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As a small business owner, you have a delicate balance to maintain, customers to satisfy and a corporate vision to maintain. The right IT solutions can help. IT tools exist to manage many of the daily operations of modern businesses. Automated processes tailored to your needs can perform many of the tasks necessary to your business. To name a few: properly designed IT infrastructure should work with existing workflows to monitor customer satisfaction, to track financial transactions, and to ensure document creation and retention adheres to business rules. Here is our list of 5 IT Tools Every Small Business Should Be Using. Compare this list to your business operations and see how you relate.

1. Integrated Customer Call Center

If you already have staff on hand to respond to customer needs and requests, you know how helpful it is to have that buffer to be able to analyze calls from a mostly detached distance. Doubtless, you are already struggling with the need to track common issues and requests for new services. An integrated customer service platform can give you the hard data you need. What are common requests? Are there certain product lines or certain geographical areas which are doing better or worse? You may have an idea in your mind already, but a call center can give you the actual numbers to support what you know. The right staff will respond to client needs professionally and respectfully – and the right system will help assure their needs are better met going forward. If you do not already have a call center in place, this should be at the top of your list.

2. Integrated Phone and Data Services

Integrated phone and data services are a must-have for streamlining operations. However you handle this aspect of your business, you need some way of integrating phone calls, video calls, and conferences with your online network infrastructure. That way you do not need to juggle your calendar, your IT department, and your phone. Imagine this: you have a two o’clock meeting with investors. You are reviewing a spreadsheet when an alert comes up on your screen to remind you. You click on the alert to pull up the number and start the call. It needs to be that simple.

3. Cloud-Based Networking

A small business requires networking solutions which are scalable, affordable, and reliable. Cloud-based networking is the modern day solution, giving you access to server space which will grow as your needs grow. Cloud-based networks allow for easy backup in separate physical locations in the event of an emergency at your present location. If you are not already in the cloud, consider it seriously as the necessary step to preserve business continuity.

4. Reliable Data Retention Software

As seen in recent news, danger lies within keeping data around forever, losing data, and attempting to get rid of data long after it should have been gone. Emails and other records need to be kept on your server for as long as those records are relevant – and deleted when they are not. For your sake and the sake of your clients, you need a software tool which tracks how long certain kinds of data should be kept and then automatically deletes that data when you are done with it.

5. Integrated Managed Services

Last but not least, small businesses should make use of professionals who know the business, know all the pieces, and know how to put those pieces together in ways that work. The landscape of the virtual world is constantly changing, and business owners have other matters to worry about without always having time to follow all the latest and greatest in technology. Consider a managed services provider as the last great tool in your toolbox, the one that will help you select the best tools for your business, usually for less than the cost of trying to do it all yourself. A managed service provider like Access One will do that for you.