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Six Picks: IT Resolutions for 2013

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International Data Group (IDG) is the world's largest technology media company, publishing market-specific thought leadership papers on behalf of clients and producing research for B2B marketers worldwide.

It's their business to call the trends, and recently Dan Swinhoe had a few recommendations for IT personnel in 2013.  Here are our six picks excerpted from his list.

1) Stay Secure--Things you can do towards this one include:

  • Password: Make it bigger, more complicated, change it regularly, and don't have one for everything (or at least put the one in different places.)
  • Updates: Having all the latest software might be a stress and a bore while waiting for the updates, but the older your software, the more likely it is to be hacked. Worth it in the long run.
  • Beware The Dodgy Link: Spam email, fake buttons and viruses everywhere; it's easier than ever to fill your computer with nasty code, so care must be taken. Check the URL of every link before you click unless you are 100% sure you trust them - and check the sender to make sure it's actually sent from who you think.
  • Backup: Simple, but easily forgotten. Save regularly, backup frequently. It's easy to forget, but can be costly if not done. You have been warned.
  • Secure That Device: Smartphones, Phablets, Tablets of all sizes, hybrids; mobility is here to stay, so get securing. Whether it's adding the right security software or making sure any sensitive data on those devices is properly protected, don't regret allowing BYOD in 2013.

Our customers agree: mobile unified communications is more than just "here to stay," it's driving how they do business.  That's why they love our ShoreTel Mobility solution.  It puts BYOD on its best behavior: keeping personal data (like pictures, contacts and music) completely separate from an employee's enterprise UC data so the enterprise data can be wiped completely clean on an employee (or ex-employee's) personal phone without any loss or changes to the devices' personal data.

 2) Simplify--Hopefully this year we can all clear-out and work out what we really need, or risk being swamped with information overload.

  • Sort Out Social Media: There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of social media sites out there. That doesn't mean you need to be on all of them. See where your audience is, pick the social networks they use and focus on interacting with them.
  • Sort Out Your Email: Unsubscribe from the chatter, delete the pictures of cats from your friends, and if absolutely necessary, declare email bankruptcy and start afresh. Avoid a repeat by creating a system.
  • Sort Out Your Apps: Do you need 5 versions of Angry Birds, movie makers that explode your friend's head or any number of other daft apps? Despite your protests, no, no you don't. Clearing out the apps you never use, never have used and never will use, will make finding DoodleJump that little bit easier.

OK, a shameless plug here, but if the New Year's Resolution is to Simplify, we'd also recommend you Sort Out Your Communications and take a look at the only UC provider that offers a brilliantly simple solution: ShoreTel.  If you try, you buy because no other VoIP phone service provider can match our simplicity of design, deployment, management and user experience. If you're not already a customer, contact a rep to put an on-site demo on your list for 2013 (or watch our online demo now.)

3) Avoid Privacy Woes--Best way to avoid any troublesome privacy arguments is to a) refer to the ‘Stay Secure' resolution and b) don't do anything to your customer's data you would be unhappy with anyone doing to yours.

Indeed! And we would add: in 2013 make customers happy by using their data in ways that deliver delightful personalization.  ShoreTel Contact Center keeps private data private, but enables Customer Service Reps to quickly and efficiently access history, preferences and references that maximize contact satisfaction.

4) Save the Planet

Claims that we are living in the era of the paperless office are premature, but being a bit more conscious of how much you use, picking the tech that uses less energy, and making sure the office actually has a recycling bin are easy ways to do your bit for Mother Nature. And you might reduce the bills a bit too.

If you're using a  complete Unified Communications solution, then you're already doing your part. You no longer hunt down colleagues with a walk down the hall and a paper sticky note, you use integrated communications to check their presence and reach them with an instant message instead.  You no longer fax, you send documents with one click thanks to unified messaging, and you've swapped collaborative video conference calls for some long-distance meetings cutting down on fuel emissions. And if your UC has solid enterprise mobility features, you may have already been telecommuting with an "office anywhere", putting one less gas guzzler on the road.

 5) Try Something New

It's a fast-moving world, so keeping pace with change is a pre-requisite to success. Some things you could try in 2013:

  • Embrace Open Source: The quality may vary, but the good stuff works just as well as regular software without all the licensing headaches. If all else fails and you can't find what you want you could...
  • Get On The Cloud: Now possibly the most commonly used word in IT Marketing Vernacular, maybe 2013 is when you see what all the fuss is about.

UC is in the cloud and hosted services are growing in popularity. ShoreTel's leadership in on-premise UC design is being enhanced by our expanding cloud-based services – check out shoretelsky.com.

6) Better Communication --The constant to-ing and fro-ing of emails can become very tiresome, especially across time zones. Better communication, whether it's IM, more video calls, or just more face-to-face trips and meetings, just makes good sense.

 Dan's right.  Don't just add to the email inbox, reach out and touch someone in real time. Take a minute and share a story from your day. Relationships are ultimately about people, not just contacts. Make it a great year of connections!