December 21, 2017

Technicians or Robots? How to Invest Your IT Spend in 2018 (Part 3: 4 Common Scenarios That Determine Your IT Strategy)

It’s time for taxes and budgeting at your company, which means it’s time to make some important decisions. You know you need to increase your business’s technological capabilities to keep pace or pull ahead of your competition, but if you’re like most business leaders, you’re probably unsure about how you can best allocate your IT funds. Of course, obvious improvement areas include tightening security, increasing compliance and streamlining processes… but to achieve these aims, would it be better to hire a larger IT staff or to replace some of your employees with automated tools like robots? Luckily, ISG has put together this short series to help you make the right decision about how you should plan to allocate your company’s IT spend in 2018. Here in Part 3, we’ll get down to the details: Assessing your obstacles in 2017 to determine how you should allocate your IT funds, whether on hiring or tech, in 2018. If you’ve wondered whether you should focus your investments on increasing workplace automation through robots or AI, or if it’s a better idea to hire skilled IT technicians, you’ll get the answers you need here. Let’s figure this out together. Note: In this series, we interchangeably use the terms “machine,” “computer,” “AI” and “robot.” For our purposes right now, please note that they all refer to the same thing: the advanced technology your business can use. Deciding Where to Invest Your IT Spend One of the best ways to assess your IT needs for the […]
December 14, 2017

Technicians or Robots? How to Invest Your IT Spend in 2018 (Part 2: Machine Learning – The Pros and Cons for Business Agility)

These days, it seems like everywhere you look there’s always a newer, better tech option coming out. From cobots that work alongside humans to intelligent machines that learn as they go and productivity enhancement software powered by the human voice, every product claims to be the solution your business needs to maintain your competitive stance in the future. And if you’re not a techie, but are, instead, a hiring manager trying to figure out how to allocate your tech funds the best way, all this conflicting data can get confusing. That’s why ISG has put together this short series to help you make the right decision about how you should plan to allocate your company’s IT spend in 2018. Here in Part 2, we’ll be discussing machine learning and how it can help your business. If you’ve wondered whether you should focus your investments on increasing workplace automation through robots or AI, or if it’s a better idea to hire skilled IT technicians, you’ll get the answers you need here. Let’s figure this out together. Note: In this series, we interchangeably use the terms “machine,” “computer,” “AI” and “robot.” For our purposes right now, please note that they all refer to the same thing: the advanced technology your business can use. What Is Machine Learning? In Part 1 of this series, we talked about artificial intelligence and how, basically, it doesn’t exist. Not now and possibly not ever. However, the machines are making great strides in their capabilities, and their […]
December 7, 2017

Technicians or Robots? How to Invest Your IT Spend in 2018 (Part 1: What Is AI and Why Can’t You Buy It?)

These days, it seems like all the products on the market advertise their capabilities as “artificial intelligence” (AI), and the newspapers keep claiming that robotic automation in the workplace is on the rise. With so many options newly available, it can quickly become confusing and overwhelming to choose the right technological path forward – and yet, you know that making the right choice matters more than ever before. Your ongoing agility will determine your survival in this disruptive business environment. That’s why, today, ISG is starting a short series to help you make the right decision about how you should plan to allocate your company’s IT spend in 2018. If you’ve wondered whether you should focus your investment on increasing workplace automation through robots and AI, or if it’s a better idea to hire skilled IT technicians to make your organization more efficient, you’ll get the answers you need here. Note: In this series, we interchangeably use the terms “machine,” “computer,” “AI” and “robot.” For our purposes right now, please note that they all refer to the same thing: the advanced technology your business can use. What Is AI? AI, or artificial intelligence, is the building block required for effective robot workers and our modern tech marvels. But what is it and why does it matter? And are all those products out there that claim to be AI really AI? Let’s start our discussion of where you should allocate your IT funds by defining the exact tools you’d actually be […]
November 30, 2017

Mesh Networks: A Better Way to Take Advantage of IoT in the New Year

Mesh Wi-Fi has been the latest talk in the consumer space this year, but enterprise-level organizations have been using mesh networks for years to extend their office space, secure their networks and easily connect near-range mobile employees in rural or mining operations. Though the limited budgets and reduced technology capabilities of smaller businesses in the past prevented SMBs from taking advantage of mesh-networking flexibility, recent increases in Internet speed have helped businesses of all sizes tap into the wide-ranging benefits that mesh offers. One of the biggest benefits SMBs are now experiencing with mesh is their newfound ability to drive business forward using IoT (Internet of Things) devices. What Is Mesh Networking? Mesh networking is a long-standing method of easily extending Wi-Fi range throughout an area, such as a large office or even an outdoor space, without having to manage multiple networks or a complex arrangement of integrated routers. Using a single Internet access point as a base signal, the mesh system boosts your Internet signal through well-placed “nodes” (signal repeaters) that can eliminate Internet dead zones in your offices. In the past, mesh networks were solely of interest to larger enterprises, as these companies were the only ones that could afford the ultra-high-speed connections mesh required. Though mesh networks do effectively extend an Internet signal, the signal strength ever-so-slightly reduces when it “hops” (extends) through a node; you can imagine how this was a serious problem with old, slow broadband connections. Fortunately, today’s Internet speeds for SMBs often reach […]
November 25, 2017

Fast Growth Requires More Than Just Hiring New People

Booming business is great, but suddenly booming business… well, that’s another animal altogether. Not only does fast, ballooning growth test your company’s scalability in terms of onboarding new hires while quickly teaching necessary processes and procedures, it also requires you to handle unexpected costs and responsibilities. And hiring isn’t the only responsibility we’re talking about here; you’ll also have to make fast, well-informed decisions about the pillars of your business technology, such as your infrastructure. That’s right: overloaded server capacity and licensing limitations will become issues very quickly with your growing staff – unless you put your contingency plan in place now. Here are two methods SMBs use when planning for their future growth, so they can ensure their success in the long run. Virtualization: Tried and True for Many Companies Virtualization, the process of hosting multiple “virtual” servers on at least one physical server, brings enterprise-level technology to smaller businesses that wouldn’t typically be able to afford the initial capital needed for the required hardware, software, licenses, implementation and maintenance it takes to set up your own datacenter. (A datacenter, by the way, is like a high-powered bank of servers that supports your entire business with the processing capabilities you need to keep your company’s computers and networks running smoothly.) In the past, business leaders hesitated to virtualize their infrastructure because they worried that multiple virtual servers running off a single physical server would tax the resources of that physical server – resulting in a large number of slow […]