Improving Business Collaboration with Your Technology

Collaboration (1)

When it comes to working with your team, collaborating with another company, or simply working on a project from multiple locations, everyone wants to network and feel connected through their technology. Digital connectedness not only drives productivity, but communication and collaboration in the workplace as well. Gone are the times when technology was used as a tool for efficiency only, your business technology is now a means of driving impactful opportunities.

So, what do we mean by digital connectedness? Throughout a work day, individuals and companies are constantly networking and building relationships through email, chat, phone calls, virtual meetings, etc. During those times, collaboration should be efficient and complimentary to what you are trying to achieve, or else productivity can drastically decrease.

Here's how the right infrastructure can enhance collaboration:

Access to Information. Having the ability to efficiently share and collaborate on certain files or pieces of information is an important part of productivity. If your network is reliable and your infrastructure is set up in a way that can support documentation and the immediate sharing of files, your team will spend less time trying to track down and share files, and more time focusing on business development.

Anytime, Anywhere. Your IT environment must support your users so they are able to do their work anytime, anywhere. According to a Gallup survey, 43% of users said they spent time working from home in the last year, up from 39% in 2012. Remote work is increasing in popularity, and your environment must have the ability to support users collaborating from anywhere.

Collaborative Apps. You might also consider implementing or upgrading to a collaborative suite or software that can allow your employees to communicate in real-time. An example of these applications are Slack, Skype for Business, and Microsoft Teams. These apps are meant to provide an all-in-one platform where users can chat, share files, and keep projects moving. While it's always good to pick up the phone and call, having multiple communication avenues will play in your favor.

Customer Relationships. Putting a focus on collaborative technology and immediate access to information will also help improve customer service standards and customer relationships. Your users can get what they need to service the client within the click of a few buttons, but only if your infrastructure allows for them to do so. The more information they have at their disposal, the better they can connect with and help your customers.

Besides the occasional meeting, a majority of your time is spent behind your computer screen trying to get things moving, mark things off your to-do list, all while meeting the needs of your clients and team members. Maintaining those business relationships is so important, and the only way you can achieve this efficiently is through the right business technology that can aide you in those efforts.

Want to find out how IT can be utilized as an asset instead of a means of stress? 

What does it look like when IT becomes an asset? Click below for the free Five Nines Power Hour "IT As An Asset", as we dive into IT responsibilities, service requests and security, as well as technology standards, budgeting, and IT training and knowledge.

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Topics: Customer Service, Working Remotely, Productivity, Collaboration

How To Effectively Report A Tech Issue

Tech Issue Blog

When reporting a tech issue, the better the communication, the more effective the problem-solving. We want to provide you with what IT professionals look for when addressing a new request so that you can effectively report your future technology issues or questions.

Here's what your engineer will want to know:


This may seem like an obvious question, but it's always important to ensure the engineer knows exactly what isn't working that should be. This helps maintain a strong focus on the request at hand so that the issue can be solved efficiently. An engineer will want to know exactly what went wrong or what isn't working from your perspective. Knowing exactly what stopped working and when the issue started will  help an IT team determine the overall end goal when troubleshooting. So, if something stops working, pay attention to the why and the when.

Related: Troubleshooting Tips - Don't Let Frustration Win 


Another important detail to relay is whether or not the issue is impacting just your device or multiple users within your organization. Not only does this let your engineer know the impact, but also whether or not it's a user specific issue vs. a larger one. Knowing the overall impact will help streamline the problem-solving process.

Your engineer might ask something along the lines of, "When was the last time this worked correctly?" This will determine whether or not this is a recurring issue, which will help lead to the root cause more quickly. Finding the answer to that question will help determine whether or not the problem was caused by an internal process changing, a user getting a new device, and much more.


Defining whether or not the ticket request is something that prevents a user from working helps to determine the urgency of the issue. Depending on the urgency, your engineer might want to connect into your computer right away so that you can show them the issue. Having a user directly show an engineer what led to the issue/what the issue looks like is one of the most important parts of troubleshooting and effectively reporting a tech issue. If for some reason that is not an option, taking screenshots and writing down error codes is always helpful as well.

Effectively reporting a tech issue to an IT engineer can potentially save hours of time when trying to troubleshoot a request. Pay attention to the issue at hand, have a willingness to answer questions, and help your IT team determine the urgency of the situation. Most of the time, clear communication will lead to a simple and straightforward ticket request process.


Having an understanding of the basic functions of your network will be helpful when reporting a future tech issue. Click below to download the Five Nines Power Hour: Building An Optimal Network, a webinar that will teach you all about network basics, network design (the good and the bad), as well as troubleshooting and monitoring.

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Topics: IT, Tech Solutions, Managed IT Services, Webinars, Customer Service

The Many Hats Of Your Internal IT Employee


Internal IT Blog

Have you ever heard anyone go up to an IT engineer and say "Hey, just checking in to let you know that everything is running smoothly!"? Probably not. In the IT industry, there are always tech problems that need to be fixed, and once one problem is fixed there is always another.

Put yourself in the shoes of your internal IT employee for example. You are energized and excited about bringing someone in to manage your technology, and they are excited to implement and control an entire IT environment. They will clean up your network and put together new technical processes. Once that's done, they will begin addressing any IT issues that your employees are having as needed until the concerns of running an entire IT environment alone creeps up on them.

"I feel like I'm becoming an internal support desk." The "as needed" issues will escalate as your employees feel more comfortable running to IT with issues they are having. When outsourcing your IT, calling in about any and all IT issues is normal, but for an internal IT individual, they may have other IT projects to work on throughout the day. They become the go-to for everything, and eventually you'll realize you're spending $50k or above on an individual who is being asked to replace keyboards and put band-aids on larger tech problems that would be completely fixed if they weren't distracted with random issues throughout the day. Without a proper ticketing system, which usually isn't implemented for one or two internal IT engineers, things can become lost in the shuffle of emails. The IT professionals are either going to get bored with solving basic tech issues because they are more advanced engineers, or they will quickly become burnt out from having either too much or not enough to do.

"If I go on vacation, who is going to cover for me?" You invest in your technology, which means the expectation that your IT environment should be monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is not unrealistic. It is unrealistic, however, to expect that one individual can constantly monitor an entire technical system all on their own. Not only does this lead to an unhealthy work/life balance for the employee, it leads to mistakes as the employee is trying to do it all at once. Working on an IT environment alone could mean that no one is there to double check anything or pick up the slack. This could also lead to an eventual resignation because the employee won't feel as though their time is being valued, which will leave your IT environment in a state of limbo. If the internal engineer would have been backed by a team of experts, the constant monitoring wouldn't seem like such a large request.

"I don't have time for extra training or certifications." Naturally, any business wants to continue growing and developing its' employees through extra training or certifications. Frankly, that is probably the last thing an internal IT engineer has time for. It's not that they don't want to do it, but with IT requests and projects stacking up, that will become the last thing on their to-do list. That isn't good for business growth or individual growth, which is why having a team that can fill in for each other when someone wants to take time to complete a certification is highly recommended.

"I feel like I'm on the accounting team." Because business technology is viewed as a "cost center" of most organizations, an internal IT engineer must also collaborate constantly with an accounting department to ensure that money being spent is budgeted and accounted for. The engineer must be able to provide proof as to why certain technical pieces must be purchased, as well as keep everything documented and organized on their end. Even if they find time at the day to work on a certification, it's likely they won't be able to because they will need to stay on top of their expenses.

As you can see, your internal IT employee must wear many different hats to balance your IT environment accordingly.

Extensive research has shown that if you compare all of the costs associated with hiring and managing an internal IT engineer vs. a managed IT services organization it's incomparable. The bottom line is, you will gain more for an equal amount of money or less when outsourcing your IT needs. Not to mention, no one involved will have to worry about being affected by any of the statements listed above.

No one ever lets the IT engineer know when their job has paid off, when everything is working, and when nothing else needs to be done. It's time to let business owners focus on their business practices, while letting a fully equipped outsourced IT team handle the rest.


You deserve peace of mind.


For more information about the specific cost breakdown of Internal vs. Outsourced IT, click below.

Click here: Outsourced vs. Internal IT




Topics: Outsourced IT, Managed IT Services, Business Continuity, Customer Service

3 Signs It's Time Your Company Gets An IT Assessment

 it assessment blog

An IT environment without a clear direction can easily get lost in the constant twists and turns of tech traffic that is constantly evolving and adapting. When it comes to business technology, feeling lost and behind can quickly turn into a loss of productivity, something many businesses can't afford to lose. Avoid getting lost on the tech map and be sure to watch for the warning signs that will tell you when it's time your organization gets an IT assessment.

Here's what to look for:



Does it sometimes feel as though your IT issues are running your business more than anything else? When IT issues run your business, you may notice that your processes begin to lack, leading to inefficiencies when trying to complete a task or a project. Often, these inefficiencies derive from your organization's IT structure not being well rounded enough to efficiently support all of the technical aspects needed to run a business. Not only does this impact efficiency, but security as well. If you are having any rising doubt about your organization's IT security, it might be time to take a deeper look at it. According to Cybint Solutions, 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses first.

Technology efficiency can be achieved if it is conducted the right way. Make sure your IT efficiency is up to par with the speed of your organization.



Are your payments constantly going over the projected IT budget for the quarter, or even the year? Not sure when to invest in what types of technology to continue to progress your IT infrastructure? As unforeseen IT issues arise, money is spent in areas that weren't previously budgeted for. A lot of times, these issues come about because of a lack of preparation and resources. When organizations have to spend extra money to solve tech issues, other IT questions, updates, and unfinished projects get put on the back burner because there is no room in the remaining IT budget to fix, update, or replace them.

IT budgeting should only be one piece of your technical wheel, and it shouldn't be something that holds your organization back from improving an IT infrastructure. According to Customer Think, 59% of businesses end up hiring a managed IT services organization because it's a cost cutting tool. If you feel as though you don't know where a majority of your IT budget is going, it may be time to consider assessing your IT environment.



Can you think of a time where a technical support question simply went unanswered? If you and your team must resort to simply "dealing" with a tech problem because you've found that requesting support is too frustrating, the level of your IT support may need to be reevaluated. Your IT infrastructure must have the ability to operate the technology needed to power your organization. There should be enough knowledge and resources available dedicated to providing staff support, consistently analyzing the success of the environment, and implementing IT projects when necessary. The value of your IT shouldn't be a question.

Don't get lost in the twists and turns of the everchanging tech world. Become a presence on the tech map, and make sure your technology supports your organization in the most efficient way possible.


Did one or more of these sections cause you to think twice? Take our free IT assessment quiz to test the strength of your organization's IT environment. Want to skip straight to the proactive approach? Click below to schedule a free IT assessment with the Five Nines team, no strings attached.

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Topics: Outsourced IT, Tech Solutions, Managed IT Services, Business Continuity, Customer Service

Managed IT: The Customer Service Experience Matters

Customer Service Blog

We've seen the statistics, we've heard the horror stories, and we understand. The reality behind how often customer experiences go wrong or problems go unsolved is alarming, and it's time that pattern is broken within the IT industry.

The efficiency of your workplace technology is an extremely important part of your day-to-day operations, which is why customer service experiences should be the least of your worries. Organizations should be happy with their technological setup, and shouldn't feel overwhelmed when addressing a tech issue that must be fixed. It's a sad truth, but when it comes to technology, the troubleshooting of problems is almost inevitable, which is why IT customer service experiences should be more of a relief than anything else.


A study conducted by Bain & Co. states that while 80% of companies claim they deliver superior customer service, only 8% of people surveyed about these companies agree with that claim. There is an alarming pattern taking place as many individuals or organizations end up switching from company to company because they are constantly let down by poor customer service initiatives. This can cause more problems for those organizations long-term, as they are constantly having to adapt to new points of contact which reduces overall consistency.

Who would blame them, however, when according to statistics provided by New Voice Media, 49% of organizations switch companies because they feel unappreciated, 37% switch due to a rude or unhelpful staff, and 30% become discouraged after being passed around to multiple agents for one issue. These insights are concerning, and must be addressed.

Internal IT. Within our industry, we have observed that bad customer service can also derive internally where standards of customer service and technical resources aren't necessarily addressed. This can create tension within organizations, and cause a pattern of avoidance, employees simply "dealing" with their day-to-day technical issues because they don't want to bother their internal staff member with additional questions. Avoidance of technical problems can be detrimental, however, as these issues typically go unresolved until they erupt.


This past year Five Nines has gone a step further to embody one of its' fundamentals, "We Care" by implementing an internal Customer Service Committee to keep Five Nines' clients top of mind. According to a study put together by Glance, 91% of customers who have had a bad customer experience won't be willing to do business with that company again. That is an alarming fact, which is why Five Nines has taken client retention very seriously. Currently, Five Nines has achieved a 98% client retention rating, a statistic our team is very humbled by, but our work on improving the Five Nines' customer experience will never truly be over. Five Nines is consistently trying to streamline its' unique service model to ensure clients are getting their issues solved in the most efficient way possible.


The success of the customer-to-organization interaction in the IT industry is directly correlated to client success. If the interactions between customers and IT professionals are not productive, the client could potentially lose productivity and time as their technology supports all of their day-to-day tasks. This increases the importance of quality customer service within the field of IT, because IT clients have a lot to lose when it comes to uptime, IT security, technological advancements, and much more.

Five Nines understands that customer satisfaction is not about gimmicks or sales pitches, it's about providing organizations with the peace of mind knowing their technology is being taken care of, and that there isn't a technological problem that should go unresolved. After every closed ticket, Five Nines asks clients to provide ratings based on the experiences they had which helps us address areas of improvement as quickly as we can.

You deserve peace of mind. Don't settle for less.

Five Nines currently holds a 98% Happiness Factor to date, and we are driven by our Gold Star ratings. For more information on the details of our unique service model, click below for a fast and free downloadable PDF that will help to educate yourself and your team about what we do.

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Topics: Five Nines, Managed IT Services, Customer Service