuring that, again, our clients always have some way to reach us, we ensure that we can always be made aware of an issue - and that’s assuming that we didn’t spot it through our remote monitoring.

Accuracy

Let’s face it, even the kind of professionals that The Connection, Inc hires can occasionally make mistakes - we’re only human, after all. However, by using the full capabilities of our technology solutions, we can make sure that - through automation and documentation - the possibility of human error is minimized. With fewer mistakes made, and the time-intensive tasks on our end minimized, your issue is resolved faster, allowing you to return to productivity.

Our team hopes that you have acquired some additional insights as to the value that a help desk can bring you. If you are interested in learning more about implementing one, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Why VoIP is a Great Option for Your Business Telephony Needs

Why VoIP is a Great Option for Your Business Telephony Needs

With all the communication options available today, it can still be hard to beat the convenience and simplicity of the telephone. However, the phone is far from a perfect solution - it can be expensive, for one. However, what if there was a way for you to get a fully-featured telephone service with a variety of tools, without having to pay an arm and a leg?

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Diving Into the Differences Between Proactive and Reactive

Diving Into the Differences Between Proactive and Reactive

When it boils down to it, there are really only two ways to operate a business: proactively, or reactively. While many businesses still rely on their reactivity to deal with their technology issues, the opposite approach is demonstrably more effective for the modern business. Let’s explore some of the effects that a proactive and reactive strategy can each have on your operations.


To start, it is probably wise to establish how each approach generally works out.

What A Reactive Approach Entails

As you might imagine, a business that doesn’t adapt to the shifting landscape until something is going to directly influence it would be described as reactive. Whether it’s by boosting the company’s efficiency when a new competitor opens up, or scaling back spending after the local economy takes a significant downswing, adopting this method can present you with some significant issues.

For instance, reacting to these kinds of circumstances inherently means that your business is going to be behind the eight ball, susceptible to larger issues and their consequences. Your competition will have the lead on you, and if you’re occupied by playing catch-up, your capability to make the most of your business will be hampered.

What A Proactive Approach Entails

Comparatively, a proactive approach to IT maintenance and management takes the polar opposite approach. Rather than essentially sitting around and waiting for something to interfere with business operations, a business that leverages a proactive approach considers the data they have collected, identifies trends, and uses these insights to prepare themselves for a variety of different scenarios.

For instance, a proactive behavior we frequently recommend is to maintain an offsite data backup that is compliant to best practices. Managed services are inherently proactive, as your technology is monitored for the express purpose of catching issues early.

Turn To The Connection, Inc For Proactive Support

Of course, we don’t expect you to just take what we’re saying at face value - let us show you how beneficial our services can be. The trained team here at The Connection, Inc can keep your technology operational and optimized, ensuring your productivity.

Keep reading our blog for more benefits of working with The Connection, Inc, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance by calling (732) 291-5938. Don’t wait until doing so is a reaction!

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How Business Communications Make Your Processes Better

How Business Communications Make Your Processes Better

Business communications, which is the succinct way to say the sharing of information between people both internal and external to a company, is a key player in that company’s success. Here, we’ll analyze the different types of communication that a business could leverage, and the solutions that best enable them.

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730