First American Business Enterprise

Save Money through Staff Augmentation

Let’s say you have a typical IT department where you have a lot of good people supporting your existing business systems.   Will those systems, and the people supporting those systems, stay in place with no change in the future?  Will your environment stay constant?  Hardly!   Your business, along with everyone else’s, is changing because the market is always changing and your completion is not standing still.  Your business leaders aren’t going to let your IT department stand still either.  Your CEO, CIO and others will need new systems to drive a reduction in costs and improve operational efficiencies through technological innovation.  That’s just the way it is.

This translates into a constant number of new IT projects.  While trying to complete these projects you may have unplanned staff turnover along the way but make sure you complete these projects on time, within budget, and to specification!

When companies look for outside help in completing IT projects, they generally turn to Staff Augmentation.

What is IT staff augmentation?  A way to easily and quickly add trained IT and telecom staff (resources) as needed. Resources are employed by the staff augmentation firm. A company may easily ramp up and down to meet changing demand without shouldering the cost and liabilities of full time employees.

Business usually look at two variations of the Staff Augmentation delivery model. One,  you can bring in resources with certifications and skills in the new system or new project or two, you can bring in Staff Augmentation resources to “backfill” your existing staff to free up your existing team to work on an exciting new project.  In either case, the Staff Augmentation allows you to fill the gap.

Here are the pros and cons of Staff Augmentation.

Pros

  • Speed:  Very quickly you can bring in an expert resource from a staff augmentation firm.   It is not unheard of to put out a request on a Monday and have an expert on-site (or remote) in less than 7 days (by the following Monday).
  • Control:  This new Resource works for you – you can direct them the way you want.
  • Specialist:  A Staff Augmentation resource brings a specific skill that fills a gap in your team.
  • Alignment:  Adding and subtracting Staff Augmentation resources allows your company to directly align the costs of a project equally with the duration of the project.  If you have a 6 month project the Staff Augmentation resource is there exactly 6 months.   No more.
  • Synergy:  By adding a new skillset to the team in the form of a staff augmentation resource, a company can take advantage to new knowledge inserted into the existing IT team.
  • Cost Savings:  There are no HR hiring costs with Staff Augmentation.  Such as:  Long interview process, job postings, on-boarding, annual training, or unfortunately in the business world these days – staff layoff costs.    You simply avoid the cost of investing and caring for an internal skill set.
  • Reduced burdens:  Liabilities of full time direct employees.
  • Improved Internal Employee Acceptance:  Existing employees are less threatened by staff augmentation because if there is downsizing, the contract labor is generally the first to go.

Cons

  • Training:  While you don’t have to train the resource on the technical skill they bring to the table there may still be training involved in bringing them up to speed with company processes and tools
  • Overhead:  Even though you cut out the hiring and firing part of the HR process there is still a need to supervise the staff augmentation resource.  They are an extension of your staff.
  • Results:  Unlike the outsource model, with Staff Augmentation the responsibility of the results stays with you (the company).  You are purchasing a resource … not a specific result.   The company remains responsible for the overall project deliverables.
  • Knowledge Departure:  When the Staff Augmentation resource leaves the company, the knowledge he/she brought leaves too.

Selecting a Vendor

When selecting a vendor, consider working with one that has your same geographical reach (is in all the locations your company is) and a broad set of skills – not just one function.  This will allow you to develop a long and trusted relationship as your business needs change.   Find a vendor you can trust to take the time to understand your business and deliver the desired results.

Summary

While there are pros and cons to Staff Augmentation the net benefits can be tremendous.  In today’s world of always changing business demands there is no way for an IT/ Telecom department to keep up with all the demands for new systems.  Staff Augmentation is a great way to cut costs by easily and quickly bringing on-board the right skilled resource to align exactly with the duration of the project.

FirstABS Blog – Automate to Accelerate

Get ahead of competitors and industry partners by accelerating the routine through automation!

There are numerous IT tasks at every organization that can be automated to optimize the company’s performance. Automating IT tasks, at the very least, decreases the complexity of many areas of the company that previously only “IT gurus” could understand. These “simple” and routine functions are also the cause of many easily preventable errors.

Fear not, IT personnel, FirstABS’ goal is not to eliminate your importance, but to provide more time for you to address more important and advanced IT needs, and lesson the burden of simple, routine tasks!

The fact is that automating IT tasks will help manage and reduce operating costs and provide a means of ensuring a more rigorous security for your company’s systems and data.

Additionally, automated systems and procedures, even internal ones, are attractive and promote your business as an innovative environment. This could help booster your reputation and put you ahead of competitors or increase your appeal to prospective employees or partners.

If you want to optimize your company’s IT, FirstABS is here to help. We understand that each business is unique and that your needs should be individually assessed and addressed by our professionals in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Give us a call today and speak with one of our professionals – you may be surprised by how effective and efficiently your business will be running in no time at all!

Tech Check: Are You Ahead or Behind?

Integrating technology into your business is only one step on your path to success. Analyzing, maintaining and updating that technology is another.

TechCheck2Using outdated technology can actually hinder your company’s performance and keep you from remaining competitive in your field.At FirstABS, we know that technology is constantly changing, and we are not asking you to constantly undergo revision to your technological backbone, but we are asking you… are you ahead or behind the curve? Computer programs, software, and applications are just a few examples of different technology-related business aspects that work best when they effectively coordinate together.

If you’re thinking “it’s been a while” since your last tech check-up, we ask that you consider speaking with one of our professionals on how FirstABS might assist your business to run smoother.

Your IT is important to helping your business not only succeed, but excel. At FirstABS we hold the key to understanding and implementing the technology your business needs.

Contact us at 4solutions@firstabs.com or (727) 565-0520.

5 Reasons to Use Cloud Computing

Gone are the days of forgetting your flash drive or losing files because of a crashed computer. Cloud Computing is the safest and most efficient way of saving and accessing your files from anywhere. If you aren’t sold yet, here is a list of why you should convert to cloud computing:blog word cloud

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  1. Recovery & SecurityWhen using cloud computing, businesses no longer have to rely on complicated disaster recovery plans in case of emergencies. In the event of a dire situation, these companies can resolve all problems and fully recover in around two hours, compared to around eight hours without the cloud.
  2. Automatic UpdatesWith the cloud, all of these updates occur on your computer automatically, allowing you to focus on more important aspects of your business. The aforementioned updates apply to everything from software updates to security updates, leaving no stone unturned.
  3. CollaborationBefore the popularity of the cloud, co-workers would share their various projects with one another through emails, which lead to the creation of a multitude of copies of one project consisting of different formats and edits. These practices lead to unnecessary confusion at times and slowed down the collaborative process. Using the cloud, several cohorts can access one central document online, and edit it simultaneously, chatting with one another to continuously offer each other ideas. This streamlines the collaborative process, adding a layer of simplicity that relieves the stress that it once entailed.
  4. FreedomBecause the cloud functions through the Internet, workers can essentially complete their work from anywhere. This means that people no longer have to be tied down at a desk in an office in order to be productive. This adds an element of freedom for all who use cloud computing in everyday business.
  5. “Green”
    Because businesses only use the space they need on cloud servers, they leave a much smaller carbon footprint. Small businesses can cut energy use by a substantial margin by switching to cloud-based servers. [/fancy_numbers]

Become more organized, time-efficient, and up to date with cloud computing. To learn more and get started contact us.

Build a Better Technology Strategy

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Having a Technology Strategy that will scale to support your company’s future growth is essential to being successful. Outlined below are some tips to consider when defining the right strategy to support your evolving data, process and staffing requirements:

Scalability:

It is essential that the technology you select will become a foundation to build upon when expanding in the future. The last thing you want is to have is months or a year’s worth of scrap past projects and IT investments, or have to to start from scratch because your technology wasn’t scalable.

Extensibility:

Does your chosen technology allow you to customize your usage so it meets the unique needs of your evolving business requirements? Your company isn’t a cut and paste template, it is a unique entity.

Cloud-based:

Moving to the cloud allows businesses with the opportunity to focus on how to run efficiently instead of spending time solving IT infrastructure issues. Not only does this take up time, but often more money as well.

Speed:my-computer

Your chosen supporting technology should be able to power real time prospecting, data updates and cleansing. Don’t get caught by slow rates of technology, your infrastructure needs to operate as fast, or faster, than you do!

Integration:

Technology should be able to integrate seamlessly with your key business processes such as workflows, triggers, validation rules and reporting. Don’t choose technology that doesn’t get along with what you already have going for you.

Data:

Put Data at the center of your technology strategy. Data is the raw material of anything your firm does, so invest heavily in building next-generation customer data management capability to increase revenue and profits. Sustainable growth and business success is inextricably linked to knowing your customers, which requires having the data, processes and people to do this well.

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The information in the above article was inspired by “Grow Faster with the Right Data,” an e-book on the best practices for growth through the right strategies at the right time by salesforcedata.com.    

Social Media: So Easy, So Necessary

Social Media… So easy, so necessary. We’re using it, why is it so important for businesses to use this “technology?”social-media-signs

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and countless other social media platforms play a huge role in the growth of businesses. In this day and age where technology is vital, don’t let your business fall behind because of its lack of participation in social media.

Social media is easy, fun to use and it can humanize your company, but the best part about it is that it is completely free. As a technology company, we at FirstABS recognize that “free,” “easy,” and most importantly, “effective” are not three things commonly found together, so we encourage you to take advantage of this communication platform.

Here are five ways social media can benefit your business:

1. Get a Farther Reach
Facebook and Twitter have been proven time and time again to allow businesses to reach markets they typically wouldn’t be able to, which results in more business, and therefore, more revenue. Actions on platforms such a Facebook cause a ripple effect – one person “liking” your status, instantly increases the likelihood that each of their friends will see and “like” your status, and continues in that same manner. Geographic location of each user does not have an effect on the rate of sharing your messages the way a bus ad or billboard announcement does, making the possibilities of exposure to your new and existing clients endless.

2. Humanize Your Company
The most beneficial element of your business plugging into social media is the ability to engage and communicate with your “likers” and “followers.” Through posts you can ask for user input, respond to questions or concerns, as well as like and comment on posts made by your users or your professional business connections you establish. This is the number one aspect of social media that is going to humanize your company and have a profound impact on the way customers view the potential of doing business with your company.

3. Rack Up the Reviews
Facebook in particular allows users to post reviews of up to “5 stars” with a comment about their experience with your business directly on your page, and even averages the total ”star count” of your business. This allows potential “likers” and clients visiting your page to preview how their experience dealing with your company might be. These reviews can also show up in search engine results. Additionally, this feature allows you as the business to reply to your reviews in an effort to thank, console resolve (etc…) any issues customers may bring to light.

4. Real-Time Communication
Social media is the perfect platform to use for promoting events, news, interesting information, new products, helpful tips and anything else you might want to share as a company. The content on your business page could be the deciding factor when it comes to users wanting to “follow” or “like” your page, so it is essential that the posts on your page are mindful, and most importantly, interesting and relevant. Include links, engaging questions, photos and videos to promote feedback and increased sharing of you followers. Even more importantly, social media gives you the option to always post updates and information real-time and immediately, so use it!

5. Pathway to Your “Real” Hub
Social media is a powerful tool, but let’s be honest… your real goal is probably to direct your users to places where they can get more in-depth information and your business, and hopefully decide to utilize its services. If that’s the case, then use social media as a tool to get them there! Link to your website or blog (wherever you are directing them to) frequently in your posts. Make them WANT to click to “learn more.” Many social media platforms have page analysis tools that are free for you to use, so you will be able to see which of your posts resulted in more activity and “click-throughs” to your links. Don’t forget to keep you “About” section up to date, informative, and full of your contact information as well!Social-Media-Collage

Don’t be afraid of social media, or waste its usefulness to your company!

First ABS has learned firsthand how easy and beneficial social media can be, and we invite you to like, follow and connect with us to learn more, and to stay up to date with all of our fun and important announcements! The links for our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be found at both the top and bottom of this page, we’d love to chat via social media with you or in the comments below!

Are Newsletters Really Necessary?

The big question for many businesses: Are Newsletters a necessity?

Our answer: It depends.
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As a technology company, FirstABS has long embraced the e-Newsletter as a form of communication between us and our clients, but it might surprise some of you to know that creating e-Newsletters annually, quarterly, bi-monthly, monthly, weekly or however frequently is no small task for a business.

Some of you are probably nodding your heads in agreement with that last statement, because you too send out regular e-Newsletters. You have probably asked this question before: “Are Newsletters a necessity?”

The truth of the matter is that the answer to that question is not so transparent, and depends entirely on each company in question.

Newsletters present a way for your business to regularly communicate with your clients, partners and potential customers. They are packed with information that quickly gets your readers informed on whatever you feel are the most important things for them to know.
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Additionally, Newsletters are an excellent way to increase the strength of your relationship with your readers by offering exclusive deals, discounts, coupons or chances to win something. Of course, those that are not staying as informed on your company will miss out on these opportunities, thus creating a feeling of exclusivity for your loyal readers.

So for those companies who care as much about their customers as FirstABS does, the answer to “Are Newsletters a necessity” is a resounding YES!

At FirstABS, we view our quarterly e-Newsletter as an extension of our customer service. We want you to always know how we are evolving as a company to further benefit you, our loyal customer and friend.

If you do not already receive our e-Newsletter, you can subscribe at the bottom of this page! Each e-Newsletter contains a message from our President and summarized updates, changes, tips or news that we feel are important for our customers to know. In addition, we also routinely have Trivia Questions that can be answered in our “Quiz Corner” for entry into a prize drawing.

2 Reasons Your Technology Company Needs to Use Social Media.

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  1. Social Media represents all things technology… to MOST people. index

    Yes, we know you “professionals” can tell us the ins and out of coding, or HTML, or wiring for different systems, but to the average person, they think their ability to use or not use Social Media may represent their technological capacity. Therefore, a company without Social Media may seem deficient.

  2.  Establish a Relationship.

    Your tone, presence, frequency and type of posting on Social Media has the power to influence how others view your company. Do you post/respond frequently? Are you spelling things correctly? Posting about interesting, helpful or relative topics? These things can help establish a relationship with a customer before they ever walk in your door or pick up your phone.

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These are 2 of the most compelling reasons for your company to be on Social Media. Not convinced yet? Let’s walk through a potential client scenario:
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Imagine that average businessman “Dave” has been tasked with preliminary research for a technology-based company to manage their company’s technology needs. Dave will use Google and be directed to a website, perhaps YOUR website, along with 5 others. Which will he choose?

All of the services seem to be pretty similar, and they all meet the list of requirements given to him by his boss. He selects one that he knows is headquartered nearby (let’s call that Company A), and two others because he likes their website design (Company B and Company C).

After a closer look at the three websites, Company A and Company B seems to have recent information with at least semi-current updates, but only Company B has Social Media links. Company C has no “new” information from what Dave can see, but they are on Social Media.

Dave clicks on the Social Media icons and begins to do a general look-through. Company B has a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ account, but none have been updated in over a month. Company A has a Facebook and LinkedIn account, with constant updates. Dave sees that Company C recently won a county award and has attended two conferences so far this year. He also notices that several times a “client” has commented on a post with a question, and that Company C has always responded within a few hours.

His mind made up, Dave takes the results of his findings back to his boss, and recommends contacting Company C.

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While this scenario could play out on a multitude of ways, it demonstrates how a company’s social media can change a potential client’s perceptions about them. As a technology company, this is especially true, because the “average Dave” will expect Social Media to be extremely easy and second-nature for the company’s professionals, when in fact the opposite is often truer.
If you are taking these facts into consideration, we invite you to explore First ABS’ social media platforms. We are excited to be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. Links to these platforms can be found and the top and bottom of this webpage.

Training Tip: Knowledge is More Than Power…It’s Capital

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Organizations are routinely valued based on their intellectual capital (i.e. what they know). Intellectual capital fuels a company’s competitive advantage and boosts its market value.

For a company like Microsoft, their $280 billion market value far exceeds the value of its physical assets, because it includes their ideas, concepts and knowledge as intellectual capital.

While your company may not equate to Microsoft, there are strategic ways to boost your intellectual capital, including providing training for your employees. Training is one of the chief methods of maintaining and improving intellectual capital because it increases the overall wealth and quality of knowledge your company can leverage when doing business.

Given the benefits of training, which include continued employee education, don’t you think it is strange that the average US employer spends very little on this investment? Perhaps accounting standards’ classification of training as an expense instead of what it actually is – an investment – causes this discrepancy!

How much do you invest annually in employee training?

If you have found this Training Tip helpful, be sure to look subscribe to our e-newsletter below, and look for future tips, as well as company updates and announcements.