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As you can probably imagine, running a print business requires a lot of computers. We have an in-house network that allows us to share files and keep our data secure, and a fast, steady internet connection is an absolute must.
Prior to these changes, let's just say that it had been a while since we paid much attention to our technology. It's easy to forget about all the things that work behind the scenes to make your business run—until you start having trouble with them. When Garner IT conducted their evaluation of our current setup, they pointed out a number of things that were actually hindering our business, and we didn't even realize it!
Our old residential-grade internet router:
It worked okay, but couldn't really handle the volume of internet traffic from our whole office. When it acted up, we weren't often at a loss for what to do. And look at that mess!
Our old networking equipment:
This was another example of not having the right piece of equipment for the job because we didn't know any better. After all, we're printing experts, not networking experts!
Our old workstations:
Computer technology changes at the speed of light, and although these machines served us well, it was time to upgrade. Faster, more powerful machines means that we can work more efficiently, respond to our customers quicker, and experience less downtime.
Garner IT worked with us to figure out what we needed and they made suggestions based on their knowledge of current technology options. They ordered all the new equipment and set it up on their workbenches to configure and customize each workstation based on its intended use. They did all this in their shop, so we could continue working without interruption.
Once installation began, it was a breeze. Garner IT performed most of the network change-over outside of our regular business hours, so it wouldn't interfere with our productivity. When it came to the individual workstations, they took only about an hour per workstation to swap out and set up the new machine.
We didn't just get new computers, though. A few key employees, like our office manager and our typesetter both got dual-monitor setups to help streamline their workflows. This means that they can both work on two things at once-- like monitoring customer service e-mails on one monitor while reviewing a design document on the other. Our typesetter especially likes the dual-monitor setup for working with document changes from one draft to another, so she can look at the “old” document on one monitor while working on the “new” version on the other.
We even got a brand new server. It's the central machine that controls network functions, like network drives we use to share files among coworkers.
Once all this new technology was installed, Garner IT trained us all on the changes so we'd be just as comfortable with our new equipment as we were before, if not more. They helped us understand some changes to our e-mail, tested to make sure it was working properly, and identified and addressed any unforeseen issues that popped up during the installation. Going forward, we can rest easy knowing that they're just a phone call away if we have any problems.
It might be scary to make technology changes-- and it certainly requires a financial investment-- but the benefits for a small business are immeasurable. In order to keep competitive in your market and even, in some cases, compete directly with much bigger companies, one surefire way to get a leg up is to keep your technology running smoothly! We're glad we finally made these changes and we know our customers will notice the difference!