Planning Digital Transformation? Don’t Forget Your Team

Have you heard of the term “digital transformation?” It’s where you introduce new technology across every part of your business, to help you sell more, deliver better customer service and be more efficient/profitable.

That word ‘transformation’ sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It’s like your business is a caterpillar, ready to emerge from its cocoon as a dazzling, tech-savvy butterfly.

But hold on a minute, let’s not forget about the most important part of this metamorphosis – your people.

Yes, you read that right. It’s not technology that should be at the heart of any digital transformation… it’s people.

Businesses often make the mistake of getting caught up in the whirlwind of “cool new tech” and forget about the human element. How many times have you heard of a company rolling out a major new software system, only for their employees to struggle with the change?

The truth is, the success of any digital transformation hinges on your team’s buy-in. You can have the most cutting-edge technology in the world, but if your people hate using it, it’s going to fail.

So how do we put people first in digital transformation? It starts with communication. Your team needs to understand why change is happening and how it will benefit them. This isn’t just a one-time announcement, but an ongoing two-way conversation.

Next, you need champions. These are individuals at all levels of the business who are enthusiastic about the change and can help others get on board. Enthusiasm is contagious!

And finally, you need to break down silos. The digital world thrives on collaboration, and your business should too. If departments are working in isolation, you’re not harnessing the full potential of your team or your technology.

Let’s not forget about the role of AI in all this. Generative AI systems, such as ChatGPT, have been making waves in the media, highlighting the importance of the human element in the digital transformation debate. After all, technology should serve people, not the other way around.

The pace of technological advancement is dizzying, no doubt about that. But amidst all the change, one thing remains constant – the importance of putting people, processes and culture at the center of your digital transformation.

If we can help you with any kind of technology project, just give us a call.

Boost Your Team’s Engagement With Better Tech

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

The stresses and pressures of the cost of living crisis are hitting many people hard. That makes employee engagement more of a challenge than ever.

As a business, you might be finding it hard yourself. It may not be possible to offer salary rises that keep pace with inflation.

And at the same time, you might be asking more of your people or making changes to the workplace that are hard for some to adjust to.

The last thing you want is to lose good people just when you need everyone firing on all cylinders.

That’s why some of the most effective engagement strategies right now involve relieving the stress and tedium of repetitive tasks and removing workplace frustration – with the added benefit that you become more efficient in the process. [Read more…]

What Are The Best Ways To Give An Older PC New Life?

Purchasing a new computer is a big investment. Many small businesses and home PC owners end up struggling with older systems because they want to get as many years out of them as possible.

Have you found yourself banging on your keyboard in frustration? Have you tried every tip and trick you found online, only to still struggle with a slow PC?

There are some promising upgrades you can do that will cost much less than the price of a new computer, while making your PC feel like new again. Here are some of the options you can try to improve the performance of an older computer.

Upgrade to a solid state hard drive (SSD)

Prices for solid-state drives have come down quite a bit in the past few years, making them an affordable upgrade that can breathe life back into an older PC that might be slowing down.

Unlike hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs do not have any moving parts and use a flash memory that allows for a quicker response time. You can improve your time to boot and your experience when searching files, opening applications, and other activities.

Some of the advantages of upgrading your computer’s hard drive to SSD include:

  • SSD read/write speeds up to 2500 MB/second compared to HDD at up to 200 MB/second
  • SSD access time of 0.1ms as compared to HDD at 5.5-8.0ms
  • SSDs use between 2-5 watts of energy compared to HDD at 6-15 watts

Increase the memory

One upgrade that is very low-cost and can mean a significant increase in performance is a memory upgrade. If your PC was one of the cheaper ones that only had 4GB of RAM when you bought it, you likely have trouble opening too many tabs in your browser or using any graphics-heavy program.

Upgrading your RAM, if your PC has available memory slots, to 8GB or 12GB can make it seem like you have an entirely new computer due to the big increase in speed.

Upgrade the graphics card

If you play computer games or work in any type of video, imaging, or 3D software, an outdated graphics card can ruin your experience.

Instead of replacing your entire computer, just upgrading the graphics card to a more robust model can improve your PC’s performance and give you several more useful years from it.

Replace your PCs cooling system

Heat is an enemy of your computer’s internal parts. If your cooling system is getting worn out and not working the way it should be, then excess heat can be building up inside your device.

When this happens things can get strange, with programs crashing or your system rebooting on its own.

If you suspect excess heat may be an issue, have your computer’s fan and cooling system checked out to see if it needs replacing.

Connect an external monitor to a laptop

If you’re working on a laptop and having a hard time multi-tasking due to limited screen real estate, consider getting an external monitor rather than replacing your entire PC.

Monitors are just a fraction of the cost of computers and having a screen twice the size of the one on your laptop can make all the difference in the world and improve productivity due to the additional screen space.

Replace your keyboard

Older keyboards can stick, lose keys, and have the writing rubbed off the keys, making it more difficult to tell a “prt screen” from a “delete” button. If the performance of your PC is hampered by a frustrating keyboard, an upgrade can be a very inexpensive way to improve your equipment.

Get an external hard drive

Computers can slow down and be more difficult to use when the hard drive fills up with data. Over the years, files build up, and many users never take the time to go through and delete those that are unnecessary.

Buying an external hard drive can allow you to offload files that may be slowing you down while still keeping them easily accessible.

Another benefit of an external hard drive is that it’s portable and can easily be carried between home and work and used in both places.

Get a professional PC tune-up

Those free PC cleaner tools you find online aren’t going to give you the type of tune-up that a professional IT provider can give.

We will go through things like the Windows Registry, duplicate system files, internal errors, and more to clean up your system and remove all the “junk” that has built up over the years.

We can also do a maintenance check for things like failing parts, and provide expert guidance on your most impactful upgrade options.

Don’t struggle with an older PC! We can help you with cost-effective upgrade options that will fit your system and budget perfectly.

How Do You Know When Your Systems Are Due For An Upgrade?

Some problems are difficult to spot. They bubble under the surface without getting noticed until it’s too late.

Other problems hit you straight in the face, normally at the worst possible time.

When it comes to your business’s IT, you need to keep an eye out for each of these, as things can get nasty if you don’t stay on top of things.

Keeping your IT updated is a good start, but it isn’t enough on its own. How do you know what to look out for? Let’s look at some of the main culprits.

The slow creepers
Slow computers are a big one, and they’re quite tricky to spot because they gradually slow down over time.

This means that people using them gradually adjust to degrading levels of performance without necessarily being aware that’s happening.

The same is true for software. As staff get used to using slow and buggy tools, it gets normalized and the IT gremlins become accepted as part of their daily life.

It’s always worth fixing slow devices and processes. Speeding them up will let your staff be more productive. And give morale a boost too.

Out of date systems
Another thing that can be difficult to spot is when warranties run out.

On top of official warranties, IT systems also have a separate lifespan for how long vendors will continue to offer updates. Pushing this to the edge can significantly impact features, compatibility, as well as security.

Your customers don’t have much patience for slow or clunky processes.

It can be difficult to measure how much business you lose on the back of this, so frequently auditing your systems is key to avoiding missed opportunities.

Too old to scale
If your IT systems aren’t scalable, there’s a real risk that your business will need to start turning down work because you’re not able to handle swings in demand.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there’s a far greater chance of experiencing big changes in consumer behavior in 2021, both during and in the aftermath of this pandemic.

Also, if you’re running out-of-date IT systems, you’re living with the risk that you won’t be able to quickly adopt new ways of working, as technology changes your industry.

What can you do?
An important first step is to have an IT strategy in place that acts as a foundation for your business.

Instead of reacting to problems as they come up, an IT strategy will help you plan for future scenarios. As well as acting as a solid foundation to help your business make the best possible decisions about the future.

A good IT strategy creates a technology roadmap for getting your business up to speed and keeping it there.

Three Big Ways To Improve Your IT Next Year

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

As we head into 2021, are your IT system due for an upgrade?

Here are three key things you can do to improve your IT and keep your business running smoothly into the years ahead.

Move applications to the cloud
The benefits of moving your business to the cloud are clear.

It will reduce your IT costs, improve the level of security, and give you the ability to quickly scale up your IT resources as needed.

You may currently work with a hybrid setup with bits and pieces of your IT in the cloud and other parts of your business still running locally.

With the right IT support team helping you, moving fully to the cloud is smooth and effective.

Take security seriously
It’s hard to read any technology news without reading about the damage cybercrime can do.

Cybersecurity issues can impact all devices connected to the Internet, and businesses are prime targets for hackers looking for an easy payday.

Fall victim and your business could grind to a halt. And your reputation can take a real battering.

Investing in help from a proactive IT support partner who knows what they’re doing is key to keeping your business safe.

Treat your team to new computers
Upgrading your computers is an investment worth making.

You’ll get a happier and more productive team for sure.

New computers will also reduce the amount of time your staff spend fighting with technology that’s slowing them down. The mental boost this can provide is huge, as are the productivity gains your company will see.

Tax Benefits You Should Reap Before The Year Ends

There are important tax benefits you can only gain by acting before December runs out. Preparing for taxes at the end of the year also puts you ahead of the game, eliminating the last-minute scramble to decipher receipts and new forms, so you can be calm and collected when tax season actually hits.

Perhaps the most important tax benefit small businesses should be aware of is that purchases like IT hardware or computer software that is purchased off the shelf are tax-deductible. Such capital purchases, however, must be dealt with before the new year, or they can no longer be used on your tax return. New special provisions dictate the cost of such equipment must be deducted within the year they were put into service, so you can’t afford to wait until the fiscal year ends and miss the narrow window for this tax benefit opportunity.

Small businesses should also be aware that many tax benefits are dependent on whether your activities are profitable or not. This is because the amount you can deduct for technological purchases changes according to your business’ total taxable income.

Be sure to reference Section 179 rules if you are showing a profit and Section 168 rules if you are in the red. You may even choose to consider if it is in your business’ best interest to be profitable at all, and adjust your inner workings to reflect your best tax advantage.

When making deductions for tech hardware and software purchased this year, make sure your record keeping is first rate. Keep all paper¬work that identifies the equipment, receipt for purchase, and anything that can point to when you actually put the equipment into service.

If necessary, you can then provide copies of that paperwork to the tax agency in the event that there is a question about your deduction. Before filing, if there is any doubt about whether a particular purchase is eligible for a tax deduction, consult with your tax adviser to be sure the necessary points have been met.

Signs Your PC Needs A Tune-Up (Or Replaced!)

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

One of the most frustrating things a person can experience in the office is a slow computer system.

As modern systems get quicker and Internet speeds continue to soar, we really notice when performance seems off.

Watching a video online 10 years ago versus today is a world of difference. Take it back 15 years, and it’s like two different universes.

Yet, we are so used to these speeds and increases in performance that we often assume that there’s something “wrong” with our computer or Internet connection when it slows down. Sure, this can be the case, but how can you tell?

First, you really need to isolate whether your computer system is slow or if your Internet is causing the problems. This is easier than you would expect.

Try loading a webpage. See if there is a delay in your keyboard input. Look for spinning wheels. These are indicative of system processing actions. You can try opening a few documents or pictures stored on your computer.

If there is no delay but webpages load slower than normal, you likely are having Internet speed issues.

Let’s assume that your Internet is fine. Speed is good, connection is strong. How can we tell if there is something wrong that needs fixed or if it’s just a temporary issue?

Let’s talk about age. The average usable life of a PC is around five years, give a take a year or two based on how good the system specs were at the time of purchase.

For instance, a laptop at a chain retail store might be a great price, but if you buy outdated products to start with, you will definitely have a harder time reaching the target goal of five years of use out of your computer. You can sometimes find a bargain, but a lot of times, you really get what you pay for.

Speaking of getting what you pay for, you may not be an expert, but remember that, while features like touchscreens are nice, they’re not a great help when your system resources are maxed out.

A touchscreen in a laptop is basically a tradeoff for two other specs when it comes to cost. Basically, if you had two identically priced laptops, the one with a touchscreen would have less RAM and a slower CPU, for instance.

Other things can let you know if there is more to it than needing a new PC. Is your lag recent and sudden? How secure are you? Is your operating system up to date?

A recent virus could quickly impact your system. While they don’t always work like this, a quick change in performance is typically failing hardware or an infection.

The best thing to do is to rule out the virus first. Always better to be safe. If you aren’t sure about how to thoroughly check for and remove virus infections, look for someone who can help.

So what if you still aren’t sure? If you are on the cusp of having your computer for four or five years, it might be time to make the call to replace it.

If there is a chance it’s the CPU failing and it’s close in the age range, replace it.

It is a calculated decision, but don’t let trying to save a few bucks for a few weeks longer cause you endless frustration. It may just be time to say goodbye.

Challenges Of Staffing In An Increasingly Tech World

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

“Good help is hard to find.” It’s something you have probably heard before. It has been said for generations.

Hiring fresh graduates is always tough as they are unproven and likely accepting their first jobs in their field. Hiring experienced workers costs more money and they most likely need better incentives to switch jobs.

However, fresh graduates may have more experience with recent industrial developments – and experienced workers may not feel the need to adapt to new innovations until it’s absolutely necessary.

So what happens when all paths forward intersect? Where experienced workers are becoming underqualified as the requirements of their jobs change? Where younger people want more than they are worth because they have general technical skills to go along with their chosen path?

This affects the workforce as a whole, not only IT. Much like any other field, we have our own challenges with staffing as time moves forward. Careers in IT obviously have a broad range of computer skills as a requirement, but there are industries where using a computer wasn’t always needed.

Working retail in today’s world will no doubt require use of a computer for most employees from time to time. Selling insurance? Most, if not all, processing is done on a computer. A loan department at a bank is going to use a computer and so are the tellers. Gas station? Fast food? All are places you will typically see computers and other technology in use.

It can be intimidating when industries like construction move away from pen and paper. Your accountant uses computers, and now you probably will too. Major trucking companies may leave the paper logbooks behind in lieu of digital recordkeeping.

So what happens to the employee at the construction company who has been there for 20 years with no computer skills? He is a foreman and all reporting is now done on a tablet then uploaded over a VPN to the main office every day. It’s a complex new skill to learn, especially when put against those who can operate tech with no effort…and who are asking for the same (or lower) salary.

For some people, they may feel like they have to learn a whole new career just to keep up with their own. As challenging as it is for the veteran employee, the same challenge can be had for a new hire. You face the challenge of not only the day-to-day job duties, but also with learning how to use five new pieces of software.

The challenge for employers is probably the most difficult. Keeping your old employees may be just as hard as finding new ones.

As new systems are implemented, experts of antiquated processes become dispensable if they can’t become acclimated. Hiring a recent graduate gives you an employee who knows those new systems, but they may be too “green” and make mistakes experienced workers already learned, adding stress to the environment.

Depending on the size of the company and the industry, there will always be unique staffing challenges. Not everyone will be forced to use a computer or a tablet for work, or you may not be able to employ someone who isn’t proficient with one. As tough as the market is for job seekers, I’d argue it’s a lot tougher on those tasked with hiring the next class of experts.

One thing that’s clear is that we aren’t going to back-track on technology due to the benefits. For every industry, modernization is becoming a matter of “when” rather than “if.” Employees and employers alike will have to keep up.

How Much RAM Does Your PC Really Need?

Frank DeLuca is a field technician for Tech Experts.

First off, note that how much RAM (along with the type and speed) that your system supports will depend on your motherboard.

Consult your PC/motherboard manual, or, if your PC was manufactured by an OEM, use a system checker such as the one found on to find out what RAM is compatible with your system.

Adding RAM to your computer is not a process that will magically make everything run faster. But it can aid your PC in multitasking and performing intensive-heavy tasks like loading 20+ browser tabs, content creation like editing videos or images, editing multiple productivity documents, and running more programs at one time.

Computers may experience significant slowdowns when running a large number of programs at once with low memory.

If all RAM space has been used when trying to open programs, the computer resorts to using virtual memory on the hard drive, which slows the computer down quite a bit.

Upgrading or adding additional memory can eliminate this problem as the computer doesn’t have to resort to using the hard drive for slower pagefile memory.

How much RAM you need in your computer depends heavily on what you use your PC for on a day-to-day basis and on how long you intend to keep the computer.

If you are thinking of investing in a new machine in the near future, waiting things out until your purchase might be the best bet.

If you already have a computer you love but want to shift gears into a different daily task that requires better performance, then upgrading your RAM as part of the process is a great idea and can breathe some extra life into your computer.

If you use your Windows 10 computer for word processing, checking emails, browsing the Internet, and playing Solitaire, you should have no problem using 4GB of RAM. If you are performing all of these activities at once, however, you might experience a dip in performance.

Many budget PCs come with 4GB of RAM as a base option. If you plan on keeping your machine for several years, then opting for 8GB of RAM is the safer bet, even if you use it for light tasks.

Video and Photo Editing
This really depends on your workload. If you are editing quite a bit of HD video, go for 16GB or more. If you’re working mainly with photos and a bit of video thrown in, 8GB should get you through. Again, in this instance, it may behoove you to opt for 16GB to give yourself more future-proofing headroom as photo and video quality is only getting better with file sizes exponentially increasing and becoming more memory intensive. Editing will work on lower amounts of RAM, but you’ll become so frustrated with the poor performance that you’ll soon start yearning for an upgrade.

In a nutshell, here are some simple guidelines that apply to most PC devices:

  • 4GB: Entry level memory. Comes with budget notebooks. Fine for Windows.
  • 8GB: Excellent for Windows and Mac OS systems. We recommend this for most people.
  • 16GB: Ideal for professional work and the most demanding tasks.
  • 32GB and beyond: Enthusiasts and purpose-built workstations only.

Remember, buying more RAM than you need doesn’t net you any performance benefit. It’s effectively wasted money.

Buy what you need, and spend what’s left of your budget on more important components such as the CPU or faster storage space like a solid state hard drive (SSD) which can be 10 times faster than a conventional hard drive.

RAM And You: How Much Memory Do You Need?

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

Is there anything as frustrating as experiencing issues with your computer? There are many different performance issues that can affect your experience as a user.

If your computer is running slower than normal (or slower than it should), there are so many things that can factor in. One of the more common causes is system memory being over utilized.

First, we have to understand the different types of “slow” your computer expresses.

If Internet pages are slow to load but programs like Microsoft Word are quick and responsive, your speed issue is Internet related.

If programs are slow, lag out, or won’t respond, you are dealing with a system issue.

In these cases, a restart can be your best friend. If a restart doesn’t help your system, take a look at your resource usage. The task manager will show in real time the usage of your CPU and memory (RAM).

Let’s say your RAM usage is high, even after a restart. This is a problem and you just don’t have enough system memory to support your daily tasks.

How does this affect your system? What can you do about it? How much is enough?

A shortage of RAM on your computer wreaks havoc on the system performance. It not only limits the work that the RAM is capable of handling, but it also affects the CPU and the hard drive performance.

When applications need more than the available RAM, they use virtual memory from the hard drive. The amount of virtual RAM can be increased in your system by increasing the size of your paging file.

While this may help to run your programs, your system performance will suffer greatly.

The virtual RAM your system will use is much slower than physical RAM, causing a bottleneck where you are now reliant on the speed of your virtual memory. This limits the speed of data traveling between the CPU and RAM as well.

We know the RAM is limiting our performance. While the paging file allows you to run the programs you need to work, your system performance will make multi-tasking nearly impossible.

The best thing at this point is to upgrade to more physical memory.

There are some limitations to upgrading your RAM. Operating systems have a maximum supported amount of RAM. This varies from operating system versions, from year to year, as well as 32-bit versus 64-bit.

Your motherboard and CPU could also have a maximum amount of RAM.

RAM sticks come in different memory quantities as well and each slot in your computer may have a maximum, as well as an overall system maximum as well. A single stick of RAM can be 512mb or 8gb and anywhere in between.

RAM also comes in many types that can vary based on your specific motherboard. Upgrading your RAM can make your system run better, but there are many things to factor in when you upgrade your RAM.

So how much RAM do you need? It varies for everyone, but the more programs you use, the more RAM you need.

If you are buying a new computer for modern business, a minimum, of 8gb is strongly recommended and 16gb is even better. If you run many programs, especially things like graphic and video editing software, you may want more. If you are upgrading your current system RAM, similar rules apply.

Your tasks and usage dictate your needs; don’t be afraid to give yourself one of the best performance upgrades out there by adding more memory to your system.