Some things never change; the sky is blue, the world is round, and it’s cold in Minnesota. However, some things are always changing, like the technology you use to keep your business running and profitable.
Have you recently checked how current the hardware and software you are using to manage your business is? I know, it’s running fine, and if it works, why fix it? Well, if you ask any of our knowledgeable support staff, they can recite from memory some real horror stories of people that felt that same way and wound up losing valuable information. Maybe the computer crashed and the backup wouldn’t restore on the new computer because the operating system couldn’t read the old format, or there wasn’t even a device in the new computer to insert the backup into. Or, the old software couldn’t transfer the data into the new program.
Red Wing Software is continuously updating our products with new technology to ensure that our customers don’t fall into the trap of losing information because of system crashes or outdated hardware. However, this requires users of our software to stay current with their Red Wing Software products, and transfer their data to new programs when they are available. We occasionally “sunset” a product, which means we stop updating and supporting that program. When we do that, we always provide a way to get most, and usually all, of your historical data into the new, replacement product.
If you receive notification that one or more of your products is about to “sunset,” it is important to contact us to learn about your options for moving your data forward and making sure you maintain and secure your important financial information.
I’m sure you have all seen the wording on the side view mirror of your car that states “Objects may be closer than they appear.” This warning isn’t there just to tell you that someone might be following too close, but also reminds us that things may actually be different than they look, and we should use caution when we have the feeling that something just doesn’t seem right.
A few years ago, my wife and I were traveling to Ogden, Utah for a ceremony and party for a very close relative that was retiring from the US Air Force. We decided to fly our own little airplane and make a week-long vacation out of the trip. As we were about to land at the Ogden airport, something just didn’t seem right. I could clearly see that we were lined up for the runway at, what looked like, about six miles out. The GPS was telling me we were only two miles from the airport, but it sure looked farther away than that.
Fortunately, enough bells were going off in my head that I double checked what my eyes were telling me as opposed to what the GPS said, and I was spared the excitement that I’m sure I would have experienced had I continued past my destination airport and landed at Hill Air Force Base. I hear they have a habit of meeting such uninvited visitors on the runway with lots of questions, and probably handcuffs.
This story is a reminder to pay attention in your business, and life, when things don’t feel like they should or you’re getting conflicting information. Double check what you’re about to do, and ensure that the decision you’re making will have the results that you intend.
- Ken Hilton, President
We are fast approaching the end of 2013, and I want to use my space this month to communicate some important information that needs to be considered before year-end, or shortly after the beginning of a new year.
Whether your company operates according to a calendar year, or a fiscal year, there are a few things that need to be considered to prepare for the new calendar year:
- How is your budgeting process going for the new year? Will next year be the same as this year, or should you be planning some much needed changes to make it better?
- Have you installed all of the latest versions of your software? You don’t need to wait until after the first of the year to get up-to-date. Doing it now saves pressure later.
- How about benefit changes? With the new health care laws, you may need to pay more attention to your insurance plans. How about retirement plans, and other items important to you and your employees? It is harder now than ever to find good employees, and we need to remain competitive in the marketplace to keep them.
- It is a good time to remind employees to update their W-4 information for changes that have occurred during the year like getting married, having children, buying a house, or anything else that might change their withholding needs.
- How is your budgeting process going? Oh, did I already mention that? I read once that “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you already are.” Is it time for a change?
So, update that important technology today; review procedures and policies, help employees be better managers of their information, and plan for the New Year.
How do you know if you’re doing something the best way if you only know one way to do it? Take a look at any important process in your organization and think about a way to change it. You might be surprised to find out the way you’ve been doing that process isn’t the best way. Try taking a different street to work. Maybe the distance is not as short, but might be faster. At least you’ll see different scenery.
You may ask someone (or yourself) to do something faster, more efficiently, at a lower cost, or with fewer errors, but is the system they are working in allowing them to accomplish any of these results? Trying one or more alternatives to a given process might produce the results you’re looking for.
At Red Wing Software, we never assume that there is only one way to accomplish a task. We constantly challenge our staff to find ways to improve what we do; make our software faster, easier to use, have fewer errors, etc. Sometimes we need to think outside the box and try some ideas that seem a little obscure. Quite often this exercise yields a result that no-one would have thought of without a group of us throwing out ideas and hammering through to a conclusion.
Try it. You might be surprised. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but a wise customer told me once, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you already are.”
- Ken Hilton, President
Apparently, my number was up. No…..not that number. The number that means it’s time to get a new computer. You see, Larry, our Computer Wizard (his official title is IT Manager) keeps track of every employee’s computer, and has a schedule that determines when they should be replaced. With Larry, you don’t have a choice. When your number is up, your computer WILL get replaced.
As scary as this sounds, it is really a good idea. By upgrading our computers on a predetermined schedule, he makes sure that there are virtually no hardware failures, (no down time, lost data, or lost productivity) and everyone is working with relatively new technology.
With a new computer, sometimes comes a new operating system. My new computer came with the Microsoft® Windows® 8 operating system which, at first, was a little annoying because it was something that I was unfamiliar with. I quickly learned how to use the new features in Windows 8, and how to get the functionality that I didn’t like, out of the way. In just a few hours, I actually liked my new business tool.
How old is the computer you’re using? Is it running on borrowed time? Is its number up? Don’t wait until you have